RARA-AVIS: Re: Song Noir

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 18 Jul 2009

  • Next message: Steve Novak: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Song Noir"

    Brian wrote:

    > I offer up the entirety of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' album MURDER
    > as another possibility (and talk about "Noir atmosphere": his song
    > "Red
    > Right Hand.").

    The entirety? I dunno. I tend to skip over a couple of the songs. Cave, who's usually a smart and surprisingly subtle and witty artist, given his frequent subject matter, just chews up the scenery a little much on a few of them. The hammy overkill may work in concert, but on record it just comes off as a little forced and silly. Though that may be the point.

    Mind you, sometimes it's the singer or the performance, not the song.

    The Beatles' "Run for Your life" is a pretty lame (albeit slightly offensive) pop song. When The Cowboy Junkies do it as this grungy bluesy thing, it's just nasty. Margo Timmins sounds like she means it, man.

    She catches you with another woman, that's the end, little boy.

    Some of my other personal fave crime songs (they're not all noir) include:

    Frankie & Johnny -- various Stagger Lee (aka Stoack-o-Lee, Staggalee, etc., etc.) -- various Nebraska by Springsteen Jeannie Needs a Shooter by Warren Zevon Folsom Prison Blues by Cash Copperhead Road by Steve Earle Mack the Knife -- Bobby Darin (finger-snappin' murder at its best) Jesse James -- various Streets of Laredo -- various (lately, it's Paul Westerberg's version, but I'm flexible...) Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts -- Joe Ely, Tom Russell et al In State by Kathleen Edwards Long Black Veil by The Band Cop Killer by Body Count The Ballad of Billy Jo by Billy Gentry/The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia by Vicki Llawrence (Yeah, I know, but both of these MOR nuggets are also flat-out great story songs, dying to be remade in darker, gritter versions. Maybe Marianne Faithful or Chrissie Hynde should check 'em out...) 38 Years Old by The Tragically Hip Murder in the Red Barn by Tom Waits & John Hammond James River Incident by Steve Wynn Cocaine Blues by George Thorogood (Cash's is great, but Thorogood's slide-driven stab at it is a real rush)

    But don't get me started....

    Kevin Burton Smith Palmdale Noir: Saturday, June 18 Butler's Coffee, Palmdale, CA

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