RARA-AVIS: Re: Song Noir

From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 21 Jul 2009

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

    On Jul 21, 2009, at 1:32 AM, rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com wrote:

    > Anyway, time to move on...Cjunkies (junkies they are not & cowboys/
    > girls not
    > the ones I read or see in film)

    Must make your like a pretty homogenous, unisexual one. Whatever.

    But actually, although Margo Timmins's the singer and she's definitely female, it's her brother who writes the songs, and generally the lyrics (and their covers) are far from cute. "Murder in the Trailer Park" is a good one, the pulp trappings of the words deliberately at odds with the delivery, and their covers include such "cute" songs as VU's "Sweet Jane," a couple of cuts from Springsteen's Nebraska and Neil Young's ode to North America's blood-drenched history
    "Powderfinger."

    > - French Sony put out a CD in 2000 called Rock and Polar (Rock and
    > Crime
    > Fiction): it had L. Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat, TheByrds: Set You
    > Free This
    > Time, Van Morrisson: Itıs Allright, Fleetwood Mac: Shake your
    > Moneymaker,

    > Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Sky is Cryiong, Screaminı Jay Hawkins: I Put A
    > Sperll On You, Big Brother & the HC: Summertime, Isley Bro.: Ohio,
    > Allman
    > Bros.:It Ainıt Over yet, Bloos Sweat & Tears: Spinning
    > Wheeel....donıt ask
    > me what they have all or individually to do with crime/nouar but
    > Philippe
    > Blanchet, the critic who compiled it and who Œreviews itı on the inner
    > sleeve, caracterises all these songs as part of the noir continuum,
    > the
    > overall noir tale at the end of the sixties...and makes certain to
    > list
    > Œrealı band members like Peter Greenıs Fleetwood Mac as opposed to the
    > Œcommercialı version later on...etc...Some are Œforeignı to my
    > taste, but I
    > get the drift...

    I'm surprised he didn't include Bobby Vinton.

    "Set You Free This Time"? "Shake Your Moneymaker"? "Spinning fucking Wheel"?

    A dubious concept at best. Not the songs, but the contention that they have anything to do with noir -- or even crime -- is a stretch. Blanchet must really put some spin on them in his liner notes. Just because a song may be associated with some crime film (if that's his argument) doesn't instantly make it a crime song... for example, it's hard not to think of "Blue Velvet" without thinking of the film, but
    "Blue Velvet" is not a crime song on its own.

    Sounds more like Sony just went through their back catalogue and used a flimsy premise to re-sell some of their product. More proof, perhaps, of how devalued the term "noir" has become.

    Although, since the French coined the term, I guess they have more right than most to misapply it.

    Better them than Vanity Fair.

    Kevin

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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