Infatuated with American Bluesmen

“The Stones’ music has inspired me greatly and became a basis for most of the work I’ve done in my movies, going from Mean Streets right the way up to Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino. Their music for me is timeless; it helped me form scenes, the energy and the atmosphere of the music, it created images in my mind.”

Martin Scorsese

 
 

Photo by Norman Norman Seeff, Los Angeles, 1986

 
 

Martin Scorsese has long had a knack for finding the right pop or rock song to kick a scene into the stratosphere. For every time he’s used a Bernard Hermann score or a Johann-Sebastian Bach sonata (“Wir setzen uns und Tranen nieder“, from St Matthew Passion, in Casino), there are a dozen instances when he’s employed vintage R&B, doo-wop, blues or British Invasion numbers – “the music we used to hear in the street,” he’s said – to liven up his films.

Director Scorsese’s relationship with the Rolling Stones and their catalog of songs dates back to his film Mean Streets, which included the Jagger-Richards composition Tell Me in a key scene. Rolling Stones songs Gimme Shelter, Monkey Man and Memo From Turner are heard in Goodfellas while The Departed includes both Gimme Shelter and Let It Loose.

 
 

Feel Like Going Home (2003). Scorsese pays tribute to the Delta blues, tracing the roots of the music by traveling through the state of Mississippi with musician Corey Harris and then traveling on to West Africa. Willie King, Taj Mahal, Otha Turner and Ali Farka Toure give performances of early Delta blues songs, along with rare archival film of Son House, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker.

 
 

 
 

They were a bunch of British kids infatuated with American bluesmen. He was an asthmatic teen surrounded by street-fighters in Little Italy. But there’s something about the volatility of their art that make for an ideal pairing. Scorsese has used so many of their songs in so many of his films, both originals and covers (notably Devo’s take on Satisfaction), that by the time he got around to making a Stones concert film, it almost seemed anticlimactic. But check out the livewire energy he channels in 2008’s Shine a Light – they’re still bringing out the best in each other.

 
 

 
 

“We tried to get the film as close as possible to the energy of a live concert. For me the Stones are all about energy, that’s why they are still so relevant today. Initially, we did think about a narrative structure for the film. We talked about doing something with the Stones and New York City – we could have had many different scenarios – but quite honestly, after 40-45 years, so many great filmmakers have worked with the Stones, what could I possibly add? “The Rolling Stones in New York”, some clever interstitial moments?”

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It’s Called Mick Jagger

In April of 1962, 18-year-old Keith Richards wrote the following enthusiastic letter to his aunt, “Patty,” and described, among other things, an encounter some months previous that would ultimately change his life — the moment he met Mick Jagger for the first time since being childhood friends.
 
Three months after the letter was written, “The Rollin’ Stones” played their first gig at the Marquee Club in London. The rest is history.
 

6 Spielman Rd
Dartford
Kent

Dear Pat,
 
So sorry not to have written before (I plead insane) in bluebottle voice. Exit right amid deafening applause.

I do hope you’re very well.

We have survived yet another glorious English Winter. I wonder which day Summer falls on this year?

Oh but my dear I have been soooo busy since Christmas beside working at school. You know I was keen on Chuck Berry and I thought I was the only fan for miles but one mornin’ on Dartford Stn. (that’s so I don’t have to write a long word like station) I was holding one of Chuck’s records when a guy I knew at primary school 7-11 yrs y’know came up to me. He’s got every record Chuck Berry ever made and all his mates have too, they are all rhythm and blues fans, real R&B I mean (not this Dinah Shore, Brook Benton crap) Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Chuck, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker all the Chicago bluesmen real lowdown stuff, marvelous. Bo Diddley he’s another great.

Anyways the guy on the station, he is called Mick Jagger and all the chicks and the boys meet every Saturday morning in the ‘Carousel’ some juke-joint well one morning in Jan I was walking past and decided to look him up. Everybody’s all over me I get invited to about 10 parties. Beside that Mick is the greatest R&B singer this side of the Atlantic and I don’t mean maybe. I play guitar (electric) Chuck style we got us a bass player and drummer and rhythm-guitar and we practice 2 or 3 nights a week. SWINGIN’.

Of course they’re all rolling in money and in massive detached houses, crazy, one’s even got a butler. I went round there with Mick (in the car of course Mick’s not mine of course) OH BOY ENGLISH IS IMPOSSIBLE.

“Can I get you anything, sir?”
“Vodka and lime, please”
“Certainly, sir”

I really felt like a lord, nearly asked for my coronet when I left.

Everything here is just fine.

I just can’t lay off Chuck Berry though, I recently got an LP of his straight from Chess Records Chicago cost me less than an English record.

Of course we’ve still got the old Lags here y’know Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and 2 new shockers Shane Fenton and Jora Leyton SUCH CRAP YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD. Except for that greaseball Sinatra ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Still I don’t get bored anymore. This Saturday I am going to an all night party.

“I looked at my watch
It was four-o-five
Man I didn’t know
If I was dead or alive”
Quote Chuck Berry
Reeling and a Rocking

12 galls of Beer Barrel of Cyder, 3 bottle Whiskey Wine. Her ma and pa gone away for the weekend I’ll twist myself till I drop (I’m glad to say).

The Saturday after Mick and I are taking 2 girls over to our favourite Rhythm & Blues club over in Ealing, Middlesex.

They got a guy on electric harmonica Cyril Davies fabulous always half drunk unshaven plays like a mad man, marvelous.

Well then I can’t think of anything else to bore you with, so I’ll sign off goodnight viewers

BIG GRIN

Luff
Keith xxxxx
Who else would write such bloody crap
 

(Source: Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life)