Photos property of Rick Keene ©
- Jeff Healey meets Rick Keene (keenemusic.wordpress.com)
- Has a Stranger Ever Asked Where You Get Your Hair Done? (bellasugar.com)
Photos property of Rick Keene ©
It was all about the music.
Women and even drugs tossed aside if it interfered with the tunes. Their founder; Brian Jones, cast from the love of his life as drugs and erratic playing interrupted the Stones’ legacy. A premature death in life – a fitting death for a rock n roll figure.
Hunt, Faithful, Bianca and Pallenberg. Add Jones’ many conauests. The damsels in constant distress. The women who some bore offspring, the women who could never be Yoko Onos …
Mick Taylor ended the sixties giving the Stones a lead guitar until the lifestyle, their lifestyle, would no longer suit the graduate of the blues . A legacy imprinted into the discs of some of the greatest tunes to bring in the band’ s second decade. Love, was not in vain.
Enter Richards’ twin. Ronnie Wood. A five string sparring partner. Someone to practice the fine art of weaving . Who better to return the Stones to their roots – who better to keep the peace between Jagger and Richards. Who better to keep the band rolling into a new decade of a changing music world.
Satisfaction – one of ( if not the biggest ) anthems of the sixties. Miss You – one of the biggest ( anthems ) songs of the seventies. How does a band, almost twenty years into a career carry on and top that? With the exception of old blues men and solo artists – the band was entering uncharted music waters.
Start me Up.
The biggest song of the eighties. A tune which made even the famous tongue logo – wag with envy … Three decades, three hugely succesful anthems which set the band up for a forray into corporate America.
Tumbin ‘Dice , Happy, Beast of Burden. Play with Fire, Get off of my cloud, Waiting on a friend – an arsenal small in the Stones’ catalogue, huge for every band with the exception of the Beatles.
Richards ‘ pulled through a ten year heroin addiction. A blind Angel from Quebec – hitching a ride to Toronto. Pleading with a judge to not place the rock n roll convict behind bars for heroin trafficking. A blind Angel the guitarist claims saved his life. A blind Angel who has been flown to a show on every tour since …
Muddy Waters, discovered painting the ceiling at Chess studios to earn some money. The band’s hero. A man partly responsible for their very existence – forced to manual labor because of greedy record executives. The revenue from the group’ s next show, placed into the pocket of the original Rollin ‘ Stone.
Elvis, the Beatles, the love generation, glam rock, Disco and Punk Rock. Dead. Zeppelin, Gram Parsons, Morrison, Joplin and Hendrix. Dead.
The Stones rolled on …
The eighties and the largest grossing tour Rock n Roll would witness to that point – a glint in the Glimmer Twins’ eyes. A tour which was about to commence …
First things first.
What is witnessed in this documentary/ concert film, is not for the faint – hearted. In other words; Justin Bieber fans stay away.
According to one of the performers in the almost three hour concert which is featured in the DVD, New Orleans music has a sound of it’s own. Keith Richards knows a little about sound and about being different.
This docu- cert weaves a fine road through a thick tapestry of N’Orlean mud. The groundwork as astonishing as the music itself. The groundwork the architectural plans of modern day music.
Meet the Neville clan. There are quite a few of these home grown boys carrying the messages of music in their instrument cases. Aaron, in what may be the most compelling statement of the film, tells how his song ‘Tell It Like It Is ‘ grew into a global monster hit. Mr. Neville did not receive much money for it – in fact, next to nothing. Profoundly, Neville explains how this was a good thing. The riches he richly deserved, would have surely killed him.
Make it funky sheds light on the darkness called racism. Many of the founding fathers of modern day music discovered themselves banished from the clubs which showcased the very tunes they themselves made famous.
The origins of this movie commenced inside the head of Allen Toussaint. If James Brown is the godfather of soul, Toussaint may be the patriarch of the New Orleans sound. By no means did he invent it yet there are few who carry the torch so highly and publicly as Toussaint.
What the Rolling Stones have done and continue to do for the forefathers of blues, Allen is doing for the greats of New Orleans.
The late Earl Palmer, considered the grandfather of Rock n Roll drumming is featured and honoured by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Kermit Ruffins, Irma Thomas and the human riff himself – Keith Richards. Palmer, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 84, provides the backbeat for the musical journey from the days of segregation through to the newest member of the Neville clan on guitar.
You got horns, you got funk on the piano and you got a whole lot of New Orleans ripping up the stage. This is soul- defining stuff which pretty much makes the majority of music since seem amateurish in comparison.
Toussaint knows; first things first …
You cannot walk straight when the road bends
When Johnny Depp gives a testimonial for a film, a musician or a toaster oven; people listen. In the documentary: When the road bends; Tales of a Gypsy Caravan, people are there to listen and listen some more…
The film follows an eighteen show American tour with Gypsies from four countries. It is fitting the show opens up with th e line; “Don’t worry, she’ll follow the lights! They don’t call her the Queen of the Gypsies for nothing!”
Fitting because the darkened walk towards the lights is symbolic. The general public watching this film are led toward costumes and music most have never listened to – or seen.
The Queen of the Gypsies begins to sing. Aside from the language – she could be an older Celine Dion with an added few pounds. An older Celine Dion without the fake emotions. The Queen sings with profound conviction. What arrives from her diaphragm is lived. Picture your grandmother who gave birth to eight kids and raised them alone. This is the depth of experience which sets the tone for the film.
A tone you do not catch at the corner bar. Not in America anyways.
The film’s and the organizer’s intent is to bring people together though music. It must be through music as many of the performers don’t speak the same language.
Romanian is one of those languages spoken and it is by the founders of the tour. A group of stringed musicians who support their village with the funds raised by their music. They are called Farat and are responsible for actor Depp’s involvement.
Mr. Depp met these guys during the filming of the movie: The Man who Cried. It seems Depp shared a small trailer with these men for two months. A time spent playing music for hours with wine exchanging hands. The music was the means of communication – along with eyeballs and hand gestures …
Depp’s mission is obvious.
He pleads for the public to re – learn their ignorance of the myth of the Gypsy. A stigma attached over the years through the very medium which made him famous – film.
In Depp’s words; the Nazis perpetrated a genocide on the Romanian people. The murder of thousands of woman and children. Killings which left the inhabitants to roam. Also in the actor’s words; the Gypsies will not steal your socks or whatever. The sad thing? A weight these people, these beautiful people – carry with them everyday.
Beginning with the Queen of the Gypsies to the old man who funds school fees to young musicians in his village, this documentary provides hope to the downtrodden. Music keeps the spirit alive.
In each song from another of the touring acts from India, the group Maharaja tells stories. Something the leader can do through his own personal experiences.
His mother died from cancer when he was a boy and his father soon followed; death by drinking his pain away. The young man was left to care for his younger siblings. Something he does though music and dance.
Director Jasmine Dellal continues her quest to tell the tale of Gypies through Flamenco – another of the movie’s many influential sounds. Dancing, vibrant colours and equally vibrant characters. A great mix for the open – minded music fan.
Four musical acts – four types of Gypsies.
The road keeps bending. It’s up to the viewer to make things straight the next time they think of the word Gypsy.
* This film is available on DVD at Pointe Claire Video.