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Saturday, March 12, 2005

THE FEAR OF CLOWNS

...is real, grounded in reality and should be trusted at all times. If you are a professional clown of the circus, rodeo or children birthday party circuit --- I apologize for offending you. However, I feel it is important that each and every one of you who sports giant flopply shoes, a detatchable red nose and painted on smiles or frowns is, at the core, evil. As Linda Rondstadt so wisely crooned --- YOU, my clown friends, are just no good. However, I guess Linda probably wasnt' thinking of clowns in the literal sense when she sang that song. ...but I like to think that she was and as this is my blog I can make the assumption that she was singing to those evil extension of mimes across the globe.

Writing of Linda Rondstadt makes me think about how very harsh and cruel time can be. Linda used to be so very hot --- both physically and professionally. I can remember when Rolling Stone declared her the Barbra Steisand of country/rock. ...and then she decided to continue to push that creative envelope. Linda started paying attention to the charts of the early 80's and decided that she liked what she heard! She grooved to the geeked-up sounds of Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry and Missing Persons. Suddenly, it just wasn't enough to take low budget fare written by the likes of Warren Zevon, JD Souther, Buddy Holly and the Mick man himself. I mean, I am sorry, but The Rolling Stones do not bring TUMBLING DICE to life the way Miss Rondstadt did in 1977. The lady rocked our world and did it with a sort of slutty/distant grace seldom witnessed in the music biz. ...but then New Wave grabbed our country/rock ice princess by the heart strings. Failing to see the dangerous line between disco and new wave --- Linda cut her hair and had it spiked. She started wearing ripped t-shirts with black bras and wore satin short-shorts with old school rollerskates. ...and the world laughed. No longer would we be able to buy the concept of Miss Rondstadt singing of Blue Bayous, woebegottten dice, silk purses, down and out herioine addicts or other low end matters of the heart in quite the same way. No, she sold out without even meaning to do so. Linda just wanted to explore a new and intersting world of cool --- only to discover that she just wansn't cool enough! Even Mick Rock declined to take her photo for her first New Wave LP. ...And Mr. Costello, in a rare bit of cruelness, dismissed her cover of his songs as insulting. Debbie Harry, ever cool, rolled her eyes at Linda's attempts to copy the original blonde one's phrasing which came out more like a whine than a sneer. Yes, Linda was rejected by the alternative set. ...and she burned her bridges with most of her country fans.

So, with heavey heart -- Linda decided to do a Rosemary Clooney thing --- and she went easy listening jazz standards on our collective ass. ...and it worked for a little while. But then Streisand stole her thunder by deciding to go back to her roots which were the very songs that our Linda was just beginning to wrap her vocals around. Well, a B'way and easy listening standard will not ever be performed any better than Babs --- and with THE BROADWAY ALBUM hitting the charts of the mid 80's --- Linda's earnest and interesting take on such songs lost their power. Sure, she scored a couple of Disney hits -- but who hasn't reaped the musical benefit of some lame Disney cartoon within the last 20 years? And, yes -- Linda explored her ethnic roots in the late 80's/early 90's -- but not many seemed to care. And, we can't forget some of the great vocal work she has done with Dolly and Emmylou --- but Dolly, tho only as big as Linda's left leg, just seems to push Linda out of the recording booth --- and, tho we all know Emmy would never mean it --- her voice is the closest thing to water since Karen Carpenter. No, Linda just can't compete there --- she can only compliment.

So, now she is fat and singing back-up for Bette Midler. Time has been cruel to Linda -- but she pushes on. Someone like the White Stripes or Trent Reznor needs to come to her rescue --- let her do a Johnny Cash/Loretta Lynn make over and reclaim her true country rock leanings. Linda Rondstadt we miss you! We all know that there is a Tom Waits cover album just waiting to pour out of your sould --- you can do that, Linda. You can bring Tom Waits to the masses --- and Mick Rock needs work now as we are in the 21st Century ---- he will take your picture. And, hello, it is called the Adkins diet and it works! Kisses!

However, I digressed. I wanted to discuss the evils of clowns. I guess that will be another post. Just remember -- never trust a clown in or out of costume/make-up. Take care to avoid clowns at all cost and all levels! And, if a clown should ask you to pull his finger -- and you do, remember -- you have been warned and will only have yourself to blame.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Doug said...

I'm sure you will agree to disagree, but Linda OWNS the old standards. Her three CD's with the Nelson Riddle orchestra are sublime. Babs EARLY standards are wonderful, but all her recent over produced, over synthesized, over dubbed CD's can't hold a flame to Linda's.

In truth the only person that outdoes Linda in the standards department is Toni Tennille (of Captain and ... fame). Her big band CD's are exquisite. (I think I told you this once before.)

Doug.

Whats with the FAT comments...it seems that only recently you were lamenting your own weight gain...Even Babs has put on weight in her 'maturity' as was seen on the Oscars....

7:41 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Doug -- I hope you're seated because I do not disagree with you at all. In fact, I do agree.

Welcome to my lame-ass attempt at satire. LOL! Actually, I seldom attempt satire because it is not my style and those who know me know that I am quite sincere --- so, naturally, I would flop at this!

I own all of Linda Ronstadt's big band/standard CD's -- including her most recent release on THE jazz label. However as much as I appreciate her talent and her work (particularly with the late N. Riddle) --- only the first 2 really found a large audience. As much as I love Babs (and we all know I worship at the alter of Simply Barbra) --- but, no matter what anyone of her legion of fans (read - I am one!) might say -- there would be no 1985 Broadway Album had Ronstadt not recorded and released "What's New" in 1983. However, despite the over-production and the literal obsession with "perfection" that harms much of Streisand's work post 1981 --- I do not think a case can be made on the tonal quality or power of the vocal chords circa 1985 -- nor, the much wider range of audience at disposal. Streisand took the idea and ran to the bank with it.

...she did the same with The Movie Album --- which if you were to go back and take a listen to 1994's "Smile" CD by Julia Migenes and the late Michael Kamen --- is almost the exact same record! ...excepting more focus on emotion and dramatic effect than keeping it all neat, pretty and "perfect" ...however, Migene's CD was barely noticed and Babs was able to push it to double platinum.

Not that mass appeal or acceptance makes one work better than the other --- usually it translates to the opposite. However, I don't think Migene's CD is even in print anymore ---- and one can find many of those Ronstadt recordings in the bargin bins at most used CD stores.

Ronstadt either chose to walk away from what made her a "superstar" or she was co-opted out by a poor choice to pursue new wave. ...it is my opinion that she made a bad career choice and was never able to regain the audience --- because, at the time, her mix of country and rock was a bit subversive anyway. ... but she could sell it.

Regading the FAT comment --- once again failed "satire" ---- sadly, I think most people would think "fat" before anything else when they now think of Linda Ronstadt or Ann Wilson of Heart --- largely because at their height of popularity --- much of their image revolved around their looks.

I suspect Babs would have LOVED to have been better appreciated for her looks ---- it is a running theme throughout her career/work. And always angst-ridden. She has always seemed upset to not be viewed as sexy/beautiful -- but, at the same time -- proud of the fact that she doesn't have to depend on her looks to make it. Paradox of the second wave of feminist -- would like both sides of the coin.

So, yes, I am insecure about my own weight, but I really do not judge people -- I would more likely judge someone for casting judgement on someone for being overweight.

And, for the record, Babs looks better with the extra weight. As witnessed by her recent turn in the Fockers --- she looks better now than she has in years -- the extra weight avoids the wrinkles and strained look of age. ...just take a look at Jane Fonda in her new movie. ...it hurts. (that isn't meant to be satirical. ...Jane needs a sandwich and some Oil of Olay!)

The only aspect I do have say I would disagree with you is regarding Toni Tennille. I did check out her recent work upon your advice given a couple of years ago. ...I just didn't care for her voice/style. I thnk she fared better under the pop banner. However, that -- as with all art --- is subjective.

Can anyone tell I have too much time on my hands???

Doug --- I've lost your email address. Please send it to me.

My comment post is longer than any actual post I've ever made. I am going to lay down now.

kisses!
matt

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Doug said...

LOL....I suppose the fact that I read your post while I was PMS'ing affected my reading of the 'satire'.

Oh..and I HATE HATE HATE HATE Clowns...they scare the CRAP out of me.

Hmmm fat reduces wrinkles...Im staying fat...LOL

9:41 PM  
Blogger matty said...

oh yeah, I need to finish my orginal thoughts on the horrific nature of clowns! Note to self! LOL!

Now, Doug -- send me your email. I have lost it. It was on the PC Karl and I shared and I no longer have it! Wahhhh!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Charles Osgood did a whole segment on Linda a month or so ago on his Sunday morning program. She sounded great and seems very, very happy. She had the guts and the versatility to reinvent herself several times and I always admired her for daring to take real risks (she even did a run of the opera LA BOHEME produced for her especially by Joseph Papp in New York City). She also came over as very real.

12:33 PM  
Blogger matty said...

I forgto to metion her opera work. I sort of liked what she did with The Pirates -- tho, I remember thiking it was bit too much of a stress for her vocal chords.

I am NEVER trying satire again! LOL! I obviously suck at it on all levels! LOL!

I really, really do like Linda Rondstadt and have just about all of her CD's --- minus the opera stuff.

I do, however, think it is sad that somone who has consistently done superior work is discarded by mass culture -- and, even her original fan base becasue she dares to go in different directions. I also feel it is a real shame that someone of her talent is now viewed as the big lady who used to be a star. ...and, I do think that is how most people view her.

...and, I did think it a low point for her to be singing backing vocal to Bette Midler recently. Clearly, Midler or Midler's people put her vocals way ahead of Rondstadt's so that she sounds like a backign vocal vs. duet.

...of course we all know I have bettte midler issues that had been brewing since the mid 80's and finally reached a saturuation point when she decided she needed to do some studying to determine if she would support the right for gays/lesbians to marry.

Will, I hate better midler. LOL! I want to trash her first 4 CD's -- but I just love them so very much.

Ah, Come Back to the 5 & Dime Bette Midler, Better Midler!"

2:22 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I don't know from Tenille or Ronstadt, but I know what I know about friggin' clowns! Scary ass freaks! Hate 'em! Freak me the F*** out! HATE THEM! Perhaps not as people, and I've never stopped to explore what it might mean that someone can paint on a face in a permanent expression and wear caricaturish clothing and noses and go out knowing full well s/he is going to scare the bejeezus out of some of us....maybe I should... but be as it may, Clowns scare the shit out of me! Yecch! I'm with you.

(Fat...equals....no.....wrinkles..?) Hm. I am going to think on this one.

6:10 AM  

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