Monday, April 14, 2014

There's Only Three Things That's For Sure



Marvin Gaye's greatest work, I think. He's playing all sorts of instruments on it, too.

Trouble Man was one of those mostly forgettable black private eye movies popular in the seventies, like Superfly and Shaft, both of which yielded big hits on the AM radio charts. Trouble Man's music really was a step above the others, though. The words to Shaft have become perennial fodder for parodies, easy pickins because of their comic book toughness; Superfly by Curtis Mayfield, along with Freddie's Dead, had way more grit. But Trouble Man's orchestral musical framework immediately shouts: serious business, and when Marvin Gaye opens up with, "I come up hard, babe", it sounds heavier, more like real life.

Trouble Man was directed by an interesting fellow named Ivan Dixon. If you're of a certain age, you might remember him instantly as "Kinch" on Hogan's Heroes. He's one of those fellows you see from time to time in Hollywood -- he worked. His IMDB for acting has fifty credits, the usual fare for someone that's gotten past just standing around, but not a leading man by any stretch. He was even once a stunt double for Sidney Poitier. He had an almost equal amount of directing entries, some movies, mostly TV, lots of familiar titles like Magnum, PIThe Waltons  Room 222, and The Rockford Files.  I remember one of his roles, in Car Wash, fondly. The movie wasn't good, exactly; but it encapsulated the era pretty well. I imagine archaeologists will someday find a video of Car Wash, and attempt to discover the engineering secrets behind Franklyn Ajaye's righteous fro.


9 comments:

Sam L. said...

This is more contemplative, rather than hard-driving action movie music.

Gagdad Bob said...

Makes no sense, but until moments ago I always heard "I come apart, babe." Goes to show we chronically superimpose closure on the world's lacunae, I reckon.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Sam- Thanks for reading and commenting.

Hi Bob- That's an easy one to mishear. I know I did too, at first.

In the realm of not knowing exactly what's going on in the music world, I've got that beat. I was almost drummed out of high school because I said I thought The Immigrant Song was by The Osmonds.

In my defense, I just listened to Roxy Music and Steely Dan and Motown records when I was in high school. To me, there was no difference between Led Zeppelin and The Osmonds.

Leon said...

i listened for a bit then went and listened to the opening of shaft...then finished listening.

you could drop this on any uninformed easy listening station manager as new music and they'd probably bite. not so much with shaft. nobody and i mean nobody has time for that. [it's fun as a joke though when you're up for some play tough hyperbole]

Leon said...

oh yea my condolences on having to be reminded about that other 'sure thing' today. nice of you to not bring it up last 3 times it came up. those who understand don't want to be reminded and the others are numbed into forgetting the pain.

Casey Klahn said...

Sipp: the main difference between the Osmoids and Led is the album covers.

You're welcome.

Sam L. said...

No difference between Zep and The Osmonds? You must have weird hearing, Mr. Sippi.

Many years ago, in a bank, I heard a radio set to an elevator-music station playing something that sounded kinda familiar. After a couple minutes, I recognized it as Stairway To Heaven. (To which the lyrics of the Gilligan's Island theme song can be sung. Dr. Demento plays it and calls it Stairway To Gilligan's Island.)

chasmatic said...

I watched Shaft in a movie house in Patterson NJ. we were up in the balcony and some young bucks were being noisy. A big Black dude kinda rumbled that the punks should shut up. When one of the punks un-wisely cracked back at the dude, he got up and tossed him over the railing to the main floor. We left soon thereafter.

I liked Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. That was when Van Peebles was making movies, not trouble.

Man oh man, drifting tonight; I reckon it's the company I keep .

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. Marvin Gaye - somehow his death reminds of a Sandford & Son episode gone bad - like all of the 70's purty much.

Trouble Man - one of those songs on late nate FM, to be followed by BTO's "Blue Collar":

"Walk your street
And I'll walk mine
And should we meet
Would you spare me some time?
Cuz you should see my world ,
Meet my kind, and before you judge our minds

Blue collar
Sleep your sleep
I'm awake and alive
I keep late hours
You're nine to five
So I would like you to know
I need the quiet hours to create in this world of mine

Blue collar

I'd like you to know at four in the morning, things are comin' to mind
All I see, all I've done, and those I hope to find
I'd like to remind you at four in the morning my world is very still
The air is fresh under diamond skies, makes me glad to be alive

You keep that beat
And I keep mine
Your restless face
Is no longer mine
I rest my feet while this world's in heat and I wish that you could do the same
Blue collar"