Friday, September 2, 2011

the other Motown




Somewhere I have the original 45 released on A Square records (if I remember). That was made available on the Babes in Arms compilation. Either way, it is a killer jam, a guitar assault on a young man's power of speech as he tries to get across something primal, sexual,something beyond all that book learning. This version is bitchen because the guitars are shaved back to a growling raunch, with the solos being the distillation of piercing precision. The earlier version , though, is Motor City all the way: one imagines this young man, so stumped by his swelling desires, standing in the middle of a demolition derby or a police raid professing his same said desires to a reluctant Juliet who is hesitant to step from the cratered depths of a broken city.


Ted Nugent is a conservative asshole who's politics are more head line hungry than thought provoking; he's been emphasizing his gun toting , quasi-libertarian survivalist side for so long that virtually everyone has forgotten what a good and unique rock and roll guitarist he is. This video, from an Ambouy Dukes reunion of a kind, demonstrates that he can still play that angular, pointilistic style of his with the same back stabbing swagger that he had in the Sixties and the 70s, when he shut his mouth long enough to remind people that he used to be taken seriously as a musician. Here, the hatted one, still smirking like someone who just came back to the party after boinking your girl friend behind the garage in the dank tool shed, next to the rusted lawnmower, unleashes some major E chord damage and continues with a ridiculous flurry and fury of notes that it is like nothing else other than a busy intersection when the traffic lights fail and every piece of metal gets twisted and every driver gets a headache, if they're lucky.







It's amazing that some of the stuff that I used to call lame, ie Grand Funk, starts to sound good to me now that I am a mere year from turning seventy. They were a tedious grind in large part when they first started, and they were no great shakes when I saw their world debut at the Detroit Rock and Roll Revival at the State Fair Grounds in either 67 or 68, but they had that working class grit and conviction going for them, kids from the factory culture who liked their rock and roll hard, distorted, and sincere. All things being what they are, they share a lot in temperament with one of my heroes, Bob Seger. Grand Funk, though, were on the Right Side of Stupid, not an autodidact among the the three of them, cranking out steady neo-metal guitar riffs that , at their best, had the lumbering grace of a giant robot who just took a nuke in the scrotum and was short circuiting hard sparks and gargantuan gears as the collapsed through several empty skyscrapers . In slow, fuzz-tony motion , of course.