20 apr 2014

Brano del giorno: "Hurricane"

... di Bob Dylan


Si è spento, all'età di 76 anni, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, pugile che nel 1966 venne arrestato dalla polizia per triplice omicidio al Lafayette Bar and Grill di Paterson, New Jersey.

Le forze dell'ordine fermarono l'auto del pugile e trascinarono lui e un altro passeggero, John Artis, sulla scena del crimine. Non vennero confrontate le impronte digitali dei due "colored" con quelle trovate dentro il locale, non c'erano prove evidenti che Carter e il suo conoscente fossero responsabili degli omicidi (morirono due uomini e una donna, tutt'e tre di razza bianca), né si trovò un solo vero testimone che accusasse i due. Eppure, in due processi (nel 1967 prima, e poi nell'appello del 1976) Rubin Carter e John Artis vennero trovati colpevoli. Nel 1985 la Corte Suprema si rifiutò di istituire un nuovo processo.

Il caso di "miscarriage of justice" colpì Dylan, che nel 1975 compose (insieme a Jacques Levy) e registrò "Hurricane". La ballata uscì sia come single sia sul suo stupendo album Desire.

Per approfondire la storia di Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, vai all'articolo sul New York Times

Pistol shots ring out in the bar-room night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees a bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all"

Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could've been
The champion of the world

Three bodies upside down, does Patty see
And another man named Bello movin' around mysteriously
"I didn't do it," he says and he throws up his hands
"I was only robbin' the register, I hope you understand"

"I saw them leavin'", he says and he stops
One of us said, "Better call up the cops"
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin'
In the hot New Jersey night

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' around
Number one contender for the middle-weight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Paterson that's just the way things go
If you're black you might as well not show up on the street
'Less you wanna draw the heat

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin' around
He said, "I saw two men runnin' out, they looked like middle-weights
Jumped into a white car without of state plates"

And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said, "Wait a minute, boys, this one's not dead"
So they took him to the infirmary and though this man could hardly see
They told him, he could identify the guilty men

Four in the mornin', and they haul Rubin in
They took him to the hospital and they brought him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dyin' eye
Says, "Why'd you bring him in here for he ain't the guy"

Here's the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could've been
The champion of the world

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame
Rubin's in South America, fightin' for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley's still in the robbery game
And the cops are puttin' the screws to him
Lookin' for somebody to blame

Remember that murder that happened in a bar
Remembered you said you saw the get away car
You think you'd like to play ball with the law
Think it might've been that fighter that you saw runnin' that night
Don't forget that you are white

Arthur Dexter Bradley said, "I'm really not sure"
The cops said, "A poor boy like you could use a break
We've got you for the motel job and we're talkin' to your friend Bello
You don't wanta have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow"

You'll be doin' society a favor
That son of a bitch is brave and gettin' braver
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain't no Gentleman Jim

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
"It's my work", he'd say "And I do it for a pay
And when it's over just as soon go on my way"

Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along the trail
But then they took him to the jail house
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse

All of Rubin's cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus, he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin's witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched, he was a revolutionary bum

And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The D.A. said he was the one who did the deed
And the all white jury agreed

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder "One" guess who testified?
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed
To live in a land where justice is a game

Now, all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink Martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell

Yes, that's the story of the Hurricane
But it won't be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he's done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could've been
The champion of the world

19 apr 2014

Brano del giorno: "Entangled"

... dei Genesis


("invischiato, intrappolato")

When you're asleep they may show you
Aerial views of the ground
Freudian slumber empty of sound

Over the rooftops and houses
Lost as it tries to be seen
Fields of incentive covered with green

Mesmerized children are playing
Meant to be seen but not heard
Stop me from dreaming, don't be absurd, absurd

Well, if we can help you we will
You're looking tired and ill
As I count backwards
Your eyes become heavier still

Sleep, won't you allow yourself fall?
Nothing can hurt you at all
With your consent
We can experiment further still

Madrigal music is playing
Voices can faintly be heard
Please leave this patient undisturbed

Sentenced to drift far away now
Nothing is quite what it seems
Sometimes entangled in your own dreams, in your dreams

Well, if we can help you we will
Soon as you're tired and ill
With your consent
We can experiment further still

Well, thanks to our kindness and skill
You'll have no trouble until
You catch your breath
And the nurse will present you the bill

Steven Hackett & Tony Banks

12 apr 2014

I Gov't Mule

("Fallen Down", live at Chelsea Bridge, London, July 4th 2012)
Nel 1994 Warren Haynes creò i Gov't Mule ("governement mule") insieme all'allora bassista degli Allman Brothers, Allen Woody, e al batterista di Dickey Betts, Matt Abts.

Allen Woody morì nel 2000 (fu trovato senza vita in una stanza d'albergo di New York) e venne sostituito tre anni dopo da Andy Hess (ex Black Crowes). Poco dopo arrivò il tastierista Danny Louis e il trio si trasformò in un quartetto.

Andy Hess venne sostituito al basso da Jorgen Carlsson nel 2008.

E' forte dunque la connection Allman Brothers --> Black Crowes; di conseguenza, il suono è un potente rock blues con una spiccata impronta "sudista". Ma il fatto che ai concerti partecipino ospiti di altre bands, fa sì che la musica dei Gov't Mule assuma di volta in volta sfumature diverse.

I Gov’t Mule sono stati uno dei primi gruppi a sapere sfruttare il media Internet per vendere il loro output; ogni loro numero dal vivo può essere acquistato a prezzo favorevole sulla loro homepage, la quale contiene anche parecchio materiale interattivo.


  • Gov't Mule, 1995
  • Live at Roseland Ballroom, 1996
  • Dose, 1998
  • Live… With a Little Help from Our Friends, 1998
  • Life Before Insanity, 2000
  • The Deep End, Volume 1, 2001
  • The Deep End, Volume 2, 2002
  • The Deepest End, Live in Concert, 2003
  • Deja Voodoo, 2004
  • Mo’ Voodoo (EP), 2005
  • The Best Of The Capricorn Years (& Rarities), 2006
  • High & Mighty, 2006
  • Mighty High, 2007
  • The Holy Haunted House, 2008
  • By a Thread, 2009
  • Mulennium, 2010 (registrato nel 1999)
  • Shout!, 2013 (loro esordio con la Blue Note Records)


Tutti gli album targati "Gov't Mule" sono capolavori del blues-rock / Southern rock, anche perché le esecuzioni vengono impreziosite dai collaboratori di cui Warren Hayes & Co si circondano di volta in volta. Mi permetto tuttavia di consigliarne uno in particolare, e cioè il doppio With A Little Help From Our Friends, del 1999, contenente tra le altre perle un'ipnotizzante versione di "Cortez the Killer", di Neil Young.


Dallo stesso concerto londinese del luglio 2012:

9 apr 2014

'Then Play On', album intero (Fleetwood Mac)

Correva l'anno 1969 e i Fleetwood Mac produssero il loro primo album rock: Then Play On.

Nell'LP precedente English Rose, Peter Green aveva presentato due sue canzoni destinate a divenire grandi hit: "Albatross" e "Black Magic Woman" (portata al trionfo mondiale da Santana). Ma anche il single "Man of the World" è di Green, e il fatto che Then Play On fosse già l'ultima apparizione del grande chitarrista-compositore in un disco dei Fleetwood Mac, la dice lunga sulla quantità di LSD che egli, Peter, assumeva. Il suo declino mentale fu rapido, e di certo i Fleetwood Mac successivi a Peter Green non furono più quelli di una volta... a dispetto del successo commerciale che avrebbero raccolto in America e nel resto del mondo.

Peter Green, John McVie e Mick Fletwood provenivano dalla formazione regina del British Blues: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Con l'uscita di Green, iniziò nei Fleetwood Mac il carosello di musicisti.
Nel 1975 lo stile del gruppo assunse una connotazione più commerciale, con album come Rumours (1977; circa 25 milioni di copie vendute) e Tusk (1979). Tra gli altri album, Tango in the night (1987); Behind the mask (1990) e Say you will (2003).
Oggi l'unico membro originale è Mick Fleetwood, il batterista...

Peter Green, "seguace" di Robert Johnson e sempre fedele al blues / rock blues, venne a sua volta indicato da molti chitarristi come loro "maestro"

Jeremy Spencer (nei Fleetwood Mac dal 1967 al 1971; chitarre, voce, piano, percussioni) lasciò all'improvviso e senza spiegazioni il gruppo, durante un tour in America, per entrare nei Bambini di Dio ("Children of God").
Danny Kirwan (nei Fleetwood Mac dal 1968 al 1972; chitarra e voce) ebbe un declino mentale similmente a Peter Green; solo che, nel suo caso, il veleno principale era l'alcool. Negli Anni Ottanta e Novanta fu uno dei tanti senzatetto di Londra. Con l'avvento del XXI secolo, la sua vita sembrò avviarsi su binari più normali. Nel maggio del 2000 uscì Ram Jam City, un CD con 15 brani tratti dai suoi album post-Fleetwood Mac.