Monday, September 28, 2015

Keith Richards Under the Influence


Crosseyed Heart.pngKeith Richards is many things to many different people. The public mainly knows him for the legendary reputation of being the 'bad boy' mumbling substance abuser that inspired Johnny Depp's pirate. But if you know a bit about rock 'n' roll, you know that he is simply the best band leader of the genre. Like Count Basie as a supreme band leader, Richards crafted a rhythm of sound in the Rolling Stones that is unmatched in creativity and longevity. The best beat in rock 'n' roll is the Rolling Stones and Keith is the instrument through which Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry flow together.


Last night, I watched the new documentary film by Morgan Neville, Keith Richards Under the Influence on Netflix. Mr. Neville uses the backdrop of the the making of Keith Richards' new album, Crosseyed Heart (available @ Amazon) with photographs and video of Richards' live and musical influences, starting with his mother and grandfather. Keith talks about the meeting on the train, where Mick Jagger and Keith reconnect as former classmates with Mick carrying a Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry album under his arm. That story and many others make Neville's film a must see that you will enjoy. In a recent blog, I featured another Neville film, 20 Feet from Stardom. My favorite part of that film is Merry Clayton's experience who was brought into a midnight recording session to sing on Gimme Shelter in 1969. Gimme Shelter is one of the best rock 'n' songs ever where many musical elements all came together. Keith is rarely the front man, but always the architect. In Under the Influence, you'll see how he teams with Steve Jordan his drummer and collaborator to build the rhythm from the ground up. In the film, you will also see how Keith and Stones' drummer Charlie Watts create the structure for Street Fighting Man. I love this stuff, hope you like my playlist of somethings old and new this week.

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