Culture Snappin’ USA – Part One

Recently I had the good fortune to be able to go to the United States. Time was limited at just under 2 weeks and I elected to go to the places that interested me the most, primarily New York and northern California.

The reason for wanting to go to those cities so much is that I was weaned on 1960s / 1970s movies and pop culture and wished to make an effort to see many of the places I had either seen in movies or only read about in books. Whilst there, I frequently attempted to match the reality with the image… something I call Culture Snappin’ (trademark pending).

Obviously this has been done before, and certainly more successfully. However, to the best of my knowledge, no one calls it Culture Snappin’ and frankly, I’d like to see the name stick. [Click on pictures for larger view].

DH1

Dirty Harry (1971)

Orphans

The Warriors (1979)

DH4

Dirty Harry (1971)

DH2

Dirty Harry (1971)

Sudden Impact Logo

Sudden Impact (1983)

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Misty

Play Misty For Me (1971)

Subway

Death Wish (1974)

The Enforcer

The Enforcer (1976)

Physical Graffitti

Physical Graffiti album cover (1975)

Lost Boys Bikes

The Lost Boys (1987)

Magnum Force Gusman

Magnum Force (1973)

Bullitt Crossing

Bullitt (1968)

DH3

Dirty Harry (1971)

Regrettably, culture snappin’ isn’t always easy. For example, trying to match up a famous photo of Steve McQueen with the exact corner he stole a newspaper from in Bullitt, necessitated me squatting in the middle of the street. This was literally impossible at 5.15 in the afternoon and I nearly had my ass removed by car bumpers in the attempt before giving up and taking this flawed version seen below:

Bullit Market

Bullitt (1968)

Similarly, the site of Ricca’s bloody death from 1973’s Magnum Force posed a problem as it is located right near a Freeway exit ramp and similarly requires a middle of the street low angle to pull it off. No easy feat at 3.30pm on a weekday, so this picture doesn’t match as I’d like either.

Magnum Force Ricca

Magnum Force (1973)

The building featured in Dirty Harry where he pulls a potential jumper from a building, was surrounded by homeless / crazy people at 1.30am when I took this picture. I literally had to wait for the all clear before leaping out of my car and taking the photo as quickly as possible while a basehead looking guy (reminiscent of Flava Flav’s lean years) repeatedly circled the block screaming ‘What time is it’!

Polk Logo

Dirty Harry (1971)

While this photo of the Cost Plus store used in Magnum Force (1973) is slightly flawed, I plead circumstance as I was fearful of waking the homeless guy who lay sleeping on the other side of the picture I am holding up.

Magnum Force Robbery

Magnum Force (1973)

My culture snappin’ was not limited to films either. I also managed to find cultural landmarks such as where John Gotti held meetings, album covers (such as those of Paul’s Boutique and Physical Graffiti), artistic touch stones in Greenwich Village, punk landmarks in The East Village/Bowery and places where Mafiosi met their ends, such as Joe Gallo in Mulberry Street.

Umbertos

Suffice to say, I got 28 GB of photos/video to sort out, so more to come as time and inclination permits. This is also dependent upon people not stealing my shit and claiming it as their own (see post below).

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Led Zeppelin – Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Live 1969)

Written by folk singer/university student Anne Johannsen in the late 1950s, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ was subsequently recorded and released by a variety of artists in the 1960s, including The Quicksilver Messenger Service in 1967, The Association in 1965 and notably Joan Baez who recorded a live version in 1962.

Joan Baez attributed the lyrics to ‘traditional’ and folk fans Led Zeppelin upon hearing the Baez version, decided not only to cover it, but presumably also avoid paying song writing royalties by crediting it to ‘Traditional. Arranged by Page’ when they recorded it in 1969 for their eponymous debut album.

Johannsen (now Anne Bredon by this time), incredibly didn’t discover the song had even been covered by Led Zeppelin until more than a decade later and in the 1980s was able to claim a fairly hefty back payment of royalties from Atlantic Records whilst simultaneously having the song writing credit altered to ‘Anne Bredon/Jimmy Page & Robert Plant’. The fact that Page and Plant were able to keep their names on it is probably as much a testament to having the wherewithal to hire good attorneys as their arranging abilities and Anne Bredon now resides in California earning a living from weaving baskets and selling jewellery. Baez however was far more magnanimous and changed the listing on later copies of her Joan Baez in Concert album, to give sole credit to Bredon.

Legality issues aside, I think I’d rather stick my genitals in a bees nest than listen to the Baez or Bredon versions of this tune. For whilst caterwauling vocals and plucky sounding acoustic guitar may be fine for the black turtle neck crowd, the sheer power and virtuosity of the Zeppelin version leaves them floundering in the dust bowl where they belong.

Led Zeppelin (along with Black Sabbath) really pioneered the loud/quiet way of playing rock music and this song is a fine example of that style. First released as a promo in 1969, the track features good use of reverb/mike placement and famously contains a snippet of Robert Plants vocals on the album version where they shouldn’t be due to his powerful voice being picked up by various mikes recording the instruments.

The album cut features a steel stringed acoustic guitar during the verses, which doubles up with a Fender telecaster during the choruses to further emphasize its loud/quiet qualities. However, I prefer the fully electric live version available on the first disc of the Led Zeppelin DVD set released in 2003. In this version Page uses the telecaster the whole way through, plucking the strings during the verses, before switching to a pick for the choruses creating a much more visceral, fuzz-tone laden sound. Despite the occasional flubbed note from Page and perhaps a few too many “Baby’s” from Plant, this 1969 recording culled from Denmark television reflects the band in typically fine form with John Paul Jones improvising bass runs and Bonham showcasing his well renowned power on the skins.

Little live guitar flourishes such as those at the 2:07 and 3:08 marks, as well as the wah-wah deployed in the final chorus help to further positively differentiate this performance from the studio one. In some ways, this is Led Zeppelin at its best. Later they got slicker and the ideas became more developed, but this clip shows them as they were when just starting out. That is, as four individuals with exceptional talent learning to play together whilst simultaneously realising their collective supremacy as a group. Indeed this performance retains a raw power somewhat akin to an incredibly virtuosic punk band and as Depeche Mode once said, “I just can’t get enough”.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.