Vintage Video Madness, Round 1

Couldn’t write much this week. Too busy taking side bets on my March Madness brackets.

When you know as little as I do about college basketball, you have to be fairly resourceful in filling out your brackets. I follow a simple rule: borrow heavily from an expert (in my case, President Obama) while making a few exceptions based on emotion. Last year, I picked my lowly alma mater, Ohio University, to win in the first round. And when the 14th-seeded Bobcats did, people thought I was a basketball genius… that is, until the second round, when all my other emotional favorites tanked. This year, I relied a bit more on the President’s picks. But I think he was slightly distracted by global issues of a non-basketball nature. Next year, I’ll use a more sophisticated approach – a system that ranks the teams based on total merchandising revenue divided by annual recruiting violations.

In the meantime, let’s check out a few vintage videos that our research team has deemed blog-worthy. And in this round, it’s the men vs. the women.

Don’t you love the fact that, back in the Fifties, guys like Big Joe Turner and Bill Haley were rock stars? What are the chances of that happening today? Zero… even if Bill Haley wore assless chaps and had Autotune surgically attached to his vocal cords. Another reason to treasure this video of Big Joe struttin’ his stuff live at The Apollo, ’55. Watch it now before youtube replaces it with a clip of someone’s cat watching TV.

 

Some of the great Louis Jordan’s videos from the ’40s and ’50s have kind of a minstrel show vibe to them… that eyes-buggin’-out shuckin’ and jivin’ that made Miles Davis vow to never smile in front of an audience. This one is fairly reserved by Jordan standards. Looks like the director wanted to recreate a late-night, backstage jam session. Although I can’t figure out why he decided to trot out the three white chicks at the end of the song.

Here’s another one of those wonderful American Folk Blues Festival videos – this one from 1965 with Big Mama Thornton backed by the legendary Buddy Guy. I totally agree with one of the comments following the video – a sentiment that was reiterated last week on CBS Sunday Morning by the guys who wrote Hound Dog, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller: Why would Elvis screw up something this good?

Two years later, Koko Taylor was filmed during another AFBF tour performing Wang Dang Doodle with Little Walter and Hound Dog Taylor. It’s one of only two live clips I’ve been able to find on youtube featuring Walter (we included the other one in this post). 10,000 videos of cats doing flips, but only two of the world’s greatest blues harmonica player.

2 thoughts on “Vintage Video Madness, Round 1

  • Wendy, 25 March 7:29 am

    Great post for a bye week. I love how Koko is wearing a business suit 😉 I agree it’s criminal that there are so few Little Walter clips out there; prior to seeing this, my “live” image of him was from the actor who played him in Cadillac Records.

  • admin, 25 March 7:51 am

    That’s a very strange lineup too… I think you can see Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee off to the side. And when interviewed during the tour Walter said he didn’t think much of Hound Dog. But it hangs together pretty well (much like Koko’s business suit!).

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