The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

They Were Collaborators #62


Dan Penn and Alex Chilton at Phillips Recording Services in Memphis in the mid-'70s.

6 comments :

iCandy-0 said...

wait, wait, wait... isn't Dan Penn the guy who wrote I'm Your Puppet?

What IS it with you and the puppets?

LOL

Richard Gibson said...

Dan Penn wrote 'Dark end of the street' made famous by James Carr and later covered by Gram Parsons, both excellent versions. Superb songwriter, awesome song.

Great picture Tom, love Chilton and that whole Memphis scene.
When I was in Memphis I went to Ardent Studios, didn't go inside but apparently Jody Stephens is around most days and will sign stuff and chat to Big Star fans.

Tom Sutpen said...

Hey, Richard...

Much as I would like to take credit for posting this image, it was the work of co-blogger in chief, Stephen Cooke (who's been holding down the fort here, so to speak, while I disappear into monk-like preoccupation for the next week or so; working on adding yet another masterwork to the canon of film writing). He richly deserves all praises and kudos in this instance.

swac said...

The pic is from Robert Gordon's excellent portrait of the other Music City, It Crawled From Memphis (which I found for a song at bookcloseouts.com). By a weird coincidence, I was in a used record store today and they had just got in both an excellent Box Tops compilation and Rhino's Alex Chilton compilation. Time to do some tradin'...

huskermould said...

Is it just me or is Paul Westerberg turning into Alex Chilton. Seems their careers have become very paralell.

swac said...

Funny, I've thought the same thing (and Westerberg's song Alex Chilton only speeds the analogy along). Member of a great cult band becomes a solo artist with sporadic bursts of rock brilliance.

I wonder what Chilton's been doing lately...? Years ago a friend of mine caught him doing some sort of Box Tops retro show thing, which he sheepishly said was strictly a money thing. Hopefully he can make some sort of artistic rebound, a la Solomon Burke or Johnny Cash.