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

Donald "Duck" Dunn dies at 70

Donald "Duck" Dunn

The world is surely a less soulful place with the passing of Memphis bass great Donald "Duck" Dunn, whose four-string superiority graces more entries in my record collection than I can count. According to this obit in the Washington Post, Dunn died of as-yet-unknown causes while in Tokyo, playing in a Stax soul revue show with Steve Cropper. I guess it's some small comfort to know that he and Cropper were still out there, matching each other riff-for-riff on Time Is Tight or slicing the air with the sharp jabs of Green Onions.

Dunn's simple, but oh-so-right playing boosts so many great moments in music, usually floating in that rarified air created by Al Jackson Jr.'s solid backbeat and organist Booker T. Jones' unqualified cool, that it's hard to single out just one, especially when frontline talents like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Eddie Floyd are involved. I think I'll just stick with the MGs for now, and the aforementioned Time Is Tight, which come to think of it would make a pretty apt epitaph all on its own.


estiv said...

Thanks so much, swac; this is very good.

Éric McComber said...


swac said...

Here's a great track from 1977, a live version of Washer Woman by Levon Helm & His RCO All-Stars, which included Dunn, Steve Cropper, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield and Fred Carter Jr.