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Monthly Archives: July 2006

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Tokyo Drifter on TCM

Cool movie alert! Turner Classic Movies will be broadcasting director Seijun Suzuki’s 1966 film Tokyo Drifter late Friday night. I would describe this film as a nihilistic gangster tale with a groovy use of color and the occasional weird song. Hunky Tetsuya Watari plays Tetsu, an ex-con who tries to go straight but finds himself up against his former colleagues and assorted meanies in stylish ’60s Tokyo. Tetsu also gets to sing the title theme (a twangy, Gene Pitney sorta thing) and shoots at gangsters in the film’s unforgettable climax set at an empty but stylishly designed nightclub. Some of the film admittedly is pretty standard, but you can always sense director Suzuki pushing the envelope with the wild colors, music and energy.

Gruesome Twosome: Let Me Make Love Edition

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The Esso Trinidad Steel Band: “If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then Why Can’t I Touch You”
LP: The Esso Trinidad Steel Band, 1971 | BUY

Ronnie Dyson: “(If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?”
LP: If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then Why Can’t I Touch You?, 1970 | BUY

Happy Fourth of July. I have a couple of versions of the song “If You Let Me Make Love To You, Then Why Can’t I Touch You” to share here. Although the title indicates otherwise, this is not a country tune but a silky, soulful ode to the frustrations of not connecting on a personal level — the old “the sex is great, but he’s dumb as a rock” saw. Ronnie Dyson’s original lit up the charts in 1970 due to its warm, Latin-esque arrangement, which complemented Dyson’s beautiful and oddly feminine voice well. Unique outfit The Esso Trinidad Steel Band included “Let Me Make Love” among the repertoire on its self-titled 1971 LP (produced by Van Dyke Parks!). The band removes the tension in Dyson’s version and comes up with a summery instrumental perfectly suited to Mai Tais on the Carribbean sands. A cool NPR story on Esso’s unlikely tour with Liberace can be heard here.

A-Hiking We Will Go

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Sometimes you have to say “goodbye” to oppressive desert heat and “hello” to cool, inviting pines. That’s what we’re doing for the long holiday weekend with a stay at my parents’ cabin, followed by a trip to — Prescott, Arizona. I hope to see at least one squirrel and perhaps a deer or two. Catch you later!