Wednesday, March 6, 2019

work aesthetic #2

Like "Workin' In A Coalmine", another working man blues

selling your time / life, in  by-the-hour chunks, dirt-cheap

"and i'm highly embarrassed / ev-er-y time i get my pay"

it's a wage-packet racket

"somebody doin' something slick / yeah they are"

wage-slave en route to an early grave, the graft getting to feel so futile

"might as well go uptown / and dig a ditch"

And how about this for "this shit is systemic" analysis - from the preamble to "Ain't That A Bitch":

“Everything is outta pocket! / Somebody do something! / The present situation is abstract!”

One thing I quite like in an artist - admire the shamelessness, maybe, or the canniness, not sure which-  is that thing where they have a hit, and they immediately try to have another hit that is essentially the same song: thematically, sound, feel, stance, emotion.

Sometimes they will even repeat the same key word in the song title (see Pete Frampton with his successive smash singles with the word "Way" in them)

Johnny 'Guitar' Watson doesn't go quite that far with "Real Mother For Ya", but it is essentially "Ain't That A Bitch Pt 2"

Actually, "Ain't" was never a single as such, but it was the killer tune on his first really successful album, so in that sense fits the syndrome

"Mother" was actually a big R&B chart hit and grazed the outer edge of the Billboard Top 40

I bought these tunes some time in the early Eighties, I think they were rereleased as flipsides of the same 12-inch or something like that. (Or maybe not - can find no trace of this on Discogs. Perhaps they were separate rereleases).

Never got around to the albums though.

This is the one where some claim he's inventing rap

Another real-talk, cost-of-living, themed tune, in a way.

Also quite like that thing where  musicians (this is particularly common in black music, but really in most music if you think about it) just fairly brazenly jump on the latest sound - - and keep on jumping on the latest sound, successively if not always successfully.

I mean, why not? They wanna sell some records. Probably they gotta sell some records.

(It's a different angle on the "work aesthetic" theme - this music thing isn't some higher calling or anything airy-fairy like that; it's a job, a livelihood, my means of production, and I gotta stay competitive in the changing market).

I suppose he's trying to do a George Clinton / Zapp with this next  tune, sonically,  while also striking a "microchips gonna put all of us outta work" stance, lyrically. A/k.a having your cake and eating it.

stop press: an entire essay on the "proletarian funk of Johnny 'Guitar' Watson" by Dominick Knowles at Viewpoint

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