Going For A Song: ‘Mystery Train’

Elvis Presley – Mystery Train

Scotty Moore died this week. I’m choosing ‘Mystery Train’ to mark it because I feel those early Sun recording he made with Elvis Presley, Bill Black and Sam Phillips in the summer of 1954 are beginnings (and some endings too I guess) for Elvis, for Scotty, for music, for popular culture in general. It is Greil Marcus who summons this up and articulates it so well in his book Mystery Train, in the chapter Elvis: Presliad (which if you haven’t read already I really recommend you do).

Marcus writes specifically of the recording of ‘Mystery Train’. How Scotty ‘as he always did, lives up to Elvis’s passion […] gives us one hard solo, which seems to hang the song between what it has always been and what Elvis is making of it”. I love this description as it recognises that – if ever it was in doubt – these songs needed Scotty Moore; that the history that came after was dependent not just on Elvis, but an introduction, and then three young men, strangers really, getting into a room and struggling, and then succeeding, to create some music; music, which for them, the very creation of was success enough, never mind what we all know came next.

Going For A Song: ‘Gabbro Bowl / Peninsula Prayer’

Jim Causley – Gabbro Bowl / Peninsula Prayer

I think I first heard this song on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone. And I’ve been listening to it quite a bit this week. Haven’t got round to listening to the album, Forgotten Kingdom, it’s off as yet. I will. I’m already impressed by the album cover. If a throne worked for the late great Solomon Burke it can work again.

Going For A Song: ‘Love Shack’

B-52’s – Love Shack

I saved a wedding DJ’s life once when, seeing the guests unmoved by his song selection, I suggested he play ‘Love Shack’. I did this for nothing except just to help a fellow music enthusiast succeed in his chosen endeavour. Ok, maybe, maybe I did it so I could reserve bragging rights – rights which admittedly I took up with some gusto – to tell anyone dancing within ear shot, and now beyond, that the song that had moved them onto the dance floor was my suggestion.

Going For A Song: ‘Deep Six Textbook’

Let’s Eat Grandma – Deep Six Textbook

I was talented musically when I was 17. Well, maybe I wasn’t but I had few talented friends I hitched my rudimentary guitar / bass playing on to. And I think if the internet had been around then like it is blah, and if we had had the access to recording these bands have now you never blah, we might have got blah, we might have played blah blah and then maybe we would have blah blah and then I wouldn’t now blah blah and just maybe blah blah blah.