Monday, September 27, 2010

The Godfathers - More Songs About Love And Hate (Epic, 1989)

Nobody would ever mistake my knowledge of movies with Rex Reed's. I might pretend to know a thing or three about obscure musical artists, but many films that are cherished by numerous friends have never been part of my Blockbuster Nights. For some odd reason, there is a multitude of "G"-string movies missing from the "Seen It!" checklist. It is beyond senseless that "Ghostbusters" has gone unwatched. I like Bill Murray. "What About Bob?" is one of my all-time favorites. Seeing "Bob" take "baby steps" to track down "DR. LEO MARVIN?!?!?" is always the right prescription for laughter. I like Sigourney Weaver. She made shaved-headed chicks sexy with the "Alien" role, and her type-A character in "Working Girl" was the stuff of many dreams. If I had been Tess (Melanie Griffith), I would've served SW more than just coffee! I like Ray Parker Jr. His way with the ladies in the video for "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)" turned Billy Dee Williams and Colt 45 into Steve Urkel and Nestle's Quik. "Gone With The Wind"? Frankly, Ted Turner, I don't give a damn! Recently, I was asked by one Mr. Eric Thornton to name my favorite scene in "Grease." "The one where John Travolta does his thing," I replied. What's with all the love for "The Goonies" lately? Last week, there was a free screening of the film in the parking lot of Chesapeake Square Mall. Also, the Target inside said shopping center had a themed T-shirt next to a preferred Yoo-hoo rag. I'm sure the young lads' search for treasure is a fine tale, but I can't get past the Cyndi Lauper connection. The only positive thing I have to say about the woman is that she made shopping for clothes at thrift stores acceptable. Somewhere in the world, there exists a man in the twilight of his life who has never heard The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Well, push my wheelchair alongside Wilbur's, for I have yet to give "The Godfather" a private viewing. Ridiculous, huh? Once again, I've enjoyed the work of several of the movie's stars. Al Pacino is a man whose photograph might be included next to the definition of "actor" in the latest Webster's. Turtlenecks and all, Diane Keaton has brought a free-spirited attitude to many fine performances over the years. Robert Duvall was excellent in "Tender Mercies" and "Crazy Heart." I haven't necessarily refused the offer to watch what's considered the best picture in history, but at least I got into the band named for the epic some twenty years ago. You can't take that cannoli away from me.

Brothers Peter (vocals) and Chris (bass) Coyne had their directorial debut as keynote members of the Sid Presley Experience. With an overdose of pub-meets-punk panache from the '70s glory days, "Jealousy" was recorded for a Peel Session in 1984. Cross the cool of vintage Eddie And The Hot Rods, the bite of The Damned's classic lineup and the bark of Roxy-era Slaughter And The Dogs. The result? One of the decade's finest unknown tracks. Two years later, the Coynes formed The Godfathers amidst the fog of their London home. Released on Link Records, Hit By Hit struck with unobstructed views of greed ("I Want Everything" begs like Ian McCulloch wanting change for a Bugs Bunny lithograph), poverty ("This Damn Nation" scrapes by with an absolutely sick guitar effect from Kris Dollimore) and depression ("Lonely Man" has a bouncy beat belying its frowning face). 1988 saw a move to Epic and the greatest success for The Godfathers in America. Peaking at #38 on Billboard, Birth, School, Work, Death benefited from extensive airplay on college radio and the presence of videos on specialty shows a la MTV's "120 Minutes." The band's lyrical edge remained as sharp as a Ginsu. Check out this slice from the title track ("I cut myself, but I don't bleed/'Cause I don't get what I need"). Here's a boast from "'Cause I Said So" ("Every day's a thrill when you're living with me/Don't read Baudelaire's poetry/And I don't need no P.H.D./'Cause I'm ten times smarter than you'll ever be"). After those lines, 'Fathers, I'm kissing your rings!

It's been said that the third "Godfather" movie pales in comparison with the two masterpieces. Fortunately for the Coyne boys, More Songs About Love And Hate is their strongest slab in a well-muscled catalog. "Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues" speed-freaks its way back to the days of Dr. Feelgood and the Count Bishops blowing thru pub-rock pitchers on the set of "Old Grey Whistle Test." Dressed to the nines in black like his hero, our man has 50,000 questions for a lady named Marie. With her behavioral pattern in "She Gives Me Love," however, perhaps it's best not to interrogate ("She never takes my money/But she always steals my time/ She's the kind of girl that if you gave her the world/She'd say it wasn't worth a dime"). Echoes of The Beatles' sunny voices on "Halfway Paralysed" do little to alter Marie's cheerless disposition ("You serve to bring me down/And follow me around/It's such a crying shame/To see you play your game"). "I'm Lost And Then I'm Found" dumps the ashes from Rolling Stones ashtrays onto contemplative curb sides ("Everybody's giving me the third degree/Don't know when I'm up or down/Cigarettes and women be the death of me/Better that than this old town"). Several years on, "Johnny" and Marie come up with a coping mechanism that's the main image from the
Kink-y "Life Has Passed Us By" portrait ("Gin's a mother's ruin/Dulls the pain away/Helps the conversation/ We're best friends today").

To borrow one of the 50,000 questions: Did The Godfathers ever tour with The Brandos? OK, I'll steal another: Has anyone ever given Al Pacino a copy of More Songs About Love And Hate? If so, it's probably filed next to his prized Germs vinyl.

-Gunther 8544


Rutledge said...

I for one thought Goonies was a stupid movie from the very first time I saw it.

gunther said...

It's amazing that a second "Goonies" movie exists. You mean they didn't find everything the first time?

gunther said...

Still haven't seen "Ghostbusters"...