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View Full Version : My Babe (Original Marvin Pontiac version)



wee_ginga_yin
06-13-2012, 03:42 AM
What kind of music would you expect to hear from the son of an African father from Mali and a Jewish mother from New Rochelle New York? Marvin Pontiac was raised in Mali from age four to fifteen, then moved to Chicago. On the advice of Sam Cooke he changed his african name to Pontiac, cos those were the cars that he liked from Motown, and he thought he would have more success on the american market with a westernised name.

His first recording in 1952, was "I'm A Doggy". Following several other recordings Pontiac was institutionalized after riding his bicycle down the street naked in Slidell LA. Like his mother before him, who was also committed to a mental hospital, he lived in constant fear that he would be abducted by aliens.

He was killed by a bus in 1977 and just like Robert Johnstone, his recordings were only recently rediscovered and reissued.

His music even though it was recorded in the 50's and 60's has a jagged modern edge to it. Most people were releasing records at 33 rpm or 45 rpm, but Marvin because of his obsession with prime numbers had all of his records mastered at 37 rmp. As a consequence nobody ever knew what Marvin sounded like live, if they played his disks on a conventional turntable.

David Bowie said about the release of the Pontiac collection "A dazzling collection! It strikes me that Pontiac was so prescient that one might think that these tracks had been assembled today."

"Sleep at night" was recorded in 1955 and there has been contention over who played harmonica on this sparse early track. Most critics agree that it is Little Walter, before he had his famous fight with Marvin, before the cookie crumb incident, when the two men came to blows over who had been eating digestive biscuits and playing the harmonica at the same time. Marvin always claimed that Little Walter stole "My Babe" from him. It has been claimed that the Beatles after listening to the end Marvin's "My Babe" decided to incorporate that long E7 chord at the end of their song "A day in the life". Also Alan Wilson from the original Canned Heat band stated that he copied Marvin's falsetto for their hit single "on the road again".


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spBGC-XrXI

23skidoo
06-13-2012, 05:11 AM
Great job, wee, dig the rhythm.... and a wonderful tune. I'll have to check out Mr. Pontiac - I've not heard of him or his music..... and as a Scot living in Finland, are you a Peacocks fan to boot?

The Ukelites
06-13-2012, 07:37 AM
Great rendition! Great singing! Nice to hear about Mr Pontiac! Thanks! We did a faster version a few month ago, sent it to you as a video mail!

wee_ginga_yin
06-13-2012, 07:48 AM
Great rendition! Great singing! Nice to hear about Mr Pontiac! Thanks! We did a faster version a few month ago, sent it to you as a video mail!

Before I take any flak on this one. I throw my hands up and admit the whole thing is a spoof.
Marvin Pontiac is the alter-ego of John Laurie. Everything I wrote is a complete fabrication, relying
heavily on verisimilitude to give the writing a veneer of truthfulness.

The great Willie Dixon wrote the song for Little Walter, and since Marvin Pontiac is a fictional
character he was never able to blow crumbs into the harmonica of Little Walter, far less make recordings
at 37 RMP


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbbP_3l2tl8

23skidoo
06-13-2012, 11:12 AM
wee.... I'm ashamed. I pride myself on appreciating the subtleties of your little 'histories'......I can't believe the digestive biscuit bit didn't make more of an impression - I'm off my game today. I think I was distracted by the United shirt.....

wee_ginga_yin
06-13-2012, 11:18 PM
wee.... I'm ashamed. I pride myself on appreciating the subtleties of your little 'histories'......I can't believe the digestive biscuit bit didn't make more of an impression - I'm off my game today. I think I was distracted by the United shirt.....

Often if you write with enough conviction then the biggest lies pass for truth.
There are a few artists I can think of that have invented a complete history for
themselves... "The Rutles all you need is Cash" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5_MzkH61Cg) and of course the marvellous
Spinal Tap with their exploding drummer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZbHagBNY98)

Less exposed... are The Black Slavics :-)

In 1684, Evgeni, the brother of the Tsar Peter the Great, held a secret meeting
with Zadek Ibn Farouk, the famous Guinea-based black slaves trader, to negotiate
the purchase of 2 500 slaves for house and fields labour.

Evgeni Nicolaievitch, an eccentric person, had decided to replace all of his slaves
and servants with Africans. The slaves arrived one year later via the Baltic sea and
were settled in Kazan, 500 km from Moscow, where Evgeni and his household resided.

Problems soon arose and a mere three years after their arrival Evgeni drove all of the
Africans out of Kazan. A long odyssey scattered them in the Ukraine, the Urals and the Balkans,
where they founded colonies now no longer in existence due to the epidemics and famines
of the nineteenth century.

"The Black Slavics" represent the music of those Africans and their descendants who settled in Russia.
Czaristic law prohibited them from singing in their mother tongue or singing their own religious music,
which was considered too rhythmic for the church's liking.

"The Black Slavics" have adapted Russian songs to their own style and you will hear that long transformation
from Russian into African song, rescued from oblivion by the Georgian musicologist Kajnun Marimov.
This Project is an example to the of "Music-Fiction", a concept invented by Thierry Van Roy: the re-writing history
and, in the process, the creation of the music which might have developed if history had taken another route.

23skidoo
06-14-2012, 02:34 AM
your posts are always so informative, wee.....