What Little We Can Do
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Otis Rush - "I Can't Quit You Baby"

The blues scale is blue in a number of senses. It might be literally blue for the synesthete, for instance. It’s dark and depressing, of course, but also filthy and unspeakable. It’s as sloppy as the band who plays this song. Here the scale is employed by several instrumentalists simultaneously, who sound like they’re playing together (or, more accurately, against each other) for the first time, and after a long night of debauchery. Each instrument is insistently pointing to Rush’s pain, squawking and honking and harping on the blue notes. When Rush sings “You know it hurt me way down inside” at 2:54, the band brings us closer to the nerve centre, the very source of the blues, with dense unrestrained runs of the scale: a seriously blue moment that causes even the pentatonic scale to blush. [Buy]


Paul Newman - "Plastic Jesus"

This song is part of the film Cool Hand Luke, which I haven’t seen in years and so can’t remember the context in which Newman performs it. But even without context, there is something oddly captivating about "Plastic Jesus."

Newman begins his song with the line “I don’t care if it rains or freezes,” and he sings it perfectly. He’s cautious and languid and sweet. It’s about all he does perfectly in his minute and a half of recorded musical output, but there’s something fitting about his stops and starts, his fumbling vocals, and his out of tune banjo. It’s his best shot - a modest and honest rendition. [Buy the DVD]


See you all next year, I hope!

Posted by Jordan at December 30, 2005 7:20 AM

And to think I always credited this "porch version" to Wayne Coyne


Posted by k at December 30, 2005 11:15 AM

see you next year

thanks for all the sharing gramophonics

Posted by gil at December 30, 2005 4:20 PM

He sings it after he is told his mother has died.

Posted by Mark at December 30, 2005 4:29 PM

Paul should have made albums instead of salad dressings. He could have still given the profits away. (please refrain from any http://www.thenewgoth.com/ comments).

indeed the best to you all in the New Year!

Posted by k at December 30, 2005 4:51 PM

Wow, I was trying really hard for a while to find Paul Newman's version of "Plastic Jesus" but eventually gave up. This just made my New Year's day. Thanks!

Posted by piehat at January 1, 2006 5:24 PM

thanks for the otis rush!!

Posted by mags at January 3, 2006 1:49 PM

Oh. My. Goodness. Now I get to have Paul Newman singing on my iPod. It really doesn't get any better.

Posted by heather at January 4, 2006 5:00 PM

The context in the film which he sings the song in (since you asked): he's just learned from a prison guard that his mother has died. The rest of the men seem to already know, and they clear a path from him as he goes through the room, sits down, gets out his banjo from somewhere, and wham! Musical history.

Posted by Stork at January 6, 2006 8:09 PM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
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drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny