Monday, March 31, 2008

Run Rudolph Run b/w The Harder They Come

I'll be throwing in some non-Rolling Stones, although Stones-related, posts here and there.

Keith Richards
"Run Rudolph Run" (Johnny Marks and Marvin Brodie) – 3:11
b/w "The Harder They Come" (Jimmy Cliff) – 3:41

This single dates to either 1978 or 79 (the internet isn't exactly clear on this).

Keith is obviously working off Chuck Berry's famous version, which was a minor hit in 1958. Interestingly, Keith and the band play the rhythm in swing eighths, whereas Chuck played straight eighths on the original – this is almost the exact opposite of what happens when someone covers a Chuck Berry song. (Chuck, or at least his band, usually played in swing time, creating some nice rhythmic tension. Covers almost always play it straight, removing all the subtlety from Chuck's original. If you are removing the subtlety from a Chuck Berry song, you probably should look for another line of work.)

Keith's vocal is endearingly ragged and the band rises to the occasion by summoning some bar-band level professionalism. This would have knocked them dead at the El Macombo.

And then there's this...

Okay, Keith, I get it. The officers are trying to keep you down. You'd rather be a free man in your grave than living like a puppet or a slave. Got it. But listen, Keith: nobody gives a shit about a millionaire rock star's problems with drug busts, okay? That's almost as obnoxious as George Harrison complaining about having to pay taxes. Shut the fuck up, you whiny bitch.


Nanker said...

I guess I should have talked about how sloppy "Harder they Come" was (especially in comparison with "Rudolph") or how great the Jimmy Cliff original was, but I was too pissed off.