Thursday, December 13, 2007

Singin' the rock'n'roll blues no more

Ike Turner has gone to that great blues gig in the sky. While mostly he's remembered nowdays for beating the crap out of a young lady by the name of Anna Mae Bullock ("Tina Turner"), Ike was one of a select group of black performers who brought "African" rhythms to pop music, mixed with a blues influence, and thereby created "rock & roll". While white performers like Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis got the fame and glory, they were building on themes and sounds that came out of an entirely different experience -- an experience Ike grew up with.

Meanwhile, I'll share with you this commentary by a music industry insider who says it better than I ever could:

While oogling at Tina & The Ikettes singing and dancing on one of their many television appearances in the 70's, my mother Adele gave me an important piece of advice: "If you really want to get into the music business, then don't look at Tina. Study Ike. He is the one that produces and writes those Ike & Tina records you listen to." Mother was right. I began listening to Ike's arrangements and production work. I collected tons of the various Ike & Tina singles and albums, the latter which I presented to Ike to autograph during my opportunity to co-interview him in the mid-90's on KFI/Los Angeles. Ike was so cool, so energetic that it was a shame he did not bring his guitar to perform on the air, which he most certainly would have done. Upon seeing my tons of his albums, Ike smiled and told me that many people had told him they had the best Ike & Tina collection, but I had the best he had ever seen.

I got a chance to meet Ike a few times after the interview, slowly watching him come back into public view with much deserved acceptance for the true musical genius Ike was. How did Ike totally reconstruct then current hits by other artists, making them something altogether more powerful than the originals, from "I Want To Take You Higher," "Proud Mary," "Living For The City" and countless others. How did Ike hobnob with Sam Phillips at Sun Records, The Bihari Brothers of Modern-RPM-Kent Records, The Chess Brothers of Chess Records, getting these famous label heads to release his product. How did Ike discover, develop and produce so many legends---Tina, The Ikettes, The Kings of Rhythm, Howlin' Wolf, Jackie Breston, Fontella Bass, and others. This, in addition to Ike leading a powerhouse band, doing the bookings and, in essence, controlling both the product and the artistic presentation---a rare feat for just one person to do before the age of the internet, but then again, Ike made it look all so easy back in the day. Today we lost a true music legend. Thankfully, Ike Turner will always be forever with us as he left tons of music and video footage that future generations will even enjoy. Ike, to borrow your title of one of my favorite songs, you know "I Idolize You." My sincere condolences and love to the Ike Turner family---Mark Matlock/Andromeda International Records

In remembrance of Ike Turner, the Turner family asks that in lieu of flowers that you donate to the music department of your local school in memory of Ike's name so the music lives on. Given the elimination of music departments in most K-12 schools thanks to Dear Leader's "Every Child Left Behind Act", which forces schools to eliminate any courses not on the test, it may be hard to find one, but if you can find one I think that'd be a great idea.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

1 comment:

  1. about five years ago, i turned a young drummer friend over to ike. the kid had monsterous chops but he needed to learn the business. he needed to learn to be a professional. ike fucking schooled him. i never worked for, or with ike. i only knew him after he sobered up. thing was, if in the last ten or so years, if you worked for ike, you fucking worked. and you got paid. ike flat handled shit. club owners and producers didn't even think about stiffing ike. ike. would. cut. them. if you worked for ike you got paid what you were told you would be paid. and you worked.
    other folks had to get day gigs to get by. not if you worked for ike.

    ike knew how to put on a show. every tune, every note, every move was studied and chosen for effect. ike was a showman, a dying breed.

    he is missed.


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