The Idiot is the debut solo album by Iggy Pop. It was the first of two LPs released in 1977 which Pop wrote and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie. Although issued after Low, the opening installment of Bowie’s so-called Berlin Trilogy, the pair began writing and recording songs for The Idiot in mid-1976, before Bowie started work on his own album. As such, The Idiot has been claimed as heralding the unofficial beginning of Bowie’s ‘Berlin’ period, being compared particularly to Low and “Heroes” in its electronic effects, treated instrument sounds, and introspective atmosphere. A departure from the hard rock of his former band the Stooges, the album is regarded by critics as one of Pop’s best works. Its title was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, three of the participants in the recording—Bowie, Pop and Tony Visconti—being familiar with the book. I will argue that there’s really a “Berlin-quintet” consisting of: The Idiot, Low, “Heroes”, Lust for life and Lodger.
Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, is equally a David Bowie album as a guest singer/composer; Davis Bowie co-wrote all the songs (except Sister Midnight that was co-written with Carlos Alomar and David Bowie) , played many of the instruments and produced it (kind of…). Tony Visconti tried to salvage the over-modulated tapes at the mixing stage.
March 18, 1977
July 1976 – February 1977,Château d’Hérouville, Hérouville, France, Musicland Studios, Munich, Hansa by the Wall, Berlin
Post-punk, art rock
David Bowie (and Tony Visconti)
“Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively”
– David Bowie
So, Iggy Pop acted as a guinea pig. David Bowie seemed tired of his ever-changing narrative or masks, so he used the opportunity making an Iggy solo record as a way to start re-inventing himself as well as Iggy. Iggy Pop and David Bowie worked extremely well as a team.
There’s little else to say except that ‘Round About Midnight is among the most essential of Davis’ Columbia recordings.
~Thom Jurek (allmusic.com)
An absolute classic of modern jazz, with brilliant solo work from the leader and from Coltrane, who was preparing for his own solo career at this point, plus subtle backing from the rhythm section. Tunes range from Monk’s famous title track to the ancient standard “Bye Bye Blackbird.”
~Wilson & Alroy’s Record Reviews
Stylistically, Midnight encompasses standards (or soon-to-be standards) such as “Dear Old Stockholm”, “Bye-Bye Blackbird”, Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight”, and Jackie McLean’s forward-thinking composition “Little Melonae.” Miles and company reprise “Budo” from the historic Birth of the Cool sessions. The standout track is Davis’s Harmon-muted reading of Thelonious Monk’s ballad, “‘Round Midnight”, which is still a Miles standard bearer… If you want to hear the origins of post-bop modern jazz, this is it.
~Eugene Holley, Jr.
Sam John Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982), better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, fromHouston, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine included Hopkins at number 71 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick opined that Hopkins “is the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”
I came to Lightnin’ Hopkins through Townes Van Zandt and Justin Townes Earle (I guess he discovered him through Townes as well…). I was expecting something ancient, something old, but Hopkins sounds modern and his guitar playing is just out of this world!
Sometimes music hit you so hard you simply do not know what happened, Justin Townes Earle did just that when he covered the relatively unknown song, hell, he ripped through a rousing version of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ My starter won’t start (I been burnin bad gasoline). And suddenly I understood what/why Hopkins was held in as high a regard as he does! It was pure magic! (see own post)
“I’m trying to define the relationship between man and the universe,….. often it’s between man and man, or man and woman, or man and the cosmos. Whatever song comes through the door I’m happy with.… I’m lucky just to play the guitar and sing.”
~TVZ (on the purpose behind his songwriting)
“Figures like Townes Van Zandt remind us that the wandering bard, that American archetype, is still very much with us—and his music will live long after the voices that declare it in or out of fashion have been stilled or forgotten.”
~Robert Palmer (New York Times/Deep Blues/++)
“I lived in Fort Worth till I was 8, Midland till 9, Billings, Montana, till 12, Boulder, Colorado till 14, Chicago till 15 … Houston till I was 21. And then I started traveling.”
~TVZ (to Contemporary Musicians (CM) in 1992)
Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
He said I’m glad I got to see you,
That’ll be a dollar forty-nine.
They arrested me for forgery, I can’t even sign my name
(Judge Harsh Blues)
Furry Lewis was the only blues singer of the 1920s to achieve major media attention in the ’60s and ’70s. One of the most recorded Memphis-based guitarists of the late ’20s, Lewis’ subsequent fame 40 years later was based largely on the strength of those early sides. One of the very best blues storytellers, and an extremely nimble-fingered guitarist into his seventies, he was equally adept at blues and ragtime, and made the most out of an understated, rather than an overtly flamboyant style.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)