Friday, 20 March 2009

My name Is What?

This is of those "I read a at b blog & x at y blog & it led me to z sorta posts, and it may ramble on a bit, so get a nice cup of tea.

It started at It All Started with Agnes relaying some amusing mis-heard lyrics, after correcting one of her own... you know, Desmond Dekker - me ears are alight - that kinda thing. I was, & still am, a little incredulous at some of the more ridiculous examples that abound on the internet, and had a "ha - I've never done that" moment; rarely a good sign.

Then later, reading ib's Siblingshot on the Bleachers (always a good bet, btw) I saw he'd written about My Name Is Jack - The Manfred Mann song from 1968. I know it so well (I thought...) it must be on the computer somewhere, but it wasn't; so a quick click & I was listening in stereo, which was the first thing that struck me about it. Come the chorus, my mental sing-along was halted by some slightly unfamiliar words, and with the confidence of a man who's "never done that" I was off in search of the (imaginary) version I remembered.

Yes, my own lyrical blunder, cemented as indisputable fact into a mind & memory normally worryingly accurate at the recall of words to ageing songs; probably mis-heard as a child through some tinny AM radio & never questioned during the many subsequent years, it was a mild surprise to learn that the Greta Garbo Home which Jack lived in the back of, wasn't for 'wayward wanton girls' but 'wayward boys & girls'.

Anyhow (and I did issue a ramble-alert), fruitless internet enquiries about the 'other version' (ha!) did reveal that supposedly, the Greta Garbo Home referenced a real building in 1960's San Francisco - The Kirkland Hotel, and that the song 'My Name Is Jack' was written (by John Simon*) for, & first appeared on, the soundtrack to a 1968 rock-documentary by Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary), called 'You Are What You Eat'.

My Name Is Jack - John Simon
You Are What You Eat (soundtrack lp - 1968)
buy | listen to it all + much more info @ WFMU

hear the Manfred Mann version at Siblingshot

Now, this is growing ever longer, so I'll just trot out some links if you wanna know more about the movie, besides the wfmu page above - here & here - before returning to music.

*John Simon, in case you're wondering, is probably best known for his work producing The Band, amongst others, although he is & was a musician in his own right, releasing several albums & playing on many others as a session guy.

Furthermore, and to me, echoing the situation with 'Jack' from '68 - he wrote another song (with Robbie Robertson of The Band) that Manfred Mann more famously covered, this time as Manfred Mann's Earth Band - 'Davey's On The Road Again'. I remember the Mann version getting a lot of radio play here, but had never heard John Simon's original until today.

Davey's On The Road Again - John Simon
John Simon's Album (1970)
buy | John Simon website

Davy's On The Road Again - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
originally a live track on Watch (1978) - this is the thankfully shorter, radio edit

Back on the subject of lyrical misunderstandings, here's another personal one; I always reckon that on Mott The Hoople's version of "All The Young Dudes" - Ian Hunter sings "...gonna race some cow to bed". Kinda makes sense to me, and it does sound like cow to me; played it again just now.

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