Saturday, 19 March 2011

Riyadh, Rage & Roddy

This will be the last post here until at least mid-week, as tomorrow I am off to Riyadh to work for a few days. From what I have heard of it, I don't imagine I will be returning laden down with interesting music by local acts, but you never know.

Until now Saudi Arabia has not seen any of the sort of protests taking place in neighbouring Bahrain but, perfectly timed for my arrival, disaffected parties are planning some for tomorrow. They are calling it a "Day of Rage".

Here's a song about that.

"Days of Rage" - Tom Robinson Band (1979)

Given the Kingdom's reputation for tolerance and broad-mindedness, I imagine you would have to be a particularly bold Saudi to climb up on the barricades and belt out this TRB number:

Moving on to something more light and fluffy, and linked only by the initials TR, let's talk about Ted Roddy. Ted is one of those Texan polymaths who gets by in the music business by doing a little bit of everything. He makes the occasional record, he leads assorted bands, he is a blues harp gun for hire. And for the last 25 years he has had a sideline as possibly the best Elvis tribute act around.

Ted would never win an Elvis impersonator contest as he does not make any great attempt to mimic the King's voice - it is similar but he doesn't incorporate all those exaggerated tics and slurs that most of them do. Instead he recreates the feel of the records - specifically the Memphis recordings of the late 1960s and early 1970s - by surrounding himself with a crack band. Twice a year - to mark the birth and death of Elvis - they put on what sounds like a fantastic show at the Continental Club in Austin.

In 2002 Ted and the gang made an album. Instead of doing straight covers, they took songs written or released during the period Elvis was recording in Memphis that he could easily have done himself - some well known like 'River Deep Mountain High', others more obscure. Their song selection and arrangements are pretty much faultless. You really could imagine Elvis belting them out. Which makes it the next best thing to the man himself.

Here are a a couple of selections.

"Nobody's Fool" - Ted Roddy & The King Conjure Orchestra

"Lay Lady Lay" - Ted Roddy & The King Conjure Orchestra

But as good as that is, you can't beat the real thing.

1 comment:

  1. I had never heard Ted Roddy until I read your post. It is an interesting concept to record songs that Elvis might have recorded in his style without trying to be a mimic. Listening to the songs reminds me of a possible alternate history with Elvis surviving. Thanks for the post.