Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mitch Ryder - "Rock and Roll"

Consider the case of Mitch Ryder: an oldies act consigned to the county fair circuit here in his own country, while in Germany, he's considered an artist of stature, with a _catalog_.

I first became aware of him via the slightly older guys in my neighborhood who had a song lyric to go with any situation, who dug James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Stevie Wonder as much as they dug the Young Rascals, Mitch and his band the Detroit Wheels, and loads of local imitators, even though real black people like JB and the Wicked One scared the bejeezus out of them. Later, when I was learning to play, seemingly every band on Long Island played Mitch's version of Lou Reed's "Rock and Roll," which he recorded for Paramount in 1971 with the band Detroit, which included ex-Wheels drummer Johnny Bee Badanjek and Steve "Decatur Gator" Hunter (of future Lou Reed-Alice Cooper-Peter Gabriel session fame) on lead guitar. So of course that's the way I learned how to play it, too. (Helpful hint: It's in C.)

Mitch was still playing "Rock and Roll" the way it's supposed to be played (as its author is purported to have said in re: Mitch's version) in 1979 when he appeared on the German Rockpalast TV show. My buddy Geoff in Philly was kind enough to send me a dub of the show on VHS. Several songs from that performance are on Youtube; check 'em out. It's a corker of a show.


Post a Comment

<< Home