part 6, On The Road, Stevie Wonder



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Rolling Stones - part 6, On The Road, Stevie Wonder (Cocksucker Blues 1972)

Checking for Matches…

“Let’s go On The Road, shoot some pool, party, and jam with Stevie Wonder.”

The Beatles had the Maysles brothers film their ’64 tour.  Then the Stones used them for their own ill-fated Altamont show, resulting in "Gimme Shelter".  In ’72 they switched it up and went with noted photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank to capture their tour through his detailed, dispassionate lens. 

Part documentary, part home movie, part verite, part expose, this film is a Frank eccentric’s take on decadence deluxe.

Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac were pretty close, not only personally and professionally, but also in their vision of America and sympathy for all. In fact, I only saw this censored movie in 1982 because the auteur was present to screen it at a Kerouac gathering in Boulder.

“With the coming of this part of the movie began the part you could call their life on the road. Before that they’d often dreamed of going South to see the country by car, always vaguely planning but never taking off. This is the perfect movie for the road because it was actually born on the road when the Stones were passing through America in planes and jalopies on their way to Kansas City.”

as Jack roughly wrote to open On The Road.

Of all the priceless footage in this 90-minute mural, the most wonderful is the time we spend in the car on the road, smoking a joint and laughing at the universe.

And you know how much they love Robert by it being just him, Mick, Bianca, and Mick Taylor in the station-wagon on the trip. I mean, Queen B is straddling the seat-hump in the middle cuz Robert’s part of the groove!

It opens with an Old-West roadside stop, set to a Southern hero’s early “Love Me Tender,” with the spirits of Billy the Kid and Woody Guthrie blowin’ in the dust along Route 66.

Just like Jack & Neal, they find themselves in some barely-inhabited roadside honkytonk between Whatsitsberg and Whoositsville, and shoot some pool in the back with the blacks, hiding out on a rock n roll tour.

Cut to: backstage at the magic Winterland Ballroom, where the Stones actually do both an early and a late show, for 2 nights, at Bill Graham's historic 5,000 capacity dancehall in San Francisco.  And Stevie Wonder opens both shows!  And I bet the tickets were about $7!

Segue into a montage of Stevie’s encore on the tour, an out-of-your-seat “Up-Tight (Everything’s Alright)” into “Satisfaction.”  What began as a one-off good idea, grew into a set-climaxing party as the tour progressed. This is Stevie’s outrageously great band, joined by Jagger, Richards and Mick Taylor — who it looks like fills in for Stevie on piano when he goes dancing.

One funny fall-out was — Stevie’s set was SO strong and so high-energy, the Stones insisted on taking really long breaks before they’d follow him.

The song continues into part 7,

and when you get there, you’re gonna be in that other place.




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