And now, if you'll permit me, a cautionary tale. Draw what ever moral you may.
On the lovely winter night of October 25, 1978, I happened to find myself at New York's much-missed Bottom Line nightclub for a show by Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams, who of course were doing business as Rockpile, still the best traditional non-hyphenated rock 'n' roll band that ever trod a stage. There was a more than usually anticipatory buzz in the room, or so it seemed to me, and at some point a friend (the late Ruth Polsky, who went on to book Hurrahs and Danceteria and generally become a player in the New Wave scene in the city) came over to my table and, rather breathlessly, informed me that Keith Richards -- who the day before had beaten the Canadian heroin rap that was perhaps his most publicized drug bust ever -- was in the club somewhere and might be taking the stage. Sounded like fun to me.
Anyway, Rockpile hit the aforementioned stage a few minutes later, and after a couple of songs, Edmunds introduced a special guest, none other than Keef himself. At which point they tore into one of my alltime favorite Chuck Berry numbers -- "Let It Rock" -- which seemed an exciting choice, given that both Edmunds (with Brinsley Schwarz) and Richards (with the Rolling Stones) had recorded definitive live versions of it in the early 70s.
Here's the performance as it went down that night. And let's just say that whatever excitement I felt at the beginning didn't exactly last through the song's raggedy close.
The show was broadcast rather soon thereafter, probably on the old WNEW-FM, and I taped it at the time, hoping it would sound better under the headphones at home than it did in the club that night. It didn't. And ever since then, every couple of years, I've pulled out the cassette, or of late the mp3, and given it a listen, hoping against hope that it would finally seem less of a mess than I remembered.
Didn't work today, either.