Thursday, August 1, 2019

Mick Jagger at the Menil Collection, Marcello’s Cafe, and Bobby Keys’ Saxophone

Mick Jagger, Courtesy of the Menil Collection 

"...I categorically avow that Keys’ Pythian saxophone solo in “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” is the finest sax arrangement in the history of Rock n roll..."

Mick Jagger at the Menil Collection, Marcello’s Cafe, and Bobby Keys’ Saxophone

Hear me prowlin'
I'm gonna take you down

WhileI was chopping celery to make chicken salad, with the Stones cranked-up to a narcotizing volume, my cell phone jumped. What did I see on Instagram? The Menil Collection posted a picture of Mick in front of a Wilfredo Lam painting. Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, it seems, had a hankering to see Surrealist art and African sculptures the day after the Stones performed for a crowd of 50,000 at the Houston Rolling Stones concert.

I didn’t see the Stones perform in Houston, but my sister Yvonne caught their New Orleans show, and described it as memorable. “It was worth every penny.” A few days later on a trip to Louisiana my Sicilian friend Gene Todaro told me the Stones inquired about eating at his New Orleans restaurant Marcello’s, but their handlers nixed the plan because Gene couldn’t manage to get them through a back entrance. “I think they ate at the hotel.” Surely next time Gene.

If you go to Gene’s restaurants, Marcello's, in New Orleans, and Lafayette, be sure to order the mussels in garlicky tomato broth, which I eat just about every time I go. While, that is, I’m attacking the bread, sopping it around the bottom of my bowl of mussels. Gene prepares mussels exactly the way they are prepared in Sicily. But he was born there.

Marcello's Mussels - made like Mussels in Sicily

Gene seduces with mussels, he’s downright spooky however when it comes to a dish I never saw in Sicily, at least not in the same form. Crabmeat Contessa is lump crabmeat and diced tomatoes in caper aioli spooned between stacked fried eggplant medallions. With good wine, this concoction is unimaginably decadent.

Marcello's Crabmeat Contessa eggplant

Gene bounces around to his various restaurants, so you have an excellent chance of encountering boss man when you eat at one of the Marcello’s. He’s fairly easy to recognize, a smooth talking Sicilian with a devilish smile who occasionally holds court at customers’ tables and charms the women, and generally blows smoke. Let me suggest you allow Gene to choose your wine. He knows wine like a medieval pope knows war.

I may have been an ignorant goose with my ear to a speaker, but I instinctively knew in 1971 that Mick’s priapic guttural howls reached to poetry, not solely in “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin,” but throughout “Sticky Fingers.” Mick nailed desperation and lust, akin to the way Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor groaned death. What Keith did with the guitar, though, was demonic. Keith's guitar chords disseminate from his groin, and now I understand what he meant when he wrote in his book “Life” that he needed to tame his beast one way or another, instead of gently, he did so “with a beating.” Lucky for us, Keith went on a tear, and even if smack bolstered his ingenuity, composition and delivery were masterful.

Also lucky for us “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” is comparatively lengthy. Because only hell's fury can scaffold Bobby Keys’ tenor sax. As my readers know, I’m not a critic, but I categorically avow that Keys’ Pythian saxophone solo in “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” is the finest sax arrangement in the history of Rock n roll, and makes me regret where his horn gets drowned out in “Brown Sugar.” I liken the way Bobby Keys’ sax anchors Keith’s guitar to the way Billy Preston’s seductively shrill organ anchors the same in “I Got the Blues.” It calls to mind the sensuality Herb Hardesty’s sax injected into Fats Domino’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” as well into “Blue Monday” a decade before. Surely Keys knew that Bible, and he had spent some early years with Buddy Holly.

Marcello's Osso Buco
Marrcello's Calamari Fritti
Marcello's Spring Mix Green Salad with Feta and Walnuts
Marcello's Beef Filet

Link to video “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin” from The Maldito Roedor Published 2-27-13

Images: Jagger Image courtesy of the Menil Collection. All Marcello’s images from Marcello’s Facebook and Instagram.

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