Can’t Hardly Wait, A Retrospective: Memphis

This week contains a double shot of Can’t Hardly Wait. They are taken from the recording sessions for Pleased To Meet Me in Memphis produced by Jim Dickinson, producer of Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers. The lyrics have changed, references to climbing a water tower, and the possiblity of jumping off (I can’t hardly wait…..’til it’s over) are gone replaced with the more hopefully anxious writing of a letter.

The first one here is the base track consisting of Paul Westerberg’s guitar and vocal, Tommy Stinson’s bass, Chris Mars’ drums, and Memphis Slim’s keyboard.

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This second mix (released as a 7 inch single with Chris Mars’ Cool Water on the flipside) pulls out all the stops as Dickinson adds various guest stars. The Memphis Horns punctuate each line, Alex Chilton adds a shimmering rhythm guitar soaring over the mix, Dickinson’s teenage son, Luther (later of the North Mississippi All-Stars) adds electric guitar fills. The keyboards from the base track are either removed or buried under this wall of sound. Overall, a very Big Star-ish treatment. Many of these elements are pulled back on the album mix, leaving Westerberg’s guitar and the horns prominent.

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5 Comments

  1. RJ 23.Aug.07 at 11:43 am

    Good job, Wolf. I like the keyboard sound on the first cut but miss the horns. And the second song– yeah, I can hear them reaching for that Big Star sound– ultimately gets to be a little too busy.
    * I would caution you not to mix up Memphis Slim (the legendary blues pianist) with East Memphis Slim (which somebody once told me was a nom-de-plume of producer Jim Dickinson)

  2. Wolfdog 23.Aug.07 at 1:05 pm

    You know what, that makes a lot of sense RJ. I’m pretty sure that is Jim Dickinson playing keyboards. Considering he played piano on the Stones Sticky Fingers, it makes perfect sense he played during these sessions.

    Now that I research it, Memphis Slim was busy dying in France during that time.

  3. scooterboy 30.Aug.07 at 8:45 am

    catfight!

    rrrrooooowrrrr!

    ok, no. i am glad the above clarification happened because i always assumed, like a dolt, that “east memphis slim” was none other than “slim dunlap”.

  4. RJ 30.Aug.07 at 10:44 am

    Catfight?!?!

    Wolf and I have sat in some great bars and talked Rock & Roll in a couple of our nation’s greatest cities (OK: Minneapolis and Las Vegas), and this is simply an electronic continuation of those conversations.

    Without the beer. Or the pretzels. Or the cute waitresses.

    Alright, it’s different. But you know what I mean…

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