Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ike Turner, stockings and wine (1931-2007)

Ike Turner died this week.

A misanthrope at his worst and a giant of music at his best, Turner won a Grammy just this year for Risin' With The Blues as Best Traditional Blues Album. It's an apt yet ironic award considering that Turner was an innovater in his day and that his hit Rocket 88 is considered by some to be the seminal Rock 'n Roll record.

Eric Asimov, wine editor for the New York Times, has published an appreciation of Turner, but as a metaphor for wine (!): smooth versus gritty.

Mostly [Turner] will be remembered as the violent, abusive husband of Tina Turner. But it should not be forgotten that he was an idiosyncratic, influential musician [who made] fundamental contributions to rock-and-roll <...>

Remember Ike and Tina’s routine with “Proud Mary,’’ , about, “Every now and then we do things nice and easy, and sometimes we like to do things … rough.’’ I feel the same way about wine. There is certainly a place for nice, easy wines that slip softly down your throat. <...>

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. I am saying that, like Ike and Tina, I prefer things a little rough. I love wine with a rasp of tannin and acidity. It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s to be embraced, especially with food.

I could say the same thing about beer. I champion good cask mild or pale ale, but I also relish the intensely acidic bite of a gueuze-lambic.

Asimov makes mention of a YouTube music video of Turner's 1951 hit Rocket 88. The video includes montages of vintage Oldsmobile 88s and of the ravishing 1950s pin-up Bettie Paige. I've embedded the video below.

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