Ian Dury reveals the jazz origins of ‘Sex And Drugs And Rock & Roll’
It Goes That Way
It goes that way and it goes that way and it goes that way
Chess Jenkins and myself chinned the riff on our song ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’ from a Charlie Haden bass solo on the album ‘Change of the Century’ by the Ornette Coleman quartet: Ornette, Don Cherry, Haden & Billy Higgins. (Those sweet 16 bars had been a true friend for as many years, and it was only after allowing a mildly critical lyric to be usurped into anthemic proportions for the greater good of my back pocket that they grew wearisiome).
In 1978, one went down the Cave de la Lombards in Paris to see Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell. Blackwell was conserving his energy, playing restrained beauty drums. He had to visit a kidney machine three times a week. Cherry was playing piano, pocket trumpet from the Josephine Baker revue and African gourd guitar. I was a very transfixed person.
After the last set, Cherry stepped off stage towards the door, past me, and stopped. I saw his feet beneath a shy brim and he said, Are you Ian? He invited me to come to his dressing room in a minute, so I went to have a drink, my first, at the bar, and a Swedish person, subsequently named Moki, said, Hey Ian my son Eagle-Eye loves your record S & D & R & R, and I said my Brian Case version of shucks, and may I have a glass that doesn’t shake, please?
I went upstairs, tapped and entered the Cherry dressing-room. If Otis Redding had invited me, or Mingus or Gene or Roland, but not Elvis, I would have been the same nervous wimp with a different hero.
I sat down and Don played me gourd guitar & Xhosa click song for ten minutes, during which time said Moki entered the premises and my brain told me that Eagle-Eye was their son who liked the record that me & Jankel had clouted from his father’s bass player.
My bum had gone stereo. As we all smiled, my turn had come to speak. Do you remember a record you made with Ornette in 1961? Well, we recorded S & D & R & R and stole Haden’s licks and your son likes it.
And Cherry said
It goes that way
and it goes that way
and it goes that way
Straight No Chaser