Jr & Tina = Up in Heah
I always dug Tina, and as the years progressed, I'd got to know her a bit, believe it or not, as my sister was one of her friends. They were friends, you know ... Tina even gave her that red fringed dress as a token of appreciation .... God knows, what became of it ...
Tina could slink and cook and sing like the old Jr. Wells record "Up in Heah
", which I is music I was familiar with from the time I was but a child and loved:
But she could also power out mind twisters like this new "Up in Heah
" that was very sophisticated I thought in terms of lyrical content.*
(*see wikipedia! entry! Type in "Up In Heah
" (sans quotes) . Oh, nevermind, I'll quote it here instead:
"Up In Heah
or "Up In Hell" is the title of an Ike and Tina Turner
It is a somewhat humorous forbidden fruit
tale of the "corruption" of a society so simple that a young woman's only options are the restricted life of a religious fundamentalist
or the socially isolated and "cold" life of a sex worker
I don't know which editor contributed that description, but it's fairly accurate to my understanding of the song.
And the truth is, I hung about with Tina a bit ... and she took on some of my ideas, which were shared willingly, friend to friend, and with love and hope that she could get out of that fix she was in with Ike while they were married. Because I'd heard about some of THAT business and nearly firsthand, while Tina was in the room. Or she had come back into the room, down from upstairs which had a skylight for better viewing of the moon. That room was located up off a road in Palmer Canyon (outside of Claremont) where all the artists went to dwell in the old days and rent small remote places, and this was like December of 1970 maybe. So I showed her some hand moves (shoop (shoots) coca cola (hypodermic into the arm) = sign language for "coca cola" which I had learned from a psych tech friend. And she did that on stage and in some videos I saw for her version of "Come Together". Then, I showed her a flexagon toy a friend had been working on, which was terribly complex in terms of design and folding, and she came up with a cool album cover (old fogeys and avid collectors will know the one I mean), and SHE came up with that, despite the design guy saying he had a hellish time engineering it so it would work ... like it was HIS idea, you see, it wasn't, it really WASN'T his idea ... and we talked a bit about Ike and what to do ... and I wasn't suggesting anything, but I told her what I had done when I left a guy who was becoming of the same nature as Ike, but I had got out of there much earlier on in the relationship, though it was still fresh to me, as guys like that tend to stick like rice and keep popping up out of no where and insisting, and in increasingly dangerous ways and want to pull you back into discourse by arguing about who owns what anything, even a frying pan ... (oh Lord, and that ex of mine was motorcycle dangerous and increasingly so, and by then had machine guns in the corner) I'd just left, and barely had any clothes in a small commuter suitcase when I did. He was growing motorcycle dangerous and no longer free spirit motorcycle, see. We (my sister and I) hoped Tina would be able to leave Ike, because by then we were afraid he was going to kill her one day. And this knowledge was a deep dark secret back then, a truly frightening reality kept close by all the people around Tina and Ike. The girls would all talk to each other and maybe a friend or two, but with some stories that were passed around, we'd all collectively shiver in fear for Tina.
Now, all this is known because of Tina's biography and movie, and the newspaper reports about Ike Turner and so on. And you'll accuse me of making this up. I'm not. This really happened and I was part of it. I had even known and met Ike, and I was the one who jokingly suggested, "How about a version of "Steel Guitar Rag"?!" and he DID IT! Right at the Rainbow Ballroom in Pomona! It was like a warm-up number when the guys came onstage for the second set, and he threw it out as he settled into place. Ike Turner, not easily dismissed, not at all and not in any way whatsoever, because he was a truly masterful musician, composer, and band leader. They were perfectly matched artistically, but their humanity and experiences and the psychology that developed as the result of those experiences eventually got in the way, especially when combined with stimulants and depressants. Anyway, I was glad when Tina left, and especially proud when she made her big comeback, starting with a club in San Francisco on a performance date I couldn't attend as I was so far away and working on another music project (1982). But I saw the grand burning finale of her successful World Wide Come Back Tour on New Year's Eve of 1985 in Honolulu, and she was FABULOUS as always I might add. She'd flown in every family member and put them up in hotels, had them chauffeured to the event in limousines, and Tina (bless her heart) paid for it all out of the earnings from her new found success. That was a sad time for me, as my sister had just died a few days before Christmas, and so that Christmas dinner (though at a fine establishment, John Dominick's, a fancy upscale joint, with other people picking up the tab, all seemed designed to help cheer me up) was a bit glum for me. But time passes, and aches heal somewhat as you come to terms with the death thing, and I was feeling a bit better a week later. I would not have missed the Tina show for anything.
(I feel I am losing your attention here, I have digressed so much) ... "Well, anyway" (like Tina used to say when she was losing the audience during a song intro sometimes, she'd tell a small joke and the audience would just not pay attention to her and keep talking .... )