"It's easier to bone the President's wife than to get a movie made." Ray Charles.

How a cult music book became a cult music documentary, and it only took ten years.

Monday, May 24, 2010

OK, now that it's nearly done, I can talk about the new Memphis-related project - a film about the remarkable life and outlandish history of Jerry McGill, aka Curtis Buck, aka Jerry Cole, and he had and has nine other names he's gone under at various times. I've been filming with Robert Gordon for the past three months and we have got some mindblowing material, not for the fainthearted. McGill's star turn in William Eggleston's Stranded in Canton showed him to have been one scary fucker in 1973. My recent experience has showed that not much has changed in the intervening years. The film - working title: Very Extremely Dangerous - should start editing sometime late summer or early autumn, all going well. Also, a career-spanning record release - McGill's first in fifty years (!) - from Florida's Playground Recording should be out around the same time, containing stuff McGill cut in the '70s with Jim Dickinson, Dan Penn, Waylon Jennings and others, as well as more recent material laid down at Sam Phillips Recording Services, with Roland Janes at the mixing desk and Luther & Cody Dickinson, among other Memphis luminaries, playing back-up to the outlaw.

Here's a piece from the Memphis Commercial Appeal about McGill's one-off performance at the Hi-Tone Cafe last week:


One of the more mysterious musical legends in Memphis history, Jerry McGill returns to town for a special performance at the Hi-Tone Café. A former garage-band great, a onetime Sun recording artist, a longtime foil for Waylon Jennings, and a notorious hell-raiser during the Bluff City's mid-'70s music scene -- as vividly captured in William Eggleston's film "Stranded in Canton" -- McGill will play a mini-set at the start of a bill that includes local burlesque group The Memphis Belles as well as scuzz-rockers The Dirty Streets and Tanks. McGill's performance is being filmed by director and author Robert Gordon ("It Came From Memphis") as part of a documentary being made with Irish filmmaker Paul Duane.
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