Tuesday, October 31, 2017

2017-10-31 (Sweet Leaf - Black Sabbath)

I have had Black Sabbath songs in the running, to write about, all month. Why Halloween? Why this song? I'll get to that in a minute. Black Sabbath are considered one of the original Heavy Metal bands. It is dark and it is heavy. They truly were pioneers. They had no reference point for Heavy Metal. They came on the scene the same year as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, who many consider the inventors of Heavy Metal. But, when you follow the path of the genre from this point on, through Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica, Megadeth and even hair metal bands like Motley Crue and G&R, they all have much more in common with Sabbath. 

In my teen years, I was introduced to Metal through Metallica -- and I rejected it, mostly. I mean, I rocked out to "One" and I had to agree with Jeff Cayton that the lyrics were deep and poetic. I also remember a few hazy afternoons at Cayton's listening to these guys (Sabbath) and this song ("Straight people don't know what you're about. They put you down and shut you out"). But, I never got into it... until... you guessed it, Widespread Panic. Panic is not a Metal band, but they are fans of Metal and they certainly can play it. Over the years (especially early on), they have played a lot of Metal covers and I guess because of the darkness of it, they liked to bust them out at Halloween. During my 3 year Halloween streak with Panic (1994-1996), they pulled Sweet Leaf out a couple of times - among others (Dirty BusinessMaggot BrainCream Puff Warand Werewolves of London)

I know, it's a bit literal for poetry and basically cheesy from the start (cough, cough, cahacahacahcaha!!...). It's a love song, written to weed. But, then that guitar lick and Ozzy's voice - in command. Ozzy had (has) an ability to cut through the noise with screams of emotion, but also with clarity. And, the tempo change and solo starting around the 2:30 mark is the reason why. The reason why this song works. The reason why Panic played it at Halloween. 

Alright now
Won't you listen?
When I first met you, didn't realize
I can't forget you, for your surprise
You introduced me, to my mind
And left me wanting, you and your kind, oh yeah
I love you, oh you know it
My life was empty, forever on a down
Until you took me, showed me around
My life is free now, my life is clear
I love you sweet leaf, though you can't hear, oh yeah
Come on now, try it out
Straight people don't know, what you're about
They put you down and shut you out
You gave to me a new belief
And soon the world will love you sweet leaf, oh yeah baby
Come on now, oh yeah
Try me out baby, alright, oh yeah
I want you part of this sweet leaf, oh yeah
Alright, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh try me out
I love you sweet leaf, oh
Songwriters: Michael Butler / Ozzy Osbourne / Tony Iommi / William Ward  

Widespread Panic 10/31/94
Omni Orrington Grand Ballroom, Evanston, IL
1: Papa Legba > Fishwater > Hatfield, Makes Sense To Me > Me And The Devil Blues > Porch Song, Little Kin, Werewolves of London
2: Sweet Leaf > Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Heroes, Space Wrangler > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Maggot Brain > Blackout Blues, Coconut > Mr. Soul
E: Let's Get Down To Business, Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys
[First 'Let's Get Down To Business'; 'Maggot Brain' with spoken word introduction; 'Freebird' jam during 'Space Wrangler'; 'Linus and Lucy' by JoJo before 'Let's Get Down To Business'; From Good Homes opened]
Song Stats
SongLTP DateLTPL3TP#/10#/100#/Ever
LTP (Last Time Played):
L3TP (Last 3 Times Played):
Number of shows since song was last played.
Average of last 3 LTP for song.
Number of times played in last 10 shows.
Number of times played in last 100 shows.
Total number of times played.

Monday, October 30, 2017

2017-10-30 (Mountain Jam - The Allman Brothers Band)

"It's funny, but I've never, ever thought of us as a jam band. When we started out almost 20 years ago, the old, four-piece Panic literally scared the hippies away, and at this point, jam bands can kiss my ass. Most of 'em can't write a fuckin' song. I don't want to hear someone noodle aimlessly. If I want to hear a jam, I want to hear a master of their instrument playing theme and variation on a great melody. Why can you listen to 35 minutes of 'Mountain Jam?' Because it's a great melody. Why can Jerry Garcia interpret 'My Funny Valentine' for 20 minutes? Because it's a great melody. Without a great song, there is no great melody. Without a great melody, there is no jam." -- Dave Schools (bass player for Widespread Panic)

I was happy to find this quote online, although I heard him talking about this years ago on Sirrius-XM radio show that Stef Scamardo (Warren Haynes wife) had on the JamOn station. 

There Is a Mountain - Donovan (1968)

All of my favorite jams are just what Schools is talking about - variations on a great melody. I believe that's one of the things that gave the Grateful Dead so much jam material and makes them the ultimate "jam band". Jerry and Bob Hunter wrote great songs first, before they expanded them with jams. Plus, their choice of covers brought in tons more great melodies via Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles... Often, at jam band shows cover songs and band classics are most popular for the crowd. It is much easier to recognize and relate to a great jam when the melody of the song is familiar and clear in your mind.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

2017-10-28 (Lookin' Out My Back Door - Credence Clearwater Revival)

I was disappointed to read that John Fogerty didn't write this song about an acid trip. Understandably, he used dreamy imagery to appeal to his then 3 yr old son. Does it matter what he meant? 

The first time I remember having some semblance of real independence in life was when my friends got their driver's licences. And, the summer after my sophomore year, it became incredibly easy for us to gather - here and there. I remember falling into a pretty sublime routine that summer. My Dad would leave for work around 1:00 and my Mom would get home around 4:15. I called that unsupervised time "Happy Hour" at our swimming pool. Many friends had a standing invitation, but the regulars were the Cecil twins, Jared Hayes, Nevin Goeble, with the occasional showing from the Becky/Alana/Michelle crew, Cliff Stewart or John Shearer. It would usually look like the Cecils showing up with 8-15 warm Budwisers. We would get them on ice, give them a spin and start cracking them open. The guys might have to help me finish up my chores -- suckering tomato plants or mowing the yard. Then, a dip in the pool and it was time to get out of there. Nevin ('s Dad) had a pontoon boat docked on the Kentucky River, down on 4-mile. If we had money to gas it up, we might take it out for an hour or two, and then onto whatever summer nights in Funchester might bring -- cruising "The Pig", a pool party at "Breakers", or heading out to the country to raise a little hell. 

The soundtrack of that summer was long and varied but probably due to Tom Cecil's influence, early Who and CCR "Chronicle" dominated the air waves during "Happy Hour". 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017-10-26 (Seneca - Tortoise)

Tortoise fills a gap for me. It is home base music, in the same way as Lambchop or Widespread Panic. I've never had to consider what other people think about them, critical acclaim, technical merits.... They are a band that hits the spot. What spot? Well, the best way for me to describe it - when life (or just my day) feels chaotic, when I feel overwhelmed by the million things and can't focus on what's in front of me, this music understands. They tend to ease into their compositions, building slowly then falling into an already full speed song. They use odd timings and uncommon instrumentation. That's where the "understanding" is -- it sort of matches the chaos. Then, they thread calm and wise melodies throughout. Six Pack is another great example from this album. 

One of my biggest musical regrets is missing them at the Orange Peel back during tax season (March 21st). They all have other projects, so the band doesn't tour a lot. They are definitely high on my bucket list.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2017-10-23 (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight - Richard and Linda Thompson)

I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight - Richard and Linda Thompson (1974)

This is just one of those songs that seems perfect - the arrangement, the groove, the simplicity of the lyric and the emotion in her voice. I know almost nothing about these guys. They were part of an early 70's British folk movement, made some critically acclaimed albums together and split sometime in the 80's. 

I had a coworker at the record store who was a huge fan. Because of him, I listened to a fair amount, especially of Richard's stuff, but it never took. But, every time I hear this song (usually on WNCW), it gets my attention. For some reason, my first thought is always that it is Blondie. I'm not sure why. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017-10-23 (You're Still My Woman - B.B. King)

This is not the song I was thinking of at lunch today. This one comes from a great album. I was never a huge fan of B.B. and his Chicago blues sound. But, when this came over the PA system before a show (I forget which) at the Grey Eagle, I had to ask the sound man what it was. Another of my favorite tracks on this album is King's Special.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017-10-22 (Who Built the Moon - Shinyribs)

A sort of contemporary gospel song. To me, as compelling of a tale as any other. I mean, why not? It explains what needs explaining. Why are we here, lonely, looking at the moon? 

From the same album as po peepl sto and kountry kul.

2017-10-21 (Night Time is the Right Time - Ray Charles)

This sound was coming from black artists, for black audiences, throughout the 50's, on the chitlin circuit and in big city theaters. When Jerry Lee Lewis and other white musicians caught on and brought it to the masses, they called it rock'n'roll. The thing that takes this track to the next level is the vocal performance from Margie Hendricks. 
In a recording session, Ray huddles with Margie Hendricks as he helps her work out a lyric idea.

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017-10-20 (One of These Nights - Eagles)

As I went through the Eagles' catalog today, I realized my Mom had most of their albums and their Greatest Hits collections. Nowadays I consider most of their stuff to be soft and cheesy. It was pop music, even back then. But, I guess there's something to be said for accessibility. I listened to these guys a lot. I remember playing this record over and over around 8th or 9th grade. There's a lot of good stuff there.

Going through and finding the right song was not that easy. I wanted to pick an Eagles song for Mom's birthday, today. They started in the early 70's with a sound more like the Byrd's or the Flying Burrito Brothers. That was probably their best years. But, as the 70's went in LA, so did their sound. It became more influenced by the social scene and their popularity. By 1975, this album was picking up on some early disco sounds. The big change happened just after this album, when Joe Walsh replaced Bernie Leadon and brought his cantankerous guitar sound and East Coast vocals into the mix (not a huge fan). It was subtle on Hotel California, but the driving force on The Long Run's title track and "Heartache Tonight".  

I have a specific memory of my freshman year - Don was a senior and we were both playing soccer. Practice started about 45 minutes after school and we lived about 5 minutes away. We would head home after school, grab a snack and sit in the living room to kill off the half hour or so, before practice. We would spin the Eagles - mostly their 'Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)' record, with "Take It Easy", "Desperado", "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and others and sing along. It's a damn shame that neither of us are great singers. Don has his moments and at least he continues to put himself out there. But, we cut our vocal teeth on some of the best stuff and worked out the parts and really listened to ourselves. I felt pretty comfortable on the Eagles' material, with the exception of  "Seven Bridges Road".

Anyway, I thought "One of These Nights" was a good choice. I never asked her, but I imagine this is the type of song that drew Mom to the Eagles. I can also see how she might relate to it's main theme. One of these nights.......

Thursday, October 19, 2017

2017-10-19 (Mother's Little Helper - The Rolling Stones)

Mother's Little Helper - The Rolling Stones (1966)

Wiki - about the song

When I was about 14, Willie's sister (Daphne) let us cruise around with her. The playlist in her car was The Rolling Stones. The song I remember (of course) was "Satisfaction". As soon as I could, I bought a tape with that song, called "Hot Rocks (1964-1971)". It is another one of those tapes that I wore out. It was a regular in the walkman I used when I mowed the yard.

This is not one of my favorites from that collection. But, it always hit hard. There was something reminiscent of the Beverly Hillbillies (to me). The punch and pace and guitar tone -- they give you that anxious feel of uppers. I'm sure my mom would never have eaten pills, but I wonder what the pressure was like back in that time. Did her friends use? Were drugs like this more innocent? How many housewives used "diet pills" for a little pep?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017-10-18 (Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin)

Carolyn, Erma, and Aretha Franklin with Aretha's husband Ted White at Atlantic Studios (NYC) in 1967.

It helps to turn the volume up before - Do Right Woman, Do Right Man - Aretha Franklin (1967)

There's a great story of how this recording came to be. Wikipedia - Do Right Woman....

It was the B-side to another great perfomance. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017-10-17 (Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Bob Dylan)

Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Bob Dylan (1963)

Lay Down Your Weary Tune - Tim O'Brien (1996)

Poetry about Autumn, Music, Life and how we live it... maybe God. Bob Dylan did it best! One time in Morehead, Tim O'Brien played it because I asked him to. This is another one that passes the test of "songs I've listened to on repeat and sung like they're my own."

Dylan wrote it for his album "The Times They Are a-Changin'", but it didn't make it on there. He said he was trying to capture the feel of a Scottish ballad. I first heard it on his box set "Biograph", which, unfortunately, is not on Spotify.

Monday, October 16, 2017

2017-10-16 (Add It Up - Violent Femmes)

Add It Up - Violent Femmes (1983) or 1988 for me

This is the music I listened to the first time I got high... not the first time I smoked pot, but the first time I actually got high. It was in Cliff Stewart's shed. I can still smell the smell of relighting the joint. We didn't yet know how to lick your finger and tap the side to stop a run. This wasn't because we wanted to be cool. If most of our friends knew, they would disown us. But, we were ready to check it out. I mean, listen to this music. Being a freshman in high school was not totally awful but it was the most dissatisfying episode of my life. I almost picked this song (Prove My Love). It really captures the feeling of that time. The whole album is right there in that pocket.

Anyway, I knew every little sound on this tape (album). Many times I have sung them all, especially the vocals and bass lines. To me, this is punk rock, acoustic guitar and xylophone.

A few years later, another first time I got high. Not the first time I had done LSD, but the first time I got high... I was at Buckeye Lake waiting on the Grateful Dead to play and they were playing every song from this album over the PA. I said something to Alex about it and he said, in his meek and matter-of-fact voice, "oh yea, shall we scoot up close where we can see them?" It was actually them. They were the opening band. How did I not realize this, yet. It wasn't on the ticket. I had wanted to see them for awhile... but not like this.

Good Feeling  -- This one became my favorite on here. It could be a candidate for this song list for different reasons. It is one I've listened to over and over on repeat. It feels so right to sing along.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017-10-15 (Old Home Place - J.D. Crowe & the New South)

Old Home Place - J.D. Crowe and the New South (1975)

J.D. Crowe (38 yrs) -- banjo, guitar on "Rock, Salt & Nails and baritone vocals
Jerry Douglas (19 yrs) -- dobro, guitar
Tony Rice (24 yrs) -- guitar and lead vocals
Ricky Skaggs (21 yrs) -- tenor vocals, fiddle, mandolin, violin and viola
Bobby Slone (39 yrs) -- bass, fiddle

J.D. Crowe became well known in bluegrass music in the mid-50's as part of Jimmy Martin's "Sunny Mountain Boys". In the late 60's he started gigging regularly in and around Lexington, Ky, featuring younger talent in his bands. By the mid 70's he had pulled in two of the hottest young talents in bluegrass - Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. By this point, at age 21, Skaggs already had a career many would be envious of (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Skaggs#Early_career), including playing with Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. Tony Rice hit the scene a couple of years earlier with the Bluegrass Alliance (along with Sam Bush) and was recognized as a top talent guitar player and singer.

This album created some controversy in the bluegrass world as it saw musicians primed for a great new traditional bluegrass project turn to contemporary songwriters for material and mix in an almost rock'n'roll vibe to some songs. It quickly became one of Rounder Records best sellers, ever. It was a short and precious moment in bluegrass history, though. By the next year, Skaggs (along with Douglas) would go on to form his own band, Boone Creek and Rice would move across the country to join up with the first incarnation of the David Grisman Quintet.

It seemed as though it represented a huge shift in bluegrass and caused people to take sides. Either you were down with where these boys were taking things, or you were not. Even though Donnie Rogers is not always known for taking a progressive stance, he was down. He made it over to the Holiday Inn in Lexington to see them live before the album was released. He left the campers and jam sessions in the fields of Masterson Station Park to head over to the main stage for their performance at the Festival of the Bluegrass. And, he spun the record on occasion in our living room. It was the sound that excited new blood bluegrass fans, my brothers included.

From our vantage point, here in 2017, in the world of WNCW's Saturday bluegrass ear assault radio, it is quite subtle. But, this song is really the perfect place to start. It is a song that is very much from the traditional bluegrass theme. Yet, you can hear this band on the first track of this album, poised to take off and leave that traditional bluegrass sound behind.

Friday, October 13, 2017

2017-10-13 (Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams)

Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams (1952)

The single was released as a B-side to Kaw-Liga the same month of Williams death (January 1953) at age 29. To me, this song is the definitive country song. Williams wrote some of the best including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry""Hey, Good Lookin'", "Cold, Cold Heart""Honky Tonkin'",  "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" and so many others. He was one of those rare talents that combined near perfect songs with a unique sound and great vocal performances.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

2017-10-12 (Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill)

You may know this one -- Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill 1998

This one may tell you a little more about her at this time -- To Zion - Lauryn Hill (w/ Carlos Santana)

After much success with the Fugees, she became pregnant with the child of Bob Marley's son, Rohan. She took a break. During that time, she worked with CeCe Winans, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston on various projects. She took these influences and an outpouring of newly written songs to Bob Marley's studio (Tuff Gong) in Jamaica to record this amazing album. 

And, this one too! -- Superstar - Lauryn Hill

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2010-10-11 (Pharaoh's Dance - Miles Davis)

Pharaoh's Dance - Miles Davis (1970) 20:04

There are times when nothing else matches the intensity of your emotions. When this album is the right choice, it is because it is the only right choice... the only friend who understands.. the only thing that will let me feel the way I feel with complete understanding and lack of judgment. In it, I am able to rest with these emotions. It stirs them around and allows them react with each other like ingredients in a cauldron, setting off release.

(I'm sorry this one is so long. This song picked itself today. Part of why it "works" is because it is long enough. If not, there is another hour and a half of it on the album.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

2017-10-10 (Bemsha Swing - Thelonious Monk)

Bemsha Swing - Thelonious Monk (1954)

Monk was born 100 years ago today. New Yorker music critic Whitney Balliett once describe Monk's playing as feeling like, "missing the bottom step in the dark". His uncanny sense of  syncopation, timing and chord changes matched with an ease with familiar sounding melodies made him special.  He heard what others heard. He just heard it differently. And, he was uncompromising in his approach.

He came from the bebop era and refused to go along with the commercial turn of early 50's jazz. He had a resurgence in the mid 50's and became one of the giants of that time. He produced several great recordings through the 60's, but all but disappeared during the 70's. Health and mental health issues kept him sidelined until he died of a stroke in 1982.

"10 things you didn't know about thelonious monk, by his son t.s. monk"

Monday, October 9, 2017

2017-10-09 (Chameleon - Herbie Hancock)

Chameleon - Herbie Hancock (1973)

Mitch and I are on a real quest -- one of the most worthwhile quests I've ever set out on. We are on a quest to find and place ourselves in the middle of "hipness" in Lexington. It is the winter of 1993, we took an apartment in an affordable complex a couple of miles from campus, on the Winchester side of town. Never mind school for now. I wasn't into it. There was too much else going on.

It's Friday night. River Runt Spook Floaters are playing at Lynaugh's. They are one of the best around... from Cincy. Have you heard their version of "Peg" (Steely Dan)? Sometimes they bring the horns section. I can't wait to use my newly acquired bomb proof ID (the one time I was glad I looked so much like my big brother). Mitch says, "before the show, let's stop by this guys house over off Waller and smoke down." That sounds a little nervy to me. Everything does. Going around all of these new ("cool") people, going to the show... some after-party, I'm sure. And smoking down just amplifies it times a million. But, this is the trip we are on. I am rarely comfortable these days, but I am, at the very least, along for the ride.

These guys have a whole house, with an upstairs, framed things on the wall, nice tapestries, a swanky ash tray, tons of cds, and yes -- some really good weed. We commence. Cue Herbie! Loud! Crystal clear! From space! I have not heard this. I guess I have not heard anything like this. What? No electric guitars? No white boy angst and ego? Is it Jazz? Is it club music? It's the opposite of folk music. It's alien to folks. No oovy-groovy change the world thing. It's not of this world. This music that was released the year I was born, before most of the great funk albums, before disco... It's 20 years on and it still sounds so tomorrow. This sound busted open so much space in my musical mind. I can feel myself becoming cooler now... now that I know about this.

Thank you, guy from Mitch's chemical engineering class. Thank you Herbie! Let's head to the show. Don't fail me now, Don's ID.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

2017-10-08 (Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight - The Oak Ridge Boys)

Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight - The Oak Ridge Boys (1979)

Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight - Emmylou Harris (1978)

We had a late 70's model, red Jeep Wagoneer growing up. Mom drug us all over the place in this thing. I remember riding in the 'way back'. We took it on a trip to Colorado to see Aunt Teresa one year. Daddy borrowed a big luggage carrier for the top. We took Granny Granny, so there were 6 of us in there all of the way to Denver and back - reminiscent of the Griswolds (but Granny lived, although she did get concussed in Cripple Creek).

Anyway, the Jeep had an 8 track player and we only had a limited number of 8 track cassettes. Well, you guessed it. This was one of them (The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived). I also remember an Emmylou album, although it wasn't the one with this song (Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town). This was the country music I grew up on. Oak Ridge Boys, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, along with the classics like Loretta and George Jones.

This song was written by Rodney Crowell, who is a great songwriter and collaborated with Emmylou after Gram Parsons died. I remember this song being a sing-a-long in the car and I loved the story. It's just an ordinary story about the way the things go - round and around nobody knows, but the highway goes on forever.

(The jeep pictured is slightly different than the one we had. Ours didn't have a white top. Oddly, I couldn't find one that looked just right. I wonder if my memory has altered things. I do remember it was not a woody, though. Davy Dave had a Jeep Cherokee that was a woody and was cooler than ours - I was a little jealous. I'm pretty sure they bought it because the wanted to one up us.)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

2017-10-07 (Yakety Yak - The Coasters)

Yakety Yak - The Coasters (1961)

I had a full album (tape) of the Coasters, which I wore out. I love the energy, the innocence, the tightness in their performance. These guys were from a long line of black vocal acts that perfected their harmonies and played their voices like horn sections. I still have a soft spot for anything influenced by those recordings.

Throughout my musical listening journey, I have had several 'episodes', where I latch onto a music genre or sub-genre and dig in obsessively. This has happened with Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Jam Bands, Jazz, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Nashville and Texas songwriters and many more. The first thing I remember doing this with is "Oldies" - 50's and 60's Rock'n'Roll. Somewhere between my obsession with Michael Jackson and The Smiths, my parents browsed through their high school yearbooks and told me a bunch of old stories and explained the social structure and events of the day ('59-'62).

I wrote about this back on May 4, 2011 found here.

Here are a couple other of my favorites that are referenced in the post above.
Hanky Panky - Tommy James & the Shondells (1966) - This was a 45 they had that really stood out to me.
Runaway - Del Shannon At the time, I remember saying this was my favorite. I would listen to it over and over.
Not to mention, the Coasters had plenty -- Their big hits

Friday, October 6, 2017

2017-10-07 (Coyote - Joni Mitchell)

Coyote - Joni Mitchell (1976)

Joni is songwriting royalty. Not just among female songwriters, but all of them. She is up there with the best. When I saw her perform this in The Last Waltz, I was blown away. I wanted to be the Coyote and to have had that, even if fleeting, intimate encounter with this beauty and energy. I was familiar with her early stuff (almost picked Big Yellow Taxi for today's song) and her connection with Graham Nash and CSN&Y. But, the difference between 'Big Yellow Taxi' and 'Coyote' is like the difference between 'Blowin in the Wind' and 'Tangled Up in Blue'. It demonstrates a real evolution in her craft.

The imagery in this song is like a short film. It is a visual tale laden with sensation as much as with emotion. The arrangement creates the perfect feel, using only guitars, Jaco's smooth fretless bass and congas. She strums the ease of "No regrets, Coyote" while Jaco bounces through the story from scene to scene. It comes across as autobiographical - about her realizing her lifestyle is not compatible with that of her new love interest. But, it's okay. It is clear by the ease of pace of the song and her matter-of-fact delivery of the lyric -- she may be fully taking it in, but she's not slowing down for regrets. Her independence is not stated, but it is apparent. To me (just a dude), the over arching theme is a story of feminism in the "post sexual revolution" 70's. Near the end, when she says she's a "prisoner of the fine white lines of the free, freeway" with that strum and bounce of the music, the closing credits are framed by the dashboard and windshield, looking out at that expanse - the possibilities. She sounds more committed to this way of life than imprisoned by it.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

2017-10-05 (Panic - The Smiths)

The summer before 9th grade (1987), I was hanging out with Andy Cecil one day at the Country Club. Evidently, I was trying to act like some kind of punk to be cool around some older guys (Matt Lynch and another guy I don't remember his name). I was primed for it. There was so much angst and anxiety running through me in those days, but I so wanted to stay cool. So, this other guy asked me what music I listened to. I don't remember what I said, but he didn't approve. It was too mainstream.

"Why don't you listen to music with meaningful lyrics... somebody who's got something to say?"
"Like who?"
"The Smiths sing about hanging the DJ. You should listen to the Smiths Louder Than Bombs."

I went on to buy the cassette twice (cheap tape broke) and the cd twice (stolen). This was a primer that led me into some of the most important music of my life (REM, Cure, Depeche Mode...). Obviously, there were no brotherly influences here. Don thought I had gone fag. I wore this album out. Listening to it now, it doesn't speak to me as the most revolutionary song. And, even though I still love this album, it is not close to my favorite song on there. But, you can imagine a boy at 14....

Panic - The Smiths

I love almost every song on there, but here are a few that demonstrate their range pretty well.
Oscillate Wildly
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
This Night Has Opened My Eyes

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

2017-10-04 (This Ol' Cowboy - The Marshall Tucker Band)

This Ol' Cowboy - The Marshall Tucker Band (from Where We All Belong - one of my favorite albums ever! This is Southern Rock.)

"From Spartenburg, South Carolina, Capricorn Recording Artists the Marshall Tucker Band" (Intro to Live Album and "Ramblin'").

This is a song that's about the musicians playing it. A real band. And, it really doesn't matter the instrument - as demonstrated by southern rock's only flute player, a bad-ass flute player. The lyric is just enough to carry you into the lonesome feeling and the solos are enough to take you deep and let you wallow in it. I don't know anything about their intention in structuring this performance, but to me it seems perfect that the instruments are kept sorta singular. The rhythm section is solidly there throughout, giving you the feel out being 'out there' on your own. There is an occasional twin guitar or fiddle and guitar playing the same phrase. But, mostly each instrument is given ample time and space for their solos.

Col. Bruce had the 4 T's of playing. Tone, Timing, Taste and Threat of Vomit. I can imagine on a hot live version, there may have been the Threat (See "Ramblin" for T.O.V.), but not on this performance (other than the lonesomeness). But, I believe this song to be a masterpiece of the other 3 T's. There is no guitar player with better tone or taste than Toy Caldwell. The way the piano comes in at the end of the fiddle solo around the 3:15 mark and the guitar at the end of that solo..... is the timing that pulls it all together. Taste is everywhere, from the sparseness of the solos - the notes they are not playing - to the individual voice of each player, to the southern accent of the cowboy (Toy Caldwell's vocals). At least once, ignore the lyric and the solos completely and listen to what's going on behind it. And, listen for the subtle bass fills from Toy's brother Tommy - gorgeous!

I suggest turning this one up a little louder than you're comfortable with. Around the 2:45 mark, go ahead and turn it up some more. You will fall into it.


Additional musicians[edit]

  • Charlie Daniels – fiddle on “24 Hours At a Time”
  • Paul Hornsby – piano, organ, clavinet
  • Stein – fiddle