The Left Banke, Walk Away Renee, 1966. This song is the personal soundtrack to 40-year-old memories of a woman, older than me, whom I loved from afar, a love never revealed to its object. Does hidden love count as unrequited love?
Lenny Welch, Since I Fell for You, 1963. You say it's sentimental? Well, what would life be without sentiment and feeling? Qualia are what make life worth living, as a philosopher might put it. It would be interesting to try to figure out just what sentimentality is, and what is wrong with it.
One self-indulgently 'wallows' in a sentimental song, giving into its 'cheap' emotions. The emotions are 'false' and 'faked.' The melody and lyrics are formulaic and predictable, 'catchy.' The listener allows himself to be manipulated by the songwriter who is out to 'push the listener's buttons.' The aesthetic experience is not authentic but vicarious. And so on. Adorno would not approve.
It was 50 years ago tomorrow. Your humble correspondent was among the 73 million Americans who tuned in to see the Lads from Liverpool, the Four Moptops, the Fab Four, as they were variously known. Later, in '64 or '65 I saw them live at the Hollywood Bowl. What remains are all those great tunes, hundreds of them. So pour yourself a stiff one, and give a listen.
Something, 1969. Although not as prolific as Lennon and McCartney, George Harrison here proves he can write a song as good as anything they wrote. Frank Sinatra considered it the greatest love song ever written. A Sinatra version.
0:00 - You Never Give Me Your Money 4:03 - Sun King 6:29 - Mean Mr. Mustard 7:35 - Polythene Pam 8:48 - She Came in Through the Bathroom Window 10:47 - Golden Slumbers 12:19 - Carry That Weight 13:55 - The End
According to Ron Radosh, ". . . 'The Hammer Song,' known by most as “If I Had a Hammer,” was written by Lee Hays (not Seeger) as a song to be used in defense of the indicted Communists, and not as a clarion call for brotherhood." May of us were fooled way back when, we who heard it first in the Peter, Paul, and Mary version. The Seeger version.
Back to Radosh for context, and to stem the deluge of uncritical praise (bolding added):
Pete Seeger’s death at the age of 94 has brought forth scores of celebratory tributes. America had long ago showered him with honors, which all but made up for the scorn with which he was once held in the age of the blacklist. Seeger received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1994, as well as multiple Grammys. He was named one of America’s “living legends” by the Library of Congress, was asked to sing at the 2009 inauguration of President Obama, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He had become, as a Washington Post story once put it, “America’s Best Loved Commie.”
Without Seeger’s influence and sponsorship of folk music, from traditional Appalachian ballads to slave songs of the Old South, many would never have appreciated folk music, nor would it have become a genre whose influence has spread far and wide. He experimented with “world music” long before anyone had used that term; when abroad, he collected songs and brought them back to the United States. “Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight),” written by Solomon Linda and used in The Lion King, is a major example of a South African song Seeger brought here generations before Paul Simon.
What other artist would receive a statement from the president of the United States honoring him, not to speak of the scores of senators and members of Congress who found inspiration in his voice and his singing?
Yet, an honest appreciation of Pete Seeger cannot be left at what most accolades have done. Indeed, since his political vision, his service over the decades to the brutality of Soviet-era Stalinism and to all of the post-Cold War leftist tyrannies, was inseparable from the music he made, it simply cannot be overlooked. For, more often than not, Seeger’s voice was heard in defense of causes in which only fools could still believe. As Paul Berman put it, “Let us sing ‘If I Had a Hammer,’ then, and, at every third verse, let our hammers bop Pete Seeger on the head for having been a fool and an idiot.”
And calling him a fool and an idiot is, indeed, not too harsh a judgment to make about Pete Seeger. I say that sadly, as a person for whom Pete was a childhood hero. I studied banjo with him, got to know him, and visited him at the legendary home he built from scrap in Beacon, New York.
For years, all that Pete Seeger said about Joseph Stalin, whose regime he served without a blink for decades, was that the Soviet leader was a “hard driver.”
[. . .]
During the Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939-41), Seeger sang antiwar songs that, in effect, called for the support of Hitler. When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, he withdrew the songs he had just recorded and suddenly supported the “antifascist alliance” between the United States and the Soviets. During the Cold War, he supported unilateral American disarmament and backed one Soviet propaganda campaign after the other. “Put My Name Down, Brother, Where Do I Sign?” he sang, calling for signatures on the Stockholm Peace Petition developed by KGB fronts in Europe.
During the Vietnam war, Seeger not only helped lead the antiwar movement, he also sang in praise of the brutal Ho Chi Minh. Lyndon B. Johnson was called “a big fool” in one of his most famous songs, while he sang of Ho Chi Minh: He educated all the people, / He demonstrated to the world, / If a man will stand for hisown land, / He’s got the strength of ten.
In 1999, Seeger traveled to Cuba to receive an award from the Castro regime. The fading Cuban tyrants honored him with their highest cultural award, given for “humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism,” which was in and of itself a travesty. Accepting an award from Fidel Castro should make it clear that Seeger’s would-be humanism and protest was aimed at one side only: his own country, which he clearly thought was led by the world’s sole oppressors.
One cannot hope to be thought of as a defender of human rights and also accept an award from the Cuban police state. That, too, must be taken into consideration when evaluating what Pete Seeger really learned from his own Stalinist past.
In his last years, Seeger, who, in the period when the Soviet Union was briefly pro-Israel, sang songs in both Hebrew and Yiddish (including Israeli songs), gave his support to boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) against Israel, even to the extent that he handed over royalties from “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the movement.
A great folk singer who contributed much to the American story, he was fatally flawed by the leftism he imbibed with his mother’s milk. How telling that a man who sought social justice, peace, and a livable world could, at the same time, believe that serving leftist tyrants was somehow compatible with his dream of universality and solidarity.
Last time I left out one of the Cs, Petula Clark. A major omission, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Here's 1964's Downtown.
From the sweet to the Dionysian hard core of rock and roll, Spencer Davis, Gimme Some Lovin. A great driving song. Try not to pound a hole in the dashboard.
And from there to the folk strains of Donovan, Catch the Wind. Colours. Here is a dumbassed YouTube comment: "The singing style, the guitar style, even the cap: everything here screams, 'Dylan impersonator!'" You may as well argue that Dylan was a Woody Guthrie impersonator. Though not on Dylan's level, Donovan was a major ingredient in the flavor of the fabulous and far-off 'sixties.
Colours duet with Joan Baez at Newport Folk Festival. Here's another great duet version of Catch the Wind: Joan and Mimi Baez. Season of the Witch. Drifting psychedelic . . . .
And then there was the Dave Clark Five, Glad All Over. A little plastic . . . . 'Plastic' is '60s slang for fake, less than authentic, artificial. Here is a glossary of '60s slang. Not entirely accurate, but pretty good.
Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers died on Friday at age 74. From the NYT:
The Everlys brought tradition, not rebellion, to their rock ’n’ roll. Their pop songs reached teenagers with Appalachian harmonies rooted in gospel and bluegrass. [. . .]
They often sang in close tandem, with Phil Everly on the higher note and the brothers’ two voices virtually inseparable. That sound was part of a long lineage of country “brother acts” like the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. In an interview in November, Phil Everly said: “We’d grown up together, so we’d pronounce the words the same, with the same accent. All of that comes into play when you’re singing in harmony.”
Paul Simon, whose song “Graceland” includes vocals by Phil and Don Everly, said in an email on Saturday morning: “Phil and Don were the most beautiful sounding duo I ever heard. Both voices pristine and soulful. The Everlys were there at the crossroads of country and R&B. They witnessed and were part of the birth of rock and roll.”
RIP Phil Everly. We can never thank you enough for the music and memories of a bygone era, long past, when cars were chariots of Chrome gleaming in the moonlight and shades of neon in the heat of summer...I still remember the crackle of the AM radio with reverb....Nothing can replace Phil and those days.
Larry Verne, Mr. Custer (1960). "What am I doin' here?"
And now a trio of feminist anthems. Marcie Blaine, Bobby's Girl. "And if I was Bobby's girl, what a faithful, thankful girl I'd be." Carol Deene, Johnny Get Angry. Can't find the Joanie Sommers original, but this is an adequate cover. "I want a cave man!" k. d. lang's parody. Little Peggy March, I Will Follow Him. "From now until forever."
Meanwhile the guys were bragging of having a girl in every port of call. Dion, The Wanderer (1961). Ricky Nelson, Travelin' Man. (1961)
Addendum: I forgot to link to two Ray Stevens numbers that are sure to rankle the sorry sensibilities of our liberal pals: Come to the USA, God Save Arizona.
The Llewyn Davis character in the brilliant Coen Bros. film suggests, I don't say represents, Dave van Ronk. So let's start with some tunes (not necessarily the renditions) from the movie done by the Mayor of MacDougal Street.
To Scottsdale this drizzly dreary dark December morning to see the Coen Bros. latest on its opening hereabouts, Inside Llewyn Davis. A tale of two kitties is a sub-motif that symbolizes the self-destructive folksinger's troubles, but it would take a couple more viewings for me to figure it out.
The film gripped me and held me its entire running length, but then I lived through that era and I know the music and its major and minor players. Figuring out the the cinematic references and allusions is part of the fun. Tom Paxton, Albert Grossmann, Jim and Jean, The Clancy Brothers, Bob Dylan . . . they are all there -- or are they?
A distinction is made between purely fictional objects (native objects) and immigrant objects: historical individuals that have been imported into fiction from reality. Many of the characters in the Coen Bros. film seem to belong to a third category. They are not wholly unreal like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, or lightly fictionalized individuals like many of the characters in Kerouac's novels, but fictional surrogates of real-life individuals. For example, there is a character who suggests Tom Paxton, but could not be said unambiguously to represent him, pace Dave van Ronk's ex-wife who writes, in a critical review, "The character who represents Tom Paxton has a pasted-on smile and is a smug person who doesn't at all resemble the smart, funny, witty Tom Paxton who was our best man when we married."
Ann Hornaday's Washington Postreview ends brilliantly:
In many ways, “Inside Llewyn Davis” plays like a waking nightmare of creeping anxiety and dread, as the era’s grandmaster of brazen self-invention arrives unseen in New York while Llewyn’s self-defeating near-misses pile up like so much street-sullied snow. But this soulful, unabashedly lyrical film is best enjoyed by sinking into it like a sweet, sad dream. When you wake up, a mythical place and time will have disappeared forever. But you’ll know that attention — briefly, beautifully — has been paid.
The era's grandmaster of brazen self-invention is of course Bob Dylan, who blew into town that bitter winter of '61 and who in a few short years brought about a sort of Hegelian Aufhebung of the folk era: its simultaneous cancellation, preservation, and transmogrification into the heart of the '60s as represented by the trilogy of Dylan at his most incandescent: Bringing it It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde.
Mr. Bill made a mistake the other night on The O'Reilly Factor when he said that the British skiffle group Mungo Jerry's sole Stateside hit, In the Summertime, is from '67. Not so, as I instantly recalled: it is from the summer of 1970. I remember because that was the summer I first read Kant, ploughing through The Critique of Pure Reason. I sat myself down under a tree in Garfield Park in South Pasadena with the Norman Kemp Smith translation and dove in. I couldn't make head nor tail of it. But I persisted and eventually wrote my dissertation on Kant.
Now why is Mr. Bill's mistake worth mentioning? Because, to paraphrase Santayana, those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. And we wouldn't want to repeat the '60s.
Spencer Case thinks I need to expand my musical horizons. I don't disagree. He writes,
O.K. here are my five picks for good folk/rock music within the last ten years.
First, "The Wrote and the Writ" by Johnny Flynn, an artist I've just discovered. I chose it because of the syncopated guitar and the outstanding lyrics.
Second, "Right Moves" by Idaho's own Josh Ritter. Ritter been one of my favorites for about six years. He isn't instrumentally out of this world like some of the other artists here, but he's a great songwriter. It's hard to find a representative song for him for a first exposure, but this seems like a safe bet. Third, "Simple as This" by Jake Bugg, another new discovery. Great lyrics.
Fourth, "Don't Need No" by Punch Brothers. I've seen these guys live and they are amazing.
Fifth, "Big Parade" by Lumineers. These guys are from Denver and actually, they are quite popular now. So not everything on this list is obscure.
As far as I'm concerned, these artists prove good music is alive and well, if under-appreciated. Interested to hear how you think they stack up.
It's good stuff, Spencer. I enjoyed 'em all. Here are some obscure tunes/renditions I think you'll enjoy if you haven't heard them already. I won't make any invidious comparisons. It's all good.
I met a very interesting man last Sunday, Boniface Thayil. He showed up at our little chess club wanting to learn the game. So I gave him his first lesson. He knew nothing, not even the names of the pieces, let alone how they move. Now he knows a little something. I hope he shows up again tomorrow.
We got to talking. His dark complexion prompted me to ask whether he is Pakistani or perhaps from India. He said he was from the state of Kerala in India, came to Seattle, Washington as a young man, earned a degree in chemical engineering, and had been employed in Chicago. His intelligence and wide interests prompted me to learn more about him via Google. The search pulled up one Kim Thayil. The name rang a bell. A while back I had read about Soundgarden and some Seattle 'metal' bands. So I clicked on this link.
"Kiss Alive was the second album I ever bought, and the first record that made me realize things could be a lot louder and more violent than the Beatles. It emphasized volume and guitar over harmony, melody and lyrics; all the stuff I never listened to anyway," he told Mudhoney's Mark Arm.
Assembling various facts, it seemed possible that Kim was the son of Boniface, so I e-mailed the latter and found out that the former was.
Here is a Soundgarden tune as performed by Johnny Cash, Rusty Cage. Good song. I like it. Here is the rather more 'metallic' Soundgarden version.
Here is some of Kim Thayil's guitar work. The quotation above explains why I can't relate to much of this stuff. Some examples of the guitar work that speak to me follow. It is a generational thing, no doubt. It seems to come from the heart and speak to the soul whereas the metal stuff is more akin to industrial noise. "Music to pound out fenders by." (Ed Abbey) Sorry, boys. De gustibus, et cetera. There is no arguing sensibility. Argument comes too late.
Ventures, Memphis. Mighty fine guitar-slingin' by both lead players.
Hi Bill. Longtime blog follower, here.
Concerning your comment on your Kim Thayil post: "It seems to come from the heart and speak to the soul whereas the metal stuff is more akin to industrial noise."
As you say, there is no arguing sensibility. Nonetheless, just for the hell of it, check out the link below, a sub-forum of reddit called "change by view", and especially the first comment at the top of the chain:
Of course, that concerns death metal, which makes Soundgarden sound very melodic.
Thanks, Martin. I forced myself to listen to the song to which the poster refers. This is music, not to pound out fenders by, but to watch the West decline by. Suppose you like this at 17, will you like it at 57? Suppose you first hear it with a girl who you go on to marry. Will you say to her 20 years later, "Hey baby, they're playing our song"? Well, nobody could accuse it of being sentimental.
To recover from the above, I listened one more time to the marvellous Embryonic Journey by Jefferson Airplane. I loved it in '67 and I love it now. I don't believe this is just generational chauvinism on my part.
And here is nastly slap at Jack from a writer not much better, Edward Abbey: "Jack Kerouac, like a sick refrigerator, worked too hard at keeping cool and died on his mama's lap from alcohol and infantilism."
Cactus Ed on Updike:
John Updike: our greatest suburban chic-boutique man of letters. A smug and fatal complacency has stunted his growth beyond hope of surgical repair. Not enough passion in his collected works to generate steam in a beer can. Nevertheless, he is considered by some critics to be America's finest *living* author: Hold a chilled mirror to his lips and you will see, presently, a fine and dewy moisture condensing--like a faery breath!--upon the glass.
Kerouac's Big Sur opens with a reference to a song:
The church is blowing a sad windblown "Kathleen" on the bells in the skid row slums as I wake up all woebegone and goopy, groaning from another drinking bout and groaning most of all because I'd ruined my "secret return" to San Francisco by getting silly drunk while hiding in the alleys with bums and then marching forth into North Beach to see everybody altho Lorenz Monsanto and I'd exchanged huge letters outlining how I would sneak in quietly, call him on the phone using a code name like Adam Yulch or Lalagy Pulvertaft (also writers) and then he would secretly drive me to his cabin in the Big Sur woods where I would be alone and undisturbed for six weeks just chopping wood, drawing water, writing, sleeping, hiking, etc., etc.
What is this song "Kathleen"? Reading on (emphasis added):
But instead I've bounced drunk into his City Lights bookshop at the height of Saturday night business, everyone recognized me (even tho" I was wearing my disguise-like fisherman's hat and fishermen coat and pants waterproof) and "t'all ends up a roaring drunk in all the famous bars the bloody "King of the Beatniks" is back in town buying drinks for everyone -- Two days of that, including Sunday the day Lorenzo is supposed to pick me up at my "secret" skid row hotel (the Mars on 4th and Howard) but when he calls for me there's no answer, he has the clerk open the door and what does he see but me out on the floor among bottles, Ben Fagan stretched out partly beneath the bed, and Robert Browning the beatnik painter out on the bed, snoring... So says to himself "I'll pick him up next weekend, I guess he wants to drink for a week in the city (like he always does, I guess)" so off he drives to his Big Sur cabin without me thinking he's doing the right thing but my God when I wake up, and Ben and Browning are gone, they've somehow dumped me on the bed, and I hear "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen" being bellroped so sad in the fog winds out there that blow across the rooftops of eerie old hangover Frisco, wow, I've hit the end of the trail and cant even drag my body any more even to a refuge in the woods let alone stay upright in the city a minute --
"I'll Take you Home Again, Kathleen" sounds like an Irish ballad but was actually written by an American, Thomas P. Westendorf, in 1875. Kerouac might have first heard it in the 1940s.
Tastes in music are pretty much generationally-rooted. Just to yank (tug?) Dale Tuggy's chain a bit, I said to him while we were rooming together in Prague, that the heavy metal stuff he likes is "music to pound out fenders by," a phrase that Edward Abbey (1927-1989) applied to all rock music. I claimed heavy metal has little by way of melody. Tuggy, who is 20 years younger than me, demurred and pointed me to some songs one of which is Metallica's Fade to Black. The song was released in '84 when Tuggy was 14, so maybe it had the sort of impact on him that Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone (1965) had on me when I was 15.
"Fade to Black" features a very nice acoustic guitar intro and does have a melody, but can it hold a candle melody- or lyric-wise to Tom Wait's suicide song, Shiver Me Timbers? You decide.
The Man Who Wasn't There is one of my favorite movies, and the best of Ludwig van Beethoven is as good as classical music gets. So enjoy the First Movement of the Moonlight Sonata to the masterful cinematography of the Coen Brothers.
Here is the final scene of the movie. Ed Crane's last words:
I don't know where I'm being taken. I don't know what I'll find beyond the earth and sky. But I am not afraid to go. Maybe the things I don't understand will be clearer there, like when a fog blows away. Maybe Doris will be there. And maybe there I can tell her all those things they don't have words for here.
That is the way I see death, as an adventure into a dimension in which we might come to understand what we cannot understand here, a movement from night and fog into the clear light of day. It is a strange idea, I admit, the idea that only by dying can one come into possession of essential knowledge. But no more strange than the idea that death leaves the apparent absurdity of our existence unredeemed, a sentiment expressed in Peggy Lee's 1969 Is That All There Is?
Perhaps no other popular song achieves the depth of this Leiber and Stoller composition inspired by the 1896 story Disillusionment (Enttäuschung) by Thomas Mann.
The 1963 March on Washington now lies 50 years in the past. Those civil rights battles were fought and they were won. What could be achieved by legislation and government intervention was achieved. Unfortunately, the civil rights movement gradually transmogrified into a civil rights hustle and grievance industry as the original ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. were betrayed by race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. And now look at the mess we are in. But it was a time of great and inspiring music. Here are some of Dylan's singular contributions.
Johnny Rivers, Summer Rain, 1967. It came out the summer we were all listening to the Beatles' Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band, and captures the mood of that summer for me.
Eddie Cochran, Summertime Blues, 1958. An early teenage anthem in rockabilly style by one who died young. Wikipedia:
On Saturday, April 16, 1960, at about 11.50 p.m., while on tour in the United Kingdom, 21-year-old Cochran died as a result of a traffic accident in a taxi (a Ford Consul, not, as widely reported, a London hackney carriage) traveling through Chippenham, Wiltshire, on the A4. The speeding taxi blew a tire, lost control, and crashed into a lamp post on Rowden Hill, where a plaque now marks the spot. No other car was involved. Cochran, who was seated in the centre of the back seat, threw himself over his fiancée Sharon Sheeley, to shield her, and was thrown out of the car when the door flew open. He was taken to St. Martin's Hospital, Bath, where he died at 4:10 p.m. the following day of severe head injuries. Cochran's body was flown home and his remains were buried on April 25, 1960, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.
Blue Cheer, Summertime Blues, 1968. A heavy metal version of the Eddie Cochran rockabilly number. The first heavy metal song? If you remember Blue Cheer, I'll buy you a beer.
Percy Faith, Theme from a Summer Place, 1960. I remember a girl complaining that this "old fogey music" was being played on the R & R station we were listening to: had to have been either KRLA, KFWB, or KHJ, Los Angeles.
It's a bit of a paradox: leftist race-baiters fly under the euphemistic flag of 'progressive,' while hopelessly stuck in the past. The civil wrongs were righted, but they want to turn back the clock. A pox on their racist house.
Brother Jesse and Co. are stuck inside of Selma with the Oxford blues again.
Those were just some of the songs from that summer of '63, the summer before the JFK assassination. It was a hopeful time, race relations were on the mend. But then everything fell apart and here we are 50 years later in the midst of serious national decline with a incompetent race-baiting leftist occupying the White House.
Gene Pitney was born 17 February 1940 and died 5 April 2006. Biography here.
Pitney was something of a melodramatic crooner in such hits as Town Without Pity, but he also penned upbeat chartbusters like Hello Mary Lou for Rick Nelson when he was called Ricky and He's a Rebel for the Crystals. The latter, featuring Phil Spector's wall-of-sound production job, has that oddly stirring quality common to many of Spector's productions.
Del Shannon (Charles Weedon Westover), December 30, 1934 – February 8, 1990, known prmarily for his Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit, Runaway, 1961. "Suffering from depression, Shannon committed suicide on February 8, 1990, with a .22-caliber rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California, while on a prescription dose of the anti-depressant drug Prozac. Following his death, The Traveling Wilburys honored him by recording a version of "Runaway"." (Wikipedia)
Dalida, O Sole Mio. I think I'm in love. "Dalida (17 January 1933 – 3 May 1987), birth name Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti, was a singer and actress who performed and recorded in more than 10 languages including: French, Arabic, Italian, Greek, German, English, Japanese, Hebrew, Dutch and Spanish." [. . .]On Saturday, 2 May 1987, Dalida committed suicide by overdosing on barbiturates. She left behind a note which read, "La vie m'est insupportable... Pardonnez-moi." ("Life has become unbearable for me... Forgive me.")" (Wikipedia)
The Singing Nun, Dominique, 1963. "Jeanine Deckers (17 October 1933 – 29 March 1985) was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium (as Sister Luc Gabrielle). She acquired world fame in 1963 as Sœur Sourire (Sister Smile) when she scored a hit with the her French-language song "Dominique". She is sometimes credited as "The Singing Nun". [. . .]
Citing their financial difficulties in a note, she and her companion of ten years, Annie Pécher, both committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol on 29 March 1985.
In their suicide note, Decker and Pécher stated they had not given up their faith and wished to be buried together after a church funeral. They were buried together in Cheremont Cemetery in Wavre, Walloon Brabant, the town where they died. The inscription on their tombstone reads "I saw her soul fly across the clouds", a line from Deckers' song "Sister Smile is dead". (Wikipedia)
Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, died of complications of multiple sclerosis at age 69 in December, 2010. Obituary here. Apparently, hanging out in the Mojave desert can do strange things to your head. Here is a taste of desert strangeness from the 1969 Trout Mask Replica album. Far out, man. Here is something rather more accessible from the 1967 debut Safe as Milk album. And I think I remember hearing Abba Zabba from that same album back in the day. (Which reminds of the saying, 'If you remember the '60s, you weren't there.')
From Lancaster-Palmdale to Bakersfield and the 'Bakersfield sound' of Buck Owens and his Buckaroos. I once had a girlfriend, half Italian, half Irish. Volatile combo, not recommended. I had me a Tiger by the Tail. My wife's half Italian, but the phlegmaticity of her Polish half mitigates, moderates, and modulates her latent Italianate volcanicity, which remains blessedly latent, if it exists at all.
He peered over the keyboard bespectacled and thoughtful, playing the professor to Jim Morrison's wild man, an Apollo of musical order to anchor the drunken Dionysian front man. Morrison joined the 27 Club in the summer of 1971, expiring of his excesses in a Parisian bath tub, while Manzarek lived on another 40 some years to die on May 20th at age 74. He seems to have negotiated those calm anticlimactic years well.
Here is a beautiful 'Crystal Ship" solo from 2012. The original 1967 Crystal Ship.
Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One (Simon and Shuster, 2004), p. 13:
He was different from the rest of the teen idols, had a great guitarist who played like a cross between a honky-tonk hero and a barn-dance fiddler. Nelson had never been a bold innovator like the early singers who sang like they were navigating burning ships. He didn't sing desperately, do a lot of damage, and you'd never mistake him for a shaman.
Nosiree, Bob, no shaman was he. There is more interesting material on Nelson in the vicinity of this excerpt. Dylan discusses Ricky Nelson in connection with his 1961 hit, Travelin' Man. But the great guitar work of James Burton to which Dylan alludes was much more in evidence in Hello Mary Lou. The Dylan Chronicles look like they will hold the interest of this old 60's Dylan fanatic.
Here is a better taste of James Burton and his Fender Telecaster with E. P. And here he is with the Big O dueling with Springsteen. Here he jams with Nelson's sons. Orbison on Nelson.
It has been over twenty five years now since Nelson died in a plane crash while touring. The plane, purchased from Jerry Lee Lewis, went down on New Year's Eve 1985. That travelin' man died with his boots on -- as I suspect he would have wanted to. In an interview in 1977 he said that he could not see himself growing old.
I have been listening this last week to George Jones. I was pretty much unaware of his work until his dying brought it to my attention. I linked to a couple of his tunes last week. Here are a couple more. A Girl I Used to Know.Am I That Easy to Forget?Here is an essay on Jones by Jim Goad.
In the interests of full disclosure: I am not now, and never have been, a southerner or a redneck. Worse than the redneck, however, is the librul who mocks him. Trying mocking him to his face.
As far as I know, Jones never had a crossover hit, but they were the way I learned about country music back in the day. Here are some of my favorite crossover numbers first heard via KRLA, KHJ, and KFWB, Los Angeles. My Favorite DJ? B. Mitchel Reed! (one 'l.')