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Monday, April 18, 2011

Music & Me

April 18, 2011: Well, another week has gone by and I'm still not famous. Part of me wants to publicly blame you for this, and yet what good would that do, (so I'll just keep blaming you privately). I had to eat another agent rejection this morning -- a dirty little cad whose name I'll spare you, even though it's a silly name -- and now I'm bitter ... more bitter than usual, if you can imagine such a thing ...

But that's not why I logged you in today, or on. In fact, I had more blissful topics to explore, beginning with music. This weekend I was pleasantly reintroduced to an old personal "best of" CD compilation I'd made back yonder. I hadn't heard a lot of these exquisite songs in quite sometime, and I was wholly drawn in to each as they spun (with only a modicum of skipping) so blithely upon (or within) my auto's CD spinning machine. And as each song played, I decided it was absolutely the best song ever recorded, bar none, if I had to name one, and for those three minutes I probably would have bet my life (or certainly your life) on the possibility that said song was a bona fide miracle of creation (or evolution, depending on which side you're on).

For starters, if you don't know the Creedence Clearwater Revival song "Lodi," I feel sorry for you, because it's got to be the most heart-wrenching, pathos-drawing, and yet rhythmically intoxicating tune ever created. I remember my friend Kristine Newman once commenting, "It just says it all," and it does! Great kudos to my friend John Fogerty, who set a standard for music and plaid shirts.

But then came the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider," which is beyond words. When the bridge (and bass) fall into that simple, almost two-note guitar solo, it's a heart-stopping moment for me -- rainy windshield on a Georgia highway, sucked along by that lordly voice of Gregg (or as his friends call him, Greg). And those harmonies ... Egad! as Matt would say (and he's from Georgia!).

And also from Georgia comes R.E.M., and while they have so many good songs (at least up until their drummer Bill Berry, with his enormous single eyebrow, left the band), "Sitting Still" just has to be (at least for me) the quintessential early '80s melancholy underground dance hall jangling Rickenbacker tune of it all. (On a personal note, I don't think Matt can understand this one, as he tried to run Bill Berry over with his car ... or maybe Berry tried to run him over; I always get confused about the story.)

You've heard me speak of Lulu's "Dreary Days & Nights," of course -- just breathtaking -- but a similar period piece (which I know Matt loves) is Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play." What an amazing arrangement, and scintillating use of effects ... It's really a song that takes creation to the next level. I love later Pink Floyd, of course, but this early piece has to be about their best to me.

And in that vain (or vein -- I'm not sure which), The Doors did something similar with several pieces, and one great (and lesser known) example is "Unhappy Girl" -- great lyrics (and I've never been an over-the-top Jim Morrisson fan, in part because I think most poetry is just silly), a fetching liquid tune, and again, special effects that just work brilliantly. Of course, there aren't many bad Doors songs.

Finally -- and believe me, I could go on and on ... I haven't even touched on the Beatles or Beach Boys, but each deserve their own entry at least -- but finally, what has to be (for me ... yes, remember this is all about ME!) the quintessential song of the 60s -- Jefferson Airplane's "D.C.B.A. - 25," which appears almost invisibily on the second side of the classic "Surrealistic Pillow" album. That song just sounds like Golden Gate Park on a late afternoon in summer -- a subtle echo, and heavy hit of sparkling noise. The Airplane was never a tight band, not a slick band, like the Beatles or Byrds, but a kind of sloppy dissonant chord. Yet Paul Kantner and company work wonders on this song, the throwaway title of which is merely the four chords they use, with the LSD joke tagged on. (God, listen to me making liner notes!) It also includes two of my favorite lines of any song -- "Too many days I've left unstoned" ... and perhaps my favorite, "I can but dance behind your smile." Wow! Now that's poetry!

Well, many more songs could I praise, but time is short and I have to get my pants on. Most importantly, it made me forget ... y'know ... and while I'll have to go back and reread this for typos, I'll look forward to getting out to my car again and escaping into auditory oblivion ...

1 comment:

  1. some day i'll tell you about these girls i used to know who were the Allman Brothers' first stop every time they came to Greensboro . . .