Tonight I’m ripping a bunch of my old CDs into MP3s with my old computer while blogging around with my newer one. Someday I’ll get rid of the old computer but it’s pretty useful to have two that I’m intimately familiar with at my disposal.
So while I’m ripping, I’m reminiscing a little about music. Here’s the soundtrack for my night:
“A Day in the House” by Jeff Beck. “On the issue of the environment, nothing is being done.” Truly. Jeff Beck is one of the best guitarists ever and I wonder how many kids today have ever heard of him. Who talks about guitarists these days anyway? Who are the new kids on the scene? I guess I’m too old to know.
“Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits. “They don’t give a damn about any trumpet playin’ band, it ain’t what they call rock ‘n roll.”
“Walk of Life” by Dire Straits. “and after all the violence and doubletalk, there’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife. You do the walk, you do the walk of life” Amen, brother.
Remember when the best bands were made up of the ugliest guys? Dire Straits: ugly. Blue Oyster Cult, ugly. The Cars. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Now it's all pretty people.
“Livin’ Alone” by Bogert, Beck, and Appice. “Livin’ alone is a lonely prospect, don’t want to let you go, no. Wake up at night with no one beside you, say don’t want to be, don’t want to be, don’t want to be alone” Hello, ugly guys. Bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice were the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge. Then there’s Jeff Beck again. BB&A were dyn-o-mite. Check out their album, especially their version of “Superstition” and the great song “Black Cat Moan.” While you are at it, listen to some Vanilla Fudge. All Goth music and most hard rock owes them a big sloppy thank-you kiss.
“Willie the Pimp” by Frank Zappa. “twenty dollar bill will set you straight, meet me on the corner now and don’t be late” Classic. And long. And the singer (who I can’t think of quickly) has a Tom Waits thing going. Fantastic. Hot Rats indeed. And one forgets that besides being a genius, Frank Zappa was a hell of a guitarist too.
“San Ber’dino” by Frank Zappa. “She lives in Mojave in a Winnebago; his name is Bobby, he looks like a potato.” Funky, masterful, fantastic. And you can’t help but sing along to lyrics like:
Best-est way that they can feel-o,
Out on the highway rollin' a wheel-o,
He's her Tootsie, she's for real-o,
Trailer park heaven, tt's a real good deal-o,
Real good deal-o, Real good deal-o, Real good deal-o,
The rest of their lives In San Ber'dino,
Gonna spend the rest of their lives in San Ber'dino
“Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock. “For the hookers all tricking out in
“China Grove” by The Doobie Brothers. “Well, the preacher and the teacher, Lord, they’re a caution; they are the talk of the town. When the gossip gets to flyin’ and they ain’t lyin’ when the sun goes fallin’ down” Okay, it’s a huge transition from Zappa to Kid Rock to the Doobies but the guitar riff is great. The rhythm section is tight. They were a good band. Ditto
“Snowblind” by Black Sabbath. “My eyes are blind but I can see the snowflakes
glisten on the tree. The sun no longer sets me free. I feel the snowflakes freezing
me.” Too many people I know lost too many years to cocaine. That being said,
you have to love Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi’s driving chords. And two fingers
on his fret hand were partially amputated in an industrial accident before his
Sabbath days. Freakin’ heavy metal, man.
“The Wizard” by Black Sabbath. “Never talking, just keeps walking, spreading his
magic.” Harmonica heavy metal. Sweet!
My cousin Joe gave me Blue Oyster Cult’s Some Enchanted Evening album and Sabbath’s
Paranoid album for Christmas one year when I was ten or eleven years old. Changed
my life. He was the one who introduced me to KISS years earlier than that, too.
Owe Joe a lot in the music department. And my uncle Jon who let me pour through his
record collection that he had left at my Grandmother's house. The deal was that I
mail them to him at his new home. Many many months later, I got them mailed, after
taping every Vanilla Fudge, Hot Tuna, and Grateful Dead album he had. That and
the Butterfield Blues Band, John Sebastian, etc. Lots of fantastic stuff in that
“Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen.
”Everybody knows that the boat is leaking,
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
I know of poets who never edit their poems, the idea being that what they write
the first time is inspired and tinkering with it too much will destroy the magic
of the initial moment of inspiration.
Then there are poets like Leonard Cohen who will write a hundred lines for one
song and tinker and edit and shave and work and polish and mold each and every
word for months until the final piece is perfect. Leonard Cohen songs ARE
perfect. And being an old guy who was engaged to Rebecca freakin’ De Mornay.
Hello! You go Lenny!
“The Tower of Song” by Leonard Cohen
“Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
I'm just paying my rent every day
in the Tower of Song”
“Closing Time” by Leonard Cohen
“Yeah we're drinking and we're dancing
but there's nothing really happening
and the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night
And my very close companion
gets me fumbling gets me laughing
she's a hundred but she's wearing something tight
and I lift my glass to the Awful Truth
which you can't reveal to the Ears of Youth
except to say it isn't worth a dime
And the whole damn place goes crazy twice
and it's once for the devil and once for Christ
but the Boss don't like these dizzy heights
we're busted in the blinding lights
of Closing Time”
I guess it’s closing time for me too. Tell me what you are listening to these days.