Saturday, April 13, 2013
DJResi: Rainy Day
In my efforts to "stay clean" & stear clear of the music police, I continue to search far and wide but seem to end up at SoundCloud again and again. Well ... there's some fine stuff there - and at least it's free and legal.
I decided early on that for this theme that I would go for Jimi Hendrix's "Rainy Day". Electric Ladyland blew me away - almost as much as the entire "Are You Experienced" album when I first heard it back in '69 - and that says a lot to me: I had never heard anything remotely like this before. The guitar literally sounded human: Hendrix' guitar technique (wah-wah, for example) is nigh on anthropomorphic.
But Hendrix' command both of the instrument and the theme doesnt stop there: to me, the music manages to convey the senses associated with a rainy day: mixed emotions of gray opresssion and a better day to follow. There is a sense of "wet" and bleared (not bleary). Wonder what he had on his mind?
As for DJResi ... you're on your own here. Maybe he'll see us and comment. Maybe you know more and will chime in. In either case, the music stands on its own: classified as Jazz/Fusion at SoundCloud and it's a mighty fine version - fairly true to the essence of the original.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Paul Westerberg: Trumpet Clip
This was the second song that jumped into my head when I heard the theme. The Joni Mitchell song was the obvious choice, but once this song got in, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head for more than a week. Even after reading this article about getting rid of earworms.
Paul Westerberg is a great songwriter, and his style has matured from his early days with The Replacements, but there is definitely a Westerberg sound, which is not to say that all of his songs sound the same, just that he has a distinctive style. “Trumpet Clip” is one of his minor gems, with an infectiously, even insidiously, catchy tune. And I am of the opinion that most songs are improved by a horn section. But the lyrics are completely ridiculous.
When I discussed Joni’s “Big Yellow Taxi” last week, I pretended that I understood the recording process that resulted in her giggle. Here, I want to believe that Westerberg wrote the tune, and just sort of made up nonsense lyrics, which he decided to keep. About 50 seconds in, after he sings, “pin the tail on Demi Moore,” he can’t hold it together, and kind of chuckles, as he continues, singing the classic lyric, “ring around the donkey core.”
To me, a good song is something you feel in your gut, and great lyrics aren’t necessary, but they can be a bonus. I mean, how many of us think that a song containing the line: “If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, It's just a spring clean for the May queen” is one of the greatest accomplishments of human civilization? And on the other hand, there is, say, pretty much every Richard Thompson song.
But in “Trumpet Clip,” it is that moment where the artifice is stripped away, and it is clear that Westerberg realizes the absurdity of what he is saying, that gives this song extra charm. Now, listen to it and let me know if you can get it out of your head. And if so, how.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Jonathan Richman: She Doesn't Laugh At My Jokes
Jonathan Richman's first marriage was nearing that seven year itch stage when he celebrated domestic life in a series of songs on 1991's amusing, often hilarious Having a Party. It's probably not fair to read too much into Richman's lyrics ("I wake up hilarious / how come she's so serious?"), but couples who can't laugh together are usually in trouble.
The album also contains "When I Say Wife":
"When I Say Wife/It's because I can't find another word/for the way we are
/but 'Wife' sounds like your mortgage/it sounds like the family car"
But as Jonathan told Julia Sweeney in a 1993 article for Spin Magazine he's often misunderstood:
"Partly because, even when something's serious, I think it's funny so people think I'm putting them on even though I really mean it."
Jonathan and Gail divorced in 1996. The ageless 61 year old singer has been happily remarried since 2003.