Sunday, February 4, 2018

Aliens: Stranger in a Strange Land

purchase [Leon Russell ]

Leon Russell could have made our In Memoriam list this past year: he passed in November, age 74.
I saw him once back in the 70s - must have been in Philly, just after I had arrived in the US of A. This would have been at the Spectrum, which has been through a number of name changes over the years.

I bring up the rather personal "just arrived in the US" because it leads into my choice for the Aliens theme. Now, I didn't fit the legal definition of an alien in the US, having been born with an American passport. But I had spent most of my first 15 years outside the US, so I certainly felt like an alien - I had virtually none of the prerequisite cultural references of my peers - except maybe music.

When I saw him back in the early 70s, it would have been about the time of Mad Dogs and Englishman. About the time that I heard him on Dave Mason's Alone Together - you know? the LP with the mad swirling vinyl? And then again in the Concert for Bangladesh. For 2-3 years, I followed him closely up until about the time of Carney - he was all over the musical charts, playing with anyone who was somebody.

So, while the song isn't about extraterrestrials, it is about being an alien. Well, actually, it's about seeing the world with a different, compassionate eye - and one that isn't all that pleased with what he sees.

Leaders take us far away from ecology
With mythology and astrology
Has got some words to say
About the way we live today
Why can't we learn to love each other
It's time to turn a new face
To the whole world wide human race

Stop the money chase
Lay back, relax
Get back on the human track
Stop racing toward oblivion
Oh, such a sad, sad state we're in
And that's a thing

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