Sunday, November 15, 2020


Another short post, having me rue on the fact that most "Joe" songs, as alluded to in my last, involve heading down Mexico way, gun in hand, old lady no longer shenanigans. And that will never do, guns seeming more in truck with the current incumbent. (Mind you, "Donald" songs are an even harder nut to track, so, hey, no bright ideas, Boss!)

But, thinking on, let's play on the soubriquet offered him courtesy the wit and wisdom of DRT, given the outcome.

I guess I could have used the Herman's Hermit's Sleepy Joe, as, likely, the better known song. But I then listened to it, possibly for the first time in nigh on half a century. Astonishingly, I could remember it in a Proustian rush, drying in front of the fire after a thursday evening bath and watching Top of the Pops. I liked Herman's Hermits, but I always found it alarming the way Peter Noone mugged directly into the camera, always worried he could see thus the seven year old me, naked in front of the old black and white TV. That would be more than enough to not want to use the song. Plus it is shit. So it is to the glorious playing of Norman Blake. Just his hands and fingers on a single guitar, making a change from the dobro he became better known for. 'Sleepy Eyed Joe' is the first of two tunes. The second is 'Indian Creek', as in Native American rather than Indian Indian, but let's overlook that and assume a timely link to his deputy.

But he ain't so sleepy is he, boys and girls, and the words of Agent Orange hang in the air like the scent of a cheap hairspray. 'Not So Sleepy' is a terrific tune from 1957, from one Oscar Pettiford. Appropriately enough it came out on a record entitled Winner's Circle, and included only contributions from artists coming first or second in the Down Beat critics poll of the year's best. Thus Pettiford, a double bassist of some renown,  3/4 Native American and 1/4 African American, found himself alongside the likes of Joh Coltrane and Donald Byrd, names that have largely outlived his. I think it a great romp, and exudes celebration. Clearly, a Winner's Circle with relation to POTUS can only include outright winners, something as yet to sink into the mindset of the defeated, but we live in hope.

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