Boyfriend songs are fairly common, but not ones sung by dudes. Those are indeed a pretty rare breed in popular music. I have nothing at all against a gay love-song, but this doesn't feel like that to me. It feels like a cover that they didn't even think about the words before singing... when he says he is a "flowergirl" I snicker every time. Perhaps I am wrong, but I still didn't much care for it.
I don't think you can automatically assume this song is written from a gay man's perspective simply because the vocalist is a man. Perhaps the man who penned the lyrics simply wanted to write from a female perspective (see Son of a Preacher Man, e.g.) Maybe it was originally written with a female singer in mind but she turned it down.
Although the tendency these days is to regender song lyrics as necessary (see Please Mister Postman, for example), it was not unheard of (particularly in Bluegrass music, I believe) for male or female singers to sing the lyrics of songs as written even if they were singing a song written from an opposite gender point of view.
I don't think of this song as primarily a love song, anyway; more of a lament on the inevitable loss of youthful idealism and optimism.
Do you remember the smell, that smell your old car (mine was a Buick) made when you asked a little too much of it, to make the tires chirp? That faint whiff of fried transmission fluid, and burnt rubber?
What did the bathroom smell like when you combed your hair? Aqua velva mixed with Old Spice and shampoo and pimple cream? Did the fluorescent light fixture hum loudly when you first turned it on?
Remember what those bench seats felt like? Shiny, slippery cloth and vinyl, and that hard plastic steering wheel? Didn't it feel good in your hands?
And that sound, the sound of Detroit Iron, maybe a little loud cause there was a hole in the exhaust?
You'd head down a long straight stretch of country road, step on the gas, with the vent window cranked open and the windows down, smelling the nightime smells, on your way to nowhere in particular. Just your future.
Okay, my turn for an "actually"... Actually that's a National Steel resonator guitar. Seems any guitar that has a resonator gets identified as a Dobro. Dobros are a brand of guitars originally produced by a couple of brothers named Dobrinski. As I think about it, I believe their holdings may have been bought out by National at one point, or one of the brothers went to work for National. Or something like that...
Either way, that is a National Steel pictured above and yes, they have a very unique and lovely sound. So happy that I got to hear Knopfler play that guitar in concert back when DS were touring this album.
Interesting. I guess we can add "dobro" to the list of trademarks that have become generic terms! You are quite correct that what is commonly known (or at least referred to by bluegrass musicians and DJs) as a "dobro" is more accurately called a resonator guitar.
This album could have been so much more, but instead it sounds like a T Bone album....and less than the sum of its parts.
I invite you to point to any other producer these days who excels at culling overlooked, well written tunes, pairs them with excellent musicians and artists, and engineers an evocative, breathtaking sound that is rather minimalist (by today's standards, anyway) and yet sounds utterly complete and lacks nothing.
I remember watching an interview with some famous musician who opined (I'm paraphrasing) that what you leave out of a song is at least as important as what you put in. Some people might like overengineered pop music with lots of filler sounds and hardly a quiet moment in it, but to me the spare beauty of a simple and well crafted song/recording is undeniable.
It's a shame. The catalogue of Waits songs listed in the RP library is justifiably large (20 or so), yet there remain several gems that aren't there (Invitation to the Blues, Temptation, The Day After Tomorrow, Small Change, Hang on St. Christopher, Innocent When you Dream, etc. etc.)
I tend to place the Band in the same category as the Grateful Dead; they may not have had silver tongued vocalists galore, they may have eschewed the polished, produced sound that many groups of the era provided on their albums, but they (the Band and the Dead) were fearless chroniclers of the roots of Rock & Roll and collectors of a variety of overlooked songs from different genres from country to folk. Thanks in part to them the eclectic nature and varied roots of rock, blues, and "folk" music survived the commercialization of Rock and Roll that overtook popular music in the late 60s and early 70s to be rediscovered by subsequent generations of music fans.
So go ahead and make fun of Richard Manuel's vocals, or Gerry Garcia's vocals; those who understand what these bands were all about still appreciate them.
The quirky and lovable (well, for Nerds anyway) Television show The Secret Life of Machines featured, as its theme song, a cover of Take Five entitled "The Russians are Coming" by roots artist Val Bennett.
Disliking artists or songs is one thing,
but labelling something "drivel" and other demonstrably ridiculous statements is kind of beyond the pale. If you don't like it fine, you don't need to make insulting derogatory comments simply to justify the fact that it doesn't appeal to you.
There's a reason the music T Bone Burnett selected and produced for the soundtrack of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou received such a strong and positive response from such a broad audience a couple of years ago: Down in the marrow, it's quality music, and the musicians like Gillian, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley et al. appreciate and love performing what you call "hick" music. They know good songs when they hear them. Maybe someday you will, too.
Among the more enjoyable songs and albums over the last several years are those featuring Emmylou Harris adding her incomparable vocal talents to albums by great songwriters like Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler.
She adds that extra touch of class to almost any project she touches.
groan. This is horrid, it removes all of the angst and turmoil of the original and re-packages it as if made for a TV commercial. Guess, you had to live it to appreciate it, I did, and I don't apprecaite the droan that this rendition wafts.
I heartily disagree. This version breathes new life into what has become a comatose, grandiose, overplayed rock banality.
I've been following lang's career since she began and I've always been under the impression that she's been the receipient of widespread critical acclaim (as well as a fair amount of popular appeal).
As for collaboration, I think she's a big enough talent to have little need for it. She has nonetheless done a lot of it.
She was one of the backup singers in the Roy Orbison tribute "A Black & White Night".
She collaborated with the famous Nashville producer Owen Bradley to produce one of her best albums, "Shadowland". She was joined for the final song by Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, and Kitty Wells on "Honky Tonk Angels' Medley".
With Tony Bennett, duets on the Grammy winning "A Wonderful World" album.
with Jane Siberry ("Calling All Angels")
with Roy Orbison ("Cryin")
again with Tony Bennett (1994, "Moonglow" from MTV Unplugged)
with Madeleine Peyroux (Joni Mitchell's "River" 2006)
My dislike of Roy Orbison makes me "musically ignorant"?
Sorry, I didn't realize musical enlightenent required the acquisition of a taste for Mr. Orbison's warbling voice.
Please forgive me.
You went far beyond expressing personal dislike of Mr. Orbison to Dub his "Worst. Voice. Ever." If you're going to make such regal and definitive pronouncements, you'd better be ready to back them up with something more than personal preference, n'est ce pas?
Not even the most widely admired artists appeal to everyone. I'm sure there's lots of knowlegeable people who don't personally appreciate Roy's appeal, but his vocal talent is undeniable as others below have noted.
For some strange reason, I would rather hear Jerry sing this. Mainly for the reason that Jerry had one of the most emotional voices I ever heard. He wasn't a great singer by any way, but that guy could bring tears to your eyes in this song by the emotion in his voice.
I don't get that with her. She has a beautiful voice, but the emotion isn't the same.
It's like the difference between hearing Streisand sing "Somewhere" and hearing Tom Waits sing "Somewhere".
I remember a skit they did on SNL featuring Ray Charles back in 1977. Charles was hired to play piano to back up a group called "The Young Caucasians" performing "What'd I Say". It was a smart lampooning of the "vanilla" versions of soul and R&B songs being covered by white artists like the Everly Brothers who expressed little emotional connection to the words they were singing.
To drive home the point, Ray sung his own version of the song, much to the delight of the audience.
The genius of this song is that most everyone who has kids can identify with it.
When you're young you can identify with songs about cars and pretty girls and wanting to have sex and finally doing it (well, unless your physicsgenius, anyway) but everybody's done songs about that. How many other songwriters tackle subjects like the utterly baffling, amazing and demoralizing moment when you realize you have become that thing you dreaded most as a youth: your parents? It's like listening to a really good standup comedian who can play a good rock hook to accompany his routine.
Any of you folks out there buy more than one copy of this album to see the different covers with different perspectives of the bar?
Take note of the swipe mark on the album cover. It's meant to be a hint.
(from wikipedia): "The original gramophone record of this album featured an unusual gimmick: the album had an outer sleeve which was made to look like a plain brown paper bag, and the LP record sleeve proper featured black and white line artwork which, if washed with a wet brush, would become permanently fully coloured. There were also six different inner sleeves featuring a different pair of photos (one on each side), and the external brown paper sleeve meant that it was impossible for record buyers to tell which sleeve they were getting. (There is actually a code on the spine of the album jacket, which indicated which sleeve it wasthis could sometimes be seen while the record was still sealed.) The pictures all depicted the same scene in a bar (in which a man burns a "Dear John" letter), and each photo was taken from the separate point of view of someone who appeared in the other photos."
Sophomore or junior year, guy in my fraternity played keyboards in a band called Misleading, end of the year block party in the parkinglot surrounded by our fraternity and two other houses featured Misleading playing starting at 4 in the afternoon, guy named Bobby Charles? (no relation to the New Orleans Bobby C, I'm sure) on guitar, they opened with this. They sounded great. Boy did I have fun that day/night!
Nice to hear a lead singer whose voice doesn't seem to recall anyone else. I do love this song.
Actually this song sounds a little like what a post Beatles breakup song might sound like if Geoge Harrison collaborated with Brian Wilson. Bright, jangly pop. The vocals are sort of reminiscent of George as well.
Apropos of little, saw a great show on History Channel on Louis Armstrong, and one of the common themes (unavoidable, really) was the massive influence Satchmo had on Jazz and music in general. One of the talking head commentators pointed out that when you hear Billie Holliday, her phrasing and style, you're basically hearing Louie Armstrong.
This isn't a common lament for me but it's hard to be objective about this song anymore. It has just been WAY overplayed by too many stations (from Dinosaur rock to adult easy listening to who knows what focus group generated formats are out there nowadays).
This song appears in a western in which an outlaw is being pursued by a reluctant hero. It conveys a desperate, erratic flight on the part of the outlaw and a lengthy, relentless, determined pursuit on the part of the hunter, who remains "close behind" his prey, but can't quite catch up to him. Hence the title.
One of the lasting benefits of having been a Deadhead is having developed a keen appreciation for roots music. The Dead were an eclectic band in their musical taste, and their appreciation of, and love of, Country and Blues, the music styles that gave birth to Rock and Roll, led many including me to learn more about, respect, and eventually appreciate Country and Blues music.
It's puzzling to see some of the comments people offer when artists like Johnny Cash, Roseanne Cash, Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams, etc. get played on RP. Country doesn't belong on RP, this sucks, etc. etc. I guess not everyone benefited from the eclectic tastes of the Dead and other rock artists who have paid homage to their roots.
Bakersfield was the first genre of country music to rely heavily on electric instrumentation, as well as a defined backbeat in other words, it was the first to be significantly influenced by rock & roll.
Don't know if the influence of fledgling Rock and Roll (really it went by the name of rockabilly for the most part in the early 50s when the Bakersfield sound developed) can be said to have been "significant". Certainly those musicians identified with this sound probably were listening to Rockabilly as well as other stuff. Most agree the Bakersfield sound was a reaction to the "Nashville sound" popularized by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley. The reliance on electric guitars can probably be said to owe more to Honky Tonk tradition. Country acts that played these noisy venues found that their traditional stringed, unamplified instruments simply couldn't be heard over the noise, so amps and electric guitars became necessary for playing these "honk tonk" joints. The fact that many honky tonks offered dancing probably encouraged an emphasis on rythym, which could explain the "back beat". Earlier piano music referred to as Honky tonk similarly emphasized rythym over melody.
Our dinosaur rock station (WARW) was doing a retrospective promotion (30 years in 30 days) and pulled out a nifty live version of this by Page and Plant recorded in Morrocco (apparently available on CD/DVD).
But the version of Somewhere Over the Rainbox on this album is not the one that was played. This one has orchestration and the one played was super and only had a ukelele as music.
Any one know which album that was from ?
My wife has this CD and the version RP plays is the one on Facing Future
Frankly, this strikes me as a very poor imitation of the Waterboys' "Whole of the Moon":
"I had a match, but she had a lighter
I had a flame, but she had a fire
I was bright, but she was much brighter
I was high, but she was the sky"
"I pictured a rainbow
You held in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw then plan
I wondered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!
You were there at the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
You saw the whole of the moon!
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truths
You cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
You saw brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon!
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried
You just knew
But you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!
With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
You saw the whole of the moon!
The whole of the moon!"
Cash never sounded this good when I was a kid in the 70's forced to listed to Cash because my Father and Uncle were listening to him. My Father, my Uncle and Cash are all somehow VERY cool now that I am in my 40's. Maybe I did like Cash as a kid and just didn't know it???
Face it, kid, you've just become a square old fogey.
Now go listen to John Hiatt's "Your Dad Did" as you ponder when exactly you became your parents?
Now you're a chip off the old block
Why does it come as such a shock
That every road up which you rock
Your dad already did
Yeah you've seen the old man's ghost
Come back as creamed chipped beef on toast
Now if you dont get your slice of the roast
You're gonna flip your lid
Just like your dad did
Reading the lyrics to this song always reminds me of a bit Brett Butler used to do in her routine, she would poke fun at the Calvin Klein fragrance commercials and the waifs featured in them by saying,
"honey, you don't know anything about obsession. Let me tell you about obsession. Obsession is scrambling around in the bushes outside a married man's house after midnight with a machete in one hand and a jar of vaseline in the other". Presumably in a trenchcoat.
i hear ya... what i really don't get is modern R&B. how did otis redding and marvin gaye beget r. kelly and mariah carey? someone please splain it to me.
oh, and thanks for the timeless track, Bill!
I wonder if the mediocritization of "R&B" happened in a similar way to the way Country & Western was mainstreamed and made into a hollow imitation of what it used to be. That story, of course, has been told fairly definitively in shows like the BBC's "Lost Highway" retrospective on the history of Country music (see "The Nashville sound", Owen Bradley, Chet Atkins), but I don't know of a book, article, etc. that similarly explores how R&B lost what it once had. It can't be strictly an attempt to mainstream the music, to popularize it for imrpoved sales, because my impression is that during the "golden years" of Motown R&B, Motown was all about popularity and boosting record sales. Maybe it's the advent of focus group-driven decisions by recording execs.
This song has mystical powers. If you have an obnoxious song stuck in your head, all you have to do is think of "Kashmir". It's like some sort of musical palate cleanser, wiping away the aftertaste of whatever syrupy pop ballad that's being forced down our throats today.
This powerful song by Elliot Smith, written (seemingly) from the point of view of a full blown enabler, who may be getting sucked inexorably into their own addiction, practically begs to be drenched in melancholy, heartache, and resignation. Smith's cryptic version, emotions almost robotically held in check, is powerful and moving, but I think Madeleine's version really brings the emotion of the song home. I guess those who prefer Smith's version like the contrast of the emotions of the song with the understated way it is sung. I think if you're going for the melancholy, you gotta go all the way.
I don't know about this version of Thunder Road. On first listening, I miss the piano for one thing. That and the lack of a sense of grandiosity the original has seem to leave an empty husk of the original.
Margo and CJ do some great covers (Sweet Jane) but this one doesn't seem to sparkle. Maybe upon further listening it'll grow on me.
The title walk between the raindrops earns this a ten.
In that case you might like Donald Fagan's song of the same title, featuring one time members of Paul Shaffer's "Late Night" Letterman band (Hiram Bullock, Will Lee, and I could have sworn Paul Shaffer was listed in the credits for this song, too, but can't confirm online).
It's inevitable that when songs like this get played on RP, someone chimes in "why this song, when I can hear it anytime on a Classic Rock station/Elevator music service/Dentists' Office PA?"
The whole point behind programming an eclectic, free form radio show is that you don't allow what gets played to be dictated by anything beyond the goal of enjoying and encouraging the appreciation of good music. If you start drawing lines, saying "we can't play this song because the classic rock stations have claimed it", or "we can't play this song because it's country/folk/bluegrass/disco/jazz/europop/rap/gospel (i.e. not RAWK), or "we have to/shouldn't play this song because all the mainstream stations ignore it", you are no longer free form and eclectic.
Speaking of big band tunes, I remember in Middle school being at an assembly where the High School band was playing, and they did "Woodchopper's Ball" and my math teacher, Ms. Coelho, and my Social Studies teacher (forget his name) got up and danced, to the astonishment and delight of the entire student body. I was probably not the only one in the audience who realized, for the first time in my life, that grownups like to have fun, too.
Geez! so many harsh comments. The gal's just trying to take a great Dolly Parton song and do it justice.
Okay, so her voice doesn't convey raw fear and desperation you crave in a song about someone tryna STEAL yore man, huh? But if you wear your fear out in the open, maybe he'll be more likely to bolt, is maybe what she's thinkin. She's soft sellin it.
If you gotta have that heart on the sleeve stuff, check out Jack White's live version here:
More raw anxiety, fear, and desperation in his voice than you can shake a stick at. No wonder Loretta Lynn had fun making a record with him.
I'll upload this nice version since a few others seem to like it, too.
Like a lot of songs from this fertile period (the Motown era) it's difficult to properly affix the tag "original" to any particular version of this classic.
According to Wikepedia, songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong (Billy Bragg, call your answering service) first recorded this with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, then the Isley Brothers, but couldn't get Berry Gordy to release either version. They tried again, this time with Marvin Gaye singing the lead over a groove by the in house Motown band the Funk Brothers, backed on vocals by the Andantes. No go, according to Mr. Gordy. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded a fourth demo and snuck the tape out of Motown to polish their vocal arrangements. They finally strongarmed Mr. Gordy into releasing the GK & Pips version as a single. Subsequently, Marvin Gaye's version was snuck onto his 1968 "In the Groove" album, and DJ demand finally forced Berry Gordy into releasing Gaye's version as a single, whence it outsold GK & the Pips' version. Read all about it:
Love Elvis but the original outshines this remake by far.
Huh? This was penned by Declan McManus himself.
This is amusing, check out this link:
Their chronology seems to indicate that it is a Dave Edmunds song even though they indicate "words and music by Declan McManus" (AKA Elvis C.), and they list it as being "covered" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.
The story circulating is that Elvis "gave" this song to Dave Edmunds when he was drunk.
Originally recorded for "Get Happy" but didn't make the cut, ended up as a B side on a single of "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down"
Just yesterday Fiona Ritchie was featuring highland pipes, lowland pipes, and Irish uilleann pipes, on Thistle and Shamrock. Now I get this recondite gem from the Chieftans and guests. This and snow falling outside now just makes my day!
I hear the anxious "this is as close to country as I want to get" messages (and some of the nastier ones in the "country sux" vein) some of you younguns are posting.
Your instinctual shunning of mainstream (Clearchannel) country music (which has little to do with its genuine roots these days) is commendable.
I urge you to join the spirit of eclecticism; defined as "the selection of elements from various and diverse sources (italics mine) . . . for the purpose of combining them into a satisfying or acceptible style". Crucial to engaging in the spirit of eclecticism is learning about these diverse sources. Check out the fascinating series the BBC did about country music's roots and history here:
Country music can be viewed as a long lost sibling, or half sib, of Rock & Roll. Both arose from the Rootsy genres of music enjoyed by Americans; Country just got a head start on Rock and Roll. Johnny Cash wanted to be a Gospel singer but Sam Phillips talked him into playing Rockabilly (which, as you know, was an early incarnation/prototypical form of Rock & Roll). Cash went on to write songs covered by the Dead (Big River), NRBQ (Get Rythym), and moved everyone recently with his cover of "Hurt"(Trent Reznor & Nine Inch Nails). To me, eclecticism is all about this big circle of music that comes around upon itself to revalidate its roots and reenergize its future.
So don't be scared; check out that Mavericks song, give Lucinda Williams a listen. Hear Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris collaborating magically on "Teatro", delve into the great Gram Parsons tribute album "Return of the Grievous Angel". Check out Dave Edmunds' hot bluegrass licks on "Warmed Over Kisses (Leftover Love) from DE7; then listen to Dolly Parton give a Billy Joel song (yes, that guy) some real heft by doing a flat out rousing bluegrass version of "Travelin Prayer". Once you've whetted your whistle you can really delve into the roots (too bad we don't all have T-Bone Burnett around to shove songs and CDs into our hands periodically) and hear some of the music that inspired the likes of Dwight, Allison Krauss, Gillian Welch, and all the rest of their "neotrad" country kin.
I always thought this song was destined to be some presidential candidate's theme song. Maybe a true believer like Paul Wellstone, if he had ever run for prez instead of dying in a plane crash. Clinton picked the trite "Don't Stop" and still got elected twice. Think what a song like this would do for your campaign!
I heard this on FM radio (probably WBCN in boston back when the big mattress was occupied and Duane Glasscock might pop up and take over the station) back when "Empty Glass" was released in 1980. Nice blast from the past.
Comparing John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen . . . (posts below)
It's kind of like comparing Donovan and Dylan. Not really a fair comparison, no disrespect meant to Mr. Leitch (or Mr. Mellencamp).
In a nutshell, a simple comparison gives pretty good insight into the difference between Springsteen and Mellencamp: They both wrote songs about their home town (My Hometown, Small Town). You don't even have to listen to the music (although that will help seal the deal), just compare the song lyrics. You get a good sense of what good songcraft and lyrical ability can do, in terms of conjuring memories, emotions, summoning a genuine conflicted feeling of nostalgia mixed with resigned submission to reality. It can't really be compared with song lyrics that kind of string together cliches and don't really try to paint a picture or make you feel the genuine feelings the writer probably feels about his hometown. It's one thing to sing about how you feel about something; it's another to make listeners feel it for themselves. That, to me, is what the best songs, and the best songwriters, can do.
The ska revival of the early 80s was one of the more interesting things to happen, and the Beat were great and dissolved too quickly.
More from Special Beat Service! Let's hear End of the Party (nice, melancholy take on mismatched lovers sending mixed signals), or something irrepressibly peppy like Sole Salvation or Ackee 123 (how do they make songs that are as bright as these without being schmaltzy?)
Of the songs/shows I've taped off the radio one of my favorites is Los Lobos' live appearance on Prairie Home Companion in 1982. They wowed the audience and Garrison Keillor, who was inspired to suggest a new show sponsor, "powdermilk tortillas" after Cesar's suggestion.
Apparently it is available online from various traders.