Tag Archives: music

This Song was made for You and Me

28 Nov

Have you any idea how depressing it is when The Boy asks if the recording artists to whom I listen are still alive?

As in: “Is Tom Petty still alive?”  (Although The Boy really only likes “American Girl.”  He, too, was raised on promises.)

“What about Bob Dylan?  Is he still alive?  And, hey- weren’t you at that Bob Dylan tribute concert in the 1990’s?  The one where George Harrison and Eric Clapton played at Madison Square Garden?  Are they still alive?  And how old are they now?  And how old are you?”

If you hang out with your kid long enough, eventually you will round a musical corner together into “The Dead Zone”- that random shuffle where the iPod serves up a bunch of great music by artists who are no longer living: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Cash, Sid Vicious, Patsy Cline, a Beastie Boy for crying out loud- whereupon The Boy begins to understand why he sometimes has difficulty relating to his peers.

Even though I am just as wonderful now as I was then, my music may, in some circles, be perceived as retro, vintage or… old.  Even worse- old and bad.   (Although “White Castle fries only come in one size” is an eternal truth wrapped in an awesome riff.  And it rhymes.)

And maybe I have done The Boy a disservice by refusing to allow “kid’s music” to be played during his formative years.  No Wiggles or Barney or Disney soundtracks here.  (Disclaimer: “Bare Necessities” from Disney’s Jungle Book is not only an awesome song, it is a manifesto for life.  Besides being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, this track has been covered by Los Lobos, Brian Wilson and Louis Armstrong all of whom can be found on my iPod and only one of whom is deceased.)  Ironic that I once contemplated becoming a paw paw farmer.

As disservices go, I confess that I also fed The Boy mashed potatoes with truffle oil as one of his first solid foods.  So that pretty much rules out cafeteria bonding among classmates.

On the other hand, I am an expert at being me and at being me raising a kid in this moment.  (In the movie of my life, I am portrayed by Jenna Elfman and The Boy is a chocolate Lab.)  Anything else is as false as Rascal Flatts playing “country.”

Which brings us to my favorite musical category (yes; we’ve been heading somewhere all along): The “I’m Not Sure” Selections.  In music as in life: I don’t know.

Here is where we find Neil Young, Dr. John, BB King, Buddy Guy and the like.  “Are they still alive?”  I don’t know.

They ought to be.  They ought to live forever.  But I don’t make the rules- I barely follow them; it’s a daily struggle to hide my disdain for them.  But if I did make the rules, know this: David Crosby would totally have to fork over an organ, any organ, should Neil Young ever need one.

Listen Boy, not that this helps and I know you didn’t ask, but I have also had difficulty with relationships.  Mostly because there’s the outside- which is chronological age, height, weight, growth, etc. and there’s the inside.  Some days I feel 100 years old and other days I feel more like 5.  Such a range makes “peer” a tough word to define.  (Hint: at any age, a peanut butter sandwich and a nap will make everything better.)

And remember this: never, ever, do I appear older than 29.

Lyrics that brought me here

10 Jan

“The sun was like a light bulb being swallowed by a clown.”- Elvis Costello

While studying similes in school, this one struck me as excellent.

“I repeat myself when under stress.  I repeat myself when under stress.  I repeat myself when under stress.”- King Crimson

A wonderful sentence on its own.  Incorporated into a song, genius.

“Zoo be zabba zoo be zabba zoo be zabba zay.”- Tom Waits

Fun to sing, fun to type.  Your left pinky will never get a more difficult workout unless you are a novelist and one of your characters has fallen asleep.

“Fat babies have no pride.”- Lyle Lovett

While I always thought that I would be either a choreographer or a bird in my next life, a fat baby is worth considering.

“That’s life.  That’s what all the people say.  You’re riding high in April, shot down in May.”- Frank Sinatra

Chairman of the Board making pessimism bounce since 1966.

I went back to Ohio.  But my pretty countryside.  Had been paved down the middle.  By a government that had no pride.”- Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders)

a.  an environmental anthem that is still fresh and relevant today or:

b.  Ohio is governed by fat babies.

“You don’t have to be a star to be in my show.”- Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

If someone you know has spoken these words, in a somewhat saucy manner with emphasis added, they’re gay.  If you don’t think you have any gay friends, use Marilyn and Billy as a barometer.  It also wouldn’t hurt to rethink friends who speak saucily.

“Sha la la, man.”- Lou Reed.

An expression of disconnect and dispassion that is spot on.  That it encompasses Mr. Reed’s entire vocal range is a bonus.

“I don’t feel tardy.”- David Lee Roth (Van Halen)

Released in 1984, “Hot for Teacher” remains my go to apology.

“It takes a whole lot of medicine for me to pretend that I’m somebody else.”- Randy Newman

By medicine I mean a Barbara D’Alba and it doesn’t even take a lot, it just has to be good.

“Maybe Marlon Brando will be there by the fire.  We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood
and the good things there for hire.  And the Astrodome and the first tepee.
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me.”- Neil Young

Mortifying.  Our treatment of Native Americans is shameful.

“If anybody asks you where you’re coming from.  Say love.”- The Avett Brothers

A good practice, disarms critics.  (And the harmonies are lovely.)

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.”- Jimmy Davis

If you’ve ever been a postpartum mother you know that this song, while useful for putting babies to sleep, can also make you cry your eyes out.

“There’s one thing I know, though I’m younger than you.  Even Jesus would never forgive what you do.”-Bob Dylan

War is Hell.  Warmongers belong there.

“This land is your land.  This land is my land.”- Woody Guthrie

Share.  Act responsibly.  And for Christ’s sake, stop cutting the grass at 7AM on Saturday mornings- some of us were up all night.

“Imagine there’s no Heaven.  It’s easy if you try.  No hell below us.  Above us only sky.  Imagine all the people living for today.  Imagine there’s no countries.  It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for.  And no religion too.  Imagine all the people living life in peace.  You may say that I’m a dreamer.  But I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us.  And the world will be as one.  Imagine no possessions.  I wonder if you can.  No need for greed or hunger.  A brotherhood of man.  Imagine all the people sharing all the world.  You may say that I’m a dreamer.  But I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.”- John Lennon

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