28 May, 2010

Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

Redheads were the rage for a couple posts and I had more halfway written in my head but then I got lost in Tori Amosland for a while. Now I've been diverted onto the Rolling Stones highway so redheads are off for a bit.

I love the Stones. Wait, let me clarify. I love the Stones from Tattoo You and before. Anything since then has been utter crap they've done solely for the purpose of adding more money to their already overfilled coffers. Of course, to be fair, Mick does need a steady income to pay for all of his legitimate and illegitimate children, Ronnie has major alcoholism issues and alimony payments and Charlie really should look into getting smile implants.

Of their impressive catalogue, my favorite Stones song is Gimme Shelter.

The real impact of this song for me isn't so much the lyrics, which are simple yet compelling. What gets me every time I hear it is the secondary vocal provided by Merry Clayton. She truly is the focus of the song and Mick seems to understand it as his vocal, while great in true Mick fashion, often takes the backseat to Merry's amazing voice. Their voices in this duet, and this song truly is a duet, complement each other wonderfully.

War, children it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Oooh see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way
Even hearing the intro, with Keith Richards' rhythm guitar and the swelling of the music as the song gains steam, it gives me chills sometimes. There's a very distinct vibe to this song, which hits me as being eerily compelling. It's been used in several feature films, almost all of them having to do with the Vietnam War, about which this song was written.

I also love how the lyric optimistically and hopefully goes from war, rape and murder to how love is only a kiss away. If only it were that simple.

20 May, 2010

Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos

Give me life, give me pain, give me myself again

Next up in the redhead parade is Tori Amos. Little Earthquakes is such a great album. Every song is bizarre, quirky, emotionally intense, idiosyncratic, eccentric and just plain brilliant. The way she uses the piano to do everything from soothe to bash in one's skull truly amazes me. I admit I've been remiss in not listening to much of her later work and I really need to fix that. However, I love this album. I love this song.

Every element of Little Earthquakes truly blows me away. From the range of her voice, her master use of the piano, the thunder like percussion sounds - this song really gets to me.

These little earthquakes
Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces

These lyrics, especially the bit at the top "give me myself again", resonate so strongly with me. I've had depression issues at times. Whenever these instances manifest, I eventually get to a point where I realize what's going on and know I have to kick myself in the ass to get on with life and not wallow anymore, to get back to being the me I like, the me I want to be. Perhaps that's why this song is a favorite of mine. Or maybe I just like it. :-)

18 May, 2010

Something to Talk About - Bonnie Raitt

This week I decided to write about redheads. For most of my life I've wanted to be a redhead or at least auburn. I blame Lucille Ball since she was the first redhead I ever found to be amazingly awesome. :-) Hell, my mom and grandma used to call me Lucy because I'd watch I Love Lucy twice every day in second grade. In fact, back then Lucy was my way of knowing when to leave for school - once the show was over in the morning, it was time to go. Of course, I think my obsession with having red hair might have been different had I Love Lucy been in color instead of black and white (that henna rinse kinda made Lucy's hair more of a Bozo the Clown red as opposed to Maureen O'Hara red). :-)

Anywho, first up is Bonnie Raitt. When this song first was released, I remember thinking the song was okay but nothing that really grabbed me.

Cut to a couple weeks ago and the song came on the radio. I've always known Bonnie Raitt is an incredibly respected slide guitar player, considered by many to be one of the best. However, it was her voice that grabbed me this time. After giving Bonnie's voice the attention it deserves, I was seriously impressed. She's got a really lovely, bluesy voice. I can't say that her music is anything that I'll ever immerse myself in but I won't be changing the station if I hear her on the radio again either (yes, I've been guilty of that a time or two). It's good to revisit songs and artists from time to time. Who knows what maturity and a little life experience will do to your perspective.

13 May, 2010

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Movie

Time for something fun today. I saw this movie long, long ago (but in this galaxy) and absolutely loved it. It's probably one of the absolute worst movies ever made but it's got the Bee Gees! And George Burns! And Aerosmith! And Billy Preston! And so many other people! All singing Beatles songs! How can you go wrong with that? Apparently, there was dialogue originally but they edited it out because Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees couldn't act. But who cares?! It's Barry Gibb in tight, white pants and satin! My youthful heart just about gave out. I rented this movie over and over and over (I know, I could have said repeatedly but I didn't want to. So there!). By now, I could have bought it but I just wait for it to turn up on cable (which it does fairly regularly without fail) and then sit through it, enraptured even now as I was then. It's pure campy, goofy fun and it's one of my favorite movies of all time. And I'm not even a Peter Frampton fan (his hair was too frizzy, unlike Barry's perfectly feathered and shellacked beautiful brown locks).

Yes, I was totally in love with Barry Gibb. This would have been after I broke Donny Osmond's heart by not wearing my purple socks anymore. Barry was my true love until his younger brother Andy shadow danced his way into my heart. Oh Andy, how I miss you.

12 May, 2010

Money - The Flying Lizards

There's a short story by D.H. Lawrence called "The Rocking Horse Winner" that I read in high school. That story has stuck with me throughout the years because the whispering the little boy hears in his house when there's no money so struck a chord with me. I've heard that whispering all my life, from childhood to present, whenever the money was short. Some days it's overwhelming but I've gotten pretty good at dealing with it. Sometimes, though, I really wish I had that rocking horse.

Of all the versions there are of this song, this one is my favorite.

Now off to go get me some of the filthy green stuff so I can pay bills. :-)

11 May, 2010

Nobody Knows Me - Lyle Lovett

Poor Lyle. Most of the world knows him as "that ugly guy" who Julia Roberts married. Personally, I always understood why she married him. Any man who could sing like that and write such great songs would be a total catch. In my opinion, she was the lucky one.

And I like cream in my coffee
And I like to sleep late on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby
And I like eggs over easy
With flour tortillas
And nobody knows me like my baby

To me, this is a love song. Love isn't solely about hearts and flowers and all that shit. It's about not complaining while taking care of the person you love when they're sick, giving them a ride when their car's broken down, bailing them out of jail while saving the criticism for later. It's about working at it while dealing with real life and compromising and accepting the person as they are, faults and all. The airy fairy stuff is nice but it's gravy, it's not the meat and potatoes.

Love is knowing that your sweetie takes cream in their coffee and that you get their coffee for them that way without having to be asked. It's in the little things as well as the big things.

09 May, 2010

Night and Day - Frank Sinatra

Ahhh, it's good to be home. I was away in BFE, aka a small mountain town in Kern County, California this weekend visiting The Mother. Since I was playing dutiful and loving daughter this weekend, it suited that whilst driving her to and fro, we would listen to some music in the car that The Mother would enjoy. Since her favorite singer is Bing Crosby, I figured Korn wasn't going to do the job. Alas, I have no Bing Crosby CDs (I really need to get one, his voice was so freaking good - and I'm being serious), so we made do with Frankie.

As I mentioned, Mom loves Bing Crosby. During her youth (she's 77 now), Bing and Frankie were arch rivals. Young women generally either fainted over one or the other but not necessarily both. Obviously, my mom preferred crooning pipe smokers over skinny mob men. As such, her favoritism was passed along to me and for many years, I would look upon Frankie with disdain and worship Bing's effortless natual talent.

Many years later, I happened upon a little film called Dream for an Insomniac. Frankie plays a minor role in the mythos of the coffee shop where the main characters work. One scene has them all listening, and naturally dancing, to Night and Day.

This is such a great song. Cole Porter sure knew how to write 'em.

Night and day
Why is it so?
That this longing for you follows wherever I go
In the roarin' traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you
Day and night

It so perfectly captures obsession and longing. And, between you and me, it appeals to my inner romantic that I've managed to bury under copious layers of cynicism and derision.

07 May, 2010

Dead Daddy Edition - #4

Last Dead Daddy entry and, for me, this was the song that really and truly helped me heal. In it I found the understanding I’d so desperately been seeking.

One Tree Hill by U2

I won’t go into all of my feelings about The Joshua Tree, the album on which this song appears, and how U2 has changed since Rattle and Hum came out. If you’ve known me for any length of time, I’m sure I’ve bored you with my thoughts and theories ad nauseum. I’m sure I’ll get to it here eventually as it’s a big deal for me. Suffice it to say, you know that list of albums you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island? This is at the top of my list.

Bono wrote this song about Greg Carroll, his personal assistant and close friend, who died in a motorcycle accident. U2 doesn’t perform this song very often, in fact during an over 20 year career, they’ve played it live a total of 40 times. The reason for this being that it’s an emotionally painful song for them to perform.

I read an interview with Bono in Rolling Stone right after The Joshua Tree was released. In fact, I still have that issue somewhere buried in my closet full o’ crap. In it, they talk about Greg Carroll and Bono tells them that right after Greg died, he’d jump whenever the phone would ring. That he’d dread answering it because he was scared that it would be more bad news of someone else he cared about dying. That totally floored me because that was me. Being able to look back at that time more objectively, of course most grieving people have those same fears. But here was someone I admired, who created music I LOVED and he was having the same issue as me. I fell a little in love with Bono while I read that interview, which made their musical betrayal all the more painful later but that’s another story for another time.

I’ve even written to Bono to let him know how much that song meant to me and how much help and comfort it’s given me over the years. I know, total fan geek. But I had to. Even if he never read it, I knew that I did the best I could to let him know of all the songs in all the world, his is the one that helped to save my life.

06 May, 2010

Dead Daddy Edition - #3

Ah, where were we? Oh right. Songs that got me through the dead daddy grieving period. Got it.

Our next selection is more here because of who he is than the fact that I found solace in his music.

Valotte - Julian Lennon

Yes, I realize that this link goes to "Too Late for Goodbyes" and not "Valotte". However, it was the album as a whole that I listened to and not one particular song. As I started moving through the Kubler-Ross model (she was brilliant, that one), more than anything I wanted to be able to talk to someone who knew what I was going through. None of my friends had experienced the death of a parent. I wanted that understanding so much that I'd actually get angry when someone would tell me "I know" or "I understand" when I'd attempt to share my pain. Unless they'd been where I was, they couldn't know and it'd piss me off that they'd think they did. To this day, if you tell me that you're dealing with the death of someone close to you, I will offer to listen. If you need my empathetic ear, I will walk through fire, break down doors, hell I'd even give up Diet Coke to help you however I can. And good whatever lord help you if it's the death of your father with which you're dealing. You will not find a more willing person to help you however she can.

But back to the music. I don't remember what exactly led me to Julian Lennon but his experiences so mirrored my own, I just knew (in all my teenage wisdom) that he'd understand the pain, anger, grief with which I was dealing. Let's run through the simliarities, shall we?
  • He and his father hadn't been especially close while he was growing up. Wow, neither had me and my dad.
  • He was rebuilding his relationship with his father when his dad died. Hey, me too!
  • He was 17 when his father died. I was 16 when mine died.

Of course there was never any chance for me to actually talk with Julian, to pick his brain about how he dealt with his grief, but for me there was still a connection. Because of him, I knew there was at least one other person in the world who knew where I was coming from. Yeah, yeah, I know (and knew) I wasn't the first teenager whose father had died but there were times when it felt like it.

Besides, this was a good album. I was sorry to read some years later that Julian hadn't liked it. He felt that others had imposed their musical will on him and he ended up recording music that wasn't fully expressive of him. Personally, I think he maybe liked Stoli and cranberry juice a little too much at the time, but that's just me. (Yes, I remember reading in an interview that Stoli and cranberry juice was his favorite drink. I'll remember it until the day I die because it's absolutely non-vital to my existence).

At any rate, thank you, Julian. Thank you for being there for me when I needed you.

04 May, 2010

Dead Daddy Edition - #2

Today we're onto the 2nd song that helped me deal with the grief of losing my father. I'll assume you don't know anything about me so I'll provide some backstory for this one.

My maternal grandfather was a minister. While I never met him (died before I was born), my mother and grandmother (the two people who I lived with and who raised me) made sure we went to church every Sunday. I went to Sunday School, was involved in the youth group, was an acolyte (we lit the altar candles during the church service) and I was even a lectern assistant (which meant I read the bible verse during the service). I'd tried to be an usher but the men who were in charge of that always kind of put me off whenever I'd ask. Personally, I think that it was considered a man's thing to do and they didn't want some young girl passing the offering plate. Not fact, just my take on it.

Anywho, by 16 I'd already begun to be disillusioned with the hypocrisy of organized religion, and our congregation in particular. So many of them were good Christians for a couple hours on Sundays but once they left that sanctuary, fuhgeddaboudit. Dad dying had ripped the rose colored glasses through which I viewed the world from my eyes and I'd started spiraling into massive cynicism. Really not conducive to faith in a God who was letting me feel such pain (that was my mindset at the time), you know? Not too long after Dad had died, I was sitting in church with my mom and I just couldn't take it. I had to leave or I'd lose it. Violently. I left and drove around listening to this song for a couple hours until I had to go back to pick my mom up.

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

It's not very shocking why this song appealed to me. I mean, the lyrics really say it all:

See my old man's got a problem
He lives with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
My parents had divorced when I was 4. My mom had sole custody. It fit me in so many ways and on that Sunday, when I was hurting and angry, it was just what I needed.

03 May, 2010

Dead Daddy Edition - #1

Great theme for the first week, don't you think? Ah, love morbidity. So for what purpose am I talking about dead dads? Well, my father died from alcoholism when I was 16. To say his death changed my life would be a slight understatement. One of the things that got me through that time was music. There were four songs in particular that I would listen to repeatedly, that would become a lifeline for me during a really horrible time in my life.

To that end, each day this week I'm going to post a song that helped me get through and share a bit about what the song meant to me. And probably some other crap too because when I'm typing, I type a LOT.

First up is Tender Love by the Force MD's.

Why on earth would an instrumental version of a pop song have been so important to me? Let me 'splain. My father went into the hospital on a Friday night with massive internal bleeding. I saw him on Saturday. Sunday, March 23rd, I had rehearsal with my school's choir. We were leaving Monday to go to Hawaii to compete. We were good and ended up with a gold medal that year. But still, it was at rehearsal that my mom came down to the school with the news my father had died. Having already paid for the trip, I still went to Hawaii. It was surreal and difficult to say the least. I spent most of my down time sitting on the balcony of my room, listening to the instrumental version of this song. I had the 45 at home which had the full version of the song on one side, instrumental on the other. I liked the instrumental version better and had taped it (yes, on a cassette tape - this was 1986) for the trip. This became my solace. I didn't want to talk to anyone and no one knew what the hell to say to me. How do you console someone in that situation when you're only a teenager and don't know shit yourself? It was hard, not only for me. And so my choir friends all left me to my grief and the Force MD's. This song evokes such a visceral reaction in me that just a couple years ago when, by pure chance, I heard it on the radio, it hit me like a punch in the gut. I hadn't heard it in ages and here it was, this song whose only association for me is pain. Next year will be 25 years that he's been gone and while he was a shitty father, he was still mine and there were good times along with the bad.

Gone on long enough. Told you I'd write too much. :-) Are there any songs that got you through a rough time in your life? If you'd be so kind, please tell me about them. I'd love to hear your stories, too.


Why is the music playing in your head and not out loud?

Well, mainly because at work I have no speakers attached to my computer. Also, my boss likes to listen to his music which can be heard all through the office. Suffice it to say, it wouldn't be my first choice but, well, he's the boss. As such, I play the music I want to be listening to inside my head.

But you don't work 24/7 do you?

No but I do talk to myself in stupid FAQ's on a website no one's probably going to visit.

So is this blog going to only be links to You Tube videos?

Pretty much. Plus you get to hear me wax rhapsodic about music. Doesn't that sound super awesome? Don't answer that.

Are you nuts?


Do you really think anyone cares about your musical opinion?

No, not really. I mean, I hope so in that other people's likes, dislikes, opinions, etc are fascinating to me. Plus I like seeing who likes what songs I'd posted on Facebook and hearing any comments they may have. I just figure this gives people a little more room to speak their minds and share their stories. It's all about the music, man. So chill and enjoy.

About Moi

Music has always been a huge part of my life, my escape when things weren't great and my joy when things were wonderful. The cruel irony is I have little to no musical talent. I can play the first few opening notes of The Entertainer, which I learned when I took organ lessons as a kid. Yes, I took organ lessons. I don't know why, ask my mother why she chose that instead of the piano. I can carry a tune (barely anymore) when I sing but that's about it. Doesn't stop me from singing, however. **evil grin**

This blog basically has grown out of my Facebook account. I've been posting links to different songs that I enjoy and adding a few words about them. Facebook doesn't allow for a lot of commentary space, however, so I thought I'd start a blog. If no one reads it, that's fine. If only a couple people do and we can talk a little about songs, music, bands that we love, then this blog has served its purpose.

Long story short (too late), if you're looking for earth shattering writing, this isn't the place for you. If you love music like I do and want to know what songs are playing in my convoluted brain and maybe (hopefully) share something that it reminds you of, come on in and sit down a spell. I look forward to talking with you.

02 May, 2010


There will be MANY links to You Tube videos on this site. In every post, probably. I'm assuming that these videos were posted there with full acceptance by the artists or in the very least in a legally acceptable way. It is not my intention to break any kind of copyright or trademark laws so if you're an artist, their agent or, god forbid, their lawyer, please don't sue me. Just let me know you don't want the video posted and I'll take it down. I have no money so you really won't get anything out of suing me. Honest.

Also, the language on this blog may not be suitable for young listeners or the morally inclined so be forewarned. I swear, cuss, use LOTS of foul language, whatever you want to call it. If you don't like it, close your eyes at that bit or just don't read. Whichever floats your boat because this is how I write, talk, etc.

Anything else I should warn people about or try to get out of? :-)