Sunday, November 23, 2008

Willin' by Linda Ronstadt

Sometimes I forget how cool Linda Ronstadt is. Linda ran with the Southern California Boys Club in the early 70s (Zevon, the Eagles, Neil Young, Wachtel. Shit, fucking Wachtel!) And do you see Andrew "Lonely Boy" Gold on guitar in the clip?

My friend's brother had two parakeets in the 80s named Billy & Linda (for Joel and Ronstadt).

I listened to "Heart Like a Wheel" this morning (one of the many fantastic albums my father-in-law recently gave me from his collection). Great sound. Produced by Peter Asher (you know who he is), the album opens with "You're No Good." Side One closes with the title track (written by Anna McGarrigle). Killer song. And such a line-up: Gold on piano, David Lindley on fiddle, with Maria Muldaur on b. vox.

But the best performance is Side Two, Track 2: Willin', the Little Feat cover, written by Lowell George. I've listened to very little Little Feat, but got interested recently when I read about Lowell's solo album in a Mojo book of greatest albums, or something. It's a welcome treasury of vinyl excavations. I've made a few purchases (some archaeological in nature) based on its recommendations.

This live performance of "Willin'" is gold! And the best of rock occurs at 2:45 (get ready at 2:38).

Linda Fucking Ronstadt!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We Have Discovered Life on Mars and It is Us

So where do I begin? Or do I begin? Wasn't it a scene best left to fade beyond memory? This is what it felt like: bits of Drugstore Cowboy, Midnight Cowboy, Lost Highway, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Requiem for a Dream and High Fidelity. Perhaps Chuck McCann yelling, loud and lazily, "Sal!" in, what they call out here, an east coast accent (it was New York). And why not Hubert Selby as "Sal", but with his head bandaged, only a sallow eye and chattering mouth showing.

Sal at the counter, the thin pale record store clerks, caught in a vacuum of full blast psycho-surrealism, verbalized.

"Who invented the radio?" he asks (what's a 'questioning yell' called?). No answer, so he asks again, not because he hadn't received an answer, but because it was his time to ask the question again.

A few murmurs and uncomfortable chuckles emitted from the counter, but no guesss; it was almost as if avoiding the answer would equal avoiding the whole situation. Like real gone gossamer, it would hush into the autumn night.

"Marconi! I read it in a book at the library!" he told us.

Then another deceptively simple question, which because of it's obviousness, didn't receive an answer.

The third question (and final one before he took his crazy to the other end of the store) was:

"Who invented electricity?"

I sensed everyone in the store knew Sal was looking for the answer "Thomas Edison" (although "God" was probably on everyone's lips). So the clerks offered neither.

"Come on! Everybody knows who invented electricity!" His tone expressed incredulity.

He was finished and met up with Chuck by Rock/Pop.

I huddled against the As-Is vinyl lps, feeling the momentary silence was just the eye of the awkward storm above us. I couldn't raise my head beyond the musty frayed record sleeves, but I was concerned the duo were drifting toward Jim, an outsider magnet. Luckily, no encounter occurred.

When I met up Jim , he looked a bit glazed in the eyes, like his blood-sugar had plunged. So we paid for our albums (I found Nikki Sudden's "Red Brocade," and a 50 cent copy of "Poems, Prayers & Promises" by John Denver).

Returning to our car, which included a brief glance of a surreal diorama of our lead actors staring out the windshield of their pick-up, engine off, the night holding its breath), Jimmy confessed to a possible panic attack over the incident, and not a plunge in sugar levels.

"I'm so glad you witnessed that whole thing with me. I thought I might have been losing my mind. That was very strange, right? Or is it us?"

I pondered a moment: It could have been us, a shared psychotic incident; a symbiotic break with real time. But no, I recorded the reactions of the other customers, and I think we all saw the same thing.

While it sure crapped out our anticipated peaceful evening of record browsing (a formidable therapy; a socially anti-social balm), I feel slightly enriched by the experience.

If it even happened...

Well Read 1.0 (Nicking from the Feeb Again...)

"At my worst moments, in the darkest, rawest hours nearest to perdition, I have always found myself comforted by a cool voice inside me whispering that nothing, not even unbearable sorrow, lasts forever. I have that idiot optimism that is one quarter ruthless and one half mindless, a dangerous and in its own way often fatal trait."
- Michael Chabon, author

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gibb is Stranger than Witchcraft

"You are this dreamer's only dream."

Saw a clip of this song earlier while watching the Psaur's 70s/80s music commercials compilation. It was my 38th birthday present (not the actual 38th present, but a present presented on my 38th birthday). Just about 10 seconds of Andy Gibb's hit and I was startled back to the appreciation of all music, ignoring any aspects surrounding the song that aren't actual sounds on an album. Like, "Any Gibb? It sucks!" And without any arch-browed irony.

It is the beat of this song. It is the hook, both emotionally and nearly physically. Your whole body is turned towards the music. Your ears love it. Your elbow and your hair love it!

But what is that sound? Who do I hear in it? Everyone? Gibb's voice is as satin as his baby blue & glare-white baseball jacket.

And the video! What simpler stage decoration than the eponymous neon? And the sparse stage, a darkness encroaching. This song is serious. This performance, a zenith and a beacon. Whether the light has yet to reach its desired catch remains to be seen.

I gotta watch it again...

I watched it again.

I Am Not Familiar with this Howlin' Wolf Fellow

... nor any so-called "Captain"...

Thursday, November 13, 2008