Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm going off the rails on a crazy train...

Most days, I love my commute to and from work. It's sort of a respite from the rest of the overly interactive world, so drive time becomes me time.

While most days I sail along listening to the local contemporary Christian music station or the local sports talk station, occasionally...just ever so often... I revert to my old ways and push that preset that takes me back to a time when music was...well... music. Back to when bands consisted of at least two guitar players, a bass player and A DRUMMER. A real drummer too. Not some digitally produced facsimile of one. Ah yes. I'm talking about...

Classic Rock!

Wholesome? Absolutely not. Virtuous? Please. Spiritual? Well now...that one is certainly debatable.  I'm on probation with the wife on songs I can teach the two youngest girls due to more than a few stories afoot about the teenager in her younger days belting out AC/DC lyrics at the most inopportune moments. Apparently dirty deeds done dirt cheap and honky tonk women are completely inappropriate verbiage for a first grader...who knew?

As I drove and listened this morning to the sweet sounds vibrating from the cones of paper making up my no-name brand speakers, something came over me that I never recall happening before today. For whatever reason, I found myself not focused at all on the driving beats and rhythmic patterns but rather on the lyrics.


I'm as surprised as you friends! All these years and I've never realized just how ridiculously stupid some classic rock song lyrics can actually be....(gulp)...apparently, another tell-tale sign I'm...(no! don't say it!)...getting old.

Let's examine the line up from my morning commute:

Bang a Gong (Get It On)- Sweet...the classic retitled T-Rex anthem from 1971 that truly epitomized the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll culture of the era. Timeless guitar rifts with a bass line that sticks to memory. Even this old drummer was never fooled into thinking the title was a percussion reference. Nope. Just to accentuate that point...the mid-song sound effect of lighter flicking and gurgling noises. So...that should actually be gang a bong?

Get it on, bang a gong, get it on. Deep stuff? Don't think so...but fun to sing even if there's not an actual gong in the song to bang or you're ignorant of the drug culture...like me.

Stuck in the Middle-  Nice! Gerry Rafferty with Stealers Wheel (who?) pre-solo and of Baker Street fame. That's K-Tel classic folks! My, oh my... makes me remember my very first boy/girl party where matching party hats and napkins weren't involved but a spinning bottle...oops! Sorry. Better not relive that moment...at least here.

Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right...The very words directly apply to my given situation as I sit in my office and write them. Just saying.

All Right Now- One of the very songs that gave me reason to start playing an electric guitar. Wow! The powerful vocals behind Paul Rodgers' whoa, whoa, whoa are nearly lost to the perfect blending of Paul Kosoff's lead guitar, Andy Fraser's thumping bassline and Simon Kirke's simple but perfect time keeping and fills. Thank goodness my local classic rock radio station plays the full 5:29 version with the leading guitar intro and not that hacked up 4:13 version most stations play these days!  I saw Rodgers and Kirke do this song live with Bad Company in the late 90's and consider it one of the greatest moments of my existence...

Slow, slow, don't go so fast. Don't you think that love can last?   Sadly, I must admit I've used that cheesy line...but it was a VERY LONG time ago!

China Grove- Does the very name of the group, The Doobie Brothers, not say enough? Well actually, the reference to a Chinatown located in the real China Grove in Texas is completely fictional...not to mention the reference to samurai in the song, who are in fact, from Japan. Smoke it up some more boys and let those lyrics keep rolling along. Nobody will ever notice!

We're talking about, talking about China Grove. Wo oh oh. China Grove. Brilliant. Just stinkin' brilliant. Who says drug use can't be a positive social influence...

Fat Bottom Girls and Black Betty- I'm lumping these last two together for obvious reasons. Honestly...I love both songs, but I'm a little confused on whether I should actually admit that publicly or not in the present day climate of uber political correctness. Neither of these songs come close to PC acceptable verbiage. I guess liberals just don't understand that using African American Betty would have seriously messed up the meter in the song. Just get rid of the bam-a-lam? Are you crazy! That's the song!

In the same era that gave us Short People...ladies of ...ahem...size can just deal with it in my book.

She's from Birmingham (bam-a lam), way down in Alabam' (bam-a lam).  A dude from England (William Bartlett) referring to my southeastern neighbor state as Alabam' is about as lame as a couple of white guys calling each other 'homey'. Just please stop.

Maybe I just need to stop listening so close and enjoy those classic melodies and jams. Then again...maybe I should have listened more closely all those many years ago. Not sure it would have mattered though...I still would have hated country music.

1 comment:

David-FireAndGrace said...

I think your just too white to understand this tune!

The guitar hook is what makes these songs popular. People will sing anything with the right hook. After all they are just syllables.

One more thing! They are called guitarists, not called guitar players. Bam a lam!