Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Random Shuffle - 4/10/06

“Willin’” - Linda Ronstadt
From Heart Like a Wheel

My perception of this Little Feat ode to truck driver’s comes from the James Cameron underwater sci-fi flick, The Abyss. It is the Linda Ronstadt version that plays when the underwater oil rig crew is shown doing their blue collar work. The song plays as background music to the scene, but is also part of the action, being lip synched by nearly everyone in a joyful montage that defies explanation.

It is a great sing-along song. The lyrics are all about being on the road for too long, with nothing but drugs and alcohol to keep you moving to that next stop, that next destination somewhere down the road.

The music is pure outlaw country. Ronstadt has that rock n roll vibe, with the country girl twang that just fits the song perfectly.



“One From the Heart” – Tom Waits/Crystal Gail
From One From the Heart

This is from the soundtrack to an unseen (by me) Francis Ford Coppola movie of the same name. Waits actually sings with a croon, rather than the drunken hobo ran over by a train voice he usually sings with. He’s accompanied by the sweet voice of Crystal Gail.

It’s all soft porn smooth piano and saxophone musically. It’s slow and sad, and probably romantic, but I’d have to see the movie before I let my vote out on that one. There isn’t much to it for me, honestly. It’s Waits with a better voice, but not much of his lyrical poignancy. At least that’s what I get from the casual listen I gave it.

“I’m Gonna Live Forever” – Highwaymen
From 06/04/96

The Highwaymen were country music’s version of Mount Rushmore. With Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristopherson and Waylon Jennings in their own super group, it’s too bad that most of their albums were only just ok.

It’s like the Beatles effect in reverse. Where John and Paul continually pushed each other to strive harder and create an even more perfect song, the Highwaymen seem to play yes men to each other creating music that while not bad, isn’t up to any expectation they create. Instead of Abbey Road we get something more akin to McCartney’s post Beatles solo work.

This is a pleasant Billy Joe Shaver tune, performed quite nicely with all of the Highwaymen trading versus and harmonizing on the chorus.

“Wendy Time” – The Cure
From Wish

A lively, upbeat song from the master’s of gloom. Well the music is fun and frilly, but being the Cure the lyrics are all sad and depressing. It is the story of a well meaning lass trying to cheer up the gloomy singer by offering to be a friend or sister. Being Robert Smith, the singer continues to push her away to mingle and drown in his own misery.

I mentioned in a previous Random Shuffle how this album reminds me of a specific time and place. It is amazing how music can transport us to places. I would never call my high school years happy ones, and yet I am often drawn to that time, filled with nostalgia.

The intensity of emotion I felt during those years is something I’ve never come close to in the 10 odd years afterwards. Those days it seems like every moment was filled with incredible highs of joy or immensely lows of sadness. The perpetual word days of drudgery keep me on a pretty even keel in these times. Oh, I’m not nearly as depressed as I was then, but I rarely feel as completely free or happy as I did on those good days either.

Wish reminds me specifically of a girl named Elise who I used to sing songs from this album to. It reminds me of sitting in my room (having lived in 20 odd houses as a kid, it is a very specific room, but one I am unable to describe here) arguing with my sister about whose month it was to get the TV in their room and feeling all those emotions on my sleeve.


“Ride Into the Sun” – Velvet Underground
From Acetate Demos – 1969

Speaking of nostalgic memories the Velvet’s always remind me of my first love, Candy Sizemore. If my feelings were worn on my sleeve, if I felt things with more passion then, she felt them 100 times more.

She was a lovely girl who taught me it was ok to believe in God and listen to wild music and live outside the cookie cutter. We used to write long, passionate letters to each other with the margins filled with song lyrics.

She loved the Velvet Underground. We spent many an hour lying on a bed listening to Lou Reed sing about love, drugs and the underground. We’d play “Heroin” over and over and see who could get every lyric, every note exactly perfect.

This is a sloppy, loose demo version of “Ride into the Sun” off of their Another View album. It’s really for completists only, of which I am not. I got this along with other demos and live tracks from a download a few weeks back. I’m addicted to downloading perfectly legal live music and the like and so when I see a Velvet Underground set, I simply have to have it, even if I haven’t been much of a fan since high school.

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