Both Ways

Both Ways” by Lue Lyron

When you wake up, don’t you know
any shame is all your own
when you say that it’s over

you only say that sober

(chorus) You wanna have it both ways girl/ Ooo-oo-ooo…

(How can you have it ) both ways girl?
you need to cry on a shoulder
You hit me like a run away boulder
Out of place in a jam

with a face….do you know who I am?

Get your story together
Get your head clear
Do you want me gone?
Do you want me near? Resolve is a friend
you may never find will I always be yours
and you never be mine? Yeah

You wanna have it both ways girl/ Ooo (do the building, planer version of riff here)
(How can you have it) both ways girl x2

Do we cross the bridge or jump?
Do we cross the bridge or jump?
When the haunted hour calls, you want us together
Or are you really going solo? (8bar solo)

Infinity and I bear such a heavy load, breaking my body, inside
Pushing that weight, pushing that weight to the other side

All I ever did wrong by you
I’m sorry but the number in your phone
Would you really call him over
you’re like a heartbreak motor!

Ooo, this bullshit sickness calls a truce
and makes you mine, but on the loose like a runaway

You wanna have it both ways girl (ooo, both ways girl)
How can you have it both ways girl
Both ways girl
you need to cry on a shoulder, Hit me
Like a runaway….like a runaway—boulder!
Out of place, in a jam…with a face, don’t you know who I am? NO!

Get your story together
Get your head clear
Do you want me gone?
Do you want me near? (use half-tone steps)
Resolve is a friend, you may never find
will I always be yours…and you never be mine?

Hit me like a run…like a run
Hit me like a runaway (boom, boom) boulder!
Hit me like a run…like a runaway
like a runaway ….Both WAys Girl.

Lyron, 7/4/15 My kind of independence celebration, grin emoticon

4:32 run time

I was helping out some friends I know, and I just listened along the way.  Little did I realize my reward for the day’s tasks wasn’t going to be money—I didn’t ask—rather, as a nexus of the people involved, it became this friendly blender of lyrics.  “Easy Lover” by Phillip Bailey and Phil Collins came up one day a while back, and the intervals and progression in my song resemble, but in different keys, and without trying to cop Phil Collins’ drums.  I actually am interested in a minimalist percussion approach designed to spotlight the drummer’s deftness, like expressive solo fills, and providing a pulsing bass presence.

As I saw Angela Dawn lighting up with excitement, I realized it had a touch of Candlebox or Def Leppard that appealed to her, along with her interest in the lyrics.  She really is someone who likes to dance and rock out!

That was the make or break point, where I really didn’t know what she’d say.  That’s exciting to me, to not know what the person who knows me best is going to think of a song.  It’s a different sort of excitement than grinning self-assuredly with the certainty “she’s going to love this one.”  Sometimes, it’s just not done as a song until she’s engaged with it, either.

For me?  It’s kind of my Phil Collins trip, this time out, lyrically.  Deep in my pop roots.  Along with the thematic understanding/ confrontation with the Truth theme, “Both Ways” is a legacy obsession with incorporating R&B into his solo work in its first eight years.

So yeah, at the end of the day, a Motown style arrangement would be just as true to the content as any other, which sets well with me, as these are all examples of artists who achieved some degree of success, especially in burying their work inside my musical identity.

Can someone get me Mayer Hawthorne or Rafael Saadiq on the line?  I have a great song for somebody…

Montgomery Bell State Park, Dickson, TN
Montgomery Bell State Park, Dickson, TN

I modeled the parameters pretty easily around the guys for whom I’ve been playing bass, in agreement with Brandon Scott Barnes of Templar’s Reckoning. I do hear it working best with a true chorus of vocals at the chorus, as the lead and backing vocals or duet give it a feel that reminds me a bit of Guns and Roses and Dinosaur Jr,, though I can’t point to a particular recording,just imagining what these guys, in this instance, can do vocally.  Curtis Mayfield was the truest influence here, and a soul song, it is.

D minor is a more earthly place to establish a key in which to sing, if you are not blessed with the angelic talents of the Earth,Wind and Fire singer, and in tune with a modern rock sound its own.  The guitarist can go absolutely nuts across this generally repetitive frame!  The bridge (guess where) goes down to an Aminor-G-F progression, an experiment with breaking the song’s insistent groove into a personal moment.  The lyrics there were particularly inspired by vocalist Johnathon Creamer, who I had in mind to give this song’s lead a shot.   I assure you, the Marc Kane heard it all the way through for the first time a couple of days after I wrote it, and promised she would love “to steal it for herself!”  So I am sure a version will be out before the year’s done…Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, as Hank Williams used to say closing out Grand Ole Opry on the radio.

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Battle of the Forest of Teutoburg

Papa Jojanovich
Papa Jojanovich

“Ballad of the Battle of the Forest of Teutoburg”

 

The first leaves have fallen in the forest of Teutoburg
The last heat of summer pours over my face
I hoped at harvest to marry but invaders march steadily
Gather ye women and men, for there’s no time to waste

Roads poor for chariot’s wheel
Varus outnumbers us two times or three

They’ve come to take control of Germania
Legions, Cheruschis and calvary

Camp followers interspersed
Strung out in formation, they should’ve sent scouts first
The woods give us cover, our blood gives us courage
Near Kalikrease Hill, we’ll give them our worst

The storm breaks and heavy rains
isolate legionnaires so we can fight!
Struggling out to the open roads
Breaking their camp to flee in the night

 

Fear and the spear of three legions marching to make Mediovuim
or Halstern to the southwest, wooded hills to the South
Ditches and walls dug and built by our hands
Bound by a bog, they fell into the mouth

and the jaws crashed hungrily
over the trapped Roman forces
attacking our infantry, they only then hear
the sound of more men on their horses

Blocked from the road and repulsed in the fight,
the proud Romans ducked arrows stinging through trees
Til his own sword took their commander
Varus undone by his own cruelty

Maybe our children will face them
That battered lion now must sleep at the Rhine
For now, let us feast and be merry
With our blood and our sinews, we’ve drawn the line.

The first leaves have fallen in the forest of Teutoburg
Marry with me , and that bloodied oak tree
will be made floor and walls, and I’ll care for you there
in the woods where we fought to be free.

.in the woods where we fought to be free. Cecil Disharoon, June 28, 2015
inspired by and contributed to by my nephew David Clark.

Here, an actual historic battle, tribesmen routing three Roman Legions on September 6, 6 A.D., demanded its own modern day ballad.

My partner the Marc Kane, David, his best friend Candace, and his Paw Paw, Ron, were all present and awake when this idea came to me.  I left them in Ronald’s eager company in the living room and began converting my research on the spot into the first two stanzas of this song.  I strummed the guitar and ran through it, then went to the living room.  After I played for them, David came into my room to talk about details vivid to him in this historic battle.  I think the odds overcome, the strategies, and the turn of events influenced by the human heart ( such as when the Romans were divided from within, “Varus, undone by his own cruelty).  His enthusiasm from an earlier talk inspired this song.

 

Musical influences

My father-in-law’s love of Harry Chapin when we met (he got to play a song with him in the Air Force) probably planted the seed for this sort of story teller song writing.  I listened to some old Genesis over the past year, and even across songs broken up here and there (for shame, I know, they’re an album band), you get Romantic titles and images of a more fantastic transformation of similar themes.  So it’s Romanticized–ironic, no?—yet grounded entirely in the real forest and events, staying close to a participant’s voice, a genuine bard.  I modeled the melody a bit on Gabriel’s voice in places as I wrote it.

Invisible Language

My last two sets of lyrics came to me before sleeping: “Super Moon” and now “Invisible Language.”  I was romanticizing and empathizing with a woman with a beautiful heart, struggling to keep her own thoughts and communication while living in a police state.  This feeling, leading to that concept, led me to open the modern occult compendium I had at bedside.  I resumed reading where the essayist wrote about a UCSD neurobiologist who had concluded we all start with our emotions; then our mind tailors the thinking accordingly, promoting a strain of reasons to suit our feeling.  That observation is where my lyrics began now.

I just want to say that worry is natural, as is the impulse to allow other sorts of thoughts in to alleviate the tension within.  This is why writing has always had the effect of calming me; if I were already calm, either curiosity would lead me to explore some impulse, or a particularly concept, thought or description already developed but as yet unwritten begins its embodiment in the written word before my eyes.  All three of these notions went into the creation of “Invisible Language.”

 

World Without Words Music, lyrics by Lue Lyron

1.The linguistic infection has left us

besotted wth memories

Reasons hooking for feelings that pay for good times

Or in the wake of misery

we casually construct our castles

forward or backward, there’s not time

the ideal’s on screen

Meanwhile you’re slipping round

the strictures of a state that controls you

Naked dancing throughout Horton Plaza

while demands for arrest keep you

thinking but feeling

like talking face to face

out of question

about truths that you know

to be words to your ear

draw from your image

and keep you so near

before we were words in our bodies

invisible language

the path through the year

2.Enacted without sketching

radiant city

translinguistic constructions

paintings of time, so persistent

dripping without any power, over the fireplace

right twice a day

Our first hand me downs

under magnified lenses

getting the fear in a soul-felt grimoire

Meanwhile you’re slipping around

strictures of a state that controls you

I send my portraits they wait

until you’re free

world without words

there in the moment console you

out of question

about what you know

to be truth to your ear

draw from your image and

keep you so near

before we were words in our bodies

invisible language the path through the year Na na na…

9/30/14 music 10/4/14 new title 10/5/14

A lot of my inspiration came from the very creatively named Book Of Lies compiled by Richard Metzger; I owe an essayist there for stirring up my impressions on our limited capacity for the relief of non-verbal states of mind.  There’s a real emotional truth to discover in who we are without some word or another to create the set of tensions we know as our conscious mind.  That’s the casually constructed castle I mention.  But life, how it’s lived, how it’s formed, was not meant to be done just mechanically, absent-mindedly.

A Dali-inspired clock Dixie keeps on her mantle–with no battery–created another image.  It’s appropriate because I’m exploring the use of surrealism to expand the mind.  In reverse, surrealists such as Dali used various methods to reach another level of artistic consciousness meant to break with codified strictures in imagery–to true creativity.

My original template for the melody, to keep the lyrics organized as a song, came from Bowie’s Station to Station —I think “Stay.”  Bowie himself was an enthusiast for the cut-and-paste method, as used by William S. Burrough, Byron Ginsen and others.  I employed that in finding interesting expressions, after borrowing other images of freedom and constraint from recent personal experiences that amused me.  The life I live with Emm is very much about finding freedom in a realistic enough fashion so as not to become excessively emotion turbulent in the conflict of ideal and reality.

This inspires me to reach out for muses to further creation, generated from empathy for situations somewhat differing with my own.  It’s like the traditional argument for American idealism  versus authoritarian structures, without predictable cliches.  If there’s one thing the song has going for it, it’s not, from one line to the next, predictable!  My initial muse before writing was an evolving adventure upon which I’d been meditating, about a young woman who becomes a guardian angel to a city ruled by a police state.  I thought about governments being constructs of words, and governments attempting to constrict the use of words and images in order to achieve (an anachronistic) solidarity of identity, some might say for engendering machine-like methods of thought control.

So, I wrote to the lovely person who provides my emotional lighthouse overseas, from those crag-ridden, dangerous shoals.  She makes the issue of government controlled communication personal for me.

I made music and melody for “World Without Words” very early Saturday morning. The song began two weeks before as I thought of your difficulties in Iran (and the heroine who I decided to make look like you). I’d just been reading an essay about how we interpret the world through words, and how from life’s beginning we are given stories of ourselves from others (“Hand-me-downs” is what we call giving children clothes outgrown by relatives; I compared our stories of us as a child to this). We can barely escape words, and they are used to make lives, governments, even poems. Yet, our words and reasons seem to come first from our feelings, don’t you think? Well, I flipped through the rest of my book full of occult/ magical essays and borrowed some random phrases to go with my second verse, which also describes a clock on sister Dixie’s mantle, modeled on Salvadore Dali’s “Persistence of Memory.” I also referenced a video by Dating Naked where people danced joyously through one of my favorite downtown San Diego places, Horton Plaza. (My Mom thought they should be arrested, LOL.) Finally, I mentioned the drawings I make of you, still inspiring me even while you are there in Iran. I think the strange words and music are like a spell to free a person from reasons and words for a little while. Though “World Without Words” could have hundreds of meanings inside it, I will always associate it with you, a Muse to me.lenticular cloud covers

Robin Williams – “Feel So Alien” by Integr8d Soul

To be American is to be have been raised on video and TV reruns, and so many of us had just heard our baby sitter had killed himself. “Favorite Uncle,” as one girl put it, making me shed another tear and forfeit my Man Pants again. A lot of energy flowed through me, to my friends, from my friends on social media. Robin Williams, gone. I suspect it’s still going to be part of a few phone calls. As soon as I found out, I wrote a personal eulogy, found here:Robin Williams: my role model. Doesn’t that explain a lot?

cronauer2 am found me in the middle of some yoga stretches, watching bands on Carson Daly, when “Nanoo, nanoo…Mork calling Orson, come in Orson” sounded like a good hook for a song! Some sense of a melody held it together when I took out a clean sheet of paper at the dining room table and spent at least forty five minutes composing.

I incorporated elements of Mork & Mindy, especially in the early going, and let a Williams-esque observation of human foibles be my personal guide. There was a lot of compassion. I felt Robin Williams with me in spirit, smiling at the Beatnik/ hippy I will always be in my lyrics, as I tested the words out under my breath while Angela played Zoo nearby.

Feel So Alien

Nanoo, Nanoo /Mork calling Orson, Come in Orson
Sometimes I don’t get this planet/ and it’s starting to show

The things these creatures do for money
when it doesn’t even make them happy
no wonder they think it’s crappy
and it’s starting to blow

Shazbot, you’ve got to dream / of an inner peace, of a new release
You’ve got to meet yourself/ asking “hey what do I do?”
Nanoo, Nanoo

I feel so alien / who’s the one who’s upside down?
Take what’s good, pass it around
and you’re all so funny, you should hear your voices / see your choices
Little machines of distraction / where’s the interaction?
Who’s sitting right there with you?
Is it just too hard to say / “ Nanoo, nanoo”

I feel so alien / I feel so alien
strange things you do for fun / strange things you do, Nanoo, Nanoo

2. Nanoo, nanoo / consumers trash the oceans
poison food and the bees are dying
Desert sky god told you before / we don’t agree, so it’s off to war
Differences we could let go
Shazbot, you’ve got to dream / of an inner peace, of a new release
Why not just meet yourself / saying “hey, what do I do? Nanoo, nanoo”?

I feel so alien / who’s the one who’s upside down?
Cruelness, so alien / when we all could live in the beautiful sun!
I feel so alien / I feel so alien / when you end, you’ve just begun
My egg has taken me / to this Earth mystery / all these strange things you do
strange things you do, Nanoo, Nanoo _ I’m calling Orson, come in, come in, come in Orson, come in come in come in….come in, come in, come in (you’ve got to dream) come in, come in, come in…come in, come in come in…I feel so alien.

-Cecil Disharoon (Lue Lyron) August 13 2 to 4 am (with music)

mork and mindyGoing into page two, I discarded “you might be a redneck if/ your human racing off the cliff” because even a funny cheap shot at the South seemed so specific as to take me out of the flow of human commentary in general. A comment artist Joe Philips had made about the “desert sky god” did find its way in place of the discard, which never made it to the page. The flip page was surprisingly faithful to the pattern of the first, though not slavishly tit-for-tat. Then I took out the guitar, somehow without once crying (I got a bit feely three times, earlier), and spent probably fifteen minutes deciding on the key, before supplementing my F G Am riff with the proper accompaniment. I had one moment where I said to myself I don’t know theory like a trained person; I don’t have an innate sense what went together in this sonic territory. I didn’t give up, though. I had a sense of what worked together with specific phrases in a way I didn’t develop for years, and after much trial and error, by 4am roughly I had a playable song!

Original page of lyrics/ chords
Original page of lyrics/ chords

feel so alien written page

While timing it, I noted it was turning out roughly the same length as another great space man song, “Space Oddity,” and for that matter, “Rocket Man,” which use the same metaphor in ways unique from mine. Working on “Moonage Daydream” again lately probably evoked the Ziggy Stardust character, the space man who came to Earth to eventually rock and roll and apparently burn out. The Bowie influence did shape my song, in particular: I remember trying a B flat-minor 7th shape at one point that didn’t quite work (but a Fsharp did) in tribute to the progression of “Oddity,” but the “Feel So Alien” is nonetheless uniquely mine, without overt emulation, just authentic expression as I frankly grappled with suicide, somehow, in a song that makes the laugh-worthy “Nanoo, nanoo” greeting from the sitcom a poignant statement. I can’t just preach at you, I’ve got to rock you, move you, and make you smile…which is actually pretty typical of preaching, from my experience. Shazbot, the expression used like a swear word, sort of introduces an oath in my song, too; Mork usually said it after an accident or mistake, so it seemed right to say, in wake of the mistake of our miscommunication as a species, or even the tragic decision Robin made. I’m sure he did seek some inner peace and try to return to idealistic dreams, many, many times over in his sixty three years.

The last image to come from the show was Mork’s arrival in his egg, always depicted in the show’s opening. For the first time I connected it with the fact that human life begins biologically in a fertilized egg, too, and that’s the egg in which we arrive on this planet…possibly, from somewhere! By that point I’d already anticipated “come in Orson” from the top of the song as a desperate plea and a definitive focus to center all that came along in between. The idea of an egg bringing us here to Earth’s mystery returned the relevance of the metaphor and perhaps the unending path to inner peace where we sometimes just want to return to the beginning and start all over!change the world

Last things last, as with first things first: my favorite pairing of chords with “I feel so alien,” E7 and Aminor7 (transposed by capo two; they are actually an F sharp 7th and B minor 7th, I imagine), a pairing I only used twice because I didn’t want to exhaust the power of its vulnerability, became my closer. I already had tried out “come in, come in, come in” repetitively in three run-throughs, let’s say, before I got the definitive ending. I remember timing it three times to that point on my phone’s stop watch, to come out of my sense of timeless time and see how much song I had, did I need to use a chorus again and what WAS the chorus. I don’t insist on strict rules of formula, but I do like coherency. Sure enough, a full page front and back, as is many times the case, was enough!

I was making up coffee to start later for everyone else when I heard “you know you’ve got to dream” as the companion line to “come in, come in, come in”; I like rounds, as evidenced on “Evolution” and “Angela Dawn,” built, like the Indigo Girls did it, on our two voices threading in and out of each other as the epic conclusion fuses sentiments. I like to think at the present that all I ever learned informs the next piece. Robin had said something I later saw put together on a beautiful meme, a photo of him with a butterfly on his nose, about “don’t let anyone tell you differently: words and dreams change the world.” It was born of the same ethos, the Sixties counterculture, that is probably most seminal to my work to this day; to paraphrase the man himself, I remember the Sixties because I wasn’t there!

robinI can honestly say Robin Williams, in some way, at least the one I carry with me in my head, revived successfully after he could not be, helped me write the whole thing. A recent comment from Ridge DJ Matt Davis, about his son and Radiohead (especially “Sail To the Moon”) had evoked their unique sense of melody and made me want to put the line that became the title afterwards in vulnerable terms. I was inspired by the anomie, the loneliness Robin and indeed all of us feel sometimes, and the rest of the song detailed why that loneliness is so: we know there’s a better way if we just didn’t hide from ourselves and conclusively, each other. I tried out just two titles around 4:30 am, and Angela liked suggestion one, “Feel So Alien” and that’s where I kept it. I think that was the very last thing. Titles usually are; they are like the cover to a comic book or book in general. A broken e-string assured I would not try recording it, which was just as well, as I was still mumbling the words while perfecting the chord changes, but I needed to replace those strings anyway, and it will be in the line up August 21st.

About 5:11 am, I had taken a brief rest after a shower, and after cooling in the early morning air by my window and drying off a bit gradually, I sat down to type up my words. I was too tired to fight with positioning the chords in a second copy; it was enough to share the lyrics four or five different places, mostly on my wall and blog, call it a night about an hour-plus later. Four and a half hours after my initial idea, I was ready to let it rest. I think four hours is a nice work period, generally, and see why Stephen King suggested sticking with your craft that long every morning. I like the idea of this human existence having a natural home out there in the greater cosmos, and I guess Mork being from Ork always worked for me because reporting back to our point of origin is a very useful metaphor for gaining perspective on existence on Earth. Great sacrifices of pain precipitate many great works of art, but in my case, there’s a hope and some note-worthy epiphany that either emerges in the creation of the work itself or empowers that creation. Some kind of realization, relevance, reverence, always makes the essence of a lasting artistic statement.

Completing a short story, drawings, and now a new song, suggests a type of gestation that took time in between while I went out and experienced life and took in impressions. They feed one another, too; the drawings brought me words of wisdom and praise from the person they honored; the rambling essay evoked the lasting impressions of what made Mork important to me, not just his silliness, but my anticipation of what he’d learned about us from his feigned naivety, an authenticity that was true to Robin Williams, a sincerity for which he may have cursed himself for not staying faithful to, while a cold evaluation of human kind continuing to suffer for all they refuse to learn may have haunted him.

I said at one point in the night that art is like emotional antibodies we generate and then try to share with a sick world.
Do I even need to tell you why I made this song?

Over -let’s start with goodbye, shall we?

It’s a bit ironic to meet the public with a goodbye song. Especially when your band chugs along with the kind of danceable, hummable energy that is typical for Integr8d Soul.

Quiet! Shattered only by the Passing Of A Train – silence, death, and happiness (Emmryza Dawn)

Passing Of A Train
Passing Of A Train

Passing of A Train began as a poem written over a decade ago while the Marc Kane was watching over an elderly woman and passing the silence of night with runes, reading, and writing.

This painting by Jason Rudra Brumbelow

(I’m not sure what he calls it, but it’s on sale at the show!)

“Passing Of A Train”  by Emmryza Dawn (arr. L. Lyron:

I adore the stillness of this time of night

Morgan tucked away in bed       nightly prayers having been said

for here in the most hidden recesses   I discover glimpses of light

Quiet! Shattered only by the passing of a train

and I wonder where it heads      alas, it goes where it is lead

then it makes a sigh as it draws nigh          as if it feels some pain

until silence closes in.

2. I am left sitting in this emptiness      yet, I obtain happiness

in the smallest thing   like the cat outside which may sing

Peace, my heart, did win    and I feel the universe achieve oneness

and I feel the universe achieve oneness

Quiet! Shattered only by the passing of a train

and I wonder where it heads      alas, it goes where it is lead

then it makes a sigh as it draws nigh          as if it feels some pain

in the passing of a train

Peace my heart did win           and I feel the universe achieve oneness

and I feel the universe achieve oneness

 

until silence closes in.             -Emmryza Dawn, 12-10-03

The Marc Kane, a.k.a. Emmryza DAwn

The achievement of a sensation of oneness (satori) has long been a central meditation theme.  The sudden second of silence

that intermittently re-appears in the performance of the song creates a “gap” similar to the brief periods of utter quiet in the mind sought for by zazen and other forms of meditation.   There’s a certain eeriness evoked by the atmosphere of the music, which still chugs along as a moderately paced rock song, too.  Emmryza described the sensation of sitting with someone nearing the end of life and the rather haunting feel of the house, with its closed door to an unused room.  The bond with the elderly woman and her nightly prayers is reflected in the first verse.   The quiet of the house is disturbed by two noises only: a yowling cat, welcomed as a sign of life, and of course, the passing of a train. Continue reading Quiet! Shattered only by the Passing Of A Train – silence, death, and happiness (Emmryza Dawn)

Swan Swan H – R.E.M.

Swan, swan, hummingbird
Hurrah, we are all free now
What noisy cats are we
Girl and dog he bore his cross
Swan, swan, hummingbird
Hurrah, we are all free now
A long, low time ago, people talk to me

Johnny Reb, what’s the price of fans?
Forty a piece or three for one dollar
Hey captain, don’t you want to buy
Some bone chains and toothpicks?

Night wings, her hair chains,
Here’s your wooden greenback, sing
Wooden beams and dovetail sweep
I struck that picture ninety times,
I walked that path a hundred ninety,
Long, low time ago, people talk to me

Pistol hot cup of rhyme
The whiskey is water, the water is wine
Marching feet, Johnny Reb, what’s the price of heroes?

Six of one, half dozen the other,
Tell that to the captain’s mother,
Hey captain, don’t you want to buy,
Some bone chains and toothpicks?

Night wings, her hair chains
Swan, swan, hummingbird
Hurrah, we are all free now
What noisy cats are we
Long, low time ago, people talk to me
Pistol hot cup of rhyme
The whiskey is water, the water is wine

 

http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Swan-Swan-H-lyrics-R-E-M/DED1611A71DC2A6248256894001E0E08

 

Very evocative of the Civil War, to me.  I was looking for some way to mention the way different lines collide end-to-end to create different phrases.  The items (greenback: money; whiskey) mentioned suit the era, conjured by “Johnny Reb” (the Confederates’ nickname).   They at least don’t contradict it.   What’s a pistol hot cup of rhyme?  You get it at the stream of consciousness and bring it back to camp to warm up on the fires of imagination.

Michael says 1) what noisy cats are we is a line from an actual Civil War song and 2) they’ve finally named the song by this title instead of “Swan Swan H” because “my pretentious 20’s are over and we can all breathe easily.  Sorta.”

“Wings” and “chains” are probably intended as nouns, but I enjoy when a song’s words could be verbs as well.  Since we’re not constricted to sentences, we’re drawn to individual pairs and short phrases, as is often the case with R.E.M.

“What’s the price of fans?”  You could play with that out of context, as the band was really really taking off now by Life’s Rich Pageant.

Dog and girl bore his cross…bearing a cross tends to make one think of the Crucifixion from the Gospels.  We have another type of Christ figure here: a soldier, I think, who’s sacrificed, and for what, exactly?

The  business about the captain’s very vague.  Why evoke his mother?  Someone’s selling some random things to him…cheap things and valuables both.  Why sell toothpicks?   Is this a post-war career, or something a travelling supplier carries?  Anyone with both of these things for sale doesn’t sound like they’ve had a big plan…just trying to survive.

So, a bird associated with emergent beauty, and a tiny, fast little thing, constantly burning energy.  You can really make them your own.

Is “we are all free now” about freed slaves?   In this tone, there’s almost something…faintly mocking about the freedom.

 

All I know is, after noticing “Wendell G” is a Stipe death dream, one day I’ve got to do it on this blog.    R.E.M. has always been the vaguest and most abstractly evocative of bands, lyrically.  I don’t doubt they inspired some of my earliest efforts.

“Passing Of A Train” from us is practically a lost R.E.M. song, but I would allege it makes more sense!  Maybe I’ll put it up next.  After all, I think we’ll debut it publicly on June 27th…this week!

swans

B-b-b-Bennie and the Jets

By the time you read this, we’ll probably have already played our early show date in Cave Spring Art Festival–which, Saturday the 14th, is a Soul Rocket BA-Doom show—which means covers, but most of all—means Elton John’s songs brought to life!  The Marc Kane, when asked, suggested I pick this one to spotlight.

It’s one of the first Elton John songs to really grab my attention as a youth, one of the first where I figured out “this is Elton John.”  I didn’t understand the words, but I loved the feel of it, the weird organs and synthesizers and piano to that one-of-a-kind beat.  I loved the opening chords.  It’s got a strip-tease feel to it.  With “Jersey Boys” coming out, I might as well mention the falsetto is Elton’s approximation of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

 This is probably the most fun I ever had playing the song.   Not the greatest recording but …I love the environment that could break out in downtown San Diego on a Friday night.  Some random pretty girl just holds your camera for you and away you go.

You’d be more likely to “read it on the Internet” these days so we threw in that change…this was in the earliest days of us putting together Soul Rocket BA-Doom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbNK2C5UHAw

One funny thing about Bennie and the Jets: it sounds live, but that’s a studio affectation.  Gus Dudgeon, inspired by “Live From the Playhouse Theatre,” engineered the sounds of a Jimi Hendrix Isle of Wight concert and some old Elton Live audio into a mix that included claps.  As Gus once put it: “I was sure to have claps off-the-beat, too, because that’s how English audience clap at shows!”

Since I designed this show in 2012, I’ve read up on Elton’s songs voraciously; I’m not sure what I can add that hasn’t been said before.  He didn’t want this song released as a single until he heard Philadelphia urban stations were playing it.  Actually, an Ontario radio station kicked this off, making it the number one song in Detroit!  When he consented, a white boy from Pinner, England, ended up with a number fifteen “Billboard Hot Soul Chart” hit in America!  Watching the Soul Train Dancers in 1974 try to come up with a dance to this weirdo rhythm is a visual treat.

 

ImageIt’s not right to discuss Elton John lyrics without bringing up Bernie Taupin, who as all fans know (and many rock fans in general) writes the words to most of Elton’s classic songs.  The exception’s Tim Rice, who co-wrote the Lion King songs and those made for a production of “Aida,” and Gary Osbourne, who co-wrote “Little Jeanie” and “Blue Eyes” along with another disco-era fave of mine, “Mama CAn’t Buy You Love,” which sounds best to me with just the jaunty piano, live.  Our romance with an apparent rich girl overseas tends to affectionately attach itself to that one for me.  Another story.

 Hey kids, shake it loose together
The spotlight’s hitting something
That’s been known to change the weather
We’ll kill the fatted calf tonight
So stick around
You’re gonna hear electric music
Solid walls of sound

Say, Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet
But they’re so spaced out, Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful
Oh Bennie she’s really keen
She’s got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine
Bennie and the Jets

Hey kids, plug into the faithless
Maybe they’re blinded
But Bennie makes them ageless
We shall survive, let us take ourselves along
Where we fight our parents out in the streets
To find who’s right and who’s wrong

Oh Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet
Oh but they’re so spaced out, Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful
Oh Bennie she’s really keen
She’s got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine, oh
Bennie and the Jets

Oh Candy and Ronnie, have you seen them yet
Oh but they’re so spaced out, Bennie and the Jets
Oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful
Oh Bennie she’s really keen
She’s got electric boots a mohair suit
You know I read it in a magazine, oh
Bennie and the Jets

Lyrics powered by LyricFind
written by JOHN, ELTON / TAUPIN, BERNARD J.P. / AKINTIMEHIN, OLUBOWALE VICTOR
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Read more at http://www.lyrics.com/bennie-and-the-jets-lyrics-elton-john.html#yOFTH1Kxw6eShqTT.99

But: Bennie.  Who’s Bennie?  Well, it’s apparently a glam rock lady, from the words.  Bernie Taupin was thinking of a futuristic band of robots, he’s said.  He’s called Bennie ” a sci-fi Rock Goddess.”  You could even see her as an alternative persona of Elton John, a camp figure in outrageous clothes.  Hey, anything to stick out while playing a piano…you’re sitting down.  It’s not easy to become a rock star sitting down!  The robots idea fits nicely with the stuttered “B-b-b-b-Bennie” don’t you think?

 

“We’ll kill the fatted calf tonight so stick around” is apparently a satire on music business greed, though I know the phrase from the Prodigal Son parable in the Gospels.  “Solid walls of sound” always makes me think of Phil Spector’s record production.  But honestly, I think Bernie makes these little poem-stories and then comes up with the meanings, if any, after the fact.  I think glam rock’s embrace of androgyny suits the line about “we fight our parents out in the street to find who’s right and who’s wrong,” as the peak protest era of the 1960’s had passed us by.  Not to say there weren’t, and aren’t, still echoes.  Why people get together to protest is another multi-faceted story in itself.

The version by Miguel (with Wale) on the 40th anniversary re-release of its origin album, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” is very inspired, and gives new R&B life to this cool Black Radio hit!

 

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ON the other hand, Axl Rose has said listening to “Bennie and the Jets” was his inspiration for becoming a singer.  How about that?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AyxRxifQJk Here’s the song as a duet with Cher.

it went to number one the week of April 13th, 1974.  “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” by the Three Degrees is the song that bumped it off the top—a classic Philly soul anthem.  I’ve been through more than one solid gold soul phase myself; I was determined that singing style and our hidden-meaning spirit lyrics could work together.  That’s one reason we call ourselves Integr8d Soul!

We’ve sang it better, as we’re struggling with street noise a little and she’s holding the camera and is therefore next to it, but I really had gotten attached to interpreting it on the guitar, and hey: San Diego, downtown  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9DclO3_1QU

 

This song still brings a big smile to my face, especially if it comes on while I’m out in public.

 

Loretta Lynn, Shel Silverstein: “One’s On The Way” !

 

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