Not too long ago (I can’t really remember exactly when – the days here in self-isolation just blend together), I watched the ZZ Top documentary on Netflix. A very enjoyable show it was. It gives a good background on how they got started and had bit and pieces of lots of their music scattered throughout the show, as well as the band playing live.
One line that stuck with me, but I can’t remember who said it (not a band member), was “ZZ Top took the blues and turned it into party music”. That’s a very true statement. It goes right along with front man Billy F. Gibbons’ reply when asked why fans still come to see them play live; (paraphrasing here) “I don’t know. We’re just the same three guys playing the same three chords”.
I hope they keep those same I-VI-V chords going!
This song has been stuck in my head off and on since I watched that show.
So just yesterday, or maybe the day before, or was it last week, son-the-younger hit me up with one of his questions. It was a very good question.
”Would Jimi Hendrix be just as famous if he had had a lead singer?”
In my (not so humble) opinion, no he would not have been as famous. Generally speaking only the front man of the band get’s the headlines. Without “googling” it, name the lead guitar player for The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, or The Animals. See? Not that easy. (Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), and The Animals was a trick question, they had more guitarists wander in and out you’d have to read the Wikipedia page for all the names).
Not that Jimi didn’t deserve his fame. He was a brilliant musician, and is a member of my “Guitar Gods” list (I really, really need to actually put that list in writing). My thought was since he died so young (a founding member of the 27 Club), he would not have had enough time to get out of the shadow of a really good front man. Of course, we’ll never know. Feel free to leave your response to the question as a comment!
Before you go thinking that this is a Hendrix post, read on.
The next (semi) logical step in our conversation was who else fit in this category. We threw lots of names around. Naturally, the whole discussion started looking for a rabbit hole. As we were on our second Tequila drink (not sure exactly what we were drinking, something from son-the-younger’s warped mind) it didn’t take long to find said rabbit hole.
We ended up discussing front men that really couldn’t sing. Sometime during the course of the back and forth of throwing out names and laughing, I mentioned Roger McGuinn. Since Earth Day and Arbor Day is right around now, this song has been getting a bit more airplay. And when I played it for the boy, he had never heard it. But we both agreed that Roger is not a singer. A great song writer and guitar player, but we’ll leave it at that.
Reading the news now-a-days makes it seem like we are living in a world without love. This enforced isolation/quarantine is definitely messing with people’s heads. I have not seen any weird, outrageous, or cruel acts here in #Floriduh, which is surprising when you consider how moronic our “governor” is. I won’t go into that here; I don’t want to spoil my good mood.
How are you dealing with all this time stuck somewhere? For those that know me, it’s not surprising that for me it’s food and booze. Son-the-younger and his girls are doing their best to cook up new things for us. Of course, they’re focusing on the sweets, which I don’t eat too much.
My problem is different. There are not enough salty snacks in the house. My cardiologist may think that’s a good thing, but he is dead wrong.
But, our little pation garden is doing well. So we have that going for us!
Here’s one of only two songs credited to Lennon & McCartney to reach number one that are not Beatles recordings. The other is Elton John’s cover of Lucy In The Sky.
Peter (of Peter and Gordon) and Paul McCartney are childhood friends. And Paul was engaged to Peter’s sister, Jane. Of course, when Jane walked in on Paul in bed with another woman, the engagement was terminated.
Here’s one you may not know. I had mostly forgotten about it until Alton Brown mentioned it on an episode of his YouTube show Quarantine Quitchen. I immediately went to find a video of it.
Sadly this single didn’t chart, but it was the “B” side to Run Straight Down which made it to #30 in 1989. The late Mr. Zevon is not on my “Guitar God” list. I guess I’ll have make another list for him. Yeah, he’ll rank very high on my singer/songwriter list.
I picked this video because it also has Neil Young who played on the original, and it’s live!
I had to do the grocery shopping the other day. We’re doing our best to not go too often, but as I’ve mentioned before the shelves are so low of everything it requires multiple trips over several days to get everything we need. I have gone from having to feed just me and Wifey (with son-the-younger on his days off) to feeding all three of us plus the wee bonnie lasses. From two to five mouths.
While our liquor store will deliver to us, the grocery store we prefer does not offer delivery nor pickup. So, one of us has to go shopping.
And that leads me to today’s song. Most folks that were shopping along with me were very good about maintaining that social distance. But not all.
So, this one I know why it’s stuck. Son-the-younger started singing it while we were making breakfast this morning. And now it’s stuck. But I don’t mind, I love this song. I tried to find the live version that George Harrison cameos in but can’t seem to find it right now.
Wifey says the song goes well with our “lumberjack” breakfast. Breakfast burritos don’t seem very lumberjackish to me, but whatev’
I do hope each and everyone out there are handling this health crisis well. We are having no issues here. I have been closely monitoring everyone’s temperature daily (me twice a day – I’m a high-risk guy). I also check my blood oxygen level several times a day, just for good measure.
And since I live in #Floriduh and our good-for-nothing governor was following along with our national Dear Leader, it’s been crazy here. Yesterday I had two guys come door-to-door trying to sell something. I have no idea what as I wouldn’t open the door and just yelled at them to go away. We do, finally, have a “stay-at-home” order. It goes into effect at midnight tonight.
And that brings me to today’s tune. I think it fits quite nicely with everything that’s going on ‘round here. Plus, it needs no introduction.
I awoke this morning to the news that Jackson Browne has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. I guess that’s why several of his songs have been playing in my head since yesterday evening. It was tough to pick just which song to highlight. I choose this one on the strength of the lyrics alone.
If my memory is correct (and it just may not be), my brother introduced me to Jackson’s music about 1975 or so. I remember we were working on the roof of the house I grew up in and my parents and I were living in. I had a small radio (this was before the days of “Boom Boxes”) and Redneck Friend was playing. I started laughing at the chorus;
Honey, you shake, I'll rattle, we'll roll on down the line
See if we can't get in touch with a very close friend of mine
But let me clue you in, it ain't like him to argue or pretend
Well, honey let me introduce you to my redneck friend
Naturally that started my brother (always the teacher) to give me an hour-long lecture, I mean history of Mr. Browne and his music. I was hooked. And I wasn’t the only one.
The title of this song is mantra around our house. I can’t remember how I found this song. I’m pretty sure it was during the year I was stationed in Korea. But I can’t really be sure. You know they say the first three things to go when you get old are your sex drive, your patience, and and… I forgot the third thing.
The song is sung in a first-person narrative about a man’s relationship with a woman who does not reciprocate his feelings and regards their sexual encounter as nothing more than casual. The song’s title reflects the woman’s response to the man’s unspoken questions. Later in the song, the woman realizes her mistake and returns to him, trying to mend fences, only to find that the man has moved on and has no feelings left for her, turning on her with her own words.
While you may not know this song (although it did make it to #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1990), most folks know The Rembrandts #1 pop hit “I’ll Be There For You” which was used as the theme song for the sitcom Friends. Another TV show that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a complete episode of.