Sunday, December 07, 2008

Musical Notes

I remain convinced that Dave Alvin would be the world's best boyfriend--and the worst. He'd ignore you while he played his guitar, go on the road all the time, sleep with women he met on the road, but he'd be there when it really counted, not necessarily when you needed him, but when you didn't know you needed him. Listen (but don't watch, please, and, really, what you want to hear is the stripped-down acoustic version from King of California) (where you can also hear Dave make "Fourth of July" his own--that version has terrible sound quality, but captures the magic) (I don't know why I even do this anymore--either I've convinced you of Dave Alvin's godliness, or you don't care, but I was listening to King of California this morning and was struck by it once again, as I always am).

The other day I turned on the college radio hippie morning show (yep, I've given up on NPR again) right in the middle of "Up On Cripple Creek." Now that is a great song. When I went to find it on YouTube, to write this post (when did YouTube become the go-to place for music?), the second video that came up was the version from The Last Waltz. Back in the day, we used to see The Last Waltz at the double-feature repertory movie theater, the one with the wicker chairs in the balcony. Now that is a great movie. A few years ago, my sister-in-law decided that the Band was the best band in the world, and all she listened to was the Band, and she collected weird Band CDs and bootlegs and books about the Band, and sent S cryptic letters and emails about the Band. It was Band-o-mania, but, you know, she's right, that is a great band. And, watching that video, I realized that here I've been thinking the lineage of alt-country begins with Gram, takes a dead end with the Eagles, and then jumps to life again with Uncle Tupelo, leading straight on till Wilco (OK, that is totally truncated, but it will have to do for now), but how could I not have been thinking about the Band, starting at Big Pink (and we all know the story of how I snagged a disastrous college boyfriend by asking for The Band when he asked me what I wanted to hear, the first time I went to his room, don't we?)? Anyway, I'm thinking it's time to get hold of a DVD of The Last Waltz.

In completely different automotive musical activity, we've been listening to Santogold again and she is the alt-country-anthithesis bomb. But still, my attraction to her goes back to those 70s musical experiences, because one of the things I just love, besides the beats, energy, and attitude, is the endless string of calypso/reggae/ska/zydeco samples, like "Shanty Town"--when's the last time you heard "Shanty Town"? The Harder They Come was the first album I ever asked for, and with that one, too, movie and music are completely entwined, though it played at the other double-feature repertory movie theater. Or how about "Iko Iko"? Which could lead back to the Grateful Dead (I'm almost certain I was at that show--man, YouTube is awesome!), which might make Santogold not quite so antithetical, or perhaps make Santogold the quintessence of my musical history...

OK, I'll stop now.

This post is a love letter to my husband.

1 comment:

jackie said...

I read this post for the first time earlier today, and then on my way to class tonight, "Acadian Driftwood" came on the hippie college radio station I listen :).