Monthly Archives: May 2014

Hey, Cowboy.

Hey, cowboy, I sure like them boots,

and yeah, I like Wyoming too.

Thanks for asking, I love it lots,

and I see you’re doing tequila shots.

No, I won’t have one, but thanks again,

I gotta say no cause I might sin.

You laugh at me, you naughty guy,

okay, just one, then I must fly.

You sound surprised, cowboy Joe,

you say to stay and see the show.

I probably would but I sense danger,

okay, one more, you awesome stranger.

Yeah, I’m from the south, how could you tell?

You laugh again and I’m drunk as hell.

But set it up, barkeep, if you will,

my cowboy’s buying; here’s cash for the till.

It’s time to go, there’s no denying,

but you call me purdy and swear you ain’t lying.

And better even than all of that,

you laugh at my jokes and I’m wearing your hat.

Now my ride has gone and Yellowstone is pretty far,

from this little town and this cowboy bar.

You say you don’t mind, and I’m sure it’s true,

taking me on that motorbike with you.

So off we go, past the Tetons and into the park,

whizzing by buffalo grazing in the dark.

I bury my face in your leather,

our hair flies around us and ties up together.

I pretend that you are really my man,

and I live year round in this astonishing land.

But approaching the cabin I feel real shy,

and then you notice and ask me why.

I say I’m sorry I acted sluttier than I am,

and you could come in, but for my roommate, Pam.

This makes you smile though I can see,

that you’re a little mad at me.

I hardly know you so I can’t describe,

how Jesus and Granny watch me from the sky.

And how if I could hide then I would begin,

to live my life without thoughts of sin.

I’d rock your world, cowboy mine,

but there is something I will never find.

A shield twixt me and celestial eyes,

a cone of silence to mute my sighs.

An underground cave or a lead lined roof?

Wishful thinking, but what’s the use?

There is no place that will serve to save,

no hidden compartment or secret cave.

My actions are forever viewed,

And so, my cowboy, we are screwed.

 

And just for fun…a cowboy song. Well, it’s really about the cowboy’s girl, as is fitting…

 Questions? Comments? Please Share!

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The Roundabout Fiasco of 1979

The other day I had occasion to go inside a stranger’s house for a few minutes. I didn’t know these people; I was only there to pick up something for my kid. It all went fine – I wasn’t assailed by any weird smells or shocking junk hoards or anything like that, but they were loudly playing bad music. I mean really, really bad music. Music that would be bad even for a Miley idolizing twelve year old. So I was a little disconcerted, attempting to maintain a fake smile in the midst of my horror and confusion, and trying to get out of there as soon as I could politely do so.

Naturally, this experience reminded me of the “Roundabout Fiasco of 1979”. It was one of those high school parties where a kid’s parents are out of town, so he tries to have a big, wild party like he’s seen on those stupid teen movies. I didn’t know the boy with the out-of-town-parents, but one of his pals was my band-guy-friend, and he pestered me into coming to the party and bringing some of my friends with me. So I reluctantly agreed to go, and I showed up at the designated time with a carload of girls, as I was expected to do. My friends didn’t want to go, of course, so I promised them that we would only stay a few minutes if it sucked. Which it did.

Once inside the house, it was evident that in addition to breaking parental trust with a “wild party”, the parental liquor cabinet had been broken into as well. There were a few other miserable looking girls huddled together on the couch, but mostly, the place was overrun with a bunch of drunk teenage boys – some already passed out, some dashing off to bow before the porcelain god, and a few still upright and trying hard to impress. The only saving grace was that “Roundabout” was playing on the stereo, and as you know, I’m a big Yes fan, so I gave my girl-posse the “just give it a few minutes” signal and we stood in a little knot close to the door.

But the drunk boys obviously weren’t aware that this was their only saving grace, because in the middle of the song, one of them went up to the stereo, scratched the needle across the record, said “I don’t wanna listen to this old sh*t”, and put on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. Let’s let that sink in. He took off “Roundabout”, dissing it in the process. Then he played Michael Jackson instead.

You know, I have a long history of judging people by their musical tastes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not gonna feel disdain for your granny if she watches the Lawrence Welk fund-raisers on PBS, and I’m not gonna sneer at a twelve year old that likes Lady Gag or whatever, but if you are my contemporary, and you like crappy music, I know in my heart that you’ll never be admitted to the inner circle (not that I actually have one), though I’ll be nice to you and all. But this was really too much to take. Here I had forced my friends to come with me to this ridiculous “party”, only to be thrust into the midst of a bunch of Michael Jackson listenin’, Yes dissin’, drunken jerks. I stood there glowering at the record-changing twerp for a few minutes, then I gave the “let’s roll” signal to my girl-posse and we left without a word.

My band-guy-friend followed me outside and wanted to know why we were leaving, to which I casually responded “We can’t take that music they’re playing”, not realizing the incendiary implications of my words. The miserable girls from the couch followed us out too, and the whole horrible event was over as far as we girls were concerned. But we found out on the following Monday that our leaving was only the beginning of the pièce de résistance of the evening. Apparently, my band-guy-friend told them all we left because of Michael Jackson, so a couple guys jumped on the record-changing twerp for running all the girls off with his bad music, and of course the twerp’s friends came to his defense. Thus, the failed teen-movie-wild-party evolved into a drunken teenage-boy brawl. Because of Yes-dissing. And Michael Jackson. And my big mouth, I guess.

Record-changing twerp, whatever were you thinking? I continue to glower in your general direction, wherever you may be now, enjoying your Bieber tunes and such. But I’m sorry you got your comeuppance. Kinda. Just kidding! Sorta.

It occurred to me while writing this post that the band-guy-friend was probably the one that played “Roundabout” in the first place. He knew how much I like Yes. He was the one that gave me ELO’s  A New World Record on eight track when he saw that the only tape I had was John Denver’s Greatest Hits. Probably never shoulda friend-zoned that guy. From the metalgurumessiah…

And don’t go dissin’ John Denver! My parents gave me that tape so I’d have something to play on my eight track player in my first car. I wanted to do a “Rocky Mountain High” clip, but I couldn’t find a good one, so we’ll do “Rocky Mountain Way” instead. Because the Rocky Mountain way really is better than the way we had. Seriously, America. Not even sorta kidding.

Questions? Comments? Please Share!

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One Year of Wild Surmises: Looking Into You

This week marks the one year anniversary of My Wild Surmise! I’m not sure what I’m going to do to celebrate. Dress up in my Ian Anderson outfit and dance around the living room to “Locomotive Breath”, maybe? Go cruise my old cruising strip in the Buick, windows down and rocking out to UFO? I guess not, since I’d probably get arrested for doing that now. Plus you really need Van Halen and Journey and Boston if you want to cruise the strip 1978 style, and I haven’t gotten to them yet, though they are all clamoring for my attention and will be making an appearance soon.

I thought about dragging out poor old Neil from The Young Ones again to interview me, but he made such a fool of us both at the 2013 Marie Awards that I thought it best to just let it lie. So in the end, I decided I’d just talk about my blogging journey thus far. I have already explained, somewhere along the way, that I didn’t even want to have a blog when I first set it up it a year ago. I did it because I was beginning to write fiction and was advised that I needed a blog.

So, okay, I set up a stupid blog, but I didn’t have any idea what I was supposed to do with it. I thought maybe I’d talk about writing, but that was boring as hell, and I was about to shut the thing down, and I would have done it, too, except for two things: there were a few bloggers out there who liked my first several posts, and that made me want to keep going (and you know who you are, but I can’t list any names because I’ll forget somebody, like I always do), and I had this burning desire to talk about the music of my life.

Or at least I thought it was a burning desire to talk about music, but as it turned out, it was a burning desire to talk about me and my life, and focusing on the music served as a catalyst to enable me to do that. I’m no expert on music; in fact, I’m pretty sure that everyone who reads my blog knows more than me about the artists and the music itself. I guess you could say my thing is talking about the emotional and experiential aspect of our music, and I hope that by talking about my own experiences and the music that I associate with them, I’ve helped you to re-experience the music on that level too.

During the year I’ve been blogging, I’ve also been going through major life changes, in pretty much every department and on every level. You name it, it’s changing. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s a changey thing, and you know how weird that can be. So what have I been doing with my blog? Well, I guess Mr. Browne would say I’ve been looking into a house I once lived in, and I’ve come to see where my beginnings have gone, and I’m looking in my life for the truth that is my own, and now I’m ready to fly.

Well I looked into the sky for my anthem
And the words and the music came through
But words and music can never touch the beauty that I’ve seen
Looking into you — and that’s true.

It is a dance we do in silence
Far below this morning sun
You in your life, me in mine
We have begun
Here we stand and without speaking
Draw the water from the well
And stare beyond the plains
To where the mountains lie so still

But it’s a long way that I have come
Across the sand to find you here
Among these people in the sun…

Love and peace to my friends and followers; thanks for reading.

 Questions? Comments? As always, please share…

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Lovely Linda, Queen of the Country Rock Cover Song

You may have noticed that I have a distinct leaning in the direction of country rock, what with my continual references to Gram Parsons and all. Like a lot of other country rock fans of my generation, I was first introduced to the genre through Linda Ronstadt’s 1974 Grammy Award winning masterpiece, Heart Like A Wheel, which I got for Christmas the year it came out. The wise Wikipedia sages call this album “a pioneering blueprint of country rock”, and I have to agree with that assessment. Linda is not a songwriter – simply an extraordinary singer with a taste for country rock and an ear for a great song.

She was a part of the California folk and country rock scene in its infancy, performing at the same bars and ultimately touring with the likes of Jackson Browne and Neil Young. Her 1969 album “Hand Sown…Home Grown” is considered the first alternative country album released by a female artist. Her beautiful voice and charm combined with terrific songs catapulted Linda into tremendous fame in the 1970s, and from what I have read, it was pretty much the dream of every country rock songwriter to have his song performed by Linda Ronstadt. Everything she touched turned to gold.

Despite this, it seems that she faced a tremendous amount of sexism behind the scenes, even to the point of having trouble getting male back-up singers and being continually pressured to present some kind of tough-girl, leather-clad Suzy Quatroesque image, which she steadfastly resisted. And she stuck it out, and she followed her own muse, and she eventually moved into different genres and forms of music. I sometimes feel that the world has forgotten how influential she was and how significant her contributions were because she did eventually pursue other musical directions and became more of what used to be called  an “easy listening” type of singer. But the truth is – her contributions were enormous, bringing an entire genre of music to international attention and opening doors for female artists for years to come.

Plus, she was just absolutely adorable, wasn’t she? I always kind of looked to her as a role model – not just musically and as a powerful and successful woman, but because she was my fellow dark-haired girl in an era of “gentlemen prefer blonds”.  Also, the picture on the cover of her album, Living in the USA, caused me to wear satin gym shorts and knee high socks to the skating rink, so I guess you could say I was a true fan. Linda is now living with Parkinson’s disease and is no longer able to sing, which breaks my heart. So this week, which is sort of “girl power week” in my mind, in case you didn’t pick up on that from my last post, I want to celebrate lovely Linda’s amazing career and spectacular voice, which ranges from contralto to soprano, with these songs…

This is a prime example of Linda’s knack of giving outstanding but lesser known songs tremendous exposure. This is a Lowell George song and one of my favorites.  And by the way, I’ve called every “Alice” I’ve ever known “Dallas Alice” because of this song…

I love Linda’s version of “Tumbling Dice”. It seems that Mick Jagger was a fan, visited her backstage one night, and this is the result of that conversation…

This is one jam-packed with girl power…

This song is another of my personal favorites, and it’s been done by a lot of artists. But it is on Heart Like A Wheel, so this is the first version of it I ever heard, and it’s the one that plays in my head the most.

Okay, and I can’t resist…for bonus points, here is “In My Hour of Darkness”, with Linda and Emmylou singing along with Gram. Great pictures of all three here…

 God bless you and thanks for everything, Linda the Lovely.

Questions? Comments? Please share!

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Neil, Georgia, and The Study Board Biz

My first major in college was art, but it wasn’t my major for long because my strange inner brew of pride, arrogance, and insecurity couldn’t handle the blistering, soul crushing critiquing that took place on a non-stop basis. First time I’ve ever said that out loud. Damn. Anyway, I moved on to a less emotionally traumatizing major and art became a sideline, which I have maintained to this day.

I think it was in my second year of college that we set up the study board biz. My dorm-mate Kim’s father had a ton of leftover birch plywood that he cut into a lap-study-board shape for her to sand and varnish and sell in the Student Union building to make a little extra spending money. One evening, in the dorm, while she was sanding and I was painting, we had a stroke of genius and realized that between the two of us, we could take orders from customers and create custom painted and decorated study boards.  So we made up a bunch of flyers and posted them all over campus.  We only got one or two orders that way and we were about to shut down the biz when Kim sold one to this guy she was dating who lived in the boy’s dorm across the parking lot.

Kim pressured the boyfriend to sell them to his friends, and I think he really tried, but he came up empty. He said that one guy agreed to buy one only if he could get one with a [insert preferred slang for naughty bits] painted on it. Naturally we responded that there was no way that was going to happen, and then we fell about the place laughing and making rude, insensitive remarks about the poor guy’s level of desperation.  But after all that subsided, it dawned on me that there might be a way to do it without actually painting porn. Because being a failed art major, I knew about Georgia O’Keefe, you see. So Kim swore her boyfriend to secrecy as to our identities, told him to tell the guy that we would do it, and I went to the library to check out a Georgia O’Keefe art book for inspiration and ideas.  We also tripled the price for the board.  Heh heh.

I’m sure you can predict what happened next. As soon as that study board hit the boy’s dorm, they started selling like particularly titillating hotcakes. We could barely keep up with the orders and worked almost non-stop.  We started making money hand over fist. The boyfriend got a cut for taking the orders and helping with the transport and delivery of the boards. He also was in charge of keeping us supplied with cigarettes and Big Gulp diet cokes from the 7-11. He was a pretty good guy because he never revealed our identities.  How do I know this? Because Kim and I tested it by walking past the dorm’s tables in the Commons at every meal.  We monitored the boys’ reactions and watched their faces and reassured ourselves that our identities, and reputations, were safe. I must say that though I thoroughly enjoyed the secrecy, it was still a little depressing that here I was, the failed art major, now a famous artist, but nobody could know about it. So it is with great relief, and pride, mixed with a little Puritanical shame, that I announce to the world, after all these many years…it is I. I am the girl that painted the [insert preferred slang for naughty bits] picture on your study board in college. First time I’ve ever said that out loud. Damn.

I’ve talked before, probably many times, about my extreme love for Neil Young, but I don’t think I’ve really emphasized the depth of that love enough. All my best work, of any kind, is done with Neil on accompaniment, and he was my steady partner during the whole study board era.  In fact, Decade is probably my most played album. I wore out three copies of it on vinyl – the covers fell apart into sections, and I bought replacements, but I saved the sections, so I had a whole bunch of Neil pieces-parts in the Peaches crates. Mesmerizing and almost trance-inducing at times; so richly varied too – sometimes sublimely beautiful, sometimes rough and rude, sometimes simple, sometimes complex – my God, how I love his music.  It really just surpasses all superlatives.

It is I…I am the cowgirl, and this place is at my command.  Heh heh.  This is my favorite recording of “Cowgirl in the Sand”.  Almost a religious experience…

Georgia’s flowers. I recommend that you mute the horrible music in this video and watch the slides with the Neil clip above on accompaniment for the full study board art experience.

 

Questions? Comments?  As always, apologies all around to the Spinster Cousins…

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