And Sir Sun stands up

20 06 2019

Fucking summer.

It’s been a cool June so far in NYC, but you know that by July the weather will be filthy and by August, murderous.

So, in “honor” of the worst of the four seasons, some sun and summer songs.

From back in me college days:

This got a lot of play when I was living in the apartment on Breese Terrace (right across from Camp Randall stadium). I don’t know that I yet hated summer—I was probably still operating under the delusion of fellow northerners that one should be glad that summer’s here, as it least it’s not winter—but regardless, I liked this one. Still do.

This one’s a throwback to the seventies:

I didn’t have this album—this came out before my album-buying days—but my older sister had a copy of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy that I listened to, up in our shared bedroom, so I tend to associate all songs of this era with the seventies, even if I didn’t actually listen to them back then.

As to that first album I bought? Foreigner, Double Vision. I was mad for Foreigner, and at twelve or thirteen, when I started really paying attention to music, this. . . this is what I wanted.

I still listen to old Elton John. Foreigner? Not so much.

I fuckin’ love this song, still:

In fact, I hopped out of my chair and lip-synced to this as it played on my tinny computer speakers.

This would make a great song for a chorus, don’t you think? So many ways to take this.

Man, I fuckin’ loved all of early U2, and while I don’t hate them now, at some point getting their new music was no longer necessary. But this song reminds me of when it was.

This is kind of a trash song, but I do love me some Be Good Tanyas:

A friend of mine who, well, kinda of worked music festivals (as in, he had a job that mostly had nothing to do with music but sometimes did), once booked the Be Good Tanyas. They fought like hell offstage, he told me.

But the show was fine.

This one was included on a mixtape sent to me in grad school by my friend L:

I don’t know this artist well, or, really, at all, but apparently Eddie Vedder later covered the song.

Anyway, I listened to this song on my walkman on the number 2 bus taking me down Franklin, heading toward and away home.

And, of course, this is the song that’s counts as hopeful for mopes like me:

God, what a great song.

The Police was one of those bands I was introduced to by MTV. I don’t know what anyone thinks about MTV these days, but back in the ’80s they played all kinds of shit I couldn’t get on the radio.

Falls is between Green Bay and Milwaukee, so I’d listen to stations out of there (mostly Milwaukee, honestly, 93.9 (?) WQXR! and a station at 97-point-something), the relevant ones of which were either Top-40 (which I, a cool teenager, disdained) and hard rock. I was into the latter in my early teens, but once I heard post-punk and New Wave, it was all over.

Anyway, the Milwaukee School of Engineering was rumored to have a great indie station, but the signal was weak and we almost never got it up in Sheb county.

So MTV was it. It was terribly white, back in those days, which I might have tutted about, but honestly, I dug the Police and the Eurythmics and the B-52’s and the Femmes and BoDeans and on and on, so Music TeleVision fed me what I needed.

There are many, many, many, MANY more summer/sun songs, but here’s one on how to deal with the heat:

Naked is a state of mind, indeed.


Listen to the music: Banjo on my knee

12 11 2012

Okay, so I happen to be listening to the Be Good Tanyas sing “Oh, Susanna” when I wrote the title to this post.

No, I don’t have a banjo.

I do, however, have a guitar, an Epiphone by Gibson, purchased, mmm, back in the 1990s at Aabe’s Music in south Minneapolis. It’s black and nice and the back of the neck is curved so that my wee hand can cup it and my wee fingers can squeeze all of the strings on the fret.

Not that my wee hand has cupped the neck any time recently.

I took lessons when I first got the guitar, and. . . never made it out of a Mel Bay’s beginner’s book. I did learn some chords and could play (badly) a few Beatles’ tunes, a Suzanne Vega song, and parts of a few Indigo Girls’ songs.

I stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped, started, stopped. My guitar was tucked in my closet until a few months ago, when I said, Self, time to start again.

I did not.

As I was circling Prospect Park today I wondered why I didn’t just give up and give the guitar away. It’s been years and . . . honestly, did I think I was ever going to get good enough that practicing was more fun than frustrating?

Why not? Why not believe I might start yet again, and that even if I stop again, one of these start-agains will lead to me. . . playing, actually playing the guitar?

Why not believe I can have a life in which I am always trying to play the guitar?

I keep trying to breathe; there must be more than one way to breathe.


13. Laurie Anderson, Life on a String
14. Marc Anthony, (eponymous)
15. Arcade Fire, Funeral
16. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
17. Joan Armatrading, Classics
18. B-52’s, (eponymous)
19. B-52’s, wild planet
20. B-52’s, Cosmic Thing
21. Susanna Baca, espiritu vivo
22. Susanna Baca, eco de sombras
23. Back From the Grave, Vol. 8
24. Eryka Badu, Baduizm
25. Eryka Badu, Mama’s Gun
26. The Band, Greatest Hits
27. Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse

All things weird and wonderful, 14

11 01 2012

Be Good Tanyas over under around thru Townes van Zandt:

A friend who booked the BGTs to his venue observed that they fought like hell with one another. And then they got on stage.

That Townes, he influenced all the right people.