Saturday, June 15, 2013

Three Living Angels

Linda Ronstadt has pipes that should be put in a museum. She's lip synching here but that's due to 70s era television limitations. She made her career singing other people's songs or maybe songwriters made their careers writing for her...either way she really hits a home run here with some tricky lyrics and dynamics. Her cover of Willin' is incredible because it's actually a trashy song that I've sung in trashy bars but she is all dignity and honest.

I try to be realistic about eras of music. Yes, if you stacked up top hits from 1966 to today's top hits there isn't much to compare but it's unfair to look at it that way because quality music today is basically not on the radio unless it's an oldies station playing songs from 1966. It's also unfair because of course if you pick the cream of the best songs from any era that have stood the test of time then they will always be better than the generic modern tune. I'm sure I could go back to 1966 and find some B side duds. Independent artists have gone underground because corporate music has established a stronghold on the market. Subversive music such as 1966 is no longer status quo acceptable to larger production companies and since they are controlled by the larger media whores then we will always listen to redneck filth with short shorts cleavage shots and July 4th teenage brothel mix. But the good music is out there.


  Crystal singing a song that Judy Collins also recorded. They both worked with other people's material. Crystal Gayle is so emotive that it makes me weak in the knees. She is the youngest sister of Loretta Lynn, and the only kin to be born in a hospital and not a coal miner's cabin. One day I'll tell you the tale of planting trees near Butcher's Holler, living in a tent, eating noodles for two months. If you haven't heard of her it's because she's past her prime and was never a media whore. She's classy...a word that Britney Spears can't spell. Crystal had a real pro career toeing the line between country and pop. Mostly Country, but "Don't it make my brown eyes blue" could be covered by Eminem and it would still be good. "Snowbird" is a song made famous by Anne Murray but Crystal Gayle sang it early on and inspired me to work on it myself. It's out of my league but it taught me some lessons in songwriting. Like "Long Long Time" the lyrics really go to town if you can follow them.


A song from early Judy Collins (that has been deleted but was called "Everybody Get Together)...The Youngbloods made this song famous years later and this is Judy's groovy  version. She sang Send In The Clowns years later that was on the radio every minute. I remember playing this song outside the armory in Santa Cruz when everything had fallen apart in the forest with my girlfriend and I being hounded out like skunks in an attic by the park rangers. My buddy Brad came down to visit and we three were bused to the armory with the skanks and whores of the grimy street village...and I had my guitar that was broken and repaired with metal plates like a leg bent in half and I met a guy who had stopped taking his medication and only wore sweatpants and played his steel string guitar with real skill and we stood outside in the wintery El Nino rain with the most destitute people in America, refugees of the Reagan springtime, and sang from my moldy 60s songbook. Junkies shot dope in the bathroom and the floor reeked of disposed condoms...chlorine and false hope...desperation...food stamps...back pain. It was as bleak a situation as you can imagine.

Wait....we sang For What It's Worth, by Buffalo Springfield. Shit. I remember that because the guy in the sweatpants could play the distinctive harmonic at the 12th fret during the intro and I was so impressed by that. Anyway, you get the picture.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.