Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lost Gem: "V" - Golden Smog (1995)

"When I was down she was full of advice."
~ Golden Smog ~

Golden Smog was for all intents and purposes a side-project providing another outlet for several creative musicians already in established bands.

On "Down By The Old Mainstream" (1995)...the participants were...Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum.....Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.....Gary Louris & Marc Perlman of The Jayhawks.....Noah Levy of Honeydogs.....Kraig Johnson of Run Westy Run.

Labeled an alternative country-rock band, Golden Smog was classic-relaxed kool and it shows up in every song.

The music was loosey-goosey...(but not sloppy)...and free from any real management expectations. This was regular guys (minus ego) having fun and making good music.

Lost Gem:--> "V"...sounds fresh...yet so familiar.  Easy to warm up to. Simply a bandmate's remembrance of a nice barmaid from the past. Rocks sweet!

Have you heard this gem?

When I was down she was full of advice
’cause she’d been there once or twice
With a ring on the side of her nose
Wearing other people’s clothes
She had her highs and she had her lows
In between she’d show
When she smiled everything else died
V let off a good vibe

As if in a dream
The one and only V
As if in a dream
The one and only V

Buying shots and breaking hearts
She used to wait on us down at the bar
Never took as much as she gave
She’s still giving to this day
Staying up half the night
Mood swing yet we cried
On a cold December day
V up and went away

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lost Gem: "Empty Chairs" - Don McLean (1971)

"...And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs."
~ Don McLean ~

When American troubadour Don McLean released his second album..."American Pie" (1971)...with the 8:30 minute cultural megabomb title track...he quickly became the..."cryptic keeper of the flame."

Everyone started coming out of the woodwork espousing their theories on what each line meant.

Then radio started spinning..."Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)" from the same album, and fans discovered he was much more than a one-trick pony.

Soon teachers began using McLean's descriptive songs as introductions to poetry. And, in this instance...as a doorway to the wonders of art.

Add Don McLean's gentle voice to his timeless songs and we have another songwriting treasure to add to our musical collection.
(On a side note...Ed Freeman's production is crisp and clean..no wait...I mean...McLean.)

Lost Gem:--> "Empty Chairs"... is a beautiful exercise in the separation dance. Of experiencing that unfamiliar vacuum.  Coming to terms and yet knowing...absolutely nothing...will ever be quite the same again.

Have you heard this gem?

I feel the trembling tingle of a sleepless night
Creep through my fingers and the moon is bright
Beams of blue come flickering through my windowpane
Like gypsy moths that dance around the candle flame.

And I wonder if you know
That I never understood
That although you said you'd go
Until you did, I never thought you would.

Moonlight used to bathe the contours of your face
While chestnut hair fell all around the pillowcase
And the fragrance of your flowers rest beneath my head
A sympathy bouquet left with the love that's dead.

Never thought the words you said were true
Never thought you said just what you meant
Never knew how much I needed you
Never thought you'd leave, until you went.

Morning comes and morning goes, with no regret
And evening brings the memories I can't forget
Empty rooms that echo as I climb the stairs
And empty clothes that drape and fall on empty chairs.

Don McLean Official Site

Good stuff!
Casey Chambers

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lost Gem: "Gimme The Car" - Violent Femmes (1982)

"I'm gonna make her laugh.  I'm gonna make her...shh."
~ Violent Femmes ~

Who'd have thought three Milwaukee boys could lay down such cool apocalyptic punk junk?

Thick as a brick with windows to break, Violent Femmes caught a shooting star and rode in with a wicked self-titled album. (1982)

(In 1983, two added tracks were issued on their self-titled re-release.)

This is frustration multiplied. Teen angst on a rampage.

Violent Femmes
Actually, this is probably as truthful an attempt at expressing a teenager's inability to "cop a pop" as you'll likely find. Wild and crazy folk rock at its best!

Lost Gem:--> "Gimme The Car"...Quirky spazz vocals from angst king...Gordon Gano...only make his fantasy plans sound all the more desperate.
And Brian Ritchie's bass work is stellar.
Come on...everybody knows that a car is a teenager's motel!

Have you heard this gem?

Come on dad gimme the car tonight
Come on dad gimme the car tonight
I got this girl I wanna....
Come on dad gimme the car
Come on dad gimme the car tonight
I tell'ya what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna pick her up
I'm gonna get her drunk
i'm gonna make her cry
I'm gonna get her high
I'm gonna make her laugh
I'm gonna make her...shh
woman, woman, woman
she gotta knows she's it
cause I'm gonna touch her
all over her body
gonna touch her
all over her body
and she can touch me
all over my body
she can touch me
all over my body
time goes by I can feel myself growing old
burning inside makin' this boy turn out cold
What's wrong, What's right
I don't care when I hate my life
What's wrong, What's right
y'know people don't care when they hate their life
but how can I explain personal pain
how can I explain personal pain
how can I explain my voice is in vain
how can I explain the deep down
driving, driving, driving,
we're driving, we're driving, we're driving
hey dad speaking of driving
come on dad gimme the car tonight
so much he don't understand
just might never make it to a man
Come on dad gimme the car
I ain't no runt
come on girl gimme your...
cause I ain't had much to live for.

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lost Gem: "Sunburst" - Bob Seger (1976)

"The sun begins to rise
as he begins to close his ey
~ Bob Seger ~

"Night Moves" was Detroit road warrior Bob Seger's 9th album and would be the record that finally propelled him up into the super stardom spotlight.

But think about that a moment. His 9th album!  Man, how many of us might have just closed up shop?  (Oh, by the way...Bob's earlier stuff was excellent by any standard!)

But like the spot-on defiant attitude Seger's album cover projects...the man is a determined cuss.  And we are all the better for it.

Lost Gem:--> "Sunburst"...a successful, but slightly jaded, rock star...replays the repetitive concert nights in his head. This mid-tempo cutter is the perfect bookend to the "on-the-way-up" classic..."Turn The Page".

Have you heard this gem?

The crowd without a face
begins to fill the space
in the arena.
Flashlights at his feet
the lion from the street
awaits the Christians.
A blinding flash of light
A single strobe ignites the night.

The smoke begins to rise
A sea of staring eyes
gaze on the sunburst.
His weapon at his side
He flashes it with pride
before his legions.
Fires begin to rage
and they engulf the stage.
All right.
Bring on the night.

He's in complete control
He's stepping proud and bold
And everything he touches
Turns to gold
He's got girls by the score
He's got 'em screaming for more
But when they get too close
He bars the door.

He makes his great escape
Leaves them in his wake
without a warning.
The ritual is done
A night no longer young
fades into morning
The sun begins to rise
as he begins to close his eyes.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers