(a short jaunt)
"How Are You" - Kinks / "Think Visual" (1986)
"How is your life? How is it going?
Are you still dreaming and making big plans?
How are the nights? Are they still lonely?
Are you still struggling the way that I am?
Oh, how are you?"
From The Kinks 22nd album. Really?! And it's one of those songs that fell through the cracks and went mostly unnoticed. As did the album. But what a damn good song. Rainy and grey and...hopeful. Wear it on the days when the melancholy pulls on your sweater. Screw the video. Let your head play its own story.
"Only A Fool Would Say That" - Steely Dan / "Can't Buy A Thrill" (1972)
"I heard it was you
talkin' 'bout a world
where all is free.
It just couldn't be.
And only a fool would say that."
Steely Dan's debut was a fantastic album with a fantastic closing track with a bonus fantastic album cover. I put Becker and Fagen right up there with Keith and Mick. Paul and John. Captain and Tennille. All the great music duos. Only somehow, Steely Dan albums seem to have a more...timeless vibe. The coolness seldom feels nostalgic. I read somewhere this song was inspired by Lennon's "Imagine" that came out a year earlier. If so, then the cynicism is a wee tongue-in-cheek because someone can be heard in Spanish laughing and telling Fagen "Ha, ha, only a fool said this." FWIW: The album landed #238 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."
"Night Ride Across the Caucasus" - Loreena McKennitt / "The Book of Secrets" (1997)
"Find the answers, ask the questions.
Find the roots of an ancient tree.
Take me dancing, take me singing.
I'll ride on till the moon meets the sea.
Ride on through the night, ride on"
One night, I was driving back home from a standup gig I had at some bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was pitch black...in the middle of nowhere. No traffic. Not even delivery trucks. No far-off lights. And I was listening to "Open Line - Coast To Coast." A caller was explaining to George Noory his experience with "night scares" and not being able to move. It must have been about 3:00 in the morning. All of a sudden...my radio went silent. No static. No nothing. I tried pressing other channel buttons...nothing. Just dead silence. And I drove like this for maybe 5 or 6 minutes. During this stretch of silence and darkness, I passed one of those tall wooden school crossing police figures with a white-gloved hand holding a "Slow For Children" sign. It was just leaning against a tree. Spooky as hell. And while I was trying to catch another glimpse of the strange figure in my rearview mirror...to check if I really saw what I really saw...the radio came back on. LOUD! (I must've turned the volume up trying to find another station.) The same guy was still talking about his "night scares." Anyway, Loreena McKennitt caused me to have a late-night flashback.
"WILMA, I'M HOME!"