Monday, October 11, 2004

if i had a nickel....

This post was constructed under the influence of Old Style Premium Beer (Full Aged and Naturally Carbonated), and the hi fi stylings of Tom Waits (Real Gone) and Richard Buckner (Dents and Shells).

The songs from the Big Rock Candy Mountain post are now down. If'n yr innerested...let me know, we'll work something out.

I'm a pretty irritable little cuss sometimes. I'm really sick of this idea that musicians don't have a right to comment on politics. (scroll down the linked page a bit to get reader's "comments"). Besides the fact that music has always been a tool for protest, people seem to think that the First Amendment only applies to themselves or Bill "liar" O'Reilly. Stupid. I really don't give a rat's ass what Toby Keith or little Mikey Stipe have to say about politics, but why the hell shouldn't they be allowed to express their opinions like everyone else? Has music really become so homogenized that we can only handle the most cursory of "messages"? I dunno, I could be wrong...I just didn't realize free speech was limited.

On a related, and kinda scary, note....There really are people out there that believe the "American Way of Life" (read: economic wellbeing, suv's, oiloiloil...) is more important than thousands of dead "innocent" Iraqis (the person i spoke with reasoned that no one is "innocent", including 4 year old children...who would probably become terrorists, anyway. Her words.). It was a very enlightening conversation. Ayn "Anus" Rand is alive and well, apparently. The conversation spiraled even further downward from that starting point. This is our world, I guess. Glad to be here.

It's a beautiful Autumn day outside. Leaves are slowly changing, the sky is bluer, a nip in the air...time to pull out my "Autumn Sweater"s (thanks Yo La Tengo). Reminds me it can still be a beautiful world sometimes.

Townes Van Zandt was one of the greatest, and most tragic, songwriters we've ever seen. As Steve Earle once famously noted: "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." His songs have been covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, the Cowboy Junkies, Merle Haggard...well, the list is endless. Bob Dylan, too. Most people have heard at least one version of his most famous tune, "Pancho and Lefty". His frail voice alternately belies the power of, and intensifies the deep sadness of, his lyrics. Townes died too early, but, according to popular lore, he died when he predicted he would. His body of work is rife with the forecast of early death. Read more about Townes here and here.

My personal favorite Townes song is Rex's Blues. And, not to overly morbid, it will be played at my cremation. So, today, you get the original version, plus three covers. Perfect Autumn afternoon listening.

Ride the blue wind high and free
she'll lead you down through misery
leave you low, come time to go
alone and low as low can be

If I had a nickel I'd find a game
If I won a dollar I'd make it rain
If it rained an ocean I'd drink it dry
and lay me down dissatisfied

Legs to walk and thoughts to fly
eyes to laugh and lips to cry
a restless tongue to classify
all born to grow and grown to die

So tell my baby I said so long
tell my mother I did no wrong
tell my brother to watch his own
and tell my friends to mourn me none

I'm chained upon the face of time
feelin' full of foolish rhyme
there ain't no dark till something shines
I'm bound to leave this dark behind

Ride the blue wind high and free
he'll lead you down through misery
leave you low, come time to go
alone and low as low can be

Townes Van Zandt: Rex's Blues (mp3)

Jay Farrar/Kelly Willis: Rex's Blues (mp3) (Jay is the guy from Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo. Kelly is the guy from Kelly Willis)

Entrance: Rex's Blues (mp3) (Entrance is a new guy on Fat Possum. I don't know anything else about him)

James McMurtry: Rex's Blues (mp3) (James has a famous father. James should be more famous. He's the guy from James McMurtry).

(As ever, left-click on song....go to briefcase and sadly download from there)


Anonymous said...

Here, Here! i agree with what you say about free speech! keep it open to all!


Gazetteer said...


Don't know how you got to my place, but your place is great.

On first glance I thought, in my best JStrummer mindvoice, 'That's Montgomery Clift Honey!'

Anonymous said...

huh?... i read the ""comments"" but i didn't see anyone saying the artists didn't have a right to free speech, just that they wouldn't buy their albums anymore or go to their concerts... the guy who made his daughter eat her $56 "vote for change" ticket was a bit of an a-hole, though...

um, but isn't NOT buying someone's music because you disagree with their politics -- isn't THAT free speech in itself? me, i'm a kerrey voter (already by absentee ballot) but i think alot of the music industry whining about censorship has been a little bit over the top. the whole making of the horrid dixie chicks, music that makes me wanna puke, into these free speech heroes when all that happened was that The People decided they didn't like their points of view and started boycotting them is like typical of celebrities trying to evade reality and blame their shortcomings on someone or something else because they've been reading their own press clippings for too long... their the fucking dixie chicks, for satan's sake.... they like suck as does springstreen, as does rem as does greenday as does almost everyone in the vote for spare change tour... best protest song i've heard this year is tom waits' "hoist that rag"...

by the way, i voted for kerrey (absentee ballot) and i voted for gebheart in the primary.

ennyway thanks for the eddification re: townes van zandt...

John said...

I don't even WANT gmail; I just like your blog.