Johnny Cash – The original conflicted badass and friend to all.

This song has been hounding me all week—I have seen it performed live a couple times (both great!). It sneaked on a Pandora feed when I picked Coldplay to start. (Hey, Coldplay is great to matt and frame to-you need to be in a zen state while slicing those boards to perfection!)

I have this on-and-off-fling-thing going with country music. I love the passion and the traditional “common man struggling against the odds” mixed with the drinking and facing down trouble. It cuts right to the heart of the American dream.

Maybe it’s all the time at the county fair this week—I’ll just say it—The Washing County Fair in Greenwich N.Y. — Full of bad food, rides, and….of course…cows, pigs and people of all shapes, sizes and attitudes.

It brings you back to earth.

I need to be brought back to earth.

To get out among the huddled masses and connect because I am they and they are me. I can think I am whatever I want..… but in reality –I am just a guy struggling to get by, just like lots of others here in the great Upstate agricultural land of New York.

fair

Which brings me to Johnny Cash. I don’t care how famous or rich he got-I don’t care about the awards and all the other trapping of his historic rise to the top of the music world.

This guy is genuine and down to earth. Accessible to prisoners, punks, senior citizens and [put another group in here-they all work] at the same time.

If he walked by you at the fair-you would think of him as a long lost friend. You would think of him as one of you.

This is a rare and beautiful thing to have.

The ability to connect with everyone.

Who does not love this guy and his music?

Respect from the cave.

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The Pretenders

The Pretenders first record is one of my favorite records of all time and a capstone to my collection. I am throwing on a song from it because another blogger was talking about this album and fired me up!

Thanks to stephan1001 over at http://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/the-pretenders-the-pretenders-1980/ for getting me motivated to do a short post

You can’t pick a bad song-even my least favorite “Brass In Pocket” is better than 98% of all commercial rock music produced since 1950- and it is only my least fav because the rest of this record is so damn strong.

The power and energy in this candy coated but bittersweet melodic punk music is unrivaled.

Chrissie Hynde is the Queen of Rock Music.

The Pretenders first record is nothing short of brilliant.

I love it and all it stands for.

It has got me working on a post to unveil my top 10 records ever made (long overdue) and will come out on a blog near you real soon.

And just in case you need to see this song in a softer light to feel the genius of it- I offer you this:

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS ONE THAT MADE THE LIST

Cheers from the Cave!

Reflections on “Bad”

“The great thing about being music insane instead of regular insane is that you hear songs in your head instead of voices”

Yeah—I said that in another post which I may or may not have published-

Anyway, it’s 3:07 in the morning and I am wide awake-“Wide Awake, I’m not Sleeping’—to quote a line from Sir Bono. Maybe it’s that super moon outside which has us all a little wired-the werewolves are just a little more hairy and track you down a little faster!

“Bad” is playing in my head as I shift positions and filter through all my 99 problems until I decide they will dissipate to solutions and I will get up and write a blog post.

It is “leave this hollow place and break away into the half-light…through the flame” that makes the trouble all run from me.

The power in that line and the power in this song has me in a trance.

I have never been to Ireland so forgive me if my vision of a place where Christianity and mysticism combine with rain to keep the land green and Guinness flows naturally to fill a pint glass are a little off. (That is my feeling and I hope to check that with an actual visit in the not too distant future)

This song could only have been made by an Irish band-it has all of that in it and more.

“Bad” was an anthem in the much maligned decade of the 1980’s. We forget about the quality.

“If I could, If I could, I would let it go”

You can interpret this classic anyway you want.

I see it as the never ending struggle to escape the bonds that bind us to whatever we struggle with—being wide awake gives us a chance to look at them clearly for what they are—they are temporary-the permanent is still being formed.

Hey, that is just me.

Just a guy who writes about rock music and is wide awake under this big bright moon.

moon-5

 

Rainbow in the Dark Deconstructed

rainbow-in-the-dark-22234

 

1983- This is heavy metal

Before we argue over clean and dirty vocals-before we get into speed metal or death metal or black metal.

If you reached for the pure stuff back then- you reached for Ronnie James Dio

The keyboards sound like trumpets to usher in the new age.

“When there’s lightning – you know it always bring me down
Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me
Who’s lost and never found”

From Zeus to Thor to the Almighty himself-lightning has been used to signify a supreme deity in all cultures since the beginning of time.

The special relevance we put on this force of nature does speak volumes about what is rejected in this song. He is alone in the dark and wants to keep it that way.

Well…almost alone…

“Do your demons – do they ever let you go
When you’ve tried – do they hide – deep inside
Is it someone that you know”

He knows his demons and knows he can’t escape them. (I hold out hope in the belief that everyone can get to a place where the hounds of hell will stop their pursuit and give each person some peace-it goes beyond the scope of this post and they don’t ever stop until we make a choice to face them down—-but I digress…)

 

“There’s no sign of the morning coming
You’ve been left on your own
Like a Rainbow in the Dark
A Rainbow in the Dark”

Rainbows need light to exist or more accurately they need light to appear to exist since they are more optical illusion that actual entity.

Often seen as a sign of hope and renewed spirit after a storm has passed.

There must be some light in Dio’s dark place to make a rainbow-even if it is just the light of creative energy——-that wonderful thing that happens when pain and struggle produces an artistic array of spirit.

The force that turns inspiration into magic.

A power so great that it can take depression and form a wave that a whole crowd can be swept up in.

Power to take many who feel alone and connect all the dots to bring them together with one voice.

This music seems to emanate from depression and anger.

Emotional anguish turned and polished until it shines clean.

Dio makes metal out of rock.

 

We need a hero

Heroes fail to do anything amazing-they just do what is needed.

Right time –right place-right action.

Every time you see one on TV-they all same the same thing.

“I am not a hero-I just did what anyone else would do.”

Not exactly

Have you been paying attention? We humans have a large capacity for doing the wrong things-In fact there is a good chance that someone doing the wrong thing created a situation that required a hero.  A hero to do what is required and bring an elegant solution to an inelegant situation.

Heroes spend time being prepared to step in-they are trained and they are compassionate. They are ready, willing and able.

There is a mindset about them that makes them feel part of the world-knowing that they can make a difference.

If you feel that way – you are a hero sitting latent and sooner or later you will get a chance to prove it.

It may be a small or big contribution- you may have already done it and not even realized it.

Doing the right thing in the right time and right place brings a certain lining up of the power in the universe that is bigger than all of us.

Maybe that is why heroes don’t even comprehend what they have done-they just see it as playing a small part in the general scheme of things. They see the action as a simple yes or no to answering the call of humanity.

We need more heroes.

This quirky song by the Crash Test Dummies sums it up for me.

And it also makes me think of this Little Feat classic.

Just doing what is necessary without complaint.

[mini rant ahead]”Little Feat’ without Lowell George should be called “Tiny Feat” and “Queen” without Freddie should maybe be called “Princess”–you can not remove the heart and soul of a band and pretend it is the same. [end of rant]

I am still willin’ to keep on bloggin”

Cheers from the cave!

[this is not the post I am writing-I am finishing up an illustration for a piece on Ronnie James Dio and “Rainbow in the Dark” that is wearing me out….I don’t mind writing on some of the dark in our souls but this song has taken me for a bit of a ride—it should be my next post—-this one is just to let you guys know that I am still out here]

 

 

Righteous Jam #1. Cortez the Killer

Righteous Jam #1. Cortez the Killer

I love this song

It makes scenes play in my head-not like a movie-more like memories back flowing into my brain, memories from inspiration instead of experience.

Huh?….What?

I see Montezuma dealing with the conquistadors while they destroy him and his civilization. They wipe a whole people and lifestyle off the face of the earth and then spray a little historical febreze over the land in the name of gold and glory.

I know it was a theme back then.

I know it wasn’t just the Spanish.

But if you write a song like this about almost any other colonial conflict- groups from either side are gonna be all up on you about it.

That would make the song lose its power.

This one just gains strength – this is my favorite version.

An essential Rock song that plays frequently around the cave.

Especially in those times when other genres take me away for a while and I want to remember why I love home so much.

Warren Haynes kills-Dave Matthews brings it back to life and takes it to another level.

Thanks to Neil Young for this song.

Enjoy and cheers from the cave.

 

Mayday! Mayday! What happened to May Day?

*Warning-no goggling was done to research this-this is all from my brain….and no animals were harmed in the making of this blog.

 May Day used to be a holiday and now it isn’t. 

This is like the Pluto thing which I learned was a planet and then all of a sudden-not so much.

Maybe I was just dreaming about dancing around a Maypole as a kid? I have a fuzzy memory of meeting in a village park somewhere in the English countryside and doing this-but it could have been some stale porridge or bad pork pie giving me a hallucination from childhood.

Maybe all the communist countries in the world got sick of parading all their new tanks and missiles down the street to prove they were powerful to all those waiting in line for bread and toilet paper. That used to happen,….right? I don’t know if they still do it.

May Day had something to do with medieval or pagan rites of spring. I also think it had something to do with workers’ rights.

But that was another era and it is all gone. The only time we use it now is when a ship is sinking or a plane is going down……or do we?….Mayday! Mayday! My holiday is missing.

Anyway the workers’ rights deal got me thinking about Woody Guthrie, which got me thinking about Pete Seeger and then Bruce Springsteen.

So here is Atlantic City for May Day.

This is a workers kind of song—Bruce is talking about being a working man and then having to “break bad” in order to make a go of it. He knows what he is doing and he knows it ain’t right—-but here we go baby. Bruce at his best, he sings of the common man in a desperate situation. All solid, salt of the earth, workingmen and women have wondered—if only for a moment—if honesty is the really the best policy- and if hard work alone will get them where they want to go.

The compromise of a workingman leads me to this song.

A sad song- get what you want but not want what you get. The authentic cowboy dressed up in rhinestones for the crowd and gaining the world by losing his soul. After a ton of work and compromise.

Yeah…I know….Glen Campbell-but I like this song.

Why not- another working song from Glen.

And finally kids- back to my alt rock roots for my favorite wasting time by working for the man tune.

R.E.M.Rockville

You may have a different interpretation and that is fine.

Music is subjective and everyone celebrates holidays in their own way.

Even recently demoted holidays.

 

 

T-Rex and T-Rex and (what the hell) Photo Challenge and (double what the hell) an almost poem.

T-rex-WP

On Top

Top of the food chain

Top of the heap

I was a big deal

I roared – I ate you up

Now- I am an exhibit

A quiet dry relic

Time goes fast

Grab you some before it’s gone

 

On vacation in the nation’s capital this week and took a ton of pictures (wish I took more). This one fits the photo challenge of “on top”. For someone like me that loves history, words and great images- D.C. is like crack cocaine flowing directly to my cerebral cortex. And coincidentally there are tons of great places to buy the aforementioned drug, if you choose, in the District of Columbia.

I was in awe at every turn- even in the biggest house of bones ever assembled known as the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

I still have a blog about Rock n’Roll relics- here is Marc Bolan and the boys, Tyrannosaurus Rex with a classic. T-Rex may have started glam rock but this does not sound too dry and historical yet.

Enjoy and cheers from the cave!

Give me a double-it has been a rough day

Straight ahead and pure rock with no artificial ingredients today kids.

There are some songs that always have to be played together or you will be left wanting more.

Like two stars in orbit around each other lighting up the rock n roll galaxy.

ZZ Top.Waitin for the bus/Jesus just left Chicago

Is it conflict and resolution?

Queen.We will rock you/We are the Champions

Is it one long intro and one song?

I don’t know why…part of it is they followed each other on the albums and they worked together like peanut butter and chocolate—-and in those L.P. days-if you tried to stop the record without playing the second song, someone would throw a beer bottle at you.

Led Zeppelin. Black dog/Living Loving Maid

OK you got me-not exactly Led Zep but a bunch of kids having fun. This school of rock phenomenon- I have mixed feeling on—on the one hand it is great that kids are keeping the music alive and are staying out of trouble by hanging out and staying off the streets.  And on the other hand- kids are  using rock to stay out of trouble and learn something—–using rock music as a thing that is learned instead of doing it because “what the hell you are angry and broke anyway”  so let’s go for it.

I am cool with that and Led Zeppelin is a good place to start—-and knowing that these two songs always go together because it is a rule of the rock n roll universe it an important lesson learned.

Cheers from the cave!

Why does KD Lang get no respect?

KD Lang. Hallelujah

If you list the greatest singers of my generation-that list has no validation if her name is not at the top.

She gets no love and I never understood why.

I liked her as a country singer and as a pop singer.

She is more than that.

She is a pure voice with pure talent that should be strong enough to break through all the barriers that narrow minded genres and narrow minded people place in her way.

Because this Chick can flat out bring it. All the time- anytime.

Here she is with a song from fellow Canadian- Leonard Cohan

This version wrecks me every time.

If it does not hit you like a sledge hammer to the heart then I feel sorry for you-because great talent is a gift that should be felt by everyone.