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.

 

 

5 Best River songs

River Danube
River Danube (Photo credit: Istvan)

I thought about this and I asked about this before writing. River songs are more personal than most; opinions are all over the place. The original idea was to write the 5 best and 5 worst but I am tossing that “worst” idea off the bridge. People were so heartfelt and responsive that I can’t risk putting one of their songs on a bad list and crushing it. River songs are often deep and intense and I have too much respect for all involved in this process.

Almost made the cut:

Blackwater- The Doobie Brothers… The River- Bruce Springsteen… …Burn On, Big River-Randy Newman

Here we go on a little trip:

5. The Sea Refuses no RiverPete Townshend

“The sea refuses no river and the river is where I am” -I have been critical of all the old rockers shaking it around for these geriatric tours – I feel like if you missed them in their prime , then you missed them, because wheeling them out now for a “re-heat” show is something else. The Who have fallen into this trap and I was never a big Pete Townshend fan to begin with….but….but …this is a great song. It speaks to the equality and inevitability of all of us in a stark and poetic way.

Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front o...
Pete Townshend at Beaulieu standing in front of his amps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Eminem- Stan (with Elton John)

For this list I am utilizing the services of Sir Elton John as a knighted Rock Star to justify bringing a hip-hop artist to the cave. Dido also heavily involved as her song and vocals were used in the studio version. A difficult song that deals with a difficult subject. It is edgy, powerful and surprising (remember when rock music used to be that?)

3. Washing of the Water-Peter Gabriel

This song kills me every time I have seen Peter Gabriel. The intensity that emanates from this simple tune is profound and at another level. It may not be manly to admit that a piece of music can completely overwhelm and turn a not tough dude into complete mush, so I won’t.

2. Take me to the River- The Talking Heads

Oh, the joy and celebration of being artsy was never as much fun as with this hypnotic and cool bunch. If you never saw David Byrne dancing around in his big suit followed by a stint of running around and around the whole stage like a raving lunatic-then you missed some of the best that the 80’s had to offer. What a trip these guys and girls brought you on.

1.When the Levee Breaks- Led Zeppelin

A song from Zeppelin 4 that is a remake of a 1927 blues song about a flood can almost make this list before I even hear it. But I have to hear it again and again and it still sounds great. The Drum track may be the best to ever grace any rock song…and unlike other tunes from this seminal  chunk of vinyl -it has not been overplayed and otherwise abused.

And a big thank-you to Blackjayne for asking this question and making me generate this post! We are all connected in the blogosphere.