28 November 2011

"I'm Back in The Saddle Again" - Gene Autry

Home from a long trip through the Carolinas searching for imspiration and respite. Now, dear readers, I'm back in the saddle, again.

See you very soon with a brand new post.
For now pards, "Happy Trails!"

19 November 2011

An Essential Album: Bruce Springsteen, and any guy with the guts to fall in love, need to be "Tougher than the Rest"

Editor's Note: My computer crashed; my warranty uncrashed it. My bad; sorry, mates; nuff said. We Are Back!

In the "official video", below, Mr. Springsteen (hereinafter "Bruce") sticks to his trademark visual simplicity. For with Bruce, as with a long tradition reaching back to Lao Tsu, less is more. The songwriter lures us back to a time -- a time in the 1950s and early 60s -- when carnival rides capture the part of our love lives now filled by the automobile back seat.

So let's take the ride with Bruce, see how the transition, for him, from supermodel wife to soul and band member Patti Scalfia (duet and harmony vocals here).

Tunnel of Love (1987) is Bruce's advice diary on the sublime finding a partner and losing a wife. In other words, life.

Tougher than the Rest is a how-to win-the-girl-with-your-blue-collar-cool track that teaches us everything we need to know about if you are gonna win that girl of your dreams across the bar:
.... Well it aint no secret Ive been around a time or two
Well I dont know baby maybe youve been around too
Well theres another dance all you gotta do is say yes
And if youre rough and ready for love honey Im tougher than the rest ...

Another Note: Personally I'm not crazy about the plodding arrangement of the studio version of the song on Tunnel of Love. Not only is this live video better, but Emmylou Harris and Everything Thing But the Girl have also done essenially definitive covers.

This song, my friend, is gonna last. And gives you a taste of why this album is essential.

03 November 2011

Lou Ann Barton Brings Back a Classic: "Hip Shake" (1982)

"With a Texas drawl as thick as the August humidity,
Lou Ann Barton stepped into the role of chanteuse and never looked back. ...."
-- Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle (2011)

A founding member of SRV's band Double Trouble, Lou Ann Barton's Hip Shake on her solo debut is a Texas roadhouse blues masterwork.

Lou Ann's Hip Shake is a cover of seminal Slim Harpo song I discovered on The Oxford American Southern Sampler (1999). (I spent a year listening to the tune thinking Barton was black. Nope. This is blue-eyed soul here, through and through.) The song was re-popularized by the Stones with its release in 1972 on Exile on Main St.

Hip Shake, Lou Ann brings new life to this deep album cut from Exile, and it's still alive and shakin' 20 years after Lou Ann cut her version and 40 years after the Stones version.

I've been meaning to get Lou Ann's album Old Enough (1982; album cover shown above) ever since I discovered it. I may just break down and get that album soon. I can eat noodles and Halloween candy for a few days.

Now, just stand still, "don't move your hands" and "Just Shake Your Hips!"

Hip Shake, Lou Ann Barton (1982)