Better a Kansas City Star Than an Omaha Nobody

[l1]I[/l1] love singing along with Kansas City Star. It’s one of those silly songs Roger wrote that leaves out all the struggle and heartache, and puts in everything that’s right with our hearts and heads.

Besides, how often do you get a trombone solo and scat vocals in a country song? Yeah, Roger had a hard time coloring inside the lines. Continue reading “Better a Kansas City Star Than an Omaha Nobody”

Happy Heartbreak #2: It Takes All Kinds to Make a World

[l1]P[/l1]retty sure Roger never meant us to take this one seriously.

My friend and I went to the picture show in town
They called his name and said his house and just burned down
I took his hand and offered him my sympathy
When suddenly, I remembered that he lived with me
Continue reading “Happy Heartbreak #2: It Takes All Kinds to Make a World”

Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome and Leave Your Boy So Far From Home

[l1]S[/l1]ome songs are obviously made for headphones. Anything by Pink Floyd. Some classical and jazz.

Paul Simon’s Kodachrome isn’t so obvious, but I just heard a different song from the one I’ve been listening to for lo these many years. Continue reading “Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome and Leave Your Boy So Far From Home”

Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9

[l1]A[/l1] hallmark of Roger Miller’s songwriting is what I call his happy heartbreaks: the saddest stories, told with wit to cheerful music.

Just as Hitchcock makes pokes us with the incongruity of life by making us laugh during a terrifying scene, Roger reminds you that life isn’t the events, but our reactions. Even the poor guy standing in a train station somewhere 110 miles from Baltimore sounds more resigned than heartbroken when he says “I don’t think she loves me any more.” Continue reading “Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9”

Ropin’ the Wind with Garth Brooks

[az]B000EN0TIG[/az][l1]B[/l1]ack in 1992 I was introduced to Garth Brooks by a friend from Texas. I hadn’t really been a huge country fan before then. My friend was staying with me at the time and wanted to watch the Country Music Awards. I was hooked after hearing Garth Brooks perform. Today, though I don’t listen to even new country much, I still love to listen to Garth Brooks.

In the summer of 1992 Garth came to San Diego, California, where I was then living. Continue reading “Ropin’ the Wind with Garth Brooks”

Stuck in the Middle Without You

[l1]G[/l1] [az]B000007O5H[/az]erry Rafferty is gone.

63 is not old enough for anyone to die. No age is, but that’s another conversation.

There are a small handful of songs which get turned up, and turn up a smile on my face, every single time I hear them, whenever, wherever. Stuck in the Middle with You, one of Gerry’s songs with Joe Egan as Stealer’s Wheel, is one of them.

There are a small handful of songs which clutch tragically at my heart every single time I hear them. Whatever’s Written in Your Heart, from Gerry’s City to City, is one of them.

There are a small handful of albums which make me yearn and cry and shout and laugh and wish and dream. That same album, City to City, is one of them.

There is not enough time for all the music; not enough for all the musicians; not enough for what I wanted.

Clapton Is Not God

[l1]I[/l1][az]B0014KD46W[/az]f you’re my age you’ve read about the message ‘Clapton is God’ scrawled on subway walls (ostensibly right under ‘Frodo lives!’)

In an interview the the Cars’ Elliot Easton, they played word association with the names of guitarists. Easton’s response to ‘Clapton’ ? “Is not God.”

At the time, I thought he was wrong. Gutsy, but wrong.

A few nights ago, I changed my mind. Watching Clapton on stage (okay, on TV) with Steve Winwood, I was amazed at how inventive and unexpected Winwood’s solos were, while Clapton played the same solo in every song. Slower, faster, different keys, but essentially the same.

And yesterday, Best Beloved changed CDs in the van, and I realised that on Clapton’s Chronicles album, I only like one of the first six tracks.

No, I’m not tossing my copy of “From the Cradle” or “Disraeli Gears” but I’m also not saving up to see him next time he comes to town.

Unless, of course, he’s playing with Steve Winwoodall things Steve Winwood at