Virtues and Graces and Laziness and Zest...Dog Days of Summer

| 03 August 2009

Well, ah yes, sitting in the hammock, drinking cold beer and reading CANNERY ROW again. I fine way to spend any day. Steinbeck's description of Cannery Row in Monterey also describes the book itself, and fuck it, while we're at it, life," a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream" It is full of, "as the man once said, whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches, by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, saints and angels and martyrs and holy men, and he would have meant the same thing." So, anyway it put me in a mood. Reflective as all get out. I needed some music to ease the burden of all that struggling for purchase and to try to channel Mack and the Boys, as well as Doc. Of course, let's face it, I needed another bottle of beer for existentialism in a hammock on a sunny afternoon. What called to me, what siren of true fine debauchery, you ask?

LITTLE FEAT's first album, released in January 1971. The tracks HAMBURGER MIDNIGHT and CRACK IN YOUR DOOR did the trick. Lowell George's nasty ass slide guitar an scratchy vocals with Roy Estrada on sloppy bass and shrill backing vocals, both fresh from leaving ZAPPA and THE MOTHERS. Add Bill Paine tinkling the ivories and Richard Hayward bangin' the skins and it's blissfully obscene. The record was a complete failure, selling only 11,000 copies. They never attempted recorded anything so bizarre again. Too bad.

Next cut was LEAVE ME ALONE, some INCREDIBLE CASUALS from LIVE AT DA 'COMA: YEARBOOK '04. Steve Wood filling in on lead guitar. Uncle Chandler's snarling snearing bass line sets the tone for a light romp about failure, angst and unrealized potential and trying to have a solitary beer in peace.

On to some ROLLING STONES, from GET YER YA-YA'S OUT!, the naughty version of LIVE WITH ME, recorded 28 November 1969 at Madison Square Garden. There is an edge to these recordings, like any minute they could totally fuck it all up. Mick Taylor was more of a Pagan then he was ever given credit for. Lester Bangs said, " I have no doubt that it's the best rock concert ever put on record." Right on.

After all this I felt inspired to share with others, so headed the Hoopdy up to the WOMR studios to sit in with Dave Cole on his show, THE OLD COUNTRY BLUES BUFFET, and see if he would let me peddle some sonic snake oil to the masses. I got to the station a few minutes before the show was to start and no Dave Cole, no anyone for that matter. An open mic, a few songs about the wonders of being alive at the near end of civilization and I was off and running. As I finished my set, Dave showed up after a long ride stuck in traffic and resumed his show already in progress. Feeling that I had accomplished something of importance, a job well done, I headed off for a swim in a Wellfleet kettle pond and then back to my hammock, drinking cold beer and reading CANNERY ROW again. Ain't life grand?