Wednesday Morning Eagles

It’s 7:17 a.m., and I’m still in bed. Alexa is playing an Eagles’ playlist just for me, and I’m singing along. The cat has taken refuge in the hallway, watching me with a wary eye, while my bed has become my own private time machine.

I remember singing along to “Take it Easy” from the backseat of our family’s car when I was 16 or so, and begging my parents to not change the station to a country channel. And when “Witchy Woman” played, everyone had to be quiet so I could try to understand the lyrics. What was that woman up to? No good, that’s what.

A favorite Eagles’ song? I can’t name just one. That would be like saying I have a favorite child or grandchild, or even a favorite husband. But, I do know the songs I enjoy singing along with the most.

“I Can’t Tell You Why”—my voice blends beautifully into this one. At least in my mind. Reality is a different matter.

https://youtu.be/mseS0C421cU

“Witchy Woman”—howling along.

https://youtu.be/nc0988XxoXI

And “Peaceful Easy Feeling”—nobody sings this as well as I do. That’s a blatant lie, but a relatively harmless one as lies go.

https://youtu.be/n-0lRkuNyj0

Young and innocent. Ha.

What a great way to start my day, right? Now, back to writing and editing and cursing a lot. Here’s hoping your Wednesday is good, though.

Peace, people.

Discordant Joy

Oh, friends, I have had my eyes (and ears) opened to my limitations as a singer. Not that I ever considered myself a person of any great vocal talent, but honestly, I never dreamt I was as awful as I turned out to be.

Before I go any further, I need to thank anyone who has ever listened politely as I bleated out a song from a karaoke stage. Bless you all for your patience and diplomacy. Truly, I thought I was carrying a tune. As it turns out, I seem to have been carrying a screeching cat all these years.

What precipitated this moment of clarity? Did someone tell me how awful I was? Was I booed from the stage? Nope. In fact, when I sang a karaoke version of Jolene on Friday night at AJ’s in Nashville, Tennessee, I received a standing ovation. Okay, to be fair, everyone was already standing anyway, but hey, the crowd was simultaneously standing and clapping, so that’s going in the books as a standing o.

The revelation of my total lack of musical talent came on Saturday afternoon as three of my friends and I toured the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. As part of the tour one can stand on the famed Grand Ole Opry stage to pose for a picture. I’m the tall one in the back there, surrounded by my friends, before discovering my absolute inability to hold a note for more than about two seconds. Look how confident I seem here.

As part of the tour one can record a song in a studio. Well, having experienced that loving affirmation from the crowd on Friday night, how could I resist having my voice immortalized in a recording? Why would I deprive the world of my dulcet tones?

Oh, mercy.

The experience was wonderful, though. The sound engineer, Dave, welcomed us into his booth even though technically the sessions for that day had ended a few minutes before we discovered the studio area. It was great fun, yet daunting, to stand in front of the microphone wearing headphones that allowed me to hear exactly what I sounded like.

“Dave,” I asked, “am I supposed to be able to hear myself?”

“Yes, ma’am. That’s how it works.”

“Damn.”

With a quick look through the catalog I selected King of the Road. Now, I’d never sung Roger Miller’s iconic hit outside of my shower or my car, but how hard could it be?

Again, oh, mercy!

I struggled mightily. My excuses are numerous: I was nervous. I forgot to breathe. The song wasn’t in a good key for me. I hadn’t practiced. Hey, it was my first time! And on and on. Basically, though, I finally realized that I’m a much better tree climber than a songstress. And friends, I couldn’t climb a tree to save my life.

If I can figure out how to share the song file with you I’ll do so. I warn you though, avoid drinking hot liquids if you risk listening.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/umgdbzxrflrmuuc/Leslie%20Noyes-King%20of%20the%20Road%20-%2011%3A16%3A19%2C%204.11%20PM.mp3?dl=0

By the way, if anyone wonders if my days of singing in public are over…Hell, no. I might be bad, but I’m really good at being bad.

Peace, people!

Coagulatin’ Again

“Protest Songs for 1000, Alex.”–me

“This 1965 tune included the following lyric:

“Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin'”–Alex Trebek

“What is Eve of Destruction, Alex?”–me

“You just took the lead with that answer. Well done.”–Alex

I swear I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, but it just occurred to me that perhaps “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire is the only song to ever use the word coagulatin’. I can’t be certain, but surely no other lyricist ever felt the need to rhyme coagulatin’ not only with contemplatin, but also with disintegratin’ and frustratin’.

It’s one of my favorite songs from that time period, and unfortunately more relevant than ever.

Don’t believe me?

https://youtu.be/I98KeKV_F9g

In case the link doesn’t work:

Eve of Destruction

The eastern world, it is explodin’,

Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,

You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,

You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,

And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,

But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,

Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?

And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?

If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,

There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,

Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,

And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,

Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,

I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,

I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,

Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,

And marches alone can’t bring integration,

When human respect is disintegratin’,

This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,

And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,

Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!

Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!

Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,

But when your return, it’s the same old place,

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,

You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,

Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,

And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,

You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Source: LyricFind

Peace, PLEASE, people!

Gentle on My Mind

I think I’ve written about ear worms before. Those pesky tunes that get stuck in your head and play over and over on a loop until you think perhaps you’ll go crazy. Welcome to my world in which the song replaying in my head is Glen Campbell’s version of “Gentle on My Mind.”

https://www.facebook.com/countrymusicamerica/videos/1510129159048531?sfns=mo

Odd choice, right? It has no discernible chorus, and beyond the title phrase there’s no repetition. I haven’t exactly memorized the lyrics, yet still they run through my head like puppies at play.

I guess I’d better study the lyrics. There might be a Gentle on My Mind emergency one of these days. One never knows.

“Gentle on My Mind” Songwriter: John Hartford

It’s knowin’ that your door is always open

And your path is free to walk

That makes me tend to leave my sleepin’ bag

Rolled up and stashed behind your couch

And it’s knowin’ I’m not shackled

By forgotten words and bonds

And the ink stains that have dried upon some line

That keeps you in the back roads

By the rivers of my memory

That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It’s not clingin’ to the rocks and ivy

Planted on their columns now that bind me

Or something that somebody said because

They thought we fit together walkin’

It’s just knowing that the world

Will not be cursing or forgiving

When I walk along some railroad track and find

That you’re movin’ on the back roads

By the rivers of my memory

And for hours you’re just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines

And the junkyards and the highways come between us

And some other woman’s cryin’ to her mother

‘Cause she turned and I was gone

I still might run in silence

Tears of joy might stain my face

And the summer sun might burn me till I’m blind

But not to where I cannot see

You walkin’ on the back roads

By the rivers flowin’ gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin’ cracklin’ cauldron

In some train yard

My beard a rustlin’ coal pile

And a dirty hat pulled low across my face

Through cupped hands ’round a tin can

I pretend to hold you to my breast and find

That you’re waitin’ from the back roads

By the rivers of my memory

Ever smilin’, ever gentle on my mind

Peace, people.

70’s Music

Sirius/XM radio absolutely is the best. Regardless of my mood, there’s a station that suits me. Today I had a really short trip into Tallahassee for some allergy meds, so on my way home I tuned my radio to the 70’s station.

“Me and Julio Down by the School Yard” by Paul Simon, was playing, and I sang along, even though I always screw up the lyrics. What were he and Julio doing down by the schoolyard? Whatever it was, it was against the law.

https://youtu.be/JVdlpZ4M-Hw

Then Ringo Starr’s “You’re Sixteen” came on, and I was immediately transported back to my living room in Floydada, Texas, where my 16-year-old self performed a corny dance routine to the song for my mom and a high school boyfriend. I incorporated a hat and cane for good measure. As I recall, neither member of my audience suggested I go into musical theatre as a career.

https://youtu.be/vkR7u_sOtHI

Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” was next. I know it by heart, so I cranked up the volume and rocked out. When I turned into the driveway at Doright Manor the mailman was pulling away and gave me a smile and a wave. I’m sure he was thinking I’d squandered my talent by NOT going into the music biz.

https://youtu.be/7JkS8WB94ME

I’ve been so weary. Of politics. Of allergies. Of petty squabbles. Thank you Sirius/XM, for lifting the cloud.

Peace, people.

Here are (some of) the Protest Songs

Yesterday in this space I asked the question, “Where are the Protest Songs?” Is the genre dead and gone or just not in my musical sphere? After all I am in my 60’s. It’s likely I might not be tuned into the hip stuff.

Several of my readers came to the rescue with titles of modern protest songs. I was familiar with a couple of them, but honestly, I didn’t realize they actually WERE protest songs. Too much listening to loud rock and roll in my youth might’ve impacted my ability to hear the lyrics. But now that I’ve been pointed in the right direction, I can hear these songs for what they are.

First, here’s a video clip from the Australian group, Midnight Oil, called Beds are Burning. My blogging friend Barbara at https://balindseyblog.wordpress.com/ brought it to my attention.

https://youtu.be/ejorQVy3m8E

Barbara provided this information: “Beds are Burning is arguably the most resonantly subversive artistic gesture ever made by Australians. Released by the country’s biggest rock group just months before Australia marked, on 26 January 1988, the 200th anniversary of the first fleet’s arrival in Sydney, it ensured that the dominant soundtrack of our bicentennial year would be a song which reminded that the country we were celebrating was founded on pillage and genocide.”

Another blogging friend, Marty at snakesinthegrassblog.com pointed me in the direction of musician Steve Earle’s The Revolution Starts Now, released in 2004.

https://youtu.be/AirdHLCj4MY

Both of these songs fill the protest song bill, and they both remain relevant.

My blogging friend Zoolon at zoolonhub.com is a talented musician who shared one of his original pieces, Sunlight and the Dust. It’s a mighty fine song of the protest genre and deserves a listen. By the way, Zoolon does all the instrumentation as well as the vocals. I told you he was talented.

https://zoolon.bandcamp.com/track/sunlight-and-the-dust

I’m going to continue scouting out more protest songs. If you know of one that speaks to today’s issues please pass it along. We need anthems. We need rallying points. We need righteous anger set to music.

Peace, people.

Huey Lewis, I’d be a Fool for You (Again)

I once spent about half a minute conversing with myself in a mirror. Yes, I was rather inebriated, and yes, it was quite late, but I suppose neither of those are good excuses.

Studly Doright had taken me to see Huey Lewis and the News in concert at the Amarillo Civic Center. At that time in our lives we weren’t able to go out often. We had two small children and almost no disposable income, but we’d scrimped and saved enough for the concert because Studly knew that I needed to see Huey in person.

After the concert we met friends at a club in Amarillo where I had a drink, maybe two. In those days, I was literally and figuratively a lightweight when it came to drinking and it didn’t take much to get my skinny self drunk.

The DJ, ensconced in his booth high above the crowd, wasn’t playing anything I liked, so I wrote a request for a Huey Lewis song on a slip of paper and then navigated around and through an energetic knot of dancers on the floor to offer up my request. But I couldn’t figure out how to deliver my piece of paper to the guy in the booth.

Looking around I spied a friendly, albeit concerned looking woman and asked, “Where do I put this?” indicating my request.

Oddly enough, she asked me something at the same time, and when I bent forward to try to hear her better I bonked my forehead on a mirror and only then realized I’d been talking to myself. I compounded my error by apologizing.

“Ha! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were me!”

“No problem,” I replied, giggling.

Of course a couple dancing by caught the gist of this whole exchange and gave me a wide berth as they navigated around the dance floor. I can’t say that I blame them. I finally located the proper request slot and enjoyed the rest of my evening, basking in the memory of Huey.

Huey Lewis is still one of my favorites, and I’ve gotten to see him and the News in concert a few times through the years. Huey has recently contracted an illness that’s caused partial deafness and resulted in a cancellation of his tour for the foreseeable future. For a musician this has to be devastating. I’d go talk to myself in a mirror again in front of a crowded dance floor if I thought it would help. Maybe he just needs a new drug.

https://youtu.be/N6uEMOeDZsA

Peace, people.

Old and Lost River

Driving on I-10 between Baytown and Houston one crosses a bridge over the “Old and Lost River.” Each time I’ve made the journey the river’s name has caused me to smile and then to wonder how it came to be called “Old and Lost,” but I could never remember to google it. Today, though, when I crossed the river I left myself a reminder note on my iPhone via Siri.

Here’s what I found on Google:

“American composer Tobias Picker (b. 1954) wrote Old and Lost Rivers in 1986. The brief, colorful orchestral tone poem was commissioned by the Houston Symphony to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Texas. Picker describes the inspiration for the piece:”

Driving east from Houston along Interstate 10, you will come to a high bridge which crosses many winding bayous. These bayous were left behind by the great wanderings, over time, of the Trinity River across the land. When it rains, the bayous fill with water and begin to flow. At other times — when it is dry — they evaporate and turn green in the sun. The two main bayous are called ‘Old River’ and ‘Lost River’. Where they converge, a sign on the side of the highway reads: ‘OId and Lost Rivers.’

And now I know the story. The google piece also included the audio of the composition written by Mr. Picker and performed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra. I think it’s lovely.

https://youtu.be/S6phXZddj9A

Peace, people.