Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pass it on

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blow ye winds

Check out my review on the Daily Page of the marvelous show by Mucca Pazza, Chicago's circus punk marching band.

There's a new catchphrase that has swept our household, all two members of it. We utter it -- okay, mostly I utter it -- when we are perusing the Now Playing list of our digital video recorder, and we see that it has, unbidden, recorded an episode of a sitcom starring a certain redheaded country singer.

The catchphrase: "TiVo taped a 'Reba.'"

Monday, November 13, 2006

Twice as much

It's amazing what a great interpreter can do with a great song. The other night I was overcome as I listened to Patsy Cline's recording of the great Hank Williams ditty "Half As Much." It's a wonderful tune, an exemplar of a particular kind of wittily forlorn country song. (Willie Nelson also specializes in writing these.) The subject, it would seem, is fourth-grade arithmetic, fractions in particular: "If you loved me half as much as I loved you, you wouldn't worry me half as much as you do." But there, embedded in that deceptively simple couplet, is the agonizing plight of (what Hank Williams almost certainly never called) codependence.

While I love the original recording by Williams, and there is no denying that he was one of the great singers, his bouncy arrangement and twangy belting emphasize the wryness of the lyrics at the expense of their pathos. Cline, on the other hand, slows things down and wrings every bit of sadness out of those words. She still conveys warmth and humor, however, in a way that, say, Marlene Dietrich probably would not.

Tony Bennett found many of the same notes in his memorable take, but Cline's version is the definitive one, to my way of thinking. Perhaps I could do without the harmonica.

Hank Williams, "Half As Much"
Patsy Cline, "Half As Much"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hey, who's that

This afternoon I noticed on MySpace that there is a group called Dragon Park. On the off chance that you weren't an adolescent in Nashville from about 1985 to 1989, that is the informal name of Fannie Mae Dees Park, a lovely spot near Vanderbilt University that for some reason is where the alternakids hung out, back in the day. I whiled away many an hour at Dragon Park. (It is called Dragon Park because there is a giant dragon sculpture.)

I was having lots of fun reading the group's posts and looking at the pictures, and then I was surprised to stumble across this snapshot. Yes, that is yours truly on the upper right, age 16 or so and looking tanner than I ever have since. This would have been about 1987. That is my lovely school chum Leigh Anne in the middle, wearing black. The other people I don't recognize, including the dazed looking guy in front of me.

As I recall, that was a rock 'n' roll show that my enterprising promoter friend booked in a conference room at some downtown hotel. More pics from that night are here.

It's weird to run across my teenage self on the Web. Good, but weird.