Random Shuffle – 05/15/06

PurpleSM.jpg"River of Gold” – Donna the Buffalo
from Donna the Buffalo

I caught these guys live at the Lotus festival here in Bloomington a few years back. They played an intimate show literally under a tent. I was way up close whirling and twirling my head off. My lovely wife was enjoying the music, but not being real familiar with their songs was less enthusiastic as myself. We were very close to the speakers and the sheer volume started to get to her, so she backed away and hit the far end of the tent.

Enjoying myself too much I let her go while I stayed. A dumb move for a married man, I know, but darn these guys were flippin’ fantastic, and I wasn’t about to give up my good seat just to please my wife. And besides, she’ll get over it, right?

Turns out, at the end of the show, she wasn’t mad at me for not joining her, she was mad at me for dancing too close to some groovy hippy chick. Most of us at the front were doing what I call the white man’s groove which consists of lots of short step hops, maybe a twirl or two, and the flailing of arms like drunken chickens in a coup. While doing this, many of us get kind of entwined and may bump each other on accident.

Apparently, I was grooving too close to an attractive girl. I can’t say that I didn’t notice this girl, or didn’t enjoy being in close proximity, I am male and human after all. However, I really was way more into the music, than the girl. Come on, I’m happily married, and I know my wife is somewhere behind me, probably already mad at me. No chance I’m going to try anything.

She stayed mad for a few days, and it was all worth it. Being that close to one of the best bands playing music today was so totally worth a little married madness that I’d do it again.

Donna the Buffalo is a hard band to describe. They have influences from reggae, ska, classic rock, folk and old country music. They play the type of music that I’d play, if I played music. It is fun. It’s music to groove to, to get up and dance to, to close your eyes and get off to. The lyrics are lightly political without sounding preachy or political.

“River of Gold” is a great bouncy tune with a chorus to shout a long too.

I want the river to rock
I want the river to roll
I am willing to lose complete control.

Tell me that’s not something to get lost to while chanting with a thousand other fans.

B0000011NL.01._AA_SCMZZZZZZZ_.jpg“And I Love You So” – Don McLean
from Tapestry

One of a handful of songs that makes me sit down and listen, no matter where I am or what I am doing. It is a song that can make me weep, and always makes me tearful with rembrances. Funny thing for a love song to do.

Though it is a delicate love song, there are lines about loneliness that remind me of times in my own life when I was alone. I listened to this song a great deal towards the end of my college career when the course of my life was unclear, when there was no true love in sight. When Don sings of knowing “how lonely life can be” I feel that loneliness somewhere deep inside. Even now, while happily married I can still remember all those lonely nights through my life and I must take pause.

letitbleed.jpg“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – The Rolling Stones
from Let it Bleed

This song reminds me of two things vividly; the opening scene to The Big Chill of course, but also of a night sitting in a friend’s dorm room.

The friend in question made a comp tape with what he called the “Big Three.” It included “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Inagaddadavida” by Iron Butterfly. Late one night he lit some candles, burned some incense, turned off the lights and cranked it up. A bunch of us boys were in there, as we always were hanging out and talking about everything and nothing at the same time. The tunes fell out like wine and we had a great, great time.

I’m not sure what the neighbors though, what with the ten minute drum solo, but man we sure dug it. I mostly remember the Iron Butterfly tune and its psychedelic craziness, but the Stones song is what remains in my music collection. The funny thing about that version was that my friend had taped it off the radio, so the first few seconds consisted of some annoying DJ chattering over the opening organ bits. But the rest was all rabid rock and roll.

What a night it was.

nevermind.jpg“Drain You” – Nivana
from Nevermind

Anytime I think of Nirvana now, I think of a lovely young lass I met at some summer camp way back when. It was shortly after Cobain had killed himself and the uncertainty of everything was still in the air. I was a senior in high school and uncertainty was always in the air, but after the icon of my generation (or my life at least) whacked himself things were even more so in turmoil. This maiden and I stumbled upon a conversation at the side of an auditorium where some uninteresting musical group was singing. She like my hair (it was long and not so receding back then) I like her…well I just liked her, she was all girl, and I liked girls.

She had big scars up and down here arm, where she had cut herself over the deal of Kurt Cobain. Written things like “Kurt Lives Forever” into her skin. I dug the crap out of Nirvana, but not enough to ever carve anything into my body. Like many girls of her age and persuasion I suppose she was just trying to feel something, but at the time all I could think about was “cool.” Well maybe not cool, but my brainwaves weren’t far beyond anything but hormone.

I’m older now, and while I appreciate the intensity of youth, and the historical significance of Nirvana, my ears prefer much gentler thing these days. Once in awhile I find some old punk/metal records and play them loud whilst driving down the road. But mostly I leave the angst to the kids these days.

cracker.jpg“Low” – Cracker and Leftover Salmon
from O’Cracker, Where Art Thou?

An odd, interesting mix to leave this weeks Random Shuffle. Leftover Salmon teamed up with Mark Lowry of Cracker fame in a bluegrass mixing of some of Cracker’s songs. It works in more ways than it has any right to. Their version of “Low” being one of the exceptions. The original has a deep forboding sound too it that just can’t be conjured with a banjo.

Leftover Salmon can create panoplies of musical gyrations, but here they leave too much out. There isn’t enough going on musically to keep my interest. In the final coda all the instruments come out, and it becomes something to listen too, but by that point I’ve already tuned out, or hit forward.

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