Got The Fever

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cupid's Hunt: Valentines Day

First I want to thank Todd from RIBS (Rhythms In Black Satin) who invited me, along with a host of other bloggers, to participate in this Valentine's Day celebration. For a complete list of who is involved, click here.

You know, rather than try for the most certifiably unique song that no one else will post, I felt that Valentines day is all about the spirit of giving what someone would find special to them only.

If you want a creased, but sincere smile then give a traditional box of factory chocolates in a cardboard heart shaped box. If you give a dozen roses, in ten days you’ll find a mound of petals on the table and wilted stems dangling from a crystal vase of algae water. If you give the standard pink or red drug store card and begin underlining certain phrases, you end up giving something similar to what your Mom gives to you.

Some of the better alternatives might be to buy a blank card, simply decorated, and hand write a poem with timeless meaning – something they’ve never even read before. Try Shakesphere’s Sonnett XLI.

Or, perhaps you’d prefer lyrics to a song that they might not have had the opportunity to explore!

Go ahead. Write them down. Be patient and neat.

I’ll Never Leave You
Harry Nilsson has always been a good one for a well penned pop song. Most tracks off of The Point, Pussycats, Nilsson Schmilsson or Son of Schmilsson race to mind for catchy albums, but there are loads more individual tracks that are prime songsmith examples. Harry will certainly get a well-deserved blog entry here on Got The Fever soon.

The very first song that I thought of when I began to write this Valentine’s entry came from Harry. This is as heartfelt and tender as one could get without crossing the threshold over to schmaltzy. He employs not only sensitive strings and lilting piano, but also effectively blends in a banjo!

Some nights I go to sleep without you
The river’s far too deep without you
I can’t make it alone; I need you by my side

Some nights I spend alone without you
The river’s far too wide without you
I can’t make it alone; I need you by my side

I’ll never leave you alone
I’ll never leave just a memory
I’ll never leave you alone in the garden
Where nothing grows
I love you so much, baby

More Than You Know
There’s a great saying that’s bounced around a lot when you’ve gotten too lofty from where you need to be, and it’s ‘back to basics’. In an effort to find the ideal poem or music lyric we might tend to be too far reaching and on that orbital tangent we lose a lot of substance.

This is stunning in its simplicity, and Dr. John’s arrangement and vocals add a sultry and sexy slant to the Rose/Eliscu/Youmans original. Covered by everyone from Billy Holiday, to the Chairman of the Board to anyone else who ever had a yearning to grapple with the complex emotions that come with the craving for love.

A perfect so-called “retro” track that just bleeds for you to take that one special body, hold it close to yours and simmer hip to hip, soft breath caressing inner ear lobe.

More than you know
More than you know
Girl of my heart, I love you so
Lately I’ve found you’re on my mind
More than you know

Whether you’re right
Whether you’re wrong
Girl of my heart, I’ll string along
You need me so
More than you’ll ever know

Loving you the way that I do
There’s nothing I can do about it
Loving may be all you can give
But honey, I can’t live without it

Oh, how I’d cry
Oh, how I’d cry
If you got tired and said goodbye
More than I’d show
More than you’ll ever know

Oh, how I’d cry
How I’d cry
If you got tired and said goodbye
More than I’d choose
More than youll ever know
More than you’ll ever know

Harry Nilsson: I’ll Never Leave You
From: Nilsson Schmilsson [1971]

Dr. John: More Than You Know
From: In A Sentimental Mood [1989]


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hoyt Axton

Well, this is what you get when you’re fortunate enough to work in an industry that’s in desperate need of someone to fill in the gaps due to lack of experienced personnel - mucho time slots available and a big fat check every week. But, in this economy, with friends either getting laid off or hours drastically getting cut if the only things I have to bitch about are not updating my music blog, a messy apartment and being dead tired most days, well then, I count my blessings.

Hoyt Axton was better known for authoring hits than for his own chart-busting ability. But, where would part our lust for alternative be without his writing Snowblind Friend (Steppenwolf), No No Song (Ringo), Lightning Bar Blues (Brownsville Station / Hanoi Rocks), Greenback Dollar (Kingston Trio) and Joy To The World (Three Dog Night)?

Though my need to hear these songs by the cover artists endures, my desire to hear them by Hoyt has never waned.

The Pusher
To hear the amped-up, psychedelic blues version by the gods called Steppenwolf is to hear the desperation and haunt of drug addiction within the poignant time frame from its debut. But to hear Hoyt sing it elicits a timeless scene of hardened hopelessness and bleak, murderous hate with a soulful growl more feral than human – accentuated within a beat driven and fuzz-bass cauldron. However, you can see where John Kay did derive most of the instrumentation from.

You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With the love grass in his hand
Oh but the pusher is a monster
Good God, he's not a natural man
The dealer for a nickel
Lord, will sell you lots of sweet dreams
Ah, but the pusher ruin your body
Lord, he'll leave your, he'll leave your mind to scream

God damn, The Pusher
God damn, God damn the Pusher
I said God damn, God,
God damn The Pusher man

Never Been To Spain
Hoyt was a great country artist and his roots are in plain view on this track. A straight-ahead guitar and piano driven track without the snappy frills, you’ll be warmed to hear the occasional fiddle and the pulsing drive of a hearty 4/4 drum beat.

Side note: Ever hear Elvis cover this track? A bit funny to hear him sing the line “Well I never been to England / But I kinda like the Beatles”.

Well I never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
Well, I headed for Las Vegas
Only made it out to Needles
Can you feel it
Must be real it feels so good
Oh, feels so good

Well I never been to Heaven
But I been to Oklahoma
Well they tell me I was born there
But I really don't remember
In Oklahoma, not Arizona

What does it matter
What does it matter

Mr. Axton was also a Navy man and had quite a prolific career in film and TV – not to mention writing jingles for commercials. But what a songwriter!

Hoyt Axton: The Pusher
Hoyt Axton: Never Been To Spain
From: Joy To The World & Country Anthem [CD 2001]