Got The Fever

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Learning To Fly

A few light, but wordy emails sent back and fourth. They're filled with sincere and hopeful intentions. The engine's just sputtered and coughed up enough to slap the rotors to turning.

An exchanged snatch of knowledge here, and there, the tiny glitter or two of personal insight is tentatively disclosed. The rich mixture of gas through its veins lurches the whole craft alive.

A small joke, and cautious hints of encouragement are shared and wondered upon - was it the right thing to write? The first hard wheel movements rotate along with an urging from the boisterous buzz from under the hood.

Novel printed curios go across to one another, the short history of one another is discovered and thought about later, the mood is lighter, beginning to be playful and each note is sent in anticipation of a quicker reply. Craft, now moving with ease, you find yourself approaching the much sought after runway, eager to loosen the hold of molten tar lined with long, white stripes.

The replies are gobbled up almost undigested, suspense simmers, bubbling warm and slowly with excitement; smiles are effortless while reading and with vague reason, calendar availability is discussed. The deafening roar has turned to consumable background droning, straps tighten around your waist, nervousness and excitement leave a swallowed taste in your mind as you're lunged forward to a speed that will now deny returning.

Slightly overdressed, he leaned belly first into a mailbox in front of the annointed pub of destiny, drumming with fingers tapping the metal to a different beat, each tap not quite right, but it feels good on the fingers and it's the alternative to walking back and fourth in front of the impatient, waiting in-line overcrowd. Skull packed against the pillow rest, it's take off, and the deep, dizzy feeling of vertigo.

After looking at the time on the cell - the fifth or sixth time, she appears through the right window of his eyeshades. She's smiling, with long hair gracefully bending with the light summer breeze. You're level - cruising altitude; the hardest part is over, all that remains is to rely on years of experience to stay aloft, unwavering in the flight path.

Those emails, the time that moved too quickly or too slowly, those nights of imagination and fantasy brightly colored, the positive feeling of satisfaction - all led to this moment.

No longer a twelve-thirty in the morning blitz of notes, or a daylong reminding bump from the cerebellum that had him stop to think about her at the oddest times, this is culmination - the last paragraphs of chapter one to be written.

Laughed loudly, showed pictures from their phones, danced (she's wiry), imbibed, disclosed deeper, became tender at moments. They somehow made an unintentioned impression on the locals - a complete stranger from a pack in another booth came up to them, put a hand on his shoulder, looked at them both and with a warm smile remarked that they made a perfect couple.

End of evening came much too quickly, and a lingering goodnight was all too brief.

"If we meet again", she asked later via cell text, "Would we have our on-line fantasy destroyed"? He smiled as he touched finger to keypad and replied, "I prefer to think of it as fantasy come to life".

Imaginary Lover
Surely a peak of Atlanta Rhythm Section for me. Always has been. Studio musicians to begin with, their playing is tight but robust and playful. Lately it's played when there's precious few sane hours left before having to get up for work again. The perfect segue before rapid eye movement and the damaging alarm at 5:30AM. Greg Kihn said it best; they don't write like that anymore!

Imaginary lovers, never turn you down
When all the others turn you away, they're around
It's my private pleasure, midnight fantasy
Someone to share my wildest dreams with me

Imaginary lover
You're mine, anytime
Imaginary lover

Fantasy Girl
I've never been a fan of 38 Special, but this is one of those 'bubbling under' songs for me. Every other blue moon is enough time between hearing it again. But i'll be damned if this isn't one of the songs that came to mind during those emails. Lyrics are surprisingly tender at times and with just enough Strat to rip it open.

Now, I've had my share
And sometimes I swear
That I've had me enough
You end up in sorrow, broken tomorrows

Love can be tough
But, my mind's eye
Sees a vision of true love
And how it should be
Me and my fantasy girl
Hold on to me

Imaginary Lover
Atlanta Rhythm Section: Best of ARS [1991]

Fantasy Girl
38 Special: Anthology Remastered [2001]

Being out of the light of blogging for the past year and more had not diminished my craving to continue to read what I knew well in the music sphere. A few that I still read, and continued to respect, somehow noticed that I had turned on the lightswitch and kindly took time out to say hello. Who would have thought?

Jeff over at AM, Then FM first called on me just as I Got The Fever again, Greg over at Echoes In The Wind welcomed me and gave me information, IB at Siblingshot On The Bleachers cheered me on, Vincent, stationed over at Fufu Stew, smiled and shook my online hand, and the good dj over at The Hits Just Keep On Coming actually went out of his way, sending me email and prodded his flock my way via a plug on a recent post. They're all the sizzlin' pop rocks on the rim of your musical margaritas - quality writing and superb nuggets for sampling.

I have the warmth of the (blogging) sun within me tonight.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Romantics

I'm not one for following convention, not really the type to follow the crowd or 'go with the flow' as far as listening to music is concerned - never have been. Nor am I the type to listen to obscurity for the sake of a wallow in a prideful and snotty attitude that I may know the obscure and you don't.

It's more likely that I like what I like and if anyone else didn't that was cool. But it never stopped me from listening to something that no one else had ever heard of. That's why I tend to become terribly bored listening to the same so-called Top 100, or have very little patience for listening to something that doesn't capture me after a few turns through the speaker.

Even with a semi-known band, I tire rapidly of their most well known hit and curse the music gods for letting that one hit define a band (although sometimes they actually are a one hit wonder). It's just plain cruel that a band has two, three or four albums (or more) all with little gems on them, and yet we continue to hear only the singular most familiar and recognizeable. I treasure digging deeper and smile more widely when I know that a track I've found is as good, if not better, than the musical yoke the band is forced to wear.

Actually, that's what Got The Fever is all about anyway.

It's well known that I loves me some power pop and Detroit gave us yet another band that could cause us to stand up, cheer and actually want them to crank it up a bit more - as I did when I saw The Romantics live.

A Night Like This
I believed in the power of this track so much, a band that I was in for a short time finally relented in adding it to the song list and it became a huge crowd pleaser. You can almost picture the futile, hot, long nights he's singing about - alone in a dark room, probably something strong and undiluted in a glass held by his sweaty hand and the only company are tormented thoughts that rage like an unquenchable firestorm.

Fierce lead guitar with responsible whammy-bar accentuation, grab for the throat pulsing drumms, haunting harmonica emulating the lonliness of it all and a passion in the vocals for a lost love that is inconsolable. This is surely a highlight of their song writing and playing abilities that was never bothered to be appreciated - until now.
I wanna go back to the nights I miss
Wanna go back to the lips that I kissed
Wanna hold you - don't wanna let go
Want you to love me honey, like I know you know
I need you on a night like this

I'd really love it on a night like this
Remember you love, such a good love - such a hot love
On a night like this.
Like this.

Why'd You Leave Me
The frustration of knowing that she'll never come back manifests itself in smarmy jabs - not overtly insulting, but knowing that she's made a definitive decision that will not be changed, upping the ante from outright pleading to snipping and hitting personal targets that you hardly believe come out of your mouth - all in an emotional knee-jerk of jealous hatred.

This track comes from the point of view that, OK, she's left for good, she's actually actively dating someone else and they're sleeping together. The nuclear blast of that image, brick wall closed from you and her - and all you have is anger, resentment - and a ball of phlegm shot in her direction.

Wally Palmer, lead singer, has plenty of growling distress here, and The Romantics strong card of heavy, heavy hypnotic drumming is unveiled in all it's glory. Add a tasteful guitar phlange and you have the moment captured in 3'28" of beautiful power pop.

Do you let him take you to bed?
Does he want you, or only your head?
Do you make him get out in time?
Don't you want him coming inside?

I cant believe its true
Believe you'd say good bye
I'm so in love with you - tell me why
Why'd you leave me?!?!

It's a shame that during their popularity they were stopped midstep by a lawsuit brought against their management company for royalties that were hidden from them. Same old song and dance as it were for a band that was in it for the music and trusted someone else to take care of the business side. I would have enjoyed hearing their output in the years 1987 through the mid 1990's. During that time, because of the lawsuit, they couldn't record which thus put a stranglehold on their career.

However, they're still going at it, playing here and there, recorded "61/49" which received the critical acclaim they didn't get during their hey-day, and Wally Palmer is on tour with The Ringo Starr All-Star band. You can get a lot more information on their official web site. But download these highlights and let me know if you're as excited about them as I can be.

A Night Like This
From: National Breakout [1980]

Why'd You Leave Me
From: Strictly Personal [1981]

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Concert for Bangladesh

What with all the noise about Live Aid happening twenty-five years ago, I sit here remembering a more distant and more sincere charitable event that’s having its anniversary in just a few days.

The Concert for Bangladesh, which is considered the very first organized concert for aide/relief, happened in 1971 – fourteen years before Midge and Bob coupled for Africa.

It was pulled together in less than two months and rapidly booked for the only available date that was coming up at Madison Square Garden that summer – August 1st. I couldn’t find anything on it, but does anyone know how long it took through idea, cold calls, confirmations, booking, transportation and performance date to pull together Live Aid? It was certainly a lot longer than two months.

Among the notables were Ravi Shankar (who initially asked Harrison for ideas to help the ravaged country of Bangladesh), Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Billy Preston and Bob Dylan. Clapton was supposed to be in full rehearsals a week before show date, but due to a lingering heroin habit, showed up the day before.

Interesting to know, John Ono was slated to play, but because it was stipulated that in order to join the mates onstage, his significant other was not to co-perform (which John agreed to). The wife and he fought over said stipulation, and it resulted in John walking away. Sir Paul was also asked to join the line, but he didn’t think it made sense, what with the Apple label lawsuit raging. Good ol’ Ringo came aboard happily, playing right alongside pal Jim Keltner.

Keep in mind that The Concert For Bangladesh was all well before it was good for exposure, and your career, to pack a multitude of ‘stars’ into a studio, record the obligatory dual-penned themed single, tape a video that zooms in showing the alternating expressive pained/hurt look on the varied faces as they lip synch the grieving lyrics (while filming also juxtaposed the frivolity of beating time with chums), releasing it all on a 12” collectors edition 45 RPM, and topping it all off with twenty second sound bites publicizing the event (shown on an incipid Hollywood palaver show) which was pre-taped at a red carpet, black tie affair just before accepting an award for their kindness, only to grandly, humbly and seriously accept the statue on behalf of the victims.

As in any event this size, what actually went to the cause in terms of hard cash has been, naturally, disputed. One hard lesson learned from this by all future charitable event organizers, was to apply for tax-exempt status – which the Bangladesh organizers didn’t realize to do. What is known for sure is that Harrison donated all money from the album sales directly to UNICEF, and that all DVD and CD sales still, to this day, go to the relief effort.

That’s The Way God Planned It

(I’m going to have to slate a post for showcasing the genius of Billy Preston.) Amidst the company of gargantuan guitar gods, Billy plays soulfully and meaningfully, parting the heavenly clouds begging for man’s heart to show the compassion and common decency that it’s capable of.

That's The Way God Planned It

Medley: Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Youngblood

(Come to think of it, I’ll have to slate a post for the inimitable Leon Russell.) An extraordinarily gifted pianist, Leon played with quite a few luminaries back in the day. Given the time, again, 1971, this tune kicks Madison Square butt. We have screaming tug-and-pull background singers, piercing guitar solo work and enough boogie-woogie to make your tail-feather vibrate. And hey, anyone that can segue into, and cover well, this Coasters tune scores a major World Cup goal anyway.

Caution: this piece clocks in at 10:12 so adjust your attention span. Once you do though, it’s well worth the recalibration.

Medley: Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood

God bless all who continue to gather succor and support for the many global misfortunes that the vast majority of us have never experienced, and may they all wildly succeed.

However, let us also acknowledge how these rock charity events all owe their inspiration to George Harrison and The Concert For Bangladesh.
"My friend came to me
Sadness in his eyes
He told me that he wanted help
Before his country died
Although I couldn't feel the pain
I knew I'd have to try
Now I'm asking all of you
To help us save some lives"

Addendum: Man, it has all of a sudden gotten so labor intensive to post! I can’t copy/paste from Word to Blogger anymore, and had to go through so many gyrations just to get this page up! Sure, I left for a while, but geez, did it have to get so difficult? Spacing is off and I can't even figure out how to embed a damn video!

Last Word: I am thoroughly humbled by those who wrote me that they still came by from time to time even though I hadn’t posted in over a year! They then had the compassion to write me words of encouragement within just these past few weeks! Words are grossly inarticulate for those kind and sincere actions. Thank you - my friends. And let it be known, that in my absence, I still visited your sites during my time away - it kept me sane. Well ...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where to now? (14 months after the last post)


What's new? Anything happen lately?

As another introduction to myself has laid itself in my path, and I'm more prone right now to just "let the music do the talkin'" about what's happened. A bit of "through the past, darkly".

My Mummy's Dead
No, this isn't the album version (for those who know it in the first place), but given here in it's full length glory.

My Mummy's Dead

When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You?
Marvin was forced to do an album after his divorce with all proceeds going to his ex. Filled with monumental angst, the ex probably regretted that this was his weakest selling album.

When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You?

Where To Now St. Peter?
A sparking gem by Ann Wilson polished off with help from the singer who made it famous, Sir Reginald.

Where To Now St. Peter?

You know, everything's alright though. Time gives clarity and purpose. It's all good.

It's great to be here!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It Lives!

Suddenly, I have Got The Fever again.

Is there anyone that out there receiving this weak signal?