If you’re planning on contributing to the mighty, mighty blogger’s playlist – or you’ve already told me you want to and haven’t yet sent me any tunes – there’s still time. But time, to misquote John Lennon, is “flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.” See here.
Tres Songs is a periodic post where I feature three songs that I like and want to share. Simple as that.
First up – It would be impossible as a rock or even blues fan to not know the name, Jack White. Ever since the White Stripes dissolved in 2011. he has been something of a one-nation army and like Dave Grohl, a musical force of nature.
But even prior to the demise of the Stripes, White was dallying around with other bands, trying to make things happen. In 2005 he joined up with singer/guitarist Brendan Benson, bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler, the latter two of the Greenhornes.
Together they called themselves the Raconteurs. (Not so in Australia as in Queensland there was already a band with that name. That band tried to charge the White-led Raconteurs a lot of money just to see what would happen. What happened is that they called themselves the Saboteurs in Australia.)
Here’s a rockin’ little tune called “Steady, As She Goes:”
Richard Thompson, OBE (pictured on top of post) is a British singer-songwriter who seems to play just about every stringed instrument there is (including hammered dulcimer.) He first came to renown in the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention back in the Sixties. I liked Fairport but overall that wasn’t really my thing.
Where I really got to know Thompson better was as a solo artist, especially via his and his then-wife Linda’s critically acclaimed 1982 album Shoot Out the Lights. I haven’t followed Thompson’s career very closely but I always liked his songwriting and especially his guitar playing.
This song, “Why Must I Plead,” is from Richard’s 1991 solo album, Rumor and Sigh. Per Wikipedia, “The American spelling of the word “Rumor” is due to the fact that Thompson took the title of his album from a posthumously published poem by Archibald MacLeish: “Rumor and sigh of unimagined seas/ Dim radiance of stars that never flamed.””
In June 1997, an elderly married couple named Lela and Raymond Howard from Salado, Texas left home to attend something called the Pioneer Day Festival in nearby Temple. Lela had Alzheimer’s and Raymond had recently recovered from brain surgery so one can imagine it was perhaps not the best idea to head out alone.
But head out they did and not only never made it to the festival but in fact, according to Wikipedia, “were discovered two weeks later, dead, at the bottom of a ravine near Hot Springs, Arkansas, hundreds of miles off their intended route.”
A band from Texas named Fastball, who appear to be very much still around, read about this tragedy and invented their own narrative using the story as a starting point. “It’s a romanticized take on what happened,” the band advised, “picturing them taking off to have fun like they did when they first met.”
The resulting tune, “The Way,” was a pretty big hit in 1998. When I first heard it, I would have sworn it was Elvis Costello.