Good song covers and where they lead
I've kinda had a Johnny Cash theme week. On Monday I heard his version of "Solitary Man" (from his third Rick Rubin record) on my headphones walking over the bridge to work. Because the phrase "dating is a bitch" has moved from a generality to a specific truth around here lately, and because Cash's gravelly cover is fabulous, I stood there grinning toothily while I listened.
That night I picked up Walk the Line from the video store and watched it for the first time. (Wow I feel grateful that pills have never been among my problems --nor ill-thought-out early marriage). On my next afternoon off I gave a careful listen to the three hours of Johnny Cash on my harddrive. Some bits I listened to over and over and started to learn.
Tonight I decided to watch the movie again and see what I could catch a second time through. Er, lots. Like that the guy in glasses in Texarkana is Roy Orbison. And that in the first 1966 down-and-out scene, when Waylon/Shooter Jennings is sitting in a motel doorway playing guitar, it's my guitar that he is playing.
Or rather it's my guitar's long lost sister - maybe a year or two newer and with the sunburst finish - but still. My guitar. A sweet little early sixties Gibson. The one I have now was my mom's twelfth birthday present, and it's a fine thing to have for a whole lot of reasons. The second time through the movie, I didn't make it all the way through the movie before I hit pause to walk away and play the guitar.
Of course I worked on Cash's songs. I picked out a chord progression for "I Walk the Line" on my first try, then another song or two, building up a little speed before tackling Mister Neil Diamond's sad song. Here's what I came up with, after twenty minutes and a lot of counting on my fingers:
G Am G D
Don't know that I will but un- til I can find me
A girl who'll stay and won't play games behind me
I'll be what I am
A solitary man
A solitary man
Em C Em Am
Melinda was mine til the time that I found her
& loving him
Em C Em Am
Then Sue came along, loved me strong, that's what I thought
Me and Sue
but that died too
Next step: finding a voice to sing it in that sounds cool-as-Cash sound rather than sacchrine-as-Diamond. Hm. A couple of decades of whiskey and cigarettes would probably help, but listening to some Dietrich tomorrow might get me there faster.
Happy tangents and timewasters
Being me, I took that tidbit and raced over to The Stranger to see what Mr Dan "ITMFA" Savage has to say about it. Nothing yet, but while I was there I followed an interesting picture to a lovely rant from Sherman Alexie. Here are some of the best bits:
WooHoo! Sherman Alexie makes me laugh. - and sigh and relax about my unusual attitude toward Starbucks. [The article was kind of really about professional basketball, but I left that part out because it's not what made my day.]
I'm an insomniac, so it makes sense that I'd need a highly predictable cup of coffee at any and all hours. And Starbucks coffee tastes exactly the same whether I buy it at 3:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. And it also tastes the same in Seattle, Des Moines, Manhattan, Tucson, and Bismarck, North Dakota.
A few years ago, during a room-service breakfast in an Oklahoma City hotel, I drank Starbucks coffee and can assure you that it tasted absolutely familiar.
In fact, it tasted good.
[behind the counter] She laughed, relieved that I wasn't offended. I can't remember the last time I was offended. In fact, I prefer offensive human beings. They make for better stories.
Trust me. I am the great-great-great grandson of a man who was killed by a Ninth Cavalry soldier, so short of genocidal murder, it's very difficult to offend me.
I have a high tolerance for shit, in solid or liquid form.
I have swallowed gallons of truly horrible coffee at various powwows, bingo halls, casinos, and grange-hall meetings, so I know that, in comparison, Starbucks brew is liquid sex.
I drive a truck full of books around the county for a living. I know about truly horrible coffee, I buy a lot of it in exchange for use of the facilities. It's not just gas stations tho. For the record, in the midwest, you can't walk up to a randomly chosen espresso counter, pay $2 for an americano, and depend on getting a decent cuppa - I've procured unbelievably bad coffee by that method. I really appreciate the standardness of Starbucks. I take my money elsewhere when I'm on home turf and know where to go, but they've got a good thing going and I don't mind 'em. Plus they have cushy velvet easy chairs, a sure way to win me over to anything.
I have been letting a lot of time slip by online lately and will probably be reforming myself soon, but I'm happy to document today's niiiiiiiice tangent.