Friday, May 20, 2011

Spirit in the Sky

I'm posting Song Saturday on Friday on the off chance the world is ending.  Of course I know it won't because the Mayans have pointed us to 2012 and I haven't finished my spring cleaning

The billboard around town has been touting this harder than a studio gearing up for the Oscars. To believe it, the faithful will be snatched up and the rest of us will be left here to endure a hellish experience - the selection of a credible GOP presidential nominee.  I guess the most memorable ascendant experience I had was witnessing from afar Hunter Thompson's ash launch.

Both big fans of his writing, especially his trenchant analysis of American politics, Tim had spent time with him in the 80's in San Francisco.  Those were the days of Hunter's stint with the Mitchell Brothers and the 1984 Democratic Convention which nominated Walter Mondale (running the spectrum from titillating to boring). 

Our trip was eventful - Tom Petty concert at Red Rocks, I-70 closed due to rockslides, side trip to the Broadmoor, Rocky Mountain National Park and Hall of Fame for Figure Skating.  When I-70 was finally opened, we zipped through and were on the down side of the continental divide narrowly missing a small plane near Vail that skipped off the freeway in front of us before coming to a rest by the side of the road.  Typical of the strange brew that seemed to be our travelling companion, most particularly on that trip.

It was not unusual that John Kerry walked by in a baseball cap on his way into the Woody Creek Tavern.  No entourage, just a lone figure who was recently a Presidential nominee.  He looked down - I remembered the swiftboating.

That night, the tower with the peyote fist started glowing then spinning and then came the fireworks and the launch of his ashes.  Going out with a bang.  To the strains of Spirit in the Sky and Mr. Tambourine Man. Tim's comment:  "I can smell the bastard."  Said in love, yes.

I won't forget watching the spectacle that 
August night from our selected spot on
the side of the opposite mountain.  Another memorable vacation.  They always were.

It must be Saturday somewhere and I am still typing.  Another much-hyped non-event like Y2K.  
Ho-hum.  Another day, another dollar to extract from believers to fill the coffers anew.  Another day, another way to explain why Jesus didn't come this time.
No doubt it's Obama's fault.

For your listening pleasure:  Norman Greenbaum's
Spirit in the Sky - love the fuzztone opener.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Leon Russell - Still Performing at the Speed of Light

Sometimes the messy threads of life unravel and re-form into a great big bow.  Sometimes you unknowingly attach to something that lasts, permeating your consciousness with such force that even a slight nod to that memory brings a special kind of bliss.  Those moments suspend time, destroying momentarily its linear power. 

Leon Russell's music is one such thread in my life.  College years - blasting his first solo album down the halls of my old dorm and out the windows toward the banks of the Fox River on a spring day.  Wearing down those grooves - repeated playings - joyous movement.  Innocent times, good times.   I moved those vinyl albums faithfully through the years because I couldn't imagine parting with them.  Old friends those songs.

I didn't sense he had stepped off the big stage because I often returned to those tunes.  By the time I met Tim, technology had advanced and, sharing our love of Leon and Tim's chronic need to downsize, we eventually ditched the bulky albums and stereo for replacement CD's and hand-selected mixes great for road trips of our own.  Good times, not as innocent times.