Finally burnt a new CD of road music for the aged and beloved Volvo, for today's drive, heading down east to home. Was inspired after I started downloading harmonies from the a cappella girls: The Wailin' Jennys, and Mountain Man. Connected to a bunch of other stuff. Now, I admire the Jennys and MM very much; they're in a class by themselves. And the Jennys are Canadian, eh? which hits the button for me. Both of these groups sing beautiful & lively harmonies. However there are a bunch of young women out there singing with tiny, breathy, little-girl voices that give me the creeps. Whispering into the mike, and sounding about thirteen...As an antidote to that tiresome stuff, I slapped some grumpy old white man music on my road CD; none better and crankier than the Bobster. For the last 100 miles I've listened to Duquesne Whistle, from last year's Tempest CD a bunch and it's a good fit for Bob's shot-to-pieces voice. It occurred to me that Bob now sounds a lot like Tom Waits, that phony, was trying to sound about three decades ago in his wino on skid row persona. But with Bob it's the real deal.
The first person who turned me on to Duquesne Whistle was my pal Guido Goluke, who's the Dutch translator of (amongst other American classics) Kerouac's On the Road.
Shawn Colvin's version of David Byrnes' This Must Be The Place is a good road tune. Oh there are many. It's one of the strongest American/Canadian genres. When I first heard Springsteen doing Shenandoah I thought it was a little too Ken Burnsy-self-conscious-Americana. Bruce has to watch that, or he'll start thinking he's the Lincoln Memorial. But having listened a couple of time, I think the Boss does do right by the song. Still a bit too self-consciously rough-edged, aiming for the heart of anthem-land, but I like the plunky banjo and, what the hell, the lyrics do have an anthemic aspect. Still, I guess I finally prefer Bob's raffish version of a quarter-century ago. What a wonderful song it is. Look away, across the wide Missouri. Read Bernard DeVoto lately? He's pretty good on the history of the West.
|that's not the Missoura; that's Blue Hill Bay|