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Musical Maunderings in Sunni's Salon

January 2006

This month I've had two quite different artists on my mind. First Kirsten intrigued me with her (that link goes to a rather stiff biography; I enjoyed reading the treatment Acid Logic gave him much more) song of the day posts; then, not content with that, she actually infected me with zevonophile spores. And, oh my, how they've taken hold! Kirsten gave me the self-titled 1976 release Warren Zevon and his final release, The Wind, both of which get regular play.

There's a lot that can be said about Zevon's lyrics and the inspiration for them. I'm not familiar enough with his life and music to go into all that; instead I'll simply say that I greatly enjoy his wry, often penetrating lyrical insights and the music he wraps around them. From Warren Zevon, I like Frank and Jesse James, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, and Desperadoes Under the Eaves. Oh, and his interpretation of Poor Poor Pitiful Me puts Linda Ronstadt's to shame. This is a very fine studio release, and if it's indicative of what I'll find on others, I simply must have more.

But I like The Wind much, much better—it has a more intimate feel to it. Even though most of the songs were recorded in studio, none have an overly handled feel to them. The sound is evocative of some guys—and what guys they are! The credits list is deep with successful musicians—coming over, setting up in the living room, and putting on a show. In part because of that casual, intimate sound, I like every track here. The opening line of the first track, Dirty Life and TimesSometimes I feel like my shadow's casting me—never fails to tickle my wordsmith's fancy. Disorder in the House is an apt political commentary for our times, and as such keeps me from taking umbrage at his denigration of reptile wisdom. (Well, okay, it isn't really denigration—we reptiles aren't known for being big of brain.) She's Too Good for Me is a poignant, mature look at failed love that's mostly sung in Zevon's lovely higher register; and what woman wouldn't want to have inspired El Amor de mi VidaThe Love of my Life?:

I close my eyes, you reappear
I always carry you inside, in here
I fall asleep, you come to me
And once again our love is real

How could I have let you get away
Why couldn't I have found a way to say

Tu eres el amor de mi vida [You are the love of my life]
Si solo te pudiera encontrar [If only I could find you]
Con todo el corazon te diria [With all my heart I would tell you]
Tu eres mi amor de verdad [you are my true love]

While some tunes are stronger than others, and some show hints of Zevon's evanescent life, I can't see myself ever skipping over any. Each has become a precious pearl in a cherished necklace.

I wrote above that I've had these two acts on my mind because I don't yet own any music from The Wurzels. While visiting some friends, they played The Finest 'Arvest of the Wurzels, featuring Adge Cutler, and the conversation couldn't win the competition for my attention. I laughed out loud upon hearing the melody of the first song, titled The Combine Harvester—it's from the old novelty tune I've Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates. That should provide enough of a clue as to what Adge Cutler and the Wurzels are about—but don't infer from that that they're Weird Al Yankovic types. Rather, much of their music seems to be original, not parody; but it's a light-hearted, fun look at West Country British life that reminded me of Da Yoopers, a band that gave the same treatment to the upper peninsula of Michigan.

The Wurzels seem to celebrate the good things in life, those being cider (zider in their vernacular), beer, and sex. The latter is addressed in a risqué rather than direct way; the examples I recall best are Twice Daily and Market Gardner [sic]. For now, I'm stuck with playing the song snippets available at Amazon; but I plan to wrap my coils around some of this delightful band's works as soon as I can.

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