Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

‘Baby, Let Me Follow You Down’ is a traditional folk song that was popularized in the late 1950s by blues guitarist Eric Von Schmidt.  The song is best known from its appearance on Bob Dylan’s debut album Bob Dylan which was released in 1962 on Columbia Records after he turned 21.  The album contained a few covers, some traditional songs that were reworked by Bob and two original Dylan songs.  Originally this album did not sell well, but as Bob became more famous and after he toured the UK in 1965, it did reach #13 on the UK Top 75.  This song has a complicated story involving how it was created and then evolved over the years.  Dylan indicates that he heard this song being played by Eric Von Schmidt who was part of the folk boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Eric Von Schmidt disagrees feeling that the Dylan cover resembles the 1960s Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk’s version.  Von Schmidt said that he had copied it from another folksinger, Geno Foreman, who in turn had found it on a Blind Boy Fuller album.  He goes on to say that all of these versions were titled ‘Baby, Let Me Lay It on You’.  To complicate matters further, Reverend Gary Davis claimed that he wrote the song and that Blind Willie Fuller learned it from him.  Another twist in the history of this song comes from American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter Mance Lipscomb who claims that he learned the song in 1926 and that he was the one who taught Dylan this song in the early sixties.  This song was credited to Davis when it was played on the Last Waltz, The Band’s final concert which Martin Scorsese made a documentary out of.

The story doesn’t end here, as Songfacts® and Wikipedia® both say that it was first recorded as ‘Don’t Tear My Clothes’ by the State Street Boys in January 1935, a group that included Big Bill Broonzy singing vocal, and playing guitar, Jazz Gillum on harmonica, Black Bob on piano, Zeb Wright with violin.  This was a studio group that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1935 to blend modern swing music and country blues.  This link opens up a proverbial can of worms, as I listened to that song and I don’t see the similarity between ‘Don’t Tear My Clothes’ and ‘Baby, Let Me Lay It on You’, but I have been known to be wrong before.  Robert Clifford Brown who was reputedly the half-brother of Big Bill Broonzy and professionally known as Washboard Sam also did a version of this song.  The Locke Brothers Rhythm Orchestra, a basically unknown Carolina regional band also covered the song for Bluebird records in 1936.  The Chicago jazz band Harlem Hamfats covered it again, and then Rosetta Howard did a version with the Hamfats, changing the title to ‘Let Your Linen Hang Low’.  Big Bill recorded this again with new lyrics performed with a group called the Chicago Black Swans.

It is possible that this song originated from the Papa Charlie Jackson 1928 recording of ‘Lookout Papa Don’t Tear Your Pants’.  In 1952, Smokey Hogg recorded ‘Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes’ after it was ignored for nearly a decade and then Lightnin’ Hopkins recorded it in 1962.  Model T Slim (Elmon Mickle) and Little Richard both recorded this in 1968.  By 1938, Blind Boy Fuller changed the name of this song to ‘Mama Let Me Lay It On You’ and his rendition took it in a lascivious direction, telling his woman all the things he’ll do for her if she’ll just let him lay it on her.  Von Schmidt didn’t receive any royalties from this song even though Dylan paid homage to Schmidt in the introduction of this song.  Two years later, Dylan’s song publisher Whitmark & Sons copyrighted the tune as a Dylan composition.  It seems that this song was never in trouble of being lost to history, and no matter who wrote it the State Street Boys, Blind Boy Fuller, or Reverend Gary Davis, or Mance Lipscomb, as it kept on getting edited and changed and it took on a life of its own.

I first heard it from Rick von Schmidt
He lives in Cambridge
Rick’s a blues guitar player
I met him one day in the
Green pastures of Harvard University

Baby, let me follow you down
Baby, let me follow you down
Well, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Can I come home with you?
Baby, can I come home with you?
Yes, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me come home with you

Baby, let me follow you down
Baby, let me follow you down
And I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Yes, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Written for Thursday Inspiration #165 Red House where the prompt is baby.

Thursday Inspiration #165 Red House

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word baby, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Red House’, or by going with another song by Jimi Hendrix, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Red House was written by Jimi Hendrix and this twelve-bar blues song was one of the first songs recorded in 1966 by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  ‘Red House’ was released on the Jimi Hendrix Experience debut studio album Are You Experienced in 1967.  Jimi worked on this song in New York City when he was still a struggling musician.  He was staying in a friend’s apartment that was decorated almost completely red, which gave him the lyrical inspiration for this song.  In late May of 1966, Linda Keith a strikingly beautiful twenty-year-old model who had been the girlfriend of Keith Richards from 1963, when she was just seventeen, and had witnessed the birth of The Rolling Stones went with her model friends to The Cheetah Club in New York, where Jimi was playing with Curtis Knight and the Squires.  After the set she invited Jimi to join her and her friends at their table and when the last set and asked Jimi to join them back to an apartment at 63rd Street.

Linda and Jimi quickly became good friends however it was said not to be a romantic relationship, as she would play a lot of music for him at this apartment, because she felt that he needed it.  She said that she felt silly being a middle-class white girl playing the Blues for him, but Hendrix stayed at what they called the Red House apartment because of its red velvet walls and decor where the rent was paid by Keith Richards for days on end.  Linda played Bob Dylan’s new album Blonde on Blonde for Jimi and he liked that a lot.  She was convinced that he would become a big star, so she asked him why he was playing with Curtis Knight, and he said, “I don’t have my own guitar”.  Linda promised to get him a guitar and she also introduced him to LSD.

‘Red House’ was inspired by blues songs that Hendrix had been performing early in his career when he worked as a sideman.  Some music critics have said, “Red House’ is very similar to the song ‘California Night’, which Hendrix performed with Curtis Knight and the Squires at The Cheetah Club and that this was originally recorded by Albert King in 1961 as ‘Travelin’ to California’.  It is a slow blues tune that features lyrics that follow the common blues theme of a rambling man that lost his love.  Elmore James recorded ‘The Sky Is Crying’ in 1960 which contains, “I got a bad feeling my baby don’t love me no more” and this may have also been an inspiration for Hendrix.

This song is about a guy who has been away from his girl for over three months, and he decides to return home to see her, where she lives in a red house.  When he gets there, his key doesn’t work, and he realizes she doesn’t live there anymore, and she probably doesn’t love him anymore.  He decides that instead of wallowing in his misery, that he will pay a visit to her sister, because he thinks that he can get some loving from her.  Noel Redding the bassist in Experience, said that Hendrix told him this song was about his high school girlfriend Betty Jean Morgan, and Jimi’s brother, Leon also felt that it was about Betty Jean, and he said that she had a sister named Maddy.

There’s a red house over yonder,
That’s where my baby stays
Lord, there’s a red house over yonder
Lord, that’s where my baby stays
I ain’t been home to see my baby
In ninety nine and one half days

This Job I Got

‘Beat It Down the Line’ is a country-blues song written by Jesse Fuller that was first recorded in 1961. The lyrics mention “Joe Brown’s Coal Mine”, which refer to Joseph E. Brown, a four-time governor of Georgia and also the president of the Dale Coal Company who operated numerous coal mines in the state and this appears in many traditional folk songs.  The song was covered by the Grateful Dead and was one of the first songs the band played live, being performed in their pre-Dead jug band incarnation as Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions in 1964 and it appeared on their 1967 first album The Grateful Dead, which contained mostly cover songs.  It was sung by Bob Weir, and it remained in the band’s sets throughout their career, being performed at least 323 times between 3/12/66 and 10/3/94, every year except 1976 and 1995.

Jesse Fuller was a truly unique artist that was born on March 12, 1896 in Jonesboro, Georgia.  Despite living a life of poverty and hardship, he was able to maintain a sense of dignity and humor in his music.  His songs brought a message of hope and inspiration to several generations of folk music fans.  His best-known songs include ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ which was covered by Janis Joplin, Peter, Paul & Mary and by Hot Tuna.  ‘Beat It on Down the Line’ and ‘Monkey and the Engineer’ were both covered by the Grateful Dead.  Jesse was a remarkably expressive singer and a fine 12-string guitarist, he was referred to as a one-man band because he developed his unique Bay Area Street performance around his fotdella.  This instrument was a foot-operated hammer-and-pedal string bass) and a home-made rig that consisted of a  harmonica/kazoo/cymbals/washboard that made him a Bay Area legend in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  Jesse had a right foot pedal for the fotdella, a left foot pedal to run a high-hat cymbal, and a harness to hold a harmonica and kazoo.

Fuller said that he tried to get some fellers to play with him, but they were always busy drinking wine and gambling, so he created his fotdella.  Fuller worked various odd jobs around the Bay Area, and he played on street corners and parties, until the early ‘50s, when he decided to become a professional musician at the age of 55.  In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s Jesse Fuller became one of the key figures of the blues revival, helping bring the music to a new, younger audience.  He created a sensation in England in 1966, playing twice with legendary rock groups The Rolling Stones and the Animals.  His wit and humor have not been forgotten and his songs still live on.  Jesse Fuller died on January 30, 1976 in Oakland.

This song is about a guy who doesn’t like his job, because it is difficult to do and it doesn’t pay enough money.  Every morning he thinks about packing his bags and going to the train station, so he can beat it on down the line.  He wants to head back up north where he has a woman waiting for him and that is where he will make his happy home.

Well this job I got, is just a little too hard
Running out of money, Lord, I need more pay
I’m gonna wake up in the morning, Lord
I’m gonna pack up my bags
I’m gonna beat it on down the line

Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Goin’ down the line (goin’ down the line)
Beat it on down the line

Yes and I’ll be waiting at the station, Lord, when that train pulls on by
I’m going back where I belong
Yes and I’m goin’ north to my same old used to be
Down in Joe Brown’s coal mine

Coal mine (coal mine)
Coal mine (coal mine)
Coal mine (coal mine)
Coal mine (coal mine)
Coal mine (coal mine)
Coal mine (coal mine)
Down in Joe Brown’s coal mine

Yes I’m goin’ back to that shack way across the railroad track
That’s where I think I belong
Yes I got a sweet woman, Lord, she’s waiting there for me
That’s where I’m gonna make my happy home

Happy home (happy home)
Happy home (happy home)
Happy home (happy home)
Happy home (happy home)
Happy home (happy home)
Happy home (happy home)
That’s where I’m gonna make my happy home

Written for Thursday Inspiration #164 Five O’Clock World where the prompt is job.

Thursday Inspiration #164 Five O’Clock World

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word job, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Five O’Clock World’, or by going with another song by the Vogues, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Five O’Clock World’ (also known as ‘5 O’Clock World’) was written by Allen Reynolds and it was recorded by American vocal group the Vogues as a single in 1965.  It reached #4 in the U.S. on the Hot 100 in 1966 and it became the Vogues’ best-known song, although they placed three others in the US Top 10.  The Vogues were a singing quartet that came from Turtle Creek, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh.  The original lineup consisted of Bill Burkette (lead baritone), Don Miller (baritone), Hugh Geyer (first tenor), and Chuck Blasko (second tenor).  They recorded one record in 1959 under the name The Val-Airs, but then they switched their name to The Vogues shortly after that, because of a dance hall in North Versailles called Vogue Terrace, which was near the group’s hometown.  They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.

This song contains an intricate vocal arrangement along with a pseudo-yodel and it ended up playing a significant part in popular culture.  That song about the drudgery, even hopelessness, of having to work for a living for somebody else every day.  The singer gets up every morning and goes to work, because he has bills to pay and he works hard all day to earn a living, but he comes alive at 5 O’Clock when its quitting time, where finds solace in the arms of his woman at the end of the day.  The song opens with a twelve-string riff that is punctuated with work-song shouts of “hey”.  A modal tune signals the monotony of a day at work, while the melody lifts when the group sings about quitting time.  I never had a job where the work day ended with a 5 o’clock whistle, but I did work at several places where people didn’t like their jobs all that much and I would hear shouts of “4:30” when it was getting near quitting time.  Fred Flintstone worked as a bronto-crane operator in the Bedrock Rock Quarry and he would always say, “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!” when his work day ended.

The Vouge track got some help by these up-and-coming from the 1960s Nashville A Team, who were session players, and the group added their vocals to the song in Pittsburgh, which was not a common practice in 1965.  The killer instrumental backing on the single comes these Nashville guys who never became as famous as L.A.’s Wrecking Crew, the Muscle Shoals Swampers, or Motown’s Funk Brothers, but they deserve to be mentioned, as from 1958 through 1962 some of the biggest international hits were made by country singers recording in Nashville, Tennessee, including the Everly Brothers, Jim Reeves, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Horton.  This song featured guitarist Chip Young with his distinctive thumb-style picking (who played on Elvis and Dolly Parton records, among others).  David Briggs (keyboards), Jerry Carrigan (drums) and Norbert Putnam (bass) were some of the musicians on the session.  Allen Reynolds the song’s writer was a bank employee in Memphis, and he went on to become the producer of all seven of Garth Brooks’ diamond-selling albums.  Reynolds’ insightful lyrics in this song may be more relevant than ever in this era of insane traffic congestion, long lines, and a 40-hour week that can very often seem a lot longer.  ‘Five O’Clock World’ was used in the soundtrack to the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam.  This was used as the opening of The Drew Carey Show during the second season and Drew Carey used the full 2 minutes and 10 second original single for his show.

Up every morning just to keep a job (up!)
I gotta fight my way through the hustling mob (up!)
Sounds of the city pounding in my brain (up!)
While another day goes down the drain (up!)

I Wanna Be Your Lover

Bob Dylan wrote ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry’ and this song was recorded on his 1965 sixth studio Highway 61 Revisited album.  This 12-word title song was listed at #60 of the “100 Best Songs With Long Titles” by Spinditty Journalist Ansel Pereira in 2021.  The concept of humor is itself elusive and researchers do not fully understand which aspects of a joke or situation make it seem funny.  Everyone intuitively understands what humor is and we all find certain things to be amusing, but all forms of humor do not share a common ingredient.  Various theories have been proposed that indicate people find amusement in the misfortunes of others, in expressions of otherwise forbidden emotions, in juxtaposition of incompatible concepts and in realizing that certain expectations have been violated.  In order to understand laughter, we need to understand fundamental issues about human nature.  Laughter is started by a stimulus which creates a brain trigger and this is a social behavior that people use to let others know that we understand them.  It may take a lot to get a person to laugh, but once it is started, it becomes contagious.

Whatever it takes to make us laugh, it takes something as simple and as mundane as a train (and its consequent associations, such as lovers leaving town) to make us cry.  This is a seemingly simple song about a couple on a mail train, and the guy is looking for things to do to pass the time.  This song involves a couple that is traveling on a mail train and there is a lot of back and forth of sexual frustration between them as the guy is looking for a thrill on the train.  It must not be that exciting being on a mail train, but the mail has to go through, and somebody has to do this job.  Once the mail is loaded the train is in transit, till it reaches its destination and although the image of a train is often used as a representation of sexual passion, a mail train probably carries the reverse meaning, as there isn’t a lot of interesting stuff going on abord this type of train.

Dylan seems to be bored, being up all night, leaning on the windowsill and he is looking for some action with his baby.  He mentions his death and feels that his baby will survive if he doesn’t make it.  While looking out of the window, Dylan notices the moon, the brakeman and the sun are all looking good.  His hopes are up as he sings “Don’t my gal look fine / When she’s comin’ after me?”  Dylan may be trying to plant an idea in his baby’s head by saying this.  His plan seems to be a failure with wintertime is coming, windows filled with frost, but he is not making a connection.  He tells her, “Well, I wanna be your lover, baby / I don’t wanna be your boss.”  He is letting her know that there may be a lot better ways for them to pass their time while they are stuck on this train together.  Dylan goes on to say, “Don’t say I never warned you / When your train gets lost.”  He may have said this in case she feels sad and lonely, at least Dylan gave her a choice.

Dylan illustrated his creativity by borrowing from old blues numbers, adapting the lines, “Don’t the clouds look lonesome shining across the sea/ Don’t my gal look good when she’s coming after me” from ‘Solid Road’ by bluesmen Brownie McGhee and Leroy Carr, which was an outtake from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan sessions.  Dylan assembled a band to accompany him on this song and he played harmonica, with Mike Bloomfield on electric lead guitar.  Paul Griffin plays a barrelhouse piano, with Harvey Brooks on bass and session drummer Bobby Gregg completed the group.

Well, I ride on a mailtrain, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost

Written for Thursday Inspiration #163 Back On The Chain Gang where the prompt is train.

Thursday Inspiration #163 Back On The Chain Gang

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word train, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Back on the Chain Gang’, or by going with another song by the Pretenders, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ was written by Chrissie Hynde and recorded as a single by her British-American rock band the Pretenders, and this was released in September 1982.  This song charted #17 in the UK, and it reached #5 in the US.  It was released on the Pretenders 1984 third studio album Learning To Crawl.  Chrissie Hynde’s then-infant daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde was learning to crawl at the time that Hynde was trying to determine a title for the album.  Hynde and Ray Davies leader of the band The Kinks were a couple and they had Natalie together.  This song started off being about Davies, but the meaning changed when the founding member and new wave guitarist Honeyman-Scott died on June 16, 1982 at the age of 25, from heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance.

Coming together two years after punk’s initial explosion, Hynde, Chambers, Pete Farndon, and James Honeyman-Scott formed the Pretenders in 1978 England.  The English bassist Pete Farndon joined the Pretenders in early 1978 and was the first member of the 1978–82 lineup to be recruited by Chrissie Hynde.  Hynde’s ex-lover Farndon was kicked out of the band on June 14, 1982 for his ongoing drug problems and he died on April 14, 1983 at the age of 30.  Farndon was found by his wife drowned in the bath at his home in London, having lost consciousness after overdosing on heroin.  All of these problems should have destroyed the Pretenders, but Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers emerged from the wreckage with a commercial and critical masterpiece.  Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner replaced James Honeyman-Scott and Big Country bassist Tony Butler replaced Farndon.  This song was The Pretenders first single with the new lineup.

Hynde was inspired to write this song after finding a picture of Ray Davies in her wallet.  She sings that her world was hijacked to a place in the past and Davies has said that he is easy to love, but impossible to live with.  The Pretenders covered the Ray Davies song ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ on their debut album and they backed it with Hynde’s song ‘The Wait’ as the B side.  This led American born Chrissy Hynde to meet Ray Davies and they had a relationship together for several years.  This song became a tribute to James Honeyman-Scott, because his death had a profound effect on Hynde.  She got mad when she read about his death and the magazines made it seem like it was just another rockstar drug overdose and this song is filled with her anger.  Hynde pours out her heart in this song taking it to a dark place by getting away from the news of the world by becoming a pigeon from hell, because she felt the media was descending like flies on her and throwing sand in her eyes.  She is brought to her knees by the powers that be while living the wretched life of a lonely heart.

Now we’re back in the fight
We’re back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

Music Loud and Women Warm

I don’t usually write about disco songs, but I have made some exceptions and I have always loved the Bee Gees.  ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is from the 1977 Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack, which was composed and performed primarily by the Bee Gees, and it went on to become the second best-selling soundtrack album of all time, with sales coming in just behind the 1992 Whitney Houston soundtrack for The Bodyguard.  ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was written by all three brothers, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb and it won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement of Voices in 1979.  It is one of the Bee Gees’ signature songs, and it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  In 2004, it was listed at #189 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, however the 2021 updated Rolling Stone list moved it up to #99.

This song became the second of six consecutive number-one singles, tying the record with the Beatles for most consecutive number ones in the United States at the time (a record that was broken later by Whitney Houston who achieved seven consecutive number-ones).  The Bee Gees wrote ‘Stayin’ Alive’ over the course of a few days while sprawled on the staircase at the Château d’Hérouville studio which was just an hour outside of Paris.  They used the stairwell because of its great acoustics, but it was mostly for tax reasons that they recorded in France.  It was a top-class recording facility that attracted Elton John, David Bowie, T Rex, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Richie Blackmore, Uriah Heep, and Iggy Pop, because it was a kind of like a hotel.  The musicians could sleep, eat, and live while they made music, even in the middle of the night.  The Grateful Dead helped to put this tiny studio on rock’s world map, when they stayed her in 1971.  They planned to play at a free festival nearby, but it was rained out, so they put on an impromptu concert in the gardens for the nearby villagers.

Almost every article that I read states that several words from Robin Gibb’s Concorde ticket inspired the Bee Gees to write the lyrics for this song, but I have no idea what these words were.  Concorde flights were known for the tagline “Arrive Before You Leave”, because it had ability to fly passengers westward across the Atlantic Ocean in about three hours, but the only flight related lyrics in this song are “I get low and I get high”, or “Got the wings of heaven on my shoes”.  The song is about the struggle of trying to stay alive in the rough streets of New York City. and how surviving each day is a victory.  The song says that he is a woman’s man, which probably means that he shows a marked fondness for the company of women, or that he is especially attentive to women, having empathy for them and he probably knows how to attract them and please them.  He doesn’t have much time to talk because city life is busy, and he says that he has been kicked around since he was born.  He is OK with his life and New York always has an effect on every man.  He is going to stay alive, so that he can live to see another day.  At times he feels like his life is going nowhere and he would love if someone helped him out, as the city is breaking while everybody is shaking and he is grateful that he is able to stay alive.

A beating heart usually signifies that a person is alive and medical students along with first aid and rescue technicians are actually trained to perform CPR with this song, so they can achieve the proper timing for chest compression.  Performing CPR to the rhythm of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was recommended in the US as the song contains 103 beats per minute.  The American Heart Association says chest compressions should be applied at the same tempo as this song.  ‘Staying Alive’ has helped many people learn the proper rhythm for CPR, so this song may keep you alive one day.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk
Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around
Since I was born

And now it’s alright, it’s okay
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Well now, I get low and I get high
And if I can’t get either, I really try
Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose

You know it’s alright, it’s okay
I’ll live to see another day
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me, yeah
I’m stayin’ alive

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk
Music loud and women warm
I’ve been kicked around since I was born

And now it’s all right, it’s okay
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Written for Thursday Inspiration #162 Bad Love where the prompt is alive.

Thursday Inspiration #162 Bad Love

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word alive, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Bad Love’, or by going with another song by Eric Clapton, or anything else that you think fits.  This song was recorded on Clapton’s 1989 eleventh solo studio album Journeyman, which is one of his favorite albums.  The single went to #25 on the UK chart, but only reached #88 on the US Hot 100, although it did get to #1 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.   Mick Jones from the band Foreigner wrote this with Clapton.  Warner Brothers wanted Eric to write another ‘Layla’.  He thought, that if he sat down and wrote a song in a formatted way, it wouldn’t be so hard.  He knew that ‘Layla’ was comprised of a fiery intro modulated into the first verse and chorus with a riff around it.  He had this stuff in his head, so he juggled it around, and Mick Jones came in to help tidy up the song.  Mick thought they should put a ‘Badge’ middle into this song, so they did that.  Clapton said, “Although it sounds like a cold way of doing it, it actually took on its own life.”  The album track features Eric Clapton singing lead vocals, and playing guitar, Alan Clark is on keyboards, Phil Palmer guitar, Pino Palladino on bass, Phil Collins plays drums, and he sings backing and harmony vocals and Tessa Niles also sings backing vocals.

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”, but I don’t think that Tennyson considered a bad love when he wrote this.  Love hurts and if you love somebody too much that can be unhealthy.  Love can be a dangerous disease that effects your mind, making you do all sorts of crazy, destructive things.  Unrequited love is probably the worst, as this can cause psycho behavior and give you many sleepless nights.  A bad love is marked by obsessive thinking, separation anxiety, intense dependency, crippling jealousy, mind manipulation and inevitable doom.  A bad love may not be the worst thing in the world as having an experience like this, helps you to recognize a good love when it comes along and that is exactly what happens to Clapton in this song.  Clapton is singing to a woman that he is in a new relationship with, and he truly loves this woman.  He’s had a bad love in the past and he doesn’t want to suffer anymore.  He thinks of himself as a lucky man, and he is glad that all his troubles are now behind him.

Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, being inducted as a solo artist and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and of Cream.  Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.  Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and fourth in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”.  He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.  Clapton has received 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.  In 2004, he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.  He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.  In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.

Clapton started smoking heroin in the 1970’s and he became severely addicted to chasing the dragon.  Later he shifted from heroin addiction to alcohol and cocaine, but he finally cleaned up his act.  Clapton smoked a lot of cigarettes, and he had a two pack a day habit, so he would stick his cigarette in the peg head of his Stratocaster which made a handy cigarette-holder.  Clapton quit smoking around 1994 after going to a hypnotist and he tried to get George Harrison to quit also.  Clapton is one of the most prominent opponents of vaccination mandates and he says he’s postponing performances after testing positive for COVID-19.  Clapton is part of the problem that the virus is still with us, because he has allowed himself to become a vehicle for misinformation about the virus, and this makes it possible for Covid-19 to continue to spread.

Your love will keep me alive
I’ve had enough bad love
I need something I can be proud of

I Met an Indian Girl

‘Pearly Queen’ is a song by Traffic that was written by Jim Capaldi, and Steve Winwood and it was released on their eponymous 1968 second studio album and again on their 1994 album The Last Great Traffic Jam.  ‘Pearly Queen’ was also recorded by Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood on Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert in 1973 and Live From Madison Square Garden in 2009.  This is a fun song about a wine drinking gypsy who reveals this guy’s destiny.  This Indian girl makes him forget this troubled world, and he dreams about a pearly queen with flowers blooming around her feet.  Gypsies across the world originated from India and they worshiped Kali, a Hindu goddess who is considered to be the master of death, time and change.  It is believed that the various invasions in India and financial reasons led to the exodus of these tribes and eventually gypsies spread across the globe.  The gypsy language seemed to be different from the other European languages, so the Europeans thought that they came from Egypt, but they called themselves Roma.

This song may be a reference to female member of the Pearly Kings and Queens who would wear eye-catching outfits decorated with pearl as they raised funds for charity in the UK.  The Pearly Kings and Queens originated in 19th Century Victorian London, evolving from Coster Kings and Queens, who were elected as leaders of London’s Street traders.  These Street traders, or Costermongers were an important feature of London life but they were often hounded by the authorities & bureaucracy.  They developed a fashion for wearing pearls, sewing these pearls on their battered hand-me-down waistcoats, caps and working trousers.  A road sweeper and rat-catcher by the name of Henry Croft changed this look forever by smothering a worn-out dress suit & top hat with smoked pearl buttons, incorporating patterns, symbols and slogans, one of which was “All For Charity”.

I bought a sequined suit from a pearly queen
She could drink more wine than I’d ever seen
She had some gypsies’ blood flowing through her feet
And when the time was right she said that I would meet my destiny

I traveled round the world to find the sun
I couldn’t stop myself from having fun
And then one day I met an Indian girl
And she made me forget this troubled world we’re living in, yeah

I had a strange dream, in my hair
I saw a pearly queen lying there
And all around her feet flowers bloomed
But they were made of silk and sequins two by two

I bought a sequined suit from a pearly queen
She could drink more wine than I’d ever seen
She had some gypsies’ blood flowing through her feet
And when the time was right she said that I would meet my destiny

I traveled round the world to find the sun
I couldn’t stop myself from having fun
Then one day I met an Indian girl
And she made me forget this troubled world we’re living in

Written for Thursday Inspiration #161 Spill the Wine where the prompt is pearl.

Thursday Inspiration #161 Spill the Wine

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word pearl, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Spill The Wine’, or by going with another song by Eric Burdon and War, or anything else that you think fits.  In April 1970, the funk band Eric Burdon and War released their first album Eric Burdon Declares “War”, which included this hit song ‘Spill the Wine’ that went to #3 in the US.  This was a group effort and the writing credit goes to all the members in this group, those being Eric Burdon who sings lead vocals, Papa Dee Allen on conga, Harold Brown drummer, Morris Dewayne “Bee Bee” Dickerson playing bass, and singing backing vocals, Lonnie Jordan on organ, Charles Miller tenor saxophone, Lee Oskar harmonica, and Howard E. Scott on guitar, and singing backing vocals.  Eric Burdon decided to call the band War in order to attract the attention of hippies who were anti-war.

The Animals decided to break up by June 1966 after they finished their tour, but they reformed as Eric Burdon and the Animals and Eric Burdon and The New Animals with different lineups playing throughout 1969 and sometimes without Eric Burdon.  In the Summer of 1969, Eric Burdon and his friend Lee Oskar met a band in LA called The Night Shift, who were backing the fledgling singer Deacon Jones a former Los Angeles Ram football player who was trying to have a Soul singing career.  Burdon and Oskar joined up with the Night Shift, and ended up recording with them as Eric Burdon and War.  War was a band that promoted a message of peace, harmony and tolerance that transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic line-up.

Burdon was working on a tune about leaping gnomes waking up in a grassy field, and this song became the B-side to a song called ‘Magic Mountain’.  That was about a Californian mountain called Mount Tamalpais, a peak in Marin County outside of San Francisco that was frequented by hippies back in the days, that went there to hang out.  The DJ’s wouldn’t play ‘Magic Mountain’ because they assumed the lyrics were all about sex and drugs.  While War was recording in their session at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, a bottle of wine was passed around and some of it was spilled into a console, so the group was moved into another studio.  The band members broke for lunch, while Burdon stretched out on the floor for a short nap and this song was born.

This song is believed to be influenced by drugs and you probably have to be pretty high to think of yourself as an overfed long haired leaping gnome that is going to be the star in a Hollywood movie.  Drummer Harold Brown, said that this song celebrates women, as all ladies are beautiful.  They are like flowers, which come in different varieties, they get older, they can be skinny, big, fat, some are voluptuous, but when you look at them, they are all beautiful, just like pearls.  Spilling wine became a ceremony for the band, and promoters would leave bottles of red California wine backstage for them.  Gnomes are thought to provide protection, especially if you have buried a treasure in the ground.  They are still used to watch over crops and livestock, and are often tucked into the rafters of a barn or placed in the garden.

There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones
Out of the middle, came a lady
She whispered in my ear
Something crazy
She said…
Spill the wine, take that pearl