Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feeling Grassfunkel Groovy

Today on my way out the door, for no particular reason I grabbed a CD my beloved pal Shannon made for my last birthday. Among the tracks on "31 for 41" are many old favorites, from Sesame Street outtakes to Sondheim to Styx (yes, even MandoMama had a thing for grandiose 80s rock at one time), not to mention a titillating rendition of Viva Las Vegas! by the one and only Waaaaayne NEWton.

One of the tracks is a studio version of one of my favorite ditties, the "59th Street Bridge Song," aka "Feelin' Groovy." As I wandered through this wonderful homemade compilation, I wondered what some of these tunes might sound like bluegrass style, and I knew there had to be something out there to tell me.

There are lots of fun bluegrass retreads of old favorites. I think it will be fun to toss a few out here and there for your amusement and bemusement.

I wasn't able to nail "Feelin' Groovy" so I present instead another favorite song by the same duo. This instrumental cut of the duo's America is taken from Simon & Grassfunkel, a collection of bluegrassed-out Simon and Garfunkel hits by Grassmasters, an assortment of musicians including Tommy White and Andrea Zonn. The series features grasstakes on a range of artists from Fleetwood Mac to Bob Marley. It's fun for a change of pace.
The stuff of wandering from place to place looking for what will make it all work, and realizing it isn't helping, makes this hit a great American ode. How many of us, myself included, really believe that if we could just get here or there, everything would work, people would be different, and we'd finally have the life we're supposed to have? I think we all do, at some point, and despite the truth I intend to follow that urge to plow along toward some unknown destination due South. Wherever it is you believe you are headed, take this song, and some other great old hits, with you. Can't hurt. Besides, you can't smoke on the bus anymore, so you'd better have an iPod.
Hope you're all feelin' groovy.
let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together
Ive got some real estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and mrs. wagner pies
And we walked off to look for america
kathy, I said as we boarded a greyhound in pittsburgh
michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from saginaw
Ive gone to look for america
Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera
toss me a cigarette, I think theres one in my raincoat
we smoked the last one an hour ago
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field
kathy, Im lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
Im empty and aching and I dont know why
Counting the cars on the new jersey turnpike
Theyve all gone to look for america
All gone to look for america
All gone to look for america


At February 20, 2007 10:18 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

I enjoy cover songs when they do some completely different arrangement ...uh.. sometimes. ;-) I've got the Moody Bluegrass record. That one's fun.. except for Late Lament (the poem). I could do without that cover. I will have to check this one out. I enjoy the cover of "America" that the band Yes did, but I've always liked that band. S&G too. Especially Garfunkel of the divine Jimmy Webb covers.

At February 20, 2007 10:55 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Blueberry,

I've heard good things about that Moody Bluegrass but just never got around to adding it to the list...Pickin' on REM is a favorite thanks to my pal Shannon. And Hayseed Dixie? Pretty surprising.

I don't know that cover by Yes, which is another band I used to love before I got my head stuck up bluegrass. As always, thanks for the lead!


At February 21, 2007 10:04 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

And the moon rose over an open field

oh boy... Is funny, even though I grew up with S&G, I always hear Jon Anderson's voice singing that line. Not that it matters. Either way I still get all choked up.

Think I'd dig the Bluegrassification. It wouldn't really change how I feel listening this tune. {-;

At February 21, 2007 1:16 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Bains,
I imagine that most covers work "bluegrassified" (;-) -- I even heard the original star trek theme last week as done by the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble! -- I think I may have to do a series presenting what works and what doesn't work, maybe open it up for submissions. I could even throw in a cd for a prize!

As for this tune, it's one of my all-time favorites. It captures so perfectly the restlessness of youth and of that period when S&G were at their prime.


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