Sunday, February 04, 2007

Old Joe Rock-A-Mah River Soul

Tonight, it's cold -- of course it's cold, it's been cold, and cold is about the first damn thing I've mentioned in the last six posts or something -- and while I wanted to spend a lot of time playing this weekend it's been hard to keep my fingers warm. So in honor of Superbowl Sunday I left the television off and pulled out my guitar instead of the mando. Bigger instrument, easier to play with cold fingers.

I played through a number of the tunes on Starch and Iron and a few other tunes and switched over to the third disc of the Sugar Hill retrospective set. I had a real itch to play that Darrell Scott song I love so much, You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive.

I kept playing it and listening and had it almost, but there was one chord I knew I was misfiring.

Finally a little voice inside said, "You knucklehead. Why don't you look up the tabs on that new thing called the Internet?"

Oh. Good idea, me. Thanks!

So I proceeded to google "Darrell Scott tabs," "Harlan tabs," "Darrell Scott You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive Tabs...." and on and on and I was getting nowhere.

And then I saw,
"Brad Paisley tabs..."


Let me walk you through a little bit of me and where I am headed in my life.

This is Brad Paisley.
Brad is a very nice big country music star who holds his guitar all funny and has to wear a big hat so people can see him in the back row of the stadium. I think he was also married to that Pucker-Faced Renee Z...that actress.

But Brad Paisley did not write that song. Darrell Scott wrote that song.

This is Darrell Scott.
Darrell is a large burly man with black hair and coal eyes. I've seen from a blanket in a grassy yard and from the third row at The Kent Stage, and in a workshop or two talking about his songs. Because, he writes songs, and lots of them that big stars get to sing.

Now, pull out your number 2 pencils and tell me which of these two performers I would be crushing on.


Ok, turn over your papers.

If you guessed Brad Paisley, you haven't been around me or my blog very long.

There is a point, here.

It just figures that I went out looking for Darrell Scott and all I got was Brad Paisley. Not that Mr. Paisley doesn't work hard and isn't very successful because he has some talent. But Brad Paisley is never going to capture my artists soul. He is a conduit, but at that, only a so-so conduit for the power and intensity of someone like a Darrell Scott.

I think of that fairy tale where the less pretty but more complicated of the two would-be suitors coaches and gives his words to the less capable, less creative man in order that the latter might woo and win the young lady.

I'm always going to be looking for Darrell Scott. I'll never be satisfied with Brad Paisley. I don't want someone who's uncomplicated or easy to understand or merely easy on the eyes or worst of all, wants to be sure me and my children are "taken care of." I'M taking care of them, and so is their father. I'm smart, I'm tough, and if there's a man for me he's older, smarter, tougher, more or less fearless, creative, creative, creative, hardworking, creative, and creative. And he has way more experience than I do. He probably isn't perfect, but he tries real hard, and he understands the role my love and anger and sarcasm and my laughter and my Crone play in unfolding my life and raising my children.

Eh, ain't no man like that.

But I sure do love Darrell Scott's songs. And I do love to listen to his voice. More than once his intense delivery has brought me to tears.

Here's a tune Darrell wrote that's on the new album of another favorite old guy I love, Sam Bush. I just can't stay in a bad mood when I listen to Sam Bush, even when he's singing a tough song like this (with his old buddy John Cowan, another one who made me cry, and Suzi Ragsdale). He represents a different kind of soul's angel to me. I'm grateful for both of them, because their music and their creative philosopies both teach me a great deal.

Enjoy one called, River Take Me from Sam's album, Laps in Seven. Click on the link to get the whole damn gorgeous thing from rhapsody. It is kind of a big sound, but I don't think you'll see anything like this at Jamboree in the Hills.

And Brad, I know I'll probably see you there this summer. I'll be the tiny speck with a Darrell Scott t-shirt on, about three rows back from the top of the hill. Thanks for singing Darrell's songs so even more folks can hear them.

It’s been rainy and windy for seven days straight I’ve been going to bed early and getting up late I look out my window and it’s one shade of gray My wife and my kids don’t have much to say A man out of work only gets in the way

Oh the river is rising now one inch an hour And tonight we’ll be lucky if we still have power But I’ve got a flashlight, an oil lamp and I’m ready to go And a fresh set of batteries for my son’s radio If the dam really breaks, least we’ll know where to go

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

If I had a boat you know what I’d do? I’d float me and my family down to Baton Rouge I wouldn’t work in no factory I’d live off the land And live within means of my own two hands Dance Saturday nights to a Zydeco band

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Oh the river flows and a young man dreams And the river can drown you Or it can wash you clean It can take you away to some other place It can power your cities, carry your waste And give all that you drink a peculiar taste

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Oh, don’t look to me, I’ve done my time You see I’ve had too many dreams for this one heart of mine And I’ve stood on the bridge with the river below Feeling all of the sadness that a proud man could hold Oh the river is full but there’s no way to go

River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times River take me, river take me River take me far from troubled times

Incredible lineup: Kenny Malone: Drums, Danny Thompson: Acoustic Bass, Dan Dugmore: Electric Rhythm Guitar, Steve Nathan: Organ, Dirk Powell: Fiddle, Accordion, Yell, Darrell Scott: Electric Guitars, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Percussion, Lead and Background Vocals, Suzi Ragsdale, John Cowan: Voices


At February 06, 2007 8:13 PM, Blogger Women on the Verge said...

I like a nice burly man myself mando husband's shoulders are about as wide as a football field ( course his middle's starting to catch up, but we don't talk about that much...)


At February 06, 2007 9:00 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

LOL! Amen Mz E on the verge...I'll take a burly boy over a pretty one anyday, providing of course he's not embarrassed to have a higher singing voice than mine. Chances are neither of you really notice that spreading middle, anyway. ;-)

Thanks for stoppin'!

At February 07, 2007 11:39 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

What I'd like to do is download me some Zydeco! Haven't stomped to anything like that in quite a while and, while the Drum & Bass has quite a kick to it, there's somethin' 'bout stompin' and hoppin' to some o' that Cajun music that just can't be beat.

I really think it's so cool that you can play along with your music collection. I do fairly well in accompaniment, but really need to watch another play to pick it up the actual chords and such.

And reading music? {shakin'head} As with Math, I totally admire folks who do, but it's just never been something I can get me into.

BTW, Skinny Boy here (Whatchyagonnado?), but my voice is still lower than or equivalent to any lady's voice I've ever heard. {-;

Stay warm!

At February 07, 2007 8:14 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

I SEE, Mr. B, a ZYDEco boy are you?! Well there be a good bit o' footstompin banjo/mando/string playin Zyeckers. You might know the Balfa Brothers or Balfa Toujours? Ask Earl from Ohio, they be foot-stompin wonders.

Reading music ain't all that unless you're in the LA Phil. All that musical training is fine but I'm learning the players with the hottest licks don't necessarily read a lick of music, neither. SO I hope you play as much as you like and do it for YOU. I did learn over the summer the dread shortcut language...tabs. Do you get to play much? I would not say I play along but I do sometimes keep up!

Skinny boys are fine people, too. Nothing wrong with the Three T's -- tall, thin, and tubercular! With Mr. Scott and Mr. O'Brien as with all the men I crush on, it's a weird combination of intellect, dark humor, and general intensity that ultimately win my heart (and later break it, lol--whatchagonnado indeed!!)


At February 09, 2007 5:35 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

I do play, but it kinda comes and goes how frequently. Mostly my own eclectic mixed up style of note pickin' (always with a pick) rock-folk-jazz-metal fusion.

It's just such a great skill to have, even in such a tiny quantity as I've got :) that I know I'll never stop. Think I stay just fresh enough that I'm ready if anyone wants to hook up and rock-a-jam.

Alas, I think I'm much better at pickin' up another's vibe then gettin' across my own. When the latter has happened though... Nirvana!

Not the band (though not dissimilar) but that comin'-together-as-one feeling we all get when you can just feel it clickin' and 2 hours seems like only 20 mins for how quick the time has gone when you gotta wrap it up.

Long stories for background here, I assure you. Too long for a comment space, eh!

Wow... Now I'm feelin' like pickin' again. Thanks!


At February 09, 2007 7:56 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Mr B--
GOOD! I love to hear that someone gets an itchy pickin' finger reading my blog. LOL!

I hope you get out to play. I wish I could play more often with other silly humans. It really is the test--never been to that Nirvana quite yet, still too self conscious! I'm hoping to start a "slow jam" at the shop in town here, for selfish reasons of course!

One of the things I love best about festivals and bluegrass in general is that you can always take your instrument with you, and you can always find a spot to jump in and jam, no matter what your level. The only requirement is that you're tuned up. It's really all about playing.

And, you know you're in music country when you make a hotel reservation and they ask whether you want a "jamming or non-jamming floor"!

Anyway, happy for the stories. And my advice is that you pick up that instrument and spend some time, Mr. B. It's a healing thing. Rock on and rock out, MB!


At February 09, 2007 11:20 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Most of those Nashville stars ain't got no soul (not since they sold it to the record label or whatever), I call them cardboard cutout cowboys -- not that there aren't lots of great musicians in Nashvile... I mean Nashville.. but they're mostly not wearing the cowboy hats. No wonder they call it Nashvegas. I couldn't identify Brad Paisley's music if I had to.

At February 09, 2007 8:03 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Bluuuuueberry! Hi! Thanks for stopping. Yes, you know, Darrell Scott in fact wrote a great song called Long Time Gone about that very Nashvegas thing "They sound tired (but they don't sound Haggard), they got money (but they don't have Cash)..."

Of course, the Chicks recorded it and made a bundle before they offended the right-wing controlled corporate media machine that run commercial radio stations.

It is a funny town and it's kind of sad that the weight of being in "Nashvile" (very good, I like that) has near put good companies like Sugar Hill out of business. I do not like the "move to Nashville or DIE" theme there. I think if it weren't for all the great session musicians who started out in bluegrass holding up the cardboard cowboys, the country music business would implode or vanish into pop culture. (wishful thinking?!)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home