Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I figured out my terror-ridden blues-rockin’ solo acoustic anti-war special arrangement of the Monkees’ “Last Train To Clarksville” yesterday afternoon and debuted it last night at an acoustic singer-songwriter night at the Sunset Tavern hosted by my friend Jake. Slowed it down a little, hardened the beat some, modified the melody slightly in a couple spots to better bring out the words, held the word “know” for an extra measure once or twice in the phrase “I don’t know if I’m ever coming home” and sang the phrase a cappella once or twice, replaced the klezmer-esque “doo doo doo” bridge with a dissonant guitar break, repeated the line “I can’t hear you” an extra 2 times in the phrase “I can’t hear you in this noisy railroad station, I’m alone and feeling low -- oh no no no! oh no no no!” The narrator has been drafted and is reporting for duty.

The song made me cry in my livingroom but not in the show (I don’t remember ever crying while singing onstage). Just sang a few numbers -- this one was my fave, along with a close-harmony duet Jake & I have sung many times, a Dolly Parton song, “This Boy Has Been Hurt.” My own tunes, I wasn’t as dialed in, having planned on playing only the Monkees, and then showing up and having more time than I’d expected. Just goes to show me. Practice makes better.

Local punk rock guitar titan and record producer Kurt Bloch played a lovely sweet acoustic guitar instrumental, and a guy I’d never heard named Darren Lucas (sp?) sang an original love song that was just gorgeous, lilting sad melody & intricate dreamy sweet sad guitar accompaniment -- he was a real nice guy too. Everybody else was fine as well, or better than fine. A nice evening of white guys with guitars. Small crowd but everybody was into it, which is more enjoyable for me (as a performer and as a listener) than a big noisy distracted crowd.

Melancholy too because everybody knew that after 5 years the club was discontinuing the monthly 1st-Tuesday singer-songwriter series. End of an era.


At the 2000 November Election Night 1st-Tuesday singer-songwriter show I broke a rule and debuted my whole band -- we had played an all-political set, including a Ramones-y arrangement of "The Preamble" from Schoolhouse Rock. My band had a blast, but we played before it became clear that that night was haunted by a wild mare.

The George Bushes have won one out of 3 of their presidential elections; 2 out of 3 if you allow for cheating. (Yes, preventing the accurate counting of votes is cheating. Period. Not to mention illegally disenfranchising your opponent's supporters, as Jeb did in Florida.) If they up their average this November, 10 or 15 years from now life expectancy in America is going to start dropping down toward Russian levels as the social benefit budget gets shredded. Dystopian Lizard Ass: you read it here first. Here's hoping the George Bushes end up one for four.

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