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

Thursday, September 02, 2004


John Kerry is fighting back. It’s key. His timing feels right. Lots of D’s have been nervous about JK’s reticence. Waiting to upstage Bush makes sense to me. Waiting for them to take the first swing makes sense. Here’s hoping 50% of the voters agree with me -- I’ll be the +1.

(Oh, right, Electoral College, wait. Well, you get my meaning.)

Excerpt: “The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.

“Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And it's not going to change. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America.”


Harry Nilsson’s magnificent cover of Ike & Tina’s “River Deep Mountain High” tonight -- he loves but doesn’t identify with Tina’s rag-doll loving protagonist -- with Tina, “I” loved that ragdoll; with Harry, “she” loved that ragdoll. Common practice in Tin Pan Alley and in rock, though rock isn’t built on covers nearly as much as the earlier style.

Interesting -- the country/folk Carter Family to Woody to Dylan lineage was different. Maybelle Carter sang many songs from the male point of view, and Woody and Bob (on his debut album of mostly covers) both sang “House of the Rising Son” from the woman’s point of view. The House is a whorehouse, the singer is going back to wear that ball and chain because she has no other way to make a living. And it’s hell -- please tell my baby sister not to do what I have done, but shun that house in New Orleans they call the Rising Son. The Animals’ rockhit version makes no sense, really -- the male protagonist is . . . a sex addict? OK, it’s possible, but not nearly as compelling or sympathetic. Or, just occurred to me, maybe he’s a male whore, but that feels to risque for ‘60s Top 40 and pre-Velvets rock.

Dylan’s version is terrific.

Relevance to life -- a mark of an appealing lyric.

Lots of Tin Pan Alley / Broadway / Hollywood songs come fitted with a male lyric and a female lyric. Only song I know that comes with different words depending on the color of the singer, Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s “Lulu’s Back in Town.”

White version: “you can tell all my pets / all my blondes and brunettes”

Fats Waller’s version: “you can tell all my pets / all my Harlem coquettes.”

Harry couldn’t have loved a ragdoll, and Fats knew there would have been trouble if he’d talked about his blondes and brunettes. But Woody and Bob and Mother Maybelle, they were comfortable.

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