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

Monday, January 24, 2005

THE PLAY-BY-PLAY

Just tuning in to my friend John de Roo's live internet radio broadcast. Missed the first almost half hour due to working late.

* A song he wrote with his friend Reba Devine, "Coven in the Holler," written as if the Carter Family were pagans instead of Christians. Pretty funny, good Carter Family homage, with a real sincere chorus, "Merry we will meet, merry we will part, merry we will merry meet again, on this sacred ground, we will dance around, merry we will merry meet again." I miss Reba's harmony on it, but still good to hear.

* "Icarus Laments," John's setting of a poem by the man he is calling "Charles, or Charlie, or Chuck Baudelaire. The narrator is our friend Icarus, he of the melty wings." Beautiful song.

* "Boo Radley," a wonderful song from his most recent CD, "Gorgeous Lost." "I am Boo Radley in this town." Small town alienation, written when he was living in a really really small town. Good melody.

* A new song, the first one I haven't heard before, "Unlovable." John's gorgeous '60s-British-Invasion pop sense, a medium-tempo lush-a-rama, somehow Hollies-ish, almost Roy Orbison-esque, much more tremolo in the voice than John usually uses. "Never no more unlovable." Nice distinctive harmonica solo, he's an ace harmonicat.

* A studio cut from "Gorgeous Lost," one with Jay Sherman-Godfrey on banjo, minor key Woody Guthrie-esque with a lot of nonsense syllables, "Hibernation Song." "You can hear me sing if you listen in the Spring." Force of nature, but you gotta listen for him / it.

* Back to live in the studio, "My Love Is a Rider," open-tune blues number from an album he made 10 or so years ago, "The Trickster." (Update: Looked it up -- he made the album 13 or 14 years ago! Time flying!) Lovely mixolydian riff. (White keys on the piano, G to G; major scale with a minor seventh. Don't know what key the song's in.) Occasional nice traditional folk-blues extensions of measures with extra beats, something John & I started messing around with as students of the music about 20 years ago. "Little boat, little boat floating out to sea / Little boat, little boat you broke your anchor free / Ain't nothing in this world to come and anchor me."

* Another song from "Gorgeous Lost," "John Hurt." "It's about Mississippi John Hurt, the songster, not the actor." Exploring connections between the guitar styles of Hurt and Mother Maybelle Carter. Sweet melancholic song.

And that's it.


Oh! Another one, from the CD, with Jay on cello, "Wide Boulevards of Washington." Slow wistful lamenty dreamy ballad. Good-bye good-bye, wide boulevards of Washington.

Been good friends with the guy since we were 13-year-old junior high music freak weirdos, started playing music together with him and Jay a year later, 27 years ago now. Big country, I miss my family. Great to hear a couple of them on live computer radio. Makes me miss 'em more.


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