Musical Philosophy

I’ve heard that music has things to say.  Sometimes though, what it has to say is not all that nice.  I’ve recently paid attention to a couple of songs, and been disturbed.

Vocal group Home Free has redone Kenny Rogers’, The GamblerOn a warm summer’s evening, on a train bound for nowhere.  So, the gambler has no goal, no destination.  It seems like he left the last town one step ahead of ‘Resign or be prosecuted,’ or being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.  He has no home, no family, and no friends.

He relies on the goodness of strangers.  He is so broke that he has no whiskey for anesthetic against the physical and psychological aches and pains.  He has to cadge cigarettes and doesn’t even have a 1¢ pack of paper matches to light them.  He manages to die alone, un-noticed, unloved, unmourned, yet the song holds him up as the epitome of a compelling source of life-style advice.

Even worse, Home Free does a cover of Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road.  Their arrangement and delivery make it sound great, until you actually listen to the lyrics.

Come to the end of the road
Still I can’t let go
It’s unnatural
You belong to me
I belong to you

Girl, I know you really love me
You just don’t realize
You’ve never been there before
It’s only your first time

Maybe I’ll forgive you
Maybe you’ll try
We should be happy together
Forever, you and I

The ‘she’ of this couple wisely wants the relationship to be over.  The obsessive, abuser boyfriend/husband is creepy and scary.  END OF THE ROAD I CAN’T LET GO – YOU BELONG TO ME – I BELONG TO YOU – MAYBE I’LL FORGIVE YOU – WE SHOULD BE HAPPY TOGETHER – FOREVER!   😯   👿

This isn’t a ‘Happy Ever After’ love song.  This is a murder/suicide plot – a prelude to stalking charges, restraining orders, and an application for a handgun permit.  Paul Anka never wrote shit like this, maybe because it’s hard to rhyme Psychotherapy.  😳

Then there’s their version of Travelling Soldier, where a young soldier, about to be shipped overseas, puts the moves on an adolescent, local girl before he leaves.  It says, So they went down, and they sat on the pier.  He said, “I bet you got a boyfriend, but I don’t care.”

This song was previously done by the all-female group, The Dixie Chicks, until Dixie got an injunction, preventing them from using that name.  Now they’re just The Chicks, like the Peeps.  I’ve seen a YouTube video of their concert presentation.   If you’re gonna play in Texas, Ya gotta have a fiddle in the band.  They got a fiddle, alright.  The catgut for the strings sounds like it’s still being pulled out of the cat.

Home Free do a cover of God Bless Texas, with the line – God blessed Texas with His own hand – and all proceeds from the performance of this song will go to aid the Billions of dollars of damage caused by hurricanes and floods, which they show in the video.  Couldn’t take much more of that blessing.

Stop back for some better music soon.  😀

’18 A To Z Challenge – Flood

Challenge '18

Letter F

Unless the Mayan calendar apocalypse comes to pass, my little home town, situated where a river meets a lake, will never have a flood.

Lake Huron’s levels are closely monitored and controlled by the St. Lawrence Seaway commission, the geography is stable, and it would take something larger than a falling Chinese Space Station, to cause a tsunami.  The land quickly rises, so that most of the town is 50 feet above water level.  My birthplace house is more like 70’.

The closest thing to a flood is the spring ice-breakup in the river.  It starts 3 miles upstream, below the little rapids.  The thin ice breaks, pushing downstream against the thicker and thicker layers, partly impeding the water flow, until finally it lets loose.  Suddenly, thousands of tons of ice blocks, 2 – 3 – 4-feet thick, and as big as buses, thunder down the canyon, scour the harbor docks, and spew into the lake.

I’m told that it is an awe-inspiring sight and sound, but silly little things like education and employment have never allowed me to be present.  In late fall, the docks are cleared.  Ladders for swimmers and boaters are unbolted.  Fishing boats are winched onto the concrete, and placed well up on the banks.  After the cascade, ice that’s in the way is bulldozed back into the water.  Blocks that aren’t, are still melting beside the little park, well into June.

***

When we made our pitifully few visits to the lower United States for vacations, we were usually fixed on getting to our destination as soon as possible, and took the Interstates.  Humming along steadily for hours, at 110Kmh/70MPH, the extra distances were made up for by not having to follow some farm tractor, or stop at every stop sign and red light in every goober little town.

The time we took our On Top Of The World trip, we decided that we had the time, not to go 100 miles from Buffalo to Erie, PA, to get on I-79.  Instead, we took State highways down and back, from Buffalo, through Pennsylvania.  The entertainment and education justified the decision.

We passed through Du Bois, PA, named after W.E.B. Du Bois, a 19th century Negro civil-rights pioneer.  Both names are pronounced ‘due–boys’, rather than the French ‘due-bwah.’

We found a small PA town that clings to a mountainside so steep, that the northbound lane of the highway/main street, is 8 feet above the southbound lane, with a guardrail to prevent cars from falling in.  The industry in another Pennsylvania town was a Weyerhaeuser paper mill.  We could smell that one 3 miles before we got there, and 3 miles after we left, and rolled the windows down to clear the stench.

Rolling into one town we were faced with 6 or 7 truck-docks, at the back of a large plant.  Each dock seemed to be a different color, red, green, orange blue, purple.  When we got closer we found that it was a Pittsburgh Glass plant, and what we’d seen was hundreds of pounds of broken bottles and other glass, all sorted by color, which had fallen below the docks as it was being brought back in for melting and reuse.

As we were coming back north, we reached a spot where a secondary road met the highway at a T-intersection to our left.  Suddenly, in the middle of Nowhere PA, miles from any town or city, I was faced with the first roundabout I’d ever seen.

Like the 1942 song That Old Black Magic says, “Down and down I go.  Round and round I go.”  Round and round the roundabout I went, missing the northbound, uphill highway.  Instead, I continued ‘round, and exited onto the westbound, downhill road.

Six miles this steep, two-lane blacktop weaved its way down and down, with not a sign of a turnoff, another side-road, or even a farmer’s lane, to turn into to turn around.

Finally, after losing hundreds of feet of altitude, we reached a sign that said, “Welcome To Johnstown PA”.  Johnstown??  Like in the Johnstown flood??  Sure enough, there was the Conemaugh River, before we started our long trek back uphill.

In 1851 a dam was built 14 miles upstream, to provide water for area industries, and for a barge-canal system.  Later, trains replaced barges, so the dam was sold to a railway company.  The Railway Company wasn’t in the ‘dam’ business, so they didn’t maintain it, even removing and selling piping that could lower water levels behind it.

In 1889, a ‘Century Storm’ dumped 12 inches of rain in the mountain valley in two days.  The dam finally failed, and the flood roared through several small towns and Johnstown.  It caused $17 million 1889 dollars worth of damage, almost $500 million today, and killed over 2200 people.

I quietly drove back up to the highway and home, to compose this happy tale for you.  Stop back again later, when we visit The Rockies and talk about avalanches.  😯

Serendipity

Storm Warning

GOD hates Toronto

Through reading Cordelia’s Mom’s submissions, (as well as her other fun and interesting posts) I have been introduced to another entertaining and helpful lady.  Marilyn Armstrong, over at her Serendipity blog site, occasionally posts a photo prompt as an inspiration.

She calls it the Serendipitous Photo Story Prompt.  You can write a short story, or a long one, about her picture.  It can be fact or fiction, or even poetry.  It’s okay if it inspires you to use one of your own photos, or a picture you found on the internet.  It’s even acceptable if you post an interesting picture with just a caption, or a comment.  Hey, if that isn’t Serendipitous, I don’t know what is.

Locally, May was one of the driest on record – no rain for the first 29 days – then we got an entire month’s precipitation in two days.  It wasn’t as bad as Texas, or Germany, but it had its moments.

I got the above picture from the son’s friend, who had to be in Toronto.  We were 75 miles away when this happened, and I’m glad!

#471