I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 16, 2012 - 6:47 p.m.
It's time for some blogging therapy. Even down the rabbit hole my brain keeps whirring and the puree needs to come out someplace. I'll keep it simple again and write about music.
I thought I wouldn't be able to listen to live music for a while but I was wrong. I'm listening to plenty and I have to catch up. I'll start with John Platt's On Your Radar from last Tuesday. The Bill was three duos, Kim and Reggie Harris, Doug and Telisha Williams, and Beggar's Ride.
This is tough writing almost a week after the fact. I have to remember my alibi list. What's that? That's when I tell you what friends of mine were at the show. I always figured if the police ever asked me "where were you on the night of ..." I'd say, "let me check my blog and not only tell them where I was but who would vouch for me. Remember that's your job. If the police ask if I were there tell them yes and maybe say you saw me 20 minutes earlier than you really did just in case I did do the crime. I don't want to do the time.
I know there were lots of Chicks with Dip there, I sat with Carolann, Catherine, and Jay. No Jay's not a chick, he's a COCK one of the men's auxiliary, as am I. Don't look at me that way. COCK is an acronym. I just can't remember what it stands for at the moment.
OK so who else was there, Meg, Karyn and Claude, another COCK, and Honor. Then there was Dan, Phyllis, Stuart, and Maggi. Hey that's pretty good just from memory. I'm not as stupid as I look. Nobody's as stupid as I look.
I'll move right on to the music. Beggar's ride was up first. I want to like Beggar's ride. I like Claudia and Kate, the people in Beggar's ride. And actually I like Beggar's ride but not more than like. They don't excite me. I can see they have talent. I can hear their harmonies and see they know how to write a song. The songs are good but not the songs that reach into me. They are part of the great pool of skilled musicians that write for other people.
Doug and Telisha on the other hand are my people. I first saw them at SMAF and loved them immediately. They are fun. When forced to type their music they said something along the lines of "We write songs about homicidal women." Red Molly really needs to cover them. They are a duo with a guitar, sometimes electric and sometimes acoustic, and a stand up bass. You might expect folk. They are from Western Virginia and now live in Nashville. But what it makes me think of is Memphis, Sun Records in the 50s. They were drinking the same water as Elvis, Jerry Lee, and Carl. They get the blood flowing though not as messily as the women they write about.
They got further on my good side as soon as the noticed me before the show and the first thing they asked me about is if I'd been to a Met game yet. I love my baseball fan folkies. Oh right I said they weren't folkies. No I didn't. I said their music isn't folk. They are still folkies. Like Facebook relationships "it's complicated."
I almost started this paragraph "Last but not least." I'm glad I caught myself. That's bad writing. If I'm not going to write every day I have to try and only write quality.
I've known Kim and Reggie for years but the majority of the time I've seen them has been at festivals. I need to see them more often. They are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel good. If you only looked at the surface you might think that I wouldn't like them. Kim is going for a doctorate in something or other religious. Her thesis is writing a gospel mass. Her goal is to write music that makes people want to go to church. I don't want people to go to church. I'm a devout atheist. So where's the appeal? The music of course. Bach makes me want to go to church too. Of course that isn't the music they perform though gospel is clearly a strong influence. Their songs are often about social justice, something I strongly believe in. They have that rare gift of writing music that takes a strong position without ever coming close to being overly earnest. They always have a sense of humor. There is always a smile and even a laugh on their faces and in the music too. They might be singing about serious things but they never take themselves too seriously. They went to Temple University not that long after Bill Cosby and Reggie has always reminded me a bit of Bill. It's a tiny bit in how he looks but more in his demeanor. They didn't perform them but they also have great baseball songs, one's about Satchel Paige. I love Satchel. A sure way to win my heart.
Oh did I mention they write great songs and put their own stamp on covers? They are duo that give more harmonic color than most trios. If you didn't understand a word they said you'd still want to hear more. I wish I could have talked to them a bit. I've never really had a chance to.
After the show I wanted to make a quick getaway but I couldn't. I had too many friends there and they were friends that I need now. I've been getting a lot of moral support.
I'll try and catch up with other shows when I can. Now I have to get going.
Richard Thompson and Saving the World - April 15, 2017
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