“Just a few years ago, I was called to come and meet these guys in Jacksonville, Fla.,” Mr. Allman said, by way of a closing speech. “It was kind of a little stiff in the room, until one of them handed me a lyric sheet and said, ‘Sing.’ This was at about 3:30 in the afternoon, on March 26, 1969.”
I can't say I blame them. Everyone hits retirement age (although most of them will continue playing on their own once in a while).
I'm pretty good with dates and concerts, but I've lost track of how many times I've seen the Allman Brothers — probably around 15 times. In my earliest shows, they were too high to be very good. Then my wife and I started dating, and she said they'd cleaned up a bit and were supposed to better. Boy, were they ever.
There's about 10 tunes that I rank highly, but this one is my favorite:
I still remember the first time I heard this song. By then it was a "classic hit" that didn't get played on the radio much. And there I was in my car on N. Forest Rd. in Williamsville wondering what this amazing song was.
I just looked through my MP3 list. I have 2 other songs by them that I rate at 5 stars, and a half-dozen more that I rate at 4.5 stars. I'm a pretty serious music buff. I have about 30K files, and (according to my database) less than 1% of them get 5 stars.
And yet they came up for me on YouTube twice this morning.
First I was reading this Washington Post piece entitled “All that Jazz Isn’t All that Great” by Justin Moyer. He makes a number of good points that sum up my view: I love jazz, but most of it sucks. Anyway, he makes one of his points by linking to this video of the song with vocals from the movie Reveille with Beverly:
Then I continue to slowly browse through videos of 1977’s The Richard Pryor Show. And in this recording of the first episode, the lyrics are vamped around the 41 minute mark:
I always thought I was not a fan of disco (and I’m probably not). But back in 1998, when MP3s were new, and Napster didn’t yet exist (remember MP3Wolf and other programs), this was one of the first 100 or so songs I downloaded. At the time, I was only looking for things I didn’t own, and that you didn’t hear on the radio any more … one hit wonder sort of things.
Truth be told, that was also the time when the stores were filled with follow-ups to Big Mouth Billy Bass, and I’m pretty sure I heard “Rock the Boat” from a lobster in a drugstore that summer, for the first time in 20 years.
I’ve liked the song “Cam Ye O’er Frae France” for thirty years, but I never knew what it meant.
This is because much of it sounds like gibberish. It isn’t.
This is the version from the 1973 album Parcel of Rogues by British folk-rockers Steeleye Span.
All I knew was that at least some of the words were Scots Gaelic.
Turns out it’s a famous folk song. It was written by Jacobites to make fun of King George I.
The backstory is that the Tudors ruled England in the 16th century, and Henry VIII created the Anglican Church so he wouldn’t have to put up with Rome. Big social conflicts ensued because many people didn’t feel they should leave the Catholic Church. This got worse in the 17th century when the Tudors died out and were succeeded by their cousins, the more pro-Catholic Stuarts. The fourth in that line, James II, converted to Catholicism was deposed in 1685, in favor of his Protestant daughter, Mary. Later, laws were passed which passed the crown to a distaff line in Germany … because it was firmly Protestant. Their first king was George I. A Jacobite was someone who believed the rightful line lay with James descendants.
Anyway, the song was made by Jacobites speaking a mix of Scottish and pidgin English. It makes fun of George and his courtesans:
When George I imported his seraglio of impoverished gentlewomen from Germany, he provided the Jacobite songwriters with material for some of their most ribald verses. Madame Kilmansegge, Countess of Platen, is referred to exclusively as “The Sow” in the songs, while the King's favourite mistress, the lean and haggard Madame Schulemburg (afterwards named Duchess of Kendall) was given the name of “The Goose”. She is the “goosie” referred to in this song. The “blade” is the Count Koningsmark. “Bobbing John” refers to John, Earl of Mar, who was at the time recruiting Highlanders for the Hanoverian cause. “Geordie Whelps” is, of course, George I himself.
More Trivia: “Bobbing John” refers to John, Earl of Mar, who was at the time recruiting Highlanders for the Hanoverian cause is also the subject of the Genesis song “Eleventh Earl of Mar” from Wind and Wuthering.
In the original game the squares of virtue are: Faith (12), Reliability (51), Generosity (57), Knowledge (76), and Asceticism (78). The squares of vice or evil are: Disobedience (41), Vanity (44), Vulgarity (49), Theft (52), Lying (58), Drunkenness (62), Debt (69), Rage (84), Greed (92), Pride (95), Murder (73), and Lust (99).
How did I come up with that bit of trivia? Well I just heard Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” as covered by Fairport Convention for the very first time. Cohen uses the metaphor; apparently cheating on your woman is one of his chutes. Not sure why it took him most of his career to figure that out. Gee … and he was dating Rebecca De Mornay at the time … (I’m showing my age, but) WTF?
It’s really easy to find Cohen on YouTube doing his song, but frankly I never liked Cohen’s performances much. Here’s what I was listening to:
The finale of Breaking Bad is tonight. Here’s what’s going to happen!
Vince Gilligan, the screenwriter behind the show, gave a clue on Talking Bad with the title of the episode: “Felina”.* He remarked that some people noted that this was an anagram of finale. That’s a dodge.
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso (close enough) I fell in love with a Mexican girl. (Skyler … close enough) Night-time would find me in Rosa's cantina; Music would play and Felina would whirl.
(Or is the White’s home Rosa’s, and Felina is money?)
Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina, Wicked and evil while casting a spell. My love was deep for this Mexican maiden; I was in love but in vain, I could tell.
One night a wild young cowboy came in, (Tuco? Gus?) Wild as the West Texas wind. Dashing and daring, A drink he was sharing With wicked Felina, The girl that I loved.
So in anger I
Challenged his right for the love of this maiden. Down went his hand for the gun that he wore. My challenge was answered in less than a heart-beat; The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor.
Just for a moment I stood there in silence, Shocked by the FOUL EVIL [sic] deed I had done. Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there; I had but one chance and that was to run.
Out through the back door of Rosa's I ran, Out where the horses were tied. I caught a good one. It looked like it could run. Up on its back And away I did ride,
Just as fast as I
Could from the West Texas town of El Paso Out to the bad-lands of New Mexico. (tothe cook site?)
Back in El Paso my life would be worthless. Everything's gone in life; nothing is left. It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden My love is stronger than my fear of death.
(In Albaquerque, Walt’s life was worthless, so he fled to New Hampshire. But now he has no life. His love for his family/money is strong, so he returns).
I saddled up and away I did go, Riding alone in the dark. Maybe tomorrow A bullet may find me. Tonight nothing's worse than this Pain in my heart.
And at last here I
Am on the hill overlooking El Paso; I can see Rosa's cantina below. My love is strong and it pushes me onward. Down off the hill to Felina I go.
Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys; (the nazis) Off to my left ride a dozen or more. (the DEA) Shouting and shooting I can't let them catch me. I have to make it to Rosa's back door.
Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel A deep burning pain in my side. Though I am trying To stay in the saddle, I'm getting weary, Unable to ride.
(I’ll bet you a buck Walt gets wounded)
But my love for
Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen, Though I am weary I can't stop to rest. I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle. I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.
(The second bullet’s drop Walt for good. White puffs of dust/smoke in the distance have repeatedly been used in scenes set at the cook site on the reservation).
From out of nowhere Felina has found me, Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side. Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for, One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.
(Either Skyler will find the wounded Walt, and he’ll die in her arms, or Walt will die clutching his money or some meth)
I’m sure many other people caught this reference. For my part, all I can say is that I recognized it right away, and know the lyrics to the song pretty damn well, so the lightbulbs went off like crazy for me.
* He also gave the clue “woodworking”. I have no clue what this means, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say that they were going to maim Jesse with woodworking tools.
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