Guitar Man

Finally got it. Been wanting it a long time. It’s been on my wish list for God-knows forever. Santa came through this year. It was all wrapped up in green holiday paper and a nice red ribbon. Even had a bow. It’s a new, six string, electric Zephyr Breeze, the best air guitar ever made by the hand of man. Now that’s what I consider a big wow.

All those years of singing in the shower and practicing “Still My Guitar Gently Weeps” in my bedroom have paid off. I am ready to go public. I may not be good enough to stand next to Spinal Tap but I am pretty good doing what I do.

If Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson can do it, why can’t I? Do what, you ask? Be You tube guy and have a career in my chosen endeavor. What do those guys have that I don’t? Oh, sure they’re ever so cutesy-wutesy. So, big cheese. I’d die my hair blonde if I had hair. I can be the first bald-headed teen idol. And once I get all that fame, I can be the next train wreck the way the Biebs is doing.

Besides I have something going those two don’t. I write my own songs. And I do know who the Beatles were. Last song I wrote started off with these lyrics:

“Other guys have girl friend troubles.

Me, I am lactose intolerant.”

Now I’m a ready teddy. I really know how to boogie. And tune my guitar. My next step is to get in the groove and start my own band. I plan on playing lead and singing. Already I have recruited four others: an air bass player, an air rhythm man and an air drummer. The fifth in the band will be a woman on air keyboard. We’re going to really rock.

Were going to call ourselves Air-o-smith but that sounded like another band. So we’ve come up with something even better. We’ll be Pluto and the Plutonians. I will be Pluto and I plan to scream out the lyrics on “We want our planet back”.

CHORUS:
We want our planet back, jack.
You don’t give it back
We’ll give you a great big whack
Put you in the black.

1. I’m way out in space
In the Nothing Zone
Minding my business
Leaving others alone
Circling ’round the sun
With my five moons
Nix, Hydra and Styx
Kerberos and Charon

2.Sure, four other planets
Have a whole bunch more
And some have not one
But I’m not keeping score
Along comes this guy
Says that I do not
Deserve planet status
Want to say, thanks a lot

3.All this time and more
I’ve been holding up
My end of the system
And not passing the buck
Stopping all those rocks
Some kind of a crowd
All those big asteroids
And meteors earth bound

4.Taking more than my share
Of the many lumps
And now you’re treating
Me like some kind of chump
So won’t you pretty please
Give me some good cheer
Make this a great season
Give me Christmas this year.

Should be a hit, don’t you think? I know I do.

Snowy White Fields Forever

Today is the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

Forty Decembers, forty agos are gone
since an assassin’s senseless gunshot blast.
Aghast and gasping, grasping for breath, clasping his chest,
the working class hero dropped to the dirt and died,
his body stilled, his blood (from the kill)
redly spilled upon the snowy white fields forever.
Years before that deathly eve of a deadly winter’s night
when his widow grieved, his fans mourned, five mates formed
a band, took off abroad for Hamburg to play
in Germany eight days a week seven nights a day.
These sons of Elvis—John was one, Paul another,
George the third with Stu their friend and Pete on drums—
these lads from Liverpool learned their Rock ‘n’ Roll trade
as they played a mach schau raucous roar in the caverns and clubs of the Reeperbahn,
their northern song sound a revolution such a revelation that
when they returned to the hard streets of home, though they returned without
Stu, the dreamer who did not return, they returned
a name soon to be written deep into the snowy white fields forever.
But Pete was out. His beat was not what the band was about.
With a Ringo from the Dingle for a drummer,
these Scousers made the Nashpool city walls shake.
The four young Merseyside friends ferried merrily cross the Mersey
and set out on a long and winding road across the universe
to become the Beatles they were born to become.
1964, it was only months since Oswald blew the President’s mind out in Dallas,
a blue funk of a time when the Blue Meanies in their pinstriped suits
and their pop singer wannabees ruled the whole of Pepperland,
for Rock ‘n’ Roll was dead,
Chuck Berry in jail, Elvis making his millions making movies, Buddy Holly gone,
his chartered Beechcraft crashing into an Iowa farm field five Februaries before,
and those blue suede shoes, semi-retired, covered with dust.
“Yet, in Pepperland,” John was heard to sing, “anything is possible.”
Even Rock ‘n’ Roll. “So, let’s brush off those shoes and give the world a bit of a rush.”
“The British are coming! The British are coming!”
read the headlines everywhere on the planet
as the Four touched down and landed in New York City, a British invasion
ready to conquer America from Boston, Mass to ’Frisco, C A,
from Ed Sullivan’s Really Big Sunday night CBS Show to Shea
Stadium’s screaming crowds screaming their screams of delight
for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
and the footprints they left in the snowy white fields forever.
But the music was lost, couldn’t be heard,
crushed by the sound of the fame and the fanysteria,
the helter-skelter of that Fellini Satyricon the press dubbed
Beatlemania. Seeking a little sanity inside the inanity,
George turned east to Krishna, the sitar and Monty Python,
Paul went walking barefoot, wearing no shoes,
and Billy Shears? He remained an unchanged Ringoesque—
with a little help from his friends, of course.
On a Day in the Life of a Beatles Man, John,
restless, struggling with his struggle within and the loss of his Julia twice,
once as a boy, again when his mum was struck down by a car,
motherless, fatherless John, entered the Indica
and encountered Yoko’s inscrutable oriental smile.
“A Yes on the ceiling,” he said, dropping his Elvis Beatle to reveal the real John Lennon,
“is a no where, man, on the floor, goo goo g’joob.”
The Rumours announced: “Paul is dead.
Perhaps John is in bed or in France, and Yoko his spouse.”
From Mendips to Yellow Submarine ships,
from Strawberry Fields to the Walrus Watching the Wheels,
the man who became John Lennon after the booze, the drugs and the women
–and the lost weekends too and whatever got him through—
flew west for Toronto and peace. But, Christ, you know it ain’t easy;
Nixon was out to crucify him.
Then, on April 10, 1970, the sixties ended.
The Beatles were to Beatle no more
nor come together on the snowy white fields again.
But it was not in the nature of Lennon not to Lennon,
and Lennon John did, kicking the world in its pretty
with Two Virgins, acorns for peace and his brand of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Jumping from therapy to therapy until his therapy was done,
he bid his monsters a rest-in-peace fare-thee-well.
In New York City at the Dakota, a Double Fantasy
of a husband, and the dad of a beautiful Sean, and Yoko his wife
one moment, the next a bullet slammed him into forever.
Now John goes walking on the snowy white fields again.

My song

I’ve always wanted a song. When asked what song did I call my own, I have been known to respond jokingly, “Nowhere Man.”

It wasn’t because of the lyrics. If I had listened to the lyrics, I would have known that wasn’t me. I just liked the title.

I’ve thought about Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” Love the song but it’s one of those pick-my-rear-end-out-of-the-dirt-and-get-on-with-it songs.

It does that. And it does it in aces. But I can’t say that it is a song that defines me.

Then I heard Greg Lake of Emerson Lake & Palmer perform his “Footprints in the Snow.”

I chanced upon the song by accident. I had heard that Keith Emerson had committed suicide. To honor this great musician whom I had loved in my youth, I went back and listened to several of their albums, then I found Footprints. At first, I thought maybe Greg had written it for Keith–and that may be so. I found it on the 1992 “Black Moon” and began to re-evaluate. Maybe Greg composed this song for one of his children. Or a lover.

But there seemed to be more to it than that. At least, for me. Over the years since that 2016 night, I’ve listened to Footprints hundreds of times. Wasn’t sure why I loved the song but I loved the song.

The other night I pulled it up and listened to Footprints once again. And it hit me. This is a song about my relationship with myself. It’s a struggle of trying to come to terms with that relationship.

“First time when you looked at me
You tried to hide but I could see
A special beauty in your eyes
Passion flying like a spark
Like an arrow to the mark
I feel it sting my jealousy

Before you know there’s footprints in the snow

Desire like a river flows
Where it comes from no one knows
It isn’t heard, it isn’t seen.
Love just like a flower grows
And then God only knows
It comes down like guillotine

Now I feel the rain
of love torn by a hurricane
One night eclipsed the sun
How deep still waters run

How deep they go like footprints in the snow

Take my love into your brest
Commit my spirit to the test
You will see him like a knight
His armour gleams
We’ll fly upon his angel’s wings
Above the clouds in rainbow rings
We can sail a ship of dreams

If you will take my hand
We can cross this desert made of sand
We can break in through the ice
And feel the wind of paradise
We’ll feel it blow our footprints in the snow

Anytime you feel alone
Just raise your hand, pick up the phone
Take in my number, there I’ll be
If one day your stars won’t shine
I will give you some of mine
Cause they could fall so easily

We both know there’s footprints in the snow.”

Do you have a song you claim as your own? What is it, and why?

The Big Unh-huh

He was a hunka-hunka burning love, this Elvis, and all the girls loved him for it. Just to hear their screams during his shake-rattle-and-rolls on stage and you knew how much. He was a magician and he gave us a magic that shot electricity through every performance and right down to our bones. When he delivered with his pelvic motions and his unh-huhs, we stood up and danced.

If jazz has a face, it’s Satchmo; if rock ‘n’ roll has a face, it’s Elvis. Not Elvis Presley. Just Elvis, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. But all that was before Col. Tom scooped him up and took him off to Hollywood, and the movies tamed the wildness out of him.

In those very early days of the mid-1950s, he was a hound dog man all shook up. And he was one of us. Only more so. A little bit larger than life ’cause he was on his way to the Valhalla of the Greats. You could hear the pure rock ‘n’ roll in that voice of his that was tenor, baritone and bass all rolled into one big yeah. Sam Phillips of Sun Records had said so, and he ought to have known. It was the sound he had been looking for all his life.

Oh sure, there’d been rock ‘n’ roll before Elvis. Bill Haley and the Comets were rocking around the clock a year before Sam heard the magic. And there was the rhythm and blues that Elvis poured into his rock ‘n’ roll. Had been for years. But that r & b was a black folks music played and sang by the likes of LaVern Baker, Lloyd Price, Ruth Brown and Big Joe Turner. Black magic, the preachers called it. The devil’s music, and it would drive all the teenage listeners mad with lust.

No. Elvis was different. He was safe. He called his elders sir and ma’am and he went to church regular-like. He worshipped his mamma like the Southern boy he was. Yet there was that Voice. He was a white boy with a black man’s voice. In the recording studio of Sun Records, he let it rip. Sam Phillips was ecstatic. He had found his singer.

And so had American music. The dam broke and the musical waters flooded the air waves. There was no stopping it. Soon there was Little Richard and Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Richie Valens, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. Down the road a-ways, there would be the four lads from Liverpool, England. There was no putting the rock ‘n’ roll genie back in the bottle. The world was never to be the same as it had once been before rock ‘n’ roll. And Elvis.

In a long history of Unh-huhs, Elvis has got to be one of the Big Kahunas of Unh-huh-dom. Yeah, baby. It’s hard to say where America ends and Elvis begins. That’s like asking where the unh-huhs end and the pelvis begins when it comes to Elvis. It’s just not possible. It’s also another way of saying that deep down we all want to be Elvis, and it’s a fact that we United Statesians have a bit of Elvis in each of us.

Just look at Lady Gaga. She has done an Elton John so she can be the latest incarnation of the King. This should tell us about the state of the world. Not. All it tells us is that we have a need to tie down Elvis’ pelvis and tame those unh-huhs. Then they can be marketed and we can make a lot of sales. If tain’t the truth, then why did they let Elvis keep making all those corny movies. It was for the dough, the moolah, the benjamins. It sure wasn’t ’cause he was still the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He wasn’t. Even the Beatles said so when they met him in 1965. Looked like Col. Tom had buried that Elvis years before.

A Wish for Y’all’s New Year

Here’s what I am hoping for all of you out there.

“This Year” by the Steel Wheels.

May you and your family and your loved ones have a beautiful, prosperous and wonderful year in 2020. And may the world finally find “Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.”

And here’s another from The Steel Wheels for your enjoyment.