Friday, December 19, 2008

The blue light was my baby...

It's 10:40 am and it's snowing. And although I will shortly step out the door and confront the elements, I've spent the last hour or so drinking coffee, reading The (Facsimile) Times online and listening to the Genius setting on iTunes.

Are you familiar with this program? You pull up a song (let's say "Love in Vain" by the Rolling Stones) from your library, hit the Genius button and up pops what Steve Jobs (channeling, I presume, Vin Scelsa) thinks are the 25 most interestingly related songs currently in my computer. They also recommend some other ones as well--ones you can buy, of course.

What makes this fun is that up pops more stuff than you ever dreamed you even had on your computer. Although not on today's particular list, "Ina-gadda-da-vida" (spelled roughly) has been showing up a lot. I have 3300 songs on iTunes--probably about average, I would guess--and really, who knew I even owned that one? A soul loses track. I wonder if I have "Smoke on the Water."

The other part that's fun is that when the right song comes up, I jump up from the computer, sling my guitar over my shoulder, stand at the window and play slide guitar while the snow comes down. I mean, Lord-have-mercy, this is a soothing experience.

Who was that famous cartoonist who said: "The hardest thing about my job is convincing my wife that staring out the window is an important part of it?" James Thurber has now come to mind but I'm not going back and restructuring that last sentence.

And getting back to the notion that playing slide guitar while looking at the snow is a soothing experience, if we could: I'm a terrible slide guitar player, so the soothing part applies only to me, the player. I only switched to a slide after my left hand stopped working in a conventional manner. I'm sure that to people walking past within earshot the sound more resembles the strangling of a chicken. Or perhaps a ten-year-old learning the violin.

Keith Richards used to say "I can play slide guitar, but there was always somebody in the room that could do it better."

Steve Jobs (I hope he isn't really dying) currently thinks that Tom Waits singing "Jersey Girl" is what I should be listening to. So I am. But I'm thinking about "Love in Vain."
Well I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Yeah, I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Whoa, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
When all your love's in vain

When the train come in the station
I looked her in the eye
Well the train come in the station
And I looked her in the eye
Whoa, I felt so sad so lonesome
That I could not help but cry

When the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Yeah, when the train left the station
It had two lights on behind
Whoa, the blue light was my baby
And the red light was my mind

All my love was in vain

All my love's in vain
The snow is beautiful. And it is really coming down. A freaking deluge, if that's an appropriate use of the word. I love the feel of the neck of my guitar against my thumb, the feel of the strings against my slide. Poor Robert Johnson--that is a really sad song.

Just to recap: The blue light was my baby. And the red light was my mind.

Life is good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

man you are full of it today my friend

8:32 AM  
Blogger zizille said...

Gosh. I listened to it last Sunday, four times in a row — how incredibly beautiful! Then I listened to it by Robert Johnson, and then I listened to Violin Concerto Nr. 3 by Paganini, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and blessed the fact I lived in a world where such beauties could be heard.

However, I keep wondering about the blue and red lights. Maybe it is because I am a French native speaker... Anybody could explain what those lights stand for? Blue is the freedom she wants, red is his sorrow?... oping for an answer, should there be one :)

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can believe to you :)

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It agree, it is a remarkable phrase

1:52 AM  

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