music

The Old Song and Dance

I heard the Mexican version of A Devil Went Down to Georgia today, and I have to say it was pretty impressive, despite the howling vocalist who, whenever the fiddle went into its solo, cried to the moon.

C’mon, we’re talking devils here, not werewolves.

The construction workers had their stereo blasting in one of the houses I cleaned; in fact, right when I walked into the place, a singer did the ol’ ai-yai-yai-yai! on his song. What a way to invite someone into an atmosphere is what I say–that, and the workers were singing loudly along to a couple of the songs. Hey, it made me smile. What else is there to do in that situation?

Some of these houses can be so damn filthy, you know? You’d think if the workers spent half of their energy belting out Spanish serenades, they’d be able to use the other half to not mess up a house after it has been cleaned. We then have to re-clean it, if you did not get the picture. Yes, this includes the bathroom and the basement and the garage and anything else capable of collecting dust and carpet worms, or, those pesky wriggling rug scraps I always seem to miss with the vacuum, which is comprised of a dust bag and a single pole, as if we were stuck living in the friggin eighties.

I have become somewhat of a working amateur, what with my speed at wiping out disgusting tubs in which dirt has engrained itself, as well as the craft–I meant to say craft–of window washing: a wash of a sponge, then a rinse of a squeegee. Simple as pie, or easy as cake–oh, what the hell is that phrase?

You also tend to pick up some Spanish when you’re working around Spanish-speaking folk; for example, I have added la extension and no comprende–what they usually say after I foolishly talk to them in plain English–to my vocabulary. It’s pretty easy to tell, too,   who can speak English fluently, and who cannot speak it. Heavy accents sometimes signify more of a comfort in the classic Espanol than in old-fashioned Americana chitter-chatter–vice versa for the other side.

Boy, can full-time work make you tired. Did you guys know I walk up and down stairs almost all day? It is a job in of itself! Jeez Louise and a bucket of cheese, talk about not getting paid enough. I mean, I’m sure I need the exercise, as I’m getting to the point where the Freshman Fifteen is becoming more of fact than fiction, but come on, people!

Ah, well, at least I have writing, without which I’d be liable to crack, or, you know, go completely nutso.

I hear we’re cleaning a sanitarium tomorrow.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Southpaw and Abercrombie

Will the real blogger please stand up?

Will the real blogger please stand up?

Looks like we’re gonna have a problem here. This guy can’t come up with anything original. Yeah. He says he’s not musically inclined–whatever the hell that means. I can be musically inclined whenever it pleases me, just walk up a hill of trombones and tubas….eh, you get what I mean?

Sure, they get what you mean. Now scoot over and let me have my place at the microphone. There we are…yep, go on back to the techs. I think they need you to wash off the keyboards or something. Okay. Yeah, I hate you too. Oh, what a guy, that Abercrombie.

‘S happening, folks? I am pleased once again to be your deejay for tonight, this special night of March the twenty-third. You can call me Southpaw, or just plain Southie. Whatever works for you cool cats.

While we are in a lull of songs, and while you are stuck listening to me drone unless you change the station, let’s talk about music. I know a bit, never played an instrument in my life; but I know a bit. Let’s put it this way, I have learned how to rock the piano up to London Bridge–and that’s stepping into Ray Charles territory.

Good music is a hard to find commodity these days, at least I think it is.

Says the man who listens to the same two radio stations everyday.

Shuddup, Abercrombie! I thought you were mopping up vomit back there?

This job sucks. You never let me spin the records.

It’s because we don’t use records, you idiot! It’s the twenty-first century!

Yeah, well…I still have a record player. 

Big whoop. So do I. Think that makes you unique? You and your tiny ass My Little Pony record player?

It’s not My Little Pony. It’s…It’s Carebears.

Abercrombie, would you leave, please? You’re making my head hurt.

It’s Carebears.

We get it, pal. Is he gone? Thank the musical gods. I can never really finish a talk when he’s barging into the studio. But we were talking about music, good music and how it’s hard to find.

With most bands, I tend to appreciate a live version of a song, over a studio version. I have been recently listening to a lot of Nirvana to find that their band sounds truer, more authentic, when they play such songs as Smells Like Teen Spirit or About A Girl. When Kurt Cobain, especially, is singing on the Unplugged album–

I like Nirvana too. 

Abercrombie! How long have you been standing there? It’s like you’re stalking me!

Can I talk on the microphone? 

No.

Just three seconds?

No.

Two seconds?

What did I tell you?

One second?

Abercrombie, that’s impossible.

Fine. I guess I’ll leave then. 

O-kaaay. Good, he’s gone this time, walked straight out the studio door. I got four minutes left. As I was saying, when Kurt Cobain, especially, is singing on the Unplugged album, it sounds as if he’s singing from inside, from his soul, as compared to the studio versions they play on the radio, where a man with a much deeper voice throws Kurt off the microphone and ties him up in the back roo–

Do you want something from the diner?

Good lord! I’m going to die of fright.

It’s just that…well, my tummy keeps growling. I didn’t want to seem selfish. 

That’s it. I’m ending early. Good night. Enjoy your new-age music.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

 

Four Ways to Rap Effectively

I have recently come across the cultural world of rap, the hangout of all the great artists like Tupac and Eminem and–I don’t know any others yet. I’m new at this, cut me a break!

There is something to be said about how fast their mouths move, especially in Rap God. I swear, Eminem has to have some kinda cloning device for duplicates to have his mouth move so fast and so fluently. It’s like they’re the brainchildren of auctioneers and debaters. How the hell do they do it?

I asked myself this, while working through Lose Yourself about seven times in a row. Of course, being dumb like I am, I rapped while suffering from a sore throat–ahem, in other words, I win dumbass of the year award. And so I thought. And I thought. And I eventually came up with a list of how, maybe not the methods of those famous rappers, to rap effectively.

There are four sure-fire methods:

  1. Holding your breath underwater
    • Go to your bathtub, fill ‘er up, and stuff your head in there! Not only will this teach how to hold air in your lungs for prolonged periods of time, but it will also help you survive Swirlies, if they should arise.
  2. Wear a lot of heavy bling-bling
    • For some reason all these rappers wear giant chain necklaces and rings and belly piercings and nose piercings and eyeball piercings and–anyhow, proven in a study by myself, a reliable source, the rappers with the more jewelry tend to rap faster. Dunno why. Maybe it helps keep them grounded. Gravity and all that.
  3. Learn how to twirl your tongue
    • No joke, I’m reasonably sure the one reason Eminem is able to pull off Rap God is by flicking his tongue around like a Cirque Du Soleil act. It’s not too hard. Until your tongue stops listening to you and moves wherever it wants.
  4. Rap about what matters
    • To you, especially; if that means your raps center around how many ways to fry a chicken or flying a plane upside down, then go for it, you ambitious young sprout! Get out there and show those other rappers what you can offer with your next single, Frying A Flipping Bird in Kentucky. 

Follow my list and you are guaranteed to be on your way to stardom in the rapping community. Be the next Eminem. Be the next Tupac. Be…well, be who you’re gonna be.

I’m not here to give out nicknames.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

The Cold Weather Blues

Got my guitar all strapped up? Good. And it’s tuned? Even better. It feels incredible to hold–the wood and the strings and the bunch of other guitar terms I don’t know because I don’t play it that often.

Is the microphone working? Hello? Anyone hear me?

I suppose you can all hear me fine because none of you are giving signs; mostly you’re drinking your wine and your beers and eating whatever the hell they served for dinner tonight. Is it tuna? Cod? Cod. Oh, yuck; they have worse taste here than they did two years ago when they served spam patties.

To not bother you with my horrible jokes tonight–what’s punch without the punch line, eh?–I am going to leave it to my favorite pianist, Blind Henry, to entertain you with his musical genius while I serenade you with words and ideas. Sound okay?

What’s that you’re saying, Blind Henry? Ha! He wants to play Clair de Lune! He says he played it all through his school years–how he got the name Grand Pianist. Well, pal, I was thinking something along the lines of White Christmas; but if you feel that song tonight, then play on. Boy, I love this guy; he’s been with me since childhood.

All right, I got my drink here and a bowl of, what is it, nachos, super cheesy nachos; and I am ready to start this event with a bang. And thank you, Blind Henry, for that well-placed crescendo; a real genius the guy is.

Okay, if I got my guitar strummed–ooh, hear that? horrible tuning on my part. Hang on…and…I got it; I have it. Look at all you now: you’re nothing but chuckleheads! Do I have to play or is my screwup enough laughing gas to sustain you for two hours?

Ahem.

Well, we are all gathered here tonight because one–your car broke down and you had nowhere else to go but the night bar on the side of the street; or two, you actually came here to listen to a mediocre singer belt his lungs out and hopefully do an average job on your favorite Christmas songs. Either way you get free beer.

I hope–I sincerely hope the lot of you are here for the latter; and if you happen to be I wish you a Merry Christmas because this tune might make you wish Scrooge came back from the dead and shot me with a candy cane rifle.

I thought it up one afternoon, just sitting and sunbathing on the lawn; it’s a doozy.

Blind Henry, my man, you ready? He’s giving the thumbs-up; I think we are good to go, folks. Please excuse my crappy guitar skills–they are a thirteen year work in progress.

This is from my new album: Christmas Bells and Elf Hairdos.  It’s something I like to call, The Cold Weather Blues.

Early morning, just out of bed

Got my coffee boiling, kids decorating…dread 

Outside the car is spoiling, at least it’s not wrecked

I died a little last Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, the daylight time is here

I died a little last Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, I should have had no fear

Real time scorning, I only tapped his head

Gave them a warning, should have toasted pastries instead 

I died a little last Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, the daylight time is here

I died a little last Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, I should have had no fear

Tuning out their whining,  please somebody get them a sled 

Work is calling, can’t they tell I’m overstressed? 

Next time caroling–throw the books away, Santa Claus is dead

I died a little last Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, the daylight time is here

I died a little Christmas when you did not appear

Sunshine, happy holidays, I should have no fear

Sunshine, happy holidays

Sunshine, happy holidays

Sunshine, happy holidays, I should have had no fear

Hope you liked it, guys. Took me hours on end.

And now, Blind Henry, is going to take you on a trip to A Winter Wonderland. 

Think daily, 

A Southpaw

 

Christmas–Bring On The Songs!

Halloween is right around the tombstone! See what I did there? The thing with the corner…and I said tombstone…Why don’t you laugh, people? You’re not supposed to be grim for another week. You keep it up, and I may not pass out candy this year…

That’s right. Laugh your ass off.

With Halloween coming so quickly; however it brings to mind the remaining holidays: the Stepchild and the Movie Star, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas, specifically Christmas Morning. Before you know it you will have gobbled the turkey and demolished the presents–in that order; and then it is on to the New Year and boring holidays, with the exception of Easter and St. Patrick.

So to lengthen the stay of Christmas–who honestly cares about Thanksgiving?–and its wallet eating tendencies I have prepared a song for all of you to hum in your head while you decorate your trees and unwrap your presents. It could be addicting and will likely end up on the Billboard Top Ten within the next, give or take, four days.

Prepare yourself for…

Shopping Hell— sung to the tune of Jingle Bells:

Shopping Hell, shopping hell!

Curse this holiday!

Oh, the pain of bringing children to the mall to play-ay!

Shopping Hell, shopping hell!

Egg nog, please, I’ll pay!

My migraine is starting and I still have pies to ba-aaake!

Check it out in the papers–it’ll be an instant hit.

And never stop humming.

Think daily,

A Southpaw