Tag Archives: music

The Unbearable Sadness of Peter, Paul, and Mary

The older I get, the more profoundly sad I find Puff The Magic Dragon to be.

Yes, I know you can find a pot metaphor in there. Some people think it’s about Vietnam.  But if you listen to it and take at face value as you move through middle age (which, let’s be honest, is an optimistic term at best at my stage of life), the song is nothing more than a gut punch about innocence and childhood lost.

I suppose as time moves on, I realize there’s no return to the Autumn mist of Honahlee. Those shores and its memories grow more and more distant with each passing year.

What really gets me, though, is having a kid who is still very much able to visit that land and frolic there carefree as can be. But I know that one day she too will sail away never to return to play along that cherry lane. And it’s heartbreaking in a way. We want our kids to be able to stay on that lovely isle, but we know they can’t. The world won’t let them, and they’re not even going to want to stay there, because of human nature.

But you know, there’s also this. Sometimes I’m not convinced we are all just Jackie Paper, moving on to finding other toys. Sometimes I think we are all Puff, retreating into our caves, heads bent in sorrow, as the world moves on and away, and we lose the bravery to scream our fearless roars.

For a time.

Dragons, by their nature, don’t stay sad forever. They eventually burst from their caves and fly majestically through the air. Then a tertiary character shows up and pops them with an arrow based on the advice of a bird. I’m not sure where I’m heading with this, the point is that Tolkien should have let a major character kill Smaug, instead of a random guy named Bard.  I mean, seriously.

Not a mighty dragon, but it seems happy at least.

I think the point is that we all lose our innocence and childlike wonder. We all retreat for a time into our metaphorical caves. And then we are randomly murdered by a resident of Laketown. Which is a lazy, dumb name.

But what do you expect from the guy who came up with Tom Bombadil. What was that all about?

Anyway, I think what I’m really getting at, is enjoy Honahlee while you can, and look back on it fondly. And whether you be the child that sails away or the dragon that’s left behind, you’ll find your way. You’ll find your life or your roar again. And then Bard will come out of nowhere and kill you.

Stupid Bard.



Radio Network Changes To All Seger Format

New York

Classic rock radio network, BlastNova Radio, has announced that effective immediately all 38 of their stations nationwide will change to an “all Seger” format.

Get ready for some old time rock and roll on BlastNova Radio affiliates. Photo by American Talent International (management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“I was listening to Bob Seger’s Katmandu during our ‘drive time rock out,’ and thought, hey, Seger’s awesome. Everyone loves him. So, why not program him 24/7?” said BlastNova President Brad Nubbin. “It just made sense. So, yea, Seger all the time that’s what I really think I’m gonna do.”

The decision has been met with mixed reactions from affiliate stations. “Look, we all love Seger. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear Turn the Page or Like a Rock every hour or so, but you got to break that up with some Skynard or Boston, you know?” said Kate Winters, program director with The Blizzard radio in Tampa.

“I was good with this, in theory, at least, until we were required to say Seger’s version of You Never Can Tell is the definitive one,” said Chuck “The Maxinator” Winger, morning DJ for Omaha’s The Megablast radio station.  “I mean, seriously? We just lost Chuck Berry and you want me to say that? Not cool, suits. Not cool.”

“Hey, we expect some push back on any format change,” Nubbin said. “But, hey, I didn’t get to this position without knowing what I’m doing. I’m shooting down the competition with silver bullets, pew pew.”

Nubbin said that to mix things up, BlastNova stations will play one song by Pete Seeger a week. “You know, that one about hobos or whatever,”Nubbin said. “That’ll rock, yeah?”

One Side Of A Conversation With The Guy Who Sang “Joy To The World”


Photo by and (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) (Self-photographed) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How do you know his name is Jeremiah?  You’re actually friends?
Well, no, I imagine you don’t understand anything he says. So, how do you know he’s Jeremiah?  He’s a bullfrog, right?
Wait, where did he get wine?  How does he open the bottles? What do I mean? He has no thumbs. He’s a bullfrog, right?

It’s just fish. Not fishes.  Go on.

Wait. If you were king of the world, I understand getting rid of wars, but why cars? And, really why bars? I know you aren’t opposed to drinking. Because, you know you were bragging about a-drinking Jeremiah’s wine. And he’s really a bullfrog?
I’d rather not make love with you, but thanks for the offer.

Again, it’s just fish.

Wait, I don’t know you love the ladies. You just said you wanted to make sweet love to me.  Whatever your thing is, I’m fine with it. But you’re confusing me.

How do you ride a rainbow?  Is that the same thing as flying a high life. I really don’t follow.

You’re what? Oh a straight shootin’ son-of-a-gun. Sorry, didn’t hear you the first time.  It’s noisy here.

Fish. Just fish. Not fishes.

Yeah. Joy. I get it. I’m glad you are including boys and girls, but yeah, you’ve said “joy” like 90 times now.

So, when can I meet Jeremiah?



Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies…

Ed and Patsy Bruce’s song, Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, became a major hit in 1978 when Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson recorded it. Recently, The Howling Monkey obtained a copy of the Bruces’ initial draft for the chorus. Here it is:

Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,
They’ll go to bars, get hit with some jars,
And get glass in their eyes and their noses and such.

We didn’t say it was good.

Local Band On Verge Of Stardom Again

For the thirteenth time in nine years, local band “Confluence” is about to hit the big time, according to band founder and drummer Neil Downs.
Confluence has been a staple of the Memphis music scene since 2002, appearing at local clubs, area dives, and private parties. Downs describes the band’s sound as “a magical exploration of rock, country, reggae and jazz”.

“The record label guys started sniffing around in 2004, but the deal has always fallen apart because we want to keep our integrity,” said Downs while taking a break from his day job with a local tree service. “You can’t put a price on that, you know?”

According to Downs, despite repeated deals going South with major labels for reasons involving “creative control,” “money issues,” and “weird vibes”, Confluence is going to go big in the next few months. “Yeah, we’ve been approached by a major label to do a three CD deal,” Downs said. “This time it’s for real.”

Other members of Confluence are not as optimistic. “I don’t know,” said guitarist Paul Fret. “Last time Neil told us the deal fell apart because they wanted us to do the Tonight Show, and Neil thinks Leno is a ‘stooge,’ so he refused to do it. And in 2010 he told us the A&R guys pulled out because of an argument over book rights. We don’t even write books. I don’t know, man. I don’t know.”

According to Downs, Confluence will be headlining at Coachella next April in advance of the release of the first album under the three CD deal that he says is all but certain to go down.

“But, hey, if anything does go wrong, Confluence will be rocking out that weekend at our regular El Banditos gig in Raleigh,” Downs added.

(This article originally appeared in The Fly On The Wall blog for The Memphis Flyer)