Howlin’ Wind by Graham Parker and The Rumor is an album of abundant substance. The story behind the band and the production of the record have a lot of sub-plots behind them so I will try to focus more on the record and its songs rather than try to form a family tree behind it. This will be hard because Howlin’ Wind was produced by Nick Lowe, features Dave Edmunds as a guest guitarist and was recorded at Eden Studios in London, a studio that had quite an impressive guest list from 1972 to 2007. You very well might have quite a few records that were recorded there: Elvis Costello, John Cale, Joe Jackson, The Happy Mondays, The Smiths, The Undertones, The Sex Pistols, Primal Scream and Oasis are just a few bands that have recorded at Eden Studios. That said, I will try to pin down the Album “Howlin’ Wind” and a give brief history of Graham Parker and the Rumor.
Ok so I picture a guy in a shitty motel watching his wedding video, empty bottle of Cutty Sark on the bed, his big toe on the trigger of the Mossberg shotgun. Dave Mason is an extremely talented musician and songwriter. He worked with the likes of Derek and the Dominos, Traffic, Delaney & Bonnie, Early Fleetwood Mac, just to name a few. Mason is a well respected man amongst his musician peers no argument there. “We just Disagree” just lacks what I like about Mason and the tone of the song evokes memories for me of shit hole bars on the southwest side of Chicago. Places where grown men drink their cock off at the bar and call you a fag for wearing a scarf in the winter. I’ve physically seen a chubby old punter cry in his beer to this song and it was off putting. I swore I would never let it happen to me and if it did I’ll be listening to Jeery Lee Lewis sing “You win Again” over Dave Mason’s “We just Disagree” Enjoy this weeks shit song. Sorry Dave we just disagree.
So this is going to be new, because we’re going to get to know this one together. I became a fan – and I mean a rabid, rabid fan of The National via a burned copy of High Violet that a former co-worker slipped me back around the time it came out in May of 2010. I sat on the record for a few years because at the time I was inundated with new music and what I can now admit was a completely erroneous idea that The National’s music was what I call “beard and wine music” (think Bon Iver – who knows, I may one day find I’m wrong about him too). So around 2014 Bret Easton Ellis had the band’s lead singer Matt Berninger one his podcast. I was unfamiliar with the guest by name, and as the cast began with the opening of High Violet’s Conversation 16 my eyes went wide – it sounded exactly like Ellis’s prose – which I am an enormous fan of – reads: haunted. I listened to the conversation Ellis and Berninger shared, which dwelled largely on Mistaken For Strangers, and afterward sought out the song on youtube. When I did I realized it was from the album I had on file and immediately dug it out of one of the stacks of burned discs that live in a cupboard in my dining room.
I received Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born to Run” for Christmas. As I stared at the cover, a picture of the Boss circa late 70s standing next to an old Corvette I got to thinking, why is he so iconic? Why do people love him? What is it about him that I know already? Bruce Springsteen has a certain zest and a romance for glorifying the mundane moments that shape a persons life. He is a purveyor of memories, his own personally and yours as well. Lyrics like, “Girls comb their hair in rear view mirrors” can conjure up many images maybe personal or something you saw in a movie. He is a poet, a film director and a storyteller all rolled in one. So why did I never get it? Why do I change the station when I hear certain Springsteen songs? I got along all these years without Bruce. I got board on a flight from Denver and started reading his book and I got sucked in to his story. That curiosity led to me revisiting some of Springsteen’s back catalogue throughout my reading.
Have you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.
“Mighty KC” by For Squirrels
“And by the grace of God go I into the great unknown…”
So I intercepted that last tag…because well…maybe I just needed to and all the signs pointed that way. Sometimes life throws a few things at you and you probably know what I mean in your own way. Change, sadness, uncertainty, self-examination. Dodge, push, move, repeat. But move…move on and try your damnedest to look back in fondness or at least without anger. Live now. Evolve. This version of 1989 was suggested by a friend and I was a bit skeptic, but knowing Ryan Adams and his outstanding catalogue I had to give this a listen. I will fully admit I cannot boast of being a Taylor Swift aficionado thus I’d not heard any of 1989 with the exception of the singles like “Shake it Off” and “Bad Blood.” And at the point of this writing, I’ve still not. I prefer it that way, I feel I can be more objective rather then comparing the two works. I do fully recognize Swift as the primary songwriter and lyricist for these songs, thus critique of any lyrics would be directed that way. I will say she is talented. More talented then my original perception of her abilities. Which goes to show you…