Thursday, January 18, 2007

State of the Union

Dear People!

I can hear you out there, so full of hope and anxiety at this our fateful hour, asking: Where stands The Driftwood Singers Present and the United States of America in this The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Seven?

First, some official business. This blog is now over a year old and we've never posted our theme song, the one which inspired the monikers of your Dear Leaders. I realize there's a small spelling difference between Mr. Poncho and Pancho, from the Townes Van Zant-penned "Pancho & Lefty," but I suspect Mr. Poncho liked the suggestion of a) fake authority, with the honorific Mister (a la Mister Ed), b) actual ponchos, which suggest Mexico, dirty hippies and modestly effective rain repellent, and c) the phonetic nearness to paunch, the traditional sign of age and maturation, with the natural suggestion of a willingness to indulge, whether in an extra helping of pecan pie or one Stealer's Wheel song too many.

Lefty? I'm just an enabler.

Pancho & Lefty - Emmylou Harris

(Noted: shows 78 citations of "Pancho & Lefty," 10 versions of the song as "Poncho & Lefty," and one as "Pauncho & Lefty.")

The truth of life stings, it really does. Which is why we're here for you: to assuage the pain of the human condition. But first you have to acknowledge the ugly reality, Dear People. What keeps mankind alive? Channeling Kurt Weill, the ever-terrifying Mr. Burroughs says: And for once, you must try to face the facts: Mankind is kept alive by bestial acts.

What Keeps Mankind Alive? - William S. Burroughs

I can hear you asking, rightfully: Why bother? Why continue this cruel charade, why take another turn on the meat wheel of life? Here's one very good reason: the tinkling of the ivories in the forest of the Genius, a song of odd beauty and strangeness, prompting the cosmic cocking of the head, a la the the RCA dog and the gramaphone.

Ruby My Dear - Thelonius Monk

That's a start. But we have to look around and acknowledge what is wrong. How to put beauty in the service of righteousness without getting lost among the Lotus Eaters? Our Greek Chorus calls out:

Hymn #9 - The Persuasions

Allow me to digress a moment: The Anomoanon, a terribly-named but wonderful-sounding folk-rock group led by Will Oldham's brother Ned, should be explored, purchased and enjoyed not only for their effortless summoning of the Grateful Dead and Neil Young, but because they don't exactly sound like anything but themselves. Shambling glory is essential to The Mighty Drift of which the -wood is derived. It's music for the plains, song of the off-grid people making music by primitive cook fires in the post-historical wilds of modern life.

Mr. Train - The Anomoanon

Dear Driftwood Singers: What is the sound of a perfectly-recorded horn section? Dear Reader:

Why Can't You Be? - Shelby Lynne

Dear Driftwood Singers: What is the ideal guitar sound to hear after puffing on a marijuana cigarette? Dear Reader:

Lookin' Up - Shelby Lynne

Dear Driftwood Singers: What's the best song featuring a sample of a wild panther in it? Dear Reader:

Touch Me - Spank Rock

The world today is bleak, Dear People, and if you've seen the movie "Children of Men" (highly recommended), you've seen a vision of how bleak it might one day get (and, if science fiction is just the present in disguise, may already be). We need hope and hopers. We need melody and belief and Truth transfigured into an easily-downloadable, digitally-formatted pop nugget that will stick in our heads for a day or two and infuse our synapses with a spark of hope. For this I bring you the woefully undersung geniuses Super Furry Animals and their wonderfully visionary tune of 2003 calling out the neoconservative fantasy for what it was and is. Virginia Senator Jim Webb, we hear, will rebutt the President's State of the Union this month for the Democrats. We've chosen the Super Furry Animals to make our rebuttal, our plea, our critique. It never sounded so good to be so right, futuristically.

Liberty Belle - Super Furry Animals

Libert belle is ringing out
Across the sea
And everyone sings along
Though she's singing way out of key
From the shores of Gallilie
To the runways of Anglesea

You know we're digging to hell
Right past your own well
As the magpies fly from Tallahasee
To the sky

Memory lane forgot her way
After all this time
And she never learned her mistakes
And all the crime
That caused the gulf of misery
That separated you from me

You know we're digging to hell
Drowning in our oil wells
As the seagulls from Abu Dhabi
To the sky

The birds still sing their melodies
Their songs of love and food and trees
Oh my how they fly
So little do they know yet their days are numbered so
Alarms are ringing in the trees

You know you've been to hell
Drowning in your oil wells
As the ashes fly from New York City
Past the grimy clouds above New Jersey
Past the kids who like to smoke like chimneys
To the sky

1 comment:

Happy In Bag said...

My music collection is housed in my dank, ghost-infested basement. Walled off behind an enormous CD rack is a door to a gravel-floored room. I used to think that the boogeyman lived there. Now I realize that it's the residence of the Driftwood Singers.