Thursday, October 14, 2010

let me lay a some Jimmy Dean on you

Guy Clark and Vernon Thompson at the Red Dragon

Antony & the Johnsons, Swanlights and I am a Bird Now
Nick Flynn, The Ticking is the Bomb
Jimmy Dean, Big Bad John and Other Hits

What a great show! Guy Clark wedges right into the totally tedious Uses of Humor in Writing internal discussion I've been having with myself in that he is of the old country school, wielding a joke with the same ease as a Sunday School lesson and yet was enough of a country expat to transcend both. I would've caught some video but people started shifting in their couches up here in the VIP section and blocked my view. I was left with merely enjoying the show. My buddy Clarke (different from Guy Clark) is correct in declaring this the song of the night.

"Randall Knife"

Vernon Thompson, his guitar player stage left, offered a muted tempest counterpoint to Clark's honey dipped in bitter herbs but the real revelation of the night came during Vern's three-song mid-set set. He talked about the Chilean miners and then launched into a straight-up folk version of Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John." One of the worst songs of my childhood. I hated it almost as much as "Nashville Cats" and "Just an Old Fashioned Love Song." BUT, take away the choir and the pickaxe and Dean's aw-shucks-America out of it and corny-ass "Big Bad John" is a great song! Really. I'm surprised as anybody. Clark (again not my friend Clarke, but it would've been funny if he did it) took the stage after and said, "Vernon, I think Jimmy Dean oughta stick to making sausage." One wonders if somewhere in "Please Pass the Biscuits" lies a similar gleaming nugget of magical truth.


While waiting for the bus home yesterday afternoon, Maya and I walked over to the field where the Golden Band from Tigerland practices. Last week or so, we watched them do a rather amazing version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." Not kidding; it was really good. She has it in her head (Maya, not Lady Gaga, though I don't pretend to speak for her) that tuba is for her, though would prefer a sousaphone because its easier to carry. It just hit me that the band director barking the same orders over and over, over the beat, echoing off the apartments behind the field were a woman, reasonably driven mad by this every afternoon, was screaming out her front door, sounded a little dirty old Andre Williams' version of "Please Pass the Biscuits."

I love a video of a record player.

Right before that, I think somebody on Facebook discovered Antony & the Johnsons for the first time. They are one of the best things out of the last ten years.  

"For Today I am a Boy"

No further transcendence was revealed on the rest of his greatest hits package, but let me lay a little Jimmy Dean on you regarding international relations. As Paul Harvey would've said were he still here to guide us: good day!

"Dear Ivan"

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