Friday, January 11, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Friday Morning Coffee Shop

The husky balding man labored into the chain coffee shop, his mind on autopilot as he set about his morning routine.  His Chrysler was left running outside.  He was confident it would not be stolen, but secretly hoping it might so he could finally be rid of it.  He obediently joined the line of others joylessly making their way to whatever moderately unpleasant tasks were set ahead of them on this work day.  He ordered what he always did.  The woman behind the register did what she always did, asking him a second time to repeat his order.  This routine played out every weekday morning.  They saw each other every day but neither gave recognition to the other.  He paid and sidestepped his way to the counter, standing with the others waiting for their orders like they were raffle prizes.  He stared at the women working behind the counter, quickly calculating which of the women he would have sex with and the likely scenarios of each.  The woman worker with the long nose, circles under her eyes, and chewed fingernails screamed "double espresso!" almost in his face.  He felt the warm cup in his hand as he carefully worked his way out of the cramped corner.  The other customers face's darkened slightly as they had to move to allow his bulk to pass.  He walked outside to see his Chrysler idling, exhaust drifting from the tailpipe.  Fuck.  It was still there. 

The Johnny Cash Project Disc 19:  From Sea To Shining Sea is another of Johnny's travelogue records, but this time he stays current.  I had read that his contract called for a brutal four full length records a year, so it is sort of amazing that he came up with thematic ideas for these records instead of just putting one single on it and attached all horrible covers.  I mean, this could have been "Surfin' with Johnny Cash" or "Twistin' with Johnny Cash".  At least he does have ideas.  This one is all patriotism and re-doing folk songs into geographic specific songs.  You gotta have a couple good death songs, and this one has "The Walls of the Prison" (set to "The Streets of Laredo" melody) and "Call Daddy From the Mine".  Who doesn't love a good coal mine death song?  That always gets a party going!  The song "Shrimpin' Sailin" is a faux cajun song with a harmonica that is completely and utterly without soul.  When I heard the harmonica come in I thought about when I was in elementary school and this dorky teacher proved to be proficient at the harmonica, but played like Mr. Rogers.  I remember looking at him thinking how he thought he was Little Walter but we thought he was as white bread as possible.  And I was seven!  That memory sends a shiver down my spine even today...  Disc 20 is Live at Folsom Prison which we have discussed, so let's go to Disc 21, The Holy Land.  This was a real chore to get through.  Johnny and June went on vacation to the Greater Nazareth Area and decided to take a tape recorder and describe their trip to you.  I shit you not.  Two thirds of this record must be Johnny talking about places Jesus allegedly was, as well as a crazy story about how he heard that when Jesus was crucified the blood ran down into the ground and Adam's skull came to life.  You hear wind blowing into the mic, people talking in the background, and they even let a tour guide talk for awhile.  It's hard to believe they charged money for this.  It's like you are sitting through a boring vacation slide show at Johnny Cash's house.  Can you imagine if you just got into Johnny Cash with the Live at Folsom record and then bought "his new one" when this came out?  "What the fuck is this?"    This record does have the #1 country single "Daddy Sang Bass"though.  I dare you to get through this.  No, I challenge you...   Disc 22 Live at San Quentin returns to the live prison record formula.   This is really great.  Not as great as Folsom, but still really great.  "A Boy Named Sue" is on this, as well as "Wanted Man".  I'm still not sure why we needed two takes of "San Quentin".  This is an awesome companion piece to Live at Folsom Prison.   Disc 23 Hello, I'm Johnny Cash is a return to the studio.  The recording starts to sound more modern here, and I'm not sure why.  There is more instrumentation, and maybe it's the first Bob Johnston produced studio record.  This is a good one with some Johnny original material mixed with some Kris Kristofferson songs.  "Southwind" is a good train song we should cover.  "If I Were A Carpenter" is pretty charming.   "See Ruby Fall" is nice with that saloon piano.   "Sing A Travelin' Song" is kind of a "Don't Think Twice" ripoff, but anytime Johnny sings "I'm mooooovin on" it's all good.  This is a winner.  Disc 24 The Johnny Cash Show is a live recording of him at the Opry where he has an orchestra, and a lot of spoken word.  It's sort of like that Ride This Train album live with more schmaltz.  The cover of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" is a keeper, but the rest sounds dated.  The sound quality kind of sucks too.  It's really tinny.  This must have been a contract obligation, because it sounds like they took a reference tape and mailed it to Columbia.  It would be a drag to go to a Johnny Cash show and hear him talking about Jesus and singing medleys.  You will note, Rick Rubin did not go in this direction when staging Johnny Cash's "comeback".   Disc 25 The Original Soundtrack to I Walk The Line has the #1 country single "Flesh and Blood"and I like "This Town".  As you would expect, there's plenty of filler here, but it seems like some sort of effort was made to produce some quality songs.  There are clearly some B-sides floating in on this.  I never saw this movie, but on the poster Gregory Peck is shaking the crap out of some actress that obviously wasn't "walking the line".  Disc 26 The Original Soundtrack to Little Fauss and Big Halsey is a clear cash grab.  There's instrumental versions of third rate songs, and even Carl Perkins gets to sing lead on one.  If these guys spent more than an afternoon on this I would be stunned.  I did add "Battle of Little Fauss and Big Halsey" onto my itunes because it was so bad it was kind of great.  It looks like the movie was about guys that raced motorcycles, and a young Robert Redford took his shirt off a lot.  I've seen a lot of shitty motorcycle movies, but I don't know this one.  I'm going to think of it as a bad "Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry" until I am proved otherwise.  I can't imagine anyone currently owns this record, and if they do I can't come up with a scenario in which they ever played it more than once.        


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