Sunday, November 3, 2019

Nurse the Hate: Discussing Craft, Big Sandy, and NFL Locks

I spent the day studying the wines of Piedmont in Italy, or more specifically Barolo.  Barolo is an interesting story.  For a couple hundred years dirt poor farmers made wine in the hills of Langhe.  The wines are made from Nebbiolo, a grape that is high acid/high tannin that can last forever when made correctly.  The hills of the Langhe region are the only reliable place to grow Nebbiolo thanks to the confluence of climate, soils, and terrain.  It’s either a happy accident or a gift from God, depending on your world view I suppose.  It hasn’t been easy in Barolo.  Times were tough.  Being a bunch of dirt poor farmers that did not prioritize keeping cellars spotlessly clean, wines could be “compromised”.  I mean, what are you going to do?  These guys had to be practical.  The cellars were often being used as chicken coops too.  Not exactly ideal conditions.  I read about a winemaker that said when he first started they sold their Barolos for $1.07 a bottle.  The same guy now retails his wine at $85.  Not a bad return over the last 30 years.  Guys that used to plow the fields with ox now drive Maseratis.  Hard work helped to create good fortune.  It’s inspiring.  I like to see people that work hard and pay meticulous attention to craft get paid off.

I am going to see Big Sandy play tonight, speaking of someone that pays attention to craft.  I got turned onto Big Sandy in the early 90s.  Back in what I think we can now officially call “The Olden Times”, it was difficult to get your grubby little hands on niche music.  I heard a cut called “Hot Water” on a college radio station.  In 1992 or so, there were not many active bands that played anything close to what The Cowslingers were doing.  It was like finding a letter in a bottle that had washed ashore.  I successfully tracked down the record, but could only find it on the cassette (!) format from Dionysus Records.  I listened to it over and over on my car stereo in my battered Mazda 323.  I still think of that record as being one of the best contemporary rockabilly records of that period.  I don’t even know who they were competing with at that point.  They really nailed it.  It sounded like it came from 1958, but yet had enough of an edge to it that let you know it was current.      

We played with Big Sandy for the first time in the mid 1990s.  By that point, they had embraced a Western swing sound.  These guys could really play.  As you know, we were (are) a bunch of dildos that embrace speed and volume as a shield to protect against scrutiny.  We swaggered into that gig feeling pretty good.  We had a record on Sympathy, and a bit of an underground buzz.  The Big Sandy crew was legit.  Those guys came in a vintage bus, and unloaded their gear looking like they got there in a time machine.  I remember they even wore watches from the late 40s.  We drunkenly blasted though our set to what I would call a malaise.  It was a weird crowd.  These weren’t our normal people.  They looked like our people, but they weren’t specifically familiar.  When Big Sandy played, the crowd came to life.  Damn, those guys were so much better than we were.  This was because they A) could really play their instruments and B) played at a volume where everyone could hear each other, which led to C) the crowd enjoying themselves.  But who were these people in the crowd?  They didn’t look familiar to me in what was one of the smallest “scenes” in rock, the roots rock underground in NE Ohio.  Where did they come from?  This would be repeated numerous times over the future in what I like to call “The Big Sandy Phenomenum”.  

Now one would think that anyone that is a fan of Big Sandy would have, at the very least, a passing curiosity in what our band does.  Yet, there will always be about 90% of a crowd at a Big Sandy show I have never seen anywhere else before.  These people will be geared up in vintage clothes, smiling and having great time.  They love the retro sound of Big Sandy.  Hell, who doesn’t?  The band is great.  But after the show is over, I will NEVER see these people again.  I don’t just mean at a Daredevils show.  I am aware we aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  Maybe you don’t like how I sing, or whatever snarky shit I might be saying.  I get it.  However, I won’t see these people ANYWHERE.  They don’t show up at any local shows.  Forget that.  But they are also ghosts at shows like Rev Horton Heat, Blasters, or Brian Setzer.  Who are these people and where are they on a normal Tuesday?  I don’t see them waltzing into a Giant Eagle grocery store.  They disappear.  It’s a riddle trapped in the layers of an onion.  I plan on doing a deep dive on this at the Beachland tonight.  I am keeping my head on a swivel.  I am going to solve The Big Sandy Riddle.

One of the reasons I can be so focused on that is that I have a few sure fire winners in the NFL this week.  Last week, as I predicted, things didn’t go so well.  Look, I was due for an asskicking.  I am not taking two asskickings in a row though.  It’s time to get back to basics.  That’s the thing.  When things get tough, it’s important to return to the building blocks of the craft.  What is the foundation of NFL gambling?  As per my lyric in “Jesus Walks Beside Me”, I would like to remind you The Jets Never Cover The Spread.  With the exception of the Browns, there is no team that guarantees their fans disappointment like the New York Jets.  Jet fans are right now chalking up a win tomorrow as they play the hapless Dolphins, a team that is historically bad and getting worse daily as they cast their assets overboard like panicked shipwreck victims.  Yet, I like Miami to not only cover but win this game.  

I happened to listen to some NY sports talk this week.  It’s laughable to see Baker Mayfield storm out of a press conference when he was asked a legit question from the normally weak kneed Cleveland press corps.  Contrast that with New York, where the vicious attacks on the Jets are hard to believe.  They want to KILL coach Adam Gase.  They hate Darnold, want to clean out the roster, and till salt into the field.  One thing I can tell you is that a young QB like Darnold needs confidence.  That is one thing he can’t have much of right now.  Two weeks ago, no one will let him forget he saw “ghosts” against New England.  He made three turnovers last week.  The Jets look like a team that can’t possibly be focused on winning football games.  It’s a bunch of guys in the lockerroom saying “This is bad man… real bad…”.  

Let’s compare that to Miami.  When I see the Dolphins, I see a team with some big missing gaps.  They did bench Josh Rosen, who appears to be officially a monumental bust at QB, and have turned to Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitz Magic, a run of the mill QB, is serviceable at worst and pretty good when he gets hot.  But here’s the thing about Miami…. They are playing hard.  They aren’t giving up.  That’s the kind of thing that will pay off against the Jets.  This seems like a game the Jets are going into thinking “Fuck.  We can’t lose this.  Let’s play not to lose.” Meanwhile Miami must be thinking, “Hey… We could WIN this week.  What the hell?  Let’s do this!”.  Give me Miami +3 at home.

I am going to wake up early and make a full English breakfast.  I am not afraid to go all the way.  I’m talking baked beans.  I’m talking hot tea.  I’m talking about wearing a derby hat, talking about Brexit, and saying the word "mate" a lot.  And I’m also talking about betting on The Stash and the Jacksonville Jags.  The Jags play in London every year.  They know the routine.  This is because no one gives a shit about pro football in Jacksonville, a place more focused on Oxy and terrible dance music.  Why not give away a home game and go “across the pond”?  Once you realize that the changing of the guard is “boring AF”, that leaves you to get focused on football.  The Jags cover in London.  Look it up.  Plus, I like the matchup.  The way to beat Houston is to pressure Watson.  That’s something Jacksonville does well.  Also, Houston has two offensive linemen out.  I mean, why not?  Get jacked up on a Sunday morning.  Jacksonville +1.5

I am going to take a flier on Baltimore +6.5 over New England.  I am aware that The Hoodie is something like 68-0 against QBs in their 1st or 2nd year.  Betting against the Patriots is a fool’s errand.  This seems to be plain stupid.  Let me go on the record.  I think the Patriots are overrated.  They haven’t played anybody.  The teams they have beaten have a combined winning percentage of 30%.  This will be their first test.  And let’s be honest, the Patriot offense is lukewarm at best.  This is not a team that is going 16-0.  They have to lose sometime.  Why not now?  Baltimore is coming off a bye week, and Harbaugh does well in that spot.  I think the Patriots take away Jackson’s running and will try to force him to win with his arm.  I think he can.  Baltimore +6.5

Season Record:  15-7-1


At November 4, 2019 at 9:42:00 AM EST , Blogger Unknown said...

I talk about the sound of Big Sandy all of the time. I swear you can hear the needle on the record (even though it is a cd or digital track) clean. amazing. smooth. from the first time I heard him was blown away.

At November 4, 2019 at 1:52:00 PM EST , Blogger AZ said...



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home