Rachel Flowers: Emerson, No Lake, Little Palmer

Guitarist Jim Earp sent a link to this video of Rachel Flowers performing Emerson, Lake, & Palmer’s Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression on a Hammond C3 organ.

Ten minutes in my head exploded. (It’s 14 minutes long.) Continue reading “Rachel Flowers: Emerson, No Lake, Little Palmer”

Make Someone Happy

Some singers aren’t about the quality of their voice, as fans of Bob Dylan will tell you. Yes, we do realize his voice sounds like marbles in a blender, thank you very much. Where would we be if everyone sounded like Celine Dion and Bryan Ferry?

Where would we be if no one sounded like Jimmy Durante? Continue reading “Make Someone Happy”

Better a Kansas City Star Than an Omaha Nobody

I love singing along with Kansas City Star. It’s one of those silly songs Roger wrote that leaves out all the struggle and heartache, and puts in everything that’s right with our hearts and heads.

Besides, how often do you get a trombone solo and scat vocals in a country song? Yeah, Roger had a hard time coloring inside the lines. Continue reading “Better a Kansas City Star Than an Omaha Nobody”

Happy Heartbreak #2: It Takes All Kinds to Make a World

Pretty sure Roger never meant us to take this one seriously.

My friend and I went to the picture show in town
They called his name and said his house and just burned down
I took his hand and offered him my sympathy
When suddenly, I remembered that he lived with me
Continue reading “Happy Heartbreak #2: It Takes All Kinds to Make a World”

Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome and Leave Your Boy So Far From Home

Some songs are obviously made for headphones. Anything by Pink Floyd. Some classical and jazz.

Paul Simon’s Kodachrome isn’t so obvious, but I just heard a different song from the one I’ve been listening to for lo these many years. Continue reading “Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome and Leave Your Boy So Far From Home”

Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9

A hallmark of Roger Miller’s songwriting is what I call his happy heartbreaks: the saddest stories, told with wit to cheerful music.

Just as Hitchcock makes pokes us with the incongruity of life by making us laugh during a terrifying scene, Roger reminds you that life isn’t the events, but our reactions. Even the poor guy standing in a train station somewhere 110 miles from Baltimore sounds more resigned than heartbroken when he says “I don’t think she loves me any more.” Continue reading “Happy Heartbreak #1: Engine, Engine #9”

Doughnut Holes and Roger Miller

Jazz musicians occasionally highlight a melody by playing all the notes around it, leaving a hole where it should be. If you’re paying attention, you’ll “hear” it.

Some smart doughnut shop decided to stop rolling all the doughnut holes back together to make more doughnuts, and just started frying up doughnut holes to sell. Continue reading “Doughnut Holes and Roger Miller”

Caledonia, You’re Calling Me

I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away

So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today
Continue reading “Caledonia, You’re Calling Me”