Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

20 October 2015

While We're On The Subject of Music...

Chris Erickson is a young pilot at our company up here in Washington. Easygoing and affable, he’s got an incredible sense of humor, which is probably why we get along as well as we do. But he’s not just a pilot: He’s a multi-talented guy who is handy with tools and can fix just about anything. (In fact, we lean on him a little too hard to be our general handyman.)

Chris is also an incredible musician who has taught me a lot about playing the guitar. We often “jam” together, which is really just playing the six or seven songs I know. Our intent is to polish our “act” enough that we eventually ambush karaoke night at the Bakery and take over with a surprise and impromptu duet set. We wanted to do it this past summer, but we’re “just not there yet.” Meaning I’m not good enough yet. Chris is plenty good enough. And I’m practicing.

We argue over certain songs. You know how, when there are different versions of the same song, it’s usually the one you heard first that’s the one you like best? Take “City of New Orleans,” for example. There have been so many versions of that great song over the years, from Willie Nelson to Judy Collins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed and John Denver. Even Steve Goodman, the guy who wrote the song did a version of it. I love ’em all but I, like you probably remember Arlo Guthrie’s as the definitive version.

Or “Me and Bobby McGee.” A number of people have done that one too. You might know that Kris Kristofferson wrote it and put it out as a single. But my introduction to the song was through Janis Joplin who’s version is definitive in my opinion. Chris begs to differ; he heard the Kristofferson version first and likes it best. I’m sensitive to that, so when we perform it, we make it a mashup of both Janis and Kris’s versions.

I like Janis’s version better because it’s more uptempo, more bluesy and has a key change in the middle. Kris Kristofferson’s version is kind of…I dunno…meh. It’s good, I guess, but maybe sometimes people who write songs aren’t always the best ones to interpret them. Wait, I take that back. On the other hand we have The Beatles: Has there ever been a remake or re-interpretation of a Beatles song by another artist that was worth a crap? No, there hasn’t. I’m sorry, there just hasn’t.

Then again… Chris and I do a version of “I Saw Her Standing There” that is killer. We’ll add it to our repertoire just as soon as we get the harmonies right and I perfect George Harrison’s mid-song guitar solo, which is proving to be troublesome. Nevertheless…I have no doubt that you will still prefer the Beatles version.

As I do.


Bob said...

Completely agree that Arlo's version of City of New Orleans is the best, as well as Janis Joplin's Bobby McGee. I might have once been aware Kristofferson wrote it, but had forgotten. You will probably want to disown me as a blog friend for this, BUT, the Carpenters' debut album was " Ticket to Ride" and the title cut is in fact the old Beatles tune. I think they did it justice. Karen Carpenter's lush alto voice was one of a kind.

Bob Barbanes: said...

Bob, Bob, Bob... I mean, Karen Carpenter??

Readers of this blog know that I like pop music - those 2:30 morsels of ear-candy. And I will admit to listening to the Carpenters' music WAY BACK WHEN...when it was played on the radio incessantly. (They did have a lot of hits!) And yeah, Karen had a really nice voice.

But oh, that album. Very strange first attempt...before Richard really came into his own as an arranger/producer. And it shows why he stopped singing - let's be kind and say that Karen had the better voice.

Having said all that, I'm not taken by their version of "Ticket To Ride." But then I'm not really into ballads as a rule. I like my music like I like my cars and motorcycles (and women): fast and loud. But I dig the fact that they went in a different direction instead of just doing a karaoke versions of the original. So "A" for effort, Carpenters! But I still like The Beatles' version better.

...And no disowning you as a blog friend, Bob ;)

Bob said...

Never, ever meant to imply that the Beatles' version of their OWN song was not superior to any other, just wanted to say I thought the Carpenters made a respectable effort. And you're right, Richard was smart enough to bow out on vocals. But Karen's voice? Incomparable.