Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Get Your Mind In The Gutter

I remember reading all of those blues masters explain that their purpose was to take away the pain. Nobody ever listened to the blues to make them feel bad. Hey, if you were Black and living in the South in the '20's and '30's, you already felt bad. If your grandparents told you stories of the Ku Klux Klan, you know that terrorism didn't come to these shores in the last few decades riding a camel. Not if you're of African American descent.

Rudy Vallee led us out of the Great Depression and delivered us to the crooners with Sinatra helping us forget about the Big One. As rhythm and blues and hillbilly music morphed into rock'n'roll in order to take the new discretionary funds from American white kids a certain joy became the focus. Oh, sure, Heartbreak Hotel sold a million records but so did Long Tall Sally.

I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You sparked what we called a British invasion and helped us put aside the grief of our loss of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King. Peace and love, remember?

Now war is our number one industry and our number one export. Weapons, coincidentally, rank way up there, too, with banking and oil. Wait, this is all for good and we're doing this to make the world safe and to spread democracy, right?

I've struggled with an answer about why I write dark songs since a German writer quizzed me on the subject. Up 'til then I wasn't aware that I did. Maybe I'm just trying to do my part to make us all happy.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.

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