Monday, June 18, 2012

Alamo Rosie

The Calhoon Brothers live version below must have been recorded not long after we started doing it because it doesn't have any harmony. We never rehearsed. We played every night so we would just pick a slow part of the night and try out new songs. Harmonies and little nuances -- if you can call anything we played as "nuanced" -- were added later as we learned the song better.

Most of my bands were three-piece groups: guitar, bass guitar and drums. If you can play guitar like Eric Clapton, or can get a fat tone like ZZ Top, you can get away with playing single string licks all night long. But I always felt compelled to play chords at least 80% of the time and only do short solos or riffs between vocal phrases. The few times in my life I had the luxury of picking guitar on top of a solid rhythm section were wonderful but never lasted. The reality was, with three guys, the money was good enough to live on without getting a day job. With four, sometimes you had to get a day job. The idea of having five or more in a band never occurred to me. It didn't make financial sense.


Written: Melendres Street, Las Cruces NM, 1976

Knees heard a line in “Viva Max!”, a Peter Ustinov film about the Alamo and someone called “Alamo Rose” and thought it’d make a good song title. There was already a song about Rose from San Antone, but not one about Rose from the Alamo. The words and melody just seem to write themselves.

There were hard times for us all
Back then in San Antone
But it seemed like we always
Had enough for a drink
An it was right here in this bar
Cross the street from the Alamo
That I first met my Rosie
Who taught me to think

About the changes that we’d see
As the years rush on by
She said “We can stop them
If you’ll just sit here with me.
We’ll look out the window
At the beautiful Alamo
It never changes and neither will we.”

Oh I used to call her my Alamo Rosie
I’ll always remember the way that she would say
“I’ve been here forever and I’ll be here tomorrow
Break it to me gently when it all blows away.”

I loved her more than was good for a man
But it was love that kept us young
As the years passed like days
I was holding her hand with tears in my eyes
The night she saw the Alamo crumble away.

Oh I used to call her my Alamo Rosie
I’ll always remember the way that she would say
“I’ve been here forever and I’ll be here tomorrow
Break it to me gently when it all blows away.”
I broke it to her gently when it all blew away.

Wroutoid

The CALHOON BROTHERS LIVE VERSION
(Sometime in the late 70s at the Las Cruces Inn, Las Cruces NM)

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