Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If the Music Weren't There

Las Cruces NM, and particularly the Las Cruces Inn on West Picacho Street was a great place to witness the head-on collision between Rock & Roll and Country & Western music in the last half of the 70s. The cowboys had been growing their hair long for years but it wasn't until the Eagles and Burrito Brothers and other country-rock groups that it became okay for a bar to have both kinds of music -- and they were beginning to sound a bit alike.

We even had a strobe light for a couple of months and had it wired up so all of the other lights around the dance floor went out when we flipped the strobe on. It wasn't the Fillmore, but it was the next best thing in 1978 in Las Cruces.

Written: Gallagher Street, Las Cruces NM, 1978

Knees played this a couple of times with the Calhoon Brothers at the Las Cruces Inn but it wasn’t particularly danceable, hummable, or memorable. He probably had David Loggins’ Don’t Treat Me Like a Stranger in mind when he wrote the music. The words refer to the dance floor at the LCI with its strobe light, a first for cowboy bars in New Mexico.

We are gathered here outside the sight of God
To see who we’ll join together
Two-by-two twirling in the flashing light
Dancin on the edge of a feather.

We play along but you are the players
Spinning with stars in your eyes
Each woman Carmen, each man Cougie
Each with his own disguise.

So keep on keepin the thrill in sight
As you’re waltzing along through the air
I wonder whether she would spend the night
If the music weren’t there
If the music weren’t there.

When the moves have been made
In this romantic game
We’ll pick up the pieces and go
We’ll read all about it in the Sunday news
And we’ll wait for the next picture show.

The Organ

A Long Way Back to Georgia

Tommy Beuten was Knees' model for guitar hero when Knees was growing up. Despite the theme of the song, Tommy seemed quite content to play music at the bars of southern Colorado for the rest of his life, and Knees adopted the same attitude. The main thing was not to make it big in the music bidness; the main thing was to not have to wake up in the morning and trudge off to a day job.

And Tommy and Knees succeeded. Tommy is living on his ranch in southern Colorado and never had a day job. He still makes music as Knees does, using his PC. Knees succumbed to a day job in 1987 when he got obsessed with Commodore computers and became the managing editor of LOADSTAR, a Commodore disk magazine. And then he got interested in publishing books.

This song sticks out in the  Knees Calhoon list of daily blogs because it's not written by Knees. Also, because this recording is simply BETTER than just about all of the other songs in the Ramble. I recorded it in 1993 at the same time I recorded all the other songs, and maybe because it doesn't have all the clever wordplay and chord gimmicks that Knees strived for, it's simply a better recording. It works better than my songs. See if you don't agree.

Maybe I could get Tommy to do a Midnight Ramble with his recordings. Now that would be something to hear.

Written by Tommy Beuten in the 60s. Recorded by Fender Tucker in 1993.

Knees first heard this song on a 45 back in the 60s, but can't remember if the record was by the writer, Tommy Beuten, or by his group, the Exotics. They were his favorite band and Knees used to see them play in Durango CO as often as he could in those days when he was under 18 and had an easier time getting into the bars in Colorado where the minimum age was 18. In New Mexico it was 21.

Here I am sittin in this lonely room
Haven't got a penny to my name
I'm all alone I guess I must be doomed
Looks like I had my last crack at fame
I guess I'll never see my home again.

And it's a long way back to Georgia
And it's a long time to get back home
And it's a long way back to Georgia
And I'm sick and tired of being all alone
I guess I'll pack my things and head back home.

I came to Nashville, gonna be a star
I left home with everything I made
Now all I have are my clothes and my guitar
They never even listened when I played
They never even listened when I played.

And it's a long way back to Georgia
And it's a long time to get back home
And it's a long way back to Georgia
And I'm sick and tired of being all alone
I guess I'll pack my things and head back home.