Friday, July 6, 2012

Bad Weather

1987 was Knees' last year of playing music in public. At the time he wrote this song he was till wondering what he would do about the dwindling demand for music in Las Cruces. Ten years before when he moved to Las Cruces there were a half dozen bars with bands playing nightly. By 1987 there were none. 

But he lucked out and got into home computers in the early 80s and was offered a job as the managing editor of LOADSTAR, a Commodore computer magazine out of Shreveport LA. If he had stayed with music he would have turned curmudgeon a decade or two before his time.

This song is unusual because it has a real, acoustic piano in it, instead of the usual electronic keyboard. It was hard for Knees to record because he is a lousy pianist and relies on the sustain pedal to cover up his mistakes. But he found when recording this song that every time he pressed or let up on the pedal it made a loud woomp sound on the recording. So he had to play the song without the pedal. 

Written: Southern California Interstate, 1987 

Knees was driving back from Riverside CA in a rainstorm when he wrote one of his most normal songs. He had been out to visit a high school friend and had chickened out of her challenge for him to tackle California. Knees, not known for his bravery, was an inertia kind of guy and found it difficult to make big changes in his life. But later that year he moved to Shreveport LA to begin his second career as magazine editor. Apparently he was brave enough to move if he already had a job lined up. Plus, Louisiana was about 1/10 as cruel as California is to migrants.
It’s rainin on the freeway
LA’s turnin shiny grey.
The people on the freeway
Don’t they work so hard to play?
It was rainin the first time we met
We waited it out together
An it may sound funny but you know sometimes
There’s somethin good about bad weather.

It was cold livin in Durango
The snow kept us close to home
Now when I’m in Durango
I go out into the cold
An remember all the times that
   we were snowed in,
I wanted them to last forever.
Cuz when you’re with the one you love
There’s somethin good about bad weather.

So let the lightnin flash
Let the thunder roar
Let the four winds blow
Let it snow some more.
Mmm, there’s somethin good about bad weather.

So we moved out to the Gulf Coast
The most peaceful place we’ve been
Now we walk out on the Gulf Coast
An watch the waves roll in.
Our love is stronger than a hurricane
It can only blow us closer together
Cuz when you’re with the one you love
There’s somethin good about bad weather.

So let the lightnin flash
Let the thunder roar
Let the four winds blow
Let it snow some more.
Mmm, there’s somethin good about bad weather.


Equal Partners

Randy Miller wrote this song. He was the drummer for the Mighty Calhoon Brothers from the beginning in 1976 to around 1981 and did a lot of the singing. Sometime around 1986 I was living in Las Cruces and Randy had moved back to his home town of Clovis NM. A fairly famous songwriter/singer, Michael Martin Murphy, came to Las Cruces for a concert (which I saw and was very impressed by) and a song writing contest. Murphy was to be the judge and I entered one of my songs. I called Randy and asked him if he had a song I could enter for him and he sent me a cassette with his version of his song, Equal Partners, on it. I had never heard it before and thought it was terrific.

The winning song, "Who Am I?", was by a friend of ours, Karen Nix, and I later played the keyboard on the song when she recorded it in El Paso a few weeks later. Maybe it will appear on the Midnight Ramble sooner or later?

But I liked Randy's song so much I recorded in it 1993 when I was on my recording binge. I think I like Randy's version better. I mainly added reverb (lots of it) and harmony. Typical Knees Calhoon touches.

Randy had a terrible stroke a few years back and is now recovering quite well. He can walk a little and can play the guitar and sing too. He says he can't remember his old songs so they're like new to him. This means my old songs are new to him too and I hope he gets a kick out of the Rambles. He called me yesterday on my birthday and we talked for an hour. Mostly I talked his ear off because I was so excited about his recovery and the fact that he hasn't listened to the Rambles yet.

After reading the lyrics to this song I wonder why the Calhoons didn't get into songwriting seriously. Randy was as clever with words as Knees was. Only rarely have I heard any songs from Nashville with words as good as these. See what you think.

by Randy Miller

You used to be my partner
In so many ways
We did everything we could
To make each others days
Partners on the dance floor
And behind our bedroom door
But somehow that life just slipped away
We're hardly partners anymore.

We dissolved all our holdings
And all our touchings too
We'll have to share the sorrow
There'll be another payment due
The books have all been balanced
And a high price has been paid
We'll part with all things being equal
In this final deal we've made.

We're equal partners in a heartache
We share an interest in the blues
Equal partners in a heartbreak
We lost all we had to lose.

Now you'll be my silent partner
When I try to love again
Maybe time can heal a broken heart
But darlin even then
You'll always be there in my past
Your memories will always last
And even when my life is fadin fast
I'll still regret losin you.

We're equal partners in a heartache
A losing interest in the blues
Equal partners in a heartbreak
Now there's nothing left to lose.

Randy Miller Rocks!

The Acoustic Version - Sung by Randy