Bad Bad Spirit Pie in Your Hair

Next on the shelf is a mp3 cd collection of radio fodder male singer/songwriters of the 70’s, with one exception. Here is Don McLean’s American Pie, Don McLean, Homeless Brother. Pie & Vincent are era defining songs that are used in countless movies for instant period ambiance – in fact all it takes is the ‘buy buy’ oops, I mean ‘bye bye’ & you know where your are in time. I loved that song. Vincent less so – too gentle & greeting card for me. McLean never matched this early success but continued to record. The self-named album sees him as a pop version of Noel Coward with fun songs two of which are worth tracking down: Narcisissma, On The Amazon. He’s sort of the US answer to Gordon Lightfoot 🙂 

I loved Jim Croce. On this cd I have You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, I Got A Name, Life & Times. As a stand alone Photographs & Memories; Greatest Hits. His writing & music was emotionally accessible, unpretentious & catchy. He wrote about ordinary men & women with lived-in affection. Looking for the track listings for his lps I want to name check every song as they are each classics. The emotional directness of some of the songs can make me almost tearful. His unexpected death in 1973 at 30 ended an amazing career.

Also inescapable was Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit In The Sky. The album is sweet folksy, slightly psychedelic & fun with of course his big hit. Canned Ham his second ‘hit’ was good. He recorded a few more stepped lps then back – the music industry wasn’t for him.  The same is true for Scott McKenzie: The Voice Of … smash hit with If You’re Going – that road the crest of flower power sweetness – the album is a tad bit darker but those flowers lost their petals, as it were. Thanks to Papa John Phillips he (& Barry McGuire) fill blanks in the Mamas & Papas catalogue nicely. In fact Scott became a member of that group for awhile.

Lastly in this compilation is Elmore James: The Final Sessions. I wanted something to balance out the flower power weight of the other performers & this set. James is a true blues slide guitar magician. Only one album by him was released during his lifetime. This set collects his final two sessions from February 1963 in New York City, and he would be dead within three months of a heart attack at the age of 45. Timeless music.

The Kick Outside

On the subway the little girl kicked me in the ankle. She was about six but at that size and age who can really tell except a parent. I’m no parent. She was one of the prime reasons I wasn’t interested in being a parent.

I said, “Stop.”

She laughed and kicked me again.

I looked for a parent. Across the aisle was a woman beaming at her cute little girl, smiling at me to indulge the little sweet thing.

The little sweet thing had on patent leather shoes. Black shiny hard. As she was about to kick me again I gently pushed her back.

“Stop that.” I said.

The mother glared me.

‘“How dare you touch my child. Keep your hands to yourself.”

“Tell your child to keep her feet to herself.”

“You perverted slime ball.” The mother stood. “Touching my child. Don’t think you’re going to get away with that.”

Grinning, the child kicked me harder. People looked at us. The little girl began to cry.

‘“Look what you’ve done! Hold him there while I get the police.”

Two large men appeared and held me by the shoulders.

“The child was kicking me and I pushed her away.” I explained as they pulled me off at the next stop.

“She musta had a reason to kick you, you asshole. Your type makes me sick.” One of the men grunted.

They held me there for about ten minutes until the subway police showed up to see what the fuss was. The woman and child where gone. The guys holding me admitted they saw nothing.

When I got home there was a bruise on my ankle.

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‘I forgot how to speak’

Birthday girl Sandra Cardinal gifted us with a stellar line up for the April Makin’ a Racket. A full house appreciated the features (as well a slew of tasty birthday muffins gratis from the chefs at The Red Rocket Cafe).

soxk

they grow like weeds

Dan Curtis Thomson was first up with a nice section of his one man show about breaking up. Structured around music he did a sweet, almost plaintive song (very Don McLean with its fluttering, falling  notes) ‘falling falling falling out of love.’ He explained that the song ended with a C major 7th chord, an unresolved chord, much like this ended relationship which leaves him unresolved. A nice hint of the larger piece. Dan has a warm stage presence I enjoyed.

Next up was Vanessa McGowan who clearly has no unresolved emotions. Fresh from a poetry intensive in Banff she had some new pieces & old pieces. ‘wear you like a wind blanket’ ‘when my body became my voice I forgot now to speak.’ I’ve reviewed her many times – search will pull up those reviews.

mac McLitter

Then Niki Koulouris read some section from ‘the sea with no one in it’ her recent book. ‘once it had been half man, half sea.’ I recently reviewed her – search will pull up that review.

After the cup-cake break Myna Wallin (whom I have reviewed before), on crutches after an ankle & wrist break, read some new pieces about her recuperation: ‘a lethal dose of ‘this too shall pass.’ ’ Then a tasty chapter from Confession of a Wounded Reluctant Cougar that reminded us that sex without guilt isn’t really bad sex.

oldpink out-grown

She was followed by Sage Tyrtle (whom I have reviewed before), with a rich, funny & romantic story about internet dating back in the early days when people counted on chat rooms, facing the fears of the unknown & actually, for this story, having a happy ending (in which she wasn’t murdered & buried in basement). Sage is a gifted story teller slipping between characters and situations with great ease.

Last up was Eufemia Fantetti (whom I have never reviewed before) reading a portion of her personal essay Alphabet Autobiographia. A look at language, particularly Italian & the role it’s played in her family history. She explains how applying Italian pronunciation to English words can have hilarious repercussions – i.e. traipsing becomes trapezing.

A handful of great open stagers, many of whom were past features where scattered throughout the show. Mike Sauve’s piece about orange juice was excellent – also had a great talk with him about double-sided nature of politically correctness (for a later blog I think). A great spring show that even with 6 features was wrapped by 9:30.

samples

from a Viral prompt – this is one of the piece read on the Racket open stage

Daddy’s Boy

I have this photo of my dad

when he was a boy of

about fourteen

shown it to friends   lovers

who said that I was handsome

even as a boy

used it as my profile pic once

a photo of my dad

that looks so much like me

at his age

we could be twins

yet there were years

when I was sure I was adopted

I’d go through the papers

in his desk

seeking that document

I felt so not a part of that family

of this species

I was sure there was some legal proof

of that fact

I never found that evidence

when I first saw that pic of my Dad

I thought it was me

his genetic string so strong

I am tied to it without a doubt

last time I visited my home town

a stranger stopped me in the street

to ask if was his son

one was a bit shaken

it was as if my Dad’s ghost has appeared

he’d been dead for five or six years by then

so perhaps their memory

had played some tricks on them

but

I am my father’s son

I’m proud to say

there’s no denying that now

cake cake left out in the rain