Podcast #12


According to the widget, it’s 63 in Santa Monica right now.  (In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, in Tiger, the latest Mac operating system, there are little programs called Widgets, you click in the Dock and they launch.  Four come preinstalled.  One is the weather.  So, it’s like that little temperature gauge all cars seem to come with nowadays.  You didn’t THINK you needed to know the exact temperature constantly, but now you find yourself checking INCESSANTLY!)  Qualifies as springtime in most of the country.  But, in Southern California, we’re finally experiencing winter.

Oh, the weather changed over the weekend.  You don’t really feel it during the day.  But at night, it slips into the forties, and you start shivering in the bed, since the houses are so poorly insulated and you can’t get the heat right, it’s either 80 everywhere or just right by the heater and freezing cold everywhere else.  Still, it’s not quite like the east coast.  There comes a time on the east coast when you realize you’re heading into winter.  It doesn’t happen until November.  Suddenly, you’d rather stay inside than go out.  The leaves have all fallen off the trees.  The wind is bitter.  You know it’s never going to be warm again till spring.

And that’s what "Urge For Going" sounds like.

Funny, musicians know this song, but very few listeners do.  Comb your P2P service.  You can find takes by everyone from Luka Bloom to Mary Black.  Of the latter-day artists, Travis’ version is best.  Still, none quite have the resonance of the original.  By Tom Rush.

Growing up in the northeast you must be hardy, able to endure the elements.  Imagine yourself with a ruddy face, walking on a college campus from building to building.  That’s what Tom Rush’s version of "Urge For Going" sounds like.

Tom didn’t write the song.  Joni Mitchell did.  Her take is haunting.  It sounds like someone alone out on the Great Plains of Canada.  Yet, Tom’s take is the classic.


This is the one about the girl
The girl who came to stay

I’m sure even fewer people have heard the Cretones’ "Justine".  Just like with "Urge For Going", their take, the one written by their lead singer Mark Goldenberg, came out AFTER the cover.  But, in this case, the writer’s version triumphs.

You might know "Justine".  It was on Linda Ronstadt’s "Mad Love".  Along with two other Goldenberg compositions.  It’s got the same riff.  Linda belts out the lyrics.  There’s power, but when you hear the Cretones, you know it’s got no soul.  Linda is singing a song.  Mark Goldenberg is singing his life.


I’ve got a great live version of "Look Out For My Love" that I couldn’t play on the podcast.  It’s from a live Linda Ronstadt concert on 8/24/80.  Some dude on my list put it up on the Web so I could download it.  Listen to it and you’ll know why Linda Ronstadt was a star.  You can hear the attitude.  Which is usually lacking in her studio recordings.  Two Sundays ago we were watching a DVD of Felice’s father’s TV show back in ’73 and after being shocked by the youngness of David Clayton Thomas Linda appeared on screen.  This was BEFORE "You’re No Good".  Oh, you should have seen her sing.  She was putting everything she HAD in that performance.  Sure, she’d dieted herself down to TV-thinness.  Sure, she’s a beautiful woman.  But here she was a SINGER!  A rock and roller.  Who NEEDED IT!  And that’s what success takes.  Talent is secondary to raw desire.  Her initial hits were years behind her.  She was stumbling in the marketplace.  This TV appearance wasn’t just another date on the calendar, it was a chance to MAKE IT!  To avoid being sent home to Arizona and living the life she was born to.

Linda makes "Look Out For My Love" come alive.  She makes this Neil Young song SING!  It hadn’t registered when I heard it on "Comes A Time", but then I went back to the original, it suddenly jumped out, I LOVED IT!  Still, the keeper is Neil’s rendition on his "Unplugged" album.  It’s got the rhythm of Linda’s take, it’s got road-weariness.


There is a lot to learn for wasting time.

And that’s where we got into these records.  While we were wasting time.  That’s what listening was.  It wasn’t a multitasking adventure.  Just putting the record on the turntable and listening was enough.  And even though our parents told us it was wasting time, for us it was life itself.

And that’s what I did in college.  Listen to records.  When I wasn’t skiing.

I had a radio show on WRMC freshman year, but then the regime changed.  Those of a younger vintage than the upperclassmen who’d taken a shine to me took power and I was marginalized.  Went from being on six times a month to two to being a sub.  Who cared at that point.  I gave up.

Isn’t it funny that thirty-odd years later, via new technology, I’m broadcasting again.

And it’s easier to do that old kind of show.  Where you filled the spaces between records.  You let your mind drift as Clapton played.  Thought of the little tidbit you wanted to add.  Now, under the law, the music is marginalized and the tidbits expand.  I’m still trying to figure it out, find my way in the podcast world.  Spalding Gray rehearsed his monologues, I like to do them off the cuff, lay down the zeal of sudden inspiration.  Still, I can get mic fright.

The musings of the day seemed good at the time.  But, not being on live radio, but encapsulated forever in the podcast bubble, I’m not sure.  Still, there’s some absolutely fabulous music on this podcast (and I don’t mean that in the English TV show ironic way).

I used to do this back on Radio Middlebury College.  Play the original and the cover.  If you’re a true fan, it’s exciting.  To the degree I had time on this podcast, I replicated the process.

You can listen or download the podcast from Rhino’s site

Or you can subscribe in the iTunes Music Store.  Just search for Rhino, click on "Podcasts" and it will come up.

OR, click on the link below, and if you’ve got a podcast-ready version of iTunes installed on your computer the program will launch and you can subscribe on the page that results (hang on a second for the process to complete).


This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.