Right Where I Need To Be

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with "Sweet Home Alabama". It was in a traffic jam.

I was driving cross-country, right after Labor Day, right after I’d graduated from college. I took two days to get to K.C. And after a week there, I got back into my car and headed for the City of Salt, to line up a job for the winter.

Now I hadn’t caught that much radio on my trip so far. There were giant holes in reception between Connecticut and Kansas, I’d spent a lot of the time listening to my tapes. But during my journey, I had heard "Sweet Home Alabama". I just hadn’t fallen in love with it yet. But working my way from the suburbs to the Interstate, on one of those eight lane boulevards in the rain, my fingers stopped on the AOR station and I heard those guitars pouring out of the speakers in the rear deck. My windshield wipers were going at full tilt, I was barely moving, but I had a smile on my face, the music had invaded me and taken over my mood.

Oh, I had the first Skynyrd album. But I wasn’t in love with it.

Now I was a fan.

Funny thing about this Internet. We’re getting to the point where you can hear ANYTHING! Every act has a MySpace page. You don’t have to fire up the radio to hear the latest tunes, you’ve just got to boot up your computer. Actually, we’re disappointed if we can’t find the track online. We feel like the act is cheap, dishonest, playing the old wave game, wanting our money before they let us experience the magic. We align them with the major labels.

That’s another funny thing. We hate the major labels. But, if you play it right, we don’t hate your act. If you make US a priority, if you serve US, if you give US something for free, we’ll give you ALL our money.

So, there’s a conundrum. More people are experiencing more music than ever before. But the labels are sinking. You see they’re just not delivering the tunes the way people want them. The public wants a certain FLUIDITY! It’s less about piracy than USABILITY! If the labels only focused on making it EASIER for us to experience and acquire their wares, we’d give THEM all our money.

And that’s just a long-winded explanation as to why you can’t instantly hear Gary Allan’s "Right Where I Need To Be". And if you loved Skynyrd, the OLD Skynyrd, with Ronnie, you’ll want to hear "Right Where I Need To Be".

But you can SEE IT!

But like Lewis Black says, music goes in the EARS, not the eyes. It’s gonna rape all the charisma, all the specialness from the track. Still, go to Yahoo Music. Hell, I’ll make it easy for you, just go to:

Gary Allen, and click on "Right Where I Need To Be" under "Videos".

I was hiking in the mountains and heard the lyric. So country, about the balance between work and family. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I kept the track on repeat.

I was putting away the laundry, with my Nano in my pocket, playing my country playlist. And "Right Where I Need To Be" was about the fourth or fifth track in. But when I hit it, I couldn’t move on, I kept needing to hear "Right Where I Need To Be" again and again. I wasn’t listening to the lyrics, only the GUITARS!

Maybe that’s what I miss most about the seventies, the GUITARS! Roger Waters wrote great lyrics, but without David Gilmour’s transcendent guitar licks, it’s not PINK FLOYD!

But the style of the English pickers was so different from the rednecks from the south. The southerners seemed to get fired up on alcohol, stand up on stage, and get into a GROOVE!

Skynyrd laid down a groove, and then the guitarists DANCED ALL OVER IT!

Oh, "Right Where I Need To Be" starts with a lick off an Eddie Money record. ("Trinidad"?) But when the organ comes in, and then the drums and bass, it becomes positively NORTHERN FLORIDA!

And when it all breaks down, the lyrics seem so IMPORTANT! But what seals the deal is the guitar ACCENTS, after every other line, a staccato burst of sound straight from the genitalia. And then a bit of organ, representing the sweat lubricating the bodies involved.

Oh, eventually there’s a fiddle. But Papa John Creach played with Jefferson Starship, and his work on "Red Octopus" WAILS!

You can get anybody’s story on Wikipedia. Read Gary Allan’s and you’ll see that his emotions are authentic, anybody who survives the suicide of a spouse is entitled to sing the blues, to ROCK the blues.

This is an old record, it came out before Napster hit. I only found out about it from a subscriber, a rock refugee now working in country whose name I don’t even know, since he has an AOL address which comes sans appellation. But that’s how it works now. You tell people what you’re into, and then you find trusted sources, tapped into your taste. This one unknown guy, I’ll follow him anywhere. Because he hasn’t missed YET!

If you liked Skynyrd, check out "Right Where I Need To Be". It feels really GOOD!

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