Dog On A Chain

Once she praised me
Now she hates me
I can’t see how I have changed

It seems that what they loved about you is the same thing that ultimately gets them to leave, which is quite a conundrum if you’re the one left standing there. You’re just being yourself, everything’s hunky-dory, and then she does a one-eighty, you go from hero to zero and you just can’t understand why.

“Rainbow Ends” is my go-to LP. The one I play when I’m at loose ends. The one that makes me feel like someone understands me. The one that gives me hope.

Used to be you paid for albums, and you didn’t own many, and therefore what you purchased you played until you knew. But that paradigm is history, even with your favorite acts, everything’s on the streaming service, you listen once and if it doesn’t grab you…

You may never listen again.

But that’s not the way it was with “Rainbow Ends.” I liked the opening cut and then was overwhelmed by track five and then knew I had to listen again and as I have other tracks have emerged as favorites, this is the way it used to be, a satisfying listening experience, of someone who’s got something to say that I can relate to.

Don’t think I could write these lyrics right now, but boy have I lived them, especially “Isn’t It So.”

Whenever I’m worried and I’m feeling low
When problems are many and I’m all alone
When all the world’s troubles are too much to bear
That’s when I break down and wish you were here

“Break down” is the essence. You put on a brave face, you believe you’ve turned the corner, and then you have a bad day and you just wish she was here, whether you left her or she left you, she knows you, unlike someone else, someone new, you want that glove-like fit.

I’m still trying to please you even though you’re not here
Still talking to you even though you can’t hear

Whew! I don’t remember this truth being revealed in a song before, changing your behavior even though she’s not there, believing if you’re just your best self, doing what she wants, she’ll come back.

But the more I deny it the more that it’s true
There’s hardly a moment I’m not thinking of you

I don’t know how some people crawl from the wreckage into a brand new car. How they say they’re over a relationship mere moments after it’s done. For me it’s a long fade, I’m not sure if the feeling’s ever completely gone, I still feel something for everyone I’m involved with, I don’t truly get over anyone until I’m involved with the next person, and I don’t truly appreciate what we had until it’s gone, I’ll bitch and moan when we’re involved, but when it’s in the rearview mirror I’m crying in my beer, testifying to friends to the point they no longer want to listen, I can’t get over you.

But “Isn’t It So” isn’t the first song that enraptured me on “Rainbow Ends,” that was “Someone Else.”

Then came “Dog On A Chain,” which I haven’t written about because it’s the most obvious, the opening cut, the single.

You ain’t no good I hear her say
Under her breath as she turns away

Women are specialists in this, hating you after loving you, while you’re still involved. Men eventually get there, but it takes much longer, usually after you’ve broken up. And it’s especially bad when you’re trying to please them, it almost works against you, you evidence weakness and they pounce all over it.

She berates me, calls me crazy
Certifiably insane

No one likes to be berated, it’s one thing not to get along, it’s another for your significant other to put you down and rub their heel in your face.

Emitt Rhodes has obviously had some bad luck at love, but he’s also learned some lessons.

Love’s not easy, love’s not kind
It only works when you’re half-blind
Don’t be the only one to sacrifice
Don’t be the only one to compromise

The newness wears off. Then you’re just two people trying to make it work, or not. That’s your goal, to find someone who still likes you after the thrill is gone, who’s willing to stick it out for the dividends that are rarely depicted in movies but are true in real life, the longer you stay together the better it gets, assuming it’s not only one person giving, one person understanding, both of you have to sacrifice and both of you have to compromise.

And I’m listening to this LP and loving that it’s only me who seems to be clued in, it’s a private experience. But in the seventies you went to the show and found out that truly wasn’t the case, in reality there were scores, sometimes thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, sometimes a hundred thousand who felt just like you and when you were all there at the concert mesmerized by the songs you knew by heart it felt so good.

But unless you’re a mega pop star, that rarely happens anymore. Sure, there are mid-level acts, and there are always people testifying they listen to every album from start to finish over and over again as if anybody had that much time, but most people are out of the loop, clueless.

And there’s no room for “Rainbow Ends” on pop radio, it rocks too much. Maybe a song could be reworked and covered, there’s so much wisdom, so many changes, then again, melody now takes a back seat to beats and few are interested in middle aged wisdom, few are interested in wisdom at all, boasting rules, and one can see why, life is so hard, it’s so hard to make it, that we look for beacons to follow and if you’re not saying you’re great you’ll probably get no notice at all.

So where does that leave a guy who’s just speaking his truth?

There are so many records, so few radio outlets that mean anything. And today going on the road is not about spreading the word, but preaching to the converted, making the money you cannot with records.

So it’s almost like “Rainbow Ends” did not come out. And shy of Justin Bieber tweeting about it, it’s already in the dumper, already in the rearview mirror, which troubles me. Has marketing become that important that even if something is great it gets no traction?

Seems like it.


“Dog On A Chain” – YouTube

“Dog On A Chain” – Spotify


“Isn’t It So” – YouTube

“Isn’t It So” – Spotify

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