20 December 2008

I'm Sitting Here Wondering, Would a Matchbox Hold my Clothes?

I've been on a bit of a Carl Perkins kick the last few months. I mention this now because 'tis the season on music blogs across the interwebs to write one (or both) of the two classic end-of-year posts: the "year in review" best albums/single post, and the Chrismas post. We'll be doing a Christmas post or two, but I'm not prepared to sum up the year in music. There are several reasons for this.

First, I was overseas until the middle of July, which provides me with a pretty ironclad alibi for having missed Bon Iver the first time around (the fact that I'm from Wiscconsin may make this less excusable, but I'll live with it). I was in Nigeria, actually--not a land of Bit Torrents and Mom and Pop record shops, and other than a copy of Sprinsteen's "Magic" that arrived around Christmastime, I had only what I could carry on my 80GB Ipod to keep me company. Now, obviously, this is a lot of music, but I wasn't exactly plugged into Fleet Foxes. I had my catalogue records--a lot of older music I wanted to catch up on.

So that's the good reason. The second reason is the one I have more trepidation about. To preface: I was an early adopter of the current indie music scene. Pitchfork has been my homepage since 2002. I bought Broken Social Scene's "You Forget it in People" when it first came out in the US--the first copy off the truck here in Madison. But lately, I've been disillusioned by the whole thing--tired of the scramble to keep up. I like to tell myself it coincided with the rise of freak-folk and the whole Firey Furnaces/Animal Collective thing--that I was more of what Robert Christgau calls a "poppist" than an experimental/avant-garde fan (which is clearly one way to look at it).

But that's not really the issue. The issue is that I just don't care as much as I used to. I'd like to pretend it has to do with my creeping disdain for hipster culture--I'm not nearly skinny enough to pull off the new tight pants look, and too far out of shape for a fixed gear bike (I ride a 15 year old Schwinn mountain bike with a duct taped seat). But that's not it, either. I really just don't care anymore.

The biggest single factor is probably being out of college. While I love my graduate work, my taste in music doesn't really make much of a difference to the people I spend most of my days with. None of my fellow graduate students really want to discuss the merits of the new Deerhunter record(s), or discuss the ramifications of the Handsome Dick Manitoba lawsuit that resulted in Dan Smith's band becoming Caribou (not even the law and politics people!). I could probably interest at least one person in Ghostface Killah gossip, but I couldn't drum up interest in the Cool Kids. The music I listen to just doesn't really define me socially anymore--and all that work I used to do keeping up just doesn't seem valuable anymore. That and my wife sometimes expects me to "pay attention" to her.

So that brings me back to Carl Perkins. The last couple of years, I've been a lot more serious about Country/Soul/Blues/Rockabilly (the whole paying attention to my wife thing kinda went out the window with the faster high-speed internet). While my explorations in those regards are the subjects of once and future posts, I do find myself much more strongly drawn to older records. It's not like this stuff was (for the most part) part of my childhood--and it's not like I buy into the whole "authenicity" problematic. And I own at least 14 different t-shirts. And lots of underwear. So it's not like this song appeals to me literally. But yet I love it.

And even more, I love this version, which when I first saw it, helped to rekindle my interest in Derek & the Dominoes:

And of course, there's the original (near as I know):

And finally, for good measure, the finest rockabilly song ever:

and the hard-to-get but fantastic cover by the Memphis legend, Big Star-producing, North Mississippi All-Stars-siring James Luther Dickinson:

James Luther Dickinson - Dixie Fried (oh, hell. Want the whole album? Here it is.)

Thanks, y'all.

Posted by Brandon


Lin said...

I think, for me, it's two fold. First, there's so much music out there that the obsessive pursuit of new music seems misguided or inefficient. Someday, if I have zero songs in my "never played" playlist, I'll will dance a jig.

Second: I find more value in going deep than in the breadth. There's a bunch of music that I like partly because of an understanding of how it fits with everything else.

And yeah, the hipsters...

den nc usa said...

I think your sites are very incisive and you are a true music lover, with a vast grasp of the real reasons music is both profane and sacred.
Thanks for the work, and I look forward to enjoy your efforts and intuitions more, now that I've found you.
Stay fuzzy.

Anonymous said...

thank you from Texas