Retro Revelation

BBoys-Pet Sounds cover art 2I love music; all kinds of music. I know many say this but I couldn’t be more sincere – nor expansive. From Stravinsky to Hank Williams Sr to Hendrix. From Ray LaMontagne to Sam Cook to Sinatra to Alice Cooper to Merle Haggard – if it’s good, I want to hear it. I keep lots of music on-hand. When the mood strikes, eh? Like many, I have massive amounts of old classic rock. Tons and tons of ELP and T-Rex – Beatles and Floyd. Pink Floyd is actually my all-time favorite band for too many reasons. A fact that might make the following seem a bit odd to other music nerds.

I possess exactly 4 Beach Boys songs. 3 for no particular reason except they were on someone’s player at some point in time and we did a swap. The only Beach Boys song I wanted was My Room because … well, it’s My Room. Love the harmonies. I guess I’ve always just thought of the Beach Boys as that band; the pop harmony guys. A group of utterly average voices that sounded otherworldly in chorus. Sadly, I just held the view that if you’ve heard any Beach Boys song – right – heard’em all. I’ve heard a million people say how great a particular Beach Boys album was. Literally – from Paul McCartney saying it was the inspiration for Sgt Pepper’s to artist-after-artist saying it was a solitary influence in their musical development and direction. Why these declarations never stirred me to give this album a listen is a bit beyond me. I suppose it speaks to how deeply entrenched my perspective was about the Beach Boys. Sufin’ / car tunes in harmony and I never cared much for surfin’ / car tunes.

So I finally sat down to listen to this album. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds. What can I say that doesn’t sound completely trite, at this point. The album is only a half-century old and I’ve never bothered to see if there was more to it than my preconceived notions. It’s everything I love most in a good album. It is NOT a collection of good songs. It’s a story. Take it however you wish – it is a journey. One of the reasons Pink Floyd is my favorite band. I’ve rarely wanted to hear a Pink Floyd song, as much as I wanted to hear the entire album. Hearing Money on the radio is fine but it only makes me want to hear the whole Dark Side album and take that journey. That wonderful adventure of thought that one cannot help but embark on with such music. Pet Sounds is that adventure – that ‘trip’.

dsotm cover

ray-lamontagne-supernovaSpeaking of Ray LaMontagne – if you’ve not heard his latest album Super Nova – it’s a monumental throw-back to the very same full-music production style, sound and concept as albums like Pet Sounds. If you could wrap up that early period of pre-progressive sound you would have Super Nova. Like Pet Sounds … it’s awesome!

Here’s a link to listen to Pet Sounds

selfie

there in hand, on the end of my arm
capturing my spark and charm
my trusty camera snaps a blink
just as i smile and wink
clickity, click – aim and shoot
gosh i always look so cute
fingers tremble, aim and squeeze
adoring masses sure to please
i rush to update every page
notices go out in haste
a new selfie there to see
yours truly – come see me

i see me, you see me
we can all delight in me
oh how happy all must be
i see, you see, we see me

oh the bliss with each new post
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstrange that i should be the host
why don’t others market me
market me for all to see
bold and bright, i cast my smile
for others get to see my smile
oh how blessed the eyes that see
me, myself and me

- t.e. davis

normal

common, average, all-the-same
fearful, timid, tepid and tame
colorless, odorless, mild and dull
languid, lifeless, void and null
aspire to the wretched brackish abyss
milquetoast moribund nothingness
middleton middlesome middle-of-road
a life amid middles, poured from a mold
wade in shallow suburban enclaves
sleep in fields of temperate safe
sure to find peace, secure in your rest
nestled there in your moderate nest
secure from different, your sameness assured
be prudent and watchful for change is sure
uniqueness, an evil sly and covert
be vigilant mindful and ever alert
for difference lurks not far from your door
knocking – beseeching you, open for more
hold fast to your passive wavering heart
lest cracks in your apathy weaken your guard
impassioned indifference lukewarm and bland
cow-head-brun-of-mill fare for also-rans
plastic, vapid, obtuse and opaque
ambivalent, stoic, flaccid and fake
normalcy knows majority’s right
found amidst the black and white
be normal – be nothing and heed my words
normalcy always travels in herds

- t.e. davis

Nick Cave – “God Is In The House” (click to listen)

it’s all been said

prompts to love one and all
pronounced, the lean since the fall
from adam and eve, each woman and man
from every head and heart and hand
so much to fill my heart and head
it’s all been said
it’s all been said

solomon wrote so long, ago
all we need to know – we know
advance and grow, a collective feign
all that has been will be again
so much to speak, silence instead
it’s all been said
it’s all been said …

- t.e. davis

Jesus’ Name on a Bat

Jesus & BatMy relationships with other Christians have been increasingly tested and strained, as my faith has grown. Where I remain wholly devoted to God through Christ, as my Savior; I have joyfully sought to dismiss and move beyond those elements of my faith that were nothing more than dysfunctional religion. The last 7 years has been a shaking out of so many metaphorical prayer rugs in my life to remove the spiritual dust and plasticity that can settle on one’s faith. This has not always been embraced by other believers where they believed instead that I wasn’t being the ‘good Christian’ they deemed I should be – and specifically how they deemed I should be. I have thus, spent years tasting too many experiences of spiritual condemnation and judgment from the badge-wearing legalistic bat-swingers. I have only recently stopped doing something I have done my entire life. I’ve stopped going to church. Where I long for genuine fellowship with other believers, I can no longer bear to suffer through what is little more than a period of religious observance; including ‘thanks’ to the soul that brought the pecan brownies and the reminder to give generously, as is the will of God. The adage “What Would Jesus Do” that was so popular some years back makes me wince to contemplate, today. I don’t think many in church today would care. I just know I can’t stand it any longer – yet, the scripture of Hebrews 10:25 burns in my mind and heart.

I pray for God to move among his people – beginning with me.

being weary (i would rest)

the sun arose, as did i
birthed anew i breathed a sigh
filled with want and want my quest
passions burned within my breast
truth to find, love to know
seek the good of life to grow
tolls were taken with each test
being weary, i would rest

hints of wonder met with time
hope of good to grow, sublime
sweetness tasted, pure and blessed
splendid dreams to be suppressed
pay and pay and pay more, still
moved to stand through prayer and will
pushed, punched, prodded and pressed
being weary, i would rest

fellow travelers met with miles
extended selves with broadened smiles
corrupt, the hands that feign caress
will to steal and dreams molest
tempt my heart to grow askew
tomorrow’s promise awaits my view
searching takes me east and west
being weary, i would rest

there waits a day i’ve yet to meet
this day-of-days to surely greet
my sojourn here will end, as guest
the breath he lent, he’ll surely wrest
i’ve lived to long to meet this day
aware now, of all i pray
valleys long with peaks to crest
being weary – i will rest

- t.e. davis

(Inspired by Twain’s “Five Boons of Life”)

Front-man

Freddie Mercury mainInterestingly enough – when I searched the term ‘front-man’ – the first link displayed was the Wiki link for lead vocalistThe picture to the right side of this page was a shot of Queen in concert. Irony – as I wanted to write briefly about perhaps the consummate front-man, Freddie Mercury.

Born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar, he grew up in a province of Bombay, India. His family moved to England when he was a teen. Stepping into the spotlight as a singer in rock bands, shy young Farrokh took the name (& persona) of Freddie Mercury and never looked back. He would grow to be one of, if not the greatest vocalist rock-n-roll ever produced. What has impressed me as the decades have passed is how he remains a leader at the forefront of a particular position in entertainment; that of the front-man. There have been so many great performers in this category. Not just great singers – but great showmen. Great captivators. Great front-men! I have seen so many wonderful such performers stand in front of a sea of fans and hold, lift and carry these audiences to places of entertainment ecstasy. Elvis, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Ann Wilson, James Brown, Steven Tyler – and on-and-on-and-on …

queen live

I have never ever seen anyone that could and would take possession of an audience the way Freddie Mercury could and did. Literally every performance was an opportunity for his stage persona to demonstrate that he was wholly in charge. His charm and charisma – his unmatched talent – his raw vulnerability set you on edge. He was completely exposed; and completely and unabashedly comfortable being so. He would seize your attention and never let go. You wouldn’t just be fixed and focused. You were powerless to avoid the ride. A perfect example of this was Queen’s Live Aid performance. The biggest live music event ever was riding along at a pedestrian pace on two continents when Queen took the stageConsidered by virtually all throughout music as being on the downside (if not done) of their career, Queen took the stage and within a couple of minutes reminded the world of just who they were. The world responded in an evident flood of embrace and celebration. It was clear that rock’s showman – its greatest front-man was standing before them; and you could feel the collective realization from all in a powerful and palpable “oh, yea!”

Queen stepped from this performance into a more global run of success that continued until Freddie’s death. I grew up in the greatest period of such rock-n-roll where genuine legends were defined by their ability in live shows. Looking across the landscape of all this represents – Freddie was the very best.

Freddie_Mercury_signature

The Drive-In

Drive-in nightWe went retro this evening and drove about 50 miles out in the country to visit the Goochland Drive-In, in Goochland, VA. We got there about an hour before movie time. The place was full and they stopped allowing people in about 5 cars behind us. The ticket shack said people had been lined up to enter for 4 hours. I still can’t wrap my mind around that. They had a double feature showing of Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Edge of Tomorrow. First let me say, the drive-in experience itself was very cool. We parked my truck up on a hill in the back of the drive-in with a number of others with 4-wheel drives. Parking backwards, opening the rear window for audio and curling up with lots of blankets and pillows was fun. Watching the movie with my Sweetie under the stars was fun. The movie, Transformers … not so fun. 

Trans-4I found myself throughout the movie thinking – ok, that’s a wrap. It’s got to end in the next 15 minutes or so, as the story line was all over the place and 75% of the scenes were literally just things blowing up. I grew numb to all of it after about 2 hours and just sat in stunned bewilderment, as it simply kept going. Nothing about the story line went anywhere in any real manner. Just another stretch of scenes with robots blowing up robots. I know it’s just a turn-mind-off action fun film but OMG it was sub-moronic. It can’t be said, it was so goofy because it’s a kid’s film. The language used was not for kids. No … it was just really really stupid. I’ve seen a couple of the others with my son in years past and they, at least had some manner of character development and story line. This was like someone wrote it during a lunch-break and NO ONE proof read it before actually making the movie.

The film was just under 3 hours long. Had I any idea it was that long we would not have gone. Who imagines a car-robot-alien movie being longer than an hour and a half? Definitely my bad and I will absolutely check next time. The point of the experience however, wasn’t the movie but the atmosphere. You don’t go to the drive-in to see Schindler’s List – so you don’t bother checking run-times for movies you’re not even really interested in. We left after Transformers ended, wondering with amazement how those remaining would endure another 2 hours of blasting alien sci-fi action. To each his own, eh? We’ll go again to the drive-in. It was fun and with the right movie could be even more so. I doubt however, that I will ever catch another Transformers movie, again; and I’m sure there will be more.

Closing The Door

isaiah_austinI’ve heard from so very many throughout my life that when God closes one door, he opens another. I would reply – “you’ve no idea how hard that 2nd door may be”.

1) I think most instances of souls believing God has closed some door is merely life playing out, as life.

2) I’m confident that their belief will only ultimately bring them closer to God – regardless – if they are sincere in their faith.

I don’t believe that most instances of people seeing pronounced negative circumstances as being the divine hand-of-God, as actually being the very hand of God. I believe most of these circumstances are simply life playing out in the form of lineage-of-biology … fallout-from-choices … the dice-were-rolled. Sometimes, I believe I see God’s divine hand in some circumstance but these are admittedly rare. When I was very young, I believed seeing God’s intentional involvement more often than I do, now; or at least a bit differently. I have simply grown to balance such with much more in the way of careful consideration. It isn’t that I no longer see God’s divine hand of intentional interaction – I simply see it intentionally … different.

2014_nba_draft_title copy

I was watching young Isaiah Austin during NBA draft night when I heard him comment in a familiar manner. His many biological struggles were seen by him as being God’s divine interference. More specifically – God’s divine interference … for his unique good, in some manner he had originally overlooked. This perception will serve this young man, well. How, you ask? If he is mistaken about the origin of his struggles, then why would his mistaken ‘blame’ serve him in any progressive way? Because – he will spend the rest of his days trying to understand why God would give him these maladies. He will spend the rest of his life trying to understand why God would “keep him from being an NBA player” … “an NBA star”. This will force him to wrestle with issues most can comfortably dismiss. Most don’t stand on the threshold of such a career; but Isaiah Austin did. He went to Baylor University and performed well. During his time in college, he experienced a detached retina.  Playing with one eye as a 7 ft’er – he played well and believed he would have a future in the NBA. Then – just days before the NBA draft – he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. Just like that, his playing days were done.

I love seeing this young man embrace the life-long-bleed he faces. He will never have the opportunity to trivialize his circumstances. They will always force him to fight-the-good-fight. His struggles will always force him to consider just who God is. There is no greater blessing in life!