Saturday, January 28, 2006

Into the GREAT WIDE OPEN...
...a rebel without a clue...

Yeah, sometimes I resemble that! Actually, "Into The Great Wide Open" is both a song and the title of an album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released in 1991. I've been searching for the "vinyl" version of it for over a decade...and I finally FOUND a copy last week up at Mt. Olympus Records, up on 4th Street, in the building that houses NAPA Auto Parts. I usually don't "plug" a lot of businesses, but Ron, the owner, is a friend of mine, a really nice guy, and his store has tons and tons of unusual music. I've also been a customer of "The Long Ear" record shop, ever since they opened up in Coeur d'Alene back in the mid-'80s. Both of these stores are across the street from each other; makes it convenient for me, eh?

Anyway, "Great Wide Open" is a great record, and it's the kind of music that is instantly enjoyable. It usually takes me a while to get used to a new record, but this LP felt like an old friend when I put it on the turntable. It's full of straight-ahead, melodic, UNDERSTANDABLE rock that is very well produced. I learned something about myself when I heard that record; it fell into my "natural groove"; the music just seemed "logical" somehow. Not angry, not sad, just a little fatalistic, with semi-gloomy overtones...heck, that kinda sums ME up, doesn't it? And, it seems that Tom Petty has just gotten better and better over the years.

Albums with a similar "feel" include George Harrison's "Cloud Nine", Roy Orbison's "Mystery Girl" and Jeff Lynne's "Armchair Theatre". All of those albums came out in the aftermath of the "Traveling Wilburys, all produced by ex-Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne, and all just sound really good. For me, the "Traveling Wilburys" was a dream come true. Where else are you gonna find George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne all in one place? I special-ordered it when I read of its release, and I'm positive I was the first person in Coeur d'Alene to have a copy of that album...purely enjoyable music.
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I think I'd better stick a picture in here now dept.: Before I get too carried away, writing my rock and roll diatribes, I'd better put some kind of visual element in here; I wouldn't want this blog to get unnecessarily overwrought, after all. Let's hear it for READABILITY!!! Anyway, here's a picture that sorta depicts "The Great Wide Open"...

This is another picture from the early '50s, taken by Leo's Studio in Spokane, showing Coeur d'Alene Mountain, off in the distance, with the lake up front. There is a picnic area not too far from the top of the mountain that you can drive to, and when you're up there, it's almost as if you're looking straight down on the city of Coeur d'Alene and surrounding areas. I used to have a banged-up little Chevette that somehow made the climb up the mountain. That car was my "little tin can on wheels". Powered by a Briggs and Stratton lawn-mower engine. No, I take that back...a Briggs and Stratton engine would've had more power!
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It's enough to give you gas dept.: I passed the place where I get gas a couple of days ago (A & D Mini Mart), and saw that gas prices dropped 3 cents a gallon, currently at $2.13 a gallon, but prices are still "up there", and in a lot of places in the country, they're even higher. Ironically (or not), I read in the paper today that Chevron has made it's highest-ever quarterly profit in the last three months; that non-benevelant corporation raked in almost four and a quarter BILLION (that's right, "billion") dollars in the last three months. Maybe fuel costs are one of the reasons United Airlines has lost money for five and a half years in a row now? Or why my latest heating bill was up above $120 for my small, little, decrepid house?
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I wonder what that phrase really means dept.: In another newspaper article, was a picture of Prezzident Bushed talking to a bunch of military people, and evidently, the universal military greeting is the silogism, "Whoo-ah!", and who knows what it means; according to the article, it can mean most anything, but is generally used as a positive rallying exclamation of sorts. And evidently, Bush was greeted with "Whoo-ah!" and he gave 'em a hearty "Whoo-ah!" back. Of course, to me, "Whoo-ah!" has a totally different meaning. It's the sound of me wretching whenever I see a news clip of Prezzident Bushed, when he's having obvious trouble stringing two garbled, laborious sentences together. Watching him makes me reach for the Pepto-Bismol!
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Now I feel really, really old and decrepid dept.: I was always a huge fan of the "Mash" TV Series; many of today's shows can't stay fresh after 2 seasons, but "Mash" survived numerous casting changes, and maintained excellence for years and years, right up to the "final farewell" 2-hour series finale. Well, how about this? Alan "Hawkeye" Alda turned 70 years old today! More power to ya, Alan! Also, Paul McCartney, who wrote "When I'm 64" on 'Sgt. Pepper', will turn 64 in June of this year. Will anyone still need him? Will anyone still feed him? Actually, I'm not too worried about Paul...I hear he's got a few extra bucks stashed away somewhere.
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That's it, that's enough; it's Saturday, and time for me to go out and make rude guitar noises again. I was gonna do that last Saturday, but when I got to the bar, I found out they were having a "Karaoke" party instead. You know life is tough when you can't even play for FREE!

4 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

Yeah, sad that the Wilburys CDs have been out-of-print for so many years... I heard they might come out this year, all re-mastered and with bonus tracks. I'm still waiting on the rest of George Harrison's catalog to be remastered. And McCartney's too! That one has me puzzled... What are they waiting for with Paul's albums? They've never all been properly released on CD. I want one big box set with everything he's ever recorded, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who would buy that.

And think about this.... It's been NINETEEN YEARS since The Beatles catalog was released on CD. 19 years!!! We got their first four CDs remastered last year... Where are the rest???

10:26 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hey, Phil...

I think "4,000 holes" up on Monroe Ave. in Spokane might have both of those Wilbury CD's. I have the first Wilbury's on CD, and I have 'em both on vinyl, too. I don't care a lot about remasterings; in fact, I think the remaster of "All You Need Is Love" sounds especially weak at the beginning of the song. I have all the Beatles albums on CD; I think their albums sounded so good to begin with, it's almost unnecessary to re-master them. I still have my vinyl copy of 'Sgt. Pepper' that I got for my birthday in '68! Still sounds pretty good, too. I also know that the Long Ear has carried a "bootleg" CD that features BOTH of the Wilburys' albums; you might go up and ask them about it. Maybe they can get another copy. I bought a bootleg CD, "Pirate Songs" by George Harrison, and it has an unreleased Wilburys' song called "Maxine", in addition to some really hard-to-find Harrison Stuff. I have a lot of Macca solo CD's, too...the "special anniversary edition" of 'Band On The Run'...I also have 'Flaming Pie', his really great '97 album. Sheesh, this reply is almost as long as my blog!

4:25 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

When I got my first CD player, Christmas of '88, I fell in love with the format. I do believe it's been about 15 years since the last time I placed a vinyl album onto a turntable and dropped the needle into the groove. I might not even know how to do it! Blasphemy, I know...

Now I'm getting to the point where I don't even listen to my CDs because it's just so much easier to listen to music on the computer or iPod (which I have hooked up in the kitchen to a couple of old computer speakers).

9:48 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hi again Phil, you music maniac...I keep a portable CD/cassette player out here by the 'puter in case I wanna hear music. I bought a new CD today; the re-mastered "Straight Up" album by Badfinger that features 5 bonus tracks. Sounds really good on CD!

11:58 PM  

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