Monday, May 08, 2006

Take the Money and Run

Cool songs are one thing, but there are also cool little moments in songs, right? Sometimes, such a bit may be the most memorable thing about the song. More often, it represents just one more reason to dig something you already like.

One example I heard again over the weekend is on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, where "Funeral for a Friend" turns into "Love Lies Bleeding," where we hear Elton John singing for the first time: "The roses in the window box have tilted to one side. . . ." What's impressive about it is that "Funeral," which is already pretty intense by that point, gets kicked up another notch. Another favorite moment is on Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' "The Love I Lost," which begins with that stately electric piano, then a guitar buzzing in one speaker like a housefly in a lampshade. The moment arrives a few seconds later when the MFSB string section kicks in, and the record accelerates like a limousine on the interstate. On Stories' "Brother Louie," right before the last chorus, the string section gets into a call-and-response thing with the lead guitar, and it's Top 40 nirvana. On "Still the One" by Orleans, it's where the electric piano comes in on the introduction (all of which is great, actually). On Aretha Franklin's "Spanish Harlem," it's right at the end of her piano solo, where 'Ree plays a little five-note lick that's echoed by a guitar and by something from the woodwind section before the strings take it home. And I could go on.

Over at Retrocrush a couple of years ago, they assembled their 50 coolest song parts. This week at Marathonpacks, there's something a bit more scholarly--a list of favorite Beatle moments. Hours of fun, guaranteed--and it even includes sound files, which makes it far superior to this post, anyhow.

You Bought it Once, Now Buy it Again: Thirty years ago this summer, the Steve Miller Band's Fly Like an Eagle was one of the essential adolescent-guy-driving-around records. Now that all of us are old and fat and bald (but driving better cars), we'll be able to do it all over again. Capitol is releasing a 30th anniversary edition on June 27. The remastered CD will feature a 5.1 surround sound mix and the inevitable bonus tracks--a bluesy version of the title song, a slowed-down take on "Rock'n Me," and an acoustic version of "Take the Money and Run."

Bluesy, slowed-down, and acoustic? I think the message is that since we're old and fat and bald now, there's no need to drive very fast.


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