Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Contemplating my obsolescence

I haven't had as much time to blog, because I've actually started hiking again. I started slow, and I am now up to about an hour and a half before I completely collapse. My beloved azaleas are in bloom, and it's a beautiful spring!

My goal is to someday be able to climb a real mountain again. At this admittedly-slow rate, it will be at least another year, but I am fervently hoping for next spring/summer... and I promise if I ever again get to the top of Table Rock, I will take oodles of photos for DEAD AIR--so you will all believe me!


As I said in this post (fabulous music awaits you at the link), the kids used to ask me the names of songs... but yesterday, I had to ask one of them. As you all know, it is impossible to Google lyrics from an instrumental song, since they have no lyrics. (sigh) Stranded, desolate and desperate... the pretty music plays on and on and you can't ever find it again. One 60s-era instrumental arrangement, in particular, has been haunting me for several months now. Upon hearing it again, I scurried over to the work-area of said young person, who then held his handy-dandy iPhone up to the speaker broadcasting my long-lost tune. Held the phone up, said the old lady, you believe that shit?

Answer, within about 10 seconds: Cleo's Mood, by Junior Walker and the All Stars. (I have helpfully provided the long-lost song for you below. You knew I would.)

And that's what I mean about becoming obsolete. My musical memory is certainly no match for an iPhone application! Somehow, it makes me feel sad and exhilarated, all at once. I guess this is how the old mule skinner felt when he saw the Model-T Ford: Wow.

Just for that, adding Muleskinner Blues to our mix. (Just listen to her hit them high notes!!!)


Believe it or not, it was once considered pretty radical stuff for a woman to sing this song. (Notice she is careful to say she is a lady mule skinner.) Typically, Dolly takes a classic male song (about a male occupation!) and makes it totally her own, singing it far better than any man, with that Tennessee-wildcat soprano of hers. I've always loved this!

And for the record: It does not get more country than this, so if you don't like country music, do not listen. Really.

Mule Skinner Blues - Dolly Parton


My long-lost Motown instrumental! Brought to you by... the wonders of modern technology!

(Is this the coolest thing you ever heard or what?)

Cleo's Mood - Junior Walker and the All Stars


Last, but not least.

I grew up with this song, and I always think of it when any coal-miner is hurt. Dedicated to the miners in West Virginia, and their families; I'm sure lots of people are thinking about these words right now... and my prayers are with them.

Dark as a Dungeon (written by Merle Travis)

Oh come all you young fellers so young and so fine
Seek not your fortune in a dark dreary mine
It'll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal

Well it's many a man that I've seen in my day
Who lived just to labor his whole life away
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine

Where it's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew
Where the danger is double and pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine

And pray when I'm gone and my ages shall roll
That my body would blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home
And pity the miners digging my bones

Where it's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew
Where the danger is double and pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine

Dark as a Dungeon - Dolly Parton


JoJo said...

Where is Table Mtn? Is it in SC? Good for you for taking up hiking again! We used to do more of it when we lived in West Marin, but now it's just not worth the traffic hassles to get to the trails around here. lol

The mine tragedy is just horrible. My coworker's dad was a coal miner here in Washington. Tough old bird he was too. Survived a couple of cave in's and one explosion. It's a dangerous job.

Marion said...

So in awe of you finding Cleo's Mood...I haven't heard that song in ages. And Dolly is wonderful...I enjoyed Muleskinner Blues so much! She's simply amazing...she makes me smile just watching her and her twinkly eyes.

You're hiking again! Super news...if things go well, I intend to begin walking again, and will work up to hiking hopefully. I hope you manage your mountain climbing...I know through Graham, who once climbed a huge amount, how stimulating this is. All the best of luck to you in your endeavour! said...

Great collection of songs, and keep in mind that my iphone will never say 'Oh yeah, you like that? You should hear Two Headed Dog by Roky Erikson.' (or whatever) or give me some great thoughts on Dolly.

Skinner said...

Whoops, thought I'd used my usual login. Anyhow. :)

queen emily said...

You know, personally I really HATE the memory capabilities of the infotech stuff. Not everything should be high-res, memory *should* be a bit wonky, you know?

Suzan is bemused by the fact that I spend my days listening to old pirate radio broadcasts I've collected from the 90s where the announcers never name the songs but just give shoutouts to their friends, and most of the songs played were one-off dubplates or small release records. I only recognise a good third of the songs, tops.

I know it's not quite what you're getting at in contemplating your own obsolescence. But I think generally, there's something necessary about cultural obsolescence that maybe we're losing. I dunno, I'm oddly Luddite about a lot of technology (she says, on a blog).

Rachel said...

I do not know why the azaleas in our woods aren't blooming yet...? I see them around everywhere but ours are late. Strange. I do love them, and they make great photos.

white rabbit said...

What on earth is a mule skinner? Presumably someone who skins mules...

But why?

DaisyDeadhead said...

WR, I guess the proper British term would be "muleteer"--one who drives mules.

Why? To get from place to place.

(This tells me you didn't listen to Dolly crack the whip, whistle, whoop and yell at her mules. :P)

white rabbit said...

Daisy - Nope, never done that.

I've led a sheltered life.


Doc Anchovy said...

Now, I knew what a muleskinner was and is (yes, there still is a job f'er a 'skinner in some parts) but let's test the mule knowledge a bit further here...Anybody know what the difference between a shave-tail and a bound-tail is? Yes, it's rhetorical. "Ghee-Haw, Git Ye Up!" I used to hang with some of the guys in The Grand Canyon...

sheila said...

I feel like singing: CLIMBBBB EVERY MOUNTAIN!!!!!!!!!

brustvergrösserung said...

Her voice is just one of the greatest.