Well, hello there…. it’s been one of those weekends – a weekend of clearing, decluttering, throwing out, trashing and generally trying to reinvent a room. The weather helped at first, it was gloomy, rain-lashed, grey and decidedly stay-indoors. My mood started enthusiastically but got more and more like the weather as the day wore on and the boxes of forgotten stuff poured out onto the rather over-designed faux Axminster carpet. It was perhaps a day which was better in the approach than the execution and which left me feeling more like closing the doors than throwing them open with a newly discovered pride at the possibilities of the room.
The room in question is currently a combination of deep wine-red and vivid lime green walls, with gold skirting and picture rails – that perhaps tells you all you need to know about how long it has been since it was last decorated. It housed the pc and the vinyl, many books and a desperately underused dark wood piano (that piano just has to go). I intend to make it into my bedroom. The vinyl will of course stay, as will most of the books. The outsize and out of date pc is off to the tip. The piano…well, it will go one day just as soon as I can find someone who will drag it down two lots of steps to a better home.
The weather slowly insinuated its way into this already dark room as I worked on it – despite moving out the huge computer desk the room never seemed to get any clearer. Despite filling two boxes with belongings that are not mine, ready to move them on, the bookcases never had any more space. Every now and then an old photo would drop out of a book or from between record sleeves and remind me that there was once this person who looked a bit like me and who seemed to be having a good time with some people that looked a bit like some people I used to know….
So I wired up the decks and pulled out some vinyl – sometimes it’s the only sane solution.
Playing The Miracles and The Impressions was a start, but they never seemed to hit the spot as the rain battered the back door. Then I came across this one below – not having played it for possibly decades – and I remembered just how good it was and just how Chuck Prophet had made me put aside all my prejudices about country music and opened up the road to Gram Parsons and beyond. It’s not what most people who know me would readily volunteer as my listening choice, but was it good – damn it was good!
Perhaps it was the iron grey skies – but when you’re down and out there’s sometimes nothing like a bit of suicidally bleak country music to lighten the mood and even if it’s only good because you know that others have suffered too, and hopefully more, then it’s as soulful as anything that you’d hear from James Brown and you can hear just why Otis veered this way so often.
Plus it has the advantage – certainly that first track, that hoary old Willie Nelson standard – that time will indeed bring about it’s own revenge. Often covered, but rarely bettered in bitterness and explicit threat than on this version. It’s quite the anthem on a desolate day like yesterday. The second is just the way that weather made me feel..
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d love to put the whole record up here but for now just two selections that made the cold rain and the old photographs that much more bearable.
The room is still a mess however… perhaps I’ll go back in there in the springtime….