Of That I’m Sure

The old city of Jerusalem 05a

But you remain the same, and your years will never end. ~ Psalm 102:27

Nothing lasts forever
Of that I’m sure
Now you’ve made an offer
I’ll take some more

Nothing lasts forever. Boy ain’t that the truth?

At least that’s the way it seems for most things on this earth. But some things do last longer than others. And that’s comforting.

Young loving may be
Oh so mean
Will I still survive
The same old scene

Familiarity breeds contempt.  Things become routine and we get bored. Sometimes we need change, just for the sake of change. This happens with most things in our lives: cars, jobs, homes and, sadly, with our relationships.  Even our relationship with God.

In our lighter moments
precious few
It’s all that heavy weather
We’re going through

But there are times when we need to dig in deep, to reach out and “hold on loosely (but don’t let go)” as Johnny Van Zandt once sang. I read something recently that sticks in my mind: “A perfect relationship is two imperfect people who refuse to give up on one another”.

When I turn the corner
I can’t believe
It’s still the same old movie
That’s haunting me

Bryan Ferry turned a corner of his own in early 1970, forming Roxy Music (a wordplay on rock music) and holding on to his dreams of rock-n-roll stardom. The band had moderate early success in the early 70’s pursuing the “glam” or “glitter rock” stylings of other artists like David Bowie, T-Rex, Gary Glitter, Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. Songs like “Virginia Plain”, “Pyjamarama” and “Street Life” capitalized on the synthesized keyboard driven melodies that were topping the charts for those other artists.

Young loving may be
Oh so mean
Trying to revive
The same old scene

Roxy-Music

Unlike Bowie, Cooper and T-Rex, however, Roxy Music did not receive much attention here in the U.S. until 1974’s “Love Is The Drug” hit the airwaves. It was perfect for the burgeoning disco sound that was beginning to dominate the clubs. I remember clearly the first time I heard the song; it had that irresistible thumping groove replete with the timbale roll, accompanied by Bryan’s signature seductive – yet elegant – croon.

And just as suddenly as they had burst onto the scene – poof – they disappeared. It wasn’t until 1979’s “Dance Away” that they made any real impact  again, ironically just as the disco scene was dying out. It seemed to me that “Love Is The Drug” and “Dance Away” made perfect bookends for the whole disco era.

Young loving may be
So extreme
Maybe we should try
The same old scene

And then it came; in 1980 the group released their best album to date, Flesh And Blood. It produced four solid hits including  “Over You”, “Oh Yeah”, “Same Old Scene” and the fabulously quirky cover of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”.

“Same Old Scene” really jumped out at me. I had gone to the Atlanta premiere for the movie Times Square, and it was featured in the soundtrack (which is a great album in it’s own right for those who loved the late 70’s/early 80’s punk/alternative sound).

Flesh and Blood was followed by – in my humble opinion – an even bigger masterpiece, 1982’s Avalon.

A few interesting tidbits about the band include:

  • Before forming Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry was teaching ceramics at a girls school but was fired for holding impromptu recording sessions in class.
  • Ferry once auditioned to take over as lead vocalist for King Crimson when Greg Lake departed to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
  • The first five Roxy Music album covers all catered to Bryan Ferry’s obsession with women and fashion. The covers included fashion models  Amanda Lear, Jerry Hall, Marilyn Cole (each of whom had romantic relationships with Ferry),  Kari-Ann Muller (who dated Mick Jagger’s brother Chris) and two German fans/models, Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald (on the cover of Country Life, which was banned in many countries).
  • The Avalon album cover features model Lucy Helmore, who married Bryan in 1982. They divorced in 2003.

I guess with all of Bryan’s womanizing, it’s obvious that he was certainly not one who cared for the “same old scene”, but his song lamenting it sure sounds as fresh as it did back in 1980. Check out the original here:

And check out “In The Midnight Hour” live on MTV’s 1980 New Years Eve Special:


Taking What They’re Giving

iron-workers

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~ Colossians 3:17

Some days won’t ever end and some days pass on by,
I’ll be working here forever, at least until I die.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
I’m supposed to get a raise next week, you know damn well I won’t.

I know, I know…Labor Day was last weekend, but hey, better late than never! And speaking of working – I’ve had to take a bit of a break from my UTRS writings this summer and focus in on some deadline work that had to be done in my “real” job. But I’m happy to be back and posting here, as this is truly a “labor of love” for me.

Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’, livin’ and workin’
I’m taking what they giving ’cause I’m working for a livin’.

It’s great that I’ve been able to combine a couple of my favorite pursuits – music and writing, along with being a follower of Christ – to create this little hobby that gives me such great joy. But the truth is, we ALL need to be joyous in our everyday working lives.  And the Bible gives us this key to keep us on the right path: “Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”  That’s right, your hard, honest work pleases God, especially when we dedicate our efforts to Him.

Hey I’m not complaining ’cause I really need the work
Hitting up my buddy’s got me feeling like a jerk
Hundred dollar car note, two hundred rent.
I get a check on Friday, but it’s already spent.

They called James Brown the “hardest working man in show biz”,  but Huey Lewis’ (born Hugh Anthony Cregg III) path to success was surely a hard and rocky road.  Ringo Starr once sang “If you want to sing the blues, then you’ve got pay your dues”.  And paying your dues is exactly what Huey had to do.

Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’, livin’ and workin’
I’m taking what they giving ’cause I’m working for a livin’.

Huey-Lewis-The-News-huey-lewis-and-the-news-2877809-758-473

Huey’s first real break in the biz came in 1971 when he joined a local San Francisco Bay area band called Clover. Yup – the Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello backup band! Upon joining Clover, he changed his stage name to Hughie Louis and, after being discovered by Nick Lowe, the band was soon invited to tour Great Britain. The band adopted the early pub rock-folk sound that was just being replaced by punk rock. Huey was primarily a harmonica player and occasional vocalist during the tour.

Bus boy, bartender, ladies of the night
Grease monkey, ex-junky, winner of the fight
Walking on the streets, its really all the same
Selling souls, rock n’ roll, any other day

Clover’s first two records bombed, the punk rock scene took over and that was the end of the road for the band, at that time. Huey returned to San Francisco, re-enrolled in college to pursue an engineering degree and started playing around at local bars to make a little side money.  It was while playing at a Corte Madera bar, Uncle Charlie’s, that he met the guys that ultimately became The News. They recorded a little song (written by the one and only Robert John “Mutt” Lange)  called “Do You Believe In Love” and the rest is history. “Do You Believe In Love” reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in 1982.

Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’ (workin’)
Workin’ for a livin’, livin’ and workin’
I’m taking what they giving ’cause I’m working for a livin’

A few interesting notes about HL&TN:

  • Huey learned to play harmonica while hitchhiking across the country as a way to pass the time while waiting for rides.
  • The band’s original name was Huey Lewis and The American Express but their manager made them change it so they wouldn’t get sued.
  • Huey played harmonica on Thin Lizzy’s 1978 album Live And Dangerous; he’s credited under the name “Huey Harp”.
  • He produced Bruce Hornsby’s smash hit album, The Way It Is, in 1986.

So, I’m hoping everyone enjoyed their Labor Day holiday and got a little rest and relaxation in before heading back in to work this week. And while you’re working, here’s a little hard workin’ music to help you through the day.

Check out Huey and the boys from the Bay here:

Sources for this post included:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huey_Lewis

http://www.songfacts.com/facts-huey_lewis_%5E_the_news.php

 

In Your Wildest Dreams

heart-of-stone

Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. ~Proverbs 28:14

Cryin’ on the corner, waitin’ in the rain
I swear I’ll never, ever wait again
You gave me your word, but words for you are lies

Darlin’, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d go
But it’s time to let you know

Yup, life can really throw you some curve balls. Can’t resist a little baseball reference here – I’m a huge fan, spring training is in full swing and we’re just a couple of weeks away from the season openers. But I digress…

Yes life can be full of tough games, with love being the toughest of them all. And when it roughs you up enough, the temptation is to become a little jaded, a little cynical…a little hard-hearted.

I’m gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
I’m gonna turn and leave you here

And though I can only speak for one side of the gender gap, it seems to me a trait most often worn by the fairer sex. Then again, I guess that’s because we menfolk are most often giving them reason to be. And it’s funny how the softest thing in the world – a woman’s heart – can somehow turn into the hardest stone you’ve ever seen.

All of my life, I’ve been waitin’ in the rain
I’ve been waitin’ for a feeling that never, ever came
It feels so close but always disappears

Darlin’, in your wildest dreams, you never had a clue
But it’s time you got the news

And when it does, it often seems like it comes out of nowhere, in the middle of the night. Gone with the wind…and a colder wind never blew.

You know, it’s funny but that’s how some folks are about Jesus, too. They can be the warmest, most caring folks in the world…but let the conversation turn to the King of Peace and you’ll surely find some hardened hearts out there.

And you gotta wonder why.

I’m gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
I’m gonna turn and leave you here

It’s hard to say where the inspiration for Quarterflash’s only Top 10 hit “Harden My Heart” came from. It was written by Marv Ross, the guitar playing husband of Rindy Ross, the sax player and lead vocalist for the group.

And theirs was seemingly a fairytale story: they met while studying for teaching degrees at Western Oregon University. They fell in love while gigging for local Pacific northwest area bands and, after pursuing their teaching careers for three years, ultimately founded their own group – Seafood Mama – playing local dive bars between Portland and Seattle during the late ’70’s.

Darlin’, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d go
But it’s time to let you know

And I’m sure Marv and Rindy never thought that they would become huge stars – well at least one-hit wonders – when they changed their band’s name to Quarterflash and got signed with Geffen Records in 1981. But, it was the year MTV debuted and there was not a huge catalog of music videos available, so Quarterflash’s catchy tune with the “Pat Benatar/Raphael Ravenscroft” sounding sax player got heavy rotation. It would go on the reach #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and become a million selling, Gold certified single.

I’m a-gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
I’m a-gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
Harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
No, oh, oh, oh
Harden my heart
I’m gonna harden my heart
I’m gonna swallow my tears
I’m a-gonna harden my heart

A few interesting notes about Quarterflash:

  • The band’s name came from an Australian slang description for visiting Yanks as being “one quarter flash and three parts foolish”.
  • Marv and Rindy discovered the expression in a book they found at the house of their Geffen producer, John Boylan.
  • The group was actually formed by the merging of their group, Seafood Mama, along with another Portland area band, Pilot. They recorded a prior version of the song “Harden My Heart” and it was a regional hit in the area.

Quarterflash

Marv and Rindy have stuck together ever since, reforming Quarterflash in the early 2000’s and releasing two more albums, though neither has seen much commercial success.

I guess you could say the Ross’s have kept their hearts from becoming hardened and endured as a couple, both musically and romantically.

We should all strive to do likewise.

Enjoy the original here:

Sources for this post included:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harden_My_Heart

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarterflash