Ain’t Got Nothing (To Go Wrong) – Dead Meadow

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 21

Today is my birthday. I’m 51. It’s the first day of my sixth decade. My day, year, and decade started with something that most would say is a minor serendipitous moment. However, I know otherwise. My higher power speaks through music. This was no accident.

I often wind down the day by listening to music in a lowly lit room. Last night was no exception. When I’m not in the mood for a specific artist or album, or a deep listening of something new to me, I’ll often hit shuffle on a vast playlist filled with hundreds of songs I know. That’s what I did last night.

At 11:59 (I looked at the clock) one of my absolute favorite songs came on. Ain’t Got Nothing (To Go Wrong) by Dead Meadow. Not only is this a favorite song, I consider it one of my theme songs. Only a handful of songs become theme songs to me. I’ve written about them before and will surely feature them again in my Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast posts. Typically for me, the music carries me through the song. That’s the case here as well. The guitar solo in this song is incredible. However, my personal relationship to the lyrics and their overall feel with the music, are for me, the elements that elevate a song to the highest level.

The moment midnight came and the calendar turned to the eleventh of September, my birthday, shuffle gave me this song. A piece of music with great personal importance to me. It wasn’t serendipity. It was meant to be. I wouldn’t have had my new sixth decade start any other way.

 

Lemon yellow sun up overhead today
What more is there that I could say then Lord, let it stay
I ain’t got nothing to go wrong today
No, not today

I’ve been up and down this street for quite some time
The gutters get filled, it takes all kind like fish on a line
The way that things go these days, I’m fine
Yeah, I’m doing fine

Good times come, they sure come slow
Why that may be I don’t know, just let it flow
All things in this world they come, they go
Yes, this much I know

If silence is golden then your words they’re lead
I can’t believe how that shit sticks in my head
The sun shines away, there’s nothing to say
People they talk anyway, they’re talking away

 

 

September – Earth, Wind & Fire

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Do you remember?

I know it’s been a shitty year all around but the best month of the year has arrived. September is my favorite month and not just because it’s my birthday month. We need this song. It’s pure joy. Celebrate!

The lesson of the song? Never let the lyric get in the way of the groove. Ba-dee-ya!

Zig Zag Wanderer – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

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For various reasons, I have decided that this is one of my theme songs. I have a few of them, not too many. Zig Zag Wanderer, it rings true for me on many levels. This decision comes after many years of living life and many hours of listening to music. This is a decision made through experience.

I am not even a huge fan of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band even though I respect Don Van Vleet and his important contributions to music as an alternative rock pioneer and beyond. In fact, I had not even heard this song until I was around 35-40 years old, when I took a deep dive into early psychedelic rock.

You can jump you can holler
Never lose what I have found
Heaven’s free ‘cept for a dollar
You can zig you can zag
Whoa I’m gonna stay around gonna stay around

 

Beatbox Rocker – Westbam

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I know it seems like all hell is breaking loose in the United States. I know there’s bullshit flying around you in every direction. I know it seems like the virus is never going to leave us. I know you’re concerned for your safety and the safety of your loved ones.

I also know it’s Saturday night! Time to make some boogie down productions of your own. Time to get up, get up, get, get, get down with this techno electro classic. Seriously, I love this jam.

I’m beatbox rocker, and you dancing to my beat.

W.M.A. – Pearl Jam

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White. Male. American.

This song about police racism was released in 1993. It was inspired by an incident in which Eddie Vedder got into an altercation with a group of police officers who hassled his black friend but ignored him.

“He won the lottery by being born
Big hand slapped a white male American
Do no wrong so clean cut
Dirty his hands, it comes right off
Police man, police man, police man
Police stopped my brother again”

This song is now 27 years old. I’ve listened to it often over the years. Objectively it’s a pretty great song too. The tribal backbeat is hypnotic and it’s message is as vital as ever. Let’s listen to it like it’s brand new because the subject certainly isn’t old. #blacklivesmatter

Let The Good Times Roll – Little Beaver

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I’m still gravitating toward my collection of funk soul classics during these times.

Let music help you rise above the bullshit blocking your way. Whatever get’s you through. This one works for me.

Never An Easy Way – Morcheeba

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Heard this one shuffle this morning. It had been a while since I heard it. This song sounds best after midnight but today it was a morning song and once again I heard the right song at the right time.

The sound is bold and strong yet spacious and sparse. The lyrics are moody yet motivational.

It’s one of my personal anthems. Nothing else to say.

Hello In There – John Prine

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Like many people, I first learned about John Prine through other people’s versions of his songs. My mother played Bette Midler’s version of this song a lot when I was a kid. I recall listening to the lyrics and being immersed in the life of the song’s narrator. I remember being compelled to think of what were very deep thoughts at the time. This is my favorite John Prine song because it’s the first one I ever heard. I still recall taking a journey through the lyrics. For the first time, I thought of a song as a story.

Even though the singer/songwriter tradition isn’t my favorite type of music, I know and respect the legends of any genre. He’s also from Chicago and spearheaded the Chicago Folk Revival.

John Prine is a legend. May he rest in peace.

Ventilator Blues – The Rolling Stones

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The soundtrack of life continues. Rough and tumble blues from the Stones is my nomination for our post apocalyptic national anthem. Lyrically it relates to the news of the day of course. The sound of this tune is appropriately greasy and gritty for our present situation too. Not only that, it is a damn good song, one of my all-time favorites (https://brettcalleroartist.com/2019/09/11/my-500-favorite-songs-at-50/).

If a song could literally kick your ass, this would be one to watch your back around.

When your spine is cracking and your hands, they shake,
Heart is bursting and you butt’s gonna break.
Your woman’s cussing, you can hear her scream,
You feel like murder in the first degree.
Ain’t nobody slowing down no way,
Ev’rybody’s stepping on their accelerator,
Don’t matter where you are,
Ev’rybody’s gonna need a ventilator.
When you’re trapped and circled with no second chances,
Your code of living is your gun in hand.
We can’t be browed by beating, we can’t be cowed by words,
Messed by cheating, ain’t gonna ever learn.
Ev’rybody walking ’round,
Ev’rybody trying to step on their Creator.
Don’t matter where you are, ev’rybody, ev’rybody gonna
Need some kind of ventilator, some kind of ventilator.
What you gonna do about it, what you gonna do?
What you gonna do about it, what you gonna do?
Gonna fight it, gonna fight it?

Vehicle – The Ides Of March

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Hey, it’s the Ides of March. A one-hit wonder of a day! The hit of course being the murder of Julius Caesar. Therefore, it’s poetic symmetry that the band Ides Of March would be a true one-hit wonder.

Chicago band, the Ides Of March hit it big with their first single “Vehicle” which peaked at #2 in 1970. For a brief time this song was everywhere. It was a major hit. Tom Jones even sang it on his variety show. It has also even become a rock song regularly played by marching bands.

If you’re from Chicago as I am, you’ll certainly know this song. It’s on permanent rotation there.

 

Resurrection Joe – The Cult

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I’ve always liked the Cult. A chameleon of a band. However, this post isn’t about them. Maybe another day.

This post is about current events. I was simply reminded of this song of theirs today when watching the news of the election results last night. You can draw your own conclusion. Just remember, there’s a song for everything.

Missouri – Howlin’ Rain

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Part three of my concert trifecta is tonight. The band is Howlin’ Rain, a band I’ve wanted to see for 10 years. The venue is the Earl. My favorite little venue in Atlanta. It’s gonna be great.

Howlin’ Rain was formed by Ethan Miller to pursue a more melodic sound in his music and express the influence of growing up in Northern California’s Lost Coast. Previously Miller fronted Comets On Fire, a heavy noise rock band. Howlin’ Rain have been described as a combination of psychedelia, blues, funk and classic 1970s arena rock. All of those are great in themselves. Howlin’ Rain combine it all in a sound that fills a space with soulful authenticity.

Howlin’ Rain’s new album The Alligator Bride is a return to form and their best since the aptly titled Magnificent Fiend from a decade ago. My favorite song on their latest album happens to be one they made a video for. Check out this thunderous track called “Missouri.”

Mind Control – Truckfighters

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Once again, it’s time to fight trucks!!!

Concert night is here. This time it’s the band Truckfighters, from Örebro, Sweden. One of my favorite bands. They lay down one of the thickest fuzziest grooves you’ve ever heard. Here’s the video for “Mind Control,” one of their very best songs.

One Slight Wrong Move – Archers Of Loaf

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Concert night is here. Concert week is here. Four of them in the next 8 days.

Tonight is Archers of Loaf at Terminal West. Looking forward to it. I’ve never seen them before. I like this band but I love one of their albums, White Trash Heroes, their fourth and final full length album. If you’ve not heard it, check it out. It’s super solid from start to finish. My favorite song form that album is a noisy groove called “One Slight Wrong Move.”

This song kicks so much ass in just a few short minutes.

“A hundred million people could be wrong,
A hundred million people have been wrong before,
A hundred million people could be wrong”

Hard Times – Baby Huey & the Baby Sitters

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Good God – I love the old school Funk Soul!

So much amazing music from that genre and time. I’m talking around 1965-75, before the horn sections were replaced by synthesizers. Even though I didn’t take a deep dive into the genre until my late 30’s. I always loved this music. The deep diving has revealed so much. Songs with great soulful vocal melodies, exciting rhythms and a little psychedelic rock, all mixed together. Now I feel like I found a treasure of rock and soul golden nuggets. I highly recommend you take this musical journey. Things may sound a little familiar and that would be because this musical genre is easily the most sampled of all time.

Today I’m listening to Baby Huey. He was based out of my hometown of Chicago. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, Baby Huey’s sole album  “Living Legend” is really fantastic. Unfortunately, Baby Huey died of a drug-related heart attack at age 26. “Living Legend” was posthumously released a few months later.

Big man made some great stuff.

N. I. B. – Black Sabbath

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Fifty years ago today, Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut was unleashed and released to the world. I’ve read many times that Black Sabbath set out to create a sense of horror with their songs. Something mysterious and sinister, like a scary movie but with rock and roll. Just look at the album cover art. Just listen the first notes of the first track, the song Black Sabbath and you’ll see they not only successfully reached this goal, they defined it. They defined that sound for everyone, everywhere, forever.

Millions of words have already been written about the impact of this album (and other early Black Sabbath albums) on rock and roll and the greater culture as a whole. Therefore, I’ll just mention a couple of personal anecdotes.

As an art professor I have an introduction to design project where I have students use their imaginations and create the shapes of sound. I let them choose their own songs but I play about a dozen songs that vary in mood and tempo in class as examples. The song “Black Sabbath” is always one of my choices because of how effective it is at stimulating the imagination of the listener.

I love Sabbath, especially the early stuff. However, I am (and always will be) a Led Zeppelin guy. That said, I will argue that Black Sabbath had a GREATER overall impact on rock and roll than Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath in many ways started the engine of the heavy metal machine. Thousands of bands worldwide have taken this as their template. Led Zeppelin, despite all their success and influence, cannot say that. I believe Black Sabbath’s impact on rock and roll is second to only the Beatles.

My favorite song on this album is N. I. B. simply for it’s overall sound. I’m a sucker for a funky fat riff. It’s so easy to groove to. Interestingly though, the song has a couple of good stories about it too. Good music misunderstanding stories.

It’s always on the list of banned songs because it mentions the name Lucifer blah, blah, blah. If you actually understand the song, you’ll learn it’s written from the perspective of Lucifer as he falls in love and transforms into a good person.

The title has it’s own misunderstanding as well that I find pretty funny. Most think “N. I. B.” stands for “Nativity In Black.” It doesn’t, it’s basically an inside joke about Bill Ward’s facial hair. You can read about it here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sabbath_(album), (then click on the link for the song, don’t know why the direct link isn’t working). Basically, that name has been imposed on the song by just about everyone. So today, it un-officially does stand for “Nativity In Black,” because this is what the world wants.

So here you are. Presented in honor of the fifty year anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath’s self-titled debut (and the birth of heavy metal).

Cult of Personality – Living Colour

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I’m surprised at how many people have NOT heard this song. Kids! Give it a spin! Adults, revisit this song and it’s message. It’s sounds like 2020 doesn’t it? We’re living through the Cult Of Ugly Personality.