Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Beth's Music Moment

Before I get to that, the AOL journals editor (Joe) wrote about how to register with AOL to leave comments using an existing email address. You still have to go through a registration process, but it's not like actually signing up for AOL. If anyone is interested, you can read his entry here. He's been incredibly helpful with many of his entries, and everything I've tried has always worked! It's just a way for non-AOL users to leave comments if they so wish.

Now to today's Music Moment. No one has suggested a better name to me yet, but I'm willing to consider any and all comers. So for now, Music Moment it is. Today I'll write about The Rainmakers. They hail from Kansas City, Missouri, and they definitely have that "heartland" feel to their music. Straight-up rock and roll, and clever lyrics. (I'm sensing a theme here...one thing that always strikes me is clever lyrics.) I think I first encountered the Rainmakers through the "Downstream" video, which I will include later on. I loved their first album, which was self-titled, and even 20 years later, I bet I remember all the lyrics! All of the songs on that disc are good, but my favorites are "Downstream," "Let My People Go-Go," "Big Fat Blonde," (sooooo-weee!) and "Long Gone Long." Their second album was "Tornado." The songs "Snakedance," "One More Summer," and "I Talk With My Hands" are personal favorites. Their later albums ("The Good News and the Bad News" and "Skin") are also good, but for me, the first two are what drew me in and have stuck with me.

Here are the lyrics to "Long Gone Long." Discussion afterwards.

Older than I used to be, younger than I'm gonna be
Fewer things puzzle me than when I was young
But when my pace is falling slack
I catch myself thinking back
a certain night, a certain summer
Long gone long

August she was swinging low
Town of about a thousand-so
Out of school, ready to get out of here
Off to farm, off to State, each going our separate ways
Graduation message still sweet in our ears

Oh oh oh, clocks are slow
Hearts beat on
Long gone long

Got into a car thatnight
Drove out past the signal light
Past the city limits, guess it wasn't that far
Stopped out on a rural route
Gooch got out his .22
Shooting at a freight train that was hauling new cars

Drinking underneath the stars
Watching counting meteors
Robert said you know those fell a hundred years ago
The light is just now reaching earth
I said man for what it's worth
I think you are wrong and you really don't know


Is something going on, I tell you nothing's going on
Nothing's going on, going on, going on
Is something going on, I tell you nothing's going on
Nothing's going on, going on

Goodbye to the home team, goodbye to the rinky-dinks
Goodbye to a girl, down my street heading home
She stepped out from behind a tree, tears running down her cheeks
Goodbye to more than either of us could have known

This is another of those songs that can bring a tear to my eye. Something about it is just so heartbreaking, and for anyone who grew up in a small town, immediately reminiscent of our own childhood. "Past the city limits, guess it wasn't that far." Man, I hear ya, Bob! Another great line is from the song "Drinking on the Job": "The generation that would change the world is still looking for its car keys." I guess I should mention that this brilliance was written by frontman Bob Walkenhorst. Besides having a way with words, he used to have this crazy mop of hair that was just awesome (you'll see if you watch the videos). I was lucky enough to get to see the band in Grand Forks, North Dakota, of all places. They totally rocked! But it gets hot up there onstage, with all the lights and equipment, and Bob is pretty active onstage...so he was getting pretty sweaty. At one point, he leaned out over the audience and shook that hair, and the sweat flew for a good six feet. My friends said, "Ewwww, gross!" I said, "COOL!" Hey man, he was workin' up there, and I respect that. I expect my musicians to sweat.

I don't know if the band still plays together these days, but Bob is still in Kansas City and still making music. Here is the band's website and here is Bob's. There's nothing fancy about The Rainmakers, but who said good music has to be fancy? As Big Audio Dynamite says, "Just play that music."

Our first video is of the song with the lyrics above, "Long Gone Long." I hope it touches you the way it does me.

Our second video is "Downstream," and if this doesn't make you move, call the coroner, 'cause you're dead.

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