We had our first snow storm at the end of January. We probably ended up with about 3 inches but the main issue was the sleet that turned into slush that turned into Ice. Now living in this part of North Carolina you learn real quickly that any mention of snow/ice and people go spastic. It's not really their fault, they are not exposed to it enough. And one nice thing about working at my job is that if the ICE is bad enough, and if it is the first storm of the year, there is a good chance a phone call will be received that work will be closed the next day. The phone call came and so I had February 1st off. I spent the morning busy and in the afternoon I went upstairs to listen to some music. I started going through albums I have purchased over the past month but nothing seemed to strike my mood. I started going through the shelves of my other albums when I came across a group I had not listened to in ages and was perfect for my mood.....the Dream Syndicate.
Paul Simon has a great line in his song Kodachrome...."When I think back of all the crap I learned in High School." I would like to take that line and revise it to "When I think back to the crap music I listened to in High School." I can't stomach much of it anymore, it's just so bloody awful. It was prefabricated and force fed to me...I did not know better. But I found out later that there was music out that was fresh, relevant and alive. The Dream Syndicate started out around the time I was a Jr. or Sr. in High School but I sure did not know about them. They sure were not played on the radio. It wasn't until College Radio opened up my ears to the possibilities.
The Dream Syndicate were a guitar band. It's just that simple. They were one of the more notable bands associated with the Paisley Underground movement in Los Angeles in the early 80s. Listen to "Tell Me When It's Over" off their first full length LP "The Days Of Wine And Roses". The guitar/drum interplay is captivating.
Or listen to "Merrittville" off of the 1984 LP "Medicine Show" Steve Wynn had a way with lyrics and you could get lost in the pain and anguish of his characters.
But mainstream success eluded them and they broke up after their last official studio album "Ghost Stories". I picked it up after they broke up. Steve Wynn has gone on to have a long solo career.
So after building up the guitar band tag, I choose to share their melodic softer side with "Whatever You Please" off of "Ghost Stories". It has one of my favorite lyrics of all time...."Would you like to trade convictions over a cheap bottle of wine. You could tell me yours and I come up with mine". I've heard many versions of this song over the years...one notable version with Steve singing obviously in a small club and you can hear the whispering conversations of patrons and the clanking of bottles of beer....with my eyes closed, I can almost see the haze of cigarette smoke in the air. I was whistling this song this morning at the YMCA after my workout and one of the guys in the men's locker room said "Don't recognize that. What song is that?" When I told him, he said "No wonder, never heard of them". What a shame.....what a shame.
The Dream Syndicate - Whatever You Please