Sunday, November 29, 2015

God Save the Queen

So I was listening to the AlphaBeatical podcast last night on the drive home and I learned multiple things that I immediately wanted to discuss with you; like that there's a 26-minute take of Helter Skelter or do you remember the "007" opening to HELP! that was on the "Blue" album (1967-1970)?  I had totally forgotten about it.  

These things are certainly interesting, but I genuinely had my mind blown during the Her Majesty episode.  I do not say "mind blown" without thought as I think it is overused and under-meant, but, in this case, I was driving down the road literally thinking how mind blowing what I just heard was.

I should warn you that learning what I learned last night might change how you think of the Abbey Road B-side medley forever.  Please do not read further if you'd like things to stay how they are, but I think it's incredibly interesting.  

That which I'll reveal below explains things that were mysterious and ingenious to me before...And by removing the mystery and ingenuity, it has rendered it mysterious and ingenious in a wholly different way.

Stop reading now if you don't want to know.  As one of the hosts put it, and I'm paraphrasing, sometimes I get so used to the skip in the record or the scratch on the cd that I miss them when I don't hear it.

Perhaps you have already heard or read this story and it's not news.  I'm honestly astonished that a detail this enormous had escaped my interest up to this point considering the amount of Beatles insignifica I have ingested in my life.  But here goes; Her Majesty was originally conceived and recorded to follow Mean Mr. Mustard and precede Polythene Pam in the Abbey Road: B-side Medley.  

I'll give you a second.  

That seems ridiculous, right?  It's a silly, throwaway acoustic ditty/demo that was tacked on to the end of the album as a lark, right?  It's a nice little Macca musing that was proffered, but never fleshed out because Abbey Road was the last album recorded before the Beatles dissolution and it just didn't make it in time, right?  It was just too good not to make the cut anyway, right?  It's a cute palette cleanser for the ambitious and orgiastic finale to the album (read: band) and that's all it is, right?  Paul just had to get in the last word and that's that, right? 

As such; it starts with a quick full-band stinger and ends just as abruptly on the finger-picked 5th almost as if George Martin ran out of tape.  But in actuality, that's the last hit of Mustard and the first pulse of Pam respectively.

Yeah.  I know.  

Even lyrically, there's context: "His sister Pam" "takes him out to look at the queen."  Mean Mr. Mustard views Her Majesty with his sister Polythene Pam.  Jeez, it's just so literal.

Apparently (and as a sidenote, the hosts do not present any of this as apocryphal (my one wish for this podcast is that it'd have footnotes and attributions)), Paul pulled the track out of the medley because he (understandably) didn't like the flow in the context of the medley and was going to "throw it out."  

As in, lose the tape.  
86 it.  
File 13.

The story goes that a forward thinking EMI executive with eyes on The Beatles's inevitably lucrative legacy held on to the tape and it was eventually tacked on to the end of the album as we know it today.  

What's crazier? 
  1. The story I've outlined above.
  2. The fact that Macca would (presumably) routinely throw away gems that I'd be proud to have penned once.
  3. The untold hundreds of other throw-aways that stayed thrown away.
  4. The decision to so "sloppily" leave the opening stinger and the button on the end once it was decided to put it on the album on its own as a hidden track.
I'd love to know your thoughts.  Had you heard about this?

Take a listen to this clip wherein Her Majesty has been edited back to its original position.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As Adjunct to a Sailor

As Adjunct to a Sailor
Words: Holmquist
(Summer, 2009)

It's in these wakes I cease to feel
The need to pull, the need to heave
On cleaves of waves surrounding me

The captain-call becomes too late
The timing missed, the prow betrayed
The yawing mist's entreats waylaid

A promised grace, as yet unfurled,
Implores a hand on oar unknurled
To find a grip more suitable

A course is found not mapped in front
But in action that leaves a shunt
A motion lacked will bear the brunt

A passive life is one to ask
To wish an equal to the task
That sees where you were meant to be

On verdant shores replete and dreamed
With sights unsaid, but always seen
To land us where we hoped we'd be

A sailor's wish, to make it be
Is not enough to dither me
A Captain's life is not for me

And now, I tense, and steer the craft
That is not mine to steer, I laugh
And take you where I want to be
And take you where I want to be
And take you where I want to be

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I haven't written music for a while.
I haven't written lyrics for a while.

I've come up with ideas for the music of others, but...not so much for myself.

Is it because I'm happy? Things are going well?

All this time, did I need to feel like shit to create?
Am I now duly relegated to "arranger," "producer," or worst, "voice-talent"?!?!

For about 8 years, I've been the sole-proprietor of City Farmer Music.
I made what I want to hear because I was compelled to compose it, record it and hear it for myself.

Now, I feel like I've moved into another stage where I'm happy with things and I don't want them to go wrong just so I can selfishly reap the emotion for a creative harvest.

I'm truly enjoying the music of my collaborators, but don't feel the pressure to contribute as much, let alone the compulsion.

I'm really okay with being happy.

I'm not sure that creativity is diametrically opposed to happiness, but it feels that way when I think about playing the guitar. I used to find solace in sitting on the couch and mindlessly strumming, picking, or plucking at strings just to make a sound that distracted me from what I was sad or frustrated about. I don't have a lot of things to escape from right now.

I still love writing, rehearsing, and recording music...that hasn't changed, but am I able to let go of this idea that it's mine? That I went through something and I became a conduit to some other truth? That it wasn't so much that I wrote it as that it became?

Why would I have to feel neglected, betrayed or miserable for that to work?

I don't know.

I haven't touched a guitar in many weeks. I sing, whistle and hum all the the annoyance of those around me...but when was the last time I sat down with a guitar and played a riff over and over until something came to me, came to be?

I know eventually, something will go wrong...but for right now, I'm happy with being happy and letting others carry the burden of tortuous songwriter.

Let's play.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Watching the Wheels Go 'Round and 'Round

December 8, 1980.
I remember that day, lo these 28 years.

I was seven, but goin'-on-8!

School bus #7. I believe Henry was my driver at the time. On the way home after school.
Outside of some classmate's farm and I can't remember him or how to get there...but I remember this moment.

Some DJ on KEEZ FM 99.1 (but we didn't deal in decimals at the time), said confusedly that John Lennon was murdered...details sketchy.

Then the kind DJ played "Watchin' the Wheels Go 'Round and 'Round." John's last single.

As far as I remember.

John really loved to watch'em go.

At that moment, I was no longer on the Merry-Go-Round. I just had to let it go.

This acknowledgement of mortality came at a time when I was not sufficiently equipped and when I wasn't really a Beatles fan. I didn't know from Beatles.

Truth is, when I heard a song, I liked it or didn't. But I will always love and appreciate "Watchin' the Wheels Go 'Round and 'Round." For the moment it is and will ever be.


Reading my old blog from a couple of years ago, I'm realizing "things."

I typed those missives only a couple of years ago (plus change), but perhaps that parenthetical is really the point of this post.

Yeah, I you get older, time seems to pass exponentially faster. Downhill I suppose, at least in a temporal sense. In the rear-view-mirror, you see the distance bent by parallax even as the speedometer reads constant. Yet each contemporary moment can be fleeting or interminably still in turn.

Where do we go, because we've been a lot of places and I'm not sure that's it's a good idea to NOT pull over and ask directions! Right?!?

I hardly recognize the CD Holmes of two years ago. I remember it as a movie I saw and somewhat enjoyed, but now I can hardly relate. It's an oogy feeling.

Maybe that's a good thing? Maybe this is growth? Recession? Not sure. complete thought, only observations.

Indiana Jones said it best when he told Marion, "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hello, It's Me.

I had the day off today.
It's a good day to have off, really. Snowing, bitterly cold, thoroughly MNan.

I spent a lot of the day not thinking about things I miss.
But then I started clearing out my My Favorites file. And I happened upon my old blog.

Ah, my poor, neglected blog. I miss typing incomprehensible, innocuous and incomplete thoughts. Especially, when I was able to acheive all three at once.
Also, I miss listening to music and trying to figure out an appropriate song title to use as my post title.
So, I'm getting the blog back together...which is a hassle. It's been so long that not only does blogspot not remember me, but neither does hotmail (YES!!!).
I'll post this at some point when I have more to say.

But this is it for today...Hello, It's Me.