Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guilty Pleasures Part Seventy-Five -- Fearless Maria Explores Matters of the Heart

Fearless Maria is here today and she's ready to unleash some tunes. So what are you thinking about today?

Hola! I've been thinking about la corazon, it's a new Spanish vocabulary word for me! And I'd like to say that Spanish is muy fantastico. And I could give you a full Spanish monologue, but we'd better get this show on the road. And don't think we're talking literally, because I have no reason to stand out in the bitter coldness when we have a heated sanctuary right here!

La casa de Fearless Maria is warm, no doubt about that. But I noticed you said the word "corazon," which means "heart" in English. Are you thinking about matters of the heart, Fearless Maria?

Well, actually I was thinking about the matters of having no school tomorrow because I'm done with my first semester, but sure, sure, I'll go along with that. We can all do some acting now and then, right Dad? Except maybe not Lindsay Lohan!

Don't think she's available right now, Maria. So we're talking about songs with heart, then?

Sure, I'll go along with that, too. We'll be to Valentine's Day soon enough and I'll get a bunch of cards with hearts on them then, so this is almost timely. And thinking about songs with hearts or love in it gives us basically all the songs ever created, because the first person who came up with a song -- probably some caveman who couldn't get the right pitch -- sounded so good that everybody copied him! And that's why there's so many songs about love and hearts, because some stupid caveman had to think of the idea! Great work, Fred Flintstone!

Wow, that was stirring! Better get on with the songs, then. Let's start with this song from the great Hank Williams:

Wow, heavy accents! Maybe Hank Williams could have gone to Walmart and got himself a heater or something to melt out that cold, cold heart! He really has to face the technology in our society!

You realize that Hank died before Walmart even existed, right?

Okay, well then, why didn't he find a heater in a haystack or something? I think they had plenty of those down there in Nashville or wherever he was? Or maybe he could have stayed warm by feeling the heat coming off his shiny shirt! It is a great song, but Hank seems a little mopey to me and maybe he needs Chuckles the Clown to come cheer him up! Oh, that's right, Chuckles is dead, too! They'll have to discuss the matter in Heaven! Gee Dad, this is getting depressing, can we move on?

Good point, Maria. We don't want to depress the customers! Let's see if Brother Ray can cheer you up with his bossa nova stylings on this one, from about a decade later:

Gosh, whoever he was commanding to unchain his heart had better do it! He's got a full orchestra and a bunch of background singers with him, and a very heavy piano, too! That'll get their attention! Now Dad, I remember something else -- didn't someone else sing that song, too?

Yes, as a matter of fact, someone else did. But I like Ray Charles better, I think.

So do I. Joe Cocker's okay, but he's a little cocky if you ask me! I'm just joking, Dad! So what else do you have?

Well, you probably could have guessed I'd find a way to sneak in the Yardbirds, right?

Yes, Dad. I know you love the Yardbirds. They have a fairly large square in your heart. That's right, Dad, a four-sided polygon!

We'll leave the geometry out this. First, let's play it:

This is actually the later version of the Yardbirds with Jimmy Page. The song was first done when they had Jeff Beck on guitar. And of course Eric Clapton was in the Yardbirds, too, before that.

So what you're saying is that every guitar player in England was a member of the Yardbirds, Dad? How did they keep them straight? There's practically a whole dictionary of them!

That's why I love the Yardbirds, Maria. But I don't want to influence the voters.

You'd better not, Dad! We're only halfway done and that would be cheating! And we have enough cheating in the real elections, right?

So I heard, Maria. Anyway, Jimmy Page played on that Yardbirds song, but then he moved on to Led Zeppelin, where he unleashed all manner of monster riffs, including this one:

I forgot about this -- no one had any buttons on their shirts in the 70s, right? And they must have influenced that Taylor Lautner guy on Twilight, right? Because when he plays Jacob he never has a shirt on? So what's the deal -- the button makers were on a long vacation in Florida? I want the scoop!

I don't know, Maria. Back in the 1970s most of the time I was sporting bad kid shirts like they wore on the Brady Bunch. So I didn't worry about buttons much. You may be on to something!

Or did they just want us to look at their ugly chest hair, because it looks manly? No, really not, FYI! What do we have next?

This was about the same time, but very different. It's Neil Young, who could play some crazy guitar riffs when he wanted to, but not here:

Hey, Dad, shouldn't Neil have used the Girl Scout motto and been prepared before he went out on stage? Or maybe he was trying to help the concession stand, because by the time he finally found the right harmonica, you could have bought popcorn, a drink and maybe even some nachos! Delicioso! The song in general is a good one and he looks like a pretty normal human being in this one, although I heard he could get a little sloppy later on, right Dad?

You might say that, Maria. But Neil's had a very long career -- he's one of the few old 60s guys who is still making new music these days that people actually want to hear. So he's got that going for him.

Okay, Dad. Good to know. But you know what's been missing from this Guilty Pleasures? Fun! Neil Young seems so serious, and the rest of those guys might be having fun, but I can't tell because I'm blinded by their shiny shirts and ugly chest hair, except for Ray Charles. Ray is still okay! But I want some fun, so I picked this one out for you!

How Deee-liteful! And really freaky! But fun, compared to the rest of these songs - especially the slide whistle.

Well, I'm always up for a little Bootsy Collins, but remember how you didn't want me to influence the vote in favor of the Yardbirds before?

Oh, how could I ever forget that, Dad?

Well, aren't you influencing the vote, Maria?

Shhhh. It's one thing for me, it's another for the person who actually owns this blog. Try to keep it fair, Dad!

Fair enough, Maria. So is that all of them?

Yep. Certainly. They're all back in their cages now. And so now we need to have everyone else vote for the winner in the comments section. Show us a little piece of your heart!

Wait, that's a Janis Joplin song.

Too late, Dad. The contest is over. Vote, people! Vote! Or else we'll sic these guys on ya! And you wouldn't like that, now would you, Dad?

Not at all, Maria. You heard her -- let's get some votes!


W.B. Picklesworth said...

This is a tough one. I was initially inclined to go with the Yardbirds, but the lead singer got on my nerves. Then I found the Yes song at the end, which I really like, but it's not an official entry. Then I started considering Unchain My Heart, but then I started getting images of Ray Charles checking out wrist size and it ruined the vibe. So I'm casting my vote for Led Zeppelin. Heartbreaker!

Gino said...

yeah, led zeppelin!

what is it that this bunch of stoned and drunken queen's men had that nobody else does??