Friday, April 11, 2008

“Moving Right Along”

c. 2008 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: Some like to chase wild game, in the woods. Others enjoy fishing for the elusive ‘big catch.’ But there are a few of us who find pleasure in a different sort of hunting – the kind that involves discovering vinyl records, oddball books, and desirable trinkets…

I was in the midst of a quiet trip to The American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shop, on Cherry Street in Chardon. New items sparkled from every corner. While scouring the store for bargains, I shared small talk with store manager Margie Crowe about the approach of spring. Collectable glassware, books, vintage appliances, and clothes were plentiful as ever in the local emporium. But my hands were empty! Somehow, I’d remained immune to the lure of second-hand treasures throughout an entire visit. It was a puzzling occurrence.

Then, I entered their final room of castaway goodies. Situated deep in the maze, it held bulging racks of old audio equipment, vinyl record albums, and compact discs.

One-dollar compact discs!

The first prize I touched was ‘Double Bill’ by Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. It featured the former Rolling Stones bassist with several noted musicians, including George Harrison.

Moments later, I went to the register with an armload of digital recordings, and two 8-track tapes for good measure. It was a collector’s score worth celebrating!

On the way home, I paused at our mailbox. Inside was a wad of bills… and yet another CD! This disc offered the lure of more than simple entertainment, however. It had come from the West Coast – an advance copy of the new Davie Allan & The Arrows release, ‘Moving Right Along.’

Raising my index finger, I cheered.

“Thank you, King Fuzz!”

Suddenly, my focus shifted. I popped the tiny platter into my computer, took out a notepad, and began to scribble track by track comments. It made for a spur-of-the-moment review that I couldn’t wait to share:

MOVING RIGHT ALONG – Davie Allan and the Arrows


1. SLIP-STREAM – Sunrise wakes the morning. Bolder and back in gear, taking a highway ride on a tricked-out guitar with chrome tuners, double-wound pickups and a slingblade riff shot from the cosmos. Fingers fly over a fretboard slab cut from the bedrock of Charlie Christian and Joe Maphis. It is good to be King.

2. SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME – Strike up the carnival! A new bandmaster waves his electric baton, and the children crawl from their shells. Hatched amid the ruins, they run for redemption in the acid rain. The aural rainbow is their sign. Echo sparks split the air into molecules of overdrive and distortion. The plectrum god speaks from on high and his offspring are free. “It is done!”

3. FRUSTRATION – Doing the barroom crawl after a long night feeding the fuzzbox with pureed jams from an American International Picture. Drooling half-digested vinyl grooves into a psychedelic puddle of tie-dye and chewed-up Fender strings. Heads around the saloon bobble in time to the rhythm. The road to oblivion is clear. Twist the throttle, ye brave hearts.

4. HEARTACHE – A ballad born of hope. The wind is changing. I don’t wanna be lonely/don’t need to/don’t have to/don’t dwell in surrender… except of my heart to yours. Believe me.

5. VANISHING BREED – The outlaw brave is in motion while the moon rules its kingdom. Darkness gives comfort to the hero. Swiftly, he runs. From mountain to valley - from fret to fret along the tonal ridge.. The raven and hawk marvel at his speed. Fingersteps leave a trail of sweat and twang. Hear his war cry offered up as a blessing to the sky. Vengeance is mine!

6. LISTEN TO THE GUITAR MAN – A kiss for the weary troubadour. Lazily shuffling through the desert, toward town. A taste of rainwater revives his spirit. Watch him crouch like a medicine man, suspended on Jazzmaster strings! He has come to praise the wandering tribe. Duane Eddy, Nokie Edwards, Dick Dale, and Link Wray. Blood brothers all, bound by the amped-up spirit of yore. VUs clatter against their pegs. Let the healing commence!

7. BONGO PARTY – Tap the drum skins, and chant. Speak a poetic refrain from the Harley-Davidson service manual, copyright 1969. Life and love and grease and grit, skin and blood and oil and spit. Dancing on the tabletops. The jukebox smeared with stale beer and cigarette ash. But it never sounded so pure. This is the absolution of a sidewalk guitar preacher. Rock ‘n’ Roll will never die!

8. MOVING RIGHT ALONG – Gliding along the coast. Chopper pulses matched to human heartbeats. Surf sands blow far from the shore. But the ritual ride is unbroken. Onward, these chrome soldiers ride! A mystery tour, borne on spinning hoops of vulcanized rubber. Blessed by garage saints in grimy robes of denim. Their prayer wheels turn with ceaseless supplication. Moving, always moving on…

9. MOOD SWING – What was her name? The sky keeps its secret with silent, starry lips locked in a tight embrace. Memories wait, just out of reach. Her face is in the clouds. Speak the name, my prophet! A bugle calls. But I am not ready to hear. The moment is past, for now. Suddenly, my concentration has vanished. I am on another plane.

10. SHE’S CRYING TOO – Tears shared through sacrifice. What is done can never be reclaimed. Yet ghosts of forgotten purpose remain. I see it in her eyes. Recognition and a glimmer of faded desire. Her hands clasp a memento of the day, stained with loss. The last bell has sounded. My heart retreats…

11. STICK IT – Sassy, strutting and given to mockery. Watch the warrior in metamorphosis. From bloodletting and rebellion to an art painted in teasing hues of satire. Gesture and hop. Heelspin and fingerpoint till the music stops. Take your piety, your righteousness, your self-importance - and place them in a vessel fit for safekeeping. Go high and hard, foolish one. The last word is for you!

12. RESTLESS IN L.A. – Still not satisfied. Ever searching through city streets and fuzzy star clusters unto oblivion. A restless drifter with notes scribbled on the back of a shopping bag. Pawn shop instruments at the ready, rescued from obscurity and misfortune among relics of household collapse. Urban seekers fail, yet the way goes forward. There is no honor among the lost. It is time to run!

13. GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY – Spirits rise from the mud. Twisting, twirling bravado rendered in the ether. They are the essence of toil and conflict. Their beasts carry the scars of a thousand conquests. Yet in their stead are we… the living. Our existence is shaped in their image. Their blood made us whole. So we testify with an oath carried on soaring, electric wings. Cowboys, hear your children! Our gratitude is for you.

14. MOVING RIGHT ALONG (REPRISE) – An orange sun dips below the horizon. This is the moment of decision. To ride, or relent? One must choose with care. The sparrow’s eye blinks northward. And from that pledge, hope is born. The trail has not ended. We roll into the evening, and beyond. Juggling chords over the steaming tarmac. Our escape is complete. We are moving in harmony, forevermore.

Another writer had already been tapped to provide liner notes for the new recording. But Davie accepted my submission cheerfully. Once again, this iconic guitarist had musically spanned the distance from Los Angeles to Cleveland!

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