Motown Money man Barrett Strong, writer of so many classic songs, signs off at 81.

Just Don't Feel Right.

Time has come to say 'so long'
To Barrett 'Motown Man' Strong,
He could write a sweet song,
Sure could kick a tune along,
Thought he'd always keep going strong,
So Barrett up and going feels so wrong.

Song for this sobering day has to be his 'I Wish It Would Rain,' sung by Marvin Gaye.


©Obbverse.

Jeff Beck has played his last gig? And another monument to youth, gone.

Silver Lining?

Jeff Beck has joined the Heavenly expanding band,
He's up there, ready to play a virtuoso leading hand,
When God picks a picker, he picks the cream of the crop,
Lord knows, you can count on Jeff to take it from the top. 

 
'Scarcely gone upstairs and he's already missed down here.'

(Song for this one is Jeff’s take on ‘Over The Rainbow.’ Somehow that sounds apt.)

©Obbverse.

The new year is all but here; and so what have we learnt?

Re-reviewing The Year.

Time has come, and so another year is done,
It's nigh time to say and wave goodbye to 2022,
Odd though, how this year feels so much like 2021,
And do our new resolutions have a hint of deja vu?

It was a brand-new year, it seems but just a year ago,
We made new resolutions, I resolved to not weaken,
But the straight and narrow's a damned hard road to toe,*
Too bad I'd made it a year to regret, barely one week in.

Who can foretell what the future holds in 2023?
Yet by next year, as we leap headlong toward 2024
I suspect, nay expect, with a sad rueful certainty
I'll break out the same resolutions as the year before.

*Some say 'row' and some say 'hoe,' I'll take me the wrong road, as usual.



'Another year has just zipped by. Where did this one go?'  

(Song for this post is Cher 'If I Could Turn Back Time.' Seems too obvious, but the hour is late, the year is about done, and I'm done too. Have a Happy New Year!)


©Obbverse.

Jerry Lee Lewis, wayward rock and roll genius, moves onwards and upwards; Perhaps?

Two Sides Of The Coin.

Gracious me, Jerry Lee Lewis could put on a show!
It's a miracle his smokin' hot piano didn't catch fire!
Lee could sit down at any damned honky-tonk and tear it up
Or stand up at any staid Church Dance Hall and burn it down.

But now Jerry Lee, The Killer, has played his last show,
The time has come to judge the guy who played with fire,
Will Saint Pete say 'the Boss says 'let that Bad Boy step on up?"
Or 'Lee, He's reviewed your record- sorry, He's turning you down.'


                                 



OK, it is still a bit raw but it is said tongue in cheek, and as Jerry Lee would most likely say, 'the Hell with it.'
(Theme song for this post, in the circumstances, can't help but be 'A Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On,' by the bad boy himself.)


©Obbverse.

My old stamping ground is not half the fun it used to be.

Under The Apple Tree.

As I power walked down my once familiar ol' road
My heartbeat hitched and my quick march slowed
Outside the ol' abode,
The rood* home where this man-child had resided
Has been cut in two, sliced in half, cruelly sub-divided.

I stopped to gaze 'pon the destruction, white-faced,
Father's ol' Garden of Eden had been laid to waste,
This left a nasty aftertaste;
Maudlinly I recalled hot summer nights, back in the day,
Sat on my ass back-step, watching the day fade away.

These fruit trees that had blessed Father's back yard,
Those apples and plums once held in highest regard,
Fresh picked or fruit jarred;
Trees that for a century had flowered and fruited
Now lay in disarray, resting in pieces, uprooted. 

The sturdy ol' homestead still stubbornly stands,
But with the price prime building land commands
And in view of Rates demands
The current owner saw only profit in land to clear-fell;
But he knows not the tales that shady grove could tell.

Now, right outside the back door a ten-foot fence sits,
As close to the swinging cat door as the law permits,
Living there now looks like the pits.
It's in deep shi shadow, despite the orchard being razed,
How black will it look inside, once two stories are raised?

I'd spent an innocent childhood playing up in those trees,
Happy days, simply monkeying around and barking knees
Till discovering the birds and bees...
As I began to outgrow my boyish infatuation with G.I. Joe
An interest in the opposite sex began to bloom and grow.

Soon a girl at school I'd long ignored became my first crush,
Each time I saw her I'd cough, st- stam- stammer and blush-
Like, totally embarrassing at first flush,
Her face and figure started to loom large in my thoughts
Necessitating my change to baggy jeans from sports shorts.

This vision sat, so near yet so far, butt one desk ahead,
Her presence gave me pause, cause to turn my head,
My textbook left unread,
Suddenly Algebra wasn't getting the thought it deserves,
My observations firmly fixed on transcendental curves.

Far too many times she quick-turned at my wishful sigh,
Too many times she caught me cold, dropping my eye,
Cutting to my fly;
Nope, 'twas beyond hope she'd make a sweetheart of me,
Oh no, the girl of my dreams wanted  little no part of me. 

Never would I show her down our garden path,
She viewed me as her first stalker/psychopath,
Talk about a Sylvia Plath!
All I wanted was her to see me as a possible suitor,
Not some creepy classmate she was fixin' to neuter.

It pains me now to stand downcast, to sadly reminisce...
Still, 'neath these trees I received my first French kiss,
Ah, what tongue twisting bliss,
What coulda- shoulda- been a highlight in my misty memoir
Failed to come to fruition, because I could not work her bra.

Here, finally, a girl friend and I, after a sultry summer's day
Followed our instincts, in our own fumble fingered way,
Never forget, leave time for play. 
As the heat of day gave way to the comfort of the night
The high grass and low branches made a delightful site.

Under that sweet ol' apple tree the earth took to shaking,
Orchard work starts hard before becoming back-breaking,
Then... positively breathtaking;
'Twas a fine Autumn we spent 'neath that Golden Delicious,
Labouring in the ol' orchard became pleasurably repetitious.

So, now seeing Dad's crushed Damsons** sticks in my craw,
But seeing our special apple tree felled cuts me to the core;
Had he known what came before
Would this landowner have thought twice before whacking off a slice  
Of this bounteous backyard, my fondly remembered slice of Paradise?

* oldish english measure, a rood = a quarter acre.
** Damson, a very moreish variety of plum.


 Old Somerset Autumnal apple harvesting folk song of long standing; 
  ' Apples be ripe, nuts be brown, petticoats up, trousers down.'

 

© Obbverse.

Those good old happy Greaser days just took a sad turn. ‘Bye Sandy Ollson.

Show Stopper.

We sadly wave fare-thee-well to Olivia newton John,
How brightly as 'Grease's' Sandy Ollson she shone,
Blonde, pretty, petite, pure, sweet as apple pie,
But today we can see this is a bittersweet goodbye.

However, at girlish sleepovers from now till Eternity,
Wherever budding adolescents gather it's a certainty
Some bored 'tween will walk away from the TV screen
And longingly look for old nostalgia that once had been.

The Hell with whatever new Netflix flick is trending-
They want that hot Greasy mess with a happy ending,
And, as the credits roll, if the last of Olivia we will see
Is her smilingly going on her way- that's no sad legacy.
   'See ya sometime later up in the wild blue yonder, Sandy.'


©Obbverse.

Three close-knit brothers bonding over motorcycles? Three knuckleheads, more like.

Born To Be Riled.

Young Davy kept bugging his big bro Chester,
Unceasingly, all day long he continued to pester,
'Please Chet, puh-lease, I won't venture far,
Please please please lend me your Yamaha.'

Eventually Chet gave in to his pleas,
Tossed Davy the ol' Twin Jet's keys,
Davy was off and gone in a smoky haze
Just as sudden regret clouded Chet's gaze.

Davy had sworn to Chet he'd be back very soon,
But with the Yam hummin' along, changed his tune,
Buzzed as he was with the Jets ring-a-ding-dinging*
Davy decided his ventures were just beginning.

     Would Davy rue his passing flippant remark?
    "It'll just be a quick spin 'round Riverside Park,"
     So what if his turning point turned into starting mark?
     He'd be back safe at home before the day grew dark.

You shoulda seen young Davy brightly beam;
And since the tiny Twin was runnin' like a dream
Davy shot past Riverside Park like a Shooting Star**
Never suspecting he'd just gone a bridge too far.

Riverside Park was but a stones throw away
From our happy home, therefore, on a good day
If an ill-wind don't blow, a cocked ear should hear
The howl of a returning Jet, both loud and clear.

As the air turned from welcoming, closing, close and shrill
To droning, then fading... distant... faint... fainter... still...
I stood quietly, patiently, by our back gate,
Wondering how long in silence I would wait...
From the depths of a converted chicken-coop in Austin Street
Chet let out a stream of promised oaths I dare not repeat.

Oh, but young Davy heard none of this- yet,
He thought he could charm good ol' big bro Chet,
If he came home late, but with a tank-full of gas
Chet would smilingly thank him and not kick his ass.

Young Davy raced along with a blissful smile,
Oh, but the ol' Yammy had done many a mile,
When the dinky carburettors began to splutter
Far far from home Davy felt his heart flutter...

Young Davy reached down, fiddled the choke,
Giving a bit more juice to the wee two stroke,
Davy looked downcast, the Jet kept slowing-
A heads-up Dave- look, see where yer going!

     A wiser boy would have stopped to check,
     Avoided the increasing probability of a wreck,
     Of breaking the Yam, or his darn fool neck,
     But there's always one silly Joker in every deck.

For Davy had his head down at crotch level,
Where even Evel Knievel, legendary dare devil,
'Gravity Defying Motorcycling Jumps Master!'
Wouldn't have seen the looming disaster.

You'd think a wiser boy would've used foresight,
But dumb choices are part of our family birthright,
A wiser boy would have heeded her first cough,
Wheeled her in, turned her in, not written it off.

The Jet Twin ran into the rear of a parked Rover,
Young and supple Dave flipped up and over...
Hanging on by the handlebars,
Bell helmet ringing, seeing stars,
As he hung up in the air he had time to lament
His big brother would kill him, not this accident.

Neither Yamaha nor Dave bounced back well;
The Jet's poor front forks were buckled all to Hell,
Dave's best bell bottomed Lees, ripped to shreds,
Blood and tears rained down on Dave's red Keds.

Then Dave bucked up, thought 'what's done is done,'
Then Murphy's Law kicked in; damn Yam refused to run.
So Dave pushed the heap home, with mounting regret,
The thought of Chet awaiting left him in a cold sweat.

Dave puffed the stuffed Yam through the gate, red faced ,
Chet, visibly pale, looked at the fu- front forks, displaced,
And when Dave quietly said "but 'tis just a scrape,"
Wow- then did Chet ever get bent out of shape!

     Chet's gaze went from stunned to volcanically glowering,
     His mood flipped from angry to enraged, towering,
     Davy sought Ma's protection, quivering, cowering;
     Was the fabled Three Stooges bonhomie souring?

Ordered/in order to pay for repairs to the front end
Dave disconsolately sold his stereo to a 'friend,'
Sorrily and regrettably Dave righted his wrong.
Who knew an old Yamaha would go for a song?

Yet what a bond us three bike loving brothers still had,
Neither Chet nor I wanted that relationship to go bad;
So, no more lending of motorbikes
From older bros to younger tykes;
Dave, forget your precious Walkman, CDs, your Telly-
I'd be after your holy soul had you broke my Benelli.***

* That 'this close to irritating' sound of a hard working two stroke engine.
** Long obsolete, long fallen to earth British BSA motorcycle from the past. BSA was apparently an acronym for 'Bastard Stops Anywhere.'
*** A fine example of Italian craftsmanship. Five star handling, first class motor, bright deep red paintwork, sleek modern design, dark ages electrics.

                                                                    ‘Thaaat’s our boy.’

©Obbverse.

When the last track is played and the lights go down.

(A word or two for a friend whose big brother has gone too soon. And my late bro too.)

Decent Relations.

God, what on earth do you make the big brother for
Other than put us down, push and boss us around?
To open our eyes, to guide us towards the door
Where that balance of love and harmony is found?
That door that opens the mind, opens our ears
To new thoughts and sounds that would resound
Brightly, unforgettably, long down the years.

'Forget the soppy sad songs, let's remember the good times.'


(Thanks big brothers, for introducing us to the Beatles, Stones, Tamla Motown, Big Star, the Jam and so much more.)

©Obbverse.

The woes of this crazy ol’ world are becoming more irritatingly personal by the minute.

Far And Away.

As two good parents we believe
It's ones duty to care and prepare
Your child for the day they leave
To explore that big wide world out there.

And so she ventured Forth,
Far and away she did roam,
From Southern Seas to frozen North
There to make her own family and home.

So we became the distant in-laws;
Then one day she called, unexpected,
Then, after a pregnant pause...
Suddenly all the dots connected.

Once, nothing could stop us going,
Once, we'd happily hop on an Airbus
Or aboard some Dreamliner Boeing-
Once, before this globe-trotting virus.

So, we awaited his birth,
All we could do was wait
Here on the far side of the earth;
Boy, he arrived wayyy past his due date!

Oh, though how we yearn
To hold close our grandchild
We stay put, with due concern;
That crazy Omicron's still running wild.

Oh, to be there by their side,
To gently tuck in the over-tired,
Sooth and comfort the red-eyed,
Even- ugh- change brown nappies as required.

To simply have, to hold,
To rock away his lusty wails,
To try out those good old
Mid-wive's and nurses tales.

To sing our old familial lullaby,
Lull your weary child to sleep,
Be on baby watch as the hours slip by
While letting his mother snore loud and deep.

Yes, we get to see him grow,
Already he's grown so much,
Yes, we can Zoom in on video,
Yet that still lacks the human touch.

So we remain half a world away
Waiting for the miasma to clear,
But we will get there, one fine day,
Meanwhile, they're there and we're here.
 

                            ‘One day we’ll just have to wing it.’

©Obbverse.

I’m a first-time Grandad, happily welcoming a new addition to the family! Oh, how I recall our postpartum fun filled days. And nights.

Who's A Pretty Tired Daddykins Then?

After nine months of her puking in dawn's watery light
My sweetie's waters breaking came as a tinkling delight.

When first I beheld our bonny bawling first-born
It felt like some kind of miracle to gently hold her,
Tho' a self-centred man this solemn oath was sworn;
With unending patience, in gentle arms I'd enfold her.

I gazed down on our cherub, eyes welled up at the sight;
'Tis a pity pappy's eyes and her nappy weren't watertight.

First week at home and from sweet sleep I'm torn,
If one's babe cries half the night, feed, don't scold her-
Our formula is; one bottle, taken expressly before dawn,
Babe takes comfort in warm milk; I, from milk stout, colder.

My better half told me it's my turn to be up half the night,
After nine months of nausea she is overdue some respite.

Tho' 'tis no joy to wake early every morn with a weary yawn-
My clock shows a tick past thirty-something but I feel much older,
My nightshirt ill-befits me, threadbare, sweat-soured and careworn-
But what warmth I feel as she fills her nap and sicks up on my shoulder. 

 
‘And a One, and a Two…’

( I’m proud to be a grandad- its a boy!- but what an exhausting experience! All through the thirty six hours of my daughters painfully slow labours I was desperately staving off sleep. I hope she appreciates my unselfish and unflagging support. And not once did I suggest she was taking her sweet time and she should get a wriggle on, though I wasn’t coping well with losing out on my beauty sleep. Still, I’ve never been a selfish guy…)   

 

©Obbverse.