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.

‘Did you hear what I heard about that way too nosey Rudolph?’

A dark parody for Chel Owens Terrible Poetry Contest; Special Christmas Special. It's time 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' faced the music.

Rudolph The Blood Nose Reindeer.

Between Dasher and Dancer and Prancer lay the victim,
Of all Santa holds deer, why had the killer picked him?
He lay still in his stall,
Red blood spread all up the wall.

Rudolph, the aforesaid reindeer
Was Santa's snitch, everybody knows,
And everyone in the herd who saw it
Saw Rudy had the brownest nose.

All of the Brother Reindeer
Used to laugh and call Rude names,
They chose then froze out Rudolph
From joining in their Sled Pullers Union aims.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa dropped by his spy to say
'Rudolph, if I heard you right
That Union mob ain't haulin' my sleigh tonight.'

That's when the reindeer kicked him,
They kicked Rudy all about with glee-
If you spill secrets to Santa I fear
You'll star in your own Christmessy murder mystery. 

'Better tell me who done it, Donny boy, or its venison cutlets for Boxing Day dinner.'


(Song for this less than jolly Christmas offering might as well be 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head' by Westlife. Or, better still, Dino.)

© 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.

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.

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.

Picking up the Yamaha; A minor riff on how Jimmy got the Blues.

The Blue Streak. (Alternatively, Poetic Licence.)

May I tell my short tale, of a spotty schoolboy?
Of Master James Bart Taylor, henceforth, young Jim;
Jimmy looked down on his present day with infinite joy,
Blowing out of sixteen candles would make a man of him.*

Yep, of all his sixteen birthdays
This would be callow Jimmy's best,
Because the law unequivocally says
At sixteen you can take your driving test.

The night before, a pimpled boy bereft of sense,
By morning  a supposedly mature man of sixteen,
And permitted to retain his full motorcycle licence
(Till he'd lose it amateurishly emulating Barry Sheene.)*

By sixteen Jim found school had left him far behind,
His relieved tutors believed he'd gone as far as he could,
His Ma figured too many facts weighed down her boy's mind,
Preferring to put his failures down to him being 'misunderstood.'*

Free from the insurmountable shackles of book learning
Jim trundled off to his brand new job on his old push bike,
The hours between 8 till 4 he'd now spend profitably earning,
Now no more hidings from testy teachers, no more mutual dislike.

But Jim learnt some harsh lessons along with his trade-
His boss seemed hellbent on riding him into the ground,
Each instruction he imparted became an oath-laden tirade-
The bosses whipping boy, apprenticed, contractually bound.

On Friday arvo Jim was first in line by the factory door,
A week of 'prentice wages burning a hole in his ass pocket,
His boss, watching the time clock, ticking off slowly toward four,
Jim watched one certain face too,  fighting the temptation to clock it.

Jimmy had wheedled a loan from his sweet Mum,
His Pa was a hard 'un, Ma more soft headed hearted,
Jim swore he'd pay her back (that day has yet to come,)
Two Taylor-made fools and their money were soon parted.

At last, cometh the hour, goeth the man,
Jim Lad stepped out of the dark satanic mill,
Down the street his engineer booted feet lightly ran,
For tonight's the night young Jimmy would buy a thrill.*

Literally down a dark road was a two-wheel dealer
Renowned (for miles all round) as 'Mr Fair and Square,'
Though years ago the name synonymous with 'horse stealer,'
'Tis oft said 'a man of honour in the Bike Biz is something rare.'

Dim Jim strode into the brightly lit showroom;
At his desk sat Mr McLeery, fingers idly drumming,
On his smoothly malign face a Cheshire grin began to bloom,
Things were lookin' up when Tom looked up and saw Jim coming.
 
McLeery stood up and straightened his tie,
Slid oilily over to Jim, unctuously shook his hand,
Appraising poor Jim with a practiced avaricious eye...
Tommy knew the best he could extort was half a grand.

He took Jim's arm and gently led him away
From the chromed behemoths in the front row-
The big bad orange and black hog heaven display-
For could juvenile Jim kick over a Harley? No show.

McLeery steered Jim towards the smaller cheaper fare,
'May I suggest a new machine for the discerning learner?'
Said he, moving to a dark corner,  far from the spotlights glare
Where sat a tinny tiny two-stroke buzzy blue Yamaha rice-burner.

Trusty Tommy, so full of charm,
With sales patter that wouldn't quit,
Light on the facts, heavy on the smarm,
All mere empty words, yet all so full of it.

Tom reached for a hire purchase agreement
Then when Jim said he'd pay, 'cash on the nail,'
In a trice into Tommy's sweaty palm the cash went-
No need to pay income tax on this quick Friday sale.

With just the official bill of sale left to write up
Tom kindly offered James a celebratory cigarillo;
That's when casual smoker Jim began to really light up;
Henceforth from bike and bloke smoke constantly did billow.

So Jimmy emerged from Tommy's, clutching the keys
Of Yamaha's latest uprated state-of-the-art two stroke,
The glee in his naive eyes matched by those of McLeery's,
Both ecstatic to see Jimmy wreathed in clouds of blue smoke.

In denim jacket 'n' jeans 'n' brand-new blue crash helmet
Jimmy revved that engine sky high and dumped the clutch,
Tom patted his pocket, contents meaning Jim owed him no debt-
So Jim writing himself and his new bike off mattered not overmuch.

Soon Jim became a legend 'round our neighbourhood,
Some called the half-man half-machine 'The Blue Streak,'
Obviously our young ner'er-do-well would come to no good,
The betting was two to one on Jim just getting through the week.

... Just after four, faintly, if the  air was still,
Or louder if the breeze drew down from the North
Came the sound of a Yamaha wrung out, loud and shrill
As the Kamikaze Kid blazed down the alley and sallied forth.

Past the railway station, gas works dead(?) ahead,
Down Moorhouse Ave, engine wound up to the max,
Change gear, full throttle, mill wailing deep into the red,
Up over the rail-bridge, back to the wrong side o' the tracks.

Flying under the radar,  green traffic light fixed in his gaze-
Though an amber change gave no cause for pause nor braking,
Even seeing red rarely stopped our fly boy in his blue smoked haze-
Rare was the brave pillion rider who'd share Jim's grave undertaking.

My one and only pillion ride came as a nasty shock,
Jim had dropped by to show off it off, proud as punch
With an invitation to take a 'quick spin 'round the block,'
Blithely I leapt aboard, dumbly ignored my growing hunch.

Hey, I was just a silly schoolboy, a gauche and simple fool,
In baggy short pants, grey saggy socks, frayed taggy sweater,
The bike smoking away, Jim puffing too, the epitome of 'not Kool,'
Even then, though a bumbling student, I should have known better.*

It was the ride you pray only happens once in a lifetime,
Perched behind Jim, above the Yamaha's tortured whine,
Still the revs and my blood pressure continued their climb,
Even on the red line the Yammy's scream couldn't top mine.*

The little Polaris Blue Yamaha flew like a missile
Jimmy's hand holding the throttle in a death grip, 
Between my wails I could hear Jim's serene whistle-
Yes, the dope was smokin' more than the Kool filter tip.

When he slid to a skidding halt I tearily dismounted,
That he was one hell of a rider, proved beyond dispute,
As his travelling companion I could no longer be counted,
His rides down the highway to hell would be a solo pursuit.*

I know I'm no great scholar but even I can learn,
Ain't no question this folly was one I'd ever repeat,
The shameful drips on my cheeks a cause for concern-
Another mile behind Jim and I'd slip and slide off the seat.

Jim's other pursuit gave his abused bike brief respite,
Most nights, outside some cinema the Yam sat steaming
While Jim was sat in the dark flea-pit, far away eyes alight,
Indulging his galactically far far away-from-reality dreaming.*

Incessantly Jim kept yammering on about it;
He truly believed he'd make a great movie star,
Casting an eye over him I truthfully said 'I doubt it;'
Let's face it, audiences can only suspend belief so far.

Yet Jim held his unprepossessing self in high regard!
His oil-slick of greasy hair, sideburns thin and patchy,
His knobbly noble nosed and pimply visage only marred
By a cartoonish bumfluff beard, obviously itchy and scratchy.

Jimmy was convinced he would be the next Tom Cruise,
But one look in the mirror and even he had to see the trouble,
Though he had the slight talents height to fill Tiny Tom's shoes
His ugly mug works best as his stand-in or beat-up stunt double.

Anyway, moving on from Fantasyland
It's time to get Jim's story back on track;
Showbiz sure hadn't turned out as he'd planned;
So many extra casting calls, not a single call back...

But on 'maturing' two other things were fancied by Jim,
Getting ahold of a fast and loose woman and a fancy car!
Jim's chances getting his mitts on the first were mighty slim,
His heavy grip got nothing hot but the clutch of his Yamaha.*

So Jim hired a car, asked a girl out, and she accepted!
This encounter left he and she both bitterly disappointed,
She, being a good time girl, Jim went further than expected,
But back seat Beetle bonking needs both to be double-jointed. 

Jim wanted to go faster but lacked the horsepower,
The high handlebars made his frenzied Fifty go slower,
For Speed Freak Jim they slowed him by five miles an hour,
Jim had to get his skinny ass low and his handlebars lower.

So he adjusted his bars in his own idiot-synchratic manner,
Since James was not only tight fisted he was also ham-fisted
He lowered his 'bars with a whacking great adjustable spanner,
His method guaranteeing him shot bolts and precious nuts twisted.

Jimmy liked the look of the low Cafe Racers crouch
But it's sure a physically uncomfortable position to adopt,
Panic braking resulted in petrol tank meeting tender pouch,
Then Jim felt real regret on stopping with balls 'bars dropped. 

Ouch.

Flogging every Japanese horse into the ground,
Flat out on the tank to stay sleek and streamlined,
Tucked down in a racing crouch, homeward bound
leaving poor lil' old ladies he flashed past far behind.*

It's a wonder Jimmy didn't cause some lady to faint,
Bring on a hot flush at least, at worst a heart attack,
Many an old biddy he passed saw cause for complaint,
Giving 'em the bums rush, disappearing at a fair crack.

Our so-special speed racer, so young and fearless,
Blithely cutting blind corners, dumbly tempting fate,
James was all alone in thinking his riding was peerless,
His friends lived in hope he'd learn before 'twas too late.

Young Jim was living way too fast,
Not a lick o' sense, no restraint at all,
We knew Jim's tomfoolery couldn't last,
But he kept ridin' high, till come the Fall...

One's luck runs out when pushed too far,
One Sunday that fateful day came to pass,
In the form of a dowager driving a dodgy car,
Your typical little old lady off to morning Mass.

Clocking along at twenty-five miles an hour
With bashed ol' Bible and the Lord by her side,
So far past youth's foolish first flush and flower-
The kind of Sunday driver even Christ can't abide.

Atop the parcel shelf peered a plastic Virgin Mary,
A discreet bumper sticker proclaimed 'Jesus Is Lord,'
And, looking as ill-placed as a stripper in a monastery
A wobbly bobble-headed Jesus desecrated the dashboard.

From the rear view mirror a crucifix swung,
From the stereo came a swelling celestial choir,
Off in the distance the basilica bell dolorously rung
As up over the overpass Jimmy came blazing, eyes afire.

Our Lady peered myopically through the windscreen,
Her radio turned up to eleven, pre-set on Songs of Praise,
Not seeing or hearing a fast approaching wanna-be James Dean,
But then, the ol' Dodge and her eyesight had both seen better days.*

Jim wondered on which side to overtake
Just as our matron reached her destination-
Jim taking the outside line proved a big mistake-
God knows why she turned in without indication?

I was sat astride my 3-speed by the corner shop
So I'd heard Jim's Yamaha approach at full steam,
I saw the cars slow turn, saw the Yamaha's sudden stop,
I saw Jimmy fly overhead, heard his high falsetto scream.*

With car and motorcycle in Mutual collision
Immutable forces continue, as one must expect,
Before the old dear unfolded an unearthly vision;
A soon-to-be earthbound Unidentified Flying Object.

Helpless to help I could but painfully watch;
He missed the lamp post- not the six-foot fence,
Right hand flailed at a paling, left flew to his crotch,
In just one fluid motion our gymnast went to the Gents.

His  lil' blue Yamaha bounced down the road
The foot-pegs and handlebars showering sparks,
Eyes two sorrowful pools from which tears flowed,
Poor Jim surveyed the carnage amidst the skid marks.

From out of the Dodge a pale old lady emerged,
Baby blue eyes wide as saucers, hands all a'flutter,
She gazed up on High hoping her sins might be purged,
Saw Jim laid out on the ground and chucked up in the gutter.*

His flying visit had left a hell of an impression,
A helmet shaped hole dimpled the Dodge's roof,
On his face his usual dazed and confused expression-
I guess God simply makes young numbskulls bulletproof.*

He watched the flames consume the love of his life,
Winced as the gas tanks cherry glow looked set to blow,
The climactic Bang! was the last turn of the oriental knife,
For our Last Samurai, nothing left but the fading afterglow.*

Poor Romeo is bleeding, all cuts, gravel rash and grazes,
Both blue eyes black, toothsome smile gone, a bloodied nose,
Dodgy driver wondered if she, like the bike, might be going to blazes 
While Jim mushily moaned for his Yamaha or his Mama, Gawd knows.*

I held tight his right hand till the ambulance came,
Left the sorry sobbing matron to wetly hold his other,
They talked of Insurance, she agreed to share the blame
After much hand-wringing and prayers to the Virgin Mother.

Then did I see her jumpy Jesus shake its head?
Knowing He has to forgive us all, even those inept?
The fools who simply go where angels fear to tread?
And, I swear, for one miraculous moment, Jesus wept.

                      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Later, as he hopped out of hospital, his foot in a cast
Jimmy told me of the bright light he'd momentarily seen,
Jim swore he had seen his whole unholy life go flashing past;
The agnostic in me believes in heavy concussion and morphine.


*If you got this far and wondered WTF the * is for, there's at least a dozen well known song titles thrown in. If you are so moved, dig 'em out. Plus two or three that are not well known, but hey, it's my post, so... answers, if you can be bothered, beneath Mr Jesus, below.  
Dashboard Jesus
'Straight outta the King James version.'





Song in order; Sixteen Candles; The Crests / The Night Before; The Beatles / Misunderstood- (Sorry, this one you'll only get that if you're a fan of Wilco)/ Tonights the Night; Rod Stewart / I Should Have Known Better; The Beatles / Once In A Lifetime; Talking Heads / Highway To Hell; AC/DC / Faraway Eyes; Rolling Stones  / Fast And Loose; Motorhead / Homeward Bound; Simon and Garfunkel / James Dean; Daniel Bedingfield / 3 Speed; Eels (as a fan I must slip in an Eels number)/ Baby Blue; Badfinger / Bulletproof; La Roux/  Afterglow, Ed Sheeran; (or the Small Faces) / Romeo is Bleeding; Tom Waits. 

©Obbverse

I missed the anniversary of Elvis’ death in August; Time for a few late lines- my fullest sincere apologies, Big Guy.

Grill Happy.

Elvis had grown into the biggest Rock'n'Roll star the world had known,
Well, for years he'd been rolling remorselessly towards Twenty stone,
But at Forty Two- this will be hard to say without lowering the tone-
The Super Size Me Cheese Burger King tumbled from his throne.

But the King lives on-in song!!! Hear again all his Greasiest Hits!!! Don't Fry Daddy! 
All Choked Up! Love Me Tenders! Delicious Heinz! It's Chow Plus Cheddar! 
Fries Are Always On My Mind! Are You Carb-Loading Tonight?! Steak, Patty and Rissole! 
Swollen Heart! MacD's The Name! Crying In The Chipotle! A Little Less Constipation!
In The Crisco! And more, many more of the late Kings heart-stopping numbers!

‘Thang you very mush… Where’s lunch?’

©Obbverse.

Don Everly packs away the guitar for the last time. Bye Bye Don, it was a pleasure to hear both you and your brother.

Split Harmonies.

I never thought I would ever hear the end of Phil and Don,
But now Don's caught up to brother Phil and he too has gone,
Once the Everly's high heavenly harmonies blended like no other,
So why, down here on earth, could neither bear the sight of the brother?


(A group can break up but it's tough when you and your brother can't stand one another any more. No big happy harmonious family gatherings for years and years.)

More mutual loathing than musical differences?

©Obbverse.