Why is it that my hobbies punish me for neglecting them? Too much time off the bike means a sore ass as I start to ride more. Playing my mandolin too infrequently means seriously painful, bordering on blistered fingertips upon picking it back up. I really need to get busy building up (and maintaining) some calluses.
I was having this conversation about the 35th anniversary special edition DVD release of “Easy Rider”. The DVD comes with a CD “songtrack” from the movie, not the actual soundtrack (which is 2 CD’s full of goodness) but an 8 tune collection of the essential tunes (some of which aren’t on the soundtrack).
I was puzzled by this song:
Smith – The Weight
Yes, “The Weight” AKA, The Cingular Wireless song (If you’re unsure on my opinion of such matters this post from Dec. 5, 2004 should clear make it abundantly clear).
I could have sworn I remembered it being The Band’s original version in the film.
Gentlemen, start your search engines!
I discovered here that my recollection was correct, that it is, in fact, The Band’s version in the film, but that they refused permission to be included on the soundtrack album, thus it was recorded by this elusive “Smith” character (I’ve yet to find out who, exactly, this is; perhaps when I purchase the DVD all will become clear).
Anyway, here’s where the tale takes a turn for the surreal. I also came across a page by Paul Fleming, no, not the Paul Fleming I went to high school with, whom my wife married after divorcing me… a different one! This Paul Fleming lives in Canada, is not married to my ex-wife, and in addition to being a lawyer and musician, is quite a gifted painter. I immediately fell in love with several of his watercolors, specifically this one of Levon Helm (of The Band) playing a mandolin.
Oh what a World Wide Web we weave… or something.
I suppose I should consider myself lucky. When most other men my age feel the need to splurge on a sleek, racy, Italian ride it costs them several orders of magnitude more than my new ride, my Bianchi Pista.
Now I’ve got a new mandolin to lust after. National Reso-Phonic Guitars has just re-introduced a wood bodied resophonic mandolin.
When I first heard Sam Bush play a National Reso on the tune “Swamp Thing” from his collaboration with David Grisman, “Hold on, We’re Strummin'”, I thought “wow, I love that sound… I want one of those!” By the way, I highly recommend this CD. If you like the sound of mandolin-family instruments, or are just a fan of good acoustic music, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Years ago, I read a quote from Steve Earle that stuck with me for some reason. Recently I got to thinking about it and searched it out again. Here it is:
“The first song I ever learned to play on guitar was “Mother’s Little Helper”. That’s one reason I’m so fucked up. Never learn your first song in a minor key.”
–I Feel Alright– a short film, 1996
The first song I learned to play on the mandolin was “Wayfaring Stranger”… in A minor. In my case I’m not sure which is the cause and which is the effect, but it’s definately something to think about.