More from the Road

| August 24, 2019

Barring something truly unusual or unfortunate, I should finish up another 5,000+ mile road trip later today. If you’re so inclined, wish me luck.

On the road, there’s not much to do besides the boring and the necessary: e.g. keeping it between the lines and avoiding idiots. (As an aside: I swear, the old saying that God must love idiots because he made so many of them certainly appears true on the road. But did DMV have to issue all of them drivers’ licenses?)

As I’ve said before: one of the few relatively safe things you can do while driving long distance is listen to music. So yeah – I do that. And yeah, that means you’re about to get another, albeit short, segment of Hondo’s Classic Rock Commentary. Consider yourself forewarned. (smile)

. . .

The late David Bowie was a towering, singular presence in modern rock music. But because of his immense talents as a songwriter – and, in his early days, his outrageous persona – it’s easy to forget just how damn good of a singer and performer he was.

Here are three tunes that span 10 years, and which IMO show that greatness. They also chronicle his development from a young star hitting full stride to a mature, developed singer. All showcase his immense vocal and performance talents. And two of them are tunes that even diehard Bowie fans might not have heard recently.

This first tune introduces and sets the tone for the work that made Bowie a true star: Ziggy Stardust (full title: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). If you haven’t listened to this one in a while, do so – and really listen to the vocals. They don’t IMO showcase his vocal talent as well as the two tunes which follow – but they are absolutely spot-on for the tune nonetheless.

(Sidebar: if you are a Bowie fan – or just a fan of great classic rock and roll music – you might want to give the album Ziggy Stardust a listen, particularly if it’s been a while; it’s truly exceptional. How exceptional? Most “Top Ten Bowie Songs” lists include literally five tunes from this album: the track which follows; “Moonage Daydream”; “Starman”; “Ziggy Stardust”; and “Sufragette City”. The album really is truly a classic.)

The second song is a duet Bowie performed with Bing Crosby (apparently Bowie’s mom was a huge fan of Crosby, so Bowie agreed to do this duet for that reason) – on a modified version of “Little Drummer Boy” – for a Crosby Christmas TV special in the late 1970s. It’s a truly fine vocal performance by both. Bowie’s about 5 years older, and plays this one straight. His vocals are exceptional.

The final track is one Bowie recorded as a joint effort with Giorgio Moroder, who’s been called the “Father of Disco”. As the following track shows, Moroder was far more than a disco composer and producer; he was also a talented rock music and film soundtrack composer as well. (In this track, Moroder wrote the music; Bowie composed the lyrics.) The tune has been called perhaps Bowie’s finest song of the 1980s as well as his best vocal performance of that decade. I might disagree regarding the former – but IMO the track may well be Bowie’s finest vocal performance of that decade.

FWIW: if you’ve heard the same track on Bowie’s album “Let’s Dance”, this is NOT the same version. This version was produced for the 1982 film “Cat People”; however, Moroder and Bowie were under contract to different recording companies at the time of their collaboration. The two recording companies could not come to an agreement that allowed this version to appear on Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” album, so Bowie re-recorded it for that album. The version on “Let’s Dance” IMO is simply nowhere near as good – even though it did feature a guy named Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar.

. . .

Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully by mid/late afternoon I’ll be home.

Y’all take care, and have a great weekend.

Category: Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    Good travels Hondo, keep it on the black stuff between the trees. 20+ years as a road warrior, 200K + a year, 20+ years of 70 mi a day for work, 6 times a year to Tampa 800 mi round trip, & yearly ride to Dakota/Nebraska 4K+. Well familiar with the no driving, box headed dumba$$es, stoopid mofos out there. Be safe. Remember when we were growing older back yonder when we thought by this time we’d have us a Jetson Mobile? Don’t look like we gonna live quite long enough to see it.

    You are correct too in that the only relief from the grinding out the miles is to just be rocking down the highway. Thank God for cruise control. Some folks wonder why we kinda like to live in the past…well our music was better. Can’t tell you how many tapes I wore out in the years before CDs came along. Have gone thru a bunch of them now too.

    Thanks for the memories.

    • rgr769 says:

      Hondo asks why all the idiots on the road were given drivers’ licenses. Uh there are a bunch of them that don’t have either licenses or car insurance who are not even supposed to be in the country. There is another group of them that had drivers’ licenses before suspended, but are driving anyway. Then there are those that are either drunk, high or crazy. It is miracle only about 40,000 people a year die on our streets and highways.

  2. USAFRetired says:

    Good travels.

    I find audio books are great when traveling. I particularly like David Baldacci and Jeff Shaara.

    Something I’ve learned along the way is that audiobooks while driving is somewhat like listening to music and you can listen over and over again.

    Because my brain is focused on the act of driving the audiobooks don’t ever seem to go into long-term memory. Unlike when I read the book it goes there and I can recall details many months and years later audiobooks don’t.

    So in series fiction when a new book comes out I can kill a lot of time behind the wheel relistening to the predecessors before consuming the new one.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    I went to Bowie’s “Glass Spider” concert at the Rosemont. Got a seat in the balcony at stage left, where you could see everything. Everyone in my row got up and started dancing to “Let’s Dance” and I did wear red shoes, hoping he’d do that song. The spotlight guys played the spots all over the audience, and when I waved at Bowie, he waved back. So there!

    I had a good time. Fine music, fine performance, all around wonderful job, even though I was nearly deaf when I left the Horizon.

    • Thunderstixx says:

      I’m not surprised, you were no doubt the prettiest lady in the entire hall !!!

      I had a girlfriend that was madly in love with David Bowie and listened to every album he had published up to 1978 over and over and over and over…. She drove a Volkswagen Bug with a really cheap cassette player in it… I hated that car….. I did appreciate Mr Bowie though, he was good no matter how bad the player was.

      Here’s one of his show from a period not too long ago, I believe.
      It’s really good.

  4. On the road by the famous Beatnick Jack Karowack

  5. Skyjumper says:

    Hondo, hope you arrived home safe by now.
    Always look forward to your postings.

    Hey, I gotta ask yo something.
    With all of the miles you put on, I’m sure that you have a very reliable vehicle.

    I’m in the market for a new one my-ownself, and have been looking at a Honda CRV, Subaru wagon/SUV, or a Toyota. No longer thinking about domestic because of the past two experiences.

    What do you drive, if you don’t mind me asking?