Tuesday Tunes 8: Lockdown


As the main news story here over the past few days has been the Government’s ‘new’ guidelines for what we can and cannot do at present, this seemed as good a time as any to make ‘lockdown’ the theme for Tuesday Tunes. Those of a nervous disposition may like to look away now: this piece contains some criticisms of our leaders!

I had thought I might give you a brief rundown of the new guidance but it doesn’t seem very clear: every time a government minister says something about it they are either correcting something someone else has said or are immediately contradicted themselves. Government by chaos. This bears all the hallmarks of our Prime Minister: lurking behind him is his eminence grise – Dirty Dom – who becomes ever more dictatorial, and then they trot out the Prime Clown to make the pronouncements. For those who haven’t seen them, they basically amount to ‘wiffle waffle, piffle paffle, hrmph.’ And we now have the perfectly clear ‘Stay Home’ slogan replaced by ‘Stay Alert.’ What?

A brief summary: on Sunday evening Johnson commandeered the tv screens to make a statement. Except that he didn’t: anyone hoping for a live broadcast would have been disappointed to learn that it was pre-recorded, presumably so that the producers could edit out the inevitable cock ups. Mind you, his cabinet ministers shared in that disappointment, as the whizzo 50 page booklet that they were due to discuss in Zoom cabinet had apparently already been sent to the printers. If he doesn’t even trust his own cabinet, what chance is there for us poor plebs? But good news: there was to be a slight relaxation of the lockdown rules. People who could go to work should do so. But not by public transport. We would now be allowed to meet with one family member (pick between Gran and Grandpa, folks) but only outside at two metres distance, of course. But it was ok to have a carer or cleaner in your home, just not your relatives. Oh, and he forgot to tell us that this wouldn’t all be starting until Wednesday, and one of his sidekicks had to be wheeled out for an instant correction. Asked yesterday by a teacher why it would be acceptable for her to be in a classroom full of children, but not for her to see her own grandchildren, he didn’t have an answer. And that is just the tip of the iceberg – a confusion of Titanic proportions.

At times like this there is only one thing for it: music! I’ve picked two tunes for this week which, by their titles alone, are good complements to this week’s theme. That they are both from favourite artists of mine, and that their lyrics speak of being apart from people or being restricted in what we can do, is a bonus! First up is the late, great Warren Zevon. His slightly gravelly voice may not be to everyone’s taste, but he wrote some great tunes and his lyrics are often masterful. See what I mean from this:

That was on his seventh studio album, Transverse City, and the harmonica and harmony vocals are by Neil Young – Warren may not have set the charts alight but he had a very loyal following and fellow artists knew just how good he was: there are many cover versions of his songs, a particular favourite of mine being Poor Poor Pitiful Me by Linda Ronstadt. The novelist Carl Hiaasen was a big fan, and often featured snippets of Warren’s lyrics in his books: they became good friends right until Warren’s passing in 2003. Hiaasen’s books, like Warren’s lyrics, are full of larger than life characters: I guess, in Warren’s case, that is the product of his upbringing as the son of a Mormon mother and a father who worked for a notorious LA mobster. He once wrote a song called My Shit’s Fucked Up – it’s not hard to see why!

As I said earlier, this week’s second tune is also from a favourite of mine. It’s a Bob Dylan song, but I think the Byrds did it better – as they did with many of his songs. Their version was on Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, which was the only one of their albums to feature the late, great (secondary theme here) Gram Parsons. It has since become recognised as the forerunner of what we now know as country rock, and led to Parsons and Chris Hillman leaving the Byrds to form the Flying Burrito Brothers – I still play both bands’ albums to this day. As a Tuesday Tune for lockdown, it is hard to find a better message than this:

Parsons left the Byrds during a UK tour in 1968, which gave him more time to hang out with his friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richard/s. If you’ve ever wondered where the Rolling Stones’ country influence came from, on tracks like Country Honk and Faraway Eyes, Gram’s your man!

To wrap up this week’s selection, a serious note. I don’t think I was being too disingenuous in my description of the state of guidance here in the UK, and it worries me that things are that unclear. This is vitally important, and is something that has to be got right. I’ve been critical of Johnson et al in their early complacency and lack of response to Covid, and they have to be decisive now: lives have been lost, and more depend on it. There has been a spike in infections in Germany since they eased their regulations last week, and I am fearful of that happening here.. Stay alert (whatever that is supposed to mean), be safe, and take care. Till next week….

28 thoughts on “Tuesday Tunes 8: Lockdown

    • Clive May 18, 2020 / 9:22 pm

      Don’t they just! Ours is now showing signs of sneaking Brexit through under cover of the pandemic. Two ways to destroy the country at the same time!

      Like

      • Clive May 18, 2020 / 9:26 pm

        I’ve long since stopped trusting them. Too old and cynical for that!

        Like

  1. Prior... May 14, 2020 / 3:48 am

    You are right – music is great for times like these – boy songs new to me – and Clive I must tell you that the Mariah Carey Cd comic was my fav of his post – hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stevie Turner May 13, 2020 / 10:45 am

    Great post, Clive, especially the bit about being in a classroom with children but not being able to see her own grandchildren. It’s all as clear as mud!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brian Lageose May 13, 2020 / 7:10 am

    Terrific piece, as usual. But you already had me locked in with the Maria meme at the beginning…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive May 13, 2020 / 9:33 am

      Many thanks, Brian. I felt that reminder needed to be shared, for the benefit of those who will be starting to play Christmas music in a couple of months 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. petespringerauthor May 13, 2020 / 3:05 am

    Though I know about Warren Zevon from Werewolves of London fame, I have not heard many other songs of his. I like his song better than The Byrds, a group I’m much more familiar with.

    Over in the states, the federal government set up “guidelines” for reopening, but the blame gets passed on to the state governors as they are essentially deciding when to reopen. The President is pushing for reopening in stages as soon as possible, but many states are doing so without first meeting the guidelines. I suspect that if there is a second wave, he can go back and say, “Why didn’t the governors follow the guidelines? He has taken no responsibility at all for the situation we find ourselves in and has moved into full blame mode. It’s a complete mess compounded by those citizens who just want us to go back to normal as if the virus doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive May 13, 2020 / 9:28 am

      If you liked that one, Pete, you have plenty more to explore. He made a dozen or so albums before cancer took him at 56. Try his song Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner – it’s what you’d expect from a title like that! His last album – The Wind – was completed after his diagnosis, and released just two weeks before he died. The final track – Keep Me In Your Heart – is especially poignant.

      I’ve been watching proceedings over there with ever-growing amazement. Yours is the only country which was even slower off the mark than ours, and it is a tragic race to the bottom between our leaders. A cynic such as I might think that the vague, confusing new guidelines here are designed to set up a blame game too, but with our citizens taking the place of your governors.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. robertawrites235681907 May 12, 2020 / 6:28 pm

    A fun song, Clive. I’ve never heard it before. Our government is equally conflicted and our regulations are also contradictory and downright weird. We can also have a full time cleaner but can’t see our families. Everyone must wear a mask at all times when out. Everyone has a mask, but it isn’t over their face, its around their neck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive May 12, 2020 / 6:30 pm

      Glad you liked one of them, Robbie: which one?! Good to know that chaos and confusion aren’t limited to here.

      Like

  6. tidalscribe May 12, 2020 / 5:50 pm

    I thought it was just me wo thought I had missed something with Sunday’s ‘address’ until I realised everyone was confused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive May 12, 2020 / 5:54 pm

      Nope! The government have confused themselves so we have every reason to be the same 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Darlene May 12, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    A couple of great picks, I love country rock as well as rockabilly music. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jim Borden May 12, 2020 / 12:27 pm

    two great choices – both songs seem so timely. and thanks for the music history lesson; did not know that the Byrds did a lot of Dylan song or the connection between the Byrds and the Stones, via Gram parsons…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive May 12, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      The Byrds did a whole album of his songs, or maybe their record company compiled it: The Byrds Play Dylan. Tambourine Man is probably their best known cover of a Dylan song, but they relied on him a lot in the early days. Gram Parsons had a short but eventful life! Glad you liked the selections 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden May 12, 2020 / 2:11 pm

        I’ll have to check out The Byrds Play Dylan. One of my neighbors is a big Gram Parsons fan…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive May 12, 2020 / 2:14 pm

        It’s available on Amazon here, not sure about formats though. Good luck finding it. That sounds like a good neighbour to have 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden May 12, 2020 / 2:19 pm

        just found it on Spotify. what a classic collection of Dylan songs (20 of them!) I’ll give it a listen later today.

        I’ve got a couple of neighbors who are really into music; between them and bloggers like you, I’ve been receiving a wonderful music education!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive May 12, 2020 / 2:21 pm

        That’s great! I mostly use Apple Music and couldn’t find it on there – forgot about Spotify! Glad to know I’ve been a part of widening your musical horizons 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden May 13, 2020 / 3:46 am

        Spotify seems to have just about every song I can think of. I always look forward to your Tuesday Tunes!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive May 13, 2020 / 9:30 am

        I rarely think to use it, as I pay for Apple Music and want to get my money’s worth! But I have a free account with Spotify which comes in handy as a backstop. Thanks for the compliment 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden May 13, 2020 / 12:15 pm

        We pay for Spotify, so I guess that is why that is my go to music service…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clive May 13, 2020 / 12:24 pm

        Fair enough. I found the Byrds’ Dylan album on Apple Music: they’d hidden it away under ‘compilations,’ just to confuse me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jim Borden May 13, 2020 / 12:32 pm

        it’s hard to find things on Spotify sometimes as well…

        Liked by 1 person

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