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Saturday, December 01, 2007

The dead hands of the past



Out of the hideous darkness that was 1975, comes the bowels-loosening auditory terror-bombing that is Leon Russell's "Lady Blue".

Prior to two days ago, the human psyche's near-divine healing powers of self inflicted traumatic amnesia had erased all knowledge of this sonic blight from my conscious mind. On the way to work Thursday morning, though, the car radio station was set to a local campus program where the kids behind the microphones are notorious for digging out and throwing onto a turntable pretty much ANYthing that somebody might have found in an attic, cellar, crawlspace, or Lovecraftian nether dimension and then donated to the studio. I usually like the random eclectisism of this station's mix, but whenever you listen, you're rolling the dice. You can win big, or you can take a bad, bad beating.

Thursday morning, I shot snake eyes.

There are no words adequate to describe the sludgy, slithering, slime-dripping suckitude that is Leon Russell's voice. Oozing eel-like out of the speakers over, under, and around the pervasive mindnumbing 70s electronique disco/soul fusion background tracks, Russell's well oiled larynx slides like a Biblical serpent through such scintillating lyrics as Cause I've been in love before, And I love you a whole lot more and So if you want it to be real good to you When I'm layin' here makin' love to you Listen real close to me baby I want to get it straight right now oh baby 'Cause I love you more and more and more Lady blue. With every progressive note one takes in, one can feel more and more of one's powers of reason slipping away; to listen to this gibbering horror all the way through to the end is to wind up reduced to little more than a whimpering ball of drool.

Within seconds my repressed memories returned. My fingers twitched with the ingrained response of a veteran "Lady Blue" survivor; my nervous system knew, even if my brain had not yet fully processed the information -- I had to change the channel, lest my mind be permanently lost somewhere in the festering bowels of some of the most banal lyrics sung by one of the slickest, most greasy voices in human history.

In 1975, at the age of 13, I would have howled like a damned soul and leapt across the room clawing desperately for the radio tuning dial. Two days ago, in the car, I merely shuddered as the opening bars began insinuating their slow, rhythmic, crooning toxins once more into my psyche, muttered "Okay, that's enough of THAT" and hit the button to get the hell away. Even so, though, I was obviously too late, as the loathsome strains of "Lady Blue" have been reverberating in my mind off and on ever since.

The only solution? A quick trip to You Tube for a little BOC --



But these Englishman live that I might die... True or not, certainly, this American lives that "Lady Blue" might.

And if you still need something to wash all that Russell out of your brain, let's try some Perfect Water --



And what the hell, here's one more, for those of you who are sincerely Reddy 2 Rock:



That ought to do it.

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