Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard

What I need is a band. People to make me sound better. Mothering and writing are lonely jobs. How much easier would they be if a few "strangers"--quote unquote--could pick up the slack?

I came to this conclusion last night while watching The Bob Dylan Show, a concert at the Midland in downtown Kansas City. My brother Luke gave my dad and I tickets for our birthdays, and we went with my aunt Mo and cousin Addie.

The Midland was an old studio-owned movie theater. Gilded in gold, it's chandeliers are bigger than Cary Grant was in those days, and it has 50,042 cherubs inside it. Can I get a confirmation on that? Yes. That is an accurate figure. My band counted 50,042. See how that works? A band can take care of certain things. Fill in the blanks, whether they be in a song, or in my case, the drudgery of counting decorative angel babies.

Merle Haggard's band is called the Strangers. Time has been kind to Merle Haggard. His voice, when singing classics like "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" and "Mama Tried" is as beautiful as ever. But the Strangers help with the HeeHaw aspect of the show. The jokes some country singers incorporate into their acts. My favorite was when he sang "Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?"

He sang, "Before the Beatles and Yesterday
When a man could still work and still would"

Then he asked his band: "Remember when you could steal wood?"

Bob Dylan on the other hand, needed a little help in the music department from his band. I know there are people who would try me for treason for saying that, but my band agrees with me on this. Dylan's voice is not what it used to be. My dad said that Dylan's voice was never good in the first place. It was his songs that people liked. My favorite that he played last night was "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol," a ballad of a 51 year old maid with 10 children who was killed by a 24-year-old tobacco farmer at a society party. It goes, "You who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears/Take the rag away from your face./Now ain't the time for your tears."

With the help from his band, he put on a great show, I thought.

So what could your band do for you? They could make you appear not just as one person but as an entire show. You could apply for jobs as The Sally Martin Show or RSVP to wedding invitations as Don Jackson and the Buckin Broncos. You would be larger than life.

Not only that. They could help you with areas you struggle with--be it singing or typing or creativity. When I took a writing class last summer, the number one question I got after reading my essays was, "Wow. Do you have an agent?" No, I'm just joking. It was, "What is your point?" The band could give my essays a point. And spice things up with funny jokes and political commentary. Their job would be to read newspaper stories that don't involve celebrities or trends and form opinions about them.

And they'd pitch in with my main job, too, loading the dishwasher, going to the grocery store and tidying up the backyard while I homeschool the boys. Or at the very least, they would play background music and laugh at my jokes while I did all this. In short, they would make me look good.

What would I call them? The Haggard Housewives, probably. I don't know, it's up to them. And now imagine their guitar riffs getting louder and a drumroll concluding this blog.


Anonymous mom said...

Very cute. I love Bob, but I believe your dad told me when he got home, [I was in a dead sleep], that his voice was a little rough. His life probably has been too. I'd love to hear the lyrics to his new songs - hope someone bought a record! Glad you all had fun!

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bridget, speaking of bands. Take a page out of Ron Burgandy's (Will Farrell) book, who once said...

"I know that one day Veronica and I are gonna to get married on top of a mountain, and there's going to be flutes playing and trombones and flowers and garlands of fresh herbs. And we will dance till the sun rises! And then our children will form a family band! And we will tour the countryside and you won't be invited!"


10:17 AM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

Eddie always thought my Gramma was in a band. She and her friend, Madonna, belonged to a social group in Arizona called the Scout Abouts. Gramma would write and say she was going to Tuscon with Madonna and the Scout Abouts. I broke it to him gently.

11:25 AM  

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