What I didn’t realize, until reading the album credits yesterday, was that The Missing Years could have been credited to John Prine and The Heartbreakers. Except for their drummer, all of The Heartbreakers are here- including Tom Petty, who sings harmony on the first track.
We went to see John Conlee sing last week, and it was a very good concert– at the age of 71 his voice is as strong and clear as it was forty years ago– but there was a strange interlude in the middle.
For some reason he quit singing songs and went into a sermon in support of the troops. He put a 5-gallon bucket at the center of the stage, and invited the audience to contribute to a veteran’s charity he had taken a shine to. One at a time grim-faced men and women, their eyes glaring and focused, strutted, their bodies lurching from side to side with each step, to the front to add their money to the pile. Several shook his hand.
Their intensity was unsettling.
The lady next to me noticed that I wasn’t cheering and applauding, and made a point of shouting and clapping even louder. She was clearly trying to make a point without actually confronting me.
I don’t think it’s healthy for a society to be as militarized as we have become.
I don’t see this ending well.
Blueberry Hill was written in 1940, the music by Vincent Rose and the lyrics by Larry Stock and Al Lewis. Louis Armstrong had a hit with it in 1949– seven years before Fats Domino’s version went to number one.
For some reason, the line that resonates with me is not, “My soul’s been psychedelicized” (even though that seems to be the favorite of the performers). It’s “I have no home.” It doesn’t seem especially tragic in this context, although it does give me pause.
This song is on one of Steve Earle’s albums, but lacks the energy this live performance has.
Full lyrics HERE.