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Sunday, January 29, 2012
I'm easy for Billy Crudup and Thomas Paine
Listening to:Ben Harper and Citizen Cope, soundtrack from Trust the Man
Reading:Blood, Bones, and Butter
Weather:22, clear
There are two songs I know of called "I'm Easy." They are both hit popsongs that came out in the mid-70's, right around the same time, as I recall. One is acoustic, a little folky, singer/songwritery (why is this a style? cuz it is) written and sung by Keith Carradine. Remember? "It's not my way to. . ." Lots of triads and major 7th chords, very mid-70's folkpop flavor, fingertyle guitar. And no, grasshopper, he's not the Carradine who was in the popular TV show of that time Kung Fu. That'd be his bro. Anyhoo, I really liked this song. I used to play it, ought to pull it back out, will definitely need to hunt up my coffee-stained lyric and chords sheet. Yeah, I know you can just pull that stuff up on the interwebs now but my ratty old binder of lyric sheets requires no electricity and brings me comfort somehow.

The other I'm Easy song is actually titled "Easy," I believe. It's the Commodores fronted at the time by Lionel Ritchie. This one is a soulful R&B pop ballad, with the obligatory horns, really nice bridge, and a favorite guitar sound of mine on the lead, very fluid but sizzling humbuckers with light distortion, sparsely played, soaring. There's not a lot of guitar in this tune, but every note of the guitar you do hear is deliberate and tasty and properly showcased in the arrangement. Ritchie's voice is, well, rich, and well-suited to the song and its topic. Mu'fucker is truly easy like Sunday mornin. I also really love this song, never tried playing it, it probably wouldn't adapt well without at least 3 dude backup singers for the "aaaaaaahhhhh"s.

One morning, probably a Sunday seriously, about 10 years ago give or take, I was sitting at the computer in my office room in my house, meandering about the net (we used to call it surfing!), and my habitually late-sleeping daughter Livi got up and wandered in. She started laughing. She couldn't see what was on the screen, the open doorway from the living room brought her to approach me from my left side. Lionel's voice, sandwiched by warm horns and aaaahhhs, was pouring out of the fairly small speakers at the computer and the big speakers in my living room and the small pair of Bose speakers in my kitchen attached to my component stereo system. I still have the same audio setup, with extra-long cables on the Bose so I can put them out on the porch in the summer. So Lionel was not blasting loud but saturating the space at any rate. Liv, between chuckles, said "is he seriously saying 'that's why I'm easy?'" That's hilarious." Wha? I guess to an 11-or-so-year-old that could have only one meaning, and so to her it was a lovely R&B ballad exclaiming yourself slutty.

Now it's Sunday morning in early 2012 and I'm easy. Not easy like a slut, easy like, well, Sunday morning. I'm chillin like Bob Dylan, only got out of bed long enough to heat up a cup of yesterday's coffee, I'm propped up on pile of pillows, tapping on the keys of this slow old laptop, a Billy Crudup movie I've already seen on IFC I'm half paying attention to, sun streaming in sideways. (btw, there is an awesome song called "Sideways" by Citizen Cope in the soundtrack of this movie which is called Trust the Man. I strongly recommend the tune, nice slow groove.) Life so undeservedly good.

Speaking of Billy Crudup, I could fall madly in bed with this guy. He's beyond hot. Great actor, too, with a range of roles that no Hollywood agent would ever approve of. I think I first remember seeing him in a little film called Jesus' Son several years back, probably right around the time of the I'm Easy incident. It's a character study of drug addict, which is a kind of movie I love to watch anyway. I saw it around the same time I saw Requiem for a Dream, also a character study of drug addicts, but two totally different treatments, both excellent, imho. Now I must admit, Requiem has stuck with me in many details and is a terrifying blast of a film whereas the details of Jesus' Son pretty quickly escaped me, so I may have just been under the Crudup spell thinking it was an awesome movie, I can't really say these many years later. But not long after I saw another Crudup film called Almost Famous which I absolutely adored. Beautiful scene of the band on the tourbus, all pissed off at each other and sick of each other, and Tiny Dancer comes on the stereo and the ice totally melts and they break out into joyous song together in that first chorus (which is one of the latest first choruses in any pop song, seriously, tons of material, intro, multiple verses, before you finally get to that falsetto "hold me closer tiny dancer. . ."). A fantastic movie scene, really.

So where's the promised Thomas Paine in all this? A couple of my open browser tabs this morning are about Thomas Paine, and particularly about his misunderstood legacy and the natural application of his philosophy to the 99% movement. See last night was the annual Thomas Paine birthday chili potluck shindig and hootenanny in Morgantown at Kent and Lynn's. I had plenty of intentions to go, even made a dish to bring, but just couldn't pry my ass out of the house. Had a long hard week at work and a blustery sideways rain trying to become snow was wearing my ass out just thinking about the drive to motown, which I already made 6 times this week. It's only 20 minutes, but I was just enjoying being at home too much to leave. So I ate a bowl of my spicy sweet peppers, black beans, and tofu, saved the rest for later, and pay-per-viewed the movie 50/50 which I've been wanting to see since I heard Terry Gross's interview with Seth Rogan about the film and the story behind it. I enjoyed that while working on some carpentry, a favorite old chair needed repair. So I missed out on what was undoubtedly a delightful gathering of infidels, sharing food and drink, and discussing the continuing value of the philosophy and practice of Thomas Paine, misunderstood revolutionary and humanist. Next year I'll try again. Happy sunday.


permalink posted by cat 8:42 AM

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I'm easy for Billy Crudup and Thomas Paine
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