My mind is a dangerous place. Make sure you wear a cup.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Big Four

My obsession with birthdays continues...

On this date in 1956, Robert Earl Keen was born.

Robert Earl Keen is one of my "Big Four". The others are Warren Zevon, John Hiatt, and Rodney Crowell.

They are not "Top 40" guys. Kasey Kasem isn't going to be talking about them on American Top 40 (does he even do that anymore? Am I stuck in 1985?)

They are amazing songwriters. I have an affinity for really smart lyrics, and these guys never fail to disappoint.

Zevon and Keen have darker sides than the other two, which is also something that appeals to me.

My favorite Keen album remains A Bigger Piece of Sky. A few of the cuts:

  • Whenever Kindness Fails, which is about a cowboy on a train in the late 1800's who starts shooting people who he thinks are mocking him. But he's nice enough to give you some advice at the end:

I only have a moment to explain

Just a chance to let you know

When it's time for you to board the train

There are two ways you can go

You can ride the wheels into the sun

Feel the wind upon your face

Or you can laugh into a loaded gun

And you'll likely loose your place

  • Here in Arkansas is a genuinely spooky tune that I still haven't quite figured out. The narrator is a man who apparently has been murdered by his family for some bizarre reason:

All the elders did decree my soul to be unclean

They strapped me to a gurney and gave me morphine

Sister find the preacherman

Daddy call the law

Things have gotten out of hand

Here in Arkansas

Sister walks into the night and prays my soul to save

And underneath the cold moonlight she finds my open grave

  • Blow You Away wants you to know that everyone you meet in the course of a day would just as soon kill you as deal with you, and you're not even safe when you're asleep:

And you turn out the light that you read by

You pray that you're one of the few

When you're one with the Lord there's just one reward

And they'd just as soon make it come true

The mattress is mildewed and lumpy

But you fall asleep where you lay

Under the lump there's a twenty gauge pump

'Cause they'd just as soon blow you away

(Eventually I'm going to figure out why I can't single space stuff like that)

Anyway.....Happy Birthday, Robert Earl Keen!


Blogger Rebecca said...

I ADORE John Hiatt.... ;) I was listening to his greatest hits yesteray!

9:39 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

Welcome Rebecca! Always a pleasure to meet another Hiatt fan. Obviously you are a person of discriminating tastes!

2:11 AM  

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