Sunday, June 02, 2013

Reasons To Be Cheerful Part Seven


From the album Escape Artist, this was a mainstay of 81/82 for me when I was coming into adulthood, 18/19 years old, in “lurve” for the first time, well the first real serious relationship, the first time I actually thought I meant it when I said it and every weekend I’d be driving around 100 kilometres(round trip) to see that girl so I was buying a lot of tapes to play in the car (or cars since I managed to go through a few back then, none costing more’n $300) and I knew who Jeffreys was cos of that killer song ‘Wild In The Streets’ hell I had the 45, bought cheap from the whitegoods/ record store at one of their 45 rpm purges where they’d throw out singles for 5c and 10c and I’d be there with a handful of change just taking chances, taking names, labels and hoping for something good.  

Garland Jeffreys was good and so a few years down the track, with pubic hair bustin’ out, cassettes piling up on the floor, records spinnin’ all the time, trying to keep ahead, trying to find songs, reasons, voices, I found this album.  I musta heard ‘Modern Lovers’ or something on the radio though I can’t imagine where down there in early 80s AM radioland, maybe one of those late nights when I’d tune in the radio to stations all over the fucking country that would be faintly playing and cross hatching on the big old radiogram that mum and dad had… it musta popped up one night between the hits and memories, the footy scores and rural weather alerts but I heard it and it was enough to make me want the album, while I had money and all that driving and time and space so anyway I bought it (on cassette of course) and I flogged that baby to death – like Jeffreys himself it was a mulatto mix of styles and cultures and pop and reggae and bluesy jazz licks and even though I was a dumb country hick I could dig the world he was travelling in (or at least wished I could). 

Late nights driving that long trip home, headlights dipping and wavering, watching out for rabbits and foxes and kangaroos, fog descending, blueballed and hopeful, Escape Artist cranked up and distorting in the tinny speakers on the backdash or early on thru the portable cassetter player on the front seat ‘cos I just didn’t have the money or wherewithal to get a tape player set up yet, Garland was there for me, it made for some sweet driving, I’d almost be disappointed when I’d see the street lights again as I came over the hill and back down past the pine plantations, turning the volume down just a little so the neighbours wouldn’t have too much to complain about as I tried to sneak in, always failing, always late but at least alive, another trip down, another weekend gone. Escape never sounded so good.

This album is one of the few I now own on cassette, record, CD and download cos you never know when and where you might wanna play it and its still as good as I remember, even if I’m no longer cruising the backroads with it turned up loud, blueballed and stinky fingered… 

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