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Random Shuffle – The Cure, David Grisman Quintet, and Smokey Robinson

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“Just Like Heaven” – The Cure
From Greatest Hits – Acoustic

Does anyone remember the days of scrambled television? Growing up all the cable stations that we weren’t subscribed to (HBO, Showtime etc.) and all the pay-per-view movies we had not purchased were scrambled in such a way as to make you not want to watch them. The images came out in negatives, and often the picture was split into pieces. The idea, of course, was that no one in their right mind would actually want to watch television in this manner.

The idea was often wrong. I used to watch all manner of programs in this way. I can specifically remember watching the first 48 Hours in this manner. The audio remained good, so I got most of the jokes, and could figure out what was going on, and occasionally the image was unbroken enough to actually see what was happening.

There were also, I must admit, a few late night fumblings watching some adult pay-per-view. You couldn’t see much, but if you squinted right every now and again you might see a negative of a nipple. For a pubescent teenager this was sometimes enough.

During the early '90s, when alternative suddenly became a musical buzzword, The Cure did an acoustic pay-per-view special. To say I was a sullen, depressed teenager seems a little beyond the point because aren’t all teenagers sullen and depressed? The Cure, of course, are the poster band for sullen, depressed teenagers the world over. So, of course, I watched the special. And of course, I watched it in the negative, scrambled version.

It was a darn good show, even if Robert Smith looked like some kind of space alien. Come to think of it, maybe I could see him better than I thought.

“Track 02” – David Grisman Quintet
From 04/11/99 Disk 1

Now “Track 02” isn’t actually the name of this song. I’m sure it has an official, proper name, the thing is, no one seems to know it. The majority of Grisman’s songs do not contain lyrics, and so you cannot use words to identify the music. Live, the DGQ uses a lot of improvisation and thus the songs don’t necessarily sound like they do on the studio albums.

The show list on etree.org is also silent in terms of song names. This is a database ran by thousands (or tens of thousands) of fans that basically has information on every bootleg of every concert ever played in the last hundred years. The fact that no one has updated the show with a single name says a lot.

I once even contacted some of Grisman’s own people asking if they had any set list information. They replied that they don’t keep track of the songs played, but that if I wanted to send them a copy of the tapes, they’d be happy to identify them for me.

And there we have it – Track 02.

Whatever you want to call it, this is a fine tune. The David Grisman Quintet has been creating its own mix of “Dawg Music” for several decades. It is an odd mix of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, calypso, and Spanish music that comes out in the strangest and most beautiful of ways. There really is no way to describe how it sounds, but it is always worth checking out. Especially that guitarist. Man he cooks up something exquisite.

“I Second That Emotion” – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
From Songs That Inspired The Motown

I attended exactly one semester of graduate school. I moved to Abilene, Texas for such a thing, and while on the drive there I imagined the entire state rising up to sing me Lyle Lovett’s “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas,)” but mostly nobody noticed my arrival at all. Texans are a strange brew, and that’s all I’ll say about them.

There was a beautiful, kind woman who worked at my apartment office and we became close friends. Initially I made up small complaints so I could drop by and talk to her, then I gave up all pretense and just started stopping by the office and sitting for a spell.

She’d invite me to dinner, or to help her make popcorn at the local hockey rink, all the while making sure I understood it was nothing but a friendship kick. I didn’t care, it was someone to talk to and I really needed that.

She had a two-year-old son who was just precious. We also became fast friends and would play together for long hours. Once I had to use her facilities, and I could hear him outside saying, “Matchew, Matchew, where are you?” My heart is still broken.

“I Second that Emotion” became a little two-and-a-half minute piece of ecstasy during this time. It is a song of impenetrable joy. You simply cannot listen to it and not feel happy. I used to write my little apartment friend sticky notes for fun, and one of them read, “‘I Second That Emotion’ makes Mat the happiest.” And it still does.

Plus, it is great fun to agree with someone by saying “I second that emotion.”

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About Mat Brewster

  • Linda

    The coolest thing about Just Like Heaven is that those words are only the last three words of the song. I’m not sure why that’s cool…but it is.

    I hadn’t heard of Grisman, but in looking him up I found that he is sueing youtube.

    I agree with him in theory, but don’t know what the legal standing is. I think it has traditionally been the responsibility of copyright holders to defend their intellectual property rather than having the law take on the task. This is why copyright infringement is a civil case rather than people being arrested and charged. So I don’t know that the court will decide they must change their policy to prevent abuse before it happens.

    And I’m listening to Smoky right now. It makes me smile.

    Random on,
    Linda

  • Mat Brewster

    Grisman is really cool and impossible to define. He’s bluegrass and folk, and the blues with a little spanish flavor in there too. I guess that’s why they started calling his stuff “dawgmusic” after his nickname “dawg.”

    Hadn’t heard about the lawsuit but I suspect it is a losing battle. I understand the point of the artist, but times are changing so fast the rules can’t seem to keep up.

  • Linda

    There is a TON of his stuff up on eMusic. I sampled a few things so I know what you mean about hard to define.
    David Grisman
    Jerry Garcia And David Grisman
    David Grisman, Beppe Gambetta And Carlo Aonzo
    David Grisman and Sons
    David Grisman Quintet
    David Grisman And Tony Rice
    Sam Bush And David Grisman
    David Grisman And Denny Zeitlin
    Jamie Hartford, with David Grisman, Sam Bush and Ronnie McCoury
    David Grisman, Jerry Garcia And Tony Rice
    David Grisman And Martin Taylor
    The Rowan Brothers w/David Grisman
    David Grisman, John Hartford And Mike Seeger
    The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience
    David Grisman, Mike Auldridge And Bob Brozman

    He does seem to stay busy. I have no idea if your Track 2 would be on any of the albums listed, but there’s plenty there to keep me interested for a while. I particularly like the DGQ 20 : A Twenty Year Retrospective 1976-1996, by the David Grisman Quintet. Three 70+ minute CDs. At times it sounds Greek, at times Spanish, at times Kentucky. I like “Albuquerque Turkey”, and not just for the name.

  • Mat Brewster

    His stuff with Jerry Garcia is phenomenal. It isn’t anything like his stuff with his own band, nor like the stuff Jerry did with the dead, but tremendous none-the-less. Especially Not For Kids Only, Shady Grove, and the Pizza Tapes with Tony Rice too.

  • Linda

    Fortunately for me, all of those albums are on eMusic so I’ve stuck them in my wishlist for future reference.

    But to be honest, the stories for the scrambled boobs and the Matchew are better.

    And I say “I second that emotion” too; have for years. But now when I say it I’ll have an extra warm fuzzy connection to remember as well.

  • Mat Brewster

    Thanks. Thanks a lot.