Heavies Get Heavier
It is here it is now: 1972. Come forth Jeanne Dixon! Arise and speak, Edgar Cayce! 1972 rocks in to the 4/4 time of the present, while the heavies get heavier and the romantics flit around in nostalgia.
Recently I listened to some long-awaited music by a flashy group of guys, Alice Cooper. Her latest lamblast of flaming sounds, Killer, cries from the dead center of an urban world. There's no beauty in the tunes, there's no lift in the lyrics, just a hard-pulsing beat as Alice accompanies urban man through his concrete canyons of misery. In case the music itself isn't strong enough, the album jacket includes a calendar with a picture of Alice himself hanging from a rope-so we can see The Killer every day.
Now it's easy sometimes to get laid out by the sun or to perch up on the side of Haleakala and say, "I'm mellow man-I only listen to mellow music." Dig it: the total urbanization of earth isn't light years away. 2001 is already past. The Foundation is upon us. In fact, science fiction is here, is now.
More and more of today's young musicians are singing sad heavy songs of the present, but even with their help we don't seem to grok the futuristic Foundation anymore than we grasp the fact that there are brothers dying in the present real world, that brothers are killing brothers in warring insanities, that brothers are dying at the points of their own needles. Lest we forget, there's Alice hanging on the calendar.
And there's Mountain. And Iron Butterfly. Black Sabbath. And Hendrix. There's a whole list of heavies who can handily grab us by the ears and say, "Listen! While we pound some music into your consciousness."
Yes, I listened to Alice Cooper and friends. Then, thinking it would help me make it to the sunshine of another day, I quickly listened to Laura Nyro's new album, Gonna Take A Miracle. Although she too sings with city sadness, she at least also sings about the healing power of time and love.
So what does Laura do? Instead of boldly leading me into the next year of musical developments, she jerked me back beyond the past decade, back to the fifties with oldies like I Met Him on a Sunday, Jimmy Mack and Dancin' in the Street. I couldn't figure how the past could possibly be the present, even with such a lovely lady as Laura Nyro singing the tunes.
By the time she began to wail the refrain of Nowhere To Run To, I began to get the message. She raced into the refrain frantically repeating the frustration of modern man who cries more weakly at each deadend in life's maze. Unlike those of us who were able to run over here to Maui for some time in the sun, those who remain in the real world tell us that it's gonna take a miracle-even for a remote beauty spot like Maui where concrete hotels and office buildings are clambering higher and higher.
Yes, heavies get heavier.
Now that the shouting and marching of the revolution has died down, seems like there's not much to do except cool it and take it easy while we each work on ourselves. Meanwhile we have a musical choice: dig the heavies or seek comfort in all those oldies-but-goodies...'cause they're both here and now.
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park