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Entry date: 2-21-2024 – Teddy Bears – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Ted is my bear’s name. He lives on top of my dresser. I look at him often and smile. Ted brings me joy.

 

Of all the things I have possessed in my life, Ted is probably the longest. If I were someone who wanted to be planted in a coffin someday, I think I would probably want Ted to be planted with me.

 

Why is this? I have no idea. I am attached to the bear, but he’s not really a bear. He’s a dog. He’s my teddy dog. Strange thing, attachment. Why do we put more value on some inanimate objects than others?

 

I have talked with Ted a lot in my life. I’ve never thought about it until right now, but many of my early conversations with him were probably not unlike some of the conversations featured in the excellent comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. I thought Ted was alive or anything, but we certainly talked.

 

As I said, Ted brings me joy. That’s really all I need from a stuffed dog. A little joy, a dash of comfort, and to know he is there for me.

 

*****

 

Yesterday was a long day.

 

The Cocaine Baby shared that he had had a rough weekend. He was sick. His dad’s girlfriend, who Cocaine Baby refers to as his “Stepmom” was also sick. I felt bad for him to a certain extent. Dude never really gets too much of a break.

 

Then he got in another fight at lunch.

 

It’s only a matter of time before he really hurts someone, or someone hurts him. I have shared this thought with anyone who will listen, but there isn’t much that can be done for him through our system. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time. He actually did some school work today, though, so I hope whatever convinced him to do that is still floating around tomorrow.

 

There is always hope.

 

I wonder if has a “Ted” in his life?”

 

*****

 

Squeeze your Ted if you have one.

 

*****

 

Yesterday I talked a little about how some of these records I’m writing about fall into the category of music I would have liked to have made myself. I think there are three or four categories here:

 

1.           Records I just love. They have fully impacted my life.

2.           Records I wish I could have played on or been there for the writing process. These inspire me to be better at making music.

3.           Records that I am baffled by because they are so good, and I know I could not have added anything to making them, but I sure do like listening to them and writing about them.

4.           Records that I just love and back to first one again.

 

At some point, I picked up Throwing Muses’ Limbo used on CD in the early 2000s, I think, or maybe late 90s. It was one of those things where I saw it and knew that I liked groovy indie rock and had heard some good things about the band. I had no preconceived notions and I have zero recollection of anyone telling me to buy this particular offering by the band.

 

Limbo was destined to be part of my collection. I’m certainly glad I was chosen to be in this record’s orbit because it is great. It’s just a wonderful rock and roll record.

 

Some of my friends have kidded me because of my soft spot for the lady singers. I happen to love it when women rock out. I don’t believe it should be a guy thing and never have. You’d be surprised, though, how many of the fellas in the music world are intimidated when the gals blow the doors off the building during a set. It really sucks that people get all twisted up by what a person has or doesn’t have in their knickers when it comes to playing music.

 

I have to admit that I don’t know much about the history of Throwing Muses. Since I tend to get a little obsessive about a lot of bands and learn way too much about them, it’s kind of nice when I don’t. I’ve explored other parts of their catalog and have liked what I’ve heard, but I have stayed almost exclusively with Limbo during the two decades of our “relationship.”

 

Why would I stray? As mentioned, this record fucking rules. “Buzz” kicks things off with a nice, bendy and fuzzy guitar riff before one of the coolest opening lines I’ve ever sung along to kicks in: “Fell out of the sky, I…Fell out of the sky, I…/check the time while you wait for your clothes to dry/I cut lemons and lemons and limes.”

 

Throwing Muses were definitely very adept at the Pixies-school of quiet and loud, quiet and loud. If you like the Pixies, you will probably love Throwing Muses, too, but they aren’t aping them on this record. In fact, I would be happy to copy some of these songs someday myself.

 

As a category 2 record, I love this one because it seems like these songs would be terribly fun to play. Kristin Hersh has such a cool style with her songwriting and I’m a huge sucker for her voice. It’s got a bit of cute going on, but it’s also super strong. When she belts it out, she really belts it out. “Ruthie’s Knocking” is a great example of this quality. I envision Hersh standing at the microphone in the studio just belting this one out.

 

“Freeloader” is a song that, at first glance, most of us can identify with if we have people in our lives that never seem to contribute to whatever is going on. I mean, sheesh, if you can’t contribute with resources, at very least, contribute with your personality. The twist here is that Hersh is not singing about sponging off others. She’s writing about being free enough to experience the world in your own way.

 

As a fan of trees, I have loved “Freeloader” for a long time. It may even be one of the inspirations behind my neglected story, The Trees. I love the line, “I’m headed for the trees over there/If that’s not a destination, I don’t care.” You know, the destination in each of our lives is uniquely our own unless we give that away.

 

In doing a tiny bit of research about Limbo, I did learn that the record was recorded in New Orleans. I wonder what impact that had on the performances. There is a way that Hersh sings “The Field” that makes me think of the Big Easy a little bit. She really intones the first words of each verse in a way that reminds me of the South. That big guitar sound is great, too.

 

The bass is quite good, too, across the record. Bernard Georges has a nice, comfortable style that allows Hersh’s guitar to provide the attack while he hangs back with drummer, David Narcizo, and creates the element of swing that flows through Limbo. It’s really fucking good.

 

“Limbo” is a mesmerizing riff. I’ve always dug it. Hersh also does not get enough credit, at least in my circles, for her lyrics. “Baby, go back to your womb/you pulled my limbs one by one in your limbo” is just incredible.

 

“Kissing you is like kissing gravel/but feels like getting off/kissing you is like sinking/down into the moss.”

 

The above line is from “Tar Kissers.” I always thought she sang, “but feels like getting drunk.” Those are the best kind of kisses, sometimes, but I’ve been singing it wrong for a long time now. Either way, it’s a lovely song.

 

As I dive further into Limbo today, it’s more and more apparent it is the lyrics on this record that have their claws in me. I can’t see a day when I don’t feel somewhat emotional when I listen to “Serene.” You just need to listen to it. I don’t want to explain it other than the cello on it is fucking perfect.

 

I didn’t mention “Tango” and like “Mr. Bones,” these are songs I love because they are on the record, but that’s about it. I never skip them, if that tells you anything. Kind of like “Serene,” though, “Night Driving” is just so damn beautiful. As I listen to it right now, here in this moment, with my ear buds in, it feels like Hersh is just singing to me. I’ve never met her and probably never will, but it’s just so fucking gorgeous.

 

“You can talk a blue streak. You can talk til you’re blue. And we won’t feel any finer than we do.”

 

Sums it up pretty well. Apologies to “Cowbirds” and “Shark.” Both of them are great, too, especially “Shark.” I just don’t know what else I can say. I just love this record and if you’ve never heard of it, you have now. Go listen to it. Now.

 

PS. There is a hidden track called “White Bikini Sand.”  It’s lovely, too. Get back to listening. Thank me later.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



Ted was hanging out when I snuck up and got this picture.

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4 Comments


I LOVE TM! I had forgotten about them for a few years but turned them on again today. You gotta check out The Real Ramona!

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I shall do that.

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I preferred the Tanya Donelly era Throwing Muses. The first time I saw them was the show at Chuy's (or maybe it was Gibson's by then) on the tour for "The Real Ramona". Great show and The Greek and I met Tanya at their tour bus after the concert. That drummer is unreal, when he goes off on "Hook in her Head" it is crazy to watch. I haven't listened to "Limbo" is a long time.


That student of yours makes me sad.

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Wait til you see tomorrow’s post. Poor kid.

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