Saturday, September 30, 2006

in a white room with no curtains

Now that I have the walls covered with primer, the bathroom makes me think of the Cream song “White Room” – a smash single off their 1968 album Wheels of Fire. I’ve heard a ton of ideas what that song was “about,” ranging from drug use to the Vietnam Police Action. I prefer to believe Pete Brown’s explanation that it was simply about his new apartment.

Regardless of its origin, the tune is a shining example of a missed opportunity. Let me explain…

I recently compiled a mix cd for a buddy who is/was wrestling with the notion of pursuing his boyhood dream of becoming a train engineer. The theme of the cd was simply TRAINS. “White Room” would have blended nicely into one of several places on the cd, but as I explained to one of my college roommates (whom I sent a copy of the disc for editorial review) after he busted me for not including Rickie Lee Jones’ “Ghost Train,” there simply wasn’t enough room to include everything I wanted. Incidentally, I also failed to include “Night Train” or “Woody and Dutch on the Slow Train to Peking” – excellent Jones offerings from 1979 and 1981 respectively.

First, a word about the cover art, then I will include a list of the songs that made the cut. The main image is an iconic photo by O. Winston Link entitled “Hot Shot Eastbound.” In the original Link photo, the drive-in screen has a jet plane on it that serves as the exclamation point for an overall fun image. I replaced that portion of the image with a scene from the classic film Runaway Train to make it even more fun, if not completely obscure. If you’ve never seen Runaway Train, the film is capable of making you shiver on the hottest summer night, making it the perfect rental the next time your air conditioner (or evaporative cooler) isn’t doing the trick.

Okay, That’s Not My Harmonica includes the following:

Train Train – Blackfoot
Forever Changed – Lou Reed & John Cale
Mystery Train – Bob Welch
Orange Blossom Special – Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
Driver 8 – REM
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry – Bob Dylan
Train in the Distance – Paul Simon
Waiting for a Train – Boz Scaggs
Peace Train – 10,000 Maniacs
King of the Road – Roger Miller
Midnight Flyer – The Eagles
Riding on a Railroad – James Taylor
Train of Love – Johnny Ca$h
Silverton Train – C.W. McCall
(Waiting for the) Ghost Train – Madness
Homeward Bound (live) – Paul Simon & George Harrison
Crazy Train (live) – Ozzy Osbourne
Electric Trains – Squeeze
Casey Jones – Warren Zevon & David Lindley
Foggy Mountain Breakdown - Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
Downtown Train – Tom Waits
Another Song About a TrainTerrapin Isle
Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees

As far as I know, I am the first person to attempt a mix cd that contains both Boz Scaggs AND Earl Scruggs. I think it works.

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