Flashback to the Seventies - Courtesy of Jellicoe Road

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I read Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - downed in just over one sitting. It was just as awesome as her last book - Saving Francesca. Wow - that woman writes terrific books about mothers and daughters! And friends and relationships and school and. . .you get the picture.

The story was great (seriously - go read it!), but it's the soundtrack that has been playing in my head ever since. The book referenced a few songs by Kenny Rogers - especially Coward of the County. Remember that one? Tommy - a gentle man who promised his jailed Daddy he'd turn the other cheek and not be a violent bastard like him - comes home to find his wife has been gang-raped by the Gatlin Boys. He heads for the local bar and beats the crap out of the Gatlin Boys. The moral of the story? Sometimes you've got to fight when you're a man. Lovely.

I have no idea why this was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid, but I find I can still remember all the lyrics. All of them. So not only has that been running through my head, but also The Gambler, Blaze of Glory, and Lucille (hee hee - when I was a kid I thought she left him with "four hundred children and a crop in the field" - not four hungry children). And it's not just Kenny Rogers - it's a whole late-seveties-country thing: Flowers on the Wall, Devil Went Down to Georgia, All the Gold in California, and Rainbow Stew - with a sprinkling of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story tossed in. I'm flashing back to summers spent rebuilding starters and making jewelry out of the copper coils of old generators at my gandpa's starter shop - listening to the radio the whole time. I think I need to make some additions to my iPod - especially Rainbow Stew. I love that one. "Eatin' rainbow stew with a silver spoon, underneath a sky of blue. We'll all be drinkin' that free bubble-up, and eatin' that rainbow stew." That really is lovely. . .

Thanks, Jellicoe Road, for a wonderful story and an unexpected trip down memory lane.
PS - For those who want to join me in the late seventies - all the music links are to MP3 downloads. :-)


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