Saturday, February 16

in love with modern moonlight

Jonathan Richman, The Goat Farm, Atlanta, 9 Feb 13, image rb

We didn't get a set list at The Goat Farm in Atlanta but here's one provided by Emmett McAuliffe from the 6 February show at Off Broadway in St. Louis (thanks Emmett!):

Jan Vermeer
Let Her Go into the Darkness
Dancing in the Moonlight (Sanford-Townsend Band)
Higher (Sly Stone)
La Festa Magnifica
La Fiesta Es Para Todos
Everybody Come to the Party (Hebrew)
Because Her Beauty
Egyptian Reggae
Old World (greatly modified from album versions)

We Had a Fight
Sa Voix M'Attise
Keith Richards
Her Mystery Not of High Heels
O Moon Queen of Night on Earth
These Bodies That Came to Cavort
When We Refuse
Unknown encore a capella verse

Jonathan Richman at The Goat Farm (O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth) via Gary Hasty

In The Rodriguez Room at The Goat Farm we noticed the conspicuous lack of I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar and the welcome addition of Van Morrison's Crazy Love. The songs were all sung in English for the first time ever that I can remember. O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth (as in the video above by Gary Hasty), and When We Refuse to Suffer had prolonged poetic introductions with the former a beautiful heartfelt invocation and the latter a haunted evocation of setting, making some people uncomfortable (but not in a bad way).

Little more Jonathan Richman at The Goat Farm (Egyptian Reggae) via Gary Hasty

As usual, gender demographics favored men. Everyone had a good time. To the nice people at The Goat Farm: You have a great facility with a lot of character but it's not accessible to the mobility challenged. However for such a labyrinthine rustic compound, everything was smooth, polished and mellow, and filled with lovely good vibes. I was unable to attend the second night, when it rained, so I don't know how that one went.

Jonathan Richman, The Goat Farm, Atlanta, 9 Feb 13, image rb

In other news, there's a movement afoot to make Roadrunner the official state rock song of Massachusetts. Joyce Linehan petitioned the state legislature via Representative Marty Walsh, who filed HD3506 "An Act designating the song 'Roadrunner' as the official rock song of the Commonwealth." You can read more about it here:

15 reasons why Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers will become the official rock song of Massachusetts in 2013

and also here:

Wicked Pissah: The Bid to Make the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" the Rock Song of Massachusetts is Official

But not so fast, roadrunners! What does Jonathan Richman think about all this? Apparently he has let Les Gripkey know that he doesn't agree with the merits of the song:

Jonathan Richman says his song not 'good enough' to be official state rock song

More at Boston Globe with input from Nick Hornby and David Robinson:

With new bill, Jonathan Richman's 'Roadrunner' could become official rock song of Massachusetts

When is the last time anyone has heard him play 'Roadrunner'? (Answer: May 1998,  Coney Island High for Joey Ramone's birthday party)

Jonathan Richman- Roadrunner via Harold Kramer

It's arguably one of the most iconic songs in its class, ever.  In recent years its instrumental bridge was ripped off by Mobil Gas for commercials and lauded by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time. Here's a recent recap of the song and its influences:

Kembrew McLeod in little village:

Richman’s signature song, “Roadrunner,” was an homage to the chugga-chugga-chugging rhythms of VU’s, “Sister Ray.” He maintained the song’s dark, cool vibe, but Richman traded its lyrics about blowjobs and shooting junk for wide-eyed tributes to AM Top 40 radio and loving his parents. Not exactly cutting edge topics for the self-styled 1960s revolutionaries, but that was the point. “The whole reason we’re doing what we’re doing is to be contrary,” he told an interviewer at the time. (more)

Laura Barton famously penned an emotional ode to the song on The Guardian's Music site in 2007, sharing how she embarked on her own nostalgic pilgrimage to the places mentioned variously in its manifestations, a journey many Modern Lovers fans have made- something I myself have done, finding significance not so much in retracing the Massachusetts road as in experiencing the gift of companionship from my long-suffering, patient family willing to take the trip with me:

The car, the radio, the night - and rock's most thrilling song

Roadrunner is one of the most magical songs in existence. It is a song about what it means to be young, and behind the wheel of an automobile, with the radio on and the night and the highway stretched out before you. It is a paean to the modern world, to the urban landscape, to the Plymouth Roadrunner car, to roadside restaurants, neon lights, suburbia, the highway, the darkness, pine trees and supermarkets. As Greil Marcus put it in his book Lipstick Traces: "Roadrunner was the most obvious song in the world, and the strangest." (more)


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