10 February 2006

Favorite Rush Songs

Up until senior year in high school most of the music I listened to was filtered through my brother. Then I met the big guy. He introduced me to a whole new selection of musicians. I began listening to a different kinds of music. I had listened to Cream, Deep Purple, the Beatles and Crosby, Still & Nash. Then I met others like Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Boston, ELO, Aerosmith and the like. We began going to all kinds of concerts and having all kinds of fun. We added a new album to the collection almost weekly. Vinyl could be bought pretty cheaply back then - $3.49 for one record album, $6.79 for a twofer. I remember the store we frequented was called The Sound Room. The guy running was doing something almost unheard of in those days. He would actually let you listen to an album before purchasing it. He was way ahead of his time.

One of my favorites of the era turned out to be Rush. Getty Lee, Neal Peart, and that other guy (Alex Lifeson). Getty Lee's voice. Indescribable. Neal Pert's drumming. There's hardly anyone who can sit at the back of a set and pound it out as creatively. He is awesome.

A couple of my favorite songs I still listen to all the time are Red Barchetta and The Trees. Both are political forum songs. Red Barchetta is on the Moving Pictures album. The Album was released in January of 1981. It was inspired by an article written in 1973 by Richard Foster called A Nice Morning Drive. It was published in Road and Track. In the 70s and early 80s we had the gas crisis. Yes, it sounds like old news nowdays. But in 1973 we actually had gas rationing. You could buy gas on an even numbered days if your cars license plate began withan even number. Vice versa for odds. I remember driving, my 65 bug, Sundays on the 91 freeway, er parking lot, as it is commonly referred to now, my way back to Long Beach and having no one else on the road but a couple of other cars. You couldn't buy gas on Sundays at all, so you needed to own a small car. The song Red Barchetta said it all. We knew that eventually one day our cars would be confiscated. Little did we know it turn into the mess we have now. (Barchetta was built by Fiat.)

The Trees was on Hemispheres released in 1978. It is definitely an anti-union song. I was forced to join the retail clerks union in 1974. In order to work in a grocery store in California, for a major grocery chain, you had to be a member of the retail clerks union. So I paid a normal journeyman's weeks salary ($400 back then), as an initiation fee and then monthly dues, to stay employed. I wasn't a journeyman by any means, but hoped someday I would be. The union then guaranteed I could keep my 10 hour a week job and got me good medical benefits. The discussion of hours and benefits is really for a different post on a different blog, and I digress. This was about The Trees. This song spoke to me. It describes the methodology we were adopting back then. Big groups forcing little groups to comply, no matter what the cost. Sigh, it's only gotten worse.

Here's the lyrics:
Red Barchetta

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law
And on Sundays I elude the eyes
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits

Jump to the ground
As the Turbo slows to cross the borderline
Run like the wind
As excitement shivers up and down my spine
Down in his barn
My uncle preserved for me an old machine
For fifty odd years
To keep it as new has been his dearest dream

I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel
I commit my weekly crime

In my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge...

Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware

Suddenly ahead of me
Across the mountainside
A gleaming alloy air car
Shoots towards me, two lanes wide
I spin around with shrieking tires
To run the deadly race
Go screaming through the valley
As another joins the chase

Drive like the wind
Straining the limits of machine and man
Laughing out loud with fear and hope
I've got a desperate plan
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded at the riverside
Race back to the farm
To dream with my uncle at the fireside

The Trees

Words by neil peart, music by geddy lee and alex lifeson

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunligh
And the oaks ignore their pleas

The trouble with the maples
(and they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade?

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream `oppression!`
And the oaks, just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
’the oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
And saw ...