Bobby Lightfoot's Week Of Beauty #4: "Grey Gardens" by Sir Rufus Wainwright

DO it, Rufus. WORK that theme. Work that gorgeous, astringent, arch, sneaking-into-minor theme. God damn is this writing. What we've got here is a beautiful, brilliant reworking of a four-bar motif over and over by a master. This way for the verse, this way for the bridge, this way for the chorus. Jump a key. Jump back. Render it in a diminished mode. Take it into the dark. Pull it back into the sun. Hell, give the melody to the bass for 3 seconds. You're Rufus. You can. Actually, I can too. Just with me it goes in a drawer and rots is all. Ah, well.

My next lifetime I'm going to be HUGE. And I'll have a giant dong. And great hair.

If this wasn't a gay anthem I would so cover it. Maybe I just change "Tadzio" into "Tadzia". Before it went in the drawer.

Week Of Beauty! Fuck yeah! I could get used to this.


Bobby Lightfoot's Week Of Beauty #3: "Children" by Mr. Sherwood

This might be more beautiful to me than it is to you. This was a band of mine in the very early '90's when I would have been in my mid-20's. Fuck, were we going to be huge. We was up in front of the big boys, man. Then some cock creative director at Almo Irving saw us play in Boston and told me I should write more songs like "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.

I could've quit right then, man. I'd have a PhD. I thought he was a fluke but I gradually found out he was the norm.

Anyway, what a great band this was. My three best friends. The drummer's with Brian Wilson now. How 'bout that?

Bobby Lightfoot's Week Of Beauty #2: "In Stereo" by King Radio

Aw, just listen to this shit. The flute trio, the string section, Frank Padellaro's plaintive ruminations about how that one song that is the one thing that gets you through something is "just a piece of crap inside your stereo...". Listen to the bass. This is producer Peter Baldwin playing an old Gibson hollowbody with dead flatwound strings and a mute.

It's so damn great.

This is mixed by Mitch Easter at the Drive-In in North Carolina. I haven't heard such good, inventive and disciplined bass playing since I don't know when. I had the good fortune to tour and to play many shows with King Radio last year and in '04. I played bass on many shows and Clavinova, bells and organ on many others. The bass lines on the King Radio album are so fantastic that I would make it my duty to replay them note for meticulous note, an undertaking that caused me no small amount of stress.

The first show I played with King Radio was in front of 500 people outdoors in Amherst and I was a nervous wreck, playing bass. I psyched myself up and right as we were about to go into the first song who should appear in the front row but the bassist Peter Baldwin himself. I about shit. And then I chewed that shit up left right and center. What a god damn day. And the next day was the show were I opened for Cheap Trick. They don't make weekends like that anymore.

My original motivation for the Week Of Beauty was learning that Frank had gotten a job with Fishman and moved to New Hampshire, ostensibly putting the final lid on King Radio. The band was a dead hassle live; we had to travel with 7 people in a van and Frank had to contract string quartets in whatever town we were playing and give them scores and hope for the best. Sometimes it was celestial and sometimes it was, in Frank's words, "like 15 mallet and string instruments falling down a flight of stairs".

"In Stereo" was left off of the album. Christ knows why with these guys. I prefer to look at it as a Beatle single that wouldn't appear on an album like "Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane" with Sergeant Pepper.

Listen to how appealingly the verse resembles "Baby You're A Rich Man". Listen to the 4-on-the-floor appearance of the string section. Listen to how the flutes rise into the refrain and how triumphantly the strings enter on the second verse section. Above all, listen to the amazing, distinct, plaintive, hypnotic, carressing bass. Take it from someone who has lived on, played, and slept with a bass guitar for 25 years. The swooping figure on the verses ("Baby You're" etc.), the Colin Moulding passing tone choices on the refrain, the funky middle eight. Listen to how he discards the flashy choice.

King Radio, my friends. "In Stereo". RIP.


Bobby Lightfoot's Week Of Beauty #1: "Cathedral" by The Ware River Club

Yeah, The Ware River Club. Another fantastic musical entity that will live on only through a too-short discography and ten miles of bad, bad road. I was blessed on an almost cosmic scale to play bass for these guys last year, an experience I wouldn't trade for six double-scale sessions for any tosser on th' charts. By then the band was already so far in debt that they gave me twice what they offered for the gig because it was just going in the Shit Hamper anyway.

Ware broke up soon after; there was really no point in continuing to rack up debt, you know? Man, watch it, watch it with the Taking It To The Next Level stuff, my young dearies. That's where your beautiful band will die horribly. I mean, do it, you know? But just be prepared.

I don't know why bands like The Ware River Club or King Radio or me or The Crystal Mittens or any goddamn amount of makers of bracing, beautiful music end up broke and starving and unsung. It's just how it is. We get the acts we deserve, I suppose. We get the acts and the politicians and the heroes that we deserve. That's why I popped that fucking Christer in the head with a half-eaten apple last month. But I wasn't going to monopolize that beautiful and righteous experience for Th' Orchestra. Let's just say th' Kingdom of Heaven is mine now.

So here's The Ware River Club's title track from their last album Cathedral that came out and ate shit last year. It's inspired by th' Raymond Carver story "Cathedral", if in name alone and it's so beautiful that it hurts. I can't listen to it right now because it speaks to me on such a personal level and I'm just not up for it. The imagery is so dirt-real and the central conceit of the thing is just so perfect and universal that it'll make you cry like a little pussy boy.

People are making art of such beauty that no one ever knows about. I don't want to know about it. I don't want to know how much great, moving, real, beautiful art gets shitcanned. I have my own cross to bear with this shit so I don't need to stack another Christ on it, dig? But people make it for you and me so we might as well take our fucking medicine.

Matt Hebert, the guy who wrote and sang for this band is still tooling around solo and his shit is appallingly gorgeous. I hope he makes some sort of noise but I'm sure he'll croak at 40 in some fucking gutter while Kevin Federline makes money. Jesus fucking Christ.

Anyway, this is supposed to be th' Week Of Beauty so I'll shut it and you can listen to "Cathedral" again.

Fucking Christ.