Now that its Fall, summer’s electro-pop’d neck snapping gives way to Autumnal basement dwelling and I give up on leaving the house for six months and settle in with The Band, The Freewheeling Bob Dylan and Niño Rojo. Over at the station, I was rifling thru the stacks prepping for this week’s show and happened upon some GEMS. Deep in the crevasses of music history and the station’s sixty year old collection of wax lies LAW (above) sometimes known as The Lawson 5. From Youngstown, Ohio, a veritable hotbed of erstwhile rust-belt genius RAWK (rust-belt-core?), the band’s website proclaims:
From the 1950s through the late 1970s few areas of the country boasted a more dynamic or more exciting popular music scene than Northeast Ohio and Southwest Pennsylvania. The entire Steel Valley between Cleveland and Pittsburgh teemed with brilliant talent, great bands, and hundreds of clubs and concert venues for music fans of all ages. Many of the rock era’s most celebrated musicians spent their formative years in this area.
(Next week’s topic: is a nation-wide exodus of this country’s young creatives to five or so coastal cities a new indicator of American cultural poverty or are such cycles natural: today’s San Fransisco is tomorrow’s Cleveland? Discuss.)
I pulled out their 1977 cut Breakin’ It, because puns in classic rock are criminally underused. A track entitled “Be My Woman (Be My Friend)” caught my eye because I am one large weak spot for such sentiments, especially when pronounced by shirtless long-haired dudes. It spun through the airwaves to all both of my listeners who were no doubt FLOORED by such a magical, Romantic and pure iteration of love, partnership and a truly modern&progressive imagining of that whole matrix. “It’s the 20th century! Neither one of us necessarily has to till the fields while the other one makes porridge with the kids! Let’s be friends!” with horns and stuff (Before we say we’re in love/ we both already know). I might have to ditch the Eagles in favor of these guys at my commitment ceremony after-rager. Not a peep from the band exists on teh youtube but you can listen here.
Every student of pop music will get bludgeoned in the cranium with decades of boring love songs that are about a) being in love with someone and it’s going to like, last forever or b) being in unrequited love that makes the singer want to supposedly kill themselves. I say go for it, I’m bored out of my skull. This is perhaps why Law’s track somehow seems novel even thirty-five years after its release, and why another, newer jam really worked its way into my hardened ears last spring (or around there, who can keep track of real time anymore; we have the internet):
“I don’t wanna own him or control him/ I just want our souls to be aligned.” Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Plus homegirl is a serious super babe. Respect. Friends released their full-length debut Manifest! in June, and the flip-side of the aforementioned transcendent union is the album’s other standout, “Home”. There’s no video, but can you listen here.
Peace, love and Death 2 FM lite*
*excluding the Eagles who I don’t even care, desert/peyote/leather vests, are fabulous.