Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sidewinders - Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall (Mammoth/RCA, 1990)

I've mentioned the influence of the defunct 92.1 WOFM on my tinnitus-coated ears in the past. The legendary station turned me on to staples such as Husker Du's Candy Apple Grey, Dinosaur Jr.'s Fossils, the Meat Puppets' No Strings Attached and Das Damen's Mousetrap. When either Al Mitchell, Sara Trexler or a janitor filling in for the evening spun the title track from the ' Winders' Witchdoctor, I instantly fell in love and asked for the cassette's ribbon in marriage the next day.

With acceptance of the proposal, the time was ripe to discover its family history. The ten-times-heavier-than-REM behavior of the initial wax had stolen my heart, of course. But the Neil Young-ish slo-burn of "What She Said" and a striking glance of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" appealed with the freshness of lunar turf marked upon by a third Neil. After taking one giant step to the music store, I caught the band's radio interview announcing a stop at the Peppermint Beach Club in Va. Beach. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of asking consumers about cans of dry cat food. The following year, I met Bease -- the man who would pen a new name for me. Our discussions on music turned sour, when my new bud told me he'd seen the 'Winders at PBC. "Did they play 'Witchdoctor'?" I posed. "OH, YEAH!" Bease replied. Must've been a bad spell or something...

Housed at the intersection of Byrds Way and Crazy Horse Avenue in Tucson, AZ, Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall serves flowing beer, jangly guitars and gritty tales to its cue-wielding patrons. Opening break "We Don't Do That Anymore" explores the differences between settled-in adulthood and carefree adolescence. The lush in "Sara's Not Sober" attracts a gentleman's attention, though wanton lust is rejected in favor of getting to know her post-hangover ("If you're tryin' to hit on me/You might try a different strategy"). Loved ones of the deserter who wants to "Get Out Of That Town" plead with the U-Haul driver to double-back, for the intended destination "thinks it's Los Angeles." Love's "7 & 7 Is" has long been a popular bar order, but the ' Winders' sustained roll and added power to the '60s cocktail make for the definitive drink. Promises of flowers, lawn-mowing and shopping in "If I Can't Have You" are messages left on a "phone machine (that) knows me more than you." "Came On Like The Sun" is a shining light of a woman to a depressed drunk. Despite pawning jewelry and going on days-long benders, he's always welcomed back into her loving arms ("I say I'm coming home/All you ask is 'When?'/Strangest thing I've ever heard/Please say it again"). No chance of reunification for the two who have "Blood On Our Hands." Soon, the dude will be long-gone in his F-150, but not before a final contemplative drag ("I need another cigarette to figure out what to do/But maybe I'll just sit here and watch the sweat pour out of you").

At ARPH, many relationships are just scratches on the 8-ball. But as long as you have change for a buck, finding the right woman is as simple as a change in luck.
- Gunther 8544

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gunther said...
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