Thursday, 3 February 2011

Can't Explain Either

Can't Explain - music, film and book blog

There's a 'fellow' site I occasionally follow and it is referenced in 'My Blog List'. It's name Can't Explain is patently ironic because the author JPK's writing is always honest and eloquent and engaging. I focus on the music and we share many likes, having a common affinity for so many songs which must obviously be a reflection of mutual opinion but also our age and the experience of the music with which we grew up and which also made deep, lasting impressions during that process.

I am always amazed though never surprised at the music mentioned that I do not share a liking for or which I simply do not know. I can't explain the brilliant paradox of that reality but it is just opinion after all and it increases my respect for the contrary nature and expression of divergent opinion when I know there is so much common ground and, as I've already stated, its articulation is so genuine and clear.

I said 'fellow' site and highlighted the word because I do not want to assume an equivalence. JPK has certainly been writing much longer and there is an impressive depth of knowledge. I left a few comments and had interesting replies but I don't want to become a blog stalker either [!] thus I'm writing these comments here at the moment.

JPK has produced a top 100 musical list that is fascinating and anyone reading this should check it out. I have commented on entries on Hendrix's 'All Along the Watchtower', Music Machine's 'Talk Talk', and a brief ref to The Electric Prunes' 'I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night'. In various ways JPK rates these and so do I. And so do millions.

The song I am commenting on here rather than there [can you imagine me writing this much on JPK's site in a comment box?!] is America's 'Horse With No Name'. JPK's observations are both incisive and amusing. All I will add is that this is for me an unquestionable favourite and I have no reservations about my adoration for the song and the band in general. The 'West Coast' songwriting and harmonies may have their precursors and influences but America in my estimation sits on a par with any of these. Their first album release here in England - where the band lived and wrote at the time - didn't actually have the 'HWNN' track on it. This was a successful radio single and the album was sold on the back of that. Other brilliant tracks are 'Riverside', 'Sandman' and 'Three Roses' which has a superb acoustic guitar strum that I think became a distinctive feature of their playing.

Like JPK, this objective musical appreciation is built on the foundation of a wholly subjective infatuation too [and maybe JPK doesn't go quite that far!]. 'HWNN' has romantic connotations for me - first love no less - but the whole album replays the joy and pain of growing up at that time: where I lived, my friends, my discoveries, my failures and my victories. And it's when that one line - which might be as prosaic as 'there were plants and birds and rocks and things' - creates a palpable timeshift to actually being right back there: wow, what a song and glorious transportation.


  1. ba ba baaaaa, baaaaa, ba da ba dum dum, ba ba baaaa, baaaaa, dummm

    seen them x

  2. Such an empathetic rendition and recall!! I thought they were brilliant and glad you got to share in one of my musical influences. I trust there will be similar empathy when I write about - as I will - our joint joy at seeing Conway Twitty....

  3. Holy crap, I don't know how I missed this. Belated thanks for your kind words -- and, yeah, what a sweet song.

  4. Glad you caught up with this, not that it was ever intended to be seen, if you get what I mean! And I'm now reminded I should write about that Twitty gig.....