Re: Re: Good Ol Boys Drinking Whisky & Rye... [The Jester, on the sidelines, in a cast]

From: John Hughes <nysalor_at_Whf0elwqHIXBjgNai2A_Ybxwj242qEOgIttZoSBstFOhYo8h_eI-UEcQe_XPxCff5wLm>
Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 01:57:29 +1100

Way OT with a disappointed Ian:

> Whoa there. Don McLean's ALIVE! For some reason I was
> convinced he met his end in his 30's in some sort of
> rock&roll legend bizarre accident/drug related
> death/suicide.

Is that because of the American Pie/Buddy Holly thing? Or because he sang a song about the death of rock and roll and then pissed off all the hippies by turning back into a country/roots singer? :)

>But no - he's alive. No offence to the
> guy, but I'm somehow dissappointed.

I can feel very disappointed about lots of people still being alive and recording - David Crosby, Mick Jagger, Kylie the Singing Budgie, Alanis Morrisette, Madonna, and increasingly, Lou Reed- but Mclean is *not* one of them. :) American Pie was the first album I ever bought. Thank you Nick for detailing some of the sites - it's a virtual industry! Its own FAQ!

I've spent the last hour or so checking out the links Nick gave us. It's sad. The interpretations are all so literal, most of them seem to plagiarise each other, and none of them seem to have grasped the Weavers and roots music dimensions. (Stoopid freakin' hippies, as Cartman would say).

For what it's worth, The Weavers were a great American communist folk/roots group of the fifties who feel foul of McCarthy and the blacklists. Members were Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes, Ronnie Gilbert (f) and Fred Hillerman. (on one level, "the three men I admire most" and the "girl who sang the blues"). "If I had a Hammer", was one of theirs. Once they were dragged before the Committee for UnAmerican Activities, the music well and truly died, and the man there said the music wouldn't play. The link is a personal one - Lee Hayes was a teacher and mentor figure to McLean, and in the year before recording 'American Pie', Don spent several months with Pete Seeger on the activist sloop Clearwater, where he wrote many of the songs for his first album, Tapestry. (Weave a tapestry, geddit? :)). I don't think many people would disagree something important died in America with McCarthyism.

But I'm rambling. And this insight is just another dimension, not an explanation. Maybe I should write my own American Pie essay for the web. :)

Sorry to wander so far OT. Its nearly 2 am Saturday morning here, I'm feeling decidedly mellow, getting some writing done, and being favourably distracted by some nice e-mail from round the globe. I kinda wish I was a little drunk. And you can guess what I'm playing.

Have a great weekend folks


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