Song Lyric Sunday – “Magic Pants” — Cap’n Swing

At 8:49 p.m. last Sunday, September 15, this message popped up in my Facebook feed: “Rip Ric O Omg I am in shock !!!😱😱😱.” “Somebody’s sick idea of a joke,” I thought. I searched through my slew of Cars-related FB memberships, but no where did I find any other mention of his passing. Less than ten minutes later, my feed contained nothing but reactions to the unbelievable news that the Cars’ founder Ric Ocasek had, indeed, passed. Now, a week later, the FANORAMA is still reeling. 

To many, Ric was a lyrical genius and a hero/role model. His music and creativity inspired so many musicians, known and unknown, to pick up an instrument, write songs, start a band. His words and music reached in and grabbed the souls of many of us. But more than anything, Ric was the foundation of the Cars. For over a decade, together with Benjamin Orr, he gathered musicians, forming and re-forming bands for the sole purpose of playing the songs he wrote, until he found the magical combination that joined with him and Benjamin to become the Cars: Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton, and David Robinson. The Cars would not have been the Cars without them. After Ben passed away, the other Cars didn’t even try to replace him when they put out an album of new music in 2011. But make no mistake: Without Ric Ocasek there will be no new Cars music, no reunion album. No Cars. 

When I got that first Facebook notification last Sunday, I was looking at the Song Lyric Sunday schedule, trying to decide what to write. I was too stunned to write anything last week, but I knew then what song I’d pick for this week’s theme of Clothing/Hat/Pants/Scarf/Shirt/Shoes/Tie: “Magic Pants (a.k.a. Crazy Rock and Roll)” by Ric’s last pre-Cars band, Cap’n Swing. I’ve loved this song from my first listen because it is one of the few Ric (presumably) wrote that could have only one interpretation. It was all about Ric (Cap’n Swing) and Ben (Magic Pants) trying to make it in the music business. Now, somewhere in the universe, I hope Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants are making music again together.

Note: the picture on the video is the Cars, but (to my knowledge) no pictures of the Cap’n Swing band exist. Three of the Cars were in Cap’n Swing: Elliot Easton (center), Ric Ocasek (jumping), and Benjamin Orr (right).

 

 

Magic Pants

Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants they were floating down the street
Trying to get a gig or two where they can get some heat
Everybody feels their presence, everybody flows
Find a groove to settle in, let your feelings be the show
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants, they were shooting out their licks
Shooting out their music if you think you need a fix
Everybody feels their presence, some of you have heard
With Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants, listen is the word
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Yeah yeah

You know that Cap’n Swing and Magic Pants they were floating down the street
Trying to get a gig or two where they can get some heat
Everybody feels their presence, everybody flows
Find a groove to settle in, let your feelings be the show
It will make you want to flow, crazy rock and roll, it’ll make you want to flow

Cap’n Swing, yeah Magic Pants

 

Song Lyric Sunday – “I Am The Man” – Benjamin Orr

Today, on Song Lyric Sunday, Benjamin Orr would have been 72. I wanted to pay tribute using this week’s Bird/Fly/Sky/Wing theme, but, on July 20, 2018, I wrote about “Skyline,” the only Orr song to fit the theme. So, for the first time, my choice, “I Am The Man,” deviates. Sorry, Jim.

In late 1992 and continuing through most of the 90s, Benjamin Orr recorded tracks that were to have been his second album. He co-wrote half the songs with John Kalishes, who would become the lead guitarist in Benjamin’s ORR band. Although “I Am The Man” was recorded during this time, the writer is unknown. I’d like to think it was written by Orr and Kalishes because I interpret it as Benjamin’s response as he coped with a series of lost integral relationships: the Cars and his long friendship with Ric Ocasek, an eight-year engagement to co-writer of his first album Diane Grey Page, and a marriage to Judith Orr. In fact, I view the entire unreleased second album through that prism. Whether or not he wrote a particular song, each one fits that theme of loss, and “I Am” expresses the culmination of his struggle.

Whatever his reasons for possibly writing and definitely recording it, “I Am The Man” was important enough to him that, when the ORR band performed, he saved it for encores and for introducing his band. This video with 1997 audio from a live performance is an example. If you want to skip the band intros, they run from about 4:30 to 11:56. If you decide to skip, you’ll miss such mini-gems as “Wipe Out” and the Flintstone’s theme song played on bass. The lyric link takes you to my friend sweetpurplejune’s blog, where she has linked a video featuring the studio recording of “I Am The Man.”

 

I Am (author and copyright unknown)

I am the fire that shows no flame, I am the killer who has no name
I am the wind you cannot feel, I am the truth that is not real
I am the river that flows nowhere, I am the feeling that does not care
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man

I am the time that will not pass, I am the future living in the past
I am the shadow you cannot see, I am the prisoner you cannot free
I am the legend of lust, love and pain, I am the man who’s lost his name
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man
I am… I am… I am… I am the man
I am… I am… I am… I am the man

I am the fire that shows no flame, I am the killer who has no name
I am the wind you cannot feel, I am the truth that is not real
I am the river that flows nowhere, I am the feeling that does not care
I am the drug your body’s been missing, I am the soul that you’ve been wishing for

I am… I am… I am… I am the man

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday — Mountain — “Theme For An Imaginary Western”

Before I checked Jim Adams’ page, some part of my brain must have realized this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme — Cowboy / Gun / Hat / Horse / Western — because for days my interior stereo has been looping Mountain’s “Theme For An Imaginary Western,” sometimes called “Theme From An Imaginary Western.” This beautiful song, in my opinion, outshines Mountain’s better-known “Mississippi Queen.”  (Full disclosure: I may be biased because Mountain’s album played continuously during the first frat party I experienced at college, and the drunken debauchery was quite shocking to my proper Catholic School upbringing. Plus…..tequila.)

Written by Jack Bruce (music) and Peter Brown (lyrics), Brown has said his lyrics were inspired by one of Bruce’s early bands, The Graham Bond Organisation, which Brown described as “a mixture of pioneers and outlaws.” He may have gotten that impression from the fights (sometimes on-stage and physical) between bassist Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce and Baker must have made up their differences to some extent because they later formed Cream with Eric Clapton. When Cream broke up in 1968, Bruce released his first solo album in 1969, “Songs for a Tailor,” on which “Theme For An Imaginary Western” debuted. Mountain performed the song  at Woodstock in 1969, and a year later, featured it on their album, “Climbing.”

Because Mountain’s version is better known (and my favorite), that video comes first. The second is a gem: Jack Bruce, accompanied only by piano.

 

Theme for an Imaginary Western
When the wagons leave the city
for the forest and further on
Painted wagons of the morning
dusty roads where they have gone
Sometimes travelling through the darkness
met the summer coming home
Fallen faces by the wayside
looked as if they might have known

O the sun was in their eyes
and the desert that dries
In the country town
where the laughter sounds

O the dancing and the singing
O the music when they played
O the fires that they started
O the girls with no regret
Sometimes they found it
Sometimes they kept it
Often lost it on the way
Fought each other to possess it
Sometimes died in sight of day

 

 

 

Compiled from JackBruce.com,  SongFacts and Wikipedia articles on Mountain, Jack Bruce, and “Theme For An Imaginary Western.”

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday — “Your Wildest Dreams” — Moody Blues

Sunday 8/25 is gone, but I can’t let it pass without contributing to Song Lyric Sunday. This week Jim Adams has challenged us with the topic “Dream/ Lullaby/Sleep.” Truthfully, I wasn’t going to post this week because any songs I love and fit the topic I’ve already posted about in the past year. But when I started reading the SLS posts, I was amazed the the Moody Blues’ 1986 song “Your Wildest Dreams” wasn’t anyone’s pick. This bittersweet song, written by lead singer Justin Hayward, is about first love lost told from the point of view of a mature adult. I think those of us of a certain age can relate to the sentiment.

The song charted at number 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at number 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Not too shabby for a song released 22 years after this progressive rock band first got together. One of the most successful prog rock groups, they were finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, some 28 years after they first became eligible. (Side note: I think it’s criminal the the RRHOF has snubbed prog groups, including seminal bands like King Crimson; Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; and Jethro Tull.)

After you enjoy the Moodies’ song, check out my SLS contribution from June 27, 2018, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Watching Over You.”

 

 

“Your Wildest Dreams”

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn’t tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
And when the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Mirrored in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)
In your wildest dreams (ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah)

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

 

Song Lyric Sunday — Jay & the Americans — “This Magic Moment”

My rational mind knows that this week, as every week, Jim Adams chose multiple Song Lyric Sunday theme words: haunted / magic / mystery / supernatural / trick. The only word that registered in my other brain was “magic.” I very briefly thought of remaining true to my Cars and featuring their 1984 hit “Magic,” but I just couldn’t. For me, the only only only song HAS to be “This Magic Moment,” written by lyricist Doc Pomus and pianist Mort Shuman. The song was first recorded in 1960 by the Drifters, sung by the inimitable Ben E. King and peaking at #16 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Of course, I’m including a Drifters video for history’s sake (and for Ben E. King), but their version isn’t MY version. Neither, for that matter, is Lou Reed’s 1995 effort (video also included below for shits ‘n’ giggles).

As far as I’m concerned, “This Magic Moment” really belongs to Jay & the Americans. Whenever I hear their first guitar chords, I am transported back to one magical night early in 1969, when my then-boyfriend gave me his high school ring as “This Magic Moment” played on the car radio. Those blissful going-steady moments ended far too soon when my father grounded me until my 17th birthday, nine months away. Jay Black and the Americans, on the other hand, had many more magic moments that year, with their version of this sweet song peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was their third, and last, top ten hit.

 

This Magic Moment

This magic moment
So different and so new
Was like any other
Until I kissed you

And then it happened
It took me by surprise
I knew that you felt it too
By the look in your eyes

Sweeter than wine (sweeter than wine)
Softer than a summer night (softer than a summer night)
Everything I want, I have (everything, everything)
Whenever I hold you tight

This magic moment (this magic moment)
While your lips are close to mine
Will last forever
Forever till the end of time

(this magic moment)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
(this magic moment)
Oh-oh-oh-oh

Sweeter than wine (sweeter than wine)
Softer than a summer night (softer than a summer night)
Everything I want, I have (everything, everything)
Whenever I hold you tight

This magic moment (this magic moment)
While your lips are close to mine
Will last forever (this magic moment)
Forever till the end of time (magic)

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh (magic)
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh (magic)
Oh-oh-oh-oh (moment)

Oh-oh-oh-oh (magic)
Oh-oh-oh-oh (magic)
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh (magic)
Oh-oh-oh-oh (moment)

Magic, oh-oh-oh
Magic, oh-oh-oh
Magic, oh-oh-oh (moment)

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday 2