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Exchanging views stemming from comments to our recent post on music appreciation , ‘speed’ came up, which flashed me back to a chat I had with Rhythmic when he was here some months ago.

We were captive audience to a troupe of dancers and drummers that suddenly appeared whilst we were having a few pre-dinner drinks with Mala at a Colombo hotel of RD’s choice. As expected, RD was taken by the drumming and proceeded to ask about various aspects. Fortunately I have a smattering of knowledge on the subject due to exposure to The Dancer’s realm and gave RD a brief rundown on the types of indigenous drums and that. He then asked about the particular performers and if I considered them to be ‘good’. And so I told him what The Dancer’s father had passed on to me regarding drummers. It was to do with the ‘space’ or ‘time’ between the beat.

So the way I see it, is that the quality of the drummer is determined by the speed combined with the precision that allows a definite and discernible space between each beat – however fast. Some drummers (and guitarists, for that matter) can be ultra-fast, but if really listened to with a discerning ear, the precision (or lack of it) will be apparent. And that, to me, is the measure of the musician’s ability and that which separates the good ones from the exceptional.

As Java postulated:

Heey maan, would there be rhythm without the space between the beat?

It’s like one of those cyclical things that happen so often. This one’s about music and songs in particular, starting when Java was requested to write a song for the astrologer Michael Bear to lay on one of his Hollyweird hopefuls. Then there was the tagging thing that RD got us involved with, which must surely have set the mood for the ‘Day in a life’ trip. Soon after, believe it or not, another mail arrives from The Bear, telling Java of a few suggestions with the lyrics to ‘Let slip the jagged edge’ and, almost in passing, asked for another effort. Seems like the ‘fresh talent’ liked what she saw.

Anyway, Java – when the mood fits – has no problem with putting words together and having got a bit more information about the singer, whizzed off another song. He called it ‘No substitute for that good ol rock ‘n roll’ and it goes like so:

She comes on hot
And sings so cool
She’s slicker than shit
She’s nobody’s fool
But oh her private life’s a mess
She’s just got too much soul
But it’s no substitute for that good ol rock ‘n roll

She sings with such panache
The coolest jazz and sultry blues
It’s not apparent she’s fucked up
On too much coke and booze
And her personal agenda’s
Got too much soul
And it don’t hold a candle to her good ol rock ‘n roll

She’s whacked out
She’s smacked out
She’s manic depressive
She’s strapped out
She’s blacked out
But she’s oh so expressive

The spotlight’s on her
She’s back again
Right out of re-hab
Don’t feel no pain
And her personal life’s so cramped
It freezes her soul
There’s just no substitute for that good ol rock ‘n roll

She’s whacked out
She’s smacked out
She’s manic depressive
She’s strapped out
She’s blacked out
But she’s oh so expressive

The spotlight’s on her
She’s back again
Right out of re-hab
Don’t feel no pain
And her personal life’s so cramped
It freezes her soul
‘Coz there’s no substitute for that good ol rock ‘n roll

Java’s back at the sound setup and gets an old Janis Joplin number going. Looks like it’s time to get into the music.

Lyrics – No substitute for that good ol rock ‘n roll  – Copyright – javamusik.ink.

August 2007
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Ephemeral Ruminations by Java Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
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