Trying To Get To You

Friday, March 06, 2009

Bootleg Friday: Talking Heads, 1977

Talking Heads seem to be in the air these days. Whether in their obvious influence in bands like Vampire Weekend, or David Byrne’s continuing influence as both musician and thinker, their legacy continues to resonate even more powerfully with the passing of time.

It seems weird to me now, but the first time I ever heard “Take Me To The River” was via the Talking Heads version, not Al Green’s. Talking Heads were a staple of mine as a kid. As a band with lots of MTV exposure in the channel’s early years, songs like “Burning Down The House” were lingua franca anyone who grew up in the early 80's.

For me, they were a band whose pleasures were to be more fully explored and discovered. Speaking In Tongues and Stop Making Sense gave way to Talking Heads ’77 and Remain In Light, two albums that I still cherish, and were a gateway into a further exploration of CBGB alumni like Television, Blondie, Richard Hell & The Voidoids and more. (I was already a Ramones fan.) Sure they were art-damaged (usually not my thing at all), but I always loved the tremendous sense of humor in their music, as well as some of the best bass playing I’ve ever heard, courtesy of Tina Weymouth.

Today’s Bootleg Friday is a selection of six songs recorded in San Francisco in December of 1977. Of special note is “The Big Country,” my favorite Talking Heads song, and one of the most incisive and brilliant pieces of American alienation I’ve encountered; it's a commentary on the American heartland before anyone had invented the distinction "red state."

I see the shapes,
I remember from maps.
I see the shoreline.
I see the whitecaps.
A baseball diamond, nice weather down there.
I see the school and the houses where the kids are.
Places to park by the factries and buildings.
Restaunts and bar for later in the evening.
Then we come to the farmlands, and the undeveloped areas.
And I have learned how these things work together.
I see the parkway that passes through them all.
And I have learned how to look at these things and I say,

(chorus)

I wouldnt live there if you paid me.
I couldnt live like that, no siree!
I couldnt do the things the way those people do.
I couldnt live there if you paid me to.

I guess its healthy, I guess the air is clean.
I guess those people have fun with their neighbors and friends.
Look at that kitchen and all of that food.
Look at them eat it guess it tastes real good.

They grow it in the farmlands
And they take it to the stores
They put it in the car trunk
And they bring it back home
And I say ...

(chorus)

I say, I wouldnt live there if you paid me.
I couldnt live like that, no siree!
I couldnt do the things the way those people do.
I wouldnt live there if you paid me to.

Im tired of looking out the windows of the airplane
Im tired of travelling, I want to be somewhere.
Its not even worth talking
About those people down there.

Download: "Uh Oh Love Comes To Town" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA
Download: "The Big Country" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA
Download: "New Feeling" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA
Download: "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA
Download: "Psycho Killer" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA
Download: "No Compassion" 12/3/77, San Francisco, CA

2 comments:

Hanan said...

last night (er, this morning, around midnight actually), I had a nice convo with a friend about how great Talking Heads and Bowie are. g-d bless good music. thanks for the mp3s, I'm about to download and enjoy em

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the tunes. Could you please post the entire concert

Facebook Share