Thursday, March 27, 2008

Momma Killed a Chicken She Thought it Was a Duck

As many who read this blog know, I love rock-n-roll. I grew up listening to the likes of Bob Dylan, mainly because I had an older brother and he listened to Bob Dylan, in addition to the Beatles,The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Buffalo Springfield, etc. My brother's eight years older than me, so I sort of inherited some of his musical tastes.

In high school, back in the 80’s, I was a bonafide Dylan fan. And then my senior year a classmate of mine, Greg Massiello, said “If you like Dylan, you should listen to Larry Norman.” I had never heard of him. But I listened and was hooked. Norman was real, his lyrics raw—ghonerhia on valentines day; you're still lookin' for the perfect lay—, sometimes off-the-wall—walking backwards down the stairs; trying to get higher, higher—and often funny. Watch What You’re Doin’ went like this:

Momma killed a chicken she thought it was a duck
She put it on the table with it’s legs stickin’ up

Pappa broke his glasses when he fell down drunk

He tried to drown the kitty-cat turned out to be a skunk

You gotta watch what you’re doin’; don'cha know
you gotta watch wha you’re doin’


And then,

I knew a girl, as sweet as could be
But she fell for a man like chain-sawed tree

She listened to his lies, got fooled by his charms

Now she’s sittin’ with a baby in her arms

You gotta watch what you’re doin’….


Here’s Norman in 1988 with a classic, Great American Novel. Some of the lyrics are eerily relevant to our current political situation.






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Here he is rockin’ out nine years earlier (1979) at Greenbelt.






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I got to see him only once, in 1990 in Yale’s Battel’s Chapel. He had recently become a dad, as I recall, and he kept in the pocket of his jeans a tiny little baby's shoe. Sadly, like most of us, Larry was a complicated, mixed-bag of a human being. He was, I am told, bi-polar and he had great difficulties with relationships. His rocky relationship with Randy Stonehill is legendary.

Larry’s marriage (or marriages; I think he was married twice) didn’t last. But he soldiered on, through personal trials of various and sundry sorts and through bouts with demons that haunted him throughout his life. He died one month ago (I just learned yesterday) from a weak heart. It had failed him many times in the past. Last month it failed him for the last time. He was 61. What better song to end this post with, then this one, Goodbye Farewell.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear you man. I grew up on this guy and his music still touches my soul like many things cannot. God Rest his Soul. I hope we'll see him in heaven.

buy viagra said...

It is a good song, all the bands you just mention are incredible, too bad that kind of music is no available now with the music of now a days.