We only spent a single night in ‘Bamaland, but we hope to return in a couple weeks. Here’s a few tunes meant to keep our minds on the roads ahead. Fun facts: Alabama is home to a couple records including the world’s largest office chair and the world’s largest cast iron statue. Also, they build rockets.
Birmingham: This song by Ropes and Shovels with its wha wha harmonica and slapping drums, two-part harmonies and a ragged edge became one of my favorites while I stayed in my little home in Switzerland two years ago. Although I had never been to ‘bama, it reminded me of home and I played it often and I played it loud. (Apologies to my neighbor, Frank, for seeing my dance moves.)
Angel from Montgomery: Only John Prine could pull off a song written in first person that begins with “I am an old woman.” This song is perfect in every way with stark, honest lyrics that flay to the bone: How the hell can a person go to work in the morning, come home in the evening and have nothing to say? Damn, dude. It’s a masterclass in simplicity and plainspokenness as art. (And, yeah, I saw him play this one live and it was completely amazeballs.)
I’ve made up my mind to give myself to you: A second mention of Birmingham in this one. Sure Dylan has lots of love songs, but has he ever emoted more than when he delivers the word Birmingham in this one? I know some of you will say, “Ryan, you didn’t go with ‘Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blue Again?’” No. That was too obvious.