Cover of the Week 18 Winter

We finished up the residency of four Saturdays at Toad in Cambridge last night. Buffalo Tom was in the hiz-ouse for six songs, two debuts of new songs and some back catalog stuff. For me, it was a spectacular ending to a soul-enriching regular weekly event that helped me get through the dreariest of all months in Boston. This was not a total accident; as I get older, the winter just takes that much more out of me. It is not coincidence that people go down to Florida to die. Something about the cold and the diminishing light just saps the spirit, which as we get older seemingly has less in reserve to tap and sap even without the draw of dreary seasonal affective disorder. I don’t know how my friends in Scandinavia deal with it. “Land of the Midnight Sun” in the summer does not cut it when one has an hour or two of dim daylight in January. On our trips up there in the winter, I am thankful for the few more hours we have in January here in Boston. I end up wanting to wear black eyeliner ad play all This Mortal Coil, Peter Murphy and other 1980s 4AD stuff when we play shows up there during the winter.

But it is March 1. Spring is just around the corner, right? Yeah, well, welcome to Boston where we are gearing up for another foot of snow tomorrow. This, after a typical teaser week where temps reached into the 50s (Fahrenheit/feet/inches – sorry to those of you outside of the US who are still on the metric system; you’ll catch up some day). I even had March 15 in the family pool as the date when the snow in our yard will finally melt completely. This has been a particularly brutal winter here. We have had snow cover on the ground since before Christmas. And it has not been fluffy, magical pristine white snow, with snowmen and angels and sleigh bells; we are well into the stage of half-melted, salty blocks of grimy ice, mini glaciers regurgitating remnants of trash and dog shit buried and fossilized for months, ready to be cleaned up, only to be snowed over in another foot of snow. Looks like my daughter’s prediction of not seeing fully exposed ground until April 10 has a real shot. We laughed at her (as a parent, it is your duty to humiliate and squash your children when given the chance lest they grow up with an overly inflated sense of themselves) and I was carefully considering what my menu for breakfast in bed might have consisted of, me with my prediction of March 15, ha ha ha.

Sorry if this is just the same old banal tripe, complaining about the weather. I like to think of myself as a hearty northeastern man but the truth is, as all of my friends will attest, I am a wuss about the cold — OK, just a wuss about anything, but especially the cold. I am not outdoors-ey (“I lied about being the outdoor type”) never skied, never snowboarded, need heated car seats, etc. The northern folk around the world think of themselves as a deeper breed of human, Ibsen, Chekhov, Bergman, Beethoven, Bach, Woody Allen — none from tropical climes. But the truth is, I would rather live in a southern region somewhere. Look, Faulkner was southern! So is Dan Penn and so was Townes Van Zandt! Indeed, so was Ronnie Van Zant.

Since starting this CotW project, I have gotten quite a few surprising requests for some of my favorite songs, songs which I had on my own list to cover. This of course should not discourage you requesting types to make a donation to some charity as inspired by this blogect [I am trademarking that ridiculous term I just invented]. One of the songs which a couple of people have requested is one of my all-time faves, the Rolling Stone’s “Winter.”

From the criminally maligned 1973 Goats Head Soup LP, “Winter” is one of the handful of all Stones songs that do not feature Keith Richards on the recording. Or, at least I believe that to be the case. I have no fact-checking cuz interning for this bloject [by the way, that’s pronounced “blah-ject” not “blow-ject,” which might be something else altogether]. The recording apparently just started with the two Micks, Jagger and Taylor, sitting around a studio in sunny Jamaica. For a more comprehensive discussion of the song, please feel free to visit my song review from back around 2000. I am corny in the way I try to link these songs to current conditions, dates, holidays, or events. But I go with that flow. That’s how I roll.

Damn, I just googled “bloject.” I was not the first. But I am trademarking “blowject” for quite another purpose, still web-based, however.

18 thoughts on “Cover of the Week 18 Winter”

  1. Great version of “Winter.” Its nice to hear your interpretation of Stones songs, seeing as how important they are to you and the fact that you’ve obviously thought a bit about the songs have written extensively on the band.

    Sorry to say life and time conspired against me coming up to see one of you shows, despite family to crash with in Reading. Sounds like it was a great stint, with Buffalo Tom coming in to close! Anyway, Thanks for the covers, I’ll have to a buy a t-shirt and tell everybody I was as one of those Saturday night shows…

  2. .: Your description of Buff Tom at The Toad last night leaves me envious beyond words. It’s bad enough I can’t be there, but to know BT is working on and playing new tunes live is so exciting. Can we look forward to a followup to Three Easy Pieces in the not-too-distant future? It’s so good to know these residencies are reinvigorating your spirit and creativity. I saw Michael Piantigini’s photos on FB tonight.

    I agree with you on winter, and consider where I live. In late June, the sun rises at 5:00 and sets at 10:07 pm, but in late Dec, it rises at 8:50 and sets at 4:15. I’m sorry to hear another heavy snowstorm is hitting Boston. We have had weeks of sub-zero temps, and I’m quite worn out from all of it. Winter can indeed sap the strength out of you.

    I notice you considered both “blogect” and “bloject” in your post. What about “blogject”?

    Thanks for CotW 18, and top marks and an Edmonton shout-out for making it 18 weeks in a row and counting, Bill. It was an appropriate choice, given your love of the tune, the forthcoming storm, and the impending end of Winter 2008/09 itself. Thanks also for posting the links to your reviews, including this one. I wasn’t aware of these entries.

    My PTMOR shirts were mailed from NY two weeks ago, so I hope they arrive this week. Watch for photos when they do. I’ll tell friends I was there in spirit, and will wear one the next time I play locally. Have a great week, and thanks as always for the CotW.

    – Randy

  3. Since you mentioned him…how about a Townes Van Zandt cover sometime in the near future? If I Needed You? To Live is to Fly? You Are Not Needed Now?

  4. Bill, what can i say !, speechless !, my favourite all time Stones song (honestly!), for many personal reasons, covered by your good self. A great way to start my birthday !, perfect!. Thank you

  5. Sigh…it’s winters like this that make you wish Al Gore was right. Anyway, excellent rendition of a song I’m not familiar with Bill.

    Now, outside I go to shovel out my suburban Long Island driveway buried out from under a foot of snow. Did I mention it’s 22 degrees with a windchill of plus 9? Maybe ol’ Al can come and give me a hand.

  6. I read your book about exile and can see how it influenced you, but winter is the stones song I’ve always thought informed your stuff the most. So it is cool to hear it and read your remarks. Wanted to get into Toad the other night but went to the costello fanboy thing down the street instead as the line was shorter and it was cold. So very cold.
    Loretta is my choice for a townes cover.

  7. Subsequent to the Townes request, I was listening to Blaze Foley who has a couple of tunes that same built for you: Cold Cold World and Clay Pigeons. If you are not familiar with them, one appears on Live at The Austin Outhouse and the other on Live at The Oval Room. Keep up the great work! I live in Spain so with the time difference they are usually waiting for me bright and early on Monday morning.

  8. .: Indeed you have mentioned previously that some new BT material was in the pipeline. Wonderful news indeed.

    I’m not sure how (we) Canadians might pronounce “bloject” or “blogject”. Is this something to do with the myth that we pronounce “about” as “aboot”?

    BTW, I’m wearing proudly my Part Time Man o’ Rock t-shirt this evening. Two arrived in the mail today. 🙂

  9. No joke — the two songs that my boys love listening to me sing are The Outdoor Type and Vinyl Road. Okay, so they’re only 4 months old, but it still counts for something.

  10. “rock and roll’s a loser’s game…it mesmerizes..i can’t explain”-ian hunter
    you nailed that mott song.god damn.. you own that stage at toad.phil is a monster..and gent is just a rock’n’roll star.

  11. Yes! Sadly, I missed a week of checking in, here — a week of life without knowing about this great version of this great song – though I’ve been listening to the Stones disc lots in the car.

    Thanks so much for this.

    Steve Earle is releasing an entire album of Townes songs this week I think? And looking forward to that, as well as whatever you weigh in with, Bill (TVZ or otherwise).

  12. I’m listening to “Lungs” from “Townes” now. It’s streaming at I’ll buy that. A tour to be announced, too.

    I made it to 2 1/2 Toad shows, but so sorry I missed the Buffalo Tom night. See you at the irish session americana on St Patty’s Day.

  13. Maybe I'm a freak of nature but… I like the cold/winter. It's invigorating! (No I'm not into skiing or anything too strenuous, but cool fresh air is…nice.) Sunlight/heat drains my energy and is just uncomfortable. Who knows, I might be less depressed if I didn't avoid the sun like the plague…but I don't like the sun, or any bright light really.

    I guess Scandinavians deal with their weather by making some of the most beautiful melancholy music I've ever heard. 🙂 Or writing happy-clappy yay!Sunshine! songs because they miss it so much. Either way, I love so much of the music coming out of Scandinavia…

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