Thursday, September 9, 2010

Low Rider

Low Rider.  This is my hometown.  A place which, in my memory, is full of low-riders  following the cruise route that stretched from Sonic on one end to the turnaround point on the main drag at the other.  These cars might have had a crappy paint job, an obnoxiously bad sound system (loud and bass-y seemed to be the only criteria), and bumpers that were held on with duct tape, but the rims would be shiny and expensive. 

I am here now, in a patch of filtered sunshine in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, which itself is on the corner near the art district: art galleries that started popping up around the time I left for college. There are 30-some-odd little galleries here, not bad for a town of 10,000 that's an hour off the interstate.  Nothing of international import happens here.  Just people's lives, simple to the outside eye, plenty complicated to those living them.  The pace of life is a flat-line compared to the frenetic pulse of New York. 

Take Low Rider as an example:  It's all about the groove (which is why it's a September "back-to-school" song for me).   Lyrics: Two lines, one rhyme that takes up 8 bars, then 12 bars of instrumental with that iconic horn riff.  The singer doesn't sound like he's putting a lot of effort into the voice.  That's not the point.  The point is to look cool in your low rider.  The horn bit lays back on the beat, and there's even an effect (I think?) where it comes out of one speaker just a little behind.  I should mention: it's hard to create that effect on the piano - even without the effect, putting the triplet/backphrase rhythms of the horns in the right hand with the bass in the left is less laid-back than the lifestyle this song is about. 

I may check out the music video later, and listen to some cover versions.  Or I might succumb to the New Mexico pace of life and absolve myself of guilt for not doing any of that.  Take a little ride and see...


  1. Want to hear my memory of this song?

    I was a huge fan of Blues Traveler and one time I went to see them at the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in a big outdoor venue near Kansas City. There was a MAJOR summertime deluge while half of the bands were playing. Eventually, it stopped raining and turned into a pleasant afternoon, although everything was soaking wet.

    At this time, John Popper of BT was an enormous guy. He was about 400 pounds and he had recently crashed his motorcycle and broken both of his legs. He had recovered enough to play shows again, and he would come out on stage with crutches or a cane and sit on a stool. Because he was walking with a cane, it's only logical that he would also start wearing a sword on his belt. Who wouldn't?

    On this particular day, halfway through the set, Popper drew his sword, pointed it to the sky as the storm clouds receded into the summer evening distance and declared, "This song is for the great state of Kansas!"

    They played "Lowrider" with a few lines of "Here Comes the Sun" mixed in. It was a good night.

  2. I love that you did this one. And I love how you tied it in with New Mexico... and I love you. So, there you have it.