Matt is off working on his own thing for next time, which will come along with a newsletter. Meanwhile, I thought why not celebrate our nation’s proudest moment—that would be now, am I right? — with a story of the American dream—or one version of it anyway: Red Guitar.
I'm not really sure when Walter wrote this. Early 90s for sure but what else is new? ( I’ll share some more recent vintage soon). It showed up on his song lists about then, but as I've learned, sometimes he had song titles on these lists before he had the songs.
Obviously he never got very far with this---no bridge, no solo section, a big hairy 2 minutes, etc. But it has always been one of my real favorites and if you can't hear it already I'm not sure I could explain it. There’s the fantastic swinging syncopation over a great popping’ bass, the optimum Becker dissonant note in the riff , of course —
— but what really gets me is the singing. So free, casual, even as the narrative voice tells a sad story with affection but no sentimentality. He's saying there was, after all, nothing to be done. And in his easy, swinging style, we hear he’s managed once again to write himself a ditty that he really enjoys singing. Clever gent.
And because our experience of life is comprised largely of contrasts, comparisons, distinctions, and similarities — we are pattern-recognition animals, above all—sometimes I find myself thinking of this little tune as Becker's N Gang