The Bobbo Society For The Arts & Letters

June 3, 2021 - can't you see? 

“Can't you see, ohh, can't you see 
What that woman, Lord, she been doin' to me.” 

This song has bugged me for years because I hate lazy songwriting. Yeah, I know, It was a huge hit. Great chorus but the verses don’t hold up. Not just that but song structure wise - if you can play a D chord, then a C chord and lastly a G chord - you can play this whole song. There is no bridge, no modulation, no second part just jamming over 3 chords for a little over six minutes. Not that musical complexity makes for a better song but this is musical boredom, it’s lazy, it’s lowest common denominator music. 

Yeah, of course it’s a great summer jam with flute solo but it’s still a half ass written song.  

When I hear this song - and it’s still played A LOT - on the radio all I can think of is the person that wrote this song and the kind of relationship they would’ve been in in order to half write it. The only clue that is given to any kind of understanding is in the second verse when he says: 

“I'm gonna find me 
A hole in the wall 
I'm gonna crawl inside and die 
'Cause my lady, now 
A mean ol' woman, Lord 
Never told me goodbye.” 

He puts all the blame on the woman, accepts no responsibility for any part of his story and pretty much just says “bitches be crazy” and that’s it.  

There's this guy I know and a few years ago he got fired from his job. I asked him why and he was like “I don’t know. They just fired me with no explanation.” Now I’ve been fired from a few jobs and here’s the thing - you always know why you’ve been fired. If you are not aware enough to know this, most likely you’ve been told several times and it is not sinking in. This guy was one of those dudes that wasn’t going to learn anything without making the same mistake a dozen times with many people telling him “dude, you shouldn’t do that or you’re going to get fired.” I don’t even have to get into specifics - you probably know a dude like this.  

Now Mr. Marshall Tucker seems to be that kind of dude. His woman never told him goodbye. Boo-Hoo. I’m sure she said it a dozen times. She probably said things like “if you don’t stop leaving your dirty underwear on the floor, I swear to Jesus I’m gonna leave.” Or “That’s it, I’m out of here, I’ll be at my mothers.” And he was just like “alright, get me some beer while you’re out.” and she didn’t come back and he's not smart enough to ask around and say

"Hey, has anyone seen Becky?"

"Yeah man, she's staying with her mother."

"Oh, is it because she's a mean ol' woman?"

"No man, she said it's because of you, she left because you never listen to her."

And this bothers me more than it should.  

It’s god damn classic rock and EVERYONE knows this song. Hell, I've played it a bunch of times, I’ve never practiced it or learned the verses because you can say anything in them and no one else knows the difference - that’s how bad the lyrics are.  

“Gonna take a freight train 
Oh lord a freight train 
Gonna take that train on home 
Gonna sit in my seat 
Oh lord my reserved seat 
Don’t care if I’m on the aisle.  
Can’t you see?*” 

Those lyrics could be the lyrics. You don’t know. Enough of them sound right and they move the story along just as much as the actual lyrics and they fit meter wise. I wrote them in the same amount of time it took to type them. Marshall Tucker had more than 15 seconds to write a verse and they didn’t try much harder than I just did making up new words.  

My gripe with this isn’t that people love “Can’t you see”, my gripe is that it’s a missed opportunity to write something meaningful with a great chorus. That chorus is KILLER. It gets stuck in your head for days but it’s a chorus without a story. Not just that but they never even used a question mark with the song title making it grammatically incorrect as well. It IS a question. Can’t you see? They weren’t even smart enough to put the goddamn question mark on there.  

There are a lot of half ass hit songs out there** and this has nothing to do with me thinking that any brain droppings of mine belong to be elevated to classic rock status but more with other artists songs that are not.  

Kathleen Edwards has a song called “Asking for flowers” that maybe could be the flip side of the story of “Can’t you see.” You can almost imagine it as the woman that left having written this. 

Her chorus: 

“Every pill I took in vain 
Every meal for you I made 
Every penny I put away... 
Asking for flowers 
Is like asking you to be nice 
Don't tell me you're too tired 
Ten years I've been working nights.” 

There is more story in that chorus of Kathleen’s song than in the entirety of Can’t you see and this isn’t even my favorite K.E. song, I don’t think it’s even her best song - it’s just one that comes to mind as a response to “Can’t you see.” 

“My life is like a picture
Left out too long in the sun 
Now I'm trying to remember all 
The faces of the names I've loved 
And all that's left of me now is 
A cigarette burning bright 
And a fading memory of all the things 
I tried to get right” 

Now that is a song lyric. This should be elevated to classic rock status. If “Asking for flowers” got 1% of the rotation of “Can’t you see” the world would be a better place, there would be better songwriters, there would be a deeper understanding of the human condition. 

Maybe if it had a flute solo...   

 

*Look, I even used a goddamn question mark like any normal person would. 
**The Killers song “Mr Brightside” is another song that pisses me off. The music of this song is fantastic, it rocks, it has a great first verse and chorus but that’s it. He just repeats the same first verse and sings the chorus again. Yeah, it was a hit for them but it’s still only HALF a song. They wrote a killer (pun intended) first verse and chorus. They could’ve spent some time working on a second verse and moved the story along but NO, it’s good enough. Do most people even notice this? I don’t know. How could you NOT notice that they’re only singing half a song, or the same half twice?  Musically and vocally this song rocks. It would be great if they just finished writing the damn thing.  

“All right now” by Free always sticks in my craw as well. Shit, they left the metronome on in the song and you can even hear where they’re off around the 2:50 mark! Now again the music is pretty rockin, great guitar and bass solo but this one sounds like they just looped the tape and the first and second verse are exactly the same, same inflection in the vocals as well. It’s half a song with a guitar solo and yet will get played forever on classic rock radio.

May 15, 2021 

I've been a little quiet the past couple of weeks. With vaccinations happening - we finally got to see our folks. Tracy's parents came for a visit and then my Mom flew across country and spent a week with us. I hadn't seen my mother in 18 months so that was good. 

Diving back into stuff and looking forward to being back doing what I'm supposed to be doing - making music in front of people. I know other folks are out performing already but I'm still a little skittish. Seeing "anti-maskers" around and folks that don't seem to care about anyone else...  it gets me worked up and makes me want to hide in my studio. 

I want to be positive. I want to believe in better angels or angles. But it is hard. I'm not alone in this feeling.

Musically - over the past few weeks I was Artist of the Day on a Canadian website, was featured on Cashbox Canada and got a new review in the Lonestar Times, a music magazine based in Italy. 

My live-stream this week will be on Monday as I will be doing an early show at noon and an evening show at 7 pm so I can play to folks across the world and accommodate the different time zones. 

I'm working on the special stuff for the vinyl release as well. There's going to be a special design t-shirt to go with them and if you haven't ordered yours yet - here's where to do that.

LoneStar Times Review

Cashbox Canada

Starlite Sessions Artist of the Day

 

May 4, 2021 

Hey everyone! Just a quick note. * 

I'm going to be live on 

WaveRadio Boston 

Tuesday, May 4 from 4-5 pm (PST) or 7-8 pm (Boston Time) 

I'm also doing my 

Tuesday Lunch Time Show 

this week on Tuesday from 12-1 pm (PST) or 3 pm EST and 9 pm (CET) 

I also did an interview with 

Starlite Sessions 

in Edmonton and will be featured on their site on Saturday, June 5. I may have even instigated a fight with them over the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals and accused Wayne Gretzky of sabotage on the old Boston Garden. If I have to fight all of Edmonton I hope some of you will have my back on this one. 

I was also featured on Cashbox magazine's site as well. https://cashboxcanada.ca/.../californian-bobbo.../4780 

I am also now fully vaxed and looking forward to getting back out in the world very soon. I've even booked a couple shows up the west coast the end of June. Slowly, safely. It's such a weird feeling but I can't wait to see everyone's faces again! 

xo 

~Bobbo 

P.S - I'm looking at the end of July for the vinyl to be in. I'm getting super excited about that - remember, this is a limited pressing of only 200 records and a whole bunch of bonus things to make it special. Pre-order is HERE. 

*I dig this picture and the hat. If you look in my eyes you can see that I took this picture myself. It looks very Ray Wylie Hubbard to me.

March 27, 2021 

Chasing Rock and Roll, the backstory:

2020 was weird for everyone and I found myself in the strange position of not looking forward to anything but looking back for comfort. All the way back to the late 90s when my band did a couple of tours in Canada. I ended up writing a love song to them and realizing how much that time together shaped who I was to become. 

The details are all true, right down to someone in London bugging me to listen to Blue Rodeo and gifting me one of their albums and me being an obnoxious American and dismissing what would become one of my all-time favorite bands. The El Macambo and Hotel Brunswick were two places I remembered playing. I remember wandering into Don Cherry’s Sportsbar and watching a hockey game instead of going to soundcheck. I remember hanging with band members from ’63 Monroe, Landslide and Osterberg and staying at one of their houses where the only food in the fridge was Labatt’s 50s and a couple of ketchup packets. I remember cutting my arm open on my guitar strings and finishing the set with someone else’s guitar and bleeding all over it, I remember it being one of my favorite places to tour, falling in love with Canada and not wanting the tour to end. 

I sifted through old boxes of photos and a VHS tape of us performing and made a video that is definitely a rose coloured rear view of that time. You may not have known us but you knew someone that was just like us.

YouTube Video Here.

March 16, 2021 

Sorry I've been away. Well, not away AWAY, just, you know ~ away from the blogging. I spent a bunch of time editing my new video for "Chasing Rock and Roll" and I'm pretty happy with how it came out. 

Like most folks, the one year anniversary of staying home has been hard. I'm anxious to not be so judgmental of folks when going out or seeing them on tv. What did we learn from Ted Lasso? Be curious, not judgmental. I keep trying to tell myself that but it's hard.

I've booked some things coming up in the fall and I'm trying to stay positive about it but day by day it feels like the future is not getting closer but further away. I haven't had any vaccine yet and I'm ready to get it. Knowing that you are "non-essential" is one thing, being told you are non-essential actually stings a little bit. I get it, I'm not going to cut in line. It's just the reality does hit you. 

I am excited to be working on the vinyl release of SeaGreenNumber5. Since I haven't toured, it feels like I'm supposed to be working on a new album but SGN5 is only 7 months old! So the vinyl release will extend it's "new-ness" for me. Also - vinyl! It's going to be on special sea-green colored vinyl!!! I'm so excited. 

Tschuess!

February 1, 2021 

I went to town setting up a live stream over the weekend with Tracy and all that only to have technology fight me every step of the way. 

If you tuned in, I apologize. There was slow internet issues (that I have since fixed) and audio issues with Facebook Live (that I can't fix). I spent a large amount of time trying to figure out what went wrong with the audio, I had this all worked out and Facebook changed something in their settings that prevents any iPhones or iPads from using external audio sources. The worst part was thinking that I was doing something wrong when it was not me at all. When so many things that are unfixable in the world, having this small technological thing that I had figured out taken away from me was Extremely frustrating. I am trying to find a work around but even that is frustrating because I already fixed it once.

I know that change always happens and I'm not someone who is adverse to change but annoyed when things get broken that were working just fine.

I've booked a few in person shows starting in September and I'm hoping that isn't still too soon. It's important to start planning ahead as without something to look forward to the braincloud* gets bigger and harder to see through. 

Rehearsing in my studio so that my songs and performance is better when we all emerge from this fog of covid is something I work on daily. Staring at the same walls you can sometimes feel them closing in. We went for a drive yesterday and just being in a car on the highway felt refreshing and I suddenly missed a long car ride. I cannot wait to be on the road bringing my songs and stories everywhere again. And yet, as soon as we were near people yesterday, I couldn't wait to get home. I fear that the unknown side effect of Covid is going to be more cases of agoraphobia or anthropophobia. I can already feel myself becoming a little more socially distant and just wanting to hide at home. 

Plus sides for today: Stacey Abrams being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. That's amazing.

Be well, talk soon.

xo

~Bobbo

 

 

 

 

*For fans of Joe vs The Volcano. 

Jan 23, 2021 

New website is up and working. I've been working on it for about the past week and Tracy got on here and helped the past couple of days. Whew!

Tonight I'm doing a "Songwriter in the Rectangle" with Doug Schmude, The Sidemen and The Odd Birds. It's on Zoom and here's the link:

Zoom Link. 

7-8 pm (PST) We'll be sharing songs and stories.  

February 2021 Playlist:

New ear candy for your head holes.:

Spotify Link Here.

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January 2021 Playlist

I set up a Spotify playlist of stuff I've been listening to, like Katie Pruitt, Kathleen Edwards, Kasey Musgraves, Great Peacock, Taylor Swift, Old 97's and Rhett Miller.

Dig it here.