Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Genius At Work

A brief followup to my Moby Grape post downstairs.

The new CD contains one of my absolute favorite songs of all time -- "Motorcycle Irene" -- by the group's sort-of frontman/genius, the (sadly late) Skip Spence.

It's an absolutely brilliant mashup of folkie ballad and hepster update of the sort of car crash teenage badass songs exemplified by the Shangri-Las "Leader of the Pack."

It's simultaneously poetic, strangely poignant, hysterically funny, and quite mad.

Herewith, the lyrics in full.

MOTORCYCLE IRENE (Alexander "Skip" Spence)

There she sits a-smokin'
Reefer in her mouth
Her hair hanging northward
As she travels south
Dirty, on her Harley
(But her nails are clean)
Super-powered, de-flowered
Over-eighteen Irene

I've seen her in the bare
Where her tattoos and her chains
Wrap around her body
Where written are the names
Of prisons she's been in
And lovers she has seen
Curve-winding, bump 'n' grindin'
Motorcycle Irene

Ground around like hamburger
Layin' an a splat
'tis Irene, her sheen I seen
In pieces crumpled flat
Oh, the feet were in the bushes
Her toes were in her hat
Stark-raven, un-shaven
Motorcycle Irene

The Hunchback, the cripple
Horseman and the Fool
Prayer books and candles and
Carpet, cloaks and jewels
Knowing all the answers
But breakin' all the rules
The stark-naked, un-sacred
Motorcycle Irene

As a friend of mine once said about a girl in a Yeats poem, Irene must have been one rockin' package.

Update: Can't find the link, but apparently the surviving members of Moby Grape are playing the 40th anniversary of the Monterey Pop concert sometime in the next week or so. Skippy's son Omar, who apparently looks just like his old man, will be subbing for his dad. I saw them in '96 (sans the kid), and they were brilliant, so this might yet be a hot one.


dave™© said...

Hey, Steverino -

Guess Monterey Pop's trademarked.

dave™© said...

Kinda screwed up the link, but you get the idea...

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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