Monday, December 7, 2009

Travelin' Men: more burning questions

Have you ever wondered why entertainers lead the life of a nomad? One of my favorite songs is Traveling Man by Ricky Nelson, in it a melancholy mood is evoked about a poor bastard who
has "made a lot of stops all over the world, and in every port I own the heart of at least one lovely girl". Of course he'd be labeled a "womanizer" by today's standards, or most certainly a sad egomaniac. But I've digressed somewhat...

Why can't entertainers, who have super star status, remain in one place and to practice their trades? I think it has something to do with cupid's bow: remove leisure and his bow is inoperative.

Back to the song...the protagonist extols the virtue of ethnic diversity by alluding to the Eskimo, Senorita, Fraulin and Poly girls who "wait for his return." Maybe that's the justification for his politically incorrect theme. So Ricky or the person he assumes during the song may be a cad, but an equal opportunity lover. This song was popular right before birth control was in wide practice so while there may be a bunch of little travelin' bastards running around, they probably are not members of the KKK.

When I first heard the song, we were returning late at night, from a drive-in theater. My father had left before the last 10 minutes of the movie had elapsed (his usual custom...I imagine that I've not seen the end of hundreds of movies) so he wouldn't have to sit in traffic during our egress. The car was a blue and white '56 Oldsmobubble, which was kinda traitorous for a Chrysler employee. One of the lyrics was "oh my sweet brown eyes down in Berlin town" which I heard as "my sweet brown eyes down in Burlington" As I've aged and understood that I've had perceptual hearing loss my whole life; many misunderstandings have occurred in my pea brain. Another of these was "forced-air heating" which I recently discovered after hearing "Four Stair heating"...I thought "Four Stair" might be something of a military brand owned and operated by Omar Bradley.

Any way, if you really want to piss off the babes, play them Julio Iglesias "All the girls I've ever loved before "...courtship over, go straight to jail, do not pass go.

Now for the Hollywood Noir/Laurel Canyon connection:

As for Nelson, in the mid-1960s he successfully shed his ‘teen idol’ image and emerged as a respected pioneer of the country-rock wave that Canyonites Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles would soon ride to dizzying heights of commercial success. One future member of the Eagles, Randy Meisner, played in Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band. As the name of the band would seem to imply, Nelson did not live in Laurel Canyon but rather in one of the many neighboring canyons, but he and his band were very much a part of the early country-rock scene that included Laurel Canyon bands like The Byrds, Poco, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the First National Band.

For the final eight years of his life, Nelson lived in a rather unusual home. In 1941, swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn had purchased an eleven-and-a-half-acre chunk of the Hollywood Hills just off Mulholland Drive and had a sprawling home built to his specifications.

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