Sunday, August 21, 2016

In a Real Hot Spot

Song 317: This week on the playlist you can find Saint Augustine in Hell by Sting, who also wrote the song. And yes, it is August, and it has been hot lately. When Ten Summoner’s Tales came along in early ’93, a couple of standout tracks, like Fields of Gold (Song 112), got a lot of airplay, and they sounded good enough to convince me to get the CD, but even so, the album still managed to exceed my expectations. I don’t remember hearing this cut on the radio, but it quickly got my attention. You have to admire the way Mr. Sumner does the spoken part in the middle section, pretending to be the devil speaking to his own soul. I always sensed a double meaning in his statement, “OK, break’s over!” Musicians understand the word break as referring to this middle section speaking part, so he’s signaling his backup players that it’s time to return to the next verse, as a lead singer might do with a live ensemble, though it’s hardly necessary on a studio recording. However, I also think the phrase may be a sly reference to a joke about hell that made the rounds back in the late ‘60s. I won’t go into that joke here, but if anyone hasn’t heard it and would like to, query me on my Facebook musician page (link on the website) and I’ll do a post about it. While I enjoy hearing Sting ribbing about his torture over an undeniable attraction to his best friend’s lover, I personally could never allow myself to feel, let along respond, to such an attraction. At one point during HS, a classmate named Sandy caught my eye, and I started to write a song for her, but soon after, my close friend and fellow rock-and-roll dreamer Brian confided to me that he had a strong attraction to her, at which point I decided that if The Initials ever performed Sandy Look This Way then Brian would sing the lead, and dedicate the song to the one who had truly inspired it, while I would not ever indicate that she had created any ripples in my stream. Sadly, The Initials never performed the Sandy song, or any others — we never got close to fulfilling our RnR dreams — and so Sandy never got to hear Brian sing for her a song that I wrote for her. The good news is that I didn’t have to keep company with failed saints and high court judges gathered in a certain very hot spot.

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