Sunday, May 8, 2011

CoTW 103 -- Girls Talk

We come from a land east of here, a land also quite northerly, where the winters hit almost as hard as they do here. We have travled many miles, from one frozen land to another, on a flying machine, to play here in your city, in your land. And we have one question for you: What have you done with all your womenfolk?

Though this particular prevarication was not verbalized as such until we reached Minneapolis, the question had started passing through my mind weeks prior, as Buffalo Tom was a few shows into our first tour of 2001, in the Benelux and UK countries (with a quick stop in Köln). Scanning the ever-decreasing audiences we pull into our shows at this stage in our career, we started to notice: very few women are left.

Don't get me wrong; I am quite happy for the passionate, paunchy, balding, middle-aged mirrors of ourselves that take the time and make the effort to be there late at night in some club that they have likely been coming to, perhaps with less frequency, for the past 20-odd years. I know that feeling of getting myself off a couch after dinner, on a week night, tired from work and the kids, perhaps it is cold out, and going to stand in sticky dried beer as my back starts to give out and my ears ring. But when I am looking forward to seeing a band whose records I love, the result is more often offers transcendence above that mundane stuff. It is like exercise -- the last thing you want to do, but it makes you feel so much better when you have done it.

But my own wife now attends maybe one or two shows a year (not just Buff Tom -- I mean all shows). Someone has to be responsible and care for the children. And I imagine this is what has happened to many of the BT fan womenfolk. And, to be quite honest, we were very grateful for that brief moment in the sun, when the lovely light of having "Late At Night" featured so prominently in a pivotal episode of the beloved-by-chicks show, My So Called Life. And that light shed down its rays on us, pierced the darkness of big-necked dudes in white "COCKS" baseball caps, who in the early-1990s parted their hulking flannel-shirted shoulders to all of a sudden let a parade of young women in to see Buffalo Tom!

Alas! Like the sun, the light was here and then it was gone. And we are left to ponder the dark and dank smell of dude, as if in a cave with a council of hunter-gatherers. Or something.

So, for all you women who DO still come (yes, I see you! I am so happy to see you!), thank you for coming!

But I still don't pretend to fully understand you. Hence this week's cover, a perfect pop song that completely summed up my adolescent gropings -- physical and mental -- when I was a teenager. A song which, in its effervescent pop shimmer and clever wordplay, actually lent a tinge of romantic erudition to my lost wanderings through vacant high school hallways. And Costello wrote quite a few of those.

I adhere closer to Dave Edmunds' hit version here. Sorta. Edmunds' version owes more than a bit to the Everly Brothers in feel and arrangement. And of course I stole the sentiment and half the title for my own solo song, "Girls Club"

Girls Talk mp3


Randy Reichardt said...

.: Another great cover that brought back a rush of memories from its time period. That's what happens all to often when I listen to the latest CoTW. Being 13 years older than you, I sadly fit the "passionate (always), paunchy (unfortunately), balding (not yet) middle-aged (indeed)" description so eloquently articulated here. I would like my youth back, but it won't be returning.

Justin Hayward's "You Can Never Go Home Anymore" is a song that resonates with me more and more every year since its release. I've reached the point where my love for the song is tempered by my anger at its accuracy. But this tune is timeless, I believe. We can never understand them.

Tonight I went for dinner with a friend in from Toronto on whom I've had a crush for years. Haven't seen her since last August, but the crush remains. A few minutes into dinner, I noticed two rings on her left hand. I asked, "What's this?", and she said, "Oh, I got married." My heart sank. Who knew? Not me.

Thanks for continuing the CoTW tradition, Bill, and thanks for the great show in Boston last month. The highlight of my year so far.

Kind regards,

chad said...

One of my favorite songs of all time! I have to say I prefer the Elvis Costello version, though.

First heard it via friends who covered it acoustically in a pub way back in 1991 - pretty close to how Bill does it here.

Now we just need a cover of Radio Sweetheart! :)

casey-good-food-stories said...

As one of the few females in the audience at the recent Bowery Ballroom show, I was wondering the same thing - where are all the other girls? I don't recall the audience being so dude-heavy even last year at Merc Lounge.

Thanks for still coming out to play for us, anyway. We might not be as lithe and dewy as we were back in the days of Angela Chase, but (for me at least) the experience is still transcendent.

Adrian said...
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bjc1324 said...


Just wanted to say I was at Slim's for the BT show last night (I was wearing a Cupertino Sharks jersey) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Excellent setlist, sounded great...just amazed that more people didn't show. I guess the whole 'Tuesday night, 40-ish fanbase, too old and creaky to stay out past 8pm them range true'.

As a transplanted New Yorker (sorry) out here, I truly appreciate you guys taking the time to venture out West for your past two tours, even if it is a once every 4-5 year thing. Hope you guys do it again soon.

Thanks again.