Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gettin' The Feelin' Again...

“Her name was Lis'beth...She was a dumb-ass..”

When Me and the first Mrs. LowerManhattanite were divorced, there were the usual casualties—our kids, our psyches and our respective finances.

Another casualty, albeit minor, was our shared record collection. She and I are monster music fans, sharing very much the same eclectic tastes in music. Philly Soul, Show Tunes, Jazz, The Beatles, weird soundtrack stuff from film and TV, Motown, Blus and 50's, 60's and 70's Pop. (She's passed this down to our kids—hearing my 13-year-old daughter go from singing Rihanna's “Umbrella” to Streisand's “Papa Can You Hear Me” in the shower is...well, kinda jarring) When we broke up, a wrenching event was the dissolution of that several thousand-strong record library. Carefully going through the shelves of vinyl, fingers flipping, stopping—

“This one's mine. I got it downtown from 'Rock & Soul' the day it came out.”

“ loaned your copy to your sister and she never gave it back. Remember? I bought the replacement. That's what this one is.”


She got “Yentl”, “My Name Is Barbra”, and the Bell Biv DeVoe “Poison” album. I got “No Count Sarah” , Keith Sweat's “I Want Her” 12" single, “Color Me Barbra”, and the soundtrack from Steve McQueen's “Bullitt”. It was tough going...especially once we hit the the stack of Barry Manilow records. See, I wasn't necessarily a Manilow fan. I appreciated his songcraft, and his way of putting across a pop song, but I wasn't a fan like my ex-wife was, who knew odd minutiae, like Barry's pet beagle's name (“Bagel?!”). She loooooves Barry. And she wanted every record in the Manilow stack—including one that I knew didn't belong to her. Namely, the one pictured at the top of this post. The “Trying To Get The Feeling” album—his third.

Why discuss Barry Manilow records you may ask?

Well, it turns out that the Barr-ster's in the old Paradise Café 2:00 a.m. limelight again lately with his recent stand against wingnuttery.

Seems Barry was slated to do a guest shot on “The View” in the coming days but said 'You know what? Maybe the hell not' when his request to not have to deal with the show's bubble-headed, ranting, conservative fembot Elisabeth Hasselbeck was denied. Not known as a tough guy, Barry stood his ground and opted out of the performance, saying in a statement:

"I strongly disagree with her views. I think she's dangerous and offensive. I will not be on the same stage as her. ... I cannot compromise my beliefs."


"I had made a request that I be interviewed by co-hosts Joy (Behar), Barbara (Walters) or Whoopi (Goldberg), but not Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Unfortunately, the show was not willing to accommodate this simple request, so I bowed out."

Now, as I said...I'm no big Barry fan like the ex, but the one song of his that I love is the title track on the pictured album, “Trying To Get The Feeling Again”. I fought my ex-wife like a dog for that album—which I knew I'd bought.

And for Barry's rousing fuck-finger in the face of a talent-retarded freeper, while in the midst of a promotional tour for an album I admit I'm pretty sure I won't be buying, I've gotta admit...I tip my cap to him. It prompted me to drag that old piece of vinyl out and listen to it again.

Damn thing still sounds pretty good. Murky minor chords—not the typical happy, pop-py Barry you hear on many of his recordings. Aurally warm on the turntable. It's got his classic “crescendo” at the three-quarter mark, but it's still a darker and despairing Manilow singing about trying to get the old mojo back again.

An absolutely apt metaphor for Progressives today. It's time to get back to brusquely curb-kicking the idea of compromise with these retrograde clowns. If...Barry-fucking-Manilow can do it, so can you, Harry Reid. And you, Speaker Pelosi. Every Goddamned one of you.

And first chance we can safely do so, can someone in leadership please, please kick Joe Lieberman off his various Democratic Senate committees, and figuratively dead in his chest?