awbvious | The Long Run

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The Long Run

by awbvious

Cover of The Eagles, all vocals and instrumentation by awbvious, a Californian who has had his spirit here since 1979.
Genre: Rock: Classic Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Long Run
3:42 $0.99
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Album Notes
So, this song is an Eagles’ boast about their self-expected longevity. And a bit of a diss at disco.

Felder’s book “Heaven and Hell” had this to say about “The Long Run” B-side of “Disco Strangler:” “The one thing the Eagles agree on was that we all hated disco music.”

Frankly, disco isn’t as bad as New Wave (in my mind). But it depends on how you define disco. If you include it into “Solid Gold Soul,” well, The Eagles were apparently fans of the Philly sound too. I’d argue that a lot of those tracks were disco, and obviously good. Now, if you take out R&B (in other words, leaving just “white” disco music), and say to me: Name me a good, quality, disco group other than Bee Gees and Abba… Some group with more than, say, one catchy hit... Well, that’s going to be hard. And in which case New Wave (which is already pretty much all white) is probably better.

Of course, it proved to be ironic because the band spilt up soon after this song came out. Henley says that irony was intentional as they were “imploding under the pressure of trying to deliver a worthy follow-up to Hotel California.”

But does that mean they didn’t last? Well, I guess technically they got back together after “The Long Run” album for “Long Road Out of Eden” in 2007. I knew they had a song called “How Long” that did pretty well. It would get mentioned in recent articles about them. Usually the song was mentioned in reference to it doing well on the Country charts. But having not heard it, I figured that was just because the pop charts are overstuffed with pop tarts, not necessarily that their sound had changed. I remember hearing that they were going to be performing for the CMAs in 2007. I thought two things. One: The Eagles aren’t Country. Two: Whelp, not going to get see that performance, because I have zero interest in watching the CMAs.

So, I finally got around to listening to “How Long” about a week or two ago. As soon as it was done, I said like “yep, that’s pretty Country.” In 2008, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. I don’t doubt it was probably the best Country song that year. It’s probably the best Country song I’ve heard made in the last I don’t know how many decades. You can consider that high accolades for them, or a comment on what I think of Country today, or a little of both.

Now, one could say that’s a different Eagles. You could say that if you only heard that one song, well, maybe that band /is/ Country. I still haven’t heard the rest of the album. But if there’s one thing popular music has shown, it’s that a band can’t be exactly the same and stay on charts forever. Of course, I don’t think a band needs to change nor needs to be on some kind of chart either. But regardless, bands are typically fluid entities, often in music styles. Probably what’s most important is the key personnel was pretty much the same in “The Long Run” album as it was in “Long Road Out of Eden” album. It’s not like a Clyde McPhatter Drifters vs Ben E. King Drifters thing. And I’m reading in Wikipedia that “Long Road Out of Eden” went 7x Platinum (hmm, that’s pretty impressive, I think I’ll listen to it tonight if I have time). So, did they or didn’t they last? Obviously by that metric, they’re going the distance.

But let’s say you ignored that album, would they have longevity? I think it depends if you consider art an extension of the artist. In many ways, I wanted to be a musician to achieve a small semblance of immortality. Not true immortality, obviously, eventually everyone’s name will be breathed last by someone. But I think you can have longevity after your death through people getting a part of you mind through your words, sounds, or images.

According to Wikipedia: “In his book ‘The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made,’ music critic Dave Marsh called the song a complete ripoff of the 1972 R&B record ‘Tryin' to Live My Life Without You.’” I’ve heard of Dave Marsh. Either I’ve read his stuff or heard him on Sirius XM, but I don’t think I listen to any of the stations he’s typically on.

Anyway, I clicked on the Wikipedia link for the article on that song, as I didn’t know it. Apparently, it was popularized by Otis Clay. Now, I really like Otis Clay. So, I just clicked on the link for his Wikipedia page. Dang, he passed in 2016.

Unfortunately, I’m getting used to that for my favorite soul singers. Going to their Wikipedia page and having to find out that way. It rarely seems to make the news. Of course, with the news being as bad as it is nowadays, both in content and delivery, I’m usually trying to avoid the news. So maybe it was mentioned on the news. His “That’s How It Is (When You’re In Love)” is one of the most soul-wrenching soul songs ever. But, he’s got a bit of the immortality through me with at least that song.

As for what Glenn Frey says the inspiration is, according to Cameron Crowe’s “Conversations with Don Henley and Glenn Frey:” “… it was also about me just lovin’ Tyrone Davis’ record ‘Turning Point.’” I don’t know if he means the album or the single. I don’t know the song, but the album also has “Turn Back the Hands of Time” which is an amazing song (so is the Jimmy & David Ruffin version) and of course “Can I Change My Mind” is amazing. David Ruffin, of course, was one of the lead singers of The Temptations. Jimmy is his brother and an accomplished solo act in his own right. Dang it, I looked Jimmy up. Died 2014. I thought he was still around. Well, his immortality, for me, is in “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and other songs.

I like how Cameron Crowe ends his “Conversations with Don Henley and Glenn Frey.” There’s this quote by Don Henley:

“It is amazing and gratifying that so many people, all over the world, still love these songs and come out in droves to hear us play them. I live in Texas now, and sometimes, late at night, when I’m pushing the cart around the supermarket, I’ll hear one of our records and think, ‘I left here 33 years ago, did all that, and here I am back again… now, what did I come here to buy?’”

Now that’s a long run. The Eagles have a lot for their immortality. Frey does. Henley will too. And Leadon, Meisner, Felder, Walsh, Schmit… And those indelibly connected like Southern, Tempchin… Artists who of course I know well for their own separate work like Browne, Seager… They have that work for their immortality too.

As the art is still appreciated, the artist, in some way, (still) lives in my mind. Look at Shakespeare. “Who would fardels bear, / To grunt and sweat under a weary life; / But that the dread of something after death, / The undiscover'd country from whose bourn / No traveller returns, puzzles the will / And makes us rather bear those ills we have / Than fly to others that we know not of?” That fear of “perchance to dream” but perchance not to. It not only makes us put up with the difficulties of life, but also makes us try to squeeze out as much longevity, and in as many semblances, as possible. Sometimes the only semblance one has is through one’s art. Shakespeare is sure doing pretty good at that amongst the over-400 crowd.

Of course, one could also look at it in a “Selfish Gene” way. Our DNA makes up a creature that wants to reproduce and thrive. If it didn’t, the DNA wouldn’t be around. But since our DNA does create a creature that wants to reproduce and thrive, that DNA is still around. Reproduction and thriving aren’t even that different. Both processes counteract that which destroys. Naturally entropy if nothing else. Also, competition from other DNA with the same game plan. That game plan: Make lots of copies and preserve those copies. There’s the original copy, you, yourself. But that will degrade, obviously, with time. I mean, every cell in your body will be replaced at some point, like the ship of Theseus, and though the DNA will be pretty much the same, there will be some minor mutation. Then there’s the half-copy that is your offspring. That’s the most obvious example of a semblance of longevity. Lineages may progressively get faded from the original copy, or rather diluted, but they will almost certainly last longer than the last cell that replaces and hold yours DNA.

But why consider “art” a semblance like offspring? Well, certainly, fewer people do. There are certainly a lot more people making children than art. But it’s a bit a trick of the mind. Or, rather, a trick of the gene that is your mind. Somewhere in evolution, we picked up this nifty ability for “mental time travel.” That is, being able to recall ourselves in the past and extrapolate and foresee ourselves in the future. I personally think that’s a major part of the “qualia” that is consciousness. How can one enjoy the present if one cannot appreciate the past and future? Or indeed, if we did in the past, when it was the present, how would we know it in the future, when it is again the present? And this creates the rich tapestry that is the mind.

We value the mind, and rightly so. When humanity was nearly eradicated to a number of maybe tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands on Earth about 150,000 years ago (it would happen again 70,000 years later), likely the ones who survived were the ones who had this ability. They remembered that past winter was cruel, they saw they had some resources now in the present, they looked into the future and saw another cruel winter and knew to save those resources. Had they not this ability, through whatever mutation(s) brought this about, humans would have died out. So, be glad you have anxiety, depression, and all those other bits that come from mental time travel. It also gave us art.

The apparatus that allows us to transport ourselves into realistic, practical, hypothetical futures. It also allows us to transport into fantastic, entertaining, hypothetical futures, or pasts, or any other reality. We can transport ourselves or characters of our own imagining. It allowed Shakespeare to transport his characters into the Scandinavian legend of Amleth, a legend even older to him than Hamlet is to us. Like DNA, the mind, the story, it too changes over time.

But, wait, you might say, they aren’t the same. If we are just to propagate DNA, shouldn’t we just care about it? I say that if DNA were to create a brain that then said “my job is only to serve DNA and I know it,” at some point the brain would say: “Screw this, I’m outta here. I’m just going to disappear eventually. That zygote may have some of my genes, but it’s not going to have half my brain is it? No. It’s just darkness eventually, so why freakin’ bother. Here, hold my fardels, I’m going to have a swim with Ophelia.” The brain wants to think it serves itself. Often it thinks it something outside of itself, the mind somehow separate of the body. Thinking ahead just enough to survive the winter, but not so far as into existential dread, is probably the best thing for DNA.

The mind, that is “us,” we think. We think, therefore, we are. (I’m copyrighting that, pretty sure I’m the first to come up with it.) So, we have the drive to thrive, but since we think of ourselves as our mind, well longevity through the mind is also desired. And, longevity through other semblances, through art, the “brain child,” would therefore also be desired.

But, wait, you might next say, it sounds like you’re just misguidedly following some DNA directive that got all mixed-up with your mind identity. Maybe. But, really, is just following the DNA directive, and only that directive, all that great either? The DNA stuff just /is/ because it works. Unless, of course, you think there’s some greater meaning to life. A purpose beyond that. That sure would be nicer than the alternative. That there is more than just is. And some might call this cynical, but feeling that, too, would be pretty useful for DNA. But I am not going to say if I think there is, nor if you should think there is.

Regardless, we all gotta stop our thought processes somewhere. And I like art. I want to have kids too. I think almost everyone who has then, no matter what the struggle, seems to think it worth it. Sure would make sense to have our brains work out that way, wouldn’t it, Mr. DNA? Yep. So, I plan to have kids. And I’m going to work the mind longevity route at the same time.

So, the recording.

I first had the January 31st vocal-only take. I eventually would not use it, but I don’t know if I listened to is as I did my takes in mid-February. I did a guitar-vocal take. Then a guitar-only take with which I also did some foot stomps (a la Hooker again). Then it looks like a vocal-only take of beat-box, foot stop, and back-up “in the long run”s. Then I did a vocal-only take of my “poor-man’s talk box” to simulate the lead guitar. I did this, as I've mentioned before, on “Life in the Fast Lane” as well, but here I did it with no Audacity “wah wah” effect on it. So this is what "poor-man's talk box" sounds like using just your hands and throat. Then a vocal-only take of harmonica again, trying to follow the lead guitar, and the rest of the time beat box.

As for the harmonica take, I lowered the volume of the intro by doing my usual hack (put it on twice, but one time mute the intro). Then I decided I’d do one more vocal-only take of only the ends of the lines, e.g. “hurry a lot” “worry a lot” “stay out to the break of day.” I could tell there was more emphasis during that last beat, so I figured just doing the end of the lines would get some of that feeling. And that was it, comparatively little for an Eagles cover.

I don’t have the immortality of The Eagles or all these other musicians I’ve mentioned. I’ve never met them and yet they have this indelible mark on my mind, that I am now sharing with you. And I’ve never known of anyone knowing my art, my music, my writing who doesn’t actually know me personally first. Chances are those who do know me and my art, I had to goad them into experiencing that art.

But maybe I’ll be like these artists, even if on a much smaller scale, impacting someone who I’ve never met in person. I’ve mentioned Jethro Tull before. The Eagles once opened for them. Contrary to some lore, The Eagles’ did not get “Hotel California” from Jethro Tull’s “We Used to Know” during that time, as Leadon wasn’t with the Eagles then nor very familiar with Jethro Tull. Even Anderson dismisses it as “just the same chord sequence” if anything. Regardless, Jethro Tull got me through high school. I’ve always kind of wanted to have that effect on someone.

But maybe I’ll be like those disco bands I can’t think of. But, even if I don’t know them or remember them, hey, someone remembers them. I’m not even that level.

Who knows, maybe I’ll find out in the long run.



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