Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting Real Retro....

Now here's a song both my hubby and I totally related to back in the same era as "Gotta Wear Shades" (see last post)

This is "Every Little Kiss" by Bruce Hornsby..who actually is from our area. Yep, the area does look like this, just a little off the tourist tracks. His relatives live up the road. They're good folks.

The weird thing about the big 80's was that it was all over the media how great the economy was doing but these economic wonders were pretty much absent in most small towns we knew. Big box stores were still coming in and by then they were starting to put a real hurt on the Mom & Pop biz. Industry, what was left of it, concentrated in the cities. Virginia's economy, on the whole, wasn't hurting too badly in the late 80's but people still felt very competitive for what was 'left' in their home towns. Some were real ugly about it, and looked for ways to disqualify rivals in the same community. Old 'battle lines' tend to show up when benefits or good jobs are believed to be in limited supply. The most recent scars always strain first in the human body, singular or collective.

This area was & still is "Watertown" - with plenty of port cities, seafood, construction, and tourism - but a lot of the regular jobs but didn't pay that well outside the one big shipyard or higher levels with the Navy. Obviously, being a Navy family means a lot of deployments, but even merchant marine sailors, truck drivers, & union guys often get trained here and then have to look for a break in one of those well-paid, well-protected circles....or work elsewhere ...if they can. Construction will do that to you too, since that industry is dependent on all the others. Working out of town to get ahead has long been the norm for a lot of guys all over the country. We haven't been exempt.

Another song from Hornsby that more closely represents that era, as we knew it.
"Just The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

Hornsby is advocating change in the song. His point is that people tend to excuse bad, selfish ways and prejudicial habits as established policy, or as so ingrained in that huge social construct we call civilization that its useless to fight. "But don't you believe them!"

Hornsby had another huge hit back then called "Mandolin Rain." Its a sad ballad but its just ssooo beautiful. I was very surprised that so few outside our country said they had heard Hornsby's songs. They've been off the top charts long enough a lot of US teens haven't heard them either. This is a serious shame, because he's a lot more than a local hero. Bruce Hornsby was & is a real artist worth remembering.

The economy was better for most people in the 80's. Reagonomics did seem to work when companies didn't ship too many local jobs overseas. BUT life was only spectacularly good for relatively few. I mostly remember people going from worrying about nuclear holocaust (apocalypse films, Mad Max et al- were also an 80's thing) to worrying about getting and holding a reasonable job. Manic Monday, Money For Nothing, Fast Car, Another Day in Paradise, She Works Hard For the Money -and a number of similar 80's songs made the same point.

After all that serious reflection I need a lighter, escapist note ~ so here's the only vaguely related 80's hit "Down Under" from the band Men At Work

& "Tarzan Boy" A truly silly, cheery one-hit-wonder from the same its original cheesy music video. I'd not actually seen the video before looking it up today. Man, if this guy were any more obvious he'd be doing the time warp again... :D

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