Riding with DHS

Edited for typos . . .

Customs has recovered a motorcycle stolen in 1971 and is returning it to its owner. It also recently recovered a Corvette stolen in 1969. By themselves, these stories are amusing and heart warming. Sort of like reuniting a geek with his 1977 Ohio Scientific Challenger C-1P computer. Ahh, the memories! Four K of memory, a Radio Shack cassette tape for storage, and a Sears black & white TV for a monitor.

But, Customs' good deeds reminded me of something I planned to blog months ago. I was driving in the south, scanning the radio hoping to hear the soothing voice of Terry Gross or the far less soothing Nina Totenberg. Apparently, NPR had not penetrated into this market. Eventually, I gave up and just listened to whatever was on. What I heard was a piece of C&W drivel called Riding with Private Malone by David Ball.

I have no interest in country music. This is not an urban elitist prejudice. I also have no interest in hip hop (apologies to Wayla guy), R&B, bebop, John Tesh, or Mongolian throat singing. But, I like music and can appreciate the value of a good pop song. I am increasingly a fan of the subgenre indie folk which sometimes walks dangerously close to the country line.

The thing about Private Malone is that it is just a story (I won't spoil it for you) told over a few verses and a catchy chorus. If you submitted the story to a highschool creative writing class, it would be marked down as both unfinished and a cliche. It is sort of a low rent Twilight Zone episode crossed with Touched by an Angel. As sung, however, it is surprisingly appealing and has that stick-in-your-head quality of, say Mmmbop by Hanson (which is not a good thing). So clearly the total package is more than the sum of the parts.

But, my question is this: am I in danger of becoming a country fan? Do I need to investigate Alan Jackson and that mullet wearing guy with the doctor show? Does the fact that I like Lucinda Williams mean I have already crossed over?

I am having a panic attack. I need to return to my roots. Pete Townshend is a genius. I drink Boddington's not Budweiser. I drive an import not a pickup. Deep breaths. I like that duet between Cyndi Lauper and Shaggy on her new album. Maybe I need to look more closely at hip hop.

If you want to investigate the Riding with Private Malone phenomenon, watch the video here.

Addendum Added Apr. 19, 2006

Apparently, the artist in question is named David Ball. I originally had it misspelled. Here is a link to his official web site.

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