That was when CDs took over, and before downloads did. Before iPod and mp3s. Somewhere in there came the capacity to burn copies of CDs, but that was still kinda rare, for me. Much more common were used CD stores. Here in CT, where I lived from 1994 onward, there were several. Visiting them became kind of a parent and child bonding ritual in my daughter’s teens.
One of the things we picked up was Kerosene Hat by Cracker. Cracker was the band that David Lowery formed when Camper van Beethoven broke up. I got their CDs because I liked his voice on those quirky CvB albums, particularly Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988), which was one of my favorite albums of the late Eighties. I still get a great charge from it. Cracker came along while I was in grad school and had two albums out before I even knew it. The one I got first, I think, was Golden Age (1996) the third one, which is still my favorite. But today’s song is from the second one. Unbeknownst to me, it has been named as one of the definitive Nineties songs. So why not include it if I’m really trying to resurrect the Nineties.
And here is “Low” being performed on Conan O’Brien. Look how young he is!
And that opening sally is good enough for the gusts of desire that come and go in the midst of the Stone: “Sometimes I want to take you down / Sometimes I want to get you low / Brush your hair back from your eyes / Take you down, let your river flow.” That’s about as close to “Let It Bleed” territory as these guys will get (well, except for “Sweet Thistle Pie” and “I'm a Little Rocket Ship”). Because, in a sense, they’re rock poseurs, deliberately spoofing on the familiar ruses of the rock ethos. Which is something that makes me like the song, makes me able to accept it. It’s not completely sincere about its classic rock status. It’s teasing the genre but with a competent grasp of what riff rock was all about. It’s just that Lowery is too “aware,” too alt, simply to go for it. And I respect that. And anyway . . . here’s to being 30-35.
Green, green are her eyes / A million miles, a million miles