Riff Raff

The Song of the Moment was supposed to be Mark Kozelek’s version of “Riff Raff” from What’s Next to the Moon, his album of Bon Scott-era AC/DC covers. Something in that combination of Kozelek’s voice and his tasteful acoustic guitar arrangements unearths the roots in AC/DC’s rock. That album is borderline bluegrass–not the arrangements or the instrumentation, but the high lonesome sound.

At some point I became too hip to listen to beer-drinking, head-shaking rock music, and I think that’s a bad thing. When I was in high school, my best friends were in a band, and I spent most of my weekends tagging along to their gigs or hanging out in the drummer’s basement, singing along as they fine-tuned their covers of “War Pigs” and “The Immigrant Song.” The singer couldn’t find a melody to save his life, but he had an uncanny falsetto, and when you’re a 17 year old singing to a bar full of South Baltimore rednecks (and I say that with great tenderness for South Baltimore rednecks), your ability to find the right note is significantly less important than your ability to warble like Ozzy.

I just sat and watched, mostly. Always the hanger-on. They already had a keyboard player, and he was always better than I was. He played at the Kennedy Center last week.

But anyway. Riff raff. Ain’t it good for a laugh?