Thursday, January 4, 2007

Take me back to Random Canyon!

I have no idea what is going to go into this blog, but let's start with a snippet of the song after which it is named. I first heard the tune in a coffeehouse in Louisville, Kentucky. The guy who sang it credited it to Dave van Ronk - who indeed has recorded it, but as it turns out, did not write it. It was penned by Peter Stampfel, who also recorded the song with the Holy Modal Rounders.

I sang the song for years while doing bar gigs in Louisville. It is a pleasantly insane piece of work; although I have never heard van Ronk's version, I can imagine that he sang it a lot like Mike Potter taught it to me back at the Oval Door. The first verse goes like this:

Take me back to Random Canyon,
Where the gryphon's always riffin'
And the unicorn is horny in the spring;
Where the crystal coyote crawls
Over sleepy garden walls,
And the wireless wombat wanders on the wing...

I've long been a fan of the Holy Modal Rounders and I knew they had recorded the song, but not until I was researching this post did I realize that theirs was the original. I'm gonna write Stampfel and see if I can get his permission to post the full lyrics on here.

Anyway, the name appealed to me because of the anticipated randomness of topics I expect to cover, and because it is an obscure musical reference to a really clever song.