Thursday, July 9, 2009

GMVW # 79: "Of One's Own Volition"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 79:  Of One’s Own Volition
Song:  No One to Run With by the Allman Brothers
(Songwriter: Dickey Betts)
July 9, 2009

To those who ended up with their high-school sweethearts, I say all the power to you.  Same goes for those on the other end of the spectrum who have kept their independent bachelordom intact all these years.  Most of us, however, fall somewhere in-between, finding ourselves back on the chain gang for a spell before connecting with a soul mate and settling down.  And although I would not trade my lot-in-life for anything (if there is anything I was meant to be, it’s a Dad), there are times, I must confess, when those years of independence tug at the heart strings.  Hard to believe, when factoring in the loneliness and boredom, but there were also moments that were truly transcendent, and these tend to cancel those others ones out, occasionally trumping them when the memories kick into high gear:  Nostalgia can be powerful at times.

It’s difficult to explain to the folks who got it right the first time and hitched up early, but long stretches of independence can be addictive: Perhaps not a consistently healthy addiction, but an addiction nonetheless.  Three-day music festival….where is my ticket?  Ski Trip...where are my long johns?  Multi-night wilderness hike...where are my binoculars?  Road trip..... where are my maps?  Europe….where’s my backpack? Overnight bachelor party.... where is my bottle opener?  After doing this for years, with great friends, how could all that not be addictive? 

Many musicians have written songs about their free-wheeling days.  In fact, it seems to be a right-of-passage topic for country musicians.  One rock song, in particular, stands out for me as getting the mood right: This week’s Gem, ‘No One to Run With’ by the Allman Brothers.  The Allman Brothers are one of the greatest of jamming bands, and this song fits right into their repertoire.  Since their early days, this band has been labeled a ‘Southern Rock’ band, but the adjective has never been needed as far as I’m concerned.  Many ‘Southern Rock’ band’s strut that Dixie Confederate thing: They seem to want to make it a point that they are Southerners first, Rockers second. The Allman Brothers should never be labeled in that way.  They rank among the best Rock bands, period.

When I got married, I recall telling a few friends, “This won’t change anything; we will still hook up frequently”.  And, for the most part I believe I was telling the truth as both Nancy and I frequently got out both together and separately with our friends and families back in the Lake Street days.  However, I never promised a thing when children entered the picture.  The future was a bit more clouded.  It was harder to look into that crystal ball.  Lucky for me, I didn’t say anything reassuring to those same friends: I would have ultimately found I was lying (although I do better than most Dads!).  As stated in the song though, I did leave some friends with “nobody to run with” (or at least one less option), and yet you could say I put myself in the same boat, a bit more voluntarily, however. 

So, hears to the die-hard, rock-till-you drop days of going it solo, when the world’s problems were being solved over a few beers in the wee-hours at the edge of a river, campfire, or kitchen table. Visions are dancing in my head of Ottawa, Brussels, Allagash Maine, The Canadian Rockies, The Big Apple, Quebec, North Adams, Burlington Vermont, Boston, Portland, Jay Peak, Craftsbury, Montreal, Bancroft, Thousand Islands, The Adirondacks, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Chicago, New Orleans, and Franklin. 

It’s all coming back.  I gotta go before I do something crazy like drive across the country.

…. too late!  Nancy and the kids are on board. 

Nobody left to run with any more?  Maybe not….. maybe not.

See you in August.

- Pete

Below the Gem are the lyrics to ‘Nobody to Run With’.  Crank it up!

“No One to Run With” > Allman Brothers

Lyrics to ‘Nobody to Run With’

Everybody wants to know where Jimmy has gone
He left town, I doubt if he’s coming back home

Well Tony got a job, three kids and a lovely wife
Working at the commerce bank for the rest of his life

Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody left to do the crazy things we used to do before
Nobody left to run with anymore

I’m gonna hit the road, adios my friend
Go someplace and start all over again

Don’t know where I’m going, like a gypsy out on the road
Ill go someplace and join a traveling show

Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody wants to do the crazy things we used to do before
Nobody left to run with anymore

Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody left to run with anymore

I think jimmy must have had the right idea
Packed his stuff and he got right out of here

I don’t know where he’s at but I’m sure that he’s ok
Now I realize what jimmy was trying to say

Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody wants to do the crazy things we used to do before
Nobody left to run with anymore

Nobody left to run with anymore
Nobody left to run with anymore

About the Video: Live on the Tonight Show, 1994

Video Rating: 1

Best Feedback: Fred

Great write up.  I feel like I am on the other side of this mountain...with very mixed feelings

Have a great trip.  Here's for you:

And John:

Hey, Man.  Nice work, yet again.

Country music is best known for them drinking and cheating songs, but you are dead on about the connection between country music and wild times.  Check out "All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down" by Hank Williams, Jr.


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