I've always been a little leery of doing a Jam cover with Skates & Rays because, like, okay, here's me, skinny moptoppy guy with Rickenbacker fronting scrappy power trio... sounds like an invitation for unkind comparisons, and that is indeed why we're not doing "In The City" or similar. Still, I really wanted to do this one for my wife, who loves the song, and in the end I couldn't resist; it wormed its way onto our setlist in almost exactly the same was as "She Comes in Colors".
Thing is, in all its four chord, three minute majesty, it's not an easy song to learn, consisting as it by definition does of six whole verses constructed almost entirely out of non sequitirs, often two per line. I put a lot of time into trying to flat-out memorize them, and never quite nailed it, deciding eventually to rely on a bare-bones cue sheet at the show. Things can be counted on to get tight when setting up, though, especially when we're setting up our own PA in a space that's filled by dining tables right up until the moment the kitchen closes, and in this case it was well into Eden's opening set until I finally had all my guitars tuned and had a second to figure out where I was going to post my crib sheet. There being no good wall surface, I constructed an ingenious music stand out of one of those clear plastic drink-menu placards and a stack of Skates & Rays CDs.
Unfortunately, as soon as we started the song I realized that Cliff was standing unknowingly directly between me and my placard, leaving me high and dry without any help. This is fairly comical for the first verse or so, but from the third verse on it's about 75% correct, and maybe 85% intelligible. Not that anyone much cared, as you can tell... Gen hadn't been able to make it because Miranda had come down with a fever literally just as I was leaving to load in, so that didn't work, either. But here it is for you to... I dunno, "enjoy" might be too strong a term, but hey, that's entertainment. I had thought of doing a super-extended solo version of it with all of the original England-in-the-'80s lyrics followed by an equal number of new Silver-Lake-in-the-'10s verses, but things are piling up on me quickly now... honestly, less than two months' worth of songs to go? Jesus.
SKATES & RAYS
Rex Broome ~ Guitar & vocal and sticky black tarmac
Derek Hanna ~ Drums pounding and the cry of a tomcat
Clifford Ulrich ~ Bass guitar and thinking 'bout your holidays
Recorded live at the Oyster House Saloon, 2/4/2011 and breathing in petrol