Wednesday, July 4, 2018

And the Beat Goes On

The consensus was that it was too hot for whipped cream on body parts.

We didn't reach that conclusion immediately - I mean, who does? - but rather after kicking off our Fourth of July eve with a food orgy followed by a record party, where the subject inevitably came up.

Holmes, Beloved and I met at his house for celebratory glasses of Graham Beck Brut Rose before heading to Dinamo for dinner. Luckily, we had an 8:00 reservation because the place was full up and people never stopped coming in the door. Finding an open restaurant tonight was no easy task given how many have posted "gone vacationing" signs on their social media pages.

Sitting at one of the Rob Womack-designed tables, I had a new appreciation for the tables and artwork after seeing Womack's work as part of the "Coloratura at 35: A Retrospective" show at the Branch a couple weeks ago and shared the back story with Beloved, my fellow art geek.

But not for long because a bottle of Miano Brut Catarrato arrived, our cue to start ordering enough food for a proper pre-Independence Day feast. I'm talking fish soup, egg in creamy tuna sauce, crostini with cured salmon, capers and cream cheese, arugula salad with olive-oil poached tuna and shaved Parmesan, mussels in white sauce and white pizza with mushrooms.

If it sounds like a lot for three people, it was, but how better to celebrate our break with the mother country than with gluttony? I will point out that we eschewed dessert for the simple reason that even gluttons have their limits.

Back at Holmes' man cave, we listened to some recent record finds from an estate sale, beginning with one I wished I owned: "Smash Sounds," a compilation of 1967 hits that launched our record party like a bottle rocket into the July night sky.

Not gonna lie, I didn't even know all the songs and artists, but that didn't stop me from enjoying every single one, including Otis Redding doing "Respect," a song I hadn't known he'd written.

The first side ended with Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," a complete shift in musical mood from what had preceded it, which caused a group singalong while Beloved rifled through record stacks, Holmes poured himself some whiskey and I danced in my bar stool.

Everyone was in their happy place, in other words.

Reluctant to listen to side two because of the unfamiliar songs, I insisted and we were rewarded with what sounded like the hip, '60s soundtrack to a swingin' cocktail party we all wished we were at. Side two had plenty of slow songs for close dancing, but when I commented that it was good grinding music, Holmes looked confused. Beloved not so much.

Apparently women who lived through the '70s are far more familiar with the term than men.

I got to make the next pick and chose the seminal 1976 album "Silk Degrees" by Boz Scaggs, causing Holmes to complain that he couldn't get behind Boz because he abandoned Steve Miller's band to strike out on his own. Beloved and I, no fans of the Steve Miller band, had no such issue.

I can't say what decade I last heard "Silk Degrees" but I'm here to tell you that the moment the white boy soul of "What Can I Say?" began, Beloved and I were immediately transported back to 1976 and all that meant to us (youth and lots of dancing in clubs).

But to make Holmes feel better, I shared that three members of Boz' band went on to form Toto, so he too must have felt the pain of abandonment. Holmes, no Toto fan either, decided to learn more. "Let's do some research the way old people do," he said, grinning, and fetching a musical compendium where we looked up Toto and wound up taking all kinds of tangents while "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" blared at top volume.

Over the next three plus hours, Holmes told us about the room where he listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin and how while tripping ended up passed out in the woods. "Who found you?" Beloved wondered. "No one, I decided to get up," Holmes answered as if she were an idiot. Meanwhile, my musical IQ benefited from Holmes' detailed explanation of what a Moog synthesizer was and could do.

Next up was the Troggs' "Love Is All Around You," also from 1967, and as groovy a song as we could have hoped for at that point in the evening, despite its poor recording quality ("That's part of its charm!" Beloved insisted and I agreed). Holmes reminisced about taking a girl and a blanket to a grassy knoll and playing the song for her on his 12-string guitar.

Now that's some major '60s style romance right there.

"Krupa versus Rich," Traffic's "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys" and Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark" (lots of sparking tonight) took us into Independence Day before my hosts walked me outside to say goodbye. There we were greeted by a yellow half moon that resembled nothing so much as a thin wedge of lemon, causing the three of us to stand in the middle of Grove Avenue at 1:30 a.m. admiring it.

What can I say? At some point, you just have to decide to get up and go home.

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