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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The notion before us: music and boats, yachts, the sea. (For your NFL draft junkies, I promise that there will be a football entry soon. The Poly 5--how they stack up in the draft--looks to be interesting. Very interesting...) But for now, the crew wants music. Let the categories begin...


From the office pool, the nominees are:

Brandy? ("You’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be...")

Ride, Captain Ride ("17 men set sail out of San Francisco Bay")

Arbitrary Judgment No. 1: No, those both have something of a story to them, and are suspiciously musical. This category is for a song both pretentious and dumb, and profoundly unmusical, but gifted with some kind of hook (probably rusty, probably a treble).

The envelope, please...omigod, it’s...

You’re My Captain by Grand Funk Railroad!

Heard this on the radio the other day. It is horribly unmemorable. (Really? Can't get it out of your head? So why does it win?) It triumphs, at least until something else comes along, because they keep playing it on Oldies, Classic, Countdown, "Jack" playlist radio.

It is a terrible song, hardly that. Just grating. Devoid. And it was popular, one of those "this is why the Sixties failed" kind of numbers, like Charlie Manson and the word "groovy."

The brilliant thing is that if you just repeat the title about a gazillion times in a sour, tuneless, squeaky wheel voice you are actually improving on the classic. You can reproduce the neat seagull effects by pinching a newborn kitten on its tender belly.

Up next: football. I promise.

Best Yachting/Boating Songs

It has been (ahem) a long time since writing here. When a blog falls in the forest, does anybody hear? In this case, we fell silent. Too much, too too much: work, family, cares, chores.

Now that we're back, one subject of this blog, as originally intended, was to touch on the sea now and then. I seem to have gotten sidetracked on that a bit. But let's try again... The subject of today's missive?

Best Yachting/Boating Songs

Now that we’ve entered the age of the customized songlist via iPods and other music players, the final step in the evolution of the yacht into a floating entertainment center may take place. This is not good news for lovers of solitude, peace, quiet, and the creak of the rigging–although noise-cancelling headphones can help and the new sound-beam technology holds promise for holding down noise pollution.

For lovers of yacht music, however, all the above caveats are moot–no, not mute–because the ability to rock the boat as never before also offers the potential for the ultimate yachting songlist, customized to fit conditions (Hendrix in a Force 10 gale? If only he'd sung about the sea!), and steeped in nautical lore, phrases, instrumentation as well as killer guitar hooks and bagpipe riffs.

Here are the first three that came to mind:

Row Row Row Your Boat
Rolling on the River
Ship of Fools

When others in the office were asked, impromptu, there was a suprising unity of opinion:


You know: "She's a fine girl, what a good wife she would be..." I had to agree, it sticks in the mind like a yard of saltwater taffy. About as sickly sweet too, but that is no reason to hate it. There is something cynical and callous about how the lyrics progress: yeah, she's a fine girl, she's pining for her guy, but, let's face it, the sea is his mistress, gee, she's a fine girl, let's have another round...

Which makes me wonder if they aren't all singing about brandy the booze. Except sailors prefer rum, tis said. Neil Diamond wrote "Crackling Rosie" about cheap red wine beloved by winos--but at 14 I hadn't yet figured out levels of meaning and so missed that one.

Brandy? Probably a Top 10.

I don't think Row Row Row Your Boat will make the list. But we shall see.

To be continued...