Saturday, August 15, 2009

Singing Dave

George Strait is not Malcolm's usual ear-fodder, but his new album, Twang, came up in passing. Steve Morse, reviewing for the Boston Globe, raspberried it. Randy Lewis for the LA Times nailed it as:
a pretty nifty summation of what commercial country is, circa 2009.
It includes a song, Arkansas Dave (a folksy old-fashioned C&W morality credited to Strait's son):
He rode up on a winter day,
Steam rising off the street, they say.
Said, "You probably know my name:
If you don't it's Arkansas Dave.

He talked of fifteen years ago,
And how he got to play hero.
Said he killed a man in Ohio:
First man he killed, first horse he stole.
Marty Robbins did this kind of thing with more style, a half century gone. Even so, when boastful Dave ends up miscalculating the odds, and dead in that same street, one suspects even more type-casting.

Totally forgettable stuff, but it provoked a thought, which threatens to venture into the territory usually occupied by one of Normblog's mini-enterprises. In honour of Diddy Dave Cameron, what other lyrics celebrate the forename of the moment?

His Name is Alive, on the King of Sweet album (if you have one, don't shout about it, but it's worth the odd bob) did two in a row: Ode on a Dave Asman and A Dave in the Life. Boomtown Rats achieved something eponymous and a bit better known (Pete Townsend rated it), as the opener for The Long Grass album
But please,
The view from on your knees
Keep going, Dave.
In the same mould we have Caffeine (UK punk-rockers, on the road less-taken -- unfairly so) doing Dave's Song (In Slow Motion):
I looked up to the sky, and I saw a figure
It was small with shiny lights;
And out of this, this little blue figure,
With the small shining lights

Stepped a little blue man,
With a little blue figure

And he said to me "Do you believe?"
Some kind of psychological profile is emerging here; and it's not flattering to Daves.

On the great Silver Screen (but more at home on off-off-peak sitting-room teevee), there was Kevin Kline's 1993 outing as Dave.

Now, in Malcolm's view, that was a more than decent movie: light, frothy, with a heart in the proper place. It included two characters with whom Malcolm could recognise:
  • the scheming, creepy, on-the-make Bob Alexander (played by Frank Langella), a model on which subsequent melodramatic villains Karl Rove and Veep Cheney were undoubtedly based,
  • the decent, honourable Vice-President Nance (a cameo for Ben Kingsley) which took a name from "Cactus Jack", FDR's first Vice-President, John Nance Garner, and an unacceptably-progressive ideology from his second, Henry Agard Wallace.
The slogan on which Dave was advertised went:
In a country where anybody can become President, anybody just did.
The US of A allows even a self-confessed "mutt, like me" to reach the highest office in the land. In the UK, of course, it helps to see a Dave through if he has royal cousinage, is descended from the mistress of a royal princeling, has a wife with connections to the Astors, and some £20 million of inheritance money.

Nor should we overlook Freeview channel 19, Dave, (a BBC/Virgin hybrid based on nth run repeats) never knowingly oversold as:
full of complete and utter wits
Read that very, very carefully. Any miscue is deliberate.
Peace! the charm's wound up.
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