Saturday, February 23, 2013

Loretta Lynn (ft. Jack White) -- "Portland, Oregon" (2004)

Well, sloe gin fizz works mighty fast 
When you drink it by the pitcher 
And not by the glass

Portland, Oregon is not one of the American cities whose music is being featured in this year's "29 Songs in 28 Days."  Nashville is, of course, and "Portland, Oregon" is a Nashville song despite the title.

Portland has produced some interesting music.  The Kingsmen ("Louie Louie") were originally from Portland, and the city had more than its share of hardcore punk bands in the early 1980s -- most notably the Wipers, who were a favorite of Kurt Cobain.  (Courtney Love grew up in Portland, and Cobain met her at a Portland punk club.)

Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love
In recent years, Portland has had more than its share of highly-regarded indie bands, including the Dandy Warhols, the Decemberists, and the late Elliott Smith.

But I don't think many people would rank Portland in the top seven when it comes to popular-music cities.

Portland is also not one of the first seven cities that would come to mind if I were writing a song about a couple of barflies boozing it up to the point of unconsciousness.  I'm sure it has its share of scuzzy bars, but the prevalent image of Portland is a hipster place inhabited by young, well-educated, healthy, politically-correct locavores:

"Portland, Oregon" is from Loretta Lynn's 2004 album, Van Lear Rose, which was produced by (of all people) Jack White of the White Stripes.  (Van Lear was the mining community in Kentucky where Loretta grew up.)  The critics absolutely loved the album -- both Loretta's singing and White's production got rave reviews.

Loretta Lynn was 72 when this album was released, while Jack White was 28.  This is the only song on the album they both sing on, and it's a winner -- the best song on Van Lear Rose, hands down.

Sloe gin fizzes (made from club soda, sugar, lemon juice, sloe gin -- which is plum-flavored -- and egg white) would work might fast indeed if you consumed it by the pitcher (not the glass).  For me, I'm guessing it would stay in my stomach just long enough to anesthetize my brain, and then I would start upchucking violently.

Here's "Portland, Oregon":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. Portland is not one of those places that gets mentioned in songs a lot--New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Memphis are quite a ways ahead. Nevertheless, Adam Marsland has a paean to Portland in his repertoire, and my wife used to get sent there to take care of pension problems with her company's subsidiaries in the Willamette Valley. From my point of view, it's interesting because of the extensive light rail and streetcar operations downtown and out to the suburbs. There's also Powell's Bookstore, which is a bibliophile's idea of Heaven. My wife and I have gone there by car, train and motorhome. Back around 1996, we were watching TV and an ad for Amtrak's "Coast Starlight" appeared. She asked, "We haven't ridden that one yet, have we?" I replied, "No" and she said, "Well, why not?" Shortly thereafter we booked a trip that went to both Portland and Seattle. While traveling through the mountains between Klamath Falls and Eugene, we admired the scenery, and I mused, "I wonder what this looks like covered with snow?" So we took the train to Portland again, this time with the countryside looking like a great Christmas card. Fortunately, the snow didn't get replenished while we were in the area, and we went to dinner at a Greek restaurant near the hotel. A special feature was a belly dancer--something that our editor on relates to. To quote Adam: "But when I get to Portland, everything is gonna be all right...."