Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Outlaws – "Green Grass and High Tides" (1975)

Will you let me past your face
To see what's really you?

The previous 2 or 3 lines covered the outbound leg of my recent drive to Joplin, Missouri – including my stops at microbreweries in Columbus, Indianapolis, and Springfield, Missouri.   

Today I’ll tell you about the return trip, which was highlighted by stops at four breweries in Kentucky and Virginia.  

But first, let’s review the bidding . . .

Loading up
The first two days of my five-day odyssey were spent driving from my home in Rockville, Maryland to Joplin.  On the morning of the third day, I went to a title company to sign all the documents necessary to close on the sale of my mother’s Joplin house, then packed up what was left in that house after the estate sale agent had done his thing . . . dozens of framed family photographs, old 8mm home movies, my bronzed baby shoes, and a bunch of other flotsam and jetsam that I probably should have thrown away but couldn’t.  I spent that night in St. Louis with a high-school friend.

My 2250-mile route
On day four, I headed east on I-64, a more southerly alternative to I-70 (which is the highway I had taken west).  By the time the sun was over the yardarm, I was in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of Against the Grain Brewing.

Against the Grain is situated in the downtown baseball stadium that is home to the Louisville Bats, the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.  

Here’s the statue of Louisville native Pee Wee Reese – the famed former Dodger shortstop who is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame – that stands outside the stadium’s main entrance:

Pee Wee Reese
Against the Grain was spacious and well-appointed, with some interesting offerings on its menu:

Against the Grain's offerings
I especially appreciated their coasters, which took care of the age-old problem of how to prevent your half-finished beer from being poured down the drain by a too-eager bartender when you left it at the bar in order to visit the gents’ (or the ladies’, as the case may be).  Simply put the coaster on top of your glass and pee to your heart's content:

I had planned my drive so that I would be within reach of a Skyline Chili location when it was time for dinner.  As always, I ordered a plate of four-way chili and spaghetti and a Dr. Pepper:

Beans sí, onions no
My destination was Lexington, Kentucky – home to the University of Kentucky and smack dab in the middle of that state’s Bluegrass region, which is famous for producing bourbon and racehorses.

My Against the Grain bartender had recommended Country Boy Brewing, so that’s where I stopped.

At Country Boy Brewing
After quaffing an Amos Moses brown ale – named for the character in the Jerry Reed song, of course – I hit I-64 for another hour or so, overnighting in Morehead, Kentucky, a college town that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump west of the Kentucky-West Virginia border.  

The next morning, I took a quick hike on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, a 290-mile long hiking trail that traverses the Daniel Boone National Forest.  (“Sheltowee” was the name given to Daniel Boone by a Shawnee chief.)

The symbol on the Sheltowee Trace trail markers is a turtle:

On the Sheltowee Trace trail
I had run clean out of Skyline Chili locations, but there were plenty of Arby’s restaurants along the interstate.  I stopped at the one in Beckley, WV, which had this monstrosity on its menu:

Roast beef, bacon, ham, turkey, chicken,
brisket, corned beef, a fish filet,
and a couple of different cheeses
$11.59 is a bit more than I'm used to spending on a fast-food sandwich . . . plusI wasn’t sure I was packing enough Lipitor to handle that bad boy.  So I opted for a boring ol' roast beef sandwich instead.

By 500p, I was in Lexington, Virginia, home to Washington and Lee University (the alma mater of my elder grandson’s father) and Devils Backbone Brewing, a large and very popular craft brewery that was recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch.

Devils Backbone
I sampled four very interesting brews at Devils Backbone:  Kilt Flasher (a Scottish “wee heavy” ale), Beyond All Raisin/Cocoa (a raisin barleywine that was aged on cocoa nibs), Neapolitan Stout (a dark ale brewed with chocolate, vanilla, and raspberry flavors, with added lactose), and Cocoa Bear (an 11% ABV imperial stout blended with raw coca nibs).  

My Devils Backbone tasting flight
An hour later, I exited I-81 for a quick visit to Redbeard Brewing, a homey little operation in Staunton, Virginia (which is the birthplace of our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson): 

Redbeard Brewing
I enjoyed a friendly chat with the Stauntonians at the bar as I downed a pint of 221B Baker, a brown ale obviously inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

221B Baker brown ale 
On the way to my car, I passed this sign in the window of a neighboring computer-repair shop, which reminded me of the pistol-packing drinker I had seen exercising his Second Amendment rights at Black Acre Brewing In Indianapolis, which I had visited on the first night of my odyssey:  

I didn’t want to push my luck, so I bypassed a few other breweries en route to my home, arriving safe and sound around 1000p.

I’m not sure I ever want to drive 2250 miles in five days again – at least not all by myself.  But the breweries I visited along the way gave me something to look forward to each evening.

Speaking of craft breweries, you can expect some y-u-g-e beer-related news from 2 or 3 lines very, very soon!

*     *     *     *     *

“Green Grass and High Tides” – which was released in 1975 on the Outlaws’ eponymous debut album – popped up on the Sirius/XM “Deep Tracks” channel after I left Country Boy Brewing.  

The song’s title was inspired by the first Rolling Stones greatest hits LP, High Tides and Green Grass.  (I bought that album when I was 14, and purt near played it to death.)

“Green Grass and High Tides” is one of my favorite guilty-pleasure songs of all times.  It’s almost ten minutes long, which isn’t nearly long enough.  (When the Outlaws closed their concerts with it, they often stretched it out to twice that length.)

The first five-plus minutes of “Green Grass and High Tides” is an up-tempo southern-rock tour de force.  It would have been a damn good song if the Outlaws had stopped there.

But they didn’t.  (Praise the Lord!)

The final four and a half minutes of the record consists of a single four-bar guitar riff that is repeated approximately sixty times.  I say “approximately” because I tried to count how many times that four-bar mother of all guitar riffs was repeated – not once, not twice, not three times . . . but four times.  

Each time, I eventually lost track of the count as a result of the aural bludgeoning the Outlaws’ three lead guitarists were delivering and had to start over again.  So I finally gave up.  (It was either that or say arrivederci to my sanity forever.)

The next time I’m at a bar on karaoke night, you can best believe I’ll be performing “Green Grass and High Tides.”

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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