George Harrison – Wreck Of The Hesperus

I bought George Harrison’s Cloud Nine when it was released in 1987. I took it and recorded it on cassette to play in my car (sorry George). I always liked this breezy song.

I played it constantly. I started to notice a change was happening…classic rock was coming back old and new.  In the 2 years that followed a great string of albums was released. The Traveling Wilburys, Keith Richards Talk Is Cheap, Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, Jeff Lynne’s Armchair Theatre, Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl,  and then another Traveling Wilburys. The older guys were back in the game again.

There is not a bad song on Cloud Nine. The one I played the less was ironically the biggest hit on the album…Got My Mind Set On You. Personally, I thought this album was his best since All Things Must Pass. The reviews at the time agree with that.

This song is about what I talked about in the first paragraph. George was poking fun at himself as a dinosaur rocker although he was only 45…that’s young in today’s world. The first verse says it all…

I’m not the wreck of the HesperusFeel more like the Wall of ChinaGetting old as MethuselahFeel tall as the Eiffel TowerI’m not a power of attorneyBut I can rock as good as GibraltarAin’t no more no spring chickenBeen plucked but I’m still kickingBut it’s alright, it’s alright

The title came from an 1842 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem of the same name that combined fact with fiction. Procol Harum also had a song on their 1969 Salty Dog album called The Wreck of the Hesperus but no relation to this one.

The Cloud Nine album peaked at #8 on the Billboard Album Charts, #6 in Canada, and #10 in the UK in 1987. This song was not released as a single. The best-known songs off of the album were Got My Mind Set On You and When We Was Fab. The album was produced by Jeff Lynne with guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr to name a few.

When I would buy albums I would explore every song good or bad. Many times I found songs I liked more than the singles that were pulled from it. This song did make me hunt down Bill Big Broonzy in the 80s…which wasn’t that easy but I did get my hands on some of his music and liked it…great blues player.

It’s funny how when you first hear something and what you think the lyrics are. I’ve been hearing them wrong since 1987.

What I thought I heard…

I slipped on the pavement “with no ice there” and Met a snake “carrying lanterns”

No on both accounts…

I slipped on a pavement oysterMet a snake climbing ladders

George Harrison: The song, it just came to me with this lyric. I don’t know. Maybe I was thinking from the point of view that people tend to think of you as somebody who’s passe, been and done. And it was just a sort of tongue-in-cheek kind of thing that… This was an old poem, but I was brought up [in] that period they sang, you know, the little catch thing they always said, you know, ‘you look like the wreck of the Hesperus.’ I never really knew what it was, I suppose, but it sounded good, kinda like some awful wreck. It was a shipwreck and a poem, an old Victorian poem. Anyway, that line just came to me and I just continued the lyric from there. [It’s] sort of [a] strange lyric. [Eiffel Tower] and rock as good as Gibralter, you know, it just gets silly. By end of it, I’m saying I’m not the wreck of the Hesperus, more like Big Bill Broonzy. You know, I don’t know. That to me is… I mean, as far back as I can remember [there was] Big Bill Broonzy with this big ol’ guitar playing. It was pretty groovy. I suppose now, it’s like that really. All of us are turning into– like Eric Clapton and such– I keep telling my boy, when you get older, he’s gonna be like, ‘that was Big Bill Broonzy, man, hanging around at our house!’ We’re all getting old as my mother.

George Harrison: “I’ve been friends with Eric for years. And I think I always will be. He’s a lovely fella and I love him very dearly. And he, [sic] and I called him up again and you know I’m doing an album, Eric could you come and play. Sure, he came over and played great stuff. Devil’s Radio, Cloud Nine [sic], he does a nice little solo on the end of That’s What It Takes and also the other one the second side The Wreck Of The Hesperus

The Wreck of the Hesperus

I’m not the wreck of the HesperusFeel more like the Wall of ChinaGetting old as MethuselahFeel tall as the Eiffel TowerI’m not a power of attorneyBut I can rock as good as GibraltarAin’t no more no spring chickenBeen plucked but I’m still kickingBut it’s alright, it’s alright

Poison penmen sneak, have no nerve to speakMake up lies then they leak ‘m outBehind a pseudonym, the rottenness in themReaching out trying to touch me

Met some Oscars and TonysI slipped on a pavement oysterMet a snake climbing laddersGot out of the line of fire(But it’s alright)

Brainless writers gossip nonsensesTo others heads as dense as they isIt’s the same old maladyWhat they see is faulty

I’m not the wreck of the HesperusFeel more like Big Bill BroonzyGetting old as my motherBut I tell you I got some company(But it’s alright)

But it’s alright, it’s alrightBut it’s alright, it’s alrightIt’s alright, alrightIt’s alright

Traveling Wilburys – She’s My Baby

This was the lead single off of Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 released in 1990..The song was written by the four members  George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty…Roy Orbison had passed away by this time.  The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Charts in 1990.

The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 peaked at #11 in 1990. The Vol 3 album was really their 2nd album and it was good but not great like the first one. Roy being gone left a big hole because you cannot just replace Roy’s voice.

 

She’s My Baby

She’s got her pudding in the oven
And it’s gonna be good
She better not leave me
And go out to Hollywood
She got the best pudding in the neighborhood
She’s my baby

She can drive a truck
She can drive a train (My baby, m-my my baby)
She can even drive an aeroplane
She’s so good to look at in the rain
She’s my baby

She’s comin’ down the sidewalk
She’s stumblin’ through the door
She’s coming home from places
She’s never been before
She sits down on the sofa
She pours herself a drink
Says, honey, honey, honey, ain’t no time to think

My baby
My baby

My baby

She’s got a body for business
Got a head for sin
She knocks me over like a bowling pin
She came home last night and said
Honey, honey, honey, it’s hard to get ahead

My baby
My baby

She can build a boat
She can make it float (My baby, m-my my baby)
She can play my guitar
Note for note
She likes to stick her tongue right down my throat
She’s my baby
My baby
My baby
My baby

Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations

This will be it for this Wilbury Weekend…one more tomorrow.

Congratulations for breaking my heart, Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed, Congratulations for leaving me in need

This appeared on their first Album Vol 1. This was the B side of the single End of the Line. Dylan sings this song of despair.

There is not a song on either of their two original album that I don’t know by heart. This one was played a lot in my car…which I seemed to livein… going in between a girlfriend and friends.

 

Congratulations

Congratulations for breaking my heart
Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed
Congratulations for leaving me in need

This morning I looked out my window and found
A bluebird singing but there was no one around
At night I lay alone in my bed
With an image of you goin’ around in my head

Congratulations for bringing me down
Congratulations, now I’m sorrow bound
Congratulations, you got a good deal
Congratulations, how good you must feel

I guess I must have loved you more than I ever knew
My world is empty now ’cause it don’t have you
And if I had just one more chance to win your heart again
I would do things differently, but what’s the use to pretend?

Congratulations for making me wait
Congratulations, now it’s too late
Congratulations, you came out on top
Congratulations, you never did know when to stop

Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations

Traveling Wilburys – If You Belonged To Me

Next, to other Dylan songs, this one is lighter but maybe that is the reason I like it…Bob seems loose on this song and it’s nice to hear him sound so relaxed.

I still know every word to this song. I had the Wilburys Vol 3 cassette and I wore it out in my car. Was it as good as the first album? No, but I still liked it a bunch. This song is pure Dylan but Dylan sounding vulnerable. Of all the members of this supergroup…Bob seemed to enjoy being part of a band and not being the focus for a change. He sounds like he is having fun.

Roy was gone by this album and he is sorely missed. He was like having the equivalent of a vocal ace up your sleeve that no one could match. This song was on the Traveling Wilburys Vol 3 and the album peaked at #11 in 1990.

If You Belonged To Me

Waltzing around the room tonight
In someone else’s clothes
You’re always coming out of things
Smelling like a rose

You hang your head and your heart is filled
With so much misery
You’d be happy as you could be
If you belonged to me

You say, “Let’s go to the rodeo
And see some cowboy fall”
Sometimes it seems to me you’ve
Got no sympathy at all

You keep on going on and on
About how you’re so free
You’d be happy as you could be
If you belonged to me

It ain’t easy to get to you
But there must be some kind of a way
If only two could look to you
For only one moment of each day

You’re saying that you’re all washed up
Got nothing else to give
Seems like you never figured out
How long you have to live

You could feel like a baby again
Sitting on your daddy’s knee
Oh, how happy you would be
If you belonged to me

The guy you’re with is a ruthless pimp
Everybody knows
Every cent he takes from you
Goes straight up his nose

You look so sad, you’re going so mad
Any fool can see
You’d be happy as you could be
If you belong to me
You’d be happy as you could be
If you belong to me

Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care

This was the hit that kicked the Wilburys project off the ground. George Harrsison and Jeff Lynne started the ball rolling… Initially an informal grouping with Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, they got together at Bob Dylan’s Santa Monica, California studio to quickly record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison’s song This Is Love. This was the song they came up with, which the record company immediately realized was too good to be released as a single B side. They also recorded “You Got It” at the session, which helped convince them to record an album together.

The song made it to #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart in 1988.

The title Handle With Care came when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.

Tom Petty on Bob Dylan: “There’s nobody I’ve ever met who knows more about the craft of how to put a song together than he does. I learned so much from just watching him work. He has an artist’s mind and can find in a line the keyword and think how to embellish it to bring the line out. I had never written more words than I needed, but he tended to write lots and lots of verses, then he’ll say, this verse is better than that, or this line. Slowly this great picture emerges. He was very good in The Traveling Wilbury’s: when somebody had a line, he could make it a lot better in big ways.”

Handle With Care

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

Traveling Wilburys – Nobody’s Child

This song was not on an official Wilburys album. It was on a benefit album Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal (a charity album released in 1990 to benefit Romanian orphans) released in 1990.  It was written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree. Hank Snow did this song in the 50s and it didn’t chart for him. In the UK Lonnie Donegan covered this song also.

George was very familiar with the song. This was a song that the Beatles backed Tony Sheridan with as the Beat Brothers before they became known. The song is a sad song and what caught my attention in the Wilburys version is Jeff Lynne’s high vocal through the second chorus…beautiful song.

All the Wilburys vocals are wonderful in this song.

Nobody’s Child

As I was slowly passing, an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin’, and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry

I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Just like a flower I’m growin’ wild
No mama’s arms to hold me no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants me, I’m nobody’s child

In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs

They’ve long since stopped their cryin’
As no-one ever hears
And no-one there to notice them or take away their fears

Nobody’s child, they’re nobody’s child
Just like a flower they’re growin wild
No mama’s arms to hold them, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants them they’re nobody’s child

Nobody’s child, they’re nobody’s child
Just like a flower they’re growin wild
No mama’s arms to hold them, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants them they’re nobody’s child
Nobody wants them they’re nobody’s child

Traveling Wilburys – Dirty World

It’s time for a Wilburys weekend…so without further ado… here we go!

Here’s to:

“Nelson Wilbury” – George Harrison, “Otis Wilbury” – Jeff Lynne, “Lefty Wilbury” – Roy Orbison, “Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr.” – Tom Petty and “Lucky Wilbury” – Bob Dylan

When I hear Bob Dylan sing “You don’t need no wax job, you’re smooth enough for me, 
If you need you oil changed I’ll do it for you free, Oh baby, the pleasure would be all mine
If you let me drive your pickup truck and park it where the sun don’t shine.” 

It grabs my attention really quick. This is Bob Dylan who once sang Masters of War, Tangled Up In Blue, Times Are A Changing… and he is sounding like he is having a great time.

This song next to Tweeter and the Monkey Man was my favorite on the first Wilbury album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 which peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 in 1989. Rolling Stone named this album in the top 100 albums of the 1980s.

 

Dirty World

He loves your sexy body, he loves your dirty mind
He loves when you hold him, grab him from behind
Oh baby, you’re such a pretty thing
I can’t wait to introduce you to the other members of my gang

You don’t need no wax job, you’re smooth enough for me
If you need you oil changed I’ll do it for you free
Oh baby, the pleasure would be all mine
If you let me drive your pickup truck and park it where the sun don’t shine

Every time he touches you his hair stands up on end
His legs begin to quiver and his mind begins to bend
Oh baby, you’re such a tasty treat
But I’m under doctor’s orders, I’m afraid to overeat

He loves your sense of humor, your disposition too
There’s absolutely nothing that he don’t love about you
Oh baby, I’m on my hands and knees
Life would be so simple if I only had you to please

Oh baby, turn around and say goodbye
You go to the airport now and I’m going home to cry
He loves your…

Electric dumplings
Red bell peppers
Fuel injection
Service charge
Five-speed gearbox
Long endurance
Quest for junk food
Big refrigerator
Trembling Wilbury
Marble earrings
Porky curtains
Power steering
Bottled water
Parts and service

Dirty world, a dirty world, it’s a …ing dirty world