Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Just Dropped In" - The First Edition (1968)

If you’ve seen “The Big Lebowski”, then you’ve heard this incredible piece of psychedelic music before. Funny thing is, unlike a lot of the old records from the time, this one still holds up. It’s got something special; and sincere; about it which keeps it forever relevant. Hey, we all wonder what we’re really made of, and this record explores one man’s journey into his inner self. It’s not as pretty as it is confusing; and unlike “Lucy in the Sky” by The Beatles, with its gentle surreal imagery; I suppose that many people would find themselves less sure of what they believe after listening to this record.

The song itself was probably the impetus for many young people of the time to “expand their minds” through the use of LSD. The irony in that is rooted in the fact that Mickey Newberry wrote it as a warning against the use of psychedelic drugs. First recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1967, it was this 1968 rendition of the recording by Kenny Rogers, with The First Edition, which will always be remembered.
Evidently, it didn’t scare many folks; rather; it might have made them a bit more curious about expanding their minds. Just listen to that guitar solo- which is, by the way, none other than Glen Campbell. Talk about versatility! Glen Campbell was, and still is, one of the greatest studio guitarists ever. His skills ranged from songs like this, to writing scores of hits of his own, doing a stint as a Beach Boy while Brian Wilson was stuck at home, and eventually moving on to have his own Sunday night variety show.

Of course, Kenny Rogers would split from The First Edition and achieve fame as a solo artist, with hits such as “The Gambler” and “Coward of the County” being just two of the ones which spring immediately to mind.
This is one of those songs which I keep on ipod, flashdrive, and even a disc in the car. Whenever, or wherever it comes on, I’m always pleased with the sound and imagery it conjures up. My favorite part of the lyrics is at the end, when he sings “8 miles out of Memphis and I got no spare, 8 miles straight up, downtown somewhere.” It’s a dark and foreboding image, one which reeks of danger and irresistible adventure all at once. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

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