Last spring when I holed up in Joshua Tree for a week to find out if I had a muse, I wrote part of a folk song called “Angelina.” I started it after seeing a young blonde woman careening down my dirt road in a hearse. I made up the beginning of a story about her and wrote a couple of verses, pumped to have begun something and to realize that I would be able to make something, however basic. Then I lost interest in the song. I still don’t understand how or why that happens. But I moved on.
Recently I’ve wanted to revisit “Angelina.” I think it was the Danelectro. The sound of that guitar fits the mood of the song. Working on the song again has been tough. I tried to write a chorus and ended up with a bridge. I labored for a long time over the words because I really want to love them. The song is simple and the lyrics matter a lot. So I’d sit there, in my garret, at the park, wherever, and try to figure her out. Sometimes I would sit there and be at a loss. It’s the emptiest feeling. Really awful. Other times I felt like an intruder in her life. Like, what right do I have to catch a glimpse of a person and invent a bunch of lies about her? I gave her a name, a dead husband, a fondness for the Eagles, bad judgement and a nasty prognosis. I never did write a chorus.
So here’s the situation. I’m using the bridge as the chorus. It’s kind of weird but I’m letting it be, for now. Initially I recorded the guitar and the vocal separately but I found that I felt better singing it while I was playing the guitar. That was a big surprise because I literally cannot play and sing “Middle-Aged Rock Band” at the same time. I am getting closer to being able to play and sing “You Make Me Sick,” which by the way may be retitled “All Gone” thanks to my smart friend Matthew Gilbert. Anyway, I recorded “Angelina” live, with no effects, late at night. I think you can hear the late-nightness. I make a bunch of mistakes. It’s pretty rough.
Angelina by Middlemojo
Pretty Blonde by Desert-Angel