Theme for an Imaginary Western

camp fire

Sometimes it’s easy to choose a track of the week. More often it’s hard. This morning was shaping up to be one of those difficult days.

The Crotchety Couple have had a few days in which nothing quite goes according to plan. On Monday we went to a Christmas Carnival. Going via my dad’s it was some 2½ hours drive and, to save having to drive back in the dark of a winter’s evening, we had booked into a local hotel for the night. Apart from the inevitable road works on the motorway the journey was uneventful. The weather was fine and the traffic was flowing freely. We were all looking forward to browsing the stalls with their Christmas wares and seeing the illuminations in the grounds of the grand house that was once the country seat of the Rothschild family.

Arriving an hour or so before sunset we were very surprised to find the enormous car park almost empty. Thinking there must be more parking nearer the manor itself we followed the signs to the house only to find a locked gate across the driveway. Returning to the car park we went in search of any information that might explain our predicament. The building housing the waiting room and toilets was deserted. A poster on the wall provided a clue: “Christmas Carnival, 10th November to 2nd January, Wed – Sun”.

Mrs. Crotchety swore the website didn’t say anything about the property being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and used her mobile phone to prove it. Sure enough, under What’s On Today, it proudly proclaimed all the attractions of the Christmas Carnival. But, if you scrolled down, it then mentioned the Wed – Sun caveat. Jesus would have wept; we just mightily sighed. All we could do was to console ourselves with a cup of coffee and a mince pie in the hotel bar, kill time until dinner and curse the website designers for misleading us.

There were several appointments in our diaries that kept us busy for the rest of the week. Although there were no more crushing disappointments, little things kept getting in the way. We both felt a little off colour; it rained only when we had to go out; roadworks in the village caused a small diversion. On Wednesday Mrs. Crotchety, who is on the board of governors for the village school, was told the Ofsted inspectors would be coming the following day and she needed to be available.

The climax of our misfortunes, though, took us to our nearest National Health Service urgent care centre yesterday where, after a five hour wait, Mrs Crotchety was diagnosed with a minor infection and prescribed antibiotics. Reassured that it was nothing serious we joined another 19 Nottingham friends for our annual Christmas meal last night but we were too tired and deflated to get fully into the Christmas spirit.

And so, this morning, my mind was blank when I sat down to do another Track of the Week. Nothing had sparked unexpected enthusiasm over the last seven days. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, because the listening hours had been heavily curtailed. Nor did any of the tracks on the pre-prepared shortlist of worthy songs inspire the blogger’s muse. Then, turning to the 2018 Crotchety Man blog playlist on Spotify, I noticed a familiar title in the recommended list: Theme for an Imaginary Western. That was just the spur I needed.

Everyone who was listening to pop and rock records in the late sixties knows that Theme for an Imaginary Western was written and performed by Jack Bruce. It’s a track from his first solo album, Songs for a Tailor, and it has to be the most well-known and best loved of all Jack Bruce songs. So, why had Spotify given the artist as Colosseum? Was this a glaring data error or just a gap in Crotchety Man’s fragmented knowledge?

Well, it turns out that there are several versions of Theme that I was unaware of; it has been recorded by Mountain, Colosseum and Greenslade (among others) and there’s also a live piano solo performance by Jack Bruce himself on YouTube. For me the Colosseum version doesn’t cut it, though, so Spotify’s selection algorithm needs some serious tweaking.

Together the tune and arrangement evoke the wide vistas of the old west. This is the home of the brave and the land of the free. It’s a tough and sometimes dangerous place to live but the rewards are as broad as the plains and as vast as the sky. And, at the end of a long day, a cowboy can be at peace with nature.

Sometimes it’s hard to choose a Track of the Week but this time a flawed algorithm proved to be the cure for blogger’s block. Perhaps this old-timer’s luck has changed.

4 thoughts on “Theme for an Imaginary Western

  1. Your painstaking account of personal ups and downs provides the perfect intro to this wonderful song. Looking through your eyes, hearing through your ears and plugging in to my own concerns – all contribute to a deepened response. Not explaining this well but I think I’m saying that empathy opens new doors of perception. Now there’s an idea …

    Liked by 1 person

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