I’ve never been a big fan of Frampton. Never disliked him, just never got into him. It always made me laugh that Frampton Comes Alive was so huge and yet I only ever knew two songs from it. And in my head the only thing he was known for was that voice guitar thing.
So it’s interesting to see him now, considerably older with much less hair. Indeed he changes the lyrics to the first song “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” to “I don’t care now that I’ve…lost some hair.” For this song it’s just him playing an acoustic guitar and singing–no effects. (This is all in tour of his new Acoustic Classics album). It’s interesting to hear him playing such a folkie song (which sounds a bit like Eric Clapton). But the more important thing is that his voice sounds great. Many singers his age simply don’t have the voice anymore, but he certainly does. He hasn’t lost anything.
For the second song, “Lines On My Face,” he is joined by Gordon Kennedy. Kennedy has been his writing partner for decades. Together they wrote some of Frampton’s classics as well as a song for Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitts’ new single “Gypsy in Me.” He says that this song is something he wrote a long time ago and it’s still a favorite. While Kenendy plays acoustic backing chords, Frampton plays some good solos on that acoustic guitar.
For being Peter Frampton, he was actually very humble and self-effacing and rather funny. There’s a good moment when he says he didn’t expect quite this many people. “You hear like “clap clap clap….”
Of course, I know “Baby, I Love Your Way.” I’m not exactly sick of it, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to it. However, in this new acoustic format I really got to listen to the song anew. It’s really quite a nice song. And when the crowd spontaneously chimes in and sings along he seems genuinely pleased and it makes the song t hat much better.
This Tiny Desk made me appreciate Peter Frampton in a way I never thought I would.
[READ: June 10, 2016] “Three Short Moments in a Long Life”
I enjoy when a story has Parts. This one has three and they all connect, which is even better than three discrete parts. But this story, which covers a man’s life from childhood to old age is really quite a downer. It speaks volumes about the futility of life without actually ever saying anything about it.
Part 1 is called The Spy (although I’m not entirely sure why). In it, the narrator talks about Beverly LaPlante. He and Beverly were in second grade together. She was very shy and cried a lot. They both hated recess and he was afraid to get lumped in with–the kids made fun of her a lot. Midway through the year she left the school and that was that.
Third grade meant a new teacher and he had a crush on her. Then one day during dodge ball he noticed that there was a new girl. And her name was Beverly LaPlante. But there was no way she was the same girl, right? She wasn’t shy at all, in fact, she ended the dodgeball game by cursing out some of the losers. He was upset that he sweet teacher didn’t yell at her. When she finally said something to the girl, Beverly shouted “Jesus Christ and shit, piss, fuck!”
The narrator prayed that night–he prayed that Beverly would die. He immediately took it back but it was too late.
Part 2 is called The Writer.
In this brief part the boy is grown up. He is a writer, and has written several books which no one cared about. While he was thinking about writing, there was a knock at the door. He opened it and there was Jesus: “he had long blond hair and those eyes that follow you around the room.” Except of course it wasn’t Jesus, right? It was a just a guy looking for work or change.
Part 3 is called The Substance of Things Hoped For.
As the section opens the man is now eighty–lying on his bed unable to move. We learn that he has Parkinson’s and is being taken to the hospital for pneumonia.
He has felt like a burden to his wife and some time ago tried to kill himself. It failed obviously but she told him if he ever did that again she’d kill him herself: “She’s a genuine saint, the real thing, without any pious crap, so she’s not always easy to live with.”
He is in the hospital for a while, marveling at the attendants and how young they seem. He wonders if and when he is going to die.
This last part seemed really extraneous and not very meaningful. I realize that it was meant to wrap everything up but I would have preferred to have the two parts together and let me imagine the third.