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August Wanes and Fast Car Returns

As August wanes and we prepare for the start of school, can we all agree that it's been a wet and weird summer? Not typical at all. I feel that summer never came. Nothing as bad as the wildfires in Maui. Or as bad as the flooding in the Northeast. But something's different and we all have a part to play in that, I suppose. For the time being though, here in Chicago, we've had it pretty good.

Here's what's fresh and available from local farms this weekend. We source from MICK KLUG FARM (SW MI) and Chesterton Farmers Market (NW IN). The produce arrives on SAT morning and it'll be out for purchase in the afternoon.
Fresh Corn Green Beans Cherry Tomatoes Peppers (hot and sweet) Strawberries Peaches Grapes Blueberries Peppers (both sweet and hot)

Johnny Cash called them "mailbox checks" since they arrived out of the blue to his mailbox in payment for covers by other artists who performed or recorded his music. Residuals - a form of payment to artists for their intellectual property - is front and center these days especially in Hollywood. Writers and actors want to be paid fairly for work that might last a lifetime. Streaming, both for music and film, has destroyed the business model that worked for years. The future is uncertain. That's why you're watching reruns and probably will for the foreseeable future. If you'd been a bit actor in the Godfather, wouldn't you still want to be paid for that work since it's still out there and Paramount is making money on it? I would. Only seems fair to me. And it's why I find the recent cover of FAST CAR, a song written by the Black, female singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman, by Luke Combs so intriguing. Take a listen to both versions.
The song is pretty simple harmonically. Verse repeats itself over the same chords. The chorus is always the same each time it comes. So what makes it so haunting? The lyrics. And perhaps that's what's bugging me. I love the lyrics. It's about broken dreams, desperation, and the hard knocks that life can bring. And in my mind, I can't separate the fact that it's from a female perspective. When Combs sings it to his audience (mostly white and rural) as a song that has the twang of country, I love it on one hand. Imitation is the best form of flattery. And Chapman has made a nice wad of cash from Combs' cover. But Chapman was a bit reserved when talking about the song hitting the charts 35 years after her version first was released. And I can understand why. Combs doesn't change any words. It works in this new world of pronouns. Male or female, one can say that the lyrics hold up for both genders. Ultimately the cover doesn't work for me when sung by Combs. Why? The vulnerability, the disappointment, and the bitter acceptance of what life has dealt are all better expressed in the original version with the folksy delivery of Chapman from a female perspective. It is kind of cool, however, that 35 years later, in a setting that is far from the New Jersey coffee shops that Chapman started in, the song has had a rebirth. That's the great thing about a great song. Great songs are timeless. And Fast Car is a great song.

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