Los Lobos--"Peace" (mp3)
I seem to add more holidays every year. This year, it's Cinco de Mayo.
Why? The reasons are really pretty simple. Because I power-washed my deck. Because I planted some dying pansies. Because there is leftover wood in my rusty outdoor fireplace. Cinco de Mayo now becomes a reason to rub some chipotle powder on some country-style pork ribs, to mix up some guacamole, to roast some tomatillos, garlic, and jalapenos, to soften up some tortillas, to fancy up some black beans, to chill some Mexican beer. In other words, to celebrate the season and the weather and a Monday with some food and fire under the pretext of broader celebration.
Holidays are special days, and to dismiss them with an "I'm too busy" or "I'm not into ______" or, silliest of all, "I'm not even Irish" borders on lunacy. I'll tell you what--stumbling through a packed Bourbon Street in between parade floats with a beer in one hand, a rubber duck dressed like an Irishman in the other, and two pounds of various green and white beads around my neck, I felt pretty damn Irish!
Holidays are on my mind for another reason. This year, for the first time, I'll be out of the country for the 4th of July. I'll be teaching in Korea, and on that day, I'll be walking the streets of a city of around 12 million people. Very few of them will give that day a second thought. But I will, and I'll do it through music: I'll have my Aimee Mann's "Fourth of July" and Dave Alvin's "4th of July" and Lucinda Williams' "Firecracker" and Bruce Springsteen's "Sandy (Asbury Park 4th of July)" and Neil Young's "Hawks and Doves" and "Rockin' In The Free World" and Paul Simon's "America" and a host of other songs. Perhaps I'll be able to locate a Budweiser or two, put on my Old Navy shirt with the American flag, and maybe, we'll have a little holiday over there after all.
Happy Cinco. Eat a jalapeno. Get crazy.
Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio" comes from my brief foray into the original Napster. Los Lobos, which is the only Hispanic-flavored band I listen to with any regularity, seems to have peaked, but once put out a terrific series of cd's in the '80's and '90's. This version of "Peace" comes from a radio station's compilation, Rare on Air, Vol. 1, and is a live, in-studio performance.