Stuck In My Head: Feelin’ Alright

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I always thought that the plate spinners who showed up during the entertainment section of late night talk shows were a great metaphor for personal happiness. Total happiness is when all those plates are spinning. Got a good job that you like? That’s one plate spinning. In a great relationship? There’s another. If something really factors into your overall happiness, it’s a plate to spin. Most people can keep a couple of plates spinning, but there are usually a few others that are wobbling and threatening to crash to the ground. Life is tough that way. The car needs a new clutch – wobble. An uncle dies – wobble. That tax bill is higher than expected – wobble. Any number of things can start those plates a’wobblin’.

Over the last 6 months, I finally seem to have all my plates spinning. I love my job, I’m happily married, and life is good. I work in one of the best cities in the world, with interesting people who appreciate what I do. I keep finding incredible LPs that I’d never considered owning. Last week I picked up Rare Earth’s 1969 album Get Ready, with no expectations whatsoever. The P told me a while back that this Detroit band had backed Rodriguez on his cult classic album Cold Fact, so I’d been on the lookout for their records. I found Get Ready in the bargain bin, and it was worth every nickel I paid. Their version of Dave Mason’s ‘Feelin’ Alright’ (popularized by Traffic) is worth the price of admission alone.

‘Feelin’ Alright’ features a wokka wokka rhythm and dirty Detroit guitar sound in the mold of Dennis Coffey. Mid-song, guitarist Rod Richards coolly says “Yeah, excuse me while I play my axe…”, before launching into the kind of solo that will have Hendrix fans drooling. Holy guitar strings! John Small of WKNR-FM Detroit dropped some classic liner notes on this one, including: “What explains Rare Earth’s charisma? Appearance – for one. Each cat stands handsomely tall as if from a fashion rack at Carnaby.” ‘Feelin’ Alright’ stands tall too – it’s the sound of all my plates spinning at top speed…

Listen: Feelin’ Alright

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