When the sun comes up on a not-so-sleepy little blog, nowhere near San Antone (ugh, San Antonio, but that screws up the lyrics), then it must be Music Monday.
They say that Allison’s insane…
Ok, ok, I’ll stop with the lyrics.
Listening to I Heart Radio on a regular basis has introduced me to songs I didn’t know, reinforced my love of songs I already knew, and helped contribute to the love of Chicago that compelled me to see them in concert two years ago.
I knew the music of the Doobie Brothers long before I Heart Radio, but one song I’d never heard before last year (Seriously!) was a song about a backwards little town near San Antonio, Texas, home to some of the craziest residents known to man. That little city was China Grove, it actually exists, and I don’t know if the people are really as crazy as the ones mentioned in the song.
“China Grove” was released in 1973 on the Doobie Brothers’ album The Captain and Me. Original main singer Tom Johnston wrote and sung this song (he’s been with the group on and off for 40 years). Like many of the songs Johnston penned, the music was composed and developed before the lyrics were written, and began with a guitar riff that he and drummer John Hartman (for those not in the know, his brother is the late great actor Phil Hartman) developed into a jam with a chord structure.
The piano portion of the song gave Johnston the inspiration for the wacky sheriff and the samurai swords.
Photo source: This great article by Wayne Hinshaw from Salisbury Post about the song AND the actual city, which really does seem to be crazy!
As for China Grove, it is a real town. Johnston initially didn’t know it was a real town, but later recalled a sign either passing by to or from San Antonio. It is located in Bexar County, population 1179 (as of 2010), and is 12 miles east of downtown San Antonio.
You didn’t see any of this coming, did you?
And now, the part you’re all waiting for, the tale of people in a small town, fighting sheriffs, and music you can hear at night!
Bet you feel better about where you live, don’t you?
Enjoy your Music Monday!