Saturday, February 23, 2008

Roger Miller - Rings For Sale 7"

If you're like me the name Roger Miller brings to mind one of two things or maybe even both. You either think

"Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let 50 cents
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain't got no cigarettes"

Or you think

"Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest
Laughing back and forth at what the other one had to say
Reminiscing this and that and having such a good time
Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally golly what a day"

Both of these songs bring to mind specific memories of my childhood. "King Of The Road" reminds me of one year in elementary school when we did square dancing. Once of the square dances we did was set to Roger Miller's "King of the Road" and so it forever will be associated with that for me. I always thought it funny that we danced to a song about being a hobo basically.

Then the old Robin Hood song also brings of memories from about the same time period. When I was in elementary school when we got to the end of the year and the teachers knew is was pointless to try and teach us just days before summer break all the classes would gather in the auditorium and watch a movie. They had one film print and one projector to who the entire school. Today teachers just bring in DVD's and show their individual classes movies. I don't know if that is better or worse, but there is something to be said about gathering in a big auditorium and watching a movie on a movie screen that made it seem real special. Each year we saw a different Disney movie. I believe we covered both "Witch Mountain" movies during those years. We also watched Walt Disney's "Robin Hood". This is where I first saw this movie and I loved it. After that I tried to watch it whenever I had the chance. Back then I didn't have a VCR and my mom was never one to take my brother and I to animated movies so I just had to keep my eye out for it playing on TV.

Until adulthood that was pretty much all I knew of Roger Miller and to be honest it wasn't until I was an adult that I even knew his name or that the same guy sang both songs. Then it wasn't really until the last few years that I heard anything else by Roger Miller. This record being one of those few things.

"Rings For Sale" isn't the greatest song in the world. I think I was hoping for something a little sadder and maybe even cheesier. With a title like, "Rings For Sale" I thought for sure the song was going to be about a couple going through a break up and selling their wedding rings. No such luck. Instead it's right out of the "King Of The Road" playbook. It's a song about some poor guy making rings out of nails and selling them. This guy must be really down on his luck that he's finding old nails, bending them and then trying to sell them. The nails aren't even shiny and he is asking his customers to imagine that they are shiny and new. Can you imagine the nerve of this guy? Well just listen to this song and you will.

The unexpected gem was the discovery of "Conversation". This one has a sort of late 60's early 70's give peace a chance hippie vibe to it. It is really a great song and when it gets going I think it really kind of rocks. I don't mean in an AC/DC sort of way, but in a "that was pretty rock and roll for Roger Miller" sort of way. After the first verse there is a nice little guitar solo leading into the bridge where Roger really kind of lets loose. I've mentioned this about other songs, but I love when an artist builds to a point where they just let loose and belt out some emotion. That is exactly what happens.

The song is also interesting because it doesn't follow the standard verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse chorus structure. There really isn't a chorus. Instead it has one long verse then a bridge and then back to a shortened verse, which is in a way a B Verse. He does repeat conversation a lot in the verse which is the basic hook, but it isn't really a chorus. Because of this structure the song doesn't over stay it's welcome. It's just a little over two minutes long. It gets in says what it has to say and then finishes. Short, sweet and to the point. So download this forgotten little number and treat yourself to 2 minutes and 21 seconds of optimism.


01 Rings For Sale.mp3
02 Conversation.mp3

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