|Recordings: The Leo Kottke Anthlology|
Come on, Leo, lighten up! Nobody is going to think you are a right-wing pro-arms fanatic because of the title of a song. Besides, I think the original title does works; not as a stand-alone metaphor but because it effectively describes the sound of the piece.
After the mournful "Taps" introduction, the constant "rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat" of the opening is the guitar's voice speaking machine-gun-ese, which descends deeper into the tonal abyss until it seems as if the baritone of Leo's voice itself emerges from through the guitar. And then the voice transforms the frantic energy of the initial military outburst into a slippery melodious cheer that glides up and down the fretboard with measured abandon. It's almost as if Leo has turned the deathly staccato of machine-gun fire into waves of lubricated sound, like guns churned into butter. And, like the cycles of war and peace, the song moves through ominous chugging to joyful sliding once again, until the final bar when the ominous chugging is suddenly silenced, as if to present both a warning and a message to us all that the cycle of violence must and can be broken.
"Vaseline Machine Gun"? Sounds perfect to me, Leo. -- BH
P.S. Hey, can anyone else tell I was an Arts major in university? I can bullshit my way through just about anything. Comes in real handy at the office.
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