Every so often I attempt a finger-picking arrangement of one of my old songs. I’m not the greatest picker in the world, and there’s nothing particularly fancy or difficult about the arrangements, but it is really quite a challenge to get through a whole song on video without choking too bad. There are times, on the couch, when it seems like I can play them pretty flawlessly, but I must be kidding myself there because I can never manage to replicate that feat when the laptop is rolling. They’re offered “as is.” And here’s a playlist the ones I’ve done so far:  “You You You” is a simple enough tune, and quite traditionally structured, but there are just a few counter-intuitive bits that were easier to sing than finger till I got used to them. Not technically difficult, but your fingers keep wanting to go a different way, or mine did at any rate, so it took quite some effort to train them to do it proper, basically months of zombified, semi-autistic playing, over and over. A lot of people really like this song, I’ve found. It closes the album Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You (replacing, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere) the originally-planned, far grander “I Was Losing You All Along” which we couldn’t finish. When that album came out Ben Weasel sent via email a lengthy, quite heartfelt and detailed, song by song critique of the album, and about this tune it said only that it was a weird way to end the album. Which is true enough.  The track as recorded verges on a lot of arguably contradictory things without ever committing to any of them: minimal, traditional, bouncy, punk-but-not-really, mournful, bubblegum, restrained and over-wrought at the same time. Kevin Army captured a truly great guitar tone on that one, really dark and brittle, and the vocal is stark and rather “intimate.” (The guitar was an old 1950s Les Paul goldtop, borrowed for the occasion, that had been hilariously refinished and stained so that it matched the previous owners yacht or the hardwood floors of his faux-Scandinavian lodge in Marin; smart things come in stupid packages, that is to say, some things look stupid and sound great, and I regret not buying it to this day.) I remember Kevin saying to someone at the time that it was best vocal from me he’d ever recorded. Well, maybe maybe not. Always punching above my weight in that regard, I’m well aware. As originally conceived, this song was supposed to be much more restrained and quiet, wistful or whatever, more like this arrangement to be honest, at least in “feel.” But that wasn’t a thing we did, or were capable of doing, in 1997. That’s why people like ’97, I know. To the extent that the RIS “You You You” is something special, it’s the result of stumbling on to whatever it was that made it so. It leaves a lot unsaid, which is why ending the album that way turned out to be apt, though it was almost entirely accidental. I’m still pretty pleased with it as a song (which I sure can’t say about all tof them.) That “expects to see” / “more agony than ecstasy” rhyme is a too-trite Cole Porter-ism that is pretty awkward in the context and it makes me wince slightly when I hear or sing it. (Not to mention the fact that it alludes to Michelangelo and invokes Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison.. none of these guys should be intruding into what was meant to be a simple, plaintive elegy to a love affair.) Anyway, though, back to this version: how about that guitar? A 1949 Martin 0–15, if I’m reading the serial number right. I’m kind of “curating” it for my friend Lawrence, who acquired it back in the ’80s from a student of the great Furry Lewis. Furry may have even owned it previously, or if not, at least he played it. You know how “provenance” is. This is the Furry Lewis guitar. The tone is out of this world, which is what you get from 70-year-old wood christened with the sweat of a delta bluesman. (Grim Deeds, by the way, on the shirt, is your future favorite band: