If you told me 25 years ago that Mike Roe, lead singer and guitarist of my favorite band at the time, the 77s, would be playing in a good friend’s basement, my head would have exploded. But here he is in East Atlanta, at Michael Hester’s house! As it happens, I was on a cruise in the Gulf of Mexico, so I missed it. (I’ve seen Roe elsewhere in concert with both the 77s and the Lost Dogs.) But this video nicely captures a performance of one of the 77s’ best songs, “The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.”
In its original incarnation, this song was an homage to mid-’60s Byrds, even featuring the Byrds’ Chris Hillman on bass. Here, Roe’s stripped-down country performance diverts my attention to the words, including this fine verse:
And I love it when folks look right at me and what I’m doing or have done
And lay it on about how groovy I am, and that I am looking grand
And every single word makes me think I’ll live forever never knowing
That they probably won’t remember what they said tomorrow, tomorrow I could be dead
As I’ve said elsewhere, Christian rock, in its early days at least, wasn’t always and everywhere a bad idea. Not by a long shot.
By the way, all the 77s’ stuff is now on iTunes, so do yourself a favor and buy some. My favorite album of theirs is All Fall Down from 1984.