Thursday, October 4, 2012

Otis Redding and Sarah Palin walk into a bar...

We're often in Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival this time of year, which means every four years our mostly news-free vacation intersects with the presidential debates. One of my favorite stories is from four years ago, when Sarah Palin tried to get us drunk. It was the night of Palin's vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden, and a generous bartender at a now-defunct joint called T's bought a round of tequila shots for the house every time she called John McCain a maverick. The story of the rest of the night remains a little hazy.

I didn't think about this anniversary until last night, when we were enjoying a nice dinner at Liquid Assets Wine Bar, a favorite haunt in the city, and in the background, from the bar in the back, the sounds of Obama and Romney could occasionally be heard.

Fortunately, we couldn't hear the debate too much because the musical soundtrack was also playing in the restaurant, and it was usually loud enough to drown out the less pleasant noise from the bar.

Otis Redding is no Sara Bareilles or Sarah Palin.
As it happens, one of the songs that played was a cover of the Otis Redding classic "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay". The recording wasn't familiar to me, nor was the voice. An Internet search didn't prove very fruitful; Wikipedia lists quite a number of artists who have covered the tune, with someone named Sara Bareilles the only woman among them. So maybe it was her. The Wikipedia article pegs her style as "slightly edgy, stompy piano-based pop rock that incorporates jazz and soul, with Bareilles finding inspiration from singers such as Etta James and Sam Cooke." While I wasn't hearing anything of the sort in this particular recording, it was kind of OK. I suppose. Better than the debate, in any case.

Now, I hardly ever eavesdrop at restaurants. It is usually fruitless to do so these days, anyway, as so many diners spend more time gazing at their electronic devices (probably looking up who covered Otis Redding songs, lol) than talking with each other and giving neighboring tables dialog to steal. But, as "Dock of the Bay" played on, a guy at the next table observed, "That's not the original artist."

Nope. Not even close. But it made me wonder if the former vice presidential candidate had stopped by earlier in the day.

And that's how I was able to work Sarah Palin and Otis Redding into the same blog post.

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