Jay Meehan: The analgesic decongestant antihistamine blues
“They call me NyQuil junkie, I don’t know what they mean
But I just can’t be satisfied unless my tongue is green”
~ Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys
It was back when I was commuting to a barebones AM country music outlet in Salt Lake from a rickety old ranch house at the bottom of the first “dugway” in Woodland. Glorious times they were, at least in the rear view mirror. No doubt, through the windshield, they were highly suspect.
The best parts of those days were getting “first tracks” tossing flies on the upper Provo prior to heading down canyon and, by occupying the Music Director’s office at the radio-station-in-question, getting first crack at each day’s vinyl record shipment.
We in the “hood” always thought that particular stretch of the Provo played host to some of the most beautiful brown trout (salmo trutta) on the planet. For all I know it still does. Lord knows, my antics with a rod didn’t threaten the population much.
And, anyway, if one of them did happen to get its lower jaw snagged on an Elk Hair Caddis or the like, catch-and-release was certainly in vogue at the time.
And, among the regional record-label reps based out of Denver there was consensus that my office played host to the most beautiful multi-genre vinyl record collection on that same planet. They took pride in seeing to it. They did it out of friendship for a fellow traveler with similar grooming and dress, not to mention behavioral traits.
So, before going on the air, I would kick back with a somewhat “doctored” cup of Joe and go through that day’s always highly-eclectic sampling of the latest in C&W, outlaw, cowboy, bluegrass, newgrass, the Austin stuff, both old and new western swing, the folkies, blues, jazz, Cajun, and such.
What I’m getting at here is that on one of those mornings, following the snagging of a few quaking aspen and cottonwood limbs with my back-cast up Woodland way, I stumbled upon a new release from Alvin Crow and the Pleasant Valley Boys on “Long Neck Records.”
One of the cuts got slapped down and spun around more often than the rest. It was called “NyQuil Blues” and some weird voice in my head always seemed to be singing along with it — not only in the studio but while driving back up Parley’s, cruising the produce aisle at the market, and even in the bathtub — the bunkhouse being a shower-poor environment, and all.
Well, let me tell you, as they say in the Top-40 radio trade, it’s back up on a “quick rotation.” Over the past week or so, I find myself singing it from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until I dive back into the sack at night. As far as the song’s subject goes, the directions on the label have, sort of, been steadfastly followed.
Being a hermit of sorts, I seldom go out in public enough to co-mingle with contagious germs of any stripe. Acquiring cold or flu symptoms are as rare as discovering an iridium layer in the alluvial plain of the Heber Valley. Hardly “evah” happens. It’s not that this old carcass is a healthy specimen, by any stretch. It just doesn’t get sick much.
Last week, however, the house of cards came crashing down. Whether it came about due to mixing with the Sundance crowds or attending a sold-out musical gig, an acute chest cold quickly set up shop and began homesteading available space. NyQuil was immediately summoned!
Maybe, as far as truth in advertising goes, it should also be noted that a diversion from strictly following the label instructions did occur sometime late on day one when the door to the liquor cabinet became ajar. It would seem that a pillager with exquisite taste had its way with the Single Malt. You’ll have that.
So, for whatever reason, the debilitating chest cold has vacated. Myself, I’m of the opinion that my re-bonding with Alvin Crow and his take on the Herb Steiner penned “NyQuil Blues” had a lot to do with it. Music heals. But you knew that. Not saying that the stuff that turns your tongue green and a few moderate slugs of whisky didn’t play a role.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
The ivory-billed woodpecker is long gone, an iconic creature driven to extinction because of indifference.