Walter Becker, “Our Lawn” (early 1990s): One Track Mind

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The ample leftovers from the 11 Tracks of Whack sessions continue to be pulled out of the frig, warmed in the microwave and set on the table for feasting. “Our Lawn” was worked on an awful lot and unlike some of Becker’s early 90s demos, this made it well past the point where he was noodling over the song by himself and got the full Whack band involved.

There are definite markers of an unfinished track present: the shout-out to the drummer Ben Perowsky at the start, the unadorned/unedited vocal with some scatting where a guitar solo might go and most notably, it hadn’t been mixed. The ringing guitars of Dean Parks and Adam Rogers matched up with John Beasley’s keys chime out the sunny chords that belie the theme of the (end of) summertime blues (perfect timing for releasing this track, eh?). As a huge fan of “Surf And/Or Die” I couldn’t help but notice that Fima Ephron’s Freddie Washington-styled funky bass pattern nearly mirrors the one he used on that song.

So this recording of “Our Lawn” you’re hearing is not done but honestly, I don’t know if a finished product would have increased my enjoyment of the tune. The melody is solid and the lyrics are full Becker’s forlorn wit. The musicians were playing well. Becker was singing well; if anything, this recording somewhat indicts some of the tracks that did make it on the album for making it clear his voice didn’t need any stinkin’ altering effects.

It’s anyone’s guess why they didn’t take this across the finish line after running twenty-three miles of the marathon. Maybe its portrait of first world problems down in the suburbs just didn’t fit in with the overall vibe of the record? But they could have made another record around this one. It’s that good.

Grab yourself a free, high quality download of “Our Lawn” right heya.

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