Friday, April 09, 2010

VALENTINE SMITH - "Disappointing Mary"

With Easter and the resurrection still fresh in some folks' minds, why not listen to "Disappointing Mary." It could be about the Virgin Mary, who would be quite disappointed with the Easter egg games, Papal excuses for pedophile priests, idiots seeing Jesus on pieces of toast sold on eBay and the rest of the antics that have so little to do with the teachings of Christ.

Atheists would tell you that Mother Mary is not disappointed at all, because either she never existed, or she's been dead 2,000 years. A good argument for the latter, is that there are so many pious hillbillies and hazy-brained rebels around who commit heinous acts all week long, and think they're forgiven because they clean up nice and white for Sunday services where they sing their favorite shitty gospel songs and toss some change into a basket for the most moronic bribe this side of Sharebee downloads for nice comments. If Mary or Jesus or God existed, wouldn't Rush Limbaugh be dead? Dead from having Sarah Palin's head slammed up his bowels like a bowling ball?

Assuming Mother Mary is just, unlike Joan of Arc, able to tolerate atrocities with a kind of slow burn, she still has every reason to be disappointed by the shabby way her nice Jewish boy Jesus was treated and still IS being treated. She's probably a bit confused by all the bloggers who spend December stealing hundreds of whole albums of in-print Christmas music rather than doing unto artists and store owners the right thing and buying the products. Mother Mary may also be sick and tired of McCartney's song, since "Let it Be" is only a mother's advice about not picking at a pimple.

Then again, Valentine Smith may be referring to some average chick named Mary, and throwing in religious imagery to be poetic. You could ask them, but artists rarely explain their work, and these guys disbanded ten years ago.

Valentine Smith was founded by the songwriting team of Bill McGarvey and Stephen Dima and included bassist Brad Finkel and at various times drummers Wilbur Jones and Joey Cassata, and violinists Lorenza Ponce, Helen Hooke and Kimberly Nordling. They issued three albums between 1994 and 2000. Billboard called the group "magical," and, rare for indie artists at the time, the mag put the Smiths' first single "Katie's a No-Show" on their "Best of" the year list. The Washington Post, hepsters to the maxi-pad, praised the band as "purveyors of…addictive pieces of jangle candy." Well, Gabba gabba hey!

The group opened for The Wallflowers and NRBQ as well as The Lemonheads and Joan Osborne. Back then, the idea was to tour and get support for album sales. Today, the idea is for starry-eyed indie bands to give away the albums and hope to make money from live shows. Disappointing strategies, both ways.

Since 2000, the band's leader Bill McGarvey has issued just as many CDs solo as he did with Valentine Smith. Three. They are "Tell Your Mother," "Beautiful Mess" and "Plaid as Hell."

"Disappointing Mary" is on an out of print Valentine Smith CD called "Back to Earth." It's easy to find used, and individual tracks are available via iTunes and other download services. The royalties the band gets might actually pay for an eBay win on the image of Jesus discovered on a piece of used toilet tissue. Holy shit!

DISAPPOINTING MARY No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.


Bill said...

Just came across this post, thanks for highlighting Disappointing Mary...that was the first song Steve and I wrote together and the incredible reactions we got to 4-track demos of the song actually led us to form Valentine Smith. Thanks for remembering it.
Bill McGarvey

Ill Folks said...

Thanks, Bill.
I think I got to know Valentime Smith through a demo tape (via Ray Wilson). "Disappointing Mary" jumped out instantly as a great, great song.
Hope my mention of you and V.S. helps in some way.