Of Goat Man, George Jefferson and Nektar, and a Mid-Year Best-Of Study

It's been a dramatic and rough week for news, so I suppose I can understand why a Goat Man loping around Utah has sorta flown under the radar.

Even so, you've probably at least heard about the fellow: a dude dressed in a goat suit foraging along with a herd of actual wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah. Well, it turns out the weirdo is only a hunter trying out a costume in anticipation of the upcoming Goat Hunting season.

According to a witness, Goat Man's goat suit is homemade and not particularly convincing.

I don't understand his thought process. If one wishes to blend in as a fake goat -- whether to perpetrate a massacre or even to just pleasantly gambol amongst them -- you'd think the preternaturally suspicious beasts would at once recognize a half-assed masker in their midst, right? Why bother if your goat outfit's gonna suck?

Plus: a quick check of eBay reveals well over 100 goat suits that one can bid on — any of which are more authentic looking than duct taping a set of cardboard horns on your head.

I wish Goat Man had called me. A few years back, when we hosted a Halloween soiree, I dressed up as the Great God Pan in a costume of my own creation. Admittedly, Pan is a satyr and walks upright, which presumably wouldn't work for Goat Man, but otherwise many sartorial goat elements came heavily into play.

It pleases me to report that, when I answered the doorbell to admit our first Halloween guest, a non-costumed skeptic, he coolly looked me up and down and immediately said, "Ah, an antlered pagan deity from antiquity!"

So we see that, yes: if my Pan suit was realistic to entice approval from a sneering All Hallow's revelerer, it could presumably convince a whole swarm of mountainside goats of authenticity. The point being, maybe this is a business opportunity: I'm starting a sideline gig as a Goat Suit Manufacturer. Call me, all potential Goat Persons!

Speaking of cultural oddities, the great Sherman Hemsley passed at the age of 74. As you might not know, "George Jefferson" was a huge fan of progressive rock including Gentle Giant and Nektar. On one noted occasion, during an episode of The Jeffersons, George came dancing into the living room while Nektar's "Show Me the Way" – a truly fabulous song — played over a boom box.

I don't know if you can properly appreciate what a startling moment that was in not just the context of prime time television but in the history of the world at large.

For more on Sherm's musical interests and experiences, take a look at this story wherein he hung out with a member of Gong and supposedly recorded an unreleased album with Yes singer Jon Anderson.

Now, as I type this, I'm listening to the rather astounding latest CD by North Atlantic Oscillation called Fog Electric. This, too, might be described as progressive rock, and I'm only sorry George Jefferson is no longer with us to appreciate it.

This is a great, great record, and I know it's only July, but Fog Electric might end up being the best album of 2012. I dunno. There's some tough competition.

Here are other top choices. All of these bands and albums have made the first six months of the year proof-positive that wonderful music is always out there — even if you have to look for it.*

Storm Corrosion by Storm Corrosion

Weather Systems by Anathema

That's Why God Made the Radio by the Beach Boys

It's Not the Weapon But the Hand by Richard Barbieri and Steven Hogarth

Beautiful Friction by The Fixx

March of Ghosts by Gazpacho

On the other hand, here are some other 2012 albums that many critics are raving about and that I've listened to at least in a representative fashion. None of them resonated with me at all:

The new Bruce Springsteen.

The new Jack White.

The new John Mayer.

The new Japandroids.

The new Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

What can we learn from any of this?

Probably not much more than a good goat suit is hard to come by and, back in the day, you mighta been surprised during a PFM concert to discover George Jefferson sitting next to you.

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