What’s it like being a career criminal?

For the answer we go, as always, to our good friend Mayor Cass, keeper of the keys for this here place we call Bootleg City.

Unfortunately, since his little Arizona “incident,” the good EVIL, HORRIBLE, SHAMEFUL mayor has wisely been laying a bit low. According to Bootleg City’s Mayor of Fast Food & Entertainment (where did he get that title, anyway?), Mayor Crass is hard at work “advancing” his education.

For those of you who are tired of the political doublespeak, let me break it down for you — the mayor is in prison.

There. I said it. I’m not one to reveal a man’s personal troubles — let’s face it, the mayor does quite a fine job of that himself — but isn’t it time for us to move past the hurtful things Mayor Cass said about the entire state of Arizona and work on simply being a city again? We need to restore that feeling of togetherness, that feeling of unity (basically the same thing as togetherness, but it makes me think of Rick James, so I’m sticking with it), and most importantly, we need to find a way to enjoy the finer things in life as we once knew them here in Bootleg City.

I applaud the bravery of Mayor Cass, turning himself in to the Arizona authorities and accepting the prison punishment he earned through his unfortunate actions. Though we may not see him for a while, I think that when he comes back around you’ll find a man who’s better equipped to lead you, the good people of Bootleg City.

Meanwhile, I’ll be working on my next mayoral run. All good things must come to an end, and it’s time to roll with it and take the municipal power back.

While we’re on the subject of troubled souls, let’s spend a moment talking about Steve Winwood. This enormously talented artist, who brought us fine music via the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, Traffic, and his own lengthy solo career, has given us plenty of lovin’ through the years and even a little bit of organ on Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

Since the early ’90s, though, Winwood has made me quite sad, and as his Blind Faith bandmate Eric Clapton said when he was in Derek & the Dominos, “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” Or, to put it another way, why has Steve Winwood turned his back on the bulk of his wonderfully magnificent ’80s output?

I’m all for embracing Winwood’s great musical accomplishments of the ’60s and ’70s — and especially his recent tour with Clapton, which I was a big fan of — but let us not forget all the Winwood goodness that came out during the decade in which it was nearly impossible to find recorded music with live drums. The ’80s material, sadly, has taken a backseat over the past 15 years in the singer’s set list.

There have been occasional glimmers and even surprising moments, like Clapton (WHO IS GOD EXACTLY BECAUSE OF MOMENTS LIKE THIS!) playing guitar on “While You See a Chance,” which apparently was one of the token ’80s tracks in the set that particular night. Damn, I would’ve killed to see Winwood and Clapton pull that one out.

Flashing back to happier times, I present the following Steve Winwood show recorded in 1988 during the tour for Roll With It, featuring a healthy selection of tracks from both that album and 1986’s Back in the High Life and a smattering of the stuff that came before all that ’80s “nonsense,” as some of you uneducated cretins call it. Pre-’80s you have “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and “Glad” — and you’re right, they both sound cosmic — but raise your glasses up high because you also have “Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do” and “Talking Back to the Night.”

Ah yes, the night belongs to Michelob. And in this glorious show, which I will now share with you, 9 out of the 12 songs come from the ’80s.

Right about now I think you’re starting to see that these little “vacations” of Mayor Cass’s aren’t exactly a bad thing. Enjoy!

[intro]
Freedom Overspill
Put On Your Dancing Shoes
Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do
The Finer Things
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Note: light a big doobie right now.)
Glad
While You See a Chance
Roll With It
Valerie
Higher Love
Back in the High Life
Gimme Some Lovin’