"Powderfinger" has always been one of Rocks Off's favorite Neil Young songs, up there with "Cowgirl In the Sand" and "Rockin' In the Free World." You know things are headed for trouble from the first line - "Look out mama, there's a white boat comin' up the river" - as a young man who just turned 22 tries valiantly but in vain to defend his home against that menacing vessel with a "big red beacon and a flag and a man on the rail."
"Powderfinger" first appeared on Young's landmark 1979 live album Rust Never Sleeps
, as a maelstrom of howling guitar that makes a pretty good shot across the bow itself. Via "Hey Hey My My (Into the Black)," Rust
also gave us Young's famous line "It's better to burn out than fade away." The narrator of "Powderfinger" seems to believe that right up until, in another memorable lyric, "I saw black, and my face splashed in the sky." Ouch.
When the Supersuckers were here last November for two nights at the Continental Club, their old friend and Whiskey Boat singer/guitarist Eric Tucker convinced them to come in the studio to cut a honky-tonk version of "Powderfinger."
(Nice steel guitar, especially.) It's the first song on Whiskey Boat's debut CD Congress Hotel
, which will be available at the band's release show Saturday at the Continental Club. Whiskey Boat goes on at midnight after local psych-rock '60s survivors Fever Tree Rising stir up some Woodstock flashbacks.