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Yopietro

Maxwell House Revisited

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I followed a strange thread that ended back up at the Warren Zanes' Maxwell House story.   Follow me on this one.  The coincidences are kind of delicious.

Last night I was listening to a live Petty version of The Stories We Can Tell on youtube.  I noticed as it was finishing that there was a John Sebastian version of the tune, which I was curious about.  Turns out the song was his original.  I went to wikipedia to read a little more about John Sebastian.  I knew he was part of the group The Lovin' Spoonful back in the '60s.  It turns out they got their name from a 1964 Mississippi John Hurt song called "Coffee Blues."  (Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZWqhrR5tPc )

In this song, Mississippi John Hurt sings about his love for Maxwell House coffee.  It's basically a love poem to Maxwell House.  I started considering that Tom, with his great appreciation for music history, was slyly and with a wink giving a shoutout to this blues song in the Zanes article.  After all, both his daughters and Dana came out after to say that Tom didn't drink Maxwell House.  So I figured Tom was putting on Warren Zanes and maybe it was a tip of the hat to this old Coffee Blues song.

Then, when I went back to reread the Zanes Rolling Stone article, I was more than tickled at the title of piece.  "Tom Petty's Biographer on the Story He Didn't Tell.(italics are mine for emphasis).  The title line didn't come from a Tom Petty song but rather a song he occasionally covered.  A cover song from a guy who named his band after a lyric from a song about Maxwell House coffee. 

It's probably all just fun coincidence, but wondering if there's a slim possibility that it was all orchestrated and that maybe even Warren Zanes was in on the joke himself.  Perhaps at Tom's behest. 

(I'll take off my tinfoil hat now 😄)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet!  This new development is all rather hilarious, Yopietro!  So I looked up lyrics (thank you google) ... 

This is the 'Coffee Blues', I likes a certain brand
Maxwell's House, it's good till the last drop
Just like it says on the can, I used to have a girl
Cookin' a good Maxwell House, she moved away
Some said to Memphis and some said to Leland
 
But I found her, I wanted her to cook me
Some good Maxwell's House, you understand?
If I can get me just a spoonful of Maxwell's House
Do me much good as two or three cups this other coffee
 
I've got to go to Memphis, bring her back to Leland
I wanna see my baby 'bout a lovin' spoonful, my lovin' spoonful
Well, I'm just got to have my lovin', I found her
 
Good mornin', baby, how you do this mornin'?
Well, please, ma'am, just a lovin' spoon, just a lovin' spoonful
I declare, I got to have my lovin' spoonful
My baby packed her suitcase and she went away
I couldn't let her stay for my lovin', my lovin' spoonful

Well, I'm just got to have my lovin'
Good mornin', baby, how you do this mornin'?
Well, please, ma'am, just a lovin' spoon, just a lovin' spoonful

I declare, I got to have my lovin' spoonful
Well, the preacher in the pulpit, jumpin' up and down
He laid his Bible down for his lovin'
Ain't Maxwell House all right?
Well, I'm just got to have my lovin'

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19 hours ago, Yopietro said:

I followed a strange thread that ended back up at the Warren Zanes' Maxwell House story.   Follow me on this one.  The coincidences are kind of delicious.

Last night I was listening to a live Petty version of The Stories We Can Tell on youtube.  I noticed as it was finishing that there was a John Sebastian version of the tune, which I was curious about.  Turns out the song was his original.  I went to wikipedia to read a little more about John Sebastian.  I knew he was part of the group The Lovin' Spoonful back in the '60s.  It turns out they got their name from a 1964 Mississippi John Hurt song called "Coffee Blues."  (Listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZWqhrR5tPc )

In this song, Mississippi John Hurt sings about his love for Maxwell House coffee.  It's basically a love poem to Maxwell House.  I started considering that Tom, with his great appreciation for music history, was slyly and with a wink giving a shoutout to this blues song in the Zanes article.  After all, both his daughters and Dana came out after to say that Tom didn't drink Maxwell House.  So I figured Tom was putting on Warren Zanes and maybe it was a tip of the hat to this old Coffee Blues song.

Then, when I went back to reread the Zanes Rolling Stone article, I was more than tickled at the title of piece.  "Tom Petty's Biographer on the Story He Didn't Tell.(italics are mine for emphasis).  The title line didn't come from a Tom Petty song but rather a song he occasionally covered.  A cover song from a guy who named his band after a lyric from a song about Maxwell House coffee

It's probably all just fun coincidence, but wondering if there's a slim possibility that it was all orchestrated and that maybe even Warren Zanes was in on the joke himself.  Perhaps at Tom's behest. 

(I'll take off my tinfoil hat now 😄)

This definitely tracks in my mind.  My only question is what are you referring to in "A song he occasionally covered"?   I've heard a lot of boots and rare tracks and never heard him play "coffee Blues" just  "the Stories we can tell?" by John Sebastian so this is a bit of a reach...  

My thinking is Tom had Warren in his inner sanctum and there is a chance he somehow had Maxwell House there as a guilty pleasure.  Maybe an aide bought it for him, or he did it himself.  Maybe he kept a can under the sink for nostalgic purposes.   Not sure we will ever know the truth, but someone once said there are there sides to the truth. yours, mine and reality and who are we to judge?  Its not the Lindbergh baby, but it's a fun mystery what happened;  as surely Warren, Adria, Annakim and Dana for sure knew Tom better than any of us will.   Maybe the coffee was hidden behind a grassy noll and the girls never saw it and Warren did, or maybe Tom was pulling his leg. Nearly impossible for us to say.... fun to speculate though... 

If we apply Occam's razor, he simplest answer is generally true: Tom told Warren the story about being in a dinner and Tom enjoyed maxwell house. period. :D 

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20 hours ago, Yopietro said:

both his daughters and Dana came out after to say that Tom didn't drink Maxwell House.

Yeah.. one thing they agreed on.

20 hours ago, Yopietro said:

maybe it was a tip of the hat

And I tip my own tin foil hat to you! Very clever little post.

1 hour ago, Hoodoo Man said:

Occam's

Occam's Dark Roast, I take it...

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2 hours ago, Hoodoo Man said:

This definitely tracks in my mind.  My only question is what are you referring to in "A song he occasionally covered"?   I've heard a lot of boots and rare tracks and never heard him play "coffee Blues" just  "the Stories we can tell?" by John Sebastian so this is a bit of a reach... 

Hey Hoodoo.  The song I was referring to was "Stories We Could Tell" as being referenced in the title of the Zanes article "...the Story He Didn't Tell."  My whole point was that it was an odd coincidence to riff on that title, which wasn't even a Petty song, in an article about Petty and Maxwell House (and how that song's writer connects back to the an older song about Maxwell House.

Of course it's a reach but it's funny and kinda satisfying how the threads tie together. 

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@Yopietro I was hoping for an obscure cover song. :D  I guess maybe the bottom line is Tom is smiling down on us as he gave us another reason to enjoy one of his stories and made us think.  All I know is he was one of the best songwriters and storytellers to grace this world. Glad I got to see him play live a whole lot...  

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6 hours ago, Hoodoo Man said:

If we apply Occam's razor, he simplest answer is generally true:

Yes but Maxwell House is a anagram for Axel Whole Sum which clearly is a reference to Tom's duet with Axel Rose. While some may jump to the conclusion that Whole is a reference to Whole Lotta Love and the band's liking for that band, or perhaps for a Yellow Submarine reference and the sea of holes but they would be incorrect on both counts.  Clearly the W in hole is silent and hole refers to the insoluble, the void, the emptiness and impossibility of ever resolving the coffee issue, except to stop there would leave one looking quite quite foolish as the h is also silent and you are left with ole which is a reference to ourobouros and the perceived circularity of nature by being a pun on the word cafe au lait thus grounding this theory in solid scientific proof What then of sum you ask? Sum meaing the result of adding or combining, addition, in this case, the warbling catefwaul of Axel Rose (who's band name Guns n Roses, could be viewed as the meeting of the male and femal energies) meeting the nasal nearly Dyulan like country vox of Tom's, which is in conjunction with hole as void or unknowable and coffee plus milk, which is undoubtely the balance of black or white which no one could contest is while the slow witted would think connects to a chess board is really a reference to the Tao, the yin and the yang of which Tom sung about his whole life, the polarity of male and female and all the resultant swirling energies, much like the way milk swirls into coffee, and the stories one could tell from the resultant mix. 

Quite obvious really.

cheers

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56 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Yes but Maxwell House is a anagram for Axel Whole Sum which clearly is a reference to Tom's duet with Axel Rose. While some may jump to the conclusion that Whole is a reference to Whole Lotta Love and the band's liking for that band, or perhaps for a Yellow Submarine reference and the sea of holes but they would be incorrect on both counts.  Clearly the W in hole is silent and hole refers to the insoluble, the void, the emptiness and impossibility of ever resolving the coffee issue, except to stop there would leave one looking quite quite foolish as the h is also silent and you are left with ole which is a reference to ourobouros and the perceived circularity of nature by being a pun on the word cafe au lait thus grounding this theory in solid scientific proof What then of sum you ask? Sum meaing the result of adding or combining, addition, in this case, the warbling catefwaul of Axel Rose (who's band name Guns n Roses, could be viewed as the meeting of the male and femal energies) meeting the nasal nearly Dyulan like country vox of Tom's, which is in conjunction with hole as void or unknowable and coffee plus milk, which is undoubtely the balance of black or white which no one could contest is while the slow witted would think connects to a chess board is really a reference to the Tao, the yin and the yang of which Tom sung about his whole life, the polarity of male and female and all the resultant swirling energies, much like the way milk swirls into coffee, and the stories one could tell from the resultant mix. 

Quite obvious really.

cheers

Is it 420 already? ;)  My head hurts  a bit from these mental gymnastics... 😲 

 

 😂🤣 😂🤣 :D 

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57 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

Yes but Maxwell House is a anagram for Axel Whole Sum which clearly is a reference to Tom's duet with Axel Rose.

Alas, but his name is Axl Rose, so you'll have to work a little bit harder on your theory, as you're left with an extra 'E.' 😄

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Back to the real Maxwell House coffee. It's not the same good old coffee of yesteryear. It just plain sucks today. We switched to "8 O'Clock" coffee years ago. It's a million times better and you can buy it at your store in a lot of flavors either ground or whole bean. We buy the whole bean and grind it right in the store with the "8 O'Clock" grinder next to the coffee bags. It's a bit more expensive (about $18 a 36 ounce bag), but wait for their sales and get it for $9.97 a bag. Sometimes the small 12 ounce bags go on sale for $2.77 and that's the best deal you can get around here. 3 X 12 oz @ $2.77 = $8.31 for 36 oz, great deal.

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12 minutes ago, Yopietro said:

Alas, but his name is Axl Rose, so you'll have to work a little bit harder on your theory, as you're left with an extra 'E.' 😄

I had such high hopes fo ryou Yopietro but to fall for such an obvious ploy as Axl's spelling...tsk tsk. The misspelling is an obvious reference to the entire Maxwell House debacle as to the veracity of Tom's statement to Warren. An obvious error reflecting back onto the true nature of the situation described above.

ciao

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2 minutes ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

I had such high hopes fo ryou Yopietro but to fall for such an obvious ploy as Axl's spelling...tsk tsk. The misspelling is an obvious reference to the entire Maxwell House debacle as to the veracity of Tom's statement to Warren. An obvious error reflecting back onto the true nature of the situation described above.

ciao

How could I have not seen that?  Clearly I'm just getting my feet wet in this game. 

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1 hour ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

You need more Hoo with your Doo.

And some Dark Roast Maxwell House from a Bunn Electric Brewer.

ciao

sound like somebody done hoodoo the hoodoo man... ;)   I better snatch it back and hold it... Hey, hey, hey, hey, baby, one more time... 

 

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8 minutes ago, nurktwin said:

Let's end this misery and this "THREAD". There is no "TRUE" Maxwell House story and this should be forgotten. This story has as much truth as "The Paul Is Dead" story from 1966. Get over it, move on!!

Except the "Paul is Dead" story was not promoted by McCartney's biographer...

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Nurk keep in mind Warren and Tom are both storytellers.  Perhaps everything Tom said was true at one time or for all time. My kids are not going to know what brand of coffee I brew and likely don't know I have not drank coffee in about 3 months. and when you get down to it, it's just coffee, so who cares?  I suppose its also true that Dana bought the brand she stated Tom drank. 

 I want to re-read the article and see if something in it percolates with me. I'm just an average Joe, but even I have stories I could tell.  Although Maxwell house is not my cup of tea its still a wonderful story. 😎 In a way you have to respect Warren for letting the story stand as it is without brewing up a new storm with the Petty kids. Maybe after its simmered for long enough there will be some new updated edition including a blurb about why he didn't feel a need to change a word,  its as it was good to the last drop the way he wrote it. 

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John Sebastian had many hits with the Lovin' Spoonful.  Not exactly an obscure band from the 60's.  Also, Sebastian did the theme for "Welcome Back Kotter" 1970s tv show, not exactly the pinnacle of televisual art, but one that a lot of people have at least seen a few times.  

Sebastian and Petty were friends whose paths crossed several times; I think they met through Denny Cordell or a mutual friend.  And Sebastian played "baritone guitar" (whatever that is) on TPATH's I Don't Know What To Say To You, issued as a B-side in 1978 and then later in the Playback boxed set.  So it's not too surprising that TPATH played Sebastian's Stories We Could Tell in concert (1980 and other dates?).

Tom and Stan's voices worked particularly well together on Stories We Could Tell, and in 1980 they were joined by English fiddler Bobby Valentino, whom TP mentions as being a friend in the "Live Anthology" booklet.  Valentino joined the band in the UK several times over the years, though I think just for one song per concert.   

A great version - and likely the one you were listening to - is from the "Rock Goes To College" live UK concert.  There they play Stories We Could Tell, joined by Bobby Valentino on fiddle.  I particularly like the introduction to the song, where TP says "We've never done this song before... and..." seemingly TP is at a loss for words at that point, so Stan jumps in and jokingly says "... we probably never will again!".  Which sends TP into laughter and then the song begins.  They also feature a studio version of the song prominently in the Bogdanovich RDAD film, great co-vocal by Tom and Stan (but no fiddle that time).     

There's another part to the John Sebastian connection with TPATH.   The "Lovin' Spoonful" had been a band with a drummer who could sing very well (Joe Butler, who sang lead on the minor hit country-rock Never Going Back after Sebastian had left the band, well worth listening to if you haven't heard it).    In the early days of TPATH, Sebastian wanted a drummer who could also sing, for his solo band (doing a lot of Lovin' Spoonful songs).  So Sebastian offered Stan more money than he was making with TPATH, to go on tour with him.  Stan considered the offer, but decided that he wanted to stake his future entirely with TPATH.  Good choice Stan!   This too may explain the choice of Stories We Could Tell as a tribute to Sebastian by both TP and Stan.    

 

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2 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

I particularly like the introduction to the song, where TP says "We've never done this song before... and..." seemingly TP is at a loss for words at that point, so Stan jumps in and jokingly says "... we probably never will again!".  Which sends TP into laughter and then the song begins.

Yes, those little asides are all so cool

2 hours ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

So Sebastian offered Stan more money than he was making with TPATH, to go on tour with him.  Stan considered the offer, but decided that he wanted to stake his future entirely with TPATH. 

Holy smokes, just when I think I know obscure stuff, someone casually reveals the depths of their knowledge & blows me right out of the water!!!  Respectfully raising my my tinfoil hat to all of you here!!

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