When I’m old and feeling grey and things don’t seem so groovy Will you still be by my side to watch the late night movie? When I’m crawling back asleep and eat my Kellogs corn flakes Will you still be by my side to make me cherry cup-cakes? Twenty-twenty-three is slowly creeping up on me and you and Everyone will look through their window And notice that the years drift by And maybe they’re gonna die Twenty-twenty three is slowly creeping up on me and you and (Jazz Rock intermezzo with sax and guitar solos) Twenty-twenty three is slowly creeping up on me and you and When our pension’s running low and can’t affort the bus fare Will you still be by my side to push my rusty wheel chair? Jim Pembroke 1968 Artist: Blues Section Line-up: Jim Pembroke, vocals Hasse Walli, guitar Eero Koivistoinen, sax Pekka Sarmanto, bass Ronnie Österberg, drums, tambourine (presumably) Sinikka Sokka, backing vocals Otto Donner, piano Release: B-side of ‘Semi-Circle Solitude’, LRS 1014, 1968 Studio: Finnvox Producer: Otto Donner Engineer: Erkki Hyvönen
General comment: This was the last song to be released during the group’s lifetime. For more general comment see ‘Only Dreaming’.
The Music: A good example of the different styles represented in Blues Section and probably a hint at why the group split up. Pembroke’s composition is, structually, far from being a straight-forward pop song, but it is still in many ways catchy and melodic. To stick a jazz influenced middle part into it with a sax solo, followed by some penta-tone wah-wah guitar work by Walli (perhaps an attempt to sound Chinese, who knows), is as obvious an idea as putting an ice bear in the Sahara. Otherwise there are several hints a Pembroke’s later endeavours. The occasional chord-defying melody lines, with several instruments opting to play in unison with the voice, is something he would revisit regularly throughout his later career, particularly on the Hot Thumbs O’Riley solo LP. Likewise the idea of combining what is really ideas for several different songs into one, would become a trademark for him subsequently. The short melodic theme used for the third and fourth stanza shows that the Beatles influences hadn’t left him (cue ‘Here There and Everywhere’), while Donner’s piano riff following shortly after is reminiscent of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s big hit ‘Summer in the City’. Walli’s grotesque overuse of his new guitar pedal on this track is downright artistically destructive and works as a good example of why many guitarists are so deeply despised by other group members. No wonder Jim and Ronnie found they needed to form a new band and even ended up with one that for years had no guitarist at all.
The lyric: The most obvious influence here is Paul McCartney’s ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’, which had appeard about a year earlier on the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album. Once again, Pembroke displays a rather old-fashioned view of relationship roles. You can almost hear Sinikka (by reputation a rather modern Finnish woman of Marxist/Feminist bias) telling him between takes to: ‘go make your own weird, English cup-cakes – here’s some Finnish bark limppu with a fish baked into it’ (and off she tangoes to the sauna with some painfully handsome Danish chap who REALLY understands women). No wonder Pembroke seems to have had his share of problems with the opposite sex at this time, judging from these lyrics (but then again, who didn’t). The final two lines are a bit puzzling, since old age pensioners don’t have to pay for bus – or indeed tram – rides (as Jim will be pleasantly surprised to find out for himself before too long when the pass arrives). Of course, when twenty-three was creeping up on him the scenario was probably less urgent but at least he could have done the research. Not my favourite Jim P record this, sorry y’all.
-- Claes Johansen, 2008