“Don’t Fall Down!” — Sound Track For An Earthquake

So, we’re finishing up dinner tonight, and just as I stand up to pick up the dishes, the whole house starts shaking along with a low rumble. It sounded like a big truck was driving by, but the truck sounded really close and really loud… There was a brief discussion: “Is this an earthquake?” “Hmm… yeah, it’s an earthquake.” At which point my wonderful wife, still seated in her chair as I move towards the relative safety of a doorway, starts looking around calmly at the walls of our new house and repeating the mantra: “don’t fall down! don’t fall down! don’t fall down!”

It worked. The house did not fall down (yet).

We took bets. She thought there was no way it was more than a 4.5. I was originally going to say 5.1, but she talked me down to a 4.8. I think I was using the “Price is Right” strategy of going just slightly over, knowing that I’d “win” for anything higher. Turns out it was a 5.6, which someone said is the biggest since the big earthquake in ’89. In almost 10 years in California, this is actually only the 3rd California earthquake I’ve felt (I also felt one in NY when I was a kid).

Anyway, I know I’ve been meaning to do more music posts, and I actually have written a few good ones out in my mind, but they tend to be longer and I don’t have nearly enough time these days, so they’ll have to wait for a down moment. But soon after the earthquake hit, I suddenly started thinking about ska songs that used “earthquake” in the title (no, there’s no reason why… it just happened). I immediately hit on the Prince Buster song and the Crazy Baldhead song (which is actually called Heartbreak, but refers to a “California earthquake” in the chorus). I’m surprised it actually took me a few minutes to come up with the obvious one: Hepcat’s “Earthquake & Fire” which is unfortunately all too accurate of California this particular week. I thought the Aggrolites might have an earthquake song too, but I think the song I was thinking of was “Lightning and Thunder.” Not close enough…

So anyway, a short 3 song playlist to listen to when you’re hoping your house doesn’t fall down:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Also, a random other note… while the Prince Buster song came to mind immediately, the tune I started humming in my head was actually “Shaking up Orange Street” rather than “Earthquake” (which also talks about Orange Street). But, for the playlist, I’m using the real Earthquake song, even if Shaking up Orange Street is a much better (and more accessible) song. Oddly, earlier today, after a random train of thought, I’d pulled out an old Madness live album and had been listening to the song “The Prince,” which is about Prince Buster, and mentions Orange Street. Also… in doing a search through my music files, I discovered I hadn’t converted Buster’s “Earthquake” to mp3 from CD, though I was sure I had it somewhere (I’ve got a ton of Prince Buster stuff around). I still haven’t unpacked my CDs from the move, and they’re currently scattered in a relatively large number of big boxes organized in no particular order. However, I took a chance, opened one box, and a Prince Buster CD containing Earthquake was right at the top of the box. Freaky. Maybe we can just assume that the actual earthquake shook it loose so it would be easy to find…

Leave a Comment