Welcome to the debut of The Voice Beneath the Quill. My name is Andrew and I’ll be your tour guide through the cosmos of the Goose discography. This series will look at the histories of some of your favorite Goose songs as well as a breakdown (or at least my interpretation) of the lyrics and of course, the best live versions of each song (nugs membership not included).
Today we look at the “Wiltonian Jive,” the oft-debated first song written by guitarist and principal songwriter Rick Mitarotonda for Goose. Not familiar with the “Wiltonian Jive?” Perhaps you know it better by its current name: Jive I
First recorded as making its debut on December 20, 2014 at the inaugural Goosemas, according to elgoose.net, the “Wiltonian Jive” existed for a brief time until its official knighthood to “Jive I” on June 17, 2015 at The Acoustic in Bridgeport.
Why not keep “Wiltonian Jive,” you may ask? “Jive II” was introduced three months prior, and it seemed kind of silly to have one song with the best name in the Goose lexicon and have the other one be “Jive II.” In 2016, the song would forever be cemented as “Jive I” when it landed on the tracklist for Goose’s debut album, “Moon Cabin,” that February. Remnants of its history are found in the studio lyrics of the “Jive I” in the the last line of each chorus:
“We can fly
right on through
the wiltonian jive”
However, if you’re hoping to hear the last line live, you have better chances of getting a “Factory Fiction” as Rick usually ends the chorus on the “right on through” line. Delving into the lyrical content, one can pick up on themes of determination and unrelenting individualism in the Rick-penned lines.
The song acts as a sort of tale of the perpetual promise of “the grass being greener on the other side” that Rick simply will not settle for. Rick tells the antagonist “no, your bread I don’t wish to eat,” which he then follows up in the next verse with “wander back/through your loamy lea/where the wake of association/couldn’t steal you away” — doubling down on his own certainty that he knows what’s best. Both for him and the band.
By the time the first verse comes around, Rick oozes with confidence when he ushers “if tomorrow comes tonight/we have cashed our gold/in for something worth our time.” The last verse has Rick fully loose and assured, even encouraging the listener to do the same: “it’s gonna drop your jaw to see/the things i can do/soon you’ll see you can do them too.” In a way, the song acts like a victory lap for the band, forging its own path while always remembering where they came from: Wilton, Connecticut.
So seven years after the “Wiltonian Jive” graced the Goose discography, “Jive I” continues to act as the center of gravity for the band akin to The Strokes’ “Last Nite” or Tom Waits’ “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You” — being accessible while offering the best glimpse you can get of the band. It has since become a staple in the Goose live repertoire with the song making an appearance no less than once every five shows in the past year.
Here are a few of our recommended versions of the tune to hold you over until the next big “Jive I” lands on this list:
November 2, 2017
With a sneaky little intro jam that sounds like it came off Nintendo’s drawing room floor for Bowser’s Castle, Rick takes full reigns of this “Jive I” in the first half but after a quick halftime, former Goose keyboardist Kris Yunker approaches the jam with voracity as he sets a auditory scene in the vein of a 60s spy movie. This is a great send-off jam as this was one of Kris’ last shows with the band.
April 20, 2018
To me, “Jive I” has always been a perfect marriage of blues and funk. This version amplifies that relationship with Pete and Rick having a stellar back-and-forth between the two genres before leading the jam into “Flodown.”
November 15, 2019
Where to start with “Jive I.” Between the extended jam that has Rick on the fritz experimenting with different modes and phrases to the on-the-dime precision of the rhythm section, this is just more proof that sometimes you don’t need a 30-minute jam to get your point across. It also goes into everyone’s favorite cover: “Crosseyed and Painless.”
May 5, 2020
The only version on this list that wasn’t performed live in front of an audience, this acoustic version recorded at the beginning of the pandemic features some blissful harmonies between Peter and Rick, an intricate segue into “Rosewood Heart” and of course, an appearance by Jeff on the stand-up bass — months before he would officially be named a member of the band.
May 8, 2021
Most people are lucky to get the Jive trinity in one show let alone one-after-another. This “Jive I” comes out of the gates after a superb “Rosewood Heart.” While this is considered a standard version, it is truly a sum of its parts when talking about the grand scheme of the rest of the Jive trinity that kicks off the second set. The “Jive II” that follows is the stuff of legends, but you knew that already.
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