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Stopping to Savor 'Chocolate on My Tongue'

Give it up for this as a peak experience: a stolen moment with some ice cream. It might just come down to that, and that's probably an idea worth savoring.

Wasn't that what Warren Zevon was saying with his line about enjoying every sandwich -- stopping to appreciate the run-up to the moment when the cosmic accounts are settled? The notion isn't new, but to express it as a kid-sized polarity between light and dark actually qualifies as heavy. Just go ahead and promote the roots-influenced duo The Wood Brothers, anchored by Medeski, Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood, right into graduate-level metaphysics.

"Chocolate on My Tongue" opens with a romanticized memory from a generally happy youth: Oliver Wood plays a jaunty ragtime-blues guitar figure and sings about sitting on a front porch, where he's getting messy with some ice cream -- enjoying life, seizing a moment of bliss.

Just when it seems like we've seen this particular Successories poster before, the Woods take a small side-step away from the blues, enter into a keening anteroom whose last visitor was Chris Whitley, and then drop the song's key line: "If I die young, at least I got some chocolate on my tongue." There's no mention whether the chocolate is milk, dark, or bittersweet. You make that call.

Listen to yesterday's "Song of the Day"

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Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.