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Archive for the category “music”

Lo Ri Der

It is Saturday morning, I’m at work and all morning long while doing my work (I am working really I am) I have been humming Low Rider and then out and out singing Low Rider – in the copy room, in the kitchen, at my station …. and I don’t have a frickin’ clue as to where I picked it up or why that particular song has decided to make itself comfie in my head and bounce along with me as I try to work.  As songs go, I enjoy it – it’s a fun song and it could be worse, I could have My Heart Will Go On or some other sappy ballad dripping pablum in there ….

Take a little trip, take a little trip with meeee….

It has been a long time since I put video into the blog but here – I can’t hear it at work (no speakers at the moment) but this I think is War’s original version of Low Rider  (pah pah pah pahpah PAH – that’s the horn section by the way)


My white knight on a steed

This is the way I will always remember Davy.  It was quite a shock to find out he was gone this morning (thank you CW for letting me know – even if it was a shock).  Every generation has its heartthrobs. The same elation that Bieber produces in 10 and 11 year olds now was felt by the 10 and 11 year olds of my generation towards Davy and a little piece of our hearts still jumps with joy and squeals with glee when we see him perform.

I remember I so very, very much wanted a hat like he wore in the above picture. Never did get it.   Of course, being ten and fickle, I soon moved my attentions onto Mickey – ’cause you know, a guy who can make you laugh is a keeper.  And then as a mature 11 year old, or was I 12, my crush on Mike Nesmith blossomed.  Hey, Mike was a serious musician and had a subversive sense of humor.  Sorry Peter but you were always outside my taste range.

Ahh, but Davy and his little Davy dance… that’s my ‘tween years right there in a velvet shirt and a tassel necklace dancing his little Davy dance …. take a look …

Michael Nesmith was quite eloquent in his good-bye for now to Davy – all the lovely people

For the bees…

I’m not a punk rock fan per se but the covers these guys do are just phenomenal.  Ladies and gents, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covering Cat Stevens’ Wild World

And just for fun their cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene:

I’ve got spurs that Ringo Django Rango

I went to see Rango this weekend.  I really enjoyed the movie but as a “tia” of a seven soon to be eight year old and a just turned four year old, I can say with complete authority that this is not a movie for kids.  Not because of the violence and innuendo and language (although there is some of each) but because this is not a movie made for kids.  I can’t see kids sitting through it without squirming, potty breaks and lots of popcorn and candy.  The images, themes and references are aimed at cinema-philes over the age of forty and the humor is a little more sophisticated than the usual flatulence, slime and booger-fests that you get in a lot of kids movies these days (believe me I’ve seen a lot of kids movies e.g. “G-Force” – blech).

Okay, so let’s get to specifics:  

The animation is extremely well-done although a little too graphic in some regards for my tastes. I don’t really need to see all the broken capillaries and pimply bits on noses and other extremities. A little glossing over would have suited me just fine but that’s just me – I tend to be a bit sensitive.   

The storyline was well constructed and drew upon more complex themes than the usual “be good and fly straight” themes of Disney and Pixar films. I’m not knocking Disney or Pixar, love the Mouse and Lasseter, but they can be a little moralistically heavy-handed, stereotypical  and judgemental at times (but then so can I).   

What I really truly loved about this film were the references – visual, musical, cinematic references!  I’m a sucker for in-jokes and allusions and images that draw from other works.  They become like a giant puzzle layered over the piece enriching its meaning.  I think that’s what I loved about those old Dennis Miller rants — the references (that’s Dennis Miller before he got all paranoid and right-wing militant on us).

Now, I’m not a big Western movie fan but having grown up n the 60’s I’ve seen my share – from True Grit to Fistful of Dollars to The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and back again.  I picked up on some of the references and homages that were layered into Rango, but not all – I missed all the Peckinpah references. Peckinpah was always a little too violent for me. Except for the two Julian Lennon videos that Peckinpah did shortly before his death, I’ve never seen a Peckinpah film in its entirety (not proud of it but its the truth).    Sorry, I digress…. back to Rango …. Rango calling Priscilla “little sister” a la Rooster Cogburn (True Grit), the spiral of Rango’s tail that just screamed Tim Burton to me (but that could be just my Tim Burton fixation), the very beginning of the film when Depp is staging performances for himself and he’s playing “the world’s greatest lover” (a la his own Don Juan character), the Carlos Castaneda-like armadillo, Roadkill (that’s more of literary reference I guess), the Apocalypse Now sequence with the bats battling overhead while we hear Wagner on the soundtrack – these all added to my enjoyment of the film. I completely missed the Fear & Loathing reference until my friend R. pointed it out to me.  Oh and not to forget Chinatown and Star Wars and Don Knotts and well, here take a look at this article for the information straight from the lizard’s mouth so to speak.

I also must mention the music in this film – Dick Dale-esque guitars and music that pays homage to the western themes of years gone by (Django by Bacalov, Ringo by Lorne Greene, Ghostriders in the Sky, Ramrods version) and I’m sure many, many more that escape me right now … oh The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance too.  And one more shout out to the ending title sequence – excellent, straight out of the late sixties – the cut out block-printing animation was a parting treat as was Los Lobos rendition of the Rango theme song.  It has brought back to mind all these old songs that I’ve been singing to myself as I work (fortunately I work alone) – nothing better that walking down an empty office hallway, squinting and doing the theme song from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (oooeeeooo eee oooooo bwah bwah bwah). This morning I rustled the kids ready for school with the theme to Bonanza – they didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I enjoyed riding up Hoss-style on my invisible horse … I guess I really do like Westerns more than I thought ….

I’m hesitantly including this video – I’m not sure quite how it was acquired ….

Surfing the synapses

I was a strange teen-ager.  No, no, really – I know its hard to believe, but I was.   When I was fourteen, while all the other girls in my freshman year high school class (St. Agnes School for Girls, College Point, NY) were swooning over James Taylor (he had hair then), I was saving my pennies to buy the new Andy Williams album.  That’s right, Andy Willaims’ Love Story album – it was right 1971 and I was stuck on Andy.  I took a lot of teasing and still do but you know, the man can sing and he had a good sense of humor about himself  (who can forget the encounters between Cookie Bear and Williams and the high pitched “Not now, not ever, NEVER!… anyone? anyone? ….)

Anyway, I’m posting this cause this song has been rattling through my brain: “Can’t Get Used to Losing You.”  I heard it on Pandora a few months ago again and every so often I catch myself singing it (like last night as I was trying to fall asleep):

I thought it was similar to the theme to Cade’s County — come now, surely you remember Cade’s County?  Glen Ford? No, huh?  Apparently I didn’t remember the Cade’s County theme song very well at all – it’s a Mancini theme and sounds a lot like the Mystery Movie of the Week theme to me …. I’m rambling aren’t I.  Its vacations – they do this to me.  It loosens up the synapses and I start free-falling through my brain’s filing system.  Thank God there’s the internet for me to easily dig up this stuff or I’d be driving myself and everyone around me nuts….

 Here’s Cade’s County:

And here’s the NBC Mystery Movie theme (also Mancini)

… and you talk about anything …

Gerry Rafferty passed away today.  I really didn’t know what he looked like and  I only knew him for a few of his songs – I never listened to an album.  But the songs that I remember of his are haunting and smart and evocative of times and places that live within us and out in the cold, night air.  I was truly saddened to hear of his passing.  Baker Street is capable of instantly stopping me in my tracks.  The sax solo hushes everything else and the man’s voice and lyrics say it all..

Right Down the Line” in its own way and for a myriad of reasons gets to me every time  – a near perfect love song.  Unfortunately the lyrics of “Stuck in the Middle With You” now carry a certain poignancy after reading this article about his Leaving Las Vegas-styled decline: The Lonely Road from Baker Street…

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

This obituary from the Wall Street Journal made me feel a wee bit better about his passing – he at least had his daughter by his side.  gerry-rafferty-scottish-singer-dies-at-63/

Farewell Mr. Rafferty and thank you.  I hope you have found your way home.

Sighed the Snake

I don’t know why but this song popped into my head while at work and demanded to be heard.  Its a great song and a great lesson to be learned.  The YouTube video I used has no video but it is one of the better audios of this song on YouTube.  The Snake by the late great Al Wilson:

Its got the making of a good children’s book I think.  Here are the lyrics in case you can’t hear the video:

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d takien in had been revived
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
“I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake

So Stephen Colbert has one…

Now its my turn, right?  I’m waiting for my iPad Mr. Jobs sir….  please….. see previous post, its not for me, its for my dad….



So far the Grammys have kept my attention – which is not easy to do.  I’m not up on music (the ears haven’t been good for a few years so music has not been a priority).  But they started the show with Elton John and some one named Lady Gaga (I’m not all that impressed with her music but her outfit caught my eye)  and then added Stephen Colbert so that I’ll watch for a little longer I suppose …..

Wow – Pink’s performance was amazing.  I couldn’t help but wonder tho’ if the people being sprinkled underneath her were getting a little ticked off – I can’t imagine a lot of those gowns do well with water spots …. and she had to be lip synching right – how does one continue to sing while becoming a human sprinkler ….

BTW … I still want an iPad….. please…. thank you….

…. oh and one more thing… did they cut short the remembrance to those in the field who had passed away last year?  It seemed like a rather odd and short list they put together… notably Lhasa was not listed.  And watching the last segment all I could think of was…. Pants on the ground…

Llorando de cara a la pared…

I heard the sad news this week that Lhasa de Sela had passed away on the first day of the New Year.  Lhasa’s music, particularly the one in the video featured below, helped get me through some rough times many years ago and still resonates.  She was only 37 and had lived an uncommon life:

Lhasa’s unusual childhood was marked by long periods of nomadic wandering through Mexico and the U.S., with her parents and sisters in the school bus which was their home.  During this period the children improvised, both theatrically and musically, performing for their parents on a nightly basis.  Lhasa grew up in a world imbued with artistic discovery, far from conventional culture.

There’s a gypsy quality to her style and I was pleased when I read this about her traveling with her 3 sisters’ one ring traveling circus in France Pocheros.  Her website is here and you can read more about her music and life.  Lhasa de Sela.  I love this quote from her bio that describes her music:  “These are songs inspired by a warm country but written in a cold one, with a Brontë-like romanticism, a wry and literate sense of humor, and moments of startling emotional rawness.  When they heard it, people from North America and Europe sighed and said “Ah, Mexico…”, and Mexicans said, “What strange music! Where is she from?”

I’m not a fan of overwrought emotionality and her music was emotional and soul-catching without the self-pitying cloyingness that can sometimes attach itself to sentiment.  If you wish to listen to the music straight please go here to the MySpace page and listen to De Cara a la Pared or El Desierto in particular. She sings in Spanish, English and French – Rising and Fool’s Gold are good examples of her English work.

Here’s the YouTube performance of De Cara a la Pared – I don’t think the audio is as good here as it is on the MySpace page tho’

Suffice it to say, I was very sad to hear of her passing.  Her music meant and still means a great deal to me.  The combination of her music and what I’ve read of her life presents in my mind’s eye an image akin to a Cornell box full of snippets of images from children’s books, gypsy beads, spider webs and twigs and bright colored cloth … hmm rather than describing it perhaps I should build one.  I guess that’s what it means to be an artist – the impact of your  work carries on after your physical manifestation passes.

By the way, Lhasa passed from breast cancer.  Perhaps scheduling an exam would be also be a good way to remember her.

I leave you with one more quote from her website:

An old friend of Lhasa’s, Jules Beckman, offered these words:”We have always heard something ancestral coming through her.  She has always spoken from the threshold between the worlds, outside of time.  She has always sung of human tragedy and triumph, estrangement and seeking with a Witness’s wisdom.  She has placed her life at the feet of the Unseen.”

In my younger days

I finally got to listen to the Eels new song (see yesterday’s post for the video and song).  It resonates, even got a little teary eyed.  While I liked the energy of the songs on Hombre Lobo, this is the kind of song that made me stand up and take notice of the Eels and E.  It has the feel, to me at least, of my favorite Christmas song from last year:  “I’m going to stop pretending I didn’t break your heart.”  I also enjoyed the video to “In my younger days” – it has Bobby, Jr. for starters and E looks relaxed and not as self conscious as he has looked when he is trying to “act.”  And the music is beautiful – I’m not a musician but I enjoy the electronic tones and for lack of a better description I’m going to call them seagull-like noises that weave in and through the song faintly, in the background.  I know that doesn’t sound right but I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what I enjoy about the music.  Anyway…

I wonder if there’s a limit as to how many times one can place a youtube video on a blog – what the heck – its Christmas, enjoy  (at least this a different version of the song – in the past I’ve put up the version the Eels did on the Craig Ferguson show)

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