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Archive for the tag “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)

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

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)

El Hombre Lobo…

I’ve read some rather snarky reviews about the new Eels CD “El Hombre Lobo” and some very glowing ones. My opinion is that Hombre Lobo accomplishes what it sets out to do – capturing the pain of the outsider – that little person in all of us that feels like it doesn’t quite belong.  Yes, there are some songs that are intentionally out and out creepy and some that are fuzzy and sad but you know it can’t all be flowers and sunshine and Donkey by your side now can it?  I enjoyed the album – go to the Eels Myspace page where you can listen to the whole album for yourself and form your own opinion.  EELS HOMBRE LOBO

Here’s one of my favorites from Hombre Lobo:

Music of Glass

I once again had the good fortune of catching something on PBS last night that I wasn’t expecting to see – a documentary from 2007 on Philip Glass directed/filmed by Scott Hicks  (who also directed Shine).  I had forgotten just how much I like his music.  My first introduction to Mr. Glass’ music was through the Paul Schrader film “Mishima.”  The movie was visually stunning and the soundtrack was glorious.  It is a biography of sorts on the life (and death) of the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.  To be honest, all I remember of the film is the score and the theatrically perfect visual designs of Eiko Ishioka.  I found this at YouTube but you really need to see the whole film to get the sense of beauty.  Take a look and a listen:

Glass’ music is mesmerizing.  His work has graced many films, operas and I think even Sesame Street.  Here is a link to his website where you can hear more of his work:  Glass Audio  (my recommendation are the “Etudes for Piano”  and Koyaanisqatsi – another film worth seeing and hearing). I had the privilege of seeing him perform in person many, many years ago – just him and the piano on a wooden floor.

 I’m not sure why I’m being drawn to music as of late, and a variety of music at that (Elton to Eels to Glass).  Most usually I am a visualist – I become engaged with images and colors.  Go figure – perhaps I’m trying to hear as much as I can before I totally lose my hearing?

Below is some Glass from Mishima:

Jugaremos en el bosque

The Eels are releasing a new CD – “Hombre Lobo” in June and have released a song from that album “Fresh Blood” – click on the image below to go listen to it… Do it…. I’ll wait here and then we can discuss….go ahead.. I know it looks scary … go…..

(I found out about the release at  Rock Hard Times)

As a relatively new Eels fan and one whose going deaf to boot, I’m not sure whether my review of Fresh Blood carries or should carry any weight, but I’ll give my opinion anyway.  Much like many of the other reviewers of this song, on first listen I wasn’t jumping up and down with enthusiasm.  First of all I don’t jump with enthusiasm, ever, …well, hardly ever … and then frankly the theme and lyrics just scared me (but then I scare very easily).   I was drawn back for another go round — its got a good percussive  hook and it pulls you in with those synthesized howls.  On second and subsequent listenings, I realized how much I enjoyed it.  What first comes off as stalking and intimidating turns into a depiction of the human experience of needing, the putting on of bravado (howling) and in the end just asking for what you want.  The last lyrics, which even with my impaired hearing I can make out state:

Whatever trepidation you might feel
In your heart, you know its not real
In a moment of clarity,
Summon an act of charity

There is also something  in the song that reminds me of a childhood game I used to play “jugaremos en el bosque meintras el lobo no esta” (We will play in the forest while the wolf is away).   A group of kids sing the song as they dance in a circle and when they stop, they ask the “wolf” who is usually hiding behind a tree if he is ready and the wolf-player will say something like he is putting on his socks or combing his hair and this goes on until the “wolf” decides he is ready and runs out and tags whoever he can catch who then becomes the next “wolf.”   Its mock ferociousness but its a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to all the new songs.

Who cares what games we choose….

Little to win but nothing to lose.  Those lyrics have been rattling around my head.  They even pushed the Eels right off their perch on my frontal lobe.  Those lyrics originate from “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock.  They were the only lyrics I rememebered of the song (except of course for “incense and peppermints”) – I was a wee, wee lass in 1967 when this song came out  (wipe that smirk off your face, I was a wee, wee lass).  Anyway, in searching for the lyrics of the song – I found some very weird variations on the words.  This is what I think the lyrics probably are:

Good sense, innocence, cripplin’ mankind
Dead kings, many things I can’t define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time.

Not the deepest or most grammatically correct but what I assume the true lyrics to the song are.  Below is another version of the same verse from another website that will remain nameless (I don’t want to embarrass them):

Good sense, innocence, cripplin’ and kind.
Dead kings, many things I can’t define.
Oh Cajun spice, sweats and blushers your mind.
Incense and peppermints, the color of thyme.

There is a certain poetic quality to “cripplin’ and kind” but “Oh Cajun spice?”  Really? It never occurred to anyone that those might not be the lyrics?  All the different lyric sites agree on the words to this part though:

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothing to lose.

Here  – take a listen for yourself.  I’ve put in the YouTube version that’s straight off of the record (that’s that black thing going round and round) with the original lead vocals by Greg Mumford. He only sang with the Strawberry Alarm Clock for this one time and never performed it with them again (at least that’s what I read here –  I wouldn’t know first hand because I was a wee, wee lass when all this was occurring…..)

Just goes to show you – don’t take every thing you find out there as being correct.  You need to do a little work to get at what is true.

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