Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take my whole life too . . .

Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, according to William Congreve. But sometimes it's all that keeps me from running screaming over the cliffs like an enraged lemming.

Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that musically for me it's all about the melody. And one of the loveliest melodies I know is this song, about which I wrote before: I Can't Help Falling In love With You when I was contributing to Kevin Hayden's American Street. Here's the post:

Certain melodies sound timeless: classical, pop, doesn’t matter. How many of you felt, when you heard “With or Without You” by U2, that you had heard it before . . . it somehow reminded you of something.
What it reminded you of is a classic melody, reworked enough to be different, yet standing on its own as a unique, wonderful song.
Another such melody is “Can’t Help Falling In Love“, first recorded by some guy named Elvis:
Can’t Help Falling in Love,” by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, is a pop song based on “Plaisir d’amour” by Jean Paul Egide Martini. It was rewritten for the 1961 film Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.
I won’t bother posting any videos of Elvis singing it. Like all of his repertoire, toward the end he did it too fast and jivey. But several other artists covered the song, including some unlikely ones.
Pearl Jam recorded the song for a fan club CD, and played it live often. Here’s a live recording of them respectfully covering “Can’t Help Falling in Love”:

Here’s the original version, not a real video, but still…:

And for those who want the most beautiful recording of the precursor, “Plasir d’amour”, here’s the great Greek singer Nana Mouskouri singing her timeless version of the song from her 1976 “Passport” album. Melody is the most important part of music to me. Oh, and this song is from the afore-mentioned Martini’s opera “Annette et Lubin“, written in 1789:

It swells my heart that people keep finding this wonderful song, and it humbles me that I find older versions that do it justice.

In the first category, here's Ingrid Michaelson:

In the latter category, here's the late Klaus Nomi:

More about that version in a minute.

And to show that younger people still appreciate the beauty of great music, here's the best version I've heard in a long time, by the French group Revolver:

Notice the music at the beginning of the Klaus Nomi performance? It's probably the melody that was the precursor of both the aforementioned songs. One of the finest melodies of all time, its' Beethoven's Pathetique. This music grabs my heart every time I hear it:

Saturday, October 08, 2011

What'd I say

Years later, and with new technology, we still can't make records that sound better than this:


Bert Jansch was a seminal British acoustic guitarist, from whom I learned much about playing.

He had an active solo and collaborative career, and was a founding member of Pentangle, a group that connected folk acoustic music to jazz.

Here he is playing what became his signature tune, even though it was written by another wonderful British guitarist Davey Graham.

Bert passed this week.

And the rock'n'roll generation loses another statesman.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Solidarity forever

The AFM (Musicians Union) officially supports the Occupy Wall Street movement:
AFM Joins in Occupy Wall Street Protests

October 5, 2011

Contact: Honore Stockley
(315) 422-4488 ext. 104

Yesterday, AFM Local 802 Executive Board members voted unanimously to support and participate in today’s Occupy Wall Street Labor Community march. The vote came in the wake of mounting demonstrations taking place nationwide, condemning business practices on Wall Street that adversely affect working-class Americans.

American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Ray Hair announced his participation in the Occupy Wall Street Labor Community march along with activist members of AFM Local 802. Hair explains he is joining the march "in an effort to focus attention on the economic plight of America’s working people. We have borne the brunt of employer-driven contract concessions, pension takeaways and benefit givebacks—suffering one-sided sacrifices—while America’s ruling class, the money men of Wall Street, who blew out the economy, walk away unscathed, bailed out with their big bonuses, consolidating their power," says Hair.

"This is the latest episode in the classic struggle of Capital vs. Labor," he continues. "Capital has cleaned up on American workers in these hard times, very nearly cleaning us out. This afternoon, I’ll be demonstrating the AFM’s solidarity with the labor community by marching with Local 802 members to expand the struggle to hold Wall Street accountable for the lopsided imbalance in the US economy."

Indeed. Musicians here in L.A. are struggling in the home of television and Hollywood movies. As budgets for TV & film are so skewed, $$ for music are constantly being diminished. You want to record world-class musicians who can read tough notes the first take, like they had been playing those notes for 10 years? Come to L.A., pay the going scale, and get perfect professional performances.

And pay for it, dammit!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday KK

Happy Birthday, Kristin Carol Anderson.

Her middle name was to honor our Dad's sister Carol who passed, far too young, before Kristin was even born.

Who knew then KK (as we called her) would also pass far too young.

You made everyone's life around you better. Please, wherever your soul is, know that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goin' to a party in the county jail . . .

Jerry Lieber passed away this week, sadly. More about him here. He wrote songs like this:

And this, featuring the first notable use of what became know as power chords:

Another Elvis hit, previously done by Big Mama Thornton:

And thisL

Classic rock. Jerry, you'll be missed.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What a fool believes

Michael Smerconish is an especially frustrating right-winger. While he seems to try to be reasonable and adult about the insane positions and policies the Party takes, he none the less stays faithful even as he chides about pretty obvious idiocy from the Bachmann camp:
See, my friend and former intern Ben is gay. And he never made any such choice.

Your thinking is nothing new and it runs in your family.

In 2004, at the National Education Leadership Conference, you said of the gay lifestyle: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."

Then there's your husband, Marcus, who obtained his Ph.D. by virtue of a correspondence course. He runs a mental-health clinic but, according to Politico, is not registered with any of the three state boards that certify mental health practitioners. (Minnesota is one of the only states in which you can practice mental health without a license.) Last year, when asked during a radio interview about parenting homosexual children, he said:

We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That's what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps. . .
Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in attempts to "pray away the gay," but ABC's Nightline recently aired an interview with a man who said that, at age 17, he sought help from Bachmann & Associates and: "path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay."

Naturally, Ben, a proud Notre Dame alum, doesn't appreciate the reference to the devil, nor being compared to barbarians. His life is anything but "sad," and there are a number of things he thinks you should know.

First, he's always known he was gay. "I've always known something was different," he told me. "Coming out is more a process of accepting yourself than anything else."

Second, there is nothing in his background that caused this. He is part of a conservative family and attended a Catholic high school and college -- an upbringing that he says did nothing to "promote being gay."

And he wonders who exactly you think would "choose" to be gay, given the myriad personal, emotional, and legal issues that a homosexual lifestyle introduces.

"If you could simply choose who you were sexually attracted to," Ben wondered, "wouldn't you choose the path of least resistance? Being gay creates problems and obstacles in life that no one would willingly choose."

Yet despite these obstacles, Ben still believes that once the predisposition toward sexuality is understood as being just that, the basis for the discrimination he faces as a gay man will dissipate.

"Thankfully we live in a country that, for the most part, does not permit discrimination against those things a person cannot control. We don't tolerate bias based on race, or gender, or disabilities, because people don't choose these fates," Ben said.

Yeah, well, good luck with that, Mike. That last paragraph states a philosophy totally counter to any & every position of the Republican Party.

After proving the lie of small government, small debt, etc., maybe at last you'll see the lie of personal freedom your party endorses.


BTW, I hate this song, but the sentiment works. McDonald pretty much ruined the Doobie Brothers, IMHO, although I'm told he's a nice fellow.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

There but for fortune . . .

Phil Ochs never said it better:

Perfect music, performed perfectly. He left us much too early, wish he was still around telling the story.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Keep yourself alive . . .

Dear Republican people:

Anthony Wiener will resign. I can predict exactly when: when David Vitter (R-Diapers/hookers) resigns:

D.C. Madam

In early July 2007, Vitter's phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the "D.C. Madam", convicted by the U.S. government for running a prostitution service. Hustler identified the phone number and contacted Vitter's office to ask about his connection to Palfrey.[18][19] The following day, Vitter issued a written statement:

This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.[20]

The statement containing Vitter's apology said his telephone number was included in phone records dating from his days as a member of the House of Representatives.[6] Phone records show that Vitter's number was called by Palfrey's service five times, the first on October 12, 1999, and the last on February 27, 2001.[21] Two calls were placed while House roll call votes were in progress.[22][23]

On July 16, 2007, after a week of self-imposed seclusion, Vitter emerged and called a news conference. Standing next to his wife, Vitter asked the public for forgiveness. Following Vitter's remarks, Wendy Vitter, his wife, spoke. Both refused to answer any questions.[24][25][26]

As background, several news outlets reported that in May 1999, Vitter replaced Congressman Bob Livingston after Livingston resigned due to an adultery scandal.[1][27][28] Vitter said about Livingston's decision to resign, "It's obviously a tremendous loss for the state. I think Livingston's stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess", referring to Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal.[29]

Vitter will not face criminal charges due to the statute of limitations.[30]

Vitter incurred significant legal and public relations expenses in his efforts to avoid giving testimony in the Palfrey trial and to respond to the ethics complaint. Consequently, his attorneys sought permission from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds to pay for these expenses.[31][32] The Commission, along partisan lines, couldn't agree whether funds could be used for reimbursing costs related to the Palfrey trial but did allow them to pay for expenses connected to the Ethics Committee complaint.[33][34][35]

Until then, fuck you very much. Family values party? No. Party unity party? At all costs.

Hypocrisy party? Of course.

Rep. Wiener: Please keep your pix to yourself. And please stay in the House. Keep yourself alive.