Archive for August 27th, 2020


In the dark times / Will there also be singing? / Yes, there will also be singing. / About the dark times.

–Bertolt Brecht


Didn’t really want to say much today. I did enough of that on Saturday, enough that I couldn’t imagine anyone would want to hear much more from more for a while. But I thought I would share the post below from over 10 years back about the song Pirate Jenny from The Threepenny Opera. I heard it early this morning and it reminded me of the story I told on Saturday about pretending to be a pirate in the woods alone. Maybe the draw in wanting to be a marauding pirate was much the same as it was for Jenny– a desire from a powerless person for control and power of some sort.

I don’t know.

But here’s the post and at the bottom are two versions of the song, one a classic theatric version from Anne Kerry Ford and then a version from Nick Cave in collaboration with punk vocalist Shilpa Ray. There are tons of great versions out there, as there always are for great songs, and I almost threw in Nina Simone’s  strong live interpretation of it. Hope you find one that works for you.


Bea Arthur as the original Lucy Brown

It’s one of those cases of one thing reminding you of something else.  I heard Bobby Darin’s swinging version of Mack the Knife yesterday and there’s a line that ends with and Lucy Brown.  One of those parts of a song that your mind is somehow attuned to and always hears whenever the song is played.

Anyway, it immediately reminded me of  seeing Bea Arthur, of Maude and Golden Girls fame, a number of years back in a one-woman show on Broadway of personal stories and song.   Going in, I knew only a little of her career outside the TV roles so I didn’t have high expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised by a great show.

I didn’t know much of her Broadway career and didn’t know she originated the role of Lucy Brown in the original Broadway version of The Threepenny Opera back in the ’50’s.  She told several great tales about the show and then did a stirring version of the The Pirate Jenny.

I’m embarassed to say that I didn’t know much at that time about The Threepenny Opera or Brecht or Kurt Weill.  Had never heard the song  Pirate Jenny and it’s story of a cleaning woman who daydreams of rising from her life of powerless drudgery to become a powerful and cruel pirate.  Great song with great imagery and Bea Arthur’s version was wonderful.  Angry.  You could feel her desire for retribution for every time she was wronged by those who simply overlooked her and  took her for granted.  It was a very powerful song and one that became and remains a personal favorite.

Anyway, here’s a very good version of The Pirate Jenny from singer Anne Kerry Ford:



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