Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

++++++++++++

The suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,

The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,

For Willie McBride, it all happened again,

And again, and again, and again, and again!

Eric Bogle,

 No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France)

++++++++++++

Another Armistice Day. We observe the day now as Veteran’s Day  or Remembrance Day in some other countries, recognizing with it the service of all veterans, living and dead. But originally it was observed to commemorate the end of combat in World War I, 100 years ago on this date in 1918.

The Great War.

The War to End All Wars.

If only.

Unfortunately, we humans have short memories and a poor grasp of history. The Great War was but a prelude to a another World War and in the years since, there have been a multitude of other wars, invasions,genocides and ethnic cleansings.

They seem to always begin with an act of aggression based on greed, ego, or some kind of racial, religious, or ethnic hatred. One nation envies what another nation possesses. One leader desires more power and self enrichment. People, spurred on by manipulative leaders, feel threatened by the existence of others, those who don’t share their race or religion or social beliefs.

It seems so long as we live in a world ruled by the greed, envy and fear of those who lead the nations of this world, war will always be near at hand.

It will remain a necessary evil until men stop exploiting other men.

And as such, the continued service and sacrifice of young men and women will be required.

Today is a day to honor those who serve and or have served their duty to this and other countries.

It is a day to remember how much has been given to us the living and how much has been taken from those who sacrificed their futures for the living.

A day to remind us all how fragile this world is and how each new war dishonors the veterans of the past and makes their sacrifice seem to have been made in vain.

Take a moment from your day and give it some thought. It is the least we can do.

++++++++++

Before playing this week’s Sunday music, I have to note that our current president* cancelled his attendance at a ceremony yesterday because of rainy weather. It was an observance to honor  the US Marines of WWI who died at Belleau Wood in France. Yesterday was also was the 243rd anniversary of the formation of the Marines by the Continental Congress in 1775.

I am not a veteran so maybe you might think I have no standing to criticize. But looking back at the many relatives who served and sacrificed through the past near 400 years in this land, I am ashamed as an American and consider his absence in honoring these fallen soldiers a great dishonor to this country and those who have served it.

Thank god a little rain didn’t dissuade those soldiers from the duty they felt to this nation. I am sure that the weather will not prevent him from his cordial meeting with Putin today in Paris, on the 100th observance of Armistice Day.

The song today is from 1976 and was written by the Scottish Australian singer Eric Bogle. It is titled No Man’s Land and is also known as Green Fields of France. It tells the story of young soldier named Willie McBride who died in World War I. It was inspired by Bogle’s visits to the battlefield graveyards in Flanders and Northern France. It is a song that has been recorded by numerous artists but I chose this version from the Dropkick Murphys. It’s a well done version and the video is a moving document and tribute to those who died in that war.

A word of warning: This video contains graphic images from that war.

Have a good day…

+++++

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Moanin’

Up early listening to old jazz. It puts an image of high contrast black and white films in my mind. Rainy night street scenes from a 1950’s NYC. Neon lights reflecting on dirty puddles. Brakes lights from rows of cabs glowing and steam rising. A rich stew of smells, alternating from sweet aroma to stench. People with their heads down, scurrying through the bustle of light and dark, roars and rhythms.

Lots of raw energy buoyed by the possibility of self-invention. Images that create an odd sense of romance.

Here’s an example. The classic Moanin’ from jazz legend Charles Mingus. Keep up the energy and have a good Saturday.

Read Full Post »

Feels like we’re kind of in the calm before a storm. There’s a sense of pent up energy just waiting to be unleashed and the only question is how it will all unfold in two days, what kind of damage will be done.

Or undone.

It’s a schizophrenic time filled with high moments of excited hopefulness followed by lows that are comprised of doom and gloom. I dislike both the highs and lows of this time. The highs because I fear I am just kidding myself in thinking that the best thing might happen and the lows because of the future the worst case scenario presents.

All in all, it leaves me, and I think a great many others, exhausted from walking this ragged edge of social/political schizophrenia.

So finding this video this morning was just what the doctor ordered for me. I don’t exactly know how I got to it. I started with watching Lola from the Kinks, moved to a Spanish group named Cafe Quijano doing a song called La Lolagreat song, kind of sexist video–then took a couple of turns and there was this.

It’s from a group called Too Many Zooz. It’s three guys– Matt “Doe” Muirhead on trumpet, Leo P on baritone sax and DavidKing of Sludge” Parks on percussion– who started performing as subway buskers in NYC. Their call their genre of music brass house, a mix of house music, Afro-Cuban, and jazz. I think we can dispense with labels and just say that it is high energy.

They have taken off in recent years as a result from a video that went viral that was shot by someone watching them perform on the Union Square platform in NYC. They have performed around the country and in Europe and Leo P, now widely known for his frantic dance moves, even did a performance on the BBC Proms with a full orchestra. They are currently on a European tour but will be back in the states next month. I see they are appearing not too far from me at The Haunt in Ithaca in December.

This video is called Bedford and was shot on the Bedford subway platform in Brooklyn at 3:33 AM. If anyone was thinking about going to bed at that point, this most likely woke them up.

So, if you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up, take a look at this.

As John Lee Hooker once said, “If you can’t dig this, you got a hole in your soul– and that ain’t good.”

Then take that energy and get out there and vote. Vote. Vote. VOTE.

Read Full Post »

Another gray, wet, cold Sunday morning here in paradise. The sun lately seems like a stranger who, on those rare occasions when it appears, I have a vague recollection of once seeing. It’s grim and has me gazing out my window, hoping that the ghost of Tom Joad, like he had somehow stepped right out of The Grapes Of Wrath, might emerge out of the darkness set against the distant pines. This weather puts me in that mood, that grim feeling of that we need somebody to stand against the darker forces of this world.

Tom Joad, as dark and ill-fated a character as he seems, still gives me hope that there are still people out there who won’t turn a blind eye to injustice and inequality. People who haven’t been numbed by their own self-interest and comfort. They don’t have to be heroes, just plain people with a sense of decency and an unwillingness to turn their back to the wrongs they witness.

We sure could use some more Tom Joads.

Here’s my Sunday morning music. It is, of course, The Ghost of Tom Joad, from Bruce Springsteen. Have yourself a day– good, bad or indifferent– and if you see Tom Joad, tell him I am looking for him.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I call this painting Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a title I used for a few paintings from my early Exiles series, in which this piece is included. I seldom show this piece and am not sure if it has ever appeared here. While I like this piece for a variety of reasons– for instance, I love the sky and hill colors– I never felt it was up to the same level as the other work in the Exiles series. I felt that it was more flawed than the others and too forced, not as organically formed as much of the other Exiles.

But every time I pull this piece out I feel a small sense of satisfaction in it and maybe that it needed to be aired out. I want to play a song today and thought this would be a good opportunity to let this little guy get out a bit. We’ll see.

The song is Work Song. It was written by the brother of jazz great Cannonball Adderly and was originally performed by him as an upbeat  jazz piece. But it has been interpreted by a number of artists over the years, some to great effect. Others, not so much to my taste. But one of my favorites is from one of my  guilty pleasures, Tennessee Ernie Ford.

He certainly doesn’t seem like a “cool” choice if you remember his public persona in the 50’s and 60’s as the goofily naive but affable hick from Bristol, Tennessee. I enjoyed that caricature as kid it was his music that hooked me. He had a deep and mellow voice and a knack for choosing songs and arrangements that fit him perfectly. His series of country boogies were great and his 16 Tons is a classic. His version of this song is a great interpretation, spare and deep felt.

I couldn’t find a decent video of this song so here is the track alone:

Here’s another version that is a different interpretation from a band called The Big Beats with vocalist Arlin Harmon. I don’t have a lot of info on either though from what I can glean Harmon was a highly esteemed singer out in the Northwest. It’s a solid rocking performance with a different flavor. Give a listen.

Read Full Post »

 

Going to keep it simple this morning and just play this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s off the collaborative albums , Mermaid Avenue, from Wilco and Billy Bragg, where they took never recorded Woody Guthrie lyrics and set them to music. I’ve played a number of the songs from these albums over the years but somehow missed this favorite. It’s about a Hesitating Beauty named Nora Lee and I’ve included the lyrics below. The painting above is a piece from 2003 called Rarity of the Moment that seems to have that same feeling of unfulfilled desire as the song.


 

“Hesitating Beauty”

 

For your sparkling cocky smile I’ve walked a million miles

Begging you to come and wed me in the spring

Why do you my dear delay

What makes you laugh and turn away

You’re a hesitating beauty, Nora Lee

 

Well I know that you are itching to get married, Nora Lee

And I know how I’m twitching for the same thing, Nora Lee

By the stars and clouds above we could spend our lives in love

You’re a hesitating beauty, Nora Lee

 

We can build a house and home where the flowers come to bloom

Around our yard I’ll nail a fence so high

That the boys with peeping eyes cannot see that angel face

My hesitating beauty Nora Lee

 

Well I know that you are itching to get married Nora Lee

And I know how I’m twitching for the same thing Nora Lee

By the stars and clouds above we can spend our lives in love

If you quit your hesitating, Nora Lee

 

We can ramble hand in hand across the grasses of our land

I’ll kiss you for each leaf on every tree

We can bring our kids to play where the dry leaves blow today

If you quit your hesitating, Nora Lee

 

Well I know that you are itching to get married, Nora Lee

And I know how I’m twitching for the same thing, Nora Lee

By the stars and clouds above we could spend our lives in love

If you quit your hesitating, Nora Lee

Read Full Post »

Ave Maria

It’s a cool and wet morning here with a soft rain falling that I wasn’t expecting. The ground around the studio is saturated like sponge and when you walk through the grass there are spots where the green of the tall grass– my lawn needs mowing– is overtaken by the brown of the muddy soil.

It sets a quiet tone within me. The last several days have been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to just spend the time in the studio to which I have been accustomed for the past decade or so. It’s not just time spent painting but, more importantly, time spent mulling things over and trying to set things in an orderly way that allows me to more fully function.

Not having that time makes me uneasy, like I am on the verge of losing my balance.

So the quiet of the cool air and the soft rain and the muddy steps in the grass feel good this morning. This quiet allows me to slow my thoughts, to abate the tensions of those things which I can’t control.

Oh, they’ll be back soon enough but for  a short time I recede into this quiet. And that is a good start.

For today’s Sunday morning music I am featuring a group that flew under my radar until this week’s painting workshop. One of the attendees, Frank who has been with me for three of these workshops, excitedly told me that he had discovered that one of his most favorite groups was performing at the Smith opera House in nearby Geneva. Frank normally drives in to these workshops in from about an hour or so away. This year he and his wife were staying in Penn Yan  and would be able to see the performance. He was ecstatic.

The group is a renowned, Grammy Award winning male vocal classical ensemble from San Francisco called Chanticleer. They have been performing with a revolving roster of voices for 40 years and this performance was part of their anniversary tour. The clip below is the group performing one of their better known selections along with another elite male ensemble, Cantus, in a bar where the two groups had met up.  The song is Ave Maria from the 20th century composer Franz Biebl.

It’s a stunning display and, unlike Thursday’s judiciary hearing, there are no red-faced mean drunks anywhere to be found. That in itself is refreshing. Give a listen and have a great Sunday.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: