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Posts Tagged ‘Bobby Darin’

GC Myers- Pacifica smEvery spring the Library of Congress selects 25 recordings that they deem to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” to be added to their National Recording Registry.  There is a wide selection each year with recordings from all genres of music combined with radio broadcasts. speeches and other spoken word recordings.

For example,this year includes General Marshall‘s 1947 speech at Harvard where he laid out the basis for the Marshall Plan alongside George Carlin’s seminal Class Clown comedy album.  Plus for sports lovers, there’s the recording of the broadcast of the fourth quarter of the historic 1962 game in which Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points.

There are a lot of things from the list that I could use for this Sunday morning music selection.  There are two versions of Mack the Knife, one from Louis Armstrong and the other from Bobby Darin.  There’s Where Did Our Love Go? from the Supremes, Piano Man from Billy Joel, Cry Me a River from Julie London and too many others to list this early in the morning.  You can see the whole list here.

But the selection that caught my eye was the 1964 debut album, It’s My Way,  from folk singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.  If you are of a certain age, you probably remember Buffy Sainte-Marie when she was one of the stars of the folk revival of the 1960’s.  Her Cree Indian heritage and the fact she was one of the few women songwriters in the genre at the time made her stand out and she was staple of variety television shows of the era.  But her profile was less visible going into the 1970’s and she had a 16 year hiatus from recording from the mid 70’s until 1992 although she was still busy as a songwriter.  The song Up Where We Belong which she co-wrote was a huge hit for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes as well as winning the Academy Award for Best Song in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman.

This 1964 album is a pretty remarkable recording and there are a number of her songs from it which I could have chosen to play.  Universal Soldier became a standard as a 1960’s protest song and Cod’ine was covered by dozens of artists, most famously Janis Joplin.  But it is the title track that stands out for me.  It’s a song that seems timeless in its sound, not trapped in its own time like some songs from  significant eras.  It’s a powerful song that builds and builds.

Give a listen to It’s My Way and have a great Sunday.

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GC Myers-  À La Mer smIt was a good trip down to Alexandria yesterday.  I was there to deliver the the work for my show, Native Voice, which opens this coming Friday, June 5, at the Principle Gallery there on historic King Street.

It’s always a good feeling to get the work safely into the gallery for any show.  There’s a sense of relief  in this step in the process of letting the work move on to their new lives but there is also a bit of excitement in seeing the work in the gallery environment, to have the staff get their first look and to see how the work itself looks within the space.

For the entire time I have shown with the Principle Gallery, in my 19th year now, the walls of the main gallery space were painted in a burnt orange color, one that really highlighted and complemented the color of my work and may have even, in some small way, influenced the direction of my work’s color palette over the years. But a freshening makeover of the space this past year brought a new wall color, a slightly warm shade of white.

At my first look at it in September, I was fearing that the color would be too cool, too stark.  But seeing it again yesterday, alleviated those concerns and it seems to have gained warmth and I am excited to that the new work, mostly deeply colored with a number of larger pieces, will definitely pop on the new walls.  In fact, the wall color is not to far removed from the wall color of the Fenimore Art Museum gallery where my work hung in 2012 and I was very pleased with how that worked out.

One of those pieces is the one shown at the top, a 24″ by 24″ painting on linen that I call À La Mer which translates from the French as To the Sea.  I like the mix of motion and stillness in this piece with its sky that could almost be an extension of the sea’s movement with ripples of color running through it.  There’s just something tranquil in the way the eye moves toward the sea in this piece, a feeling that very much reminds me of the tone of the old French song La Mer (The Sea) which is better known here in the US by the wonderful version in English from Bobby Darin, Beyond the Sea.

So, of course, for this Sunday’s musical selection I have chosen a version of La Mer, this one by French Canadian singer Chantal Chamberland.  I hope you’ll enjoy it and take that feeling into the rest of your day.  Have a great Sunday!

 

 

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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 about The Threepenny Opera or Brecht or Kurt Weill.  Had never heard the The 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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