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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Buckley’

 GC Myers- Brighter Days Ahead sm

GC Myers- Brighter Days Ahead

It’s New Year’s eve tonight and we’ll shake off the dust  of yet another year and move into the next, all clean and shiny with that new year smell.  Well, that’s the popular belief.  We are, of course, who we are and no amount of calendar voodoo will alter that.

But that’s okay.  We should be okay with ourselves and just ride along on the tides of time.  Good and bad things happen along the way and both can be tolerated if we just can understand and accept who we are.

I think that’s why I chose this painting at the top and the song below to end 2014.  The painting is titled Brighter Days Ahead and has a brightness and optimism that jibes well with its title.  But the darkness underneath gives it some balance that keeps it from being too giddily gleeful.

Yes, there are brighter days ahead but there are some darker ones as well.  But having a belief in who we are, believing that we have the balance and strength to withstand troubles and accept the good with grace makes this brightness seem more tangible and less wishful thinking.

The song, New Year’s Prayer, is from the late Jeff Buckley who in his short life left us a remarkable version of the Leonard Cohen song, Hallelujah, and much more.  This song has a mantra-like feel to it with the phrase … feel no shame for what you are… as a refrain.  It doesn’t look forward or back with any hope or regret– it is just in the moment.  And that’s how I feel about the turning of this year.

Wishing you all a good New Year with the hope that feel no shame for what you are.

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Louis Jordan Caldonia Lobby CardThis past week the Library of Congress announced this year’s 25 entries into its National Recording Registry, which is a preserved collection of songs (and other recordings including spoken word) that are considered culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”  It’s always interesting to read through to see what they consider significant and, for the most part, I generally agree.  There are always the obvious choices but it’s the lesser known choices that always interest me most.

Among the musical highlights from this year was the late Jeff Buckley’s luminous and haunting cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, Cathy’s Clown from the Everly Brothers, Fortunate Son from Creedence Clearwater Revival and the entire Joshua Tree album from U2 as well the Isaac Hayes album  , Shaft.

Among non-musical selections were the vast Presidential recordings of LBJ (Nearly 850 hours of them!), recorded interviews with baseball pioneers of the late 19th and early 20th century and The First Family, a hugely popular comedy album from Vaughan Meader  that spoofed President Kennedy and his family.  It was pulled from the shelves after JFK’s assasination.

There are plenty more to check out on this list but the one that caught my eye and made me smile was the song Caldonia from the great Louis Jordan.  Jordan was one of the most successful African-American artists of all time yet his name probably doesn’t mean much to many folks today.  But his swinging sound and showmanship made him a crossover hit in the late 30’s and 40’s and set the table for the coming age of rock and roll.  He was massive influence on the early rockers and many of songs  and moves were covered by them.  Jordan deserves to be well known today and its wonderful that the Library of Congress chose one of his  songs for the registry.  It’s  a move in the right direction.

Here’s a rockin’  1946 version of Caldonia to start your Sunday morning off with a bang.  Have a great day!

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Well,  the auction to raise some funds for the relief effort in Haiti has ended and $5000 was raised, which will be dispersed in the next day or so.  In relative terms, it’s a small amount but it was the result of the donations of a handful of regular people, not Wall Street financiers .  If this is happening all over the country, all over the world, it becomes a massive amount.  An amount that can bring a suffering nation back to its feet.  I think  the thing that can be taken from this is that when small actions are tied together, great things can be achieved.  It’s about creating an atmosphere of optimistic effort.

I wanted to write about how we could use this as a starting point to battle our natural tendencies towards cynicism, selfish greed and so many other negative traits that hinder us as a people.  Intolerance.  Schadenfreude.  The negative region of our identity that is the playground for perennial negativists like Limbaugh and his ilk, whose incredible wealth is supported by keeping the masses apart.  The last thing people like that want is any type of unity of spirit.

Their pessimism is an easy tonic to sell.  Unfortunately.  And all too many of us are ready to take a swig of this terrible tonic.

But I ‘ve already deleted two paragraphs.  It’s too easy when examining such a subject to be sucked into the vortex of negativity these people espouse.   All I will say is that nothing great has ever been achieved by such negative thinkers throughout history.  Every great achievement has been accomplished despite these pessimists by people with vision and optimism, people who focused on broadening human possibility.

Hallelujah.

That being said, here’s one of my favorite versions of Leonard Cohen‘s wonderful composition, Hallelujah.  It’s from the late Jeff Buckley.  Powerful tonic…

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