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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

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I wish that I knew what I know now

When I was younger.

I wish that I knew what I know now

When I was stronger.

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You have probably heard the line above, uttered in the chorus of Faces‘ 1973 song Ooh La La by an aging grandfather to his young grandson, many times over the years as it’s been used in many movies and television shows and ads. It’s very atmospheric as Wes Anderson demonstrated to great effect in the final scene of his film Rushmore.

And if you have somehow missed it, you have definitely heard someone older spout those very same words.

The words make sense. I guess you would almost always want to relive the past with greater knowledge than you had at the time. It would definitely help avoid the stumbles and setbacks you experienced along the way. To have that wisdom beforehand might be a wonderful thing.

But maybe it’s the acquiring of this wisdom that matters, the experience of trying and failing multiple times. Maybe you need to experience that blind and unfounded optimism that sets you off on misguided missions doomed to fall short. Maybe you need to learn how to claw your way up from the fall to the bottom.

Maybe wisdom has to be hard earned before it can be fully appreciated.

Or maybe not. Maybe I am making excuses to rationalize away my own past stupidities and shortcomings. Maybe all those mistakes and missteps could have been avoided altogether with the wisdom I have now.

But would that wisdom have led me to this point where I am today?

I don’t think that can be known.

And today I am relatively content with my lot in life so I can happily abide with the choices, even the mistakes, I have made. What lttle wisdom I have gained over the years tells me I would be no happier on the safer, stabler path I might have chosen with foreknowledge.

Ooh la la…

So for this Sunday morning’s music interlude, here’s the song from Faces featuring Ronnie Wood on vocals. Give a listen and have yourself a great day with no regrets. Ooh la la…

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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I am running around this morning with a list of things to do. But I thought I’d share an old song that popped into my head as I was walking on the path through the woods that leads to my studio this morning. It’s kind of goofy but periodically this song shows up, buzzing its way through my head.

The song is The Laughing Song and it comes from Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. from back in the early 1970’s. The music of Hicks, who died back in 2016, is hard to categorize. It has bits of swing, country, jazz, pop and plenty of whimsy. He and his Hot Licks made a number of entertaining television appearances back in the time of the old variety shows that were a staple of TV before the advent of reality shows.

I can’t say that this song made me laugh but it always made me smile. Give a listen and have a good day.

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The British photographer Alfred G. Buckham (1879-1956) was one of the pioneers of aerial photography. Already a photographer, his career as an aerial photographer began with the outbreak of WW I.

He became the first head of aerial reconnaissance for the Royal Navy and later translated that to a private career of daring and wondrous shots taken from small planes, often with him standing perilously on the plane with one leg tethered to it. He was involved in 9 plane crashes and it was only in the ninth that he was seriously injured, having afterward to breathe for the rest of his life through a tube in his throat after a tracheotomy.

This shot at the top of the page taken by Buckham from above Edinburgh, Scotland around 1920 is one of my favorite photos. I urge you to check out the website devoted to the career and work of Alfred Buckham. Interesting stuff.

I thought I’d accompany this photo with a track from the album Skala from musician Mathias Eick that is titled, of course, Edinburgh. Another track, Oslo, was featured here several weeks ago. Not all the tracks are titled after European cities, in case you were wondering.

I think this composition fits the photo very well, with a gliding beat that I can imagine aligns itself well with swooping over the Scottish landscape in a small plane in 1920. Give a closer look and a listen and have a good Sunday.

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