Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Forgot to mention yesterday that it was the anniversary of the Day the Music Died as Don MacLean called it in his 1971 mega-hit American Pie. It was early in the morning on February 3, 1959 that the small plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson to their next show in North Dakota crashed into an Iowa cornfield, killing all three.

Holly and Valens were key players in the transition from the early days of rock and roll to the next generation that was marked by the rise of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, both bands that very heavily influenced in their early work by the music of Buddy Holly. Think of modern rock/pop music being a genealogy chart, a family tree with Buddy Holly as a parent and his offspring and their children and so on all branching out in front of him. Most likely, he is a direct musical ancestor of many artists you listen to today, even though they may not even recognize it themselves because each subsequent generation adds lines of influence from which they synthesize their own music.

Just like Buddy Holly was the result of country music, folk blues and early rock and roll, each generation is a distinctly unique blend.

So, 59 years ago it was a huge loss when that plane crashed outside Clear Lake, Iowa. I have to admit that I sometimes overlook Buddy Holly, shifting him into a hidden file in my mind, until I am reminded by something, such as yesterday’s anniversary just how unique an artist he was and how much I enjoyed his music. I’ve spent much of this morning revisiting his discography, listening to songs that had a huge impact on so many other artists: That’ll Be the Day, Not Fade Away, Maybe Baby, Peggy Sue, Well..All Right, Oh Boy and many others. Just plain good stuff.

Here’s a favorite of mine, Rave On. Have a great Sunday.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Maybe it’s the time of the year. Maybe it’s the weather that brings a certain bleakness. Or maybe it’s the political climate and the anxiety it produces on what seems like an hourly basis. Whatever the case, I have found myself listening to the album Nebraska in the studio on a regular basis lately.

It’s an album from Bruce Springsteen from back in 1982 that was recorded solo in his home on a four track cassette recorder. It was meant to serve as a demo for a new group of songs but Springsteen liked it as it was and released it without a band or much embellishment. It is sparse but has an urgency along with a contemplative and sometimes darker tone,  much like the Andrew Wyeth winter scenes from yesterday’s post, that makes it one of my favorites. I also like the feeling that you are hearing these songs in a pure state, closer to how the artist felt them as they formed, before they’ve went through a hundred iterations in the studio to become something much different.

For this week’s Sunday music I thought I’d share one of the more upbeat numbers, Open All Night. If you’re feeling a bit bleaker – or want to feel that way– I’ve also included My Father’s House, a song that gets little notice but, for me, has great imagery, feeling more like a piece of literature than a song.

Give a listen, if you are so inclined, and have a good day.


Read Full Post »

It was about this time last year that I ran a post with a couple of different versions of the song, Nature Boy, the wonderful song first sung by the incomparable Nat King Cole. Maybe it is the time in which we live, with an administration that seems hellbent on decimating all conservation efforts and environmental protections, but I really felt a need to hear the original again this morning. I thought it might be a good opportunity to repost the story of the interesting man who wrote the song. 

eden ahbez with cowboy jack pattonSometimes when you look behind something that’s been in front of you for years you find out things you would have never imagined otherwise. Such is the case with the song, Nature Boy.

Nature Boy, as recorded by the great Nat King Cole, has long been one of  my favorite songs. It has a wonderful haunting melody and tells the story of a “strange enchanted boy” and his search to find love. It always has had a sort of mystical feel to me, a real oddity in the world of popular music in 1948 when Nat King Cole recorded and had a huge hit with it, staying at #1 on the charts for eight weeks.

I was going to just have a short post and put up a YouTube video of Cole’s version but in doing so I saw the name of the songwriter, eden ahbez, and was intrigued, perhaps by the lack of capitalization in his name. Doing a little research I came across some photos of him such as the one above, from the late 40’s sitting with Cowboy Jack Patton (who wrote the song Ghost Riders in the Sky) and a spaniel of some sort. I’ll let you figure out who is who in the photo.  ahbez’s long hair and attire seemed really out of place for me in thinking of 1948 so I read on.

eden ahbezeden ahbez was a real one of a kind character in the world of music and in general. You could probably guess that from the name which he adopted and wrote only in lower case letters. Born in 1908, he is regarded as the first hippie by many, a long-haired and bearded wanderer who crisscrossed the country on foot, wearing robes and sandals, maintained a vegetarian lifestyle and slept out under the stars. In fact, when Nature Boy hit the charts he and his wife were living under the first L on the Hollywood sign, which stoked a bit of a media frenzy around ahbez. He worked in and frequented a vegetarian restaurant (that’s where he met Cowboy Jack Patton, another interesting character) in 1940’s Los Angeles whose German owners preached the gospel of natural and raw foods. Their followers became known as the Nature Boys.

Not really what I was expecting from a pop songwriter in 1940’s LA. ahbez died in 1995 from injuries sustained in an auto accident. He was 87. His was a truly unique life, just waiting for a biographer to tell the story, and reading the little I discovered makes me find the song even more interesting. Hope you’ll do the same now that you know a bit more about eden ahbez

Read Full Post »

Buried in my work right now and there doesn’t seem to be enough time for much of anything beyond it for the next few weeks. So I miss some things here and there. But I did remember, a couple of days ago, to think about my mom on the date that marked the 22nd year of her death. I’m not going to get sentimental here. It’s an unfortunate fact that most of us experience our parents’ passing at some point so my bit of sadness is no greater or different than that of most other folks.

But I do miss her. She was a mass of paradox, battle-hardened tough but also fragile and generous to a fault. Uneducated but hardly unintelligent. Stubborn but always changing. Deeply private and funny. I wish I could have seen her live into old age–it would be wonderful to sit with her once more and have a cup of her coffee. Ask her all the questions that went unasked, tell her all the things that went unsaid.

But life is like that, leaving us a handful of memories to recall when we need them. It’s been good doing just that this morning.

Here’s a song form her favorite singer, Eddy Arnold. I remember the album cover this song comes from like it is burnt into my memory. The song, fittingly, is You Still Got a Hold on Me. The painting at the top is named after my mom-it’s called In the Window: Flower of Doreen.

Have a great day…

Read Full Post »

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

George Eliot

*******************

November 2 is Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, in Mexico. Actually, it’s a multi-day holiday that spans from October 31 to November 2. It’s a holiday that has ancient roots dating back some 3000 years and was originally celebrated earlier in the year until the Spaniards conquered Mexico in the 16th century. They moved the date to fall in line with the Christian Allhallowtide.

Most of see the imagery that is associated with the Day of the Dead, such as the painted skulls like the one at the top, and automatically equate it with our Halloween. Spooky and scary. But it is a much more benign and pleasant holiday, a celebration of the memory and spirit of our deceased relatives, a day to travel to cemeteries to eat and drink at their graves. The ancient belief was that that on that day each year the spirits would come back to visit their worldly ancestors.

Being a person who loves to stroll through cemeteries  among the stones and monuments, it’s my kind of holiday, more so than our Halloween. I find the calm and quiet of cemeteries to be comforting and not spooky at all.

The names and words written about them on their stones give each the feel of a voice waiting to be engaged and I am often more than willing to stop to speak their name, especially the older stones where it is obvious that they are no longer visited by family members, if any remain at all. I get a feeling that simply speaking their name aloud once more brings them back to life in some small way, like a feint trace of mist appearing in the vast sky of our collected memory.

That may seem crazy but that doesn’t matter. Nobody gets hurt and it creates a little peace for myself. And I think that’s what the Day of the Dead is about.

That being said, here’s a video that might seem a little more Halloween than Dia de Muertos. But it is a song about love and attraction and that makes it more about this day. It’s Shakin’ All Over. I was going to play the original by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates or the great live version from The Who but settled on this version from The Guess Who, mainly because of it’s cartoon video with dancing skeletons.  Feels like a fitting song for Dia de Muertos.

Enjoy yours and remember the dead.

 

 

Read Full Post »

I am running late this morning and there’s a long to-do list of things waiting for me. But I definitely wanted to get out a little music for this Sunday morning. Here in the northeast, it’s rainy, dark and gray. It would be easy to gravitate towards music that reflects that mood but I think I am going to go the other way.

Bright and light. Pop.

So I am going to play a song written and released by Cat Stevens in 1967. The British group the Tremeloes also released the song that same year.

It’s hard to believe that this song is 50 years old. It feels like a perfect pop song. It’s bright and clean and doesn’t feel dated in any way. If you’re a fan of Wes Anderson films, you probably will remember the song ( the Cat Stevens version) from Rushmore.

I like both versions but slightly favor the Tremeloes version which is the one I am showing here today. Plus it has a neat live video of the era, which is always fun to see. It’s a little unusual in that it focuses on the band without the usual go-go dancers from TV performances of that time. Hope it brightens your day.

Have a great Sunday.

Read Full Post »

Have a lot on my plate this morning, a lot of things needing to be done. But I came across this video by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, the late Townes Van Zandt, and thought I would share it. It’s called Big Country Blues and the video features the photos of primarily working class Americans from the great Richard Avedon.

It’s a compelling video, given this time in this country. I watched it twice this morning just to fully take in the imagery and Townes’ music never lets me down. I wish he were around just to hear his take on these times. He could write some sad songs, after all.

Give it a look and a listen.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: