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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

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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Well into middle-age now, I can’t remember a time when Aretha Franklin wasn’t around to provide vital part for the soundtrack of our lives. Her best known songs are part of who we are and how we define ourselves in our own time. She won’t be around but her work will continue that job for some time to come.

Here’s one of my favorites, a song from back around 1964 that probably has been overlooked a bit in the deluge of Aretha music that has been played in the last day or so. It’s a great song and a good look back at early Aretha. Here’s Runnin’ Out of Fools.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyiKqXc2OT0

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Climbed onto the interwebs this morning and made my way to the YouTube. Needed to find something to play for this Sunday morning and wasn’t sure where to turn. Something deep and ponderous? Retro blast from the past? Cool jazz cats?

I didn’t know what would turn up or where I’d find myself.

Oddly, this morning I didn’t have to go far. It was waiting for me on my YouTube homepage.

It was new, just released in mid-July. It was light. It was seasonal. It had a goofy video. It seemed like a nice respite from watching the news and wringing hands.

Well, alright, let’s go with it. It’s a little ditty called Blueberry Jam from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, aka Will Oldham. He’s been a unique voice on the American music scene for a number of years and I’ve featured his music here a couple of times, once with him performing his I Am Goodbye and another with the epic cover of his song I See a Darkness from Johnny Cash.

Give a listen and grab a blueberry for yourself this morning.

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For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I have been humming this tune since sometime yesterday afternoon. Maybe if I look closer at the lyrics, I can figure it out.

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Pull the string and I’ll wink at you, I’m your puppet
I’ll do funny things if you want me to, I’m your puppet
I’m yours to have and to hold
Darling you’ve got full control of your puppet
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Pull another string and I’ll kiss your lips, I’m your puppet
Snap your finger and I’ll turn you some flips, I’m your puppet
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Listen, your every wish is my command
All you gotta do is wiggle your little hand
I’m your puppet, I’m your puppet
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I’m just a toy, just a funny boy
That makes you laugh when you’re blue
I’ll be wonderful, do just what I’m told
I’ll do anything for you
I’m your puppet, I’m your puppet
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Pull them little strings and I’ll sing you a song, I’m your puppet
Make me do right or make me do wrong, I’m your puppet
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Treat me good and I’ll do anything
I’m just a puppet and you hold my string, I’m your puppet
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Darling, darling, pull the strings, let me sing you a song any day
I’m your puppet baby, you can sing for me all night long
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Yeah, that kind of reminds me of something I saw recently.
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Of course, I am having a little fun. It’s all I can do to not go into a rage after watching yesterday’s press conference in Helsinki. It was one of those events that will resonate forward through history and not in a good way. As presidential historian Jon Meacham said this morning, we are in the middle of this now, not at the start nor the end, and there is another shoe yet to drop. Yesterday shows that we have long passed a tipping point and it the only thing protecting our future now is our own action.
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Be a real citizen and don’t just take up space– pay attention. Ask your congressmen and senators questions and let them know how you feel. Make sure you are registered to vote and hit the polls hard. Encourage others to do the same.
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Speak up at every opportunity because it may be your last chance. I seriously mean that.
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The song, of course, is I’m Your Puppet from James and Bobby Purify back in 1966 , written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn.

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I just wanted to issue a heartfelt Thank You to those of you who were able to make it out to the West End Gallery for the opening of The Rising exhibit on Friday evening. It was a sticky hot evening so I am deeply appreciative of anyone who chose to spend some time with us. It was a good time and it was great to see a lot of old friends and many new ones.

The response to the work has been wonderful thus far which is gratifying. Hope you can make it out in the near future to see the show or maybe join us on for a Gallery Talk on Saturday, August 4, starting at 1 PM. The Gallery Talk is generally a lot of fun and there will be some pertinent details coming in the next few weeks.

In the spirit of gratitude, this Sunday’s musical selection is a throwback in time to the funk classic Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) from Sly and the Family Stone. Give a listen and again, thank you to everyone from the show–falettinme be mice elf agin.

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