Posts Tagged ‘Patti Smith’

fred-lyon-san-francisco-1953Sunday morning. Time for a little music.

I saw this photo online earlier.  It’s from the great San Francisco based photographer Fred Lyon who is still active at age 91.  His photos of San Francisco from the 40’s and 50’s are wonderful.  This image, called Foggy night, Land’s End, San Francisco, 1953, really captured my imagination. It just seems filled with all sorts of stories that are begging to be told. Magnificent shot.  See more of Fred Lyon’s work at his website by clicking here.

I wanted to come up with a song that might come out of this photo and I settled on Because the Night. It was written by Bruce Springsteen for Patti Smith in 1977 and she had her biggest success with that song.  Great version.  But I personally prefer the Springsteen version.  This particular performance is from Largo, MD in 1978. Hard to believe it’s been that many years.

I also just wanted to take a moment to talk about the refugee controversy in this country.  I know you’re probably sick to death dealing with everything that is going on but I just wanted to remind ourselves that the thing that have long separated us from other countries around the world is not based on power,  It was never about military strength. It wasn’t about our wealth and the privileged few that control it.

It was about us.  It was about our music, our films, our literature which reflected our entrepreneurial spirit– that every person had a value and a purpose and was free to make the most of it.  The freedom with with we expressed these things was the rare thing that made us the desired landing place for the disenfranchised people around the world.

You see it in our films.  Think about just about any Frank Capra movie– who was an Italian immigrant, by the way. Those values he so lovingly extolled in his films are the very things that have defined America around the world. The people who rail against refugees and immigrants out of fear, ignorance, selfishness or hatred go against these values, the very things that have made us special.

It’s the freedom to define yourself, to mold yourself into what you think you should be.

It’s still there and it is still the beacon, the light in the darkness, that draws people to our shores. Fear and ignorance can end that freedom, extinguish that light. And when we no longer attract the world, we have lost our real power, our real strength.

Sorry.  You most likely don’t need to hear any more diatribes but sometimes they need to be said if only for the speaker’s sake.  And I needed to say that.

Give a listen and have a good day. And keep your eyes open!


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Jim Carroll Catholic BoyIt was announced this past Sunday that author/musician Jim Carroll had died at the age of 60 from a heart attack.  He is probably best known for the critically acclaimed memoir of his youth, The Basketball Diaries, which was later made into a film featuring Leonardo DeCaprio in a portrayal of a young Carroll.

Carroll’s life as a youth was memorable.  He was a star on the basketball courts of New York, earning national attention.  He was also recognized as a budding talent as a writer and poet.  This guy had a lot going for him.  But at the same time he was well on the road to a heroin addiction and a stint as a street hustler, prostituting himself to feed his habit.  That’s a lifetime of highs and lows by the time he hit his twenties.

I first became aware of him in 1980 or 81 when his Catholic Boy album came out.  It was real NY stuff, out of the same vein that produced Lou Reed and Patti Smith.  I liked the album a lot.  It was one of those albums that you sometimes stumble across that you know will never find a huge audience but somehow speaks to you in a very personal way.  I was never surprised that he never achieved the same type of popularity musically after that first album came out.  Just on eof those rare moments of expression.

I was just thinking about him last week as I had been listening to his best known song,  People Who Died, a song that has an infective driving sound and vivid imagery. I guess he could’ve added a verse for himself.  Here it is.  RIP Jim Carroll…

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