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Posts Tagged ‘U2’

I thought for this Memorial Day a replay of the post from this day last year was appropriate and says exactly what I wanted to express this morning. We are living in strange times with a leader with little if any impulse control and a need to achieve his desired outcome regardless of the means needed to do so. I am of the opinion that if push comes to shove ( and with his knack for alienating and shoving, it’s a real possibility) he would not hesitate to spend the lives of  many of our soldiers to protect his interests. And there is a building doubt as to whether his interests are our interests.

I think that is why this Memorial Day takes on special significance. We must remember the horror of war that brought about this holiday and not gloss it over. It was not meant for glorification of war. It was a day of grieving and remembrance of souls taken much too early. Give it a thought today.

Memorial Day weekend.  It’s become the symbolic starting point for summer, a time of barbecues and partying.  Fireworks. In those rare instances when we do take the time to consider the day, many of us tend to think of it in terms of patriotism and nationalism.

But it was created from the loss and sorrow of a civil war that ripped this country and many families apart.  It was meant to alleviate the grief of the many families who suffered the ultimate loss, to let them know that the nation shared their sorrow in the memory of fallen family members.

In the nearby Woodlawn National Cemetery, where my mother, along with both my grandfathers and several uncles, is buried, there is a section that contains the nearly 3000 graves of Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War in the Elmira, NY prison camp.  Whenever I look at those stones and think of those men of the south, I always think about their families who may not have even known that their sons were suffering in a cold Northern prison.  They were mothers, wives or children who would never see or hug their sons and husbands and fathers again. People whose loss forever left a hole in their lives.

And this sacrifice was for what?  An idea, the preservation of an ideology that probably didn’t affect their day to day lives in the first place? The financial interests of the planters and plantation owners, the wealthy ruling class?

Why are we so easily stirred to war, so willing to sacrifice our own kin and their futures?

There are no easy answers.  Maybe that’s why the holiday has transformed into what it is today– it’s too terrible an image to bear when we look in that mirror and ask those questions.

So for this Sunday’s music on a Memorial Day weekend, I thought I’d play a song that asks for peace on earth with the hope that fewer families in the future will have to see this earth absorb the blood of their sons and daughters.  I know that sounds like a pipedream, a world without war.  But I have to ask  myself: Why not peace?

Here’s U2 and Peace on Earth.  Have a great Sunday and a great holiday.

NOTE: The image here on the left is a new painting, The Kinship, that is part of my show that opens this coming Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery.  There is a sense of remembrance in this piece for me that jibes with the real spirit of this day.

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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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GC Myers-  "Observers" 2013

GC Myers- “Observers” 2013

Well, it’s New Year’s Day  2014.

I normally wax somewhat philosophically about the challenge and potential of the coming year and about the lesson of the past twelve months.  But this year I don’t feel the urge or need to do so.  Maybe I’m just tired or maybe its that I am ready for whatever this year holds in store and am satisfied with what I have done over the last year.

Whatever the case, I wish each of you great happiness and peace over the next year along with the strength and wisdom to overcome whatever challenges you might face.

While I said I wouldn’t look back at the last year, I never said I wouldn’t look back 30 years.  Here’s a promo video from the studio of U2 performing New Year’s Day which was released in January of 1983 as  a single from  their War album.   The years have stripped away much of the song’s original association with Lech Walesa and the Solidarity labor movement  taking place at that time in Poland.  Most younger listeners probably don’t have an much more than an inkling of what this even was but that’s okay– the song is still great and appropriate for today.  Plus there’s the bonus of seeing Bono and the boys looking so 1980’s.

Anyway, enjoy and have a happy New Year.

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October

October.  The calendar turns once more and all thoughts of summer are put aside.  A time for preparing for the coming winter and enjoying the coolness of autumn with all the color of the changing leaves and the softer light.  A time for reflection on a year that has went by all too quickly.

The woodcut shown here is one made for the month of October in Edmund Spenser’s 1579 work, The Shepheardes Calender, which was a collection of 12 pastoral poems depicting the month-by-month life of a shepherd of that time.  I would include a few lines but, quite honestly, I struggle to get through any of Spenser’s archaic verse and don’t wish that on anyone on a Saturday morning.  I do like the woodcut, however.

Here’s a little easier to absorb interpretation of the month.  It’s hard to be;lieve it has been 30 years since the album October was released by U2.  Here’s the mood piece that serves as the title track for this album.

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