Day 3: A song that makes you think of summertime

I promise to post songs from the 21st century sometime during this 30-sing cycle.  In the meantime, I choose “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon & War for the day #3 challenge.  Cool video!  Celebrating hot sunshine, sure, but the flute and percussion are sublime.

I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day
When I thought I’d lay myself down to rest in a big, tall field of Mexican grass
I lay there in the sun and felt it caressing my face
As I fell asleep and dreamed
I dreamed I was in a Hollywood movie (yes, I did)
And that I was the star of the movie
This really blew my mind
The fact that me, an overfed, long-haired, leaping gnome
Should be the star of a Hollywood movie
But there I was….

I’ve accepted the 30 Day Song Challenge from Elena Panyard  (https://elenapanyard.com/).

 

Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title

I’ve accepted the 30 Day Song Challenge from Elena Panyard  (https://elenapanyard.com/).

The request for Day #2: A song you like with a number in the title.  I have selected “99 Luftballoons” by Nena.  (There is an English-language version, “99 Red Balloons”.)  I’m reaching back quite a number of years for a song that is probably not well known these days.  I find the German lyrics refreshing now, and in small-town America high school, that was exotic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La4Dcd1aUcE&spfreload=5

99_red_balloons____by_callumh93-d45v5m5

Day 1: A song you like with a color in the title

I accept the 30 Day Song Challenge from Elena Panyard  (https://elenapanyard.com/).  (‘m a few days late to the game.)

The request for Day #1: A song you like with a color in the title.  I select “Kurious Orang” from The Fall.  This is actually my favorite song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A3cHzFQsqI

KuriousOranj

They were invulnerable to cool.
They were curious orange

 

(Q: how do you paste in the URL so that the YouTube image appears??)

 

The Road is Life

I visited Jack Kerouac’s grave site.  I spent a few minutes walking up and down rows of grave stones, searching – eerily and pleasingly, I could hear New Orleans Jazz playing off in the distance, celebrating another’s life.  I had been in the Boston area for several days, and when I noticed the freeway exit sign for Lowell, I knew I had to complete a mission before coming home.

Jack’s writing is exciting, musical and lyrical.  When I read his work, I get antsy, I read faster, and I want to hit the road, too; He feeds my wanderlust.  Velocity!  Here’s a passage from On the Road (within Part Three, chapters 8-10):

“Where we going, man?”

“I don’t know, but we gotta go.” Then here came a gang of young bop musicians carrying their instruments out of cars. They piled right into a saloon and we followed them. They set themselves up and started blowing! There we were! The leader was a slender, drooping, curly-haired, pursy-mouthed tenorman, thin of shoulder, draped loose in a sports shirt, cool in the warm night, self-indulgence written in his eyes, who picked up his horn and frowned in it and blew cool and complex and was dainty stamping his foot to catch ideas, and ducked to miss others — and said, “Blow”, very quietly when the other boys took solos.

I want to listen to those boys blow; I want to feel their sweat and power.  That passage ChicagoCadillacfalls within a larger story, hilarious, about getting a gig from a travel bureau to drive a 1947 Cadillac limousine from Denver back to its home in Chicago—the car’s owner had been driving up from Mexico, got tired of his family, and put them all on a train.  You can hear the velocity in Jack’s voice! He mixes the madness, the unknown, and the joy of being on the road with the exuberance of Chicago jazz.

Anyway, I visited Jack’s grave site.  I’d attended a series of meetings, great stuff, 1667_RoadIsLife but now I was on vacation.  My time was my own.  It was supposed to be pounding down rain on Friday morning, but I awoke to bright sunshine and broken clouds; I had an early breakfast and set out.  Found the grave.

I failed to buy a rose.  I reached down and picked a bouquet of buttercups, 3 tiny little flowers, and laid them upon his stone.  Ti Jean.  I spoke some words, little incantations, thanking him for his work, telling him how I loved him; admitting his work inspired mine, thus those little buttercups were a small allegory, my tiny contributions to the writing pantheon owed much to his great catalogue.

Maybe my reader begins to see the musical quality in Jack’s writing, and why I’m interested in pursuing works from the Beat Generation as part of my music collection, my music blog, and my greater understanding of harmony and composition.  Listen to him recite “San Francisco Scene”; you can hear his halting voice, turning his pages of poetry, his mind is working faster than he can speak it.  He has an expressive, musical, something something; rhythm and fluidity.  I can hear the jazz accompaniment in my head – nobody’s actually playing, but its right there.  Tremendous!

That’s a sweet pome, by the way; “simple skirt with pockets; her hand in there”.  Those little gestures – hands in pockets – little mannerisms what attracts me to someone.  One girl’s hand gestures can send me over the moon.

Let’s close with a full album, Jazz of the Beat Generation.  I’d actually always dreamed of this album existing, but never found it until preparing this piece.  It features tracks of Jack reading pomes, interspersed with some of his favorite jazz players laying it down.  This is a gem!

 


© Community Noise 2017.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



 

Bone Music

“Don’t move,” I think; “don’t breathe”.  Silence.  I’m lying face-down in garbage; food scraps, medical waste, the stench of rotting bile; a needle’s pricked my arm.  I could feel smooth cellophane squares, my prize!, at my fingertips, but “don’t move.”

I heard Fedya shout out, as soon as I jumped into the dumpster; I heard him running away, and the guards running after, shouting, “ Vnimaniye!  Stoy!

I waited breathless for hours, or seconds, I don’t know.  Finally I heard a slight tapping on the dumpster wall, our signal, “tat, tat…tat; tipper tap”.  I raised to a kneel, reached in and grabbed a good armful of reward – discarded x-ray films.  I raised the lid and climbed out.  Quiet.  Still not breathing.

Alexei mouth-whispers, “Let’s go.  Fedya’s nabbed by the guards.”

In the Soviet Union, when Western music was illegal, record bootlegging was a creative and perilous endeavor.  During the 1950’s, people learned to etch recordings into discarded x-ray material.  Hospital dumpster diving was an actual thing, and I tried to imagine what that was like.  The bootleg records were called roentgenizdat – X-ray publishing – or “bone music”.

This year, I celebrated record store day in Boise, Idaho, at the beginning of a road trip.  Coincidentally, I had been reading about Rostropovich and his relationship with Shostakovich, and when I saw this picture disc, I had to buy it, but I had no idea what I was getting.  Returning home from my road trip, I listened to it, and then I needed to know why there was an x-ray image on the picture disc. (It’s a beautiful piece; listen to it here Cello Concerto No.2.  I’m particularly drawn in at the 20:18 mark, with Rostropovich sawing away on a cello solo, and the conductor takes a rest to wipe his own brow.)

The recording is Mstislav Rostropovich and his world premiere performance of the Cello Concerto No. 2, composed by friend and mentor Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded live in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire. This is its first release on vinyl.  Ever.  What a wonderfully cherishable thing!

Upon reading about this record and Various-Artists-Red-Wave-4-Underg-477333about roentgenizdat generally, I was reminded of Red Wave, a double-vinyl record that I have from my college days.  It’s another example of bravery in the face of oppression, this time by American Joanna Stingray in the 1980s, who smuggled out cassette tapes of bands playing in Leningrad and arranged for the production and release of the album through indie label Big Time Records.  It’s all well documented on Wikipedia.  Here’s a taste of Aquarium.

Lastly, also on Record Store Day, I bought a 10-inch vinyl record from Vanishing Twin, called “Dream by Numbers”.  Again, I didn’t know anything about this, but the packaging was cool and I loved the visual description, ‘dream by numbers’.  I dream in color, don’t you?  I couldn’t go wrong for $9!  It’s pretty cool stuff.  Take a listen here with  Million Dollar Mermaid .  (I’d never heard of the vanishing twin syndrome; freaky and fascinating, I invite the reader to look it up and read about it.)

After a long day of driving, and a foray into record shopping, the iced coffee was delicious.  My Record Store Day was fabulous.  I’m interested in hearing from others how they spent the day, and what they bought.

Goodbye, Chris

I was never a Soundgarden fan.  I never saw them play.  From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, I saw a bunch of Seattle bands play, but never them.  I remember I was in Madison, WI, when their record, Louder than Love was released, there was this huge display in the record store.  I knew who they were, but didn’t know them well.  I bought the CD, and it’s never made the rotation in my household.

As a matter of fact, grunge was a genre that rarely transferred to recorded media.  Those bands were incredible live.  How many people have heard of Cat Butt?  One of the single most enjoyable shows I’ve ever seen – at The Vogue – I still remember; loud psychedelic guitars, and a badass singer; drums prevented any voids in the wall of sound.  Their record sucks.  One exception was Nirvana; I’ve never felt so much energy in a room as when Nirvana played.  Physically daunting; unbridled joy, noise, and sweat.  And their records are good, too.

Celebrity death is always weird, with the clueless media providing empty words and hallow emotions.  What really bothered me in the wake of Chris Cornell’s death last week was the journalists that kept saying, “Now only Eddie Vedder is left”.  What the fuck does that mean?  Lots of people from the Grunge Era are still around.  Several are still working in music.  Mark Arm, godfather of grunge is still in Seattle; funny as ever, still plays, if not as prolific.  There were a lot of good and great bands in Seattle at the time, not all grunge, and they all deserve their day.  Because during and within an era, the importance is the community, not the few that break out to million$.  I mean, great for the few!  But, it took a community to grow them, as a flower sits atop stems and leaves and roots you’ll never see.

I wanted to share some of those guys, just because the clueless journalists pissed me off.   And because some of the unknown music is really really good.

Mudhoney – Touch Me I’m Sick

Weather Theatre – Helium Head

Sky Cries Mary – When the Fear

Tiny Hat Orchestra – Sparky’s Dream

Because what Seattle’s scene was really about was a bunch of people playing and a bunch of people listening, and everyone having a fucking great time.  Some folks reached stardom, fame and fortune: Kurdt Kobain, Chris Cornell, good for you guys!  Big deal.  The greatness was the everyday blokes that just played – Kurt Block, John Massoni, Roderick Romero, Scott McCaughey.

The Young Fresh Fellows – Rock ‘N’ Roll Pest Control

The Fastbacks – Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

There was this band, Freak Scene.  My friend, Kerri Ann figured out the lyrics (I’m aurally challenged).

Mother’s a test tube
Father’s a creep
Freak, freak, freak of nature
I am a freak, freak of nature

I’ve never forgotten that.

So, that’s your history lesson for the day.  Seattle’s grunge scene was much much more than the outer world will ever understand.

RIP, Chris.


© Community Noise 2017.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Photo credit, of course, is the great Charles Peterson.