Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Never Know Who's Listening

Here are 10 of the music links I posted on Facebook during May. It’s a silly thing I do, juvenile, but people seem to like it, more than I would expect. And after a week might go by and don’t get any comments or “likes,” then I think maybe this is pointless, and then I get a message from someone saying I made his day, or I run into a flesh and blood person (yes, they do exist), someone who never posts anything at all, who tells me how much she likes it.

So for now, I’ll keep doing it and hello dolly. You never know who’s listening.

• Van Morrison: Cleaning Windows – Enjoying the smell of fresh baked bread, doing manual labour, and thinking about Jack Kerouac – only Van Morrison could get away with a song about all that. And get away with it he does.
• Cat Stevens: Moon Shadow – I have book called The 50 Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time by Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell. Moon Shadow is on the list. Everything they say about the song is 100% correct, and yet they are 100% wrong. Amazing how someone who writes about music could so completely not get it. Meanwhile it’s entirely possible that I actually saw the show whence this video comes, and if I didn’t then I saw one just like it. I was about 13. I love the hippie ambience.
• Jackson Browne: Two Of You, Two Of Me – Jackson Browne can be two-hearts-beating-as-one romantic, and he can heartbreakingly realistic, and he can be both in the same song. And he has dozens of songs like that, and each and every one of them can tear the heart right out of you. This is a post-mortem of a broken relationship, it’s a psychological analysis of how we break ourselves into different characters when life becomes too painful, it’s a cry for understanding, and it hits way too close to home…
• Gordon Lightfoot: Walls – I could go on and on about this one, I could write an entire blog post, several in fact, and I may have done just that, somewhere. Let’s just say that there’s a story behind it, there’s someone I haven’t seen nor heard from in just over 2 years, and the whole thing is about finding out who you really are, behind all the personas. (cue Jackson Browne) Can you say “mid-life crisis?”
• Creedence Clearwater Revival: Green River – I was 12 years old when this song was all over the radio, summer of ’69 it was, and it used to play in my head as I rode my old-fashioned single-speed bicycle over the river trails of Kildonan park. I’m not 12 anymore, but the song hasn’t lost any of its magic for me. That either speaks well of the music, or poorly of me. I’ll take my chances on the music.
• James Taylor: Carolina In My Mind – James Taylor was pure magic for about a year, maybe two. Watch him play this, and a few of the others he does, like Sweet Baby James, Fire And Rain, and (especially) You Can Close Your Eyes, and there is something utterly compelling about him. No wonder so many women fell in love with the guy. He is said to be singing about North Carolina, but the song doesn’t say North Carolina, it just says “Carolina,” so regardless of what Mr. James may have intended, I am free to think of any Carolina I choose, and if I’d rather think of South Carolina, ain’t no one can stop me…
• Santana: Soul Sacrifice – I saw Woodstock (the movie) when I was 14, about a year after it was released. It is glorious. So is the soundtrack, though I’m under no illusion about how closely either may have reflected the actual event. I didn’t get soaked and muddy watching the movie, and there was always a bathroom when I needed one. Still, there are so many highlights – The Who, Sly & the Family Stone, Ten Years After, Sha Na Na (take that! pundits). The greatest of all may be this performance by Santana – not only did “Santana” clearly and unambiguously refer to a band back then, they hadn’t even released their first album when they did this. The intensity of the energy here was enough to carry the whole hippy revolution all on its own.
• Van Morrison: Into The Mystic – Amazing how someone can appear in your life, spin you round in circles (and that’s more literal then you’d think), fade into the background, reappear after 3 months, and go out with a bang (and get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not what I mean). What’s that got to do with the song? Well…
• John Denver with the Chad Mitchell Trio: For Bobbie (For Baby) – Someone once remarked that it would be good if John Denver took an unchill pill. Ha. Still, I am an unrepentant John Denver fan. Oh, I realize that he turned into Barry Manilow at some point, and that he was always a bit of a Pollyanna, but you know, when he was good he was very very good, Pollyanna or no. He originally recorded this song as lead singer of The Mitchell Trio (Chad was gone), and rerecorded it later on Rocky Mountain High. This version, with the harmonies, is a bit corny, but isn’t that what Denver is all about?
• Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: Blinded By The Light – This is just a great performance to watch.

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