Music Notes The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes.html Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:56:46 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb My, My, Hey, Hey (Out Of The Blue) - Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/24495-my-my-hey-hey-out-of-the-blue-hey-hey-my-my-into-the-black.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/24495-my-my-hey-hey-out-of-the-blue-hey-hey-my-my-into-the-black.html My, My, Hey, Hey (Out Of The Blue) - Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black)

Around 1977 Neil Young formed a band called The Ducks that included Jeff Blackburn. The band played for a $3 cover charge in the hip Santa Cruz club environment. "My, My, Hey, Hey (Out Of The Blue)" came out of this period and Jeff Blackburn received co-writing credits. This deals with the fleeting nature of fame and how hard it is to stay relevant as an artist. "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay" is a '50s song by Danny and the Juniors. Young alludes to or mentions artists from the '50s (Danny), '60s (Elvis), and '70s (The Sex Pistols, specifically lead singer Johnny Rotten) to show that "Rock and roll will never die. This was the first track on 'Rust Never Sleeps'.

Hey, Hey, My, My

'Rust Never Sleeps' was a unique recording by Neil Young and Crazy Horse as it was an album of all new material mainly recorded live but post-produced with some studio overdubbing and most of the audience ambiance removed. This all resulted in a final product that feels at once intimate and intense. The album is half acoustic and half electric, opening and closing with different versions of the same song: "Hey Hey, My My".

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Rust Never Sleeps, album

 

"My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)" was recorded live at the Boarding House in early 1978. On this track, rock and roll chameleon Neil Young single-handedly pays tribute to punk and foreshadows the grunge movement of the 1990s. The lyrics deal fairly directly with the brevity of life as well as the concept that underneath everyone’s veneer lays a decidedly more complex reality. Young also acknowledges the Sex Pistols’ front man with the rhetorical question “Is this the story of Johnny Rotten?”, adding “It’s better to burn out ‘cause rust never sleeps.”

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Danny and The Juniors

 

The famous line "It's better to burn out than it is to rust" is often credited to Young's friend Jeff Blackburn. That line has become one of the most famous song lyrics of all time. Kurt Cobain's suicide note contained that line. When Young was asked by Time magazine in 2005 about the line and Cobain's death, he said: "The fact that he left the lyrics to my song right there with him when he killed himself left a profound feeling on me, but I don't think he was saying I have to kill myself because I don't want to fade away. I don't think he was interpreting the song in a negative way. It's a song about artistic survival, and I think he had a problem with the fact that he thought he was selling out, and he didn't know how to stop it. He was forced to do tours when he didn't want to, forced into all kinds of stuff."

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The Ducks (Mosley,Craviotto,Blackburn,Young)

 

Cobain's death was an epiphany of a different sort, one that not only left the second punk movement in a state of emotional disarray, but turned the dark bravado of Young's lyric into the stuff of tragedy. It's no wonder, then, that the incident casts a shadow across Young's new album, 'Sleeps with Angels'. It isn't just that the title song addresses Cobain's suicide in much the same way that "My My, Hey Hey" deals with the end of the Sex Pistols; it's as if the whole album is haunted by the implications of that act.

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Kurt Cobain, suicide letter

 

In the 1986 movie Highlander, the villain Kurgan quotes this song to people inside a church: "I have something to say! It's better burn out, than to fade away!" By this he means to glorify his ongoing perilous battle for immortality as opposed to living a normal humble life. This is quite an obvious metaphor for being a rock star.

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Johnny Rotten

 

In the biography of Neil Young, "Shakey" by Jimmy McDonough, Neil points out that this song came about when he was jamming with the band Devo. The phrase, "Rust never sleeps" was uttered by Mark Mothersbaugh, and Neil, loving the impromptu line, acquired it. Young explains why the phrase appealed to him: "It relates to my career; the longer I keep on going the more I have to fight this corrosion. And now that's gotten to be like the World Series for me. The competition's there, whether I will corrode and eventually not be able to move anymore and just repeat myself until further notice or whether I will be able to expand and keep the corrosion down a little."

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Mark Mothersbaugh

 

In 1978 Young and Crazy Horse set out on the lengthy tour, where each concert was divided into Young’s solo acoustic set and the full band electric set. The real brilliance of 'Rust Never Slepps' lies on the electric side two. “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” is a dark hard-driving and distortion-laden bookend to the comparatively pastoral “Hey Hey, My My (Out Of The Blue)”. The lyrics are slightly different.

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse

 

The song explicitly deals with the struggles of being a rock musician. As quoted on Hyper Rust, Neil Young said, "the essence of the rock'n'roll spirit to me, is that it's better to burn out really bright than to sort of decay off into infinity. Even though if you look at it in a mature way, you'll think, 'well, yes ... you should decay off into infinity, and keep going along.' Rock'n'roll doesn't look that far ahead. Rock'n'roll is right now. What's happening right this second"

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Neil Young

 

“Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” is the most popular song on the album and, in a lot of ways, Young’s signature song of his career. Critically acclaimed in its day and for years to come, 'Rust Never Sleeps' was also commercially successful, reaching the Top 20 on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003, 'Rust Never Sleeps' was ranked number 351 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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Rust Never Sleeps

 

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)


My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It's better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Out of the blue and into the black
They give you this, but you pay for that
And once you're gone, you can never come back
When you're out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he's not forgotten
This is the story of a johnny rotten
It's better to burn out than it is to rust
The king is gone but he's not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

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Neil Young

 

Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)


Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.
Hey hey, my my.

Out of the blue and into the black
You pay for this, but they give you that
And once you're gone, you can't come back
When you're out of the blue and into the black.

The king is gone but he's not forgotten
This is the story of Johnny Rotten
It's better to burn out 'cause rust never sleeps
The king is gone but he's not forgotten.

Hey hey, my my
Rock and roll can never die
There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye.

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Battleme - Hey Hey, My My (Sons of Anarchy)

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Rock Notes Fri, 07 Dec 2018 23:05:59 +0000
Cold Cold Feeling by Jessie Mae Robinson http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/1-blues/24369-cold-cold-feeling-by-jessie-mae-robinson.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/1-blues/24369-cold-cold-feeling-by-jessie-mae-robinson.html Cold Cold Feeling by Jessie Mae Robinson

When Jessie Mae Robinson wrote "Cold, Cold Feeling" back somewhere in the 1940/50’s she probably would never have imagined that 66 odd years later, a version of Nicky Bramble, would emerge from such a surprising place. Sure, T Bone Walker’s cover in 1952 did it justice, bet hey you gotta call it how it is…. T-Bone Walker recorded it in Los Angeles, CA, December 1951; Originally released by Imperial in 1952 on the single 'T-Bone Walker: Cold Cold Feeling'; Also released by Imperial in 1959 on the album 'T-Bone Walker Sings the Blues'.

Cold Cold Feeling

Jessie Mae Robinson becoming perhaps the first African American female songwriter to break the colour barrier. Born Jessie Mae Booker (1 October 1919) in Call, Texas, just outside Beaumont, her family moved to Watts, neighborhood in southern Los Angeles, where she started writing songs in her teens (and met and married Leonard Robinson a few years later.) Drawn to show business Robinson she began pitching her songs to performers and music publishers.

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Jessie Mae Robinson

 

Throughout her career, Robinson composed her songs while sitting at her kitchen table with paper and pen, humming the melodies to herself.

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Nicky Bramble - Cold Cold Feeling

 

The first artist to record one of her compositions was Dinah Washington ("Mellow Man Blues", 1945). She then wrote "Cleanhead Blues" for Eddie Vinson (1946; authorship of the song is disputed and is sometimes credited to Vinson.) Among her top blues hits were "Roomin' House Boogie" (recorded by Amos Milburn, 1949), "Blue Light Boogie" (Louis Jordan, 1950) and Charles Brown's number one hit in 1951, "Black Night". Other notable compositions include "Sneakin' Around" (B.B. King, 1955) and "Let's Have a Party", first recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957 and later by Wanda Jackson, 1960.

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T-Bone Walker - Cold Cold Feeling, single 1952

 

Robinson’s most successful song, "I Went To Your Wedding" (1952), launched her career in the pop market. The song was first recorded by Damita Jo, and then Patti Page made it a number 1 pop hit. The song's success allowed Robinson to become the first female African-American member of ASCAP. Other pop success came with Jo Stafford ("Keep It A Secret", 1952) and Frankie Laine ("I’m Just A Poor Bachelor", 1953). One of her last successes was "The Other Woman", a chart hit for Sarah Vaughan in 1958 and later recorded by Nina Simone and (on her 2014 album 'Ultraviolence') Lana Del Rey.

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Albert Collins plays Cold Cold Feeling

 

Jessie Mae Robinson wrote "Cold, Cold Feeling" in 1950. Besides T-Bone Walker, the song recorded among others: Otis Spann (1968), Dave Alexander (1972), Albert Collins (1978), Jimmy Witherspoon (1980), Melvin Taylor (1982), Phil Guy (1983), Valerie Wellington (1983), Jimmy Johnson (1983), Walter Trout (1989), Zuzu Bollin (1989), U. P. Wilson (1992), Aron Burton (1996), Michael Coleman (2000), Oscar Benton (2003), Lurrie Bell (2005), and Nicky Bramble (2016).

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T-Bone Walker - Cold Cold Feeling

 

Jessie Mae changed the musical landscape with her songs and she'd achieved extraordinary success as a composer with a significant number of songs on the Billboard hit parade of the 50s. By the early 1960s her hits had dried up, but she still received a modest income from royalties. Robinson attempted to start small record labels in the 1960s, but with notable lack of success. She died suddenly in October 1966 after a short illness, aged 47.

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Jessie Mae Robinson

 

Cold Cold Feeling, lyrics


I've got a cold, cold feelin; It's just like ice around my heart.
I've got a cold, cold feelin; It's just like ice around my heart.
I know I'm gonna' quit somebody, every time that, feelin'starts.

You treat my like a prisoner, because my hands are tied.
Everything you do to me, is stackin' up inside.
It's a cold, cold feelin' Yea, You're just like ice around my heart.
I know I'm gonna' quit somebody, every time that, feelin'starts.

There's a change in me baby, once I was blind but now I can see.
There's a change in me baby, once I was blind but now I can see.
I'm gonna' put everybody down baby,
That ever made a fool outta me.

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Jimmy Johnson plays Cold Cold Feeling

 

 

Albert Collins & Gary Moore - Cold Cold Feeling

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Blues Notes Mon, 12 Nov 2018 18:24:10 +0000
Pink Floyd - Money http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/24358-celebrate-100-years-of-poland-regaining-independence-mel-gibson.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/24358-celebrate-100-years-of-poland-regaining-independence-mel-gibson.html

Pink Floyd - Money (1974)

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Rock Notes Sun, 11 Nov 2018 09:50:32 +0000
Paloma Negra (Black Dove) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/27-latin/24251-paloma-negra-black-dove.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/27-latin/24251-paloma-negra-black-dove.html Paloma Negra (Black Dove)

According to the latest Watch and Listen magazine poll just out yesterday (Thursday, October 18), Jenni Rivera 2007's hit "Paloma Negra" is now considered to be the Greatest Song in the History of Music. To many of you it’s probably a familiar story. Once every decade, the world-renowned music magazine Watch and Listen conducts a global poll of music producers and critics from 80 different countries and translated into 20 languages. The recognition of "Paloma Negra" in this decade's list doesn't come as much of a surprise. While millions of Rivera's fans around the world were thrilled with the news, questions have been raised about the objectivity and fairness of the survey.

Paloma Negra (Black Dove)

"Paloma Negra" is a ranchera song written by Tomás Méndez and released by Lola Beltrán from her album 'La Grande' in 1988.

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Jenni Rivera - Paloma Negra

 

Ranchera music is a popular genre of music from Mexico that takes its name from the ranch lands on which the style was originally performed. Although the music embraces rural themes, its popularity spread during Mexico’s Revolutionary to urban center all over the country. Drawing on rural traditional folklore, Ranchera was conceived as a symbol of a new national consciousness in reaction to the aristocratic tastes of that era. Traditional rancheras sing about love, patriotism or nature. Rhythms can be in 3/4, 2/4 or 4/4, reflecting the tempo of, respectively, the waltz, the polka, and the bolero. Songs are usually in a major key, and consist of an instrumental introduction, verse and refrain, instrumental section repeating the verse, and another verse and refrain, with a tag ending. Instrumentation may include guitars, strings, trumpets, and/or accordions, depending on the type of ensemble being utilized.

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Lola Beltran - 'La Grande', 1988

 

Tomás Méndez (1927 - 1995) was a Mexican composer and singer of ranchera music. He was born in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico. Working primarily in a mariachi vein, Mendez was a fairly prolific composer, but achieved his greatest success with 1954's "Cucurrucucu Paloma," which was a smash hit for Lola Beltran and later recorded by countless others, including Julio Iglesias. (In the wave of the song's success, Beltran also starred in a film of the same name.) Beltran recorded numerous Mendez songs -- including his other all-time classic, "Paloma Negra" -- and was arguably his most sympathetic interpreter, but his compositions found favor with many; among his most prominent devotees were Pedro Infante, Vicente Fernández, Amalia Mendoza, and Javier Solís. Mendez also made recordings as a singer, but was always more noted for his writing abilities. He died in Mexico City on June 19, 1995.

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Tomas Mendez

 

Jenni Rivera touched the hearts of millions with "Paloma Negra". Her legacy continues to grow as new generations of fans are discovering her unique musical heritage. Born Dolores Janney Rivera in Long Beach on July 2, 1969, her career spanned an arc over many different eras and tastes in American history. Rivera was not just a great singer, she was an icon, an all-around inspiration to everyone. Jenni Rivera died in Iturbide on December 9, 2012 at the age of 43.

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Jenni Rivera

 

"Paloma Negra shows an open channel in Mexico and the way they feel to the surface and most of us have this pigeon somewhere in our being." - say Mariachi Semblanza - "Drunkenness is not just so without Paloma Negra. It is not just comfortable drunkenness if one does not die of love or of memories of one of the lovers that accompany your story. You are not just drunk until you are embraced to a friend and belting out: ” ya agarraste… por tu cuenta.. las parraaandaaas” “and not until “el rincón de la cantina” (the corner of the canteen) and the mariachi that somewhere in the night and consciousness accompanies you."

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Tomas Mendez

 

Perhaps the most famous version of "Paloma Negra" was made by Lola Beltran, although there are other singers who have brought with them and have made themselves as Chavela Vargas or Lila Downs.

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Chavela Vargas

 

Paloma Negra spanish lyrics


Ya me canso de llorar y no amanece
Ya no sé si maldecirte o por ti rezar
Tengo miedo de buscarte y de encontrarte
Donde me aseguran mis amigos que te vas
Hay momentos en que quisiera mejor rajarme
Y arrancarme ya los clavos de mi penar
Pero mis ojos se mueren si mirar tus ojos
Y mi cariño con la aurora te vuelve a esperar

Y aggaraste por tu cuenta la parranda
Paloma negra paloma negra dónde, dónde andarás?
Ya no jueges con mi honra parrandera
Si tus caricias han de ser mías, de nadie mas

Y aunque te amo con locura ya no vuelves
Paloma negra eres la reja de un penar
Quiero ser libre vivir mi vida con quien yo quiera
Dios dame fuerza que me estoy muriendo por irla a buscar

Y agarraste por tu cuenta las parrandas

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Lola Beltran

 

English Translation


I’m tired of weeping and yet there’s no sign of the sun
I no longer know whether to curse you or pray for you
I’m afraid to look for you and afraid to find you
Where my friends all tell me that you’ve gone

At times I feel like relinquishing the fight
And ripping out the nails that cause my pain
But my eyes are dying without looking into yours
And my affection returns to wait for you at dawn

And you decided on your own to find a party
Black dove, black dove, where are you?
Stop playing with my honor, party girl
Your caresses must be mine, and no one else’s

And though I love you madly, don’t come back to me
Black dove, you are the bars on this cage of suffering
I want to be free and live my life with whom I choose
Lord, give me strength for I’m dying to go find her

And you decided on your own to find a party

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Paloma Negra

 

 

Tania Libertad - Paloma Negra

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Latin French, Italian Notes Sat, 20 Oct 2018 14:28:33 +0000
Almost Blue http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/24200-almost-blues.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/24200-almost-blues.html Almost Blue

Chesney Henry "Chet" Baker, Jr. (December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist. Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals ('Chet Baker Sings', 'It Could Happen to You'). Jazz historian David Gelly described the promise of Baker's early career as "James Dean, Sinatra, and Bix, rolled into one."

"Almost Blue" is a song by Elvis Costello that appears on his 1982 album Imperial Bedroom. It is said to be inspired by Chet Baker's version of the song "The Thrill Is Gone". Baker closed the circle by recording the song for 'Let's Get Lost,' a documentary film about Baker's life. Baker also performed the song at concerts and it was recorded for his live album Chet Baker in Tokyo (recorded 1987, released posthumously 1988).

Elvis Costello took the literacy of folk music and broke it wide open against the ragged edges of punk. He was one of the best and most consistent songwriters of his generation, but he never used that as an excuse to get repetitive—Elvis Costello has experimented with everything from punk to opera.

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Elvis Costello

 

Elvis Costello’s remarkable career spontaneously kicked into gear in 1976. According to a record-company bio, “An unknown and unannounced Elvis Costello walks into the offices of Stiff Records, strikes up an instant rapport with Stiff’s then-supremo Jake Riviera, and is signed immediately.” Thus began a career in song that has been almost unmatched in its reach—from furious, biting punk-era nuggets to art-minded collaborations with an opera singer and string quartet—and consistency. Costello has been called “the finest songwriter of his generation,” and he ranks among the most prolific, too.

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Almost Blue

 

Born Declan Patrick McManus, Costello had the audacity to adopt “Elvis” as a stage name (at manager Riviera’s suggestion) and the talent to live up to such a scandalous appropriation. Greil Marcus profiled him in 1982: “He combined the brains of Randy Newman and the implacability of Bob Dylan, the everyman pathos of Buddy Holly and the uniqueness of John Lennon.” Indeed, every one of those figures exerted some degree of influence upon the broad-minded Costello.

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Elvis Costello

 

In 1981 Costello released 'Almost Blue,' an album of favorite country tunes cut with legendary Nashville producer Billy Sherrill. After this labor of love for a form of music one might not immediately associate with Costello, he embarked on the hugely ambitious Imperial Bedroom (1982). Produced by former Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick during a three-month period, it has been described by Costello as “the album on which the Attractions and I granted ourselves the sort of scope that we imagined the Beatles had enjoyed in the mid-‘60s.”

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‘Imperial Bedroom’, 1982

 

To the hype-wary Costello’s consternation, the word “masterpiece” appeared in the ad campaign for and many reviews of 'Imperial Bedroom'. Yet it was a masterpiece. Costello’s switch from guitar to piano as his main composing instrument could be detected in the more ornate arrangements of “Man Out of Time,” “Town Cryer,” “Shabby Doll” and “The Long Honeymoon.” The song “Almost Blue”—an 'Imperial Bedroom' original unrelated to Costello’s previous country album—was later covered by jazz trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, who had inspired its composition.

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Chet Baker - Almost Blue

 

'Imperial Bedroom' is full of manic energy and it is subdued, as it is animated, by a saturnine sensibility seeking to extract life from a comatose of disordered experiences. (This seems to engender anger less than on past Costello albums.) This is most clearly illustrated by “Almost Blue,” by its narrator’s evocation of his dead past, a dead relationship, through comparison to the present. As he expresses it, “There’s a girl here and she’s almost you…all those things your eyes used to promise, hers promise to.” The despondence of the song comes with the understanding that the vitality of the narrator’s present has been sapped by his consciousness of its swift dislocation into past occurrence, and as such, lifelessness.

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Alyson Moyet sings Almost Blue

 

'Imperial Bedroom' was the record where Elvis Costello spread his wings as a songwriter. On this record and specifically the song "Almost Blue," he ambitiously takes aim directly at the same level of songwriting excellence as such icons as Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin. Only time will tell, but "Almost Blue" was written with timelessness in mind and has already become a jazz-pop vocal standard. Costello sets the tone, which sinks lower than melancholy to almost full-blown sorrow. The singer here is a man who has loved and lost, and is wallowing in his own helplessness, while facing the end of a relationship that was doomed from the start: "Flirting with this disaster became me/It named me as a fool who only aimed to be/Almost blue."

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Elvis Costello

 

This was a breakthrough of sorts for Costello in that it gained respect from a lot of musicians who ordinarily didn't care much rock and roll - "Almost Blue" has become a jazz standard in the more knowledgable circles. Costello divorced his first wife around this time, and the lyrics are some of his most wounded and bitter - though it's not a concept album per se, the cumulative effect is the story of a failed marriage.

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Diana Krall sings Almost Blue

 

Elvis Costello - Almost Blue, lyrics


Almost blue
Almost doing things we used to do
There's a girl here and she's almost you, almost
All the things that your eyes once promised
I see in hers too
Now your eyes are red from crying

Almost blue
Flirting with this disaster became me
It named me as the fool who only aimed to be

Almost blue
It's almost touching; it will almost do
There's a part of me that's always true, always
Not all good things come to an end now; it is only a chosen few
I have seen such an unhappy couple

Almost me
Almost you
Almost blue

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Almost Blue

 

 

 

Gabriel Johnson - Almost Blue

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Mon, 08 Oct 2018 19:29:01 +0000
Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/23897-shostakovichs-violin-concerto-no-1.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/3-classical/23897-shostakovichs-violin-concerto-no-1.html Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1

During his long career under the Communists, Dmitri Shostakovich seesawed between being the pride of Russian music and a pariah one step away from the Siberian Gulag. His lowest moments came in 1936, when he was denounced for his seamy opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” (he restored himself to favor with his famous Fifth Symphony), and again in 1948. In that year, Stalin, aging and crazier than ever, attacked musicians, writers, scientists, and scholars: denouncing the most prominent figures to cow the masses. A Party Resolution condemned composers for "formalistic distortions and anti-democratic tendencies alien to the Soviet people." Black lists were drawn up, and heading the composers' list were the names of Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

Dmitri Shostakovich - Violin Concerto No 1 in A Minor

In 1948, Shostakovich had just completed his First Violin Concerto, but locked it away in a desk drawer; this probing and sometimes sarcastic work might seal his doom with the Soviet authorities. With little warning, Shostakovich and other leading Soviet composers found that many of their works that were once praised were now banned. The rationales given were ludicrous; Shostakovich and other composers were forced to listen to long harangues from cultural apparatchiks laden with virtually meaningless terms like “formalism” and “socialist realism.” Despite having sincerely tried to understand these terms for the past two decades, many composers came to the conclusion that social realist works were simply the ones in favor at the moment and formalist ones were not. It would have been laughable if only so much had not been at stake.

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Shostakovich and Stalin

 

After the death of Stalin in 1953, there was a gradual relaxation of the persecution of Soviet artists. By 1955 when the composer was 50, under the more relaxed regime of Nikita Khrushchev, compositions that had been hidden away for fear of disciplinary actions were beginning to emerge. One such was Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. He revised the score a bit; the premiere was given in Leningrad on October 29 of that year by the illustrious violinist David Oistrakh with the Leningrad Philharmonic under Evgeny Mravinsky, and published as Op. 99.

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Mravinsky, Oistrakh and Shostakovich

 

The Concerto is drawn to the broad proportions of such predecessors as the violin concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, but it is in four movements rather than the usual three (as Brahms had actually intended for his own concerto at first), resembling the form of a symphony more than a concerto, and quite specifically the somewhat unorthodox layout characteristic of Shostakovich's own symphonies.

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Dmitri Shostakovich

 

The opening movement is not a heroic allegro, but a slowich Nocturne. Shostakovich presents us with a supremely beautiful movement, beginning Moderato and sustaining a quiet mood of meditation and memory for quite a long time. The upper registers of the violin are used to their full extent, lyrical and invading, lilting over adept orchestrations. This is profoundly melancholy, even anguished music: an aria for violin with the soloist as a lonely insomniac singing to a sleeping, indifferent world. Darkest woodwinds — clarinets with bass clarinet, bassoon with contrabassoon — paint deep shadows around her. The bleak ending, with tolling harp and celesta accompanying the soloist floating on a fragile high harmonic note, is unforgettable.

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Opening movement - Nocturne

 

The savage second-movement Scherzo is a Fellini-esque circus of the absurd. “Scherzo” means "joke," and this is a harshly sarcastic joke indeed. The ensuing scherzo is a wild, frenetic dance. In this movement, Shostakovich introduces for the first time what would become his musical signature: the notes D-Eb-C-B (in German, these notes are called D-S-C-H, a cypher for Dmitri SCHostokowitsch, the German spelling of Shostakovich’s name). Technically, the first appearance of this figure is D#-E-C#-B, but it later morphs into the more usual form. The inclusion of this motif suggests an autobiographical intent. We cannot know what Shostakovich was thinking when he wrote this passage, but one of Shostakovich’s comments to his friend Maria Sabinina after being forced to read a speech at this time seems to resonate:

“And I got up on the tribune, and started to read out aloud this idiotic, disgusting nonsense concocted by some nobody. Yes, I humiliated myself, I read out what was taken to be ‘my own speech.’ I read like the most paltry wretch, a parasite, a cut-out paper doll on a string!!” This last phrase he shrieked out like a frenzied maniac, and then kept on repeating it.

Not long after the appearance of Shostakovich’s musical signature, the music arrives at a boisterous, klezmer-inspired central episode. The beleaguered soloist flies through a crazed, driven dance of exacting virtuosity.

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Hilary Hahn plays Violin Concerto No. 1

 

As he would in other major works, Shostakovich turned to the Baroque passacaglia form for his powerful F-minor third movement, the Concerto's emotional center. The passacaglia is a repeating melodic-harmonic pattern, usually in the bass. The bass line in this case is a heavy, oppressive figure introduced by the cellos and basses, as horns play pulsing figures and arpeggios above it. Shostakovich's theme, which we hear is 17 measures long and broken into choppy two-measure phrases. Gradually this pattern travels through the orchestra; even the soloist eventually takes it up in fierce double-stopped octaves. After a quieter variation for winds, the soloist enters with an expressive melody. An increasingly tense series of variations follows, until the solo violin takes up the bass line itself before returning to its original melody. The movement concludes with one of the longest and most taxing (both physically and emotionally) cadenzas ever written for a violinist; it is almost a movement in itself and constitutes the soloist's commentary on the entire concerto.

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Passacaglia theme

 

In the concertos of the previous century, cadenzas were normally placed just before the end or at the climax of the first movement. Instead, Shostakovich places his cadenza between movements, making it seem untethered, as if we have passed into some netherworld that is neither here nor there. Suspended in this liminal space, the soloist seems even more alone and isolated. The cadenza becomes faster and more intense as it progresses, recalling ideas from the previous movements, including the DSCH motif. Climaxing with the return of the klezmer theme in the violin’s highest register, the cadenza then accelerates into the finale.

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Nicola Benedetti plays Violin Concerto No. 1

 

Shostakovich titled the last movement “Burlesca,” (Allegro con brio) an indication that fits the music’s darkly comic atmosphere. Its mad, virtuoso fiddle music brings the concerto to an unsettling, but thrilling conclusion. But here the mood seems less bitter than earlier: more a wild folk dance over a driving rhythmic ostinato. Midway, the passacaglia theme makes a brief, mocking appearance in clarinet, horn, and the hard-edged clatter of xylophone. Again, shrill woodwinds dominate this finale, while the soloist hurtles through a non-stop display of virtuosity, culminating in a final acceleration to Presto.

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Leonidas Kavakos plays Violin Concerto No. 1

 

Composed in four movements of symphonic weight, this is a true "iron man" concerto, calling on everything in the violinist's technical arsenal as well as vast physical and emotional stamina. Even the redoubtable Oistrakh begged the composer to give the opening of the finale to the orchestra so that "at least I can wipe the sweat off my brow" after the daunting solo cadenza that concludes the third movement.

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Shostakovich and Oistrakh

 

Because of the delay before its premiere, it is unknown whether or not the concerto was composed before the Tenth Symphony (1953). While the Symphony is generally thought to have been the first work that introduces Shostakovich's famous DSCH motif, it is possible that the First Violin Concerto was actually the first instance of the motif. Shostakovich uses this theme in many of his works to represent himself.

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Dmitri Shostakovich

 

 

 

Dmitri Shostakovich - Violin Concerto No 1 - David Oistrakh

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Classical Notes Tue, 07 Aug 2018 21:36:16 +0000
La Bamba http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/23740-la-bamba.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/30-rock/23740-la-bamba.html La Bamba

La Bamba is the story of 1950s rock 'n' roll rage Ritchie Valens, played herein with gusto and credibility by Lou Diamond Phillips. The film follows 17-year-old Ritchie as he strolls from one end of his California barrio to the other, guitar in hand. We meet Ritchie's colorful Mexican/American family, who react to his fame with varying degrees of pride and envy. And we meet the ladies in his life: his ambitious mother Connie Valenzuela (Rosana De Soto), his half-sister Rosie Morales (Elizabeth Pena), and blonde classmate Donna Ludwig (Danielle von Zerneck), who inspired Ritchie's first hit "Donna." Both this song and "La Bamba" are given con brio interpretations by Lou Diamond Philips and by the contemporary group Los Lobos, who appear in the film as the Tijuana band. The tragic coda of La Bamba is not unduly emphasized; this is a celebration of Ritchie Valens' life, not a eulogy.

La Bamba

"La Bamba" is a classic example of the son jarocho musical style, which originated in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The song also refers to a specific incident which occurred in the year 1683, in Veracruz, when pirates attacked the people, free and enslaved, living there. The Spanish officials mistreated the enslaves so horribly that they rebelled in what was known as the 'Bambarria', an enslave uprising that pitted the African enslaves and Indians against the Spanish.

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La Bamba, 1987, poster

 

Most people never thought of “La Bamba” with an African/Black connection, but, it does have an African origin, and the song owes its creation to enslaved Africans. The song was originally a song sung by African slaves in Veracruz as they worked, since many of the enslaves brought to Mexico by the Spaniards, came from Angola and Congo, with the Africans who originated the song hailing from the MBamba peoples of Angola. Bamba is the name of an African tribe in Angola and in Congo, from the Bamba River. As enslaves, the MBamba peoples brought their beautiful culture with them, and the original origins of this song, over 500 years ago, and as so very often, with enslaved Africans in the new world, they fought against enslavement, running away and joining up with the indigenous peoples in the rain forests and mountainous areas.

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Los Lobos sing La Bamba, 1987

 

Influenced by Afro-Mexican and Spanish flamenco rhythms, the song uses the violin, jaranas, guitar, and harp. Lyrics to the song vary greatly, as performers often improvise verses while performing. However, versions such as those by musical groups Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan and Los Pregoneros del Puerto have survived because of the artists' popularity. The traditional aspect of "La Bamba" lies in the tune, which remains almost the same through most versions.

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El Mariachi

 

The song and dance was traditionally performed at weddings and in general it's thought to be a "love" dance. The bride and groom (or couple dancing it) perform intricate steps. The line 'arriba' (up) is most likely referring to the steps in which the knee is slightly lifted. Towards the end of the song they dance back and forth over a long red ribbon called a listón. At the very end, they tie the long ribbon into a love knot (a bow) using only their feet. Then they hold up their perfect bow to show everyone. It's a really beautiful dance.

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La Bamba dance - Arriba

 

The most famous version worldwide is the one sung by Ritchie Valens in 1958. Valens was born Richard Valenzuela in Pacoima, California to Mexican-Indian parents. He didn't speak fluent Spanish, but could understand his mother and speak a fair Spanglish. Valens obtained the lyrics from his aunt Ernestine Reyes and learned the Spanish lyrics phonetically, as he had been raised from birth speaking English.

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Ritchie Valens

 

Valens' "La Bamba" infused the traditional tune with a rock beat, making the song accessible to the population of the United States and earning it (and Valens) a place in rock history. The song features simple verse-chorus form. Valens' version was originally the B side to his first hit, "Donna." "La Bamba" entered the Top 40 two weeks before the 17-yearold died in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

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Donna/La Bamba, 1958

 

This song was only a modest hit when it was released in November 1958, but it became far more popular when the Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba was released in 1987. The movie was a big deal because it was the first major, mainstream Hollywood film with a Hispanic subject. The movie was released in the United States in both Spanish and English versions, and Coca-Cola did a marketing tie-in targeting the Hispanic population in America - a population that would grow considerably in size and influence over the next several years.

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Ritchie Valens

 

The Los Lobos version was the title track of the film La Bamba and reached No. 1 in the U.S. and UK singles charts in the same year and remained No. 1 for three weeks in the summer of 1987. Valens' version of La Bamba is ranked number 345 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is the only song on the list not sung in English. Ritchie Valens' tapping into a Mexican folk song unwittingly paved the way for “Twist and Shout” and all the other songs based on it since 1962.

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Ritchie Valens - La Bamba, 1987

 

La Bamba by Ritchie Valens


Para bailar La Bamba
Para bailar La Bamba se necesita una poca de gracia
Una poca de gracia
Pa' mi, pa' ti, ay arriba, ay arriba
Ay, arriba arriba
Por ti seré, por ti seré, por ti seré

Yo no soy marinero
Yo no soy marinero, soy capitán
Soy capitán, soy capitán
Bamba, bamba
Bamba, bamba
Bamba, bamba, bam

Para bailar La Bamba
Para bailar La Bamba
Se necesita una poca de gracia
Una poca de gracia
Para mi, para ti, ay arriba, ay arriba

Para bailar La Bamba
Para bailar La Bamba
Se necesita una poca de gracia
Una poca de gracia
Pa' mi, pa' ti, ay arriba, ay arriba
Ay, arriba arriba
Por ti seré, por ti seré, por ti seré

Bamba, bamba
Bamba, bamba
Bamba, bamba

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Los Pregoneros del Puerto sing La Bamba

 

English translation


To dance the Bamba,
to dance the Bamba,
one needs a bit of grace.
A bit of grace for me, for you,
now come on, come on,
now come on, come on,
for you I'll be, for you I'll be, for you I'll be.
 
I'm not a sailor,
I'm not a sailor, I'm a captain.
I'm a captain, I'm a captain.
Bamba, bamba,
bamba, bamba,
bamba, bamba, bam...
 
To dance the Bamba,
to dance the Bamba,
one needs a bit of grace.
A bit of grace for me, for you,
now come on, come on.
 
Rrrraa-ha-haa...
 
To dance the Bamba,
to dance the Bamba,
one needs a bit of grace.
A bit of grace for me, for you,
now come on, come on,
now come on, come on,
for you I'll be, for you I'll be, for you I'll be.
 
Bamba, bamba,
bamba, bamba,
bamba, bamba...

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La Bamba dance - final

 

 

 

Tlen Huicani - La Bamba (Son Jarocho)

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Rock Notes Mon, 02 Jul 2018 20:44:12 +0000
I'll Take Care of You http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/1-blues/23630-ill-take-care-of-you.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/1-blues/23630-ill-take-care-of-you.html I'll Take Care of You

In 2011, Toronto-based pop star Drake named the album ‘Take Care’ but only a few people have caught the original reference. Produced by British indie darling Jamie xx, "Take Care" is a sultry “club number that features Rihanna sweetly murmuring a verse that begins with a memorable couplet: I know you've been hurt by someone else / I can tell by the way you carry yourself." Echoing her words is the ghost of Gil Scott-Heron, whose brooding piano-based version of a song called "I'll Take Care of You" was one of several Jamie xx reworked for the remix album ‘We're New Here,’ released shortly before Scott-Heron died this past May. The energetic but oddly somber beat mixes with those melancholy vocal hooks and Drake's own emotional vocalizing to effectively deliver the song's message of belief in damaged yet redeemable love.

I'll Take Care of You

"I'll Take Care of You" is a song written by Brook Benton, a gifted vocalist and songwriter. Beginning in 1959, and over the next 10 plus years, Benton had 49 charted singles on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 chart…which was established on August 4, 1958 to track and rank singles from all genres of pop music (including rock and roll). In the U.S., 24 of Benton’s single records entered the Top 40.

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Drake feat. Rihanna - 'Take Care'

 

Brook Benton was born Benjamin Franklin Peay on September 19, 1931, in Camden, South Carolina. He became a gospel singer at a young age and was a member of the Camden Jubilee Singers. Benton moved to New York City at age 17 in 1948 to try his luck as a songwriter. When he first arrived in New York he sang with such gospel groups as Bill Langford's Spiritual Singers, The Langfordaires, The Golden Gate Quartet, and The Jerusalem Stars. He eventually went back to South Carolina, drove a truck for a while and joined the R&B singing group The Sandmen prior to returning to New York again in search of a big break. This time Benton found a successful career co-producing albums and writing songs for such artists as Nat 'King' Cole, Clyde McPhatter (he penned the hit song "A Lover's Question" for McPhatter), and Roy Hamilton.

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Brook Benton, 1959

 

Benton enjoyed his first minor hit with "A Million Miles from Nowhere." He then switched to Mercury Records and achieved his greatest commercial success recording a steady string of hit songs with that label. In 1959 Brook scored two major breakthrough successes: "It's Just A Matter of Time" peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts and "Endlessly" went all the way to #12 on the charts. Benton sustained this winning streak with such equally excellent tunes as "Thank You Pretty Baby," "So Many Ways," "Hotel Happiness," "The Boll Weevil Song," and "Kiddio." Brook cracked the Top 10 one last time in 1970 with a beautifully moving rendition of Tony Joe White's lovely ballad "Rainy Night in Georgia."

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Brook Benton, 1970

 

Benton seems to have never recorded "I'll Take Care of You", however. Instead, blues lion Bobby "Blue" Bland claimed it as his own, cutting it for Duke Records in 1959. The original record is a slow 6/8 ballad with soothing Blue Bland vocals gliding over the top. Bland's version is a lesson in getting to tshe depths of a seemingly simple song – melodramatic but classy, it perfectly balances nurture and seduction with just a dash of sexy menace. Like many of Bland's recordings from this era, it's the epitome of sophisticated blues. It reached number 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1960.

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Bobby 'Blue Bland - 'I'll Take Care of You', 1959

 

"I'll Take Care of You" subsequently became a blues classic. With its dramatic pacing and a melody singers could climb like a golden staircase, the song offers the chance to show off, but it also has an inherent gravitas; it's a Big Number, but grittier, more down home. It's a mountain of a song, and artists try to climb it in order prove their mettle.

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Bobby 'Blue Bland

 

The song has been covered many times since by artists such as Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Roy Hamilton, Etta James, Mick Hucknall, Irma Thomas, O. V. Wright, Mark Lanegan, Gil Scott-Heron, Beth Hart and Rebecca Ferguson.

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Irma Thomas sings 'I'll Take Care of You'

 

I'll take care of you by Brook Benton


I know you've been hurt by someone else
I can tell by the way you carry yourself
But if you let me, here's what I'll do
I'll take care of you

I've loved and I've lost the same as you
So you see I know just what you've been through
And if you let me, here's what I'll do
I'll take care of you

You won't ever have to worry
You won't ever have to cry
For I'll be there beside you
To dry your weeping eyes

So darling tell me that you'll be true
There's no doubt in my mind, no, what I want to do
And just as sure as one and one is two
I know I'll take care of you

I'll take care of you
I'll take care of you
I'll take care of you

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Blues Notes Mon, 11 Jun 2018 20:44:06 +0000
Donovan's “Catch The Wind” http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/29-pop/23557-donovans-catch-the-wind.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/29-pop/23557-donovans-catch-the-wind.html Donovan's “Catch The Wind”

Donovan is often described as a hippie, lightweight Dylan, a kind of Dylan Lite. And there’s no denying the resemblance. But who wasn’t trying to sound like Dylan in the sixties? And unlike many of the imitators, Donovan actually had songwriting and musical chops to back up his imitation. Take “Catch the Wind,” a pretty little song that sounds like a “Freewheelin’” Bob Dylan castoff but is sweeter than anything Dylan has ever done. At its worst, this sweetness made Donovan sound like a sprite or naive schoolboy, but on songs like this, it was utterly charming.

Catch The Wind

It took Great Britain a little longer than America to embrace Bob Dylan, with the singer/songwriter's second album, “The Freewheelin'” Bob Dylan, not marking his chart debut there until May 1964, a year after its release. With that, however, Dylan became enormously popular, with his next albums “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “Another Side of Bob Dylan” scoring higher than they did at home. By early 1965, Dylan had begun to record with electric instruments, but in England he was still viewed as a folksinger with an acoustic guitar hanging from his shoulders and a harmonica rack set before his mouth. Just then, a homegrown version of the same thing appeared: 18-year-old Donovan Leitch. There is little doubt that Donovan's resemblance to Dylan is what got him a pair of managers and a shot on the British TV show ‘Ready Steady Go!’ on February 6, 1965, with return engagements the following two weeks.

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Donovan, 1965

 

Donovan Leitch started appearing on the folk scene in the mid 1960s. In fact, he performed at the famous 1965 Newport Folk Festival at which Bob Dylan went electric. He followed with a series of hits, including “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Jennifer Juniper,” and numerous others. Many, including John Lennon, looked upon Donovan as a significant influence with his combination of melodic pop sensibility and lyrics that were a kind of epitome of the flower-child ethos of the Sixties.

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Dylan & Donovan, Newport 1965

 

Recorded in 1964 and released the following year in both the United States and United Kingdom, "Catch The Wind" was Donovan's debut single. It was released as a single in the United Kingdom on March 12, 1965 through Pye Records and a few months later in the United States through Hickory Records. The single was backed with "Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?" on both the United Kingdom and United States releases. The melody of the song was influenced by "Chimes of Freedom" by Bob Dylan.

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Catch the Wind, single, Pye Records 1965

 

Employing a similar title to Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," "Catch the Wind" was also a ballad played on acoustic guitar with harmonica fills, sung in a similarly husky, if somewhat more regular voice than Dylan's. The main difference was that while Dylan rarely sang directly of romantic love (at least, he rarely did so approvingly), "Catch the Wind" was an unabashed love song in which a young man, in highly poetic language, his desire for a woman before wistfully adding, "Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind."

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Catch the Wind, single, Hickory Records 1965

 

In an interview with Dierdre O'Donoghue on KCRW Radio, Los Angeles, Donovan said: "'Catch The Wind,' I wrote it for Linda (Lawrence, who he married in 1970), although I hadn't really met her yet. It is a song of unrequited love, yet I hadn't really met her, so how could I miss her? And I seem to write prophetic songs in the sense of the Celtic poet and I wrote this song before I met Linda, of a love I would like to have had and lost." The lyrical sentiment reflected a legitimate naivety, as an 18-year-old Donovan sang wistful lines including “When sundown pales the sky / I wanna hide a while / Behind your smile / And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.” That unaffected, unadorned innocence was echoed in a dulcet folk melody matched to Donovan's acoustic guitar chording and harmonica riffs. The single version featured Donovan's vocals with echo and a string section.

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Donovan & Linda Lawrence

 

The melody of “Catch the Wind” sounds ageless, and Donovan uses this characteristic to play to the lyrics’ age-old theme of unrequited (or is it just impossible?) love. His vocal performance teeters on the edge of tweeness, but that catch in his voice when he says “would be the sweetest thing” is, against all odds, perfect.

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Joan Baez & Donovan, Newport 1965

 

From his early troubadour songs of 1965, Donovan quickly developed into key figure in the development of music of the period. Embracing music from other cultures, composing collections of songs for children, and working with The Beatles, he defined what we now refer to as both psychedelia and acid folk. For a short period in the mid-Sixties, Donovan was seen as Britain’s answer to Bob Dylan. History, however, has not been kind. By the Eighties he was dismissed as a psychedelic novelty, a hippy-dippy troubadour who clung to Eastern mysticism while all around him the pioneers of New Wave presented a political urgency.

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Donovan & Crystal Gale sing Catch The Wind

 

"Catch the Wind" hit the British charts in March 1965 and peaked in the Top Five (No.4). In May, it figured in the American charts, peaking in the Top 40 by July (No.23). Though it remains identified with its author, the song has earned a respectable number of covers over the years.

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Eartha Kitt sings Catch The Wind

 

Donovan - Catch The Wind


In the chilly hours and minutes,
Of uncertainty, I want to be,
In the warm hold of your loving mind.

To feel you all around me,
And to take your hand, along the sand,
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When sundown pales the sky,
I wanna hide a while, behind your smile,
And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.

For me to love you now,
Would be the sweetest thing, 'twould make me sing,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

When rain has hung the leaves with tears,
I want you near, to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind.

For standin' in your heart,
Is where I want to be, and I long to be,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

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Catch the wind

 

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluelover) Pop and Misc. Notes Sun, 27 May 2018 14:37:43 +0000
Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/23413-sing-sing-sing-with-a-swing.html http://www.theblues-thatjazz.com/en/notes/25-jazz/23413-sing-sing-sing-with-a-swing.html Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

On the evening of January 16, 1938, Benny Goodman took to the stage at Carnegie Hall along with his trio, his quartet, and his big band. It was the first time ever that a swing band played Carnegie. Historians now look to this night as the moment when jazz gained validity from the music establishment.

The last number on the program was "Sing, Sing, Sing" — what Goodman called a "killer diller," a number intended to get a crowd on its feet, jitterbugging. Drummer Gene Krupa sets the groove with his tom-toms, and members of the orchestra take their turns soloing, including a mournful one from Benny himself. But Jess Stacy steals the show with his piano.

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)

One of the best-known tunes of the jazz era started life as a vocal written by Italy's favorite son, Louis Prima, as "Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)." It was originally intended as a feature for singer Helen Ward and Prima’s friend Bing Crosby. Prima was never known as a composer. Indeed, were it not for “Sing, Sing, Sing,” it is likely that few people would know of any tunes composed by Louis Prima.

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Benny Goodman - Carnegie Hall 1938

 

Many years after it was composed, Prima recalled how the tune came to be: “I was out at the race track back in 1936 with Bing Crosby and George Raft. On the way home, the phrase ‘Sing, Bing, Sing,’ kept running through my mind. By the time I got home, I decided that wasn’t very commercial, and I changed it to ‘Sing, Sing, Sing.'” Prima tried out the new song (Prima also wrote the simplistic lyric) in a club where he was playing with a small group. “It got no reaction, but a few days later my publisher brought Benny Goodman around to hear it. Benny was reluctant, but he bought it.”

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Louis Prima & His Band

 

While rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing music, and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career: he formed a seven-piece New Orleans-style jazz band in the late 1920s, fronted a swing combo in the 1930s and a big band group in the 1940s, helped to popularize jump blues in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s, and performed as a Vegas lounge act in the late 1950s and 1960s. From the 1940s through the 1960s, his music further encompassed early R&B and rock'n'roll, boogie-woogie, and even Italian folk music, such as the tarantella. Prima made prominent use of Italian music and language in his songs, blending elements of his Italian identity with jazz and swing music. At a time when "ethnic" musicians were often discouraged from openly stressing their ethnicity, Prima's conspicuous embrace of his Italian ethnicity opened the doors for other Italian-American and "ethnic" American musicians to display their ethnic roots.

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Louis Prima

 

Louis scored tremendous chart topping hits throughout the Big Band Era with several of his own compositions including "Oh, Marie," "Robin Hood," "Brooklyn Boogie," "Oh Babe,"and many others. Louis Prima composed "A Sunday Kind of Love" in 1946, and the song became a hit over four decades and in six different musical genres including Swing, Doo-Wop, Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, and Country! Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford, Frankie Laine, and many other prominent artists recorded this Prima standard.

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Louis Prima - Sing Sing Sing (1936)

 

On July 6, 1937, "Sing, Sing, Sing" was recorded in Hollywood by Benny Goodman and a masterpiece was born. With Goodman himself on clarinet, he was accompanied by stunning trumpets, saxophones, trombones, piano, bass, guitar, and arranged by American Jazz composer, Jimmy Mundy. Each instrument shines its brightest to create this downright wonderful piece, this cacophony of boldness, this tornado of mischief and unbridled joy.

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Benny Goodman Big Band (1937)

 

Unlike most jazz records at the time, this song was an extended arrangement — clocking in near an epic nine minutes. Instead of a standard 10″ 78rpm single, it was released by Bluebird Records as a 12″ record, with the song split over two sides. James Mundy wrote the arrangement for Goodman’s 1937 recording of Prima’s tune, which was made in Hollywood — he combined “Sing, Sing, Sing” with Fletcher Henderson’s “Christopher Columbus.” But the most recognizable part of the song is Gene Krupa's drumming, which exists as a motif throughout the song. Helen Ward recalls that one night Krupa refused to stop drumming when he got to the end of the third chorus and Goodman picked up his clarinet and soloed right along with him.

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Helen Ward

 

The classic Victor recording was made some fifteen months later. It shows how much an arrangement could develop, if it was one that audiences were interested in. Audiences were obviously interested in the original Jimmy Mundy blueprint, as were the musicians in the Goodman band, who over those fifteen months made the changes that transformed what was essentially a rhythmic pop tune with a weak lyric into an epic instrumental workout for drummer Gene Krupa, tenor saxophonist Vido Musso, trumpeter Harry James, Benny himself, and the entire Goodman band. This is a great performance. It had a great deal to do with propelling Gene Krupa and Harry James to stardom.

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Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing (Victor 1937)

 

The Carnegie Hall concert was a first for jazz, and today is seen as the beginning of its acceptance as mainstream American music. The performances themselves are an artistic triumph (Goodman had given up a few gigs so the band could spend a couple days rehearsing in the Hall and getting used to its unique acoustics). Martha Tilton’s performance invoked a standing ovation and calls for an encore - but it was when the band launched into “Sing, Sing, Sing” that they really tore it up.

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Benny Goodman Big Band - Carnegie Hall 1938

 

Next day, contemplating the diverse review, the interested editorial opinions in the Times and the Herald-Tribune, someone said to Goodman, "Its too damned bad somebody didn’t make a record of the whole thing." He smiled and said, "Somebody did."

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Benny Goodman

 

“Sing, Sing, Sing” is a song so deliriously happy and brimming with excitement, that it seems anything is possible. The moment it begins, with that mischievous beat of the drum, you know you are about to hear something beautiful and wild. Then the trumpets kick in and woah, just woah. Before you know it you’re up and dancing and without a care in the world as you hear the piano softly here or the crash of the symbols there.

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Gene Krupa (1937)

 

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) lyrics by Louis Prima


Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

And when the music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's something you should know
Ho ho baby ho ho ho

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing
……………………………………….

And when the music goes around
Everybody goes to town
But here's something you should know
Ho ho baby ho ho ho

Sing, sing, sing, sing
Everybody start to sing
La dee da, ho, ho, ho
Now you're singing with a swing

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Harry James, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa

 

 

 

Benny Goodman - Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) – Carnegie Hall 1938

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Jazz Notes Sun, 29 Apr 2018 16:45:24 +0000