Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Seven songs for spring

How many fans and admirers is it possible for a fat man to have? I have been tagged three times to the best of my knowledge. George Szirtes, Poumista and Brigada Flores Magon have all asked me to join in this meme.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

Spring is associated with all sorts of corny music, "Paris in the Springtime", "If I Ruled the World", "Tulips from Amsterdam". It is a time of hope and romance. So what am I mainly listening to at the moment? Laments, that's what.

I have always had a soft spot for the lugubrious, but I think there is a bit more to it than that. If Spring is about new departures, that means leaving the old behind. When Persephone rises from the Underworld to rejoin Demeter, she brings life to the earth but leaves Hades and her realm in darkness. Spring is about parting too, about saying goodbyes.

Having just caught up with the world of music downloads I am exploring the music that I loved when I was young but never got around to buying. Most of it was contemporary folk; Dylan, Baez, Joni Mitchell and, of course, Leonard Cohen. My first song is one that is continuously buzzing around my head at the moment, Hey, That's no Way to Say Goodbye.

The mood is obviously infectious as the other night I listened to Mahler's Song of the Earth, with its sad and sensuous final movement evoking the fading of life into eternity, Der Abschied (The Farewell).

For me, Spring is also Easter in Greece and my friend likes to play the George Dalaras and Haris Alexiou CD, Mikra Asia, itself a remembrance of a lost world, as we turn the spit with the whole lamb roasting on it. I have been listening to it since I came back and here is a splendid live performance by Dalaras.

Returning home to a more frenzied life I calmed myself with the lyricism of Delius, a Yorkshire born composer of course. I chose to listen to On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring because of a memorable moment in a drive into the mountains in Greece when, by an old hollowed out tree, I heard the loudest and brashest cuckoo you could possibly imagine.

My trip into the past was not all bedsit misery. I heard Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant only once in the late 60's, but I never forgot it. The other day I downloaded it and listened to it again for the first time in forty years.

And when I need energising I turn to the driving jazz funk of Miles Davis's Right Off from A Tribute to Jack Johnson (and see this clip set to archive footage of Johnson himself). There is another memory here, it features John McLaughlin who I saw in a dazzling concert with his Mahavishnu Orchestra back in the early 1970's.

And my last one is a bit of a cheat as I haven't really been into it. Why do I feel the need for new starts, farewells and energising? This Bob Dylan song should give you a clue.

My seven tags? John boogies online every Friday. Scribbles is always up for a meme. Paulie is good for a tune or two. And what about those Critical Chatters in Crete? Come on Harry, give us a song or seven. Anyone who can throw up a post on interior design in 1970's Danish porn movies must have some interesting musical tastes, so how about it John and the Wife? And finally, I reckon we will get some good Jazz from Jim Denham.


Jim Denham said...

Some gooD jazz for spring? Got to be the late, great Clifford Brown's Joy Spring:

mikeovswinton said...

Should all be on Youtube - indeed I know most of em are and in no particular order;

1. This is what she's like. Dexys Midnight Runners. 12 min version with Jack Hazan video. (RIP the Little Nibble, down Bearwood.)

2. C'mon Train. Don Thomas.

3. Danny Boy. Jackie Wilson.

4. So what. Miles Davis/John Coltrane.

5. Caldonia. Louis Jordan.

6. Ordinary Joe. Terry Callier. (NB This may be unavailable, but there is a messed up version by Nujabes).

7. Canteloupe Island. Herbie Hancock. (RIP Freddie Hubbard.)

That'll do yer for now

mikeovswinton, keepin the listeners happy said...

At least two of em aren't on Youtube - though they were. And the Telegraph reckons that Youtube may be causing i/net users a "Brownout". Lets not go there. So here's a couple of alternatives;

Blue Ox Babes; There's no deceiving you AND The Last Detail. Both worth a spin.

Terry Callier; Look at me now OR Sign of the Times.

That's all for now.

Simon said...

The new album by the Decemberists, Hazards of Love, is excellent.

Elbows, Seldom Seen Kid, from last year, obviously likewise.

There is a good remastered version of Sandy Denny's last album, Rendez'vous, on the go.

New Manics album any time now.

Cash -American Recordings IV was as good as ever tonight.

If you have not discovered Portugeuse Fado Singer Mariza - do.

Lastly Ash - any song, any season


Jim Denham said...

Sorry if I didn't respond properly: I never can work out how these "meme" things are supposed to work. Anyway, here's some more brilliant springtime jazz:

Willie 'The Lion' Smith's "Echoes of Spring": an absolutely masterly, Debussian, jazz paino solo by the most important (and surprising) Jewish musician in the history of jazz.

Taylorakis said...

Apologies for the late offering, but we're half- Greek. Avrio, avrio!

Go to Youtube and type in:

Xainides, the Cretan rebel band

Ross Daly, the Irish Heifetz of the Cretan lyra

Maria Fantouri singing Theodorakis

Then again what can be more moving than Janet Baker in Der Abschied

Yia sou