Y’all like the Indigo Girls, right? Me too.
My music shuffle brought up “Watershed” the other day, and it occurred to me that it has some similarity to themes I find myself exploring in my Portal series.
Here they are performing the song on the Tonight Show a quarter of a century ago. We saw them perform a few years ago, and they could still bring it.
I once took a course from a Nobel Prize winner. But this is the only Nobel Prize winner I’ve seen playing electric guitar while people shouted angrily at him for betraying folk music.
Here’s just one example of why Dylan deserves the Nobel Prize:
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
There are, of course, hundreds more.
I saw the Oscar-winning documentary Amy the other day. It’s the harrowing story of the decline and fall of Amy Winehouse, who managed to put out one great album on her way to an early grave. I liked the film, but there was about a half hour too much harrow for my taste. And, as a friend of mine said, “We’ve seen this story already, haven’t we?”
Of course we have. And the story has been even more poignant. Here is Amy Winehouse singing “Back to Black” live.
The song is pretty good, and her voice is great, but she isn’t much of a performer. It’s kind of hard to tell that this is supposed to be a sad song.
Now let’s take a look at Janis Joplin singing “Summertime” in Sweden in July 1969.
This performance is not just great; it takes you to a whole other plane of existence. Could anyone pour more of herself into a song than Janis Joplin? She was dead 15 months later.
George Martin has died at the age of 90..
I can’t begin to tell you how much pleasure George Martin has added to my life. Here is “In My Life,” which includes the famous piano bridge written and performed by Martin:
And this is how Wikipedia describes the bridge:
The song was recorded on 18 October 1965, and was complete except for the instrumental bridge. At that time, Lennon had not decided what instrument to use, but he subsequently asked George Martin to play a piano solo, suggesting “something Baroque-sounding”. Martin wrote a Bach-influenced piece that he found he could not play at the song’s tempo. On 22 October, the solo was recorded with the tape running at half speed, so when played back at normal pace the piano was twice as fast and an octave higher, solving the performance challenge and also giving the solo a unique timbre, reminiscent of a harpsichord.
It’s hard to believe that this song has been around for over 50 years.
I woke up today and it was 38.2 degrees outside, 58.4 degrees in my house. Time to turn on the heat. Time to get ready for fall. Yesterday my iPhone shuffled me to Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going”. which is the right song for this time of year. It is about as great as a song can be. And Tom Rush’s version, from his legendary album “The Circle Game”, is about a great as a performance can be.
One of Jon Vickers’s greatest roles was in Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saens. So of course his death brought to mind Florence + The Machine’s song Delilah from their excellent new album “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”:
If that’s not to your taste, here is Vickers again: