Posts Tagged ‘music’

handel.soulfulHandel’s Messiah is surely An Unexpected Easter Masterpiece. But I’ve sung it often enough during Advent – that period before Christmas that we’re now in – to associate it more with this season, even though it was first performed in April 1742, to an audience of 700, “as ladies had heeded pleas by management Read the rest of this entry »

ptxThe Daughter uses the The Wife’s iPad more than The Wife does. Among other things, she watches music videos. Sometimes, while riding the stationary bike, she listens to her second favorite group (after the Beatles, of course.)

That would be Pentatonix, an a cappella quintet: Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstie Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Avi Kaplan. From the website:

Since bursting onto the scene in 2011, Grammy Award-winners and platinum selling recording artists, Pentatonix, has sold more than 2 million albums in the U.S. alone and amassed over 905 million views on their YouTube channel with more than 7.8 million subscribers. Their latest holiday album – That’s Christmas To Me – sold more than 1.1 million copies in the U. S., becoming one of only four acts to release a platinum album in 2014.

The Daughter came up with her Top 10 favorite songs.

10. White Winter Hymnal. Read the rest of this entry »

The illustrious Illinois blogger SamuraiFrog decided to rank all of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs, 165 of them, an impressive undertaking. So, I decided to come up with a list of my 33 favorite Weird Al songs. Why 33? Because LPs play at 33 revolutions per minute. And I’m going to break them up into three posts of 11 songs each, mostly because posting 11 posts of three songs each would be weird.

Part 1 is HERE, and part 3 will show up in a little more than month.

22. Buy Me a Condo
(Parody of Bob Marley; from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D, 1984)
Will the Rastafarian falls into the trap of American consumerism. This is, as Mr. Frog noted, subversive.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Evanier said about Paris. Ditto. This is the second time this year my cousin Anne, currently working there, has had to report that she is safe.

Samaritan Lives Matter.

Fall of the House of Bush.

Marilynne Robinson warns against utilitarian trends in higher education.

Middle-Aged White Americans Are Dying of Despair.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Prisoner Re-entry.

The First County Clerk in the US to Approve a Same-Sex Marriage License. In 1975.

Egypt’s women-only taxi service promises protection from male drivers.

A New Alcott Emerges From The ‘Annotated Little Women’.

Now I Know: How Matthew Broderick Helped Shape American Computer Law and The World’s Most Prolific Author.

Berowne’s participation in the French Revolution. Read the rest of this entry »

johnny cash.folsom

Eurreal Wilford “Little Brother” Montgomery (April 18, 1906 – September 6, 1985) was an American jazz, boogie-woogie and blues pianist and singer from Louisiana.

From his 2013 Blues Hall of Fame induction: “Montgomery first recorded in Chicago in 1930 but spent most of his early professional years in south Mississippi, where he played lumber camps, cafes and nightclubs, sometimes in a blues mode, other times leading a more jazz-oriented dance band. Among the bluesmen influenced by his music in Mississippi were Skip James, Sunnyland Slim, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, and especially Willie Dixon.” Among his songs was an instrumental called Crescent City Blues.

Gordon Jenkins (May 12, 1910 – May 1, 1984) I associate as a producer and/or arranger for Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, The Weavers, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole. “He also began recording and performing under his own name… His ‘Seven Dreams’ released in 1953 included ‘Crescent City Blues’,” featuring singer Beverly Mahr, Jenkins’ wife, borrowed liberally from Montgomery’s version. Jenkins is now in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was inspired by a movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951), written and directed by an actor, screenwriter and director named Crane Wilbur. Cash stole even more heavily from the Jenkins version to create Folsom Prison Blues, which he wrote and first recorded in 1955.

The lyrics are nearly identical, except for the points where Cash changes the perspective of the narrator. For example, both begin “I hear the train a comin’/It’s rollin’ ’round the bend.” The Jenkins song follows that with “And I ain’t been kissed lord/Since I don’t know when,” but Cash follows it with the darker “And I ain’t seen the sunshine/Since I don’t know when.” All of the verses have this dichotomy, with an identical narrative path and stark differences in tone. Where Jenkins’ narrator says “But I’m stuck in Crescent City/Just watching life mosey by,” Cash has his protagonist sing the far darker “But I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die.”

Nonetheless, Jenkins was not credited on the original record from Sun Records. According to Cash’s manager Lou Robin, Cash acknowledged the debt to Jenkins’s song, but was reassured by Sun founder Sam Phillips that he had no reason to fear a plagiarism suit. Fifteen years later, Jenkins sued for royalties. In the early 1970s, after the song became popular, Cash paid Jenkins a settlement of approximately $75,000.

The original Cash studio version hit #4 on the country charts in 1956, but the live version from 1968 spent four weeks at the top of the country charts in 1968. It was also #32 on the pop charts and #39 on the adult contemporary charts. The live album from which it came, At Folsom Prison, went to #13 pop, and #1 country.

Johnny Cash received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996, and has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992), among many other honors.

Crescent City Blues – Little Brother Montgomery
Crescent City Blues – Gordon Jenkins, featuring Beverly Mahr (or Maher)
Folson Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues vs Jenkins’s Crescent City Blues

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