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QI Music

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2563.  Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:47 am Reply with quote

Since we're going to be selling music CDs as well as DVDs and books in the QI bookshop, here's your chance to talk about music that you enjoy, that you think other people might like. It doesn't have to be highbrow or abstruse. Personally, I'm rather enjoying stuff by The Barenaked Ladies at the moment. I am also in gleeful possession of tickets to go and see Simon and Garfunkel in Boston next month. However, I am very jealous of my daughter, who only had to walk across the road to see Fairport Convention in Watford a month ago. I'm enjoying exploring some American folk music and some more recent music with a folk and bluegrass idiom - Nickel Creek are great, if you haven't come across them, and also Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Gillian Welch. I'm hoping somebody will buy me Kate Rusby's Underneath the Stars for Christmas (Sarah, if you're reading this, tell your brother...) In classical stuff I'm enjoying a CD I bought recently of piano music from the days of Jane Austen, for another project I'm working on (ha! when I have the time...)

Barenaked Ladies lyrics - the first might have a particular appeal for watchers of the first QI series:

This is the disturbingly catchy one I keep hearing on the radio:

2681.  Wed Dec 03, 2003 5:45 pm Reply with quote

Good heads-up, Jenny! It is worth noting, for those who haven't seen them, that the BNL are 5 of the homeliest guys in rock'n'roll, crack musicians with split-second timing and uninhibited stage shows. That they have become huge outside their native Canada is one of those happy freaks of popular culture.

Those who partake of the live kind-of-great-hits-till-then selection Rock Spectacle can get a look, thanks to the enhanced CD's featurettes, of exactly what their humor is like. And the songs are superb---the crowd roars out all the options which can pertain "If I Had A Million Dollars." Never expected to hear a popular song told from the viewpoint of a skyscraper window-washer? "When I Fall" may give you vertigo. But equal to their wit is their piercing view of relationships and destiny---viz. "What a Good Boy" and the cry of anyone who makes the mistake of going back to visit "The Old Apartment": "I want it back. I want it back. I want it back."

2706.  Wed Dec 03, 2003 8:09 pm Reply with quote

You get some excellent music out of Canada. Let's take Joni Mitchell as a given (I love her stuff), but have you ever listened to anything by Great Big Sea? They are superb in a Newfoundland-Celtic-folky-rocky kind of way.

2801.  Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:01 pm Reply with quote

But since you brought her up, Jenny. . . . It was about this time of year in 1976 that Joni Mitchell released Hejira, and a wintry album it is, from the elegant cover photos through many references in the lyrics. She plays with a small outstanding combo, including the legendary bass-player Jaco Pastorius; the results are mesmerizing.
At the time Mitchell said the album was an addition "to a growing diary of work," and the songs are longer---the rambunctious "Coyote," the beautiful poised tribute to "Amelia" Earthart, the title tune (which refers to Muhammed's flight from persecution, but has the general application of "getting away" here), the long story-meditation "Song for Sharon" about marriage and fate, and the ominous "Black Crow." Probably not till you reach the final song do you recognize another theme hinted at in the cover photo: during "Refuge of the Roads," which takes you from winter through spring to summer, you look back and see how every song is about travel, only to find yourself here on earth. The final stanza says:
"In a highway service station over the month of June
was a photograph of the earth taken coming back from the moon
And you couldn't see a city on that marbled bowling ball
or a forest or a highway or me here least of all
You couldn't see these cold-water restrooms, or this baggage overload,
westbound and rolling, taking refuge in the roads."
---a theme she picks up again in the dual-imagery magic of the title tune of her next album, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (1977). Happily, both titles are available now at midprice, and DJRD puts two LPs on one CD. Essential listening, especially if you find yourself on the road this winter.

2802.  Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:41 pm Reply with quote

Well as I don't have Don Juan's Restless Daughter either, maybe Santa will buy those for me for Christmas - so I'll have to show his representative (my old man) your post :-) Thanks Bradford.

Joni Mitchell writes wonderful lyrics. It seems invidious to select one, but this is from Blue:


The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68,
And he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday
Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe
You laugh, he said you think you're immune, go look at your eyes
They're full of moon
You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies, pretty lies
When you gonna realise they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies, just pretty lies

He put a quarter in the Wurlitzer, and he pushed
Three buttons and the thing began to whirr
And a bar maid came by in fishnet stockings and a bow tie
And she said "Drink up now it's gettin' on time to close."
"Richard, you haven't really changed," I said
It's just that now you're romanticizing some pain that's in your head
You got tombs in your eyes, but the songs
You punched are dreaming
Listen, they sing of love so sweet, love so sweet
When you gonna get yourself back on your feet?
Oh and love can be so sweet, love so sweet

Richard got married to a figure skater
And he bought her a dishwasher and a Coffee percolator
And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on
And all the house lights left up bright
I'm gonna blow this damn candle out
I don't want Nobody comin' over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about
All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes
Dark cafes
Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings
And fly away
Only a phase, these dark cafe days

3117.  Thu Dec 11, 2003 5:49 am Reply with quote

Talking of lyrical prowess, I thought I would mention one of my current favourite bands, which is Belle and Sebastian. I was first drawn to their music just by the way it sounds, but recently I started to listen to what they were actually saying and some of their lyrics are brilliant.
My favourite at the moment is part of the song 'Is It Wicked Not To Care':
'skipping tickets making ryhmes, is that all that you believe in,
wearing rags that make you pretty by design'

I saw them in concert on friday and I have to say that their latest album holds up to all their previous work. Hurrah!

3133.  Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:33 am Reply with quote

I keep hearing about Belle and Sebastian, but I don't recall hearing any of their work (though maybe as I am in the US and I tend to hear about them from UK people they just don't get played over here much.) What would be a good CD to start with for an introduction, do you think?

Welcome, satansjellycat, by the way, and I love your username :-)

3136.  Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:47 am Reply with quote

Discussion on the 'Eternal Truths' thread seems to have turned to music in the last few posts, so I'm dragging it over here. See post 3098 and the next four posts for context.

We've just been talking about singer/songwriters, and folk music.

It seems to me that many of today's great singer/songwriters are very much in the folk tradition, and that the boundaries between folk and other popular music are ever more blurred (not that they were ever hard and fast in the first place, unless you are a purist and refuse to count anything except that collected from anonymous sources as folk). I wondered what songwriters and singers people would like to nominate in that category of creating great songs that aren't necessarily in a commercial vein.

One that springs to mind for me is Maddy Prior's husband, Rick Kemp. He's best known for his work as the bass player for Steeleye Span, and for his work with Maddy Prior (one of my favourite performers - she is terrific live on stage as well as on record). Two of his pieces that I really like are 'Deep in the Darkest Night' and 'Somewhere Along the Road'. Incidentally, their daughter Rose Kemp is also turning out to be a fair performer herself - I saw her on stage with her mother a couple of years ago, and she was very good, although she's only still in her late teens I think.

Kate Rusby, best known as a folk singer, also writes some songs herself, and the title track on her album 'Sleepless' is a good song, as is 'A Rose in April', which I really thought was a traditional song from the style of it. It wasn't until I read the sleeve notes that I knew she'd written it.

3220.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 1:40 pm Reply with quote

Catching up on Canadians - MTV in the States used to have a where-are-they-now strand called 'Dead- Or Canadian?'

3224.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 1:50 pm Reply with quote

The words of Raglan Road were written by Patrick Kavanagh to an old air called 'The Dawning Of The Day', a fact subtly acknowledged in the last line of the song. There maybe an interesting list to be had of different songs using the same old tunes. As to folk singers I'd refer all and sundry to Tom Lehrer's various satires on same .

3231.  Fri Dec 12, 2003 4:41 pm Reply with quote

I don't know if you've seen the movie A Mighty Wind, which was made by the director of This is Spinal Tap but about the American 'folk' (and I use the inverted commas deliberately there) scene of the early sixties, of the kind of music represented by, say, The New Seekers. Very funny and out on video now.

3249.  Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:37 pm Reply with quote

Sighs of happiness here - I went to see a Simon and Garfunkel concert yesterday - their first tour in at least a decade as they had one of their many prolonged spats which kept them apart for years.

We were, of course (in the 'cheap' - ie $85 each - seats) a fairly long way from the stage, but the sound system was excellent and the music was good. They haven't lost their performance. They also brought on, for four songs, the Everley Brothers. And what a tribute to plastic surgery and Botox all four singers were. It was a bit alarming to see men whom I knew to be well in their sixties looking so well lacquered and unwrinkled. In fact Paul Simon's face looks so highly lifted and immobile that it put me strongly in mind of Buster Keaton. Art Garfunkel either employed a better plastic surgeon or resisted the temptation to go for the lacquered look.

But the music was wonderful. They started with 'Bookends', which is a song that grows more poignant by the day as they get nearer to discovering 'how terribly strange to be seventy', and they finished (before the inevitable encores of course) with a wonderful rendition of 'Bridge over Troubled Waters'. What great songs Paul Simon has written over the years.

3251.  Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:33 pm Reply with quote

60 going on 70.

I wait, getting old, with a cup of tea, my life is getting dimmer.
My past, getting old, is a memory, my future a Red Cross zimmer Ė a zimmer.

I am 60 going on 70, teetering on the brink!
Looking with dread at what lies ahead, baby, Iím on the blink!
I am 60 going on 70, nobodyís on the line,
No fancy lads, not even grandads, to send me a valentine.
Totally unprepared am I, to surf the internet,
Timid and shy and scared am I, a shrinking violet.
I want someone with-it and clued-up, telling me what to do,
You are 40 going on 50, can I rely on you?

I am 60 going on 70, grey-haired and obsolete,
Guys on the bus donít whistle and fuss, they stand to give me a seat
I am 60 going on 70, wrinkly and crinkly too,
If I was fifty, Iíd still be nifty, but now Iím nearly through.
Totally out of date am I, for this millenium,
Creaky and overweight am I, and worse is yet to come.
I want someone younger and stronger, able to understand,
You are 50 going on 60, please come and hold my hand.

But death isnít death till you die it,
Lifeís still alive while you fly it,
The youth in my heart hasnít withered away,
Iím not yet ready to call it a day.

I am 60 going on 70, not absolutely done,
Iím heading for the very next corner, ready to have some fun.
Find new romance and learn belly-dancing, take up a new career,
Go on a cruise to see different views, live in the now and here.
Chuck out my old ideas of life, theyíre scared and small and slow!
I want a brand-new lease of life, I'll find new roads to go!
Bright delight, excitement, adventureís not reserved for the young,
Iím only 60 going on 70, My song is not yet all sung!

3256.  Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:57 pm Reply with quote

Brava Frances - and all your own work too, I think :-)

3258.  Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:59 pm Reply with quote

Glad you like it. It's not entirely my own work, it's based on a song from some show or other, if I remember rightly...


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