You and the Night and the Music

victrola   Within those grooves, jazziness and corny expression existed in an unlikely balance. It was created by a powerful, swinging, yet restrained, collection of musicians. The pictures show a bunch of guys lined up with shiny instruments, in tuxedos. Elegant and up to no good.

jb3   Music, Maestro, Please   Lew Stone and his Orchestra

Radios and records miraculously brought this elegance to the farthest corners of Great Britain and beyond. As the people danced, the bands played on, providing fun and distraction from whatever life was handing their audience. The tunes that were being played conjured a time outside of time. It was a dream where boy could not only meet girl, but the two of them could dance off into a sunset filled with cottages, chocolate, and kisses.

db1   What a Little Moonlight Can Do   Gaumont British Dance Band

There were similar orchestras in the States, but the British dance bands maintained a stiff upper lip on those clarinets and saxophones. Never too fast, never too wild, but always at the service of romance, where behind good manners lay passion. It wasn’t tango, but it had better lyrics.

jb4   Love is Good for Anything that Ails You   Orlando and his Gleneagles Hotel Orchestra

Sections played in unison giving it power, which drove the melody forward. The excitement was tossed from reeds to the piano to the bass and drums and, halfway through, some shiny-haired vocalist or glamorous dream girl in a long, sequined dress stepped forward with the narrative.

dancing   One, Two, Button Your Shoe   Jack Hylton and his Orchestra

Your coffee in the morning, your kisses in the night. Set the date, don’t hesitate, but just make up you mind, dear, Now’s the time to fall in love with me.   Love is good for anything that ails you, Baby, there is nothing love can’t do, Love is good for anything that ails you, how about a sweet romance or two?

danvcing2   Footloose and Fancy Free   Jack Hylton and his Orchestra

You couldn’t be cuter, plus that you couldn’t be smarter, plus that intelligent face, you have a disgraceful charm for me.   Somewhere the sun is shining, so, Honey, don’t you cry, we’ll find a silver lining, the clouds will all roll by.   Dinner is ended, the music is grand, softly the lanterns gleam, Isn’t it splendid to sit hand in hand, silently lost in a dream?

lovers3   Nice Work If You Can Get It   Carroll Gibbons and the Savoy Orpheans

Music, cocktails, and dancing. What a concept! Leave your troubles and reality at the coat check and take your rightful place at the table. This is music to lift you from your seat. A time to lose yourself in a state of motion and emotion, more dreamlike than just a night on the town. Your turn to hold and be held. Dreaming a dream, while smoke gets in your eyes.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Particular Place to go — Car Crazy

dash   Drive My Car   The BeatlesThe engine was combustible, just like I felt. Whether it was an old beater or a red GTO, it was going to take me away from the house and out of my parent’s clutches. At the time, life in suburbia was all about cars.

gto   kidscars

Mustang Sally   Wilson Pickett

Gas was cheap, cars were big, and the road went on forever. I didn’t care if we went around in circles or up and down the strip. The window was rolled down, my arm sticking out, and the wind was in my face. We went to places my parents couldn’t imagine – Lake Street, 4th Street, an unopened stretch of freeway, dancing at the Legion Hall, girl’s houses, deserted roads.

mustang2   cars3

I’m a Road Runner   Jr. Walker

450 horsepower, backseats bigger than a bedroom, and no seatbelts. It sounded like a rocket and I was the astronaut. Inside those four doors, anything could happen. It was a separate world, a new life. There was a soundtrack to the whole thing and it wasn’t background music, it was as essential as the gas.

drivein3   porkys

I’m dancing, though seated. I swing the wheel to the right, to the left, my foot’s to the floor, and I’m twirling the knobs, turning it up! I’m young, I’m alive, and I’m livin’ in the USA.

drivein2  Push Button Automobile   Vernon Green and the Medallions

Chuck Berry is singing about no particular place to go and no money down. Motown, Beach Boys, Mustang Sally, Baby, you can drive my car, Get your kicks on Route 66, first gear, it’s all right, at the drive-in, drag races, hot rods, fun, fun, fun.

vwbus65  cobra

Fun Fun Fun   The Beach Boys 

Faster, it’s all right

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

For Kids From One To Ninety-Two.

I’ve still got the spirit. And I know it’s going to last.

xmasalb1   Louise   Ray Charles

xmasalb2-jpb   Walkin’ One and Only   Dan Hicks

xmasalb5   Don’t Be Cruel   Elvis Presley

xmasalb4   Wild Honey   The Beach Boys

xmasalb3   Get Up Offa That Thing   James Brown

xmasalb10   Ain’t No Telling   Jimi Hendrix

frankxmas   Trouble Coming Every Day   Frank Zappa and the Mothers

xmas15   Got My Mojo Working   Jimmy Smith

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Needs Presents?

xp   It’s snowing, it’s cold, and in a lot of ways it’s frightful, but inside it’s so delightful. The tree is up, the fire is going, the wrapping paper is ready for action, and the tunes are on the box. It’s that time again.

xp5   Hell’s Bells   Carla Bley

There is so much music at Christmas, who needs presents? I am primed for old memories, new memories, friends, love, good intentions, and holiday wishes. Every song seems to go deeper. Each voice seems to sound clearer. All the notes, high, low, and in-between, harmonize with a special glow.

xp4    An Eggnog, Some Mistletoe, and You   Dave McKenna 

There’s a lot of Christmas humor, Christmas soul, Christmas blues, and every other kind of celebration going on. Bring on the choir, turn up the schmaltz, rock out, get in the groove, and get it on. Santa Claus is coming and Christmas time is here. Everybody’s feeling it and raising their voices in whatever way means the most to them.

Jingle Blues   John Hicks

xp6   Christmas Blues   Eric Reed

I like it all. The corny, the sentimental, the uplifting, the funky. Caroling with strangers and listening to the kids shout it out. Knowing the tune and, somehow, remembering the words. Melody prevails, feeling triumphs, and everything sounds good to me.

xp7   Christmas Day   Detroit Junior

No matter the style, young or old, loud or soft, rockin’ or symphonic, amateur or professional, the sentiment is the same. Peace on Earth. Get it right. Good will to all and to all a good night.

xp1

For a blast of Christmas past, check out the December 2014, 2013, 2012 Paswonky, in the archives.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rock of Ages — Hymns For All

hymns1   Onward, Christian Soldiers  Arthur Sullivan (of G & S fame)As a schoolboy, I attended chapel every day and each day there were hymns. It wasn’t a religious school, but they placed some kind of unspoken value on it by having us sing a couple of hymns each time. I also went to church with my family, until I strayed from the beaten path and became what we then called a juvenile delinquent. The one part of it all that I enjoyed was the music.

boyssing   Faith of Our Fathers  excerpt from Russ Morgan

 Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past  Bill Carrothers and gang

Reading the words about Christian soldiers or a mighty fortress or those in peril on the sea and croaking them out in the company of others was a satisfying and a melodic contrast to announcements and short homilies about behaving the rules, listening to one’s teachers and parents, and good study habits. There was melody, a nod to the spirit, and, at the end of each stanza, a reassuring resolution.

hymns9

Let’s move forward, Christian soldiers…

Navy Hymn performed by Dakota Dave Hull

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty performed by the Network Jazz Ensemble

Hymn To Freedom  Oscar Peterson

Martin Luther wrote them, Issac Watts and Charles Wesley wrote them, and, in my mind, they took their place next to Lieber and Stoller, Doc Pomus, and Chuck Berry. Music, given time, rises above its initial function so we can appreciate not only Beethoven and Charlie Parker, but marches, teenage heartbreak, songs of protest, songs of praise, and songs of joy, whether they are composed by the Beatles or that guy, Anon, or his friend, Traditional. It’s all music of the soul.

And, now, turn in your hymnals to…

hymnals   Hymn To Peace  Moondog

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waking Up – First Things First

wu4I try to do it everyday. And, once there, I try to stay that way until it’s time for bed. Coffee is often helpful, but there’s nothing like music to ensure consciousness and to get into an appropriate mood for the rest of the day.

wu5   Good Morning, Good Morning   The Beatles

When I first became a stepfather and the kids were impressionable, I’d start off with Sousa, Fats Waller, and, sometimes, Earth, Wind, and Fire. It worked for me, but it was a struggle for them just to pull themselves out of bed and lurch toward school. As a wise sage once said, Different strokes for different folks.

wu7   Sleepers Awake   Incredible String Band

wu9

I still like to begin the day with some kind of intention. That’s fine when one lives alone, but to keep the peace, I’ve learned to take my coffee into my office and close the door. If this is something you do, let me know what’s on at your house.

Start Off Each Day With A Song   Jimmy Durante

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Entertainment, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Word From Mose

mose4131

Rest in Peace, Mose.

A reprint from 2013.

Mose Allison was born in Tippo, MS. You can hear it in his voice, but how did he get so hip? It must have been the city. He moved to New York in 1958 and played and toured for 65 years. The joke has always been that he’s played everywhere. Greg Brown once sang, As I set up, I am proud to be here, Because once last November, Mose Allison played here. In Minneapolis alone, I think I must have seen him at four or five different venues, from the Guthrie Theater to that happy-hour dive in the basement on Hennepin Avenue. 65 years!  Bob, you still have a ways to go.

Everybody Cryin’ Mercy

His mustache and early gray hair always marked him as a dapper guy who most likely drove an MG and knew about abstract art. He probably did, but it didn’t seem to match that southern drawl. In my early years of listening to him, I don’t think I understood who or what he was. So many assumptions. What was true was that he was a southern gentleman, who played constantly and unlike anyone else. And what about that voice? Who could be hipper or more aware of the weird moments and strange relationships that are everywhere, if you were awake to them? His piano style is a combination of down home funk and sophistication that provides a foundation fluid enough for his unmatched lyrics.

   Ask Me Nice

Those lyrics go to the heart of the philosophical matter and speak the truth with unique wit and social criticism. Any lyrics to the songs that he played, but didn’t write, effortlessly became all his. No one could deliver them like he could – Drinkin’ and gamblin/ stayin’ out all night/ I’m just livin’ in a fool’s paradise. Or, Ain’t got no Basie with Lester/ I ain’t got nothing but the blues.

And what about his lyrics?

   I’m Not Talking     mose4133

 I don’t worry ‘bout a thing/ ‘cause I know nothin’s gonna to be all right.   Your mind is on vacation and your mouth is working overtime.    If you’re going to the city/ you better have some cash.   One of these days, you know/ I’ve got to go back home/
I’m gonna sit out on my front porch/ and compose a poem.     If you live/ your time will come .  
And –

 I’m back on the corner/I’m right back on the corner/I’ve been in this condition so many times before.    I don’t have no trouble livin’/It’s just dyin’ that bothers me.     You’re uptight/ It ain’t right/ Well, tell me something that I don’t know.

I’m sitting over here on Parchman farm/ Ain’t never done no man no harm.

     What’s With You?    mpse4134

Stop this game, deal me out/I know too well what it’s all about/I know too well that it had to be/ Stop this game, you know it’s ruining me.

   Your Molecular Structure   mose4132

Your molecular structure, baby, ooowie!!! 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment