Friday, August 31, 2007

201/365, aka 365/365 Roam

Fly the great big sky
See the great big sea

Kick through continents

Bustin’ boundaries

Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness

Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

Ah, what to write for what might be one’s final post in the Dancing about Architecture project? I thought about Mozart’s Requiem, because that piece slays me in its utter requiemness. (Plus, I used to know the alto part, so my mind just loves to follow that line along . . .).

But I digress. I am, in fact, signing off today. I have taken Helen’s suggestion and slapped a 365 before the 365 in this post’s alternate number. I like 201. I challenge all of you on the project to get this far—better yet, get to 365! I’ll keep reading.

But I’ve decided that the daily music thing is wearing me out and that I miss working on Alphabird, where, according to Helen, I am currently engaged in breaking the record for the world’s longest kiss. I don’t want kissing to get too boring, so I really need to come up for air over there.

I hear a wind
Whistling air

Whispering in my ear

“Roam” is one of those B-52’s feel-good songs. I’m old enough now to have lived to see its use in a cell phone service ad. But it seems like a good song for the grand finale. Cheery, full of dreams, maybe even some freedom. Plus, there are camels in the video! And they show up more than once! This song makes me think of Mali, one my favorite blogger/world travelers. Here’s to you, my adventurous friend!

As I sign off, I am happy to announce that my dear friend Sewa Yoleme is signing on for a month, beginning tomorrow, with his new project, September Songs. I can’t wait to read him. I encourage you to do so. Bookmark that bad boy.

Here’s “Roam.” This video is so much fun, so vintage. Keep writing, and watch for me at Alphabird. I’ll try to get back there soon, after a little roaming . . .

Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels
Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without anything but the love we feel

Thursday, August 30, 2007

200/365 Dat Dere

Hey mama, what’s that there?
And what’s that doing there?

Hey mama, up here!
Mama, hey look at that over there!

And what’s that doing there?

And where’re they going there?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

Who’s that in my chair?

And what’s he doing there?

Mummy, up here!

Mummy, can I go over there?

Hey mummy, what is square?

And where do we get air?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

I love this song. It’s been around longer than I have, which gives it a bit of that “always been there” feeling. But I have to admit that until recently, I had taken for granted that it was written as a song—music and lyrics together. If it has words, it always did, right? Well, digging into its past, I discovered I was dead wrong about that.

Of course I’d heard Art Blakey play it. I didn’t realize that the guy who wrote it—the tune—was part of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, pianist Bobby Timmons. A little later, Oscar Brown Jr. added the lyrics. (Susan, no doubt, knows all this. Duh.)

I think the only recording I have of it is Rickie Lee Jones, and I love love love her cover (channeling Eloise now). It’s on Pop Pop. I have a strange memory of the first time I heard this CD. I was with my friends Janet and Jeff, and they took me to their friend’s apartment—was her name Ann? Had she and her partner broken up? Because I remember him, but not his name, and I think she lived in a house across the park with him before. Anyway, we’re in this basement apartment. It’s summer, it must be hot, but not as hot as it could be, because, as I said, it’s a basement apartment. Ann is there, and she puts this CD on, and all of us and Ann’s dog, which is some kind of basset hound, maybe, some kind of Hush Puppies dog, all of us just sit there as the sun goes down, and it goes down, and no one moves to turn on the light, and there is just this mellow CD of Rickie Lee Jones singing all these wonderful standards, most of which are slow moving but fluffy like clouds. Hi-lili, hi-lili, hi-lo. And I must must must have this CD, ooooooooooooooooooo I absolutely love this song.

So first, here’s Rickie Lee Jones, words and all, being fabulous, and second, for good measure and more fabulousness, here’s the classic by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Postscript Post, or A Little Extra for Wednesday

Faithful readers are sure to recall that about a month ago, Tim and I got up early one morning to attend a rocket launch with George, Michelle, and Emma. (For a refresher in the details, see “Rocket Man”; the most important detail is that George likes to launch rockets into which he has placed a small video camera.) About a week after the launch, a DVD arrived in the mail for us. Not only had the camera in the rocket worked well, but George had created a short film of first Michelle’s footage, then the rocket’s. This short film ends with actual George footage. You’ll see what I mean—I got word yesterday that he posted this piece on Youtube.

I managed to stay out of both video and audio range, but I was there, very much hoping that the descending rocket would miss our car. Given that I appear in the title of this film, this is likely the closest I have ever been—or may ever get—to being on Youtube.

Check it out.

199/365 Zydeco Gris Gris

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the levees broke. I never got to meet the New Orleans everyone so loved.

My friend Elizabeth lost her family home in that storm. But she worked hard on a rebuilding project for some family friends, becoming part of the startup of a nonprofit group—the Conway House Project—to make things happen for one family. I recently got a postcard that Arthur and Ceal were due to move in mid-August.

To mark the day, here’s the Lafayette band BeauSoleil. If you ever get to hear them live, you may think you’ve died and gone to heaven. They are technically a Cajun band, not Zydeco, but this one’s called “Zydeco Gris Gris.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

198/365 Wheels

So I had a plane to take me to a place so far away from you
Eventually we began to see that we could be completely free
And I could get away from you
And you could get away from me
And we could live each separately in our cities in the sun

There were a couple of days last week during which I felt fairly worthless. I’d had a couple of conversations that had, without meaning to, rather shattered my self-esteem. I knew what I was feeling was temporary, but it sucked.

I had seen a movie earlier in the week, Waitress, during which a Cake song was played called “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” I like Cake, and I liked the song, but I don’t have that CD (and yes, I’m still a CD buyer). But I’d had that experience of having been so into my first Cake CD (Fashion Nugget) that when I bought my second (Pressure Chief), I played it a few times but wasn’t that into it, so I never bought another one. After the movie, I thought I should give Pressure Chief another try. It could be Los Lobos/Colossal Head all over again.

It kinda was. All of it sounded good on Friday. The first track, “Wheels,” is one of those great, bitter, I-am-so-over-you songs. (But then again, no: [I don’t know] why you say you are not in love with me.)

Then a friend called me with a story about picking up the phone to—on a whim—call a former lover who had pretty seriously screwed up her world a couple of years back. She’s over him, quite moved on, and in a position of strength-and-being-past-it-ness, so she called him to check in.

Thinking back on this love gone seriously wrong brought this song into my head once more.

It sounded like their conversation was tentative, but good, maybe healing. I can’t say I would have advised her to do this, if I’d been asked. Sometimes it’s best to never see or talk to someone again. (Obviously, though, I can’t know what’s best for someone else.)

There are very few people in the world I hope to never see or hear from again, but maybe one or two or three bring that Clarence Darrow quote to mind: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” So far, these people have not appeared in the obituaries, so I don’t know for sure that reading them would bring me pleasure—but it’s possible they would not bring me sadness either. Who knows? So far, I don’t.

Speaking of possible death, I found this great longboard footage on Youtube to go with this song. Totally fun.

In a seedy karaoke bar
By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
Is a Japanese man in a business suit singing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
And the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French Canadians
While the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits

Monday, August 27, 2007

197/365 Love You Like a Man

Last night I went to a kickass party. Leo had (what might be becoming) his annual lobsterfest.

The lobsters arrived from Maine yesterday afternoon.

It had been a long day, what with finally making it to the Washington County Fair after all these years, and I was pretty tired when it that was time to decide to make an appearance at the party. All four of us who had planned to go together—me, Tim, Alison, Sioux—were extremely low energy. Sioux suggested we start by unwinding on her porch by the river.

We did. Had a beer and some talk. For two of us, it was a school night, so at six o’clock I initiated migration. I knew that none of us had energy, but that we’d all be glad we’d gone once we got there.

That feeling turned out to be immediate. Leo’s place is right in the village, and he has this huge backyard, which was already filled with a hundred or so people. The party had started midafternoon, I think. I have no idea how Leo could serve so many lobsters to his friends. At some point, he made an announcement that he still had “about 100.”

There was live music from local musicians. Matt played his guitar a good bit, and Darcie got up to sing with him. She’s got a killer voice, and her first tune was “Love Me Like a Man.”

“Love Me Like a Man”—rather, “Love You Like a Man”—was written by Chris Smither when the guy was like, twenty-three. It is a great song. And although the Bonnie Raitt version is admittedly amazing, there is nothing like hearing Smither do it. Not sure why it is that I can feel these lines in my loins when he sings them:

Cause they all want you to rock them
Just like their back ain’t got no bone
What you need is a man who can rock you
Like your backbone was his own

There’s something about the original version that’s all baby-here’s-what-I’m-gonna-do-to-you that’s different from the woman’s switch to baby-here’s-what-I-need-you-to-do-to-me. There’s something about a man singing about other men having their balls up on the shelf that hits harder than a woman singing about guys who have their souls up on the shelf. Yeah, I know Bonnie recorded it in 1972 for a wide audience. It’s still a down-and-dirty song, but it’s been cleaned up for people to look at it. I wish I could find a Smither clip of it, but alas. You’ll have to listen to Bonnie (always a treat).

Being in the room with Smither is a jaw-dropping experience. (I know what you’re thinking. Stop it. But I’ll continue in this double-entendre vein.) The more intimate venue, the better. To get a slight taste of him, here he is (in a nonintimate venue) covering Dave Carter’s “Crocodile Man.” Smither always says he should’ve written this one, and believe me, it’s surprising he didn’t, because it sounds like him:

Mama she raised me on riddles and trances
Fatback, channel-cat, lily-white lies
Rocked my cradle in a jimmy-crack fancy
Never knew papa and I never asked why

Now that’s poetry. Like last night’s party. So glad I was there.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

196/365 Bamboleo

About a decade before the turn of the century, back when the old gang was in its prime, we would eat many a dinner together, consume many a bottle of wine, and inevitably someone would throw on the Gipsy King’s self-titled CD. It starts with “Bamboleo,” which always managed to get us going, somehow, and remind us that together, the eight of us were our own perfect party.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

195/365 You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Whoo-ee! Ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, oh, are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair!

Twenty-one years ago today, I got legally married. It was the justice-of-the-peace (or is that piece?) wedding, our first wedding, the one down at the Rockville courthouse with one witness. The JP’s name was Bass, and afterward, we rented a canoe and went bass fishing on the Potomac.

It was a Monday. We were playing hooky.

Before we got married, during the long-distance times, this Bob Dylan song was one Tim turned me onto. It always makes me think of him, and how much I love him, and how lucky I am.

Here’s Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds) and the Rock Bottom Remainders, with Steve Martin sittin’ in on banjo.

Friday, August 24, 2007

194/365 Walk on By

I just can’t get over losing you
And so if I seem broken and blue
Walk on by, walk on by
Foolish pride
Is all that I have left
So let me hide
The tears and the sadness you gave me
When you said goodbye
Walk on by

Happy birthday, Deloney! What song could I possibly choose to wish you well? In searching “happy birthday” on YouTube, I did briefly consider Marilyn Monroe singing it to JFK because it’s so culturally/historically…well, strange…but ultimately, given how I love All Things Burt and you love All Things Dionne, I thought maybe this fab classic would be just the thing.

The lyrics I’ve chosen to quote at the top of this post reflect my deepest feelings every time you freakin’ delete one of your blogs.

Do have a wonderful day.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

193/365 Gonna Fly Now

Fifteenth birthday
Green dress
Ferguson tix
A man to impress

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

192/365 Cassidy

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.
I can tell by the mark he left, you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees, ah, child of boundless seas.
What you are, and what you’re meant to be
Speaks his name, though you were born to me,
Born to me, Cassidy.

Way back in the 80s, when I wasn’t 100% sure I wasn’t going to have a kid, listening to this Grateful Dead song always made think that if I did have one, Cassidy would be a good name. I mean, it’s fabulously androgynous. And there’s something so earthy and mysterious about this song—even though I can’t claim to understand it, the words manage to create paintings and short films in my head that I really like. So that wouldn’t be such a bad thing to be named after, would it? Born to me, Cassidy.

But then, suddenly, the name got really popular. Which meant that I would never use it.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry about all that, given my ultimate blissful child-free status (blow the horn and tap the tambourine!).

Still, I love the song, and I love its benediction: Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by its own design.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

191/365 Frank Mills/Sodomy

My childhood record stash had its share of Broadway musicals. A lot of these belonged to my parents first, but some, like Hair, belonged to the kids. I listened to this album a lot, and it’s possible I was listening to it a lot before I was 10.

As Sewa Yoleme can attest, I love a lot of the ditties in this musical, and he and I—at least once—have rolled the windows down in the car, played the soundtrack full blast, and sung along even louder (I am such a hag). I have a lot of favorites, but two of them are “Frank Mills” and “Sodomy.”

“Frank Mills” is just such a syrupy ballad. I mean, it’s perfect. So yearny. So naïve. So I-want-the-bad-boy-but-what-will-my-friends-think.

I met a boy called Frank Mills
On September twelfth right here
In front of the Waverly
But unfortunately
I lost his address

He was last seen with his friend,
A drummer, he resembles George Harrison of the Beatles
But he wears his hair
Tied in a small bow at the back

I love him but it embarrasses me
To walk down the street with him
He lives in Brooklyn somewhere
And wears this white crash helmet

He has gold chains on his leather jacket
And on the back is written the names
And Mom
And Hell’s Angels

I would gratefully
Appreciate it if you see him tell him
I’m in the park with my girlfriend
And please

Tell him Angela and I
Don’t want the two dollars back
Just him!

This is one easy song to croon. Or belt. Ask Sewa to sing it to you sometime. (Or Susan, I’m guessin’.)

I once had an international “Frank Mills” moment. A decade ago, Alison and I took a trip to Scotland. When we arrived at the train station in Edinburgh, the Waverley, there was a street performer out front (a young man with a guitar), singing this one. I mean, he had to, didn’t he?

“Sodomy,” another song short enough to list all the lyrics below, may in fact be my first exposure—so to speak—to some of these words, and it’s likely that I was singing them long before I understood them.


Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Kama Sutra

In retrospect, it seems that Hair was a useful stepping stone in my education.

[Here’s a special “Sodomy” clip for Sewa. It may be too dark and creepy for most of you, but the guy does all right.]

Monday, August 20, 2007

190/365 Lighthouse

Lighthouse tall and grand
Standing on that cold headland
Shine your light across the sea
For a wayward sailor girl like me

I have to go back to work. Right now. First stop: Read final pages for a quarterly journal. So many stops after that.

But it was a good vacation.

“Lighthouse” isn’t my favorite Waifs song, but it’s a good one, and it’s available on YouTube. They played twice in a town near me. I missed it the first time, but after the reviews, I did not miss it the second time. It was among the best of concerts I’d been to, and I’d had no idea who they were.

Sadly, they haven’t been back.

Sadder still, it’s Monday morning.

Oh lighthouse man I’m all at sea
Shine a little lighthouse light on me

Sunday, August 19, 2007

189/365 Manhã de Carnaval

I’m back. What a perfect vacation that was.

This year, everyone who showed up was a repeat—we all had been there the same week previously. There’s an amazing energy with this group, no doubt in part a result of Tim and Valerie’s cocktail parties.

Valerie went a step further this time and organized a music night so that we could formally hear all the informal recorder, guitar, keyboard, violin, clarinet, and harmonica playing that had been happening in various corners of the camp.

John, the professional, played several, but my favorite was his “Manhã de Carnaval” (mmmmmm…Brazilian). You can sample his interpretation of it here at CD Baby (although it pales compared with being in the room with him), or listen to the classic with Luiz Bonfá and Caterina Valente.

That night, I was aware of my happiness.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

188/365 Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Back when I had goals and aspirations, I thought I’d do a week of camp songs, posting ahead while I was away. Instead, you get one camp song, and I’m off for a week.

My friend Lee used to do a version of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to the tune of “Psycho Killer.” An amazing guitarist, he was somehow quite able to pull this off.

This version features Bono and U2 (or perhaps Mono and ME2).

Friday, August 10, 2007

187/365 Carolina in the Pines

She came to me said she knew me
Said she’d known me a long time
And she spoke of being in love
With every mountain she had climbed
And she talked of trails she’d walked up
Far above the timberline

This week, this Michael Murphey song came into my head, completely unbidden. I don’t think I’d thought of it in 20 years. Must be because I’m going to Northbrook on Saturday—my one true week off this year.

Bluegrass bands like to cover this one. Here it is by the Saltgrass Band.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

186/365 Ripple

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone.

Today’s the anniversary (twelfth) of Jerry Garcia’s death. I can easily remember this, because it’s my parents’ wedding anniversary (forty-ninth). It’s also the anniversary of the day that Nixon physically left office (thirty-third), which my parents considered a personal anniversary gift (really).

The day Jerry died I was sadder about a musician dying than I’d ever been. It kind of surprised me, actually.

I had very recently moved to Vermont and was by no means fully employed yet. It was a hot, hot summer. I spent the afternoon—in the house across the street from where I am right now—lying around on the couch, listening to Dead CDs.

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

185/365 It’s All Over Now

Well, baby used to stay out all night long
She made me cry, she done me wrong
She hurt my eyes open, that’s no lie
Table’s turnin’ now her turn to cry
Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Beatrix Kiddo. When this project started, I truly believed she would be a diehard. She’s all about the music and would have been great.

But she’s a busy woman, and it just never got off the ground.

So that’s that.

She loves the Stones.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

184/365 Big Black Bird

Can you see that big black bird
Sitting in yonder tree?
I wonder what that big black bird
Is thinking as he’s looking at me
I wish I were that big black bird
Sitting in yonder tree
Then I think, I think I’d know
What if felt like to be free

On April 24, Maureen signed off with the peepers.

She was only in this project for 100 songs. And she quit at 87.

Just 13 to go. I couldn’t believe it. But I have a feeling that part of Maureen’s MO is to leave her audience wanting more.

I do. I wish she’d start blogging again. I hear she’s quit doin’ that though. I envision her off dancing in Cape Breton somewhere.

But instead of posting a Cape Breton fiddle tune, I’m going with Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, as there are finally a few clips on Youtube. Maureen kept blogging songs that Rani Arbo’s group had covered, either back in the Salamander Crossing days or in the current Daisy Mayhem incarnation.

Daisy Mayhem includes two Salamander Crossing folk: Rani Arbo and Andrew Kinsey. This is one of Kinsey’s songs.

Can you see that river roll
Rolling on down to the sea?
I wonder if that river knows
Just what’s become of [Maureen]

Monday, August 6, 2007

183/365 Let’s Misbehave

They say that spring means just one thing
To little lovebirds
We’re not above birds—Let’s misbehave!
It’s getting late and while I wait
My poor heart aches on
Why keep the brakes on? Let’s misbehave!

I miss Helen. Not in the “Hey, Helen, let’s you and I misbehave” sort of way, but I always felt I had a like-minded, utterly base buddy out there whose mind would find double entendre anywhere the slightest whiff of it lurked and for whom single entendre could inspire the running of a celebratory mile.

Of course, she’s out there reading and commenting, thank god, and she’s utterly honest about her need to take a break and announces it. I appreciate that. So I still get to be around her wit a bit. But when you’re writing as well as she is in public, I say, hey, get a blog.

Here’s Cole Porter for Helen (and just the slightest bit for Sewa Yoleme, because he loves it so).

If you want a future, darling,
Why don’t you get a past?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

182/365 Crescent Noon

Green September
Burned to October brown
Bare November
Led to December’s frozen ground
The seasons stumbled round
Our drifting lives are bound
To a falling crescent noon

Dona, of Jeux Sans Frontiers: Another mother, disappeared for the summer, gone since June 15. I have a special place in my heart for Dona. First, we’ve lived in two of the same towns (Elgin and DC). Second, she’s the type of person who goes out of her way for others. For me, when she was visiting Elgin, she took photos of the house I lived in 20+ years ago. Then, after a Carpenters post, she sent me some bootleg. Whatta gal.

Frankly, I’ve been so overworked lately I haven’t had time to check to see if she’s blogging on her other sites.

But for her, a Carpenters song, one that only people who had their albums would know, a very not-pop number called “Crescent Noon.” One of the slowest and melancholy tunes I listened to as a kid, in all likelihood. One that I actually liked.

The good news is, Dona’s a blogger. If she’s disappeared here, I’ll very likely be able to catch her somewhere else. Eventually.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

181/365 Lovely Rita

Lovely Rita meter maid
Nothing can come between us
When it gets dark I tow your heart away
Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book

Writing really seems to be performance art for Deloney. Not only will he abruptly stop a project, but he pulls it out from under you—no more access. So when he was done with his music project, Grace Notes (excellent title), it just disappeared from cyberspace, never to be seen again.

And now I find that The Danforth, née Fanny, is gone.

Where is he? He writes bits that make me drool.

His blogs are like time ticking away on a meter.

Friday, August 3, 2007

180/365 Sad Lisa

Open your door, don’t hide in the dark.
You’re lost in the dark, you can trust me.
’Cause you know that’s how it must be.

Lisa. The woman who started it all. Dancing About Architecture herself. She hasn’t posted since June 23! Lisa, Lisa, where are you?

Of course, I know the answer to this. It’s summer, and she’s off being a good mom, spending time with her kids. The child in me wants to remind her that she’s mother of this very blog group, and although we all need to eventually grow up and live our own lives (and obviously, some are already doing that), she still has an obligation to be here for us—not let us flail about like so many bad dancers. Ah, sad Indigo.

For Lisa, whom I miss, Cat Stevens.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

179/365 The Needle and the Damage Done

I caught you knockin’
at my cellar door
I love you, baby,
can I have some more?

I can stop anytime I want.

Blogging, that is. I figure it’s an obsession, not an addiction.

My problem is—well, one of my problems—this obsessiveness I have about needing to finish what I start. So apparently, if I make a slash mark and follow it by 365, I expect myself to fill up the numbers on the front end.

But I could quit. Couldn’t I?

I mean look at what’s happened. All these 365ers come over to this project, and some have completely disappeared, and some may have.

I don’t intend to quit blogging. It’s just that this particular daily aspect of it is wearing me down, and others have disappeared, which is very not motivating. I would go back to Alphabird, the blog I miss. She’d forgive me this other obsession. Wouldn’t she?

Now I find a new blog link on this project by a blogger whose 365 work I’ve been totally enjoying. Just when I was going to quit . . a hesitation.

I think in preparation for possibly quitting, I will honor the Fallen and Possibly Fallen with songs dedicated to them. (Stay tuned.)

And then we’ll see.

I’d say 200 posts is a worthy goal, but again, the very number is a rather arbitrary obsessiveness that comes from living in a decimal society.

Here’s Neil Young.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

178/365 It Ain’t Me, Babe

Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed

I just had breakfast downstairs in this hotel. Didn’t have time to go out. Too much work to do.

The syrup flowed as Muzak brought me this Dylan classic via a full-fledged orchestra.

How often do you think Bob’s subjected to these interpretations?

It ain't me babe. I swear it.