February 2009

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Follow-Up

I’ve been thinking hard about what track I wanted to pull as a second track from the Couplings compilation that I mentioned earlier. There is a (seriously) fantastic song about a dispute over fishing rights between Newfoundland and Spain. Given my interest in pop music, and covers I ultimately decided on a version of the Gram Parsons’ song We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning that I think does something very interesting and quite successful with the song. The performance pairs Larry Stevens and Shelly Brown.
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I may have a new favorite synth-pop song.

After 80s week, I was listening to more of the Heaven 17 collection and I really like “And Thats No Lie”.

It’s surprisingly successful at deploying the Soul / R&B influences within the synth-pop framework. It goes much farther in that direction than “Fascist Groove Thang.” The back-up singers are great, Glenn Gregory singing is the perfect mix of heartfelt and abstract.

I like it.

“But when the fire goes out / The dark starts moving in.”

With a little Gilbert & Sullivan.

Listening to the song in the last post got me to look for some Grit Laskin. On first listen, I really like his songwriting. But I am utterly charmed by his “folk” version of a familiar G & S song, so that gets precedence.

Lucky

I was reminded of the song Lucky Man (by Grit Laskin, performed here by Kallet / Epstein / Cicone), by this post.

I appreciate that this song counts as luck the opportunity to do work. The verses contain examples of luck which are external to the life of the narrator (“There’s some are killed for seeking freedom / Yet I have more of what they crave / Than ever I’ll be needing”) and luck as opportunity (“I’ve had good work since I was young.” … “I share a love that’s fair and true.”). I think it works that juxtaposition well, as an answer to the question in the post, to say that effort does not replace fortune, and that fortune may be a necessary prerequisite for productive effort.

I was listening to an album that I hadn’t listened to in a while, and was really impressed.

It was done as a document of the local music scene in Victoria BC. I know the person who produced it (and how can you not like someone who titles their label “Pucker Lips Music … a division of Apocalypse Enterprises Inc.”), and I knew that I liked it, but I was really surprised to remember how successful it is. It manages to capture the feel of a live music scene without being too earnest, for lack of a better word.

I want to quote the liner notes at length, at some point, but first a teaser. The opening track off the CD is by two people who had never done ny recording before (which is true of several of the tracks) and it’s an astonishing debut — Little Bird of Heaven.

I think it’s a remarkable example of the distinction between “people having fun playing music” and “people playing music that makes them happy.” In this case, I think it’s palpable that the act of playing this music brings them pleasure.

It is special to be able to hear that in a recording.

Update: I realized that I forgot to credit the performers — Katherine Dennison and Shanti Bremer.

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