Liner scat (see the posted playlist in the previous post):
01. I didn’t exactly miss the Nyro show back in the 60s, but I didn’t exactly jump on the bandwagon either. She lingered in my consciousness through the years, mainly for having shown up in my cousin’s record collection. I couldn’t get my ears around her jangle at the time, but I was surprised (and impressed) that she had wandered into mi primo’s stack. Next I knew, she was dead at 49, ovarian cancer. Four—was it?—years ago, I stumbled over her Angels in the Dark disc, recorded shortly before her death: my head was blown off: I had my head glued to my speakers for days on end, I could not get enough of this awesome diva, and so I made my way back through her whole catalogue. True Nyro fans would string me up, but I still think Angels is her masterwork. In her take on the chestnut “Walk On By,” she morphs the line “And so if I seem broken and blue,” into “And so if I seem broken in two (into),” and your heart breaks knowing she is and has been. “Stone Soul Picnic” is from the younger happy daze, but I like the way that surrey gets rolling in the beginning.
02. Ah, Lady T: I have sung the lady’s praises several times previously in this blog-village. Four years ago, when funk radio FINALLY came to Tres Leches (it has since departed, que lastima), the new station splurged by playing something like 18,000,000 commercial-free hours. One day, I was mesmerized by the T’s near thirty year old “Lovergirl.” Again, as with so much music in my life, not a song that grabbed me first time around, but this wondrous day (I was pumping gas at the local HEB), that song cleaned out my head. As chance would have it, Lady Diva had just come out with La Doña, a glorious oil-spill of a “I may have been down, but I ain’t out, here’s fifteen’s years’ worth of what’s been pent up” disc. It was a majestic throwdown. While jumping like a madman on that wagon, I also found my way back to “Ooo La La La,” which is just about as good as it gets, o my brothers and sisters, for pure love soul.
03. “Black Rain” is just one cozy example of why I can’t wait for Lady T to get on with her promise to morph into a jazz diva in the years to come.
04. Di Meola jumped into the spotlight as a twenty year old phenom in Chick Corea’s Return to Forever project back in the mid to late 70s. AD put out his own blazing discs along the way, and also teamed up with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia for some guitar orgies that left one and all gasping. About five years ago, my son and I were driving home from the biblioteca when on the radio comes the announcement that AD will be giving a “free” guitar clinic at Hermes Music, as part of an Ovation Guitars promotional tour. Did we hightail our asses over to Hermes? You bet your bippy, and there we were dazzled with two hours of “Mediterranean Sundance”-like magic.
05. Mi amigo Steph has been, more than any other, my music guru through the past thirty years: twas he who brought The Waterboys to me ears, first with a sizzling cover of Van’s “Sweet Thing,” and then on and on from there. The two cuts posted here cover a nice spectrum from pub rocker to heartbreaking ballad. “Fisherman’s Blues” opens the glorious romp of “Waking Ned Devine,” a movie one and all should see before going on up to the Upper Room.
06. The West Bank of
07. Much as I love all the music on this list, if I had (HAD) to pick the one I could not do without, it would be “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart.” I’ve never been a big fan of Sinead, but when I heard this song over the closing credits of the film “In the Name of the Father,” I knew I had found my anthem: I was rocked by the song, and continue to be all these years later. Sinead is not of this world: she is a voice, a spirit, a demi-urge from Lothlorien: I hear her voice coming straight from Gaia. That rousing Celtic bagpiped mash in the background just deepens the spell. Good god.
08. Late in his life, John Lee hooked up with the Mighty Van, his duet partner on this lovely piece of loveliness. God I love John Lee’s phrasing. He and Van take this beauty for a nice long walk, so one and all can “see, see, see…”
09. Look to the right, under the words “About Me,” and you see “unfettered and alive.” Straight from this song. I was not a fan of early Joni, but come the passage that gave us For the Roses through Court and Spark and The Hissing of Summer Lawns and the Hejira masterpiece, when she was edging into her jazzy sabbatical, she owned my turntable. She lost me when she jumped whole hog into Her Jazz Diva-ness, but even that was resurrected beautifully by Herbie Hancock’s River album (though even he stays away from the Diva-ness years in his choices).
10. One late night in
12. The first long poem I ever wrote ten years ago was an expansion on this song. I love the song, I love the Mary, I love Cassandra Wilson’s (Murrah High School class of 1972, Jackson, Mississippi) gorgeous whisky-drenched husk of a voice: what a wonderful surprise it was to find that she had covered this aria. If you don’t think teen Cassandra didn’t worship Joni Mitchell, give a listen to this.
13. So many to choose from in the Mighty Neil’s catalogue, but I was thinking a quiet, simple way to end the “show.” It came down to “Harvest Moon” or this one. If I were you, I’d go find the former muy pronto, or you could do no wrong listening to Cassandra’s cover on her magnificent New Moon Daughter.