Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Songbook

Partly Cloudy - Hi 96 Lo 71 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 76 Lo 58 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: American Pie, Don McLean

WKRP in Cincinnati has been released on DVD. I am patiently waiting for Laura's review. Because of licensing issues a lot of the music has been changed and I fear that it will interfere with my affection for the show because the music was such an important part of it. So, as I have been contemplating that purchase I started thinking about music that has become part of the "American Soundtrack"...

I can not recall the first time I heard the song American Pie. I have no doubt it was while listening to WSAI-AM. Back then-- WSAI wasn't talk radio, it was rock n roll. Back then we didn't have FM stations to hear our favorite rock songs in stereo... much less iPods. Jim Scott was the guy everyone listened to in the morning getting ready for school or heading off to work... Funny... Jim Scott is still on local radio... the Big One... WLW.

I think... I can not swear to this... I think... American Pie was the first song that I committed all the lyrics to memory... Why does this song create such a feeling of wonder? As an adult I can appreciate this song is about more than the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper; I believe it is a look back at a loss of innocence... But as a kid... what was my attraction to the song?


The names in this ramble have been changed to protect the innocent, the not so innocent and me.)

Have you ever been to a real funeral? No... not a Catholic funeral or Methodist or even Baptist... I'm not even talking Unitarian... I mean a real funeral... an Appalachian funeral. When I was a girl I attended a funeral in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. As with any death, it was a sad occasion because this man was the patriarch of the family. It was the first time I had ever been to this place where he had been born. Now I must tell you this man was old and feeble when I knew him. He worked in the coal mines when he was young. He served during World War I. He had a tattoo of an anchor on his forearm.... always reminded me of Popeye. For the longest time, he was the only person I knew that had a tattoo... funny. He divorced his first wife- unheard of in the 1920's and buried his second wife - the cancer and third wife -I can't recall how--- lots and lots of relatives were created from these marriages. He always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and he always had a twinkle in his eye-- not the kind of twinkle of a nice old man... but one of a man that in his younger years that had seen it all... done it all... lived his life by his terms... I remember his laugh...

In any event, he died... emphysema--- black lung--- no doubt a combination of working in the coal mines and smoking three packs of cigarettes a day.... (this is not an editorial on smoking--keep your rude comments.)

Fast forward... being in the mountains of Virginia was breathtaking. You could see for miles up on top of that mountain. Green green valleys below and blue blue skies above... God knew what he was doing when He created earth- simply spectacular. When we arrived we went from house to house...visiting family... folks I had never met... some I had never even heard about... Keep in mind this was rural Virginia in a Gap where Virginia meets Tennessee and Kentucky.... the homes were small... yes... there were sofas on the front porches... trucks up on cinder blocks and washers out in the yard... there were also clothes lines with sheets drying in that country air... it was all very stereotypical... but the part of the stereotype that isn't discussed is the kindness you find in those mountains. It was odd... everything was foreign and yet so familiar.... the faces... the voices...the cadence of their speech... the way they laughed... "Well, honey, I'm your Aunt Annie. I'm so and so's sister... I guess that would make me your great great Aunt Annie." Then someone else, "I'm not related to you, but I was engaged to your grand daddy, I bet you didn't know that, but he went and married someone else more city-fied." This went on and on... and with each stop... we were fed... not snacks... freaking meals... and everything made in bacon grease... (This needs to be a separate post.)

The patriarch was dressed in his finest suit. He looked handsome, much better than the last time I had seen him. At the funeral home... these same folks we had been visiting with the day before were completely different... The women were crying... waling... throwing their arms around the man in the coffin... touching his hands... screaming that he was a saint. Please note: this man was not a saint... remember that twinkle in his eye I mentioned? Well, he was a womanizer, a cheat, a gambler and at times not a very nice person... The sobbing and crying went on for the duration of the wake.... I remember having an awful headache... I remember music... at the time I absolutely hated it... Bluegrass... I remember thinking to myself how horrible it was... thankfully, I was taught to have manners so I did not roll my eyes or cover my ears or make obnoxious comments.... but the worst part is, I missed out... Here my family... sitting together... playing banjos and fiddles and singing and I missed it...

I don't have much of a point to this story... it's just one I like to tell now and again to keep track of this part of me. Actually, maybe I do... listen to the music... always. You may not like it today... but it may mean something to you tomorrow...

Now, the list. I've been adding to this list for about 3 months. I've been thinking about my own mortality... I want to take this opportunity to discuss the music that I would like played at my wake... I don't believe I'll have a big turnout and I certainly don't want the waling... especially if I go before Michael. Screeching and waling do not work for Michael. Rob, I ask you to take charge of making the tape. Some on the list will be recognized as Sunday Songs. So, in no particular order here goes... (Rob, I'll leave you to arrange them in an order that makes sense- I'll understand if you need to make some cuts due to time constraints and or lack of interest due to low attendance numbers.)
  • Rhapsody In Blue, George Gershwin - one of my favorite pieces.
  • Every song on the album Sinatra at the Sands, Frank Sinatra - he was the coolest man to ever walk the face of the earth. I want him singing at my funeral.
  • Anything from The Sound of Music and The King and I -musicals are a big part of my soul.
  • Unchained Melody, The Righteous Brothers
  • Under Pressure, Queen & David Bowie -- for grins and chuckles you can follow this with Vanilla Ice...
  • Heaven, The Psychedelic Furs
  • Half Acre, Hem
  • Fire Thief, Hem
  • Jackson, Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
  • God Is In The Roses, Rosanne Cash
  • Ticket to Ride, The Beatles
  • Hello, Goodbye, The Beatles
  • Wouldn't It Be Nice, The Beach Boys
  • God Only Knows, The Beach Boys
  • Graceland, Paul Simon
  • Blister In The Sun, Violent Femmes
  • South Central Rain,R.E.M
  • September, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Sweet Dreams, Patsy Cline
  • Mambo Italiano, Rosemary Clooney
  • Skateaway, Dire Straits
  • Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band
  • Star Wars Theme, John Williams
  • Kathy's Song, Simon & Garfunkel
  • Love Song, The Cure
  • California Dreamin', Mamas and the Papas
  • Monday, Monday, Mamas and the Papas
  • I Don't Like Mondays, Boomtown Rats
  • Rainy Days and Mondays, The Carpenters --- Do you suppose I don't like Mondays?
  • Ain't No Sunshine, Bill Withers
  • Just You 'n' Me, Chicago
  • Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas - to my days living in Norwood
  • Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band - because this song makes me laugh
  • It's A Sunshine Day, The Brady Kids - for my love of television of the 70's
  • Dancing Queen, Abba
  • Foo Fighters, Learn to Fly
  • U2, 40
  • U2, New Year's Day
  • U2, Gloria
  • U2, I Will Follow
  • U2, Rejoice
  • U2, Beautiful Day
  • U2, Two Hearts Beat as One
  • U2, A Sort of Homecoming
  • U2, Bad
  • Turn, Turn, Turn, The Byrds
  • The aria, Flower Duet from Puccini's Madama Butterfly
  • Can't Find My Way Home, Blind Faith
  • Melissa, The Allman Brothers - one of the prettiest songs
  • Midnight Rider, The Allman Brothers
  • Rolling Stones, Sympathy For The Devil
  • Gangsters, The Specials - not Gangsta
  • Summer Breeze, Seals & Crofts
  • I Say A Little Prayer, Dionne Warwick - No one can be sad when Dionne sings
  • The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia, Vicki Lawrence
  • Joy to the World, Three Dog Night -- When Jimi's sister passed away, Scott kept saying that our lives paralleled the movie The Big Chill... he said that when we were... 20 something... ah.... funny...
  • Try A Little Tenderness, Three Dog Night
  • Into the Mystic, Van Morrison
  • Moondance, Van Morrison
  • Mack The Knife, Bobby Darrin
  • Sunrise, Norah Jones
  • I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash
  • Baby, Now That I've Found You, Allison Krauss & Union Station
  • Cluck Old Hen, Allison Krauss & Union Station -- pure Bluegrass
  • Knock Three Times, Tony Orlando & Dawn
  • Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • The Christmas Song, Mel Torme
  • Burning With Optimism's Flames, XTC
  • Easy Come, Easy Go, Bobby Sherman - because Bobby Sherman was always my favorite on Here Comes the Brides
  • Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson - This is the only disco song on this list... sorry... I hated this song when it was on the charts... it has grown on me...
  • Do You Remember, Jack Johnson
  • Half Breed, Cher - I idolized Cher when I was little.
  • Cosmopolitans, Erin McKeown
  • Thank You, Sly & the Family Stone
  • Once In A Lifetime, Talking Heads
  • Take Me To The River, Talking Heads
  • Frozen Charlotte, Natalie Merchant
  • Solsbury Hill, Peter Gabriel
  • In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
  • Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks
  • Oye Como Va, Santana
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go?, The Clash
  • Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
  • Superstition, Stevie Wonder
  • Texas Flood, Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Voodoo Chile, Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Canary in a Coalmine, The Police
  • Spirits In The Material World, The Police
  • Ohio, Over the Rhine
  • What I'll Remember Most, Over the Rhine
  • Blue Moon of Kentucky, Patsy Cline
  • Sara Smile, Hall & Oates - I've always loved the name Sara- the melody of this song captures the reason why.
  • The Space Between, Dave Matthews Band
  • Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band
  • Deacon Blues, Steely Dan
  • Classical Gas, Glen Campbell
  • Sukiyaki Song - Ue Wo Muite Arukou, Kyu Sakamoto
  • America, Ray Charles
  • God Bless America, Kate Smith
  • Take Five, Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • Piano Man, Billy Joel - now for the sing alongs
  • American Pie, Don McLean
  • Freebird, Lynyrd Skynyrd --- no... not really... never cared for Southern Rock. I just wanted to use this photo of old people lighting up at a concert

  • and finally...
  • Glory Be to Jesus
  • Back to the Cross
  • Ave Maria - I'm not Catholic, but this song when sung perfectly is like listening to angels
  • Amazing Grace

  • Shout outs and Special Requests:

    No blogs this week... I just want to say hello to Cindy in Montana- It was great to see you while you were in town and I'll do my best to add more pictures to my posts. I am planning a picture post for the near future too.

    Also, I ask that you say a prayer for Michael's step-sister, Lisa. She has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is having surgery on Wednesday.

    American Pie, Don McLean

    A long, long time ago...
    I can still remember
    How that music used to make me smile.
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those people dance
    And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

    But February made me shiver
    With every paper I’d deliver.
    Bad news on the doorstep;
    I couldn’t take one more step.

    I can’t remember if I cried
    When I read about his widowed bride,
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died.

    So bye-bye, miss American pie.
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    Did you write the book of love,
    And do you have faith in God above,
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Do you believe in rock ’n roll,
    Can music save your mortal soul,
    And can you teach me how to dance real slow?

    Well, I know that you’re in love with him
    `cause I saw you dancin’ in the gym.
    You both kicked off your shoes.
    Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.

    I was a lonely teenage broncin’ buck
    With a pink carnation and a pickup truck,
    But I knew I was out of luck
    The day the music died.

    I started singin’,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    Now for ten years we’ve been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rollin’ stone,
    But that’s not how it used to be.
    When the jester sang for the king and queen,
    In a coat he borrowed from James dean
    And a voice that came from you and me,

    Oh, and while the king was looking down,
    The jester stole his thorny crown.
    The courtroom was adjourned;
    No verdict was returned.
    And while Lennon read a book of Marx,
    The quartet practiced in the park,
    And we sang dirges in the dark
    The day the music died.

    We were singing,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
    The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
    Eight miles high and falling fast.
    It landed foul on the grass.
    The players tried for a forward pass,
    With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

    Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
    While the sergeants played a marching tune.
    We all got up to dance,
    Oh, but we never got the chance!
    `cause the players tried to take the field;
    The marching band refused to yield.
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the music died?

    We started singing,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    Oh, and there we were all in one place,
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again.
    So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
    Jack flash sat on a candlestick
    Cause fire is the devil’s only friend.

    Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
    No angel born in hell
    Could break that Satan's spell.
    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite,
    I saw Satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died

    He was singing,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    And singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    I met a girl who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news,
    But she just smiled and turned away.
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where I’d heard the music years before,
    But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

    And in the streets: the children screamed,
    The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
    But not a word was spoken;
    The church bells all were broken.
    And the three men I admire most:
    The father, son, and the holy ghost,
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died.

    And they were singing,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die.
    "this’ll be the day that I die."

    They were singing,
    "bye-bye, miss American pie."
    Drove my Chevy to the levee,
    But the levee was dry.
    Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
    Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."

    Have a great week everyone!


    Lone Ranger said...

    What a co-inky-dink! I was listening to that song at work Friday night.

    seejanemom said...

    I am usually sobbing before he gets through the first line.

    Today is no different.

    Thanks. I think. ;)

    A NEWT ONE said...

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