Rhapsody in Blue

More timeless music from 2013. Hardly anyone has viewed this before.

beetleypete

Most Classical music is very old. When it was written, it was the ‘pop music’ of its day, and predominantly admired by the wealthy, and patrons of the arts. Everyday folk had to be content with their folk songs and hymns, as they were unlikely to ever be in a place where Classical music was performed, or even heard.

Most of us can recognise the better-known Classical pieces, such as ‘The Planets’, or ‘The Four Seasons’, and some composers, like Handel, have distinctive styles, and preferred instruments. Much of this recognition is down to the use of music to accompany films, and TV advertisements; we hear something pleasant, delve a little further into its origins, and discover the composer’s other works. Modern composers of Classical music are few and far between, and often less well-known, without the same wide audience.

In 1924, George Gershwin, the American songwriter and composer, wrote…

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Concierto de Aranjuez

Reblogging an old music post from 2013. Something timeless for you to listen to over the weekend.

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This is a concerto for guitar and orchestra, written by the Spanish composer Rodrigo, in 1939. It has a classical feel, but is not Classical Music, so please do not be put off, if you are not a Classical fan. You may think that you have never heard it, but I am certain that you will recognise it immediately, as it has been  used in many soundtracks, TV advertisements, and covered in many and diverse ways, by numerous other artists.

I first came to this work by buying a Miles Davis record, called ‘Sketches of Spain’. I had long been a fan of this legendary Jazz trumpeter, and got this record some years after its 1960 release. I was immediately captivated by the first track on side one, which lasted for almost 17 minutes. It had the feel of the music heard in western films, when they are in Mexico…

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Rita Hayworth Dances To The Bee Gees

The lovely film star Rita Hayworth was also an accomplished dancer. A clever person on You Tube has managed to include numerous clips of her dancing, to the background of one of the Bee Gees’ biggest hits. The timing is really good, and it is a joy to watch.

Thanks to my blogging friend, David Miller. He sent me this to cheer me up. And it did.
https://millerswindmill.wordpress.com/

Be Bop Deluxe: Maid In Heaven

As a diversion from reblogging things found in the depths of my archive, here is some music, together with a memory of a wonderful friend.

I met Billy O’Neill when he joined the London Ambulance Service. A former Catholic Monk, he later became lead guitarist in a touring band. Then he settled down into a quiet life as a librarian in Camden, before deciding to become an EMT. He was a gentle giant of a man, standing over six feet six tall, and wearing size thirteen shoes.

For some years he worked with me as my regular ambulance crewmate and we became great friends, with a shared love of music. When I moved to Camden in 2000, we lived within sight of each other. He went on to better things in that job, first becoming a Training Instructor, then progressing to the second highest role in the London Ambulance Service. He moved to Oxfordshire, married his partner Ian, and I was proud to be a witness at their civil ceremony. Later on, he was a witness when I married Julie, and Ian made the wedding video for us. On my last ever shift as an EMT, he came to work with me for those final eight hours.

Billy was taken from this world far too soon, devastated by bone cancer. I miss him every day, and always will.

This is one of our favourite songs, and it was always played whenever we socialised.

Pygmy Music: A Video

My good friend Antony sent me this fascinating clip. Cameroonian musician Francis Bebey is playing a one-note flute, explaining how it served as both entertainment and a form of musical communication for pigmy tribes in Africa.

To bring it up to date, he is accompanied by another musician using a modern drum and bass machine.

It is a magical sound, full of history and culture.

A Song For The Ladies

These days, my introduction to a new song is often when I hear a snippet of it on a TV advertisement. British readers may know the recent shampoo advert featuring this song. It has taken me a while to find the full original version, but here it is.

It has a great positive message about being a woman, as well as a catchy beat and chorus.

And here are the lyrics, which are worth reading.

Woman
Andreya Triana, Dimitri Tikovoï
I was insecure
Yes, I was frightened
To be myself seemed like a distant dream
Lost in the crowd
I closed the curtains
And I hid my hips and thighs in baggy jeans
But they said, love don’t fail if you’re trying
I knew in my heart I would succeed
When times get hard (Times get hard)
You gotta keep on fighting (Keep on fighting)
All these battles, yes, they made the best of me
‘Cause, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
When this life is full of laughter
And the lies are full of pain
I remember how (Remember how)
The early days were darker (Days were darker)
And so I stand up, time and time again
And now I’m sure
Oh yes, I’m certain
If I’m breaking down, well, it don’t make me weak
‘Cause I learnt how (I learnt how)
To stop the hurting (Stop the hurting)
By giving all my love right back to me
Oh, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah, I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Yeah
‘Cause, I can rule like a queen
Be a superhero
Hold my head high the further I go
I know I can love myself more than anyone else
I am fire and the world’s gotta know
Woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m a woman
(Yeah, a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful woman)
Yeah, I’m a woman
(Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Dimitri Tikovoi / Denise Amanda Adam / Andreya Triana
Woman lyrics © Budde Music Uk Ltd

Lyrically Evocative (33)

David Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’ probably ranks as the one record I have listened to more than any other during my lifetime. It was a “You had to be there” moment, when this amazing album was first released. I know every track by heart, and still enjoy listening to it as much as I did when I was only 19 years old. Fifty years ago!

As I got older though, I resisted change. Even now, small changes to my routine can frustrate and annoy me, and I constantly find myself raging at the need for change in almost every single aspect of daily life.

I forgot what it is to be 19 years old, yearning for change.

But David reminded me, when I listened to this song again last week.

Here are the lyrics, written by him a very long time ago.

Changes
David Bowie

Oh, yeah
Mmm
Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
There’s gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Mmm, yeah
I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Where’s your shame?
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time
Strange fascinations fascinate me
Ah, changes are taking
The pace I’m goin’ through
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Ooh, look out, you rock ‘n’ rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Bowie
Changes lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, DistroKid

And here he is singing them. Reminding me of the constant need for change.

Lyrically Evocative (32)

I complain a lot, I know. The weather mostly, but other stuff too.

However, I wouldn’t want anyone to ever think that I am not thankful for what I have. A decent home, mortgage-free. A wife to share my life with, and a wonderful dog to be my companion. Enough money to get by, and even save a (little) bit. Relatively good health, even in the midst of a pandemic crisis.

I am better off than so many other people, and I am thankful for that fact.

With that in mind, I was thinking about this song today. I bought the record a long time ago now, (1974) but it often sneaks into my mind.

And never was it more relevant, than in 2021.

Here are the lyrics. I may know nothing about a ‘Gangsta lean’, but I get William’s intention.

Be Thankful for What You Got
William DeVaughn

Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Just be thankful for what you got
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin’ the scene
With a gangsta lean
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Just be thankful for what you got
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac
Gangsta whitewalls
TV antennas in the back
You may not have a car at all
But remember brothers and sisters
You can still stand tall
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: William Devaughn
Be Thankful for What You Got lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

And here he is, singing his own song. (Not live, the original 7-inch single)

Let’s all remember to be thankful what what we have.

Significant Songs (79)

Reblogging a post from 2015 about a very old song that I love so much. Apologies to those who have seen it previously.
I was thinking about this song today, and it is in my head.

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Pennies From Heaven

This song originated as the feature track from the 1936 film of the same name. Originally sung by Bing Crosby in that film, it was later recorded by almost every famous singer since. The list of those who covered the song is too long to write here, but it includes Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan. For me, this is best heard sung by a ‘crooner’, and the sadness underlying the central message of hope comes over well if it is recorded in a somewhat plaintive tone.

In 1978, the BBC produced a landmark television series of the same title, written by Dennis Potter, and starring Bob Hoskins, Cheryl Campbell, and Gemma Craven. The song featured heavily of course, and the version used was by Arthur Tracy. This was also made into a -best forgotten- Hollywood film adapted by and starring Steve Martin. The TV series…

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