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geology mixes music quotations songwriting

Granite Mix IXX

It’s time for another mix. This one’s pretty random though manually so. Here’s a few comments about the tracks.

El Bachín was a bar in Buenos Aires, now demolished but the name has been transferred to another establishment. The little boy of Piazzolla’s song was called Pablo Alberto González. In an interview he said that his favourite part of the song is where it says “Dirty-faced little angel selling flowers in the skittles alley of Bachin fire at me with three roses the hunger I hear in you” (or something like that – not easy to translate). The interviewer asked “Do you know what it means?” The answer “No but I like it all the same.”

I haven’t really anything to say about Can’s track Vitamin C. It’s pretty well known and you may have heard it somewhere even if you don’t know anything about the band. Here’s a link to a video that Mute Records made to go with a re-release 3 years ago.

I first saw Carla Bley performing in, I think, 1975 when she was in Jack Bruce’s band. In fact she was the reason I went to see the band. I’ve also been fortunate to have been at a few gigs to see Charlie Haden including the one when they toured this material which was probably in 1983. That was at the Venue, Victoria, London.

Here’s a bit from an interview with Junior Wells from 1997 where he talks about his very early days as a musician.

Yeah. Well, Tampa used to play right down the street from where I was living on 22nd and Prairie. I couldn’t go any place, but I was just a kid. But I used to sit out front and listen to them. Johnnie Jones came out one night, he was playing keyboards then, and he hear me playing the harmonica. And he said, “Come on in the house”. I couldn’t go in cos Mrs. Jeffries wouldn’t allow it. He went in and told the people I was out there, and some people come outside. And they kept bugging Mrs. Jeffries about me coming in. So Mrs. Jeffries let me come in and I could play some. I had to go outside. Then, I started to bothering Tampa to get in some other places. And they started to let me take all the tips that the people was giving to me. I started hustling down and something like that. Then the other musicians, the older musicians, they started taking their time with me, too. I felt real groovy about it. You know, everybody seemed to be in my corner about helping me accomplish what I was trying to do.

I got into forró when I visited north Brazil a few years ago and Luis Gonzaga is one of the originators.

And to continue the Brazilian theme here is a song from Jorge Ben’s debut album which came out in 1963.

And now a bit of North Africa with Cheba Zahouania.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with MF Doom from spin.com where he’s talking about his approach to writing lyrics.

I’m a rhymer, so I go for points. I ain’t going to be talking shit about the next dude, or bragging about shit I got. I talk broke shit, I talk about shit I don’t got, or things I’m striving for. Say you’re speaking from a point of view where you’re talking to yourself, in maybe a sad mood. How do your tones come across? Can people feel what you’re saying? Can they hear what you’re saying? Are you well pronounced? Maybe you purposely were a little bit sloppy with it, to bring the point across. Can you bring the point across and still get the rhyme points? It’s like gymnastics on paper.

James Brown’s 1st album from 1958 – James Brown and the Famous Flames that is.

I can’t say I know much about Macedonian folk music but I have managed to find a nice clip of Kostadin Gugov – I like this sort of home-made thing.

I know I’ve featured Ravi Shankar before – you can’t go wrong with a genius like that. And his name is linked to his official website where I see that a few weeks ago Dark Horse Records released the first ever vinyl version of his 1997 album Chants of India.

Poverty’s Paradise was the first hip-hop album to win a Grammy so it’s a bit of history too.

H.P.Lovecraft (the band that is) were only going for a couple of years in the late sixties. The link goes to a clip of them performing the song tbat’s in this mix on TV from 1968.

Finally, Beautiful Linda Getchell commemorates a sad story of unrequited love which is also alluded to in one of Fahey’s best known albums – the San Bernardino Birthday Party. You can read the story in Steve Lowenthal’s biography of the great guitarist. Only if you’re interested though.

Granite Mix 19
title artist album
Chiquilín De Bachin Astor Piazzolla Moderato Mistico
Vitamin C Can Ege Bamyasi
Introduction To People Charlie Haden / Carla Bley The Ballad Of The Fallen
Early In The Morning Junior Wells Hoodoo Man Blues
São João Do Carneirinho Luiz Gonzaga Sao Joao Na Roca
Quere Esquecer Voce Jorge Ben Samba Esquema Novo
Ala Lasmar Moul Khana Zahouania Golden Rai
Figaro Madvillain Madvillainy
Tell Me What I Did Wrong James Brown And The Famous Flames Please, Please, Please
Razturi Se Shar Planina Kostadin Gugov Macedonian Songs
Village Dance Ravi Shankar Tana Mana
Sunshine Naughty By Nature Poverty’s Paradise
I’ve Been Wrong Before H.P.Lovecraft H.P.Lovecraft
Beautiful Linda Getchell John Fahey The Transfiguration Of Blind Joe Death
Categories
jazz music quotations

Jazz Quotations 8

When I don’t change anymore then there’s no point in playing anymore – of actually trying to do anything different or trying to play modern. After you reach a certain point when you no longer improve then you just stay the same.

Art Pepper

What I think Cecil and I did mainly–we both were familiar with each other’s work, and as Stanley Cowell so aptly put it, we co-existed. We didn’t rehearse as such–what we did was we sat down and dealt with each other as two human beings and when we found out that we could live with our own attitudes and thoughts about life and things in music and liberty and all the other things that people talk about, we knew that we could deal with each other on stage. And it was pure improvisation, we just dealt from that point of view and we knew from experience that something would happen if we went our own ways but were sensitive to each other at the same time. And I think we co-existed.

Max Roach

You’ve got to study each man in the band, because each has a different disposition. Actually, you’ve got to use a lot of psychology because they all have different temperaments and habits. You have to holler at some guys–others you have to joke with. Another you may have to take across the street to the bar to get your point across. You must impress them that to be a musician you’ve got to do the things that are required of a musician–look the part, play your horn; also time-making.

Some guys didn’t aspire to be soloists; others wanted to. Trummy Young was one of the latter. He was always venturing out, always wanting to play his horn. Everywhere he went he carried his horn with him. The same with Bennie Green. These men later turned out to be outstanding. Like Walter Fuller, he was another, and there are several others I can name–Omer Simeon, Darnell Howard, and, of course, Budd Johnson and Jimmy Mundy, though it finally turned out he didn’t want to be a soloist–he wanted to arrange–but he played a good horn. In the trumpet section, Dizzy stood out so much.

Earl Fatha Hines

Carrying along that same thought, I think musicians do have a tendency to sort of copy and get on the bandwagon instead of accepting one thing for what it is and realizing that it’s another area of progress. They immediately want to emulate. Music is a very personal thing. It’s strictly an individual thing. This one tenor player comes to mind who played like another player. He just tried to play every note exactly the same. He might have been sincere in his love for the musician but it didn’t turn out that way. Eventually, he just went right down and like you never heard of him again. He was a very competent musician but it’s just like my uncle always said, “There’s only one thing that keeps us all from being rich and if we knew what that was, everybody would have a million,” and that’s probably the thing the tenor player didn’t realize — copying was just another form of saying the other man was great. You just extend more adulation and acclaim or whatever to the other guy.

Thad Jones

Look, man, all I am is a trumpet player. I only can do one thing — play my horn — and that’s what’s at the bottom of the whole mess. I ain’t no entertainer, and ain’t trying to be one. I am one thing, a musician. Most of what’s said about me is lies in the first place. Everything I do, I got a reason.

The reason I don’t announce numbers is because it’s not until the last instant I decide what’s maybe the best thing to play next. Besides, if people don’t recognize a number when we play it, what difference does it make?

Why I sometimes walk off the stand is because when it’s somebody else’s turn to solo, I ain’t going to just stand up there and be detracting from him. What am I going to stand up there for? I ain’t no model, and I don’t sing or dance, and I damn sure ain’t no Uncle Tom just to be up there grinning. Sometimes I go over by the piano or the drums and listen to what they’re doing. But if I don’t want to do that, I go in the wings and listen to the whole band until it’s the next turn for my horn.

Then they claim I ignore the audience while I’m playing. Man, when I’m working, I know the people are out there. But when I’m playing, I’m worrying about making my horn sound right.

And they bitch that I won’t talk to people when we go off after a set. That’s a damn lie. I talk plenty of times if everything’s going like it ought to and I feel right. But if I got my mind on something about my band or something else, well, hell, no, I don’t want to talk. When I’m working I’m concentrating. I bet you if I was a doctor sewing on some son of a bitch’s heart, they wouldn’t want me to talk.

Miles Davis
Categories
jazz music quotations

Jazz Quotations 7

[He] uses the first and second left-hand fingers most of the time in single-note work; in chord work he can make use of the third and fourth fingers to a limited extent on the first two strings. He plays his famous octave passages on any two strings, with a “damped” string in between, i.e., on first and third; second and fourth; third and fifth; etc., avoiding that frenzied rushing up and down the fingerboard which would otherwise be necessary. His famous chromatic runs, if played in the first position, are fingered; if played up the fingerboard, they are glissed with one finger. He plays unusual chord shapes because of his handicap…Reinhardt‘s right hand is phenomenal. He does not rest any part of it on the guitar; it pivots from the elbow a little but principally swings from the wrist. He employs down strokes most of the time except for extremely rapid passages and notes played tremolo.

Billy Neill & E Gates

Everybody in this country is very neurotic now. They’re afraid to experience an intense emotion, the kind of intense emotion, for instance, that’s brought on by good jazz. There’s more vitality in jazz than in any other art form today. Vitality arises from an emotion that is free. But the people, being neurotic, are afraid of being affected by a free emotion and that’s why they put down jazz.

Since the last war we’ve been overwhelmed by a feeling of insecurity. To try to offset that insecurity, people are reaching back toward happier times. And we’re in an era of nostalgia which is being inflicted on the younger people who have nothing to be nostalgic about.

Nostalgia brings on anticipation because you know what’s going to happen next. When people start to anticipate, they become intense, waiting for what they know is going to happen. And this tension feeds their neuroses.
That’s why there’s such a small audience for what I’m doing. What I play is so unorthodox that when you first hear it, you don’t try to anticipate. You just sit there. You have to be very relaxed to start with before you put on one of my records. Consequently, people don’t want to hear my sides as often as, say, Garner‘s, because as a rule they won’t be in a mood that’s receptive to what I play.

Lennie Tristano

To begin with we are the music we play. And our commitment is to peace, to understanding of life. And we keep trying to purify our music, to purify ourselves so that we can move ourselves and those who hear us to higher levels of peace and understanding. You have to purify and crystallize your sound in order to hypnotize. I’m convinced, you see, that through music, life can be given more meaning. And every kind of music has an influence either direct or indirect on the world around it so that after a while the sounds of different types of music go around and bring about psychological changes. And we’re trying to bring about peace. In his way, for example, that’s what Coltrane, too, is trying to do.

To accomplish this, I must have spiritual men playing with me. Since we are the music we play, our way of life has to be clean or else the music can’t be kept pure.

Albert Ayler

I follow the improvisation the soloist has taken and when he’s through I pick up the last phrase he’s played and use this as the beginning to my improvisation on the melodic pattern of the composition. It can be very simple or very complicated and you can get unlimited rhythmic and polyrhythmic patterns and phrases. Actually a lot of solos I have taken have drum and rhythmic phrases just as a saxophonist or trumpeter will play phrases with his instrument – drums have to breathe too.

Elvin Jones

I played with Fletcher Henderson for a short time when Coleman Hawkins left. I had a lot of trouble there. The whole band was buzzing on me because I had taken Hawk’s place. I didn’t have the same kind of sound he had. I was rooming at the Henderson’s house, and Leora Henderson would wake me early in the morning and play Hawkins’ records for me so I could play like he did. I wanted to play my own way but I just listened. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Finally I left and went to Kansas City. I had in my mind what I wanted to play, and I was going to play that way. That’s the only time that ever happened – someone telling me to play differently from the way I wanted to.

Herschel Evans was a Hawk man. That was the difference between the way we played. He played well, but his man was Hawk like my man at the beginning was Trumbauer. As for Coleman Hawkins, I used to ride in Hawk’s car. He plays fine. He was the first to really start playing tenor. I thought Chu Berry played nice, too. He was on a Coleman Hawkins style. I think he got the job with Henderson after I left. Ben Webster had a taste of it, too. I think Ben plays fine too.

Lester Young

Categories
literature quotations

palabras sin fronteras

Sometime back in the 1990s I was browsing in the second-hand bookshop Bookmark in Falmouth. I came across a book that interested me and for a couple of quid I bought it. Here’s a scan of the cover.


Genesis is the first book of a trilogy Memories of Fire by Eduardo Galeano which tells the history of Latin America in a series of short pieces in a way which defies categorisation. As the author puts it in his preface,

I don’t know to what literary form this voice of voices belongs. Memory of Fire is not an anthology, clearly not; but I don’t know if it is a novel or essay or epic poem or testament or chronicle or… Deciding robs me of no sleep. I do not believe in the frontiers that, according to literature’s customs officers, separate the forms.

I looked out for the other volumes in various second-hand bookshops but with no success. So I bought the 2nd volume, Faces & Masks on the web. By the look of it I’d say it was a new copy. Again here’s the cover.


The 1st volume had been published by Methuen (UK Version) and my copy dated to a 1987 publishing date. This 2nd volume bought new was published by WW Norton and company and came out in 1998, by agreement with Pantheon Books. Finally came my purchase of the 3rd volume Century of the Wind again bought on the web but this time a 2nd hand copy from Pantheon’s 1988 publication. Here’s the cover of that.

So Galeano became my favourite living writer. I haven’t got all of his books but there again I’m not dead yet. Unfortunately death did come for Galeano in 2015 but his last book Hunter of Stories has just been published in the UK and I have my copy though I haven’t started reading it yet. I expect to finish it before the end of the year. It won’t take long once I get started. Reads itself really. Nation Books has published this one and happily they seem to have taken on most of Galeano’s oeuvre. Finally here is a comment from Naomi Klein on the new book, taken from Nation’s website.

This is Galeano’s parting gift, arriving to us, like a message from another dimension, from beyond the grave. It is more generous, wise, and wonderful than I dared hope.

Categories
jazz music quotations

Jazz Quotations 6

The new underground required a new linguistics. To “broom” meant to travel by air; the hipster figure of speech referred to the witch’s favored conveyance. Money was gold. Eyes meant willingness or enthusiasm. A pad was a bed, therefore someone’s room or apartment. Old jazzmen’s expressions, once in, were now out, and hopelessly dated the speaker. As root ideas they gave way to verbal improvisations, in the same way that old tunes served as armatures for bop compositions. Etymology remained reasonably straightforward. The intent was always the same: to exclude the uninitiated, to confound the square, to strengthen the inner community. Out of the world became gone, shorter and more allusive. Blow your top became flip your wig, leading to flipped, flipped out, wigged, wig and wiggy. Knocked out yielded gassed, as in an old-fashioned dentist’s chair. The verb gas gave the noun gas, a delightful experience (an evening at The Deuces, or uptown at Minton’s). Cool and dig served as verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns. Hipsters invented such portmanteau words as chinchy (cheap plus stingy). Like, already done to death in the mother tongue as adjective, adverb, verb, proposition and conjunction, now appeared in every other sentence. Sometimes it stood alone, a sentence in itself, followed by an implied exclamation point or question mark, or merely a dash and a raised eyebrow. If you were hip you dug (or used your imagination). The put down became the put on, a highly developed art, often so subtle that the victim was unaware that he was being put.

Dan Burley, the with-it columnist for the New York Amsterdam News, New York’s leading Negro newspaper, compiled and published The Original Handbook of Harlem Jive, a slightly fanciful lexicon of the new argot. It contained parodies of John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Barefoot Boy” and the soliloquy from Hamlet in jive (to dig, or not to dig, Jack, that is the question…”). Slim Gaillard began recording his musical versions of jive, liberally mixed with nonsense syllables, such hits as Cement Mixer (Puttie-puttie) and A-Reet-a-Voutie. Pod, more commonly pot, first appeared to describe cannabis, standard drug since jazz began in New Orleans, heir to a lengthy list of names: hay, golden leaf, cool green, gage, muggles, mezzirolls (after Chicago jazzman Milton Mezzrow), and shit.

Like the new music, the new linguistics revolved around fixed points and established ideas. Like the music, it was a language in motion, subtly changing from day to day, with ever fresh coinages and connotations, subject to common concepts and needs. Spoken quickly, inflected, it was a nearly incomprehensible dialect. Linguistically as well as musically the boppers had closed the door. The idea was to be on the inside looking out. That was the reason for all those heavily smoked glasses, defiantly worn in the darkest night club.

Ross Russell – Bird Lives

Categories
fire geology mixes music quotations

Kool G Ran It For Teen

there isn’t really a theme to my 14th granite mix, but one thing i tried to do was to keep the tracks short. here’s the mix and after that a table with track listing and then some comments and links and stuff below that.

granite 14

Granite Mix 14
Artist Title Album
John Cale King Harry The Academy In Peril
Nino Rota Notturno O Mattutino La Dolce Vita – Soundtrack
Ralph Vaughan-Williams The Bell Ringers Epithamalion
Joseph Spence Lay Down My Sword & Shield Gospel At Newport
Larry Young Alive Lawrence Of Newark
Armando Trovajoli El Negro Zumbón hit song from film Anna
Captain Beefheart I Love You Big Dummy Lick My Decals Off Baby
Ahmad Jamal I’ll Take Romance/My Funny Valentine Ahmad Jamal At The Blackhawk
Howe Gelb Belly Of Fire Down Home 2002
King Curtis Cuban Twilight Have Tenor Sax Will Blow
Kool G Rap 4,5,6 4,5,6
Federico Mompou Impresiones Intimas No. 9 Gitano Impresiones, Scenes, Charmes, Fêtes Lointaines

the academy In peril is not a particularly well-known work in the john cale canon and is almost as famous for its record sleeve as it is for its music. unfortunately i don’t own a copy of the original album but have a later re-release which doesn’t have the half-gatefold with the cut-outs that the original had but I have seen that original cover in fact the 1st time i heard the album it was at a friend’s house near uxbridge or thereabouts maybe ruislip and he had the sleeve i remember it well. the other thing that is well known about the cover is that it would have been worth a lot more if it had been in black and white which is something that the song a dream from the lou reed/john cale album songs for drella teaches us.

a vast expanse of the roman countryside, to one side are the ruins of the san felice aqueduct, towering arches that come striding across the land. two thousand years ago those arches brought water to the city, but now there are many gaps where whole sections of the aqueduct have fallen in. directly in front is a soccer field, the goal posts dwarfed by the height of the aqueduct. in the distance the sound of motors is heard. a speck in the sky grows rapidly larger. it is a helicopter, and beneath it is a hanging figure. a second helicopter follows close behind. as the ‘copters pass over the field the figure suspended below can be clearly seen. a large statue of christ the labourer swings from a cable. the shadow of the ‘copter and this incongruous figure flashes across the walls of the aqueduct. the helicopters pass on.

federico fellini – screenplay for la dolce vita

why does ralph vaughan williams haunt me the way he does? Is it something to do with the ark tempers of medieval lines? who can tell in this age of imaginativeness?

as soon as i heard joseph spence’s take on utterance i was bewitched as if i had crossed several salt seas of despondency and come at last to fresh water.

at a certain time freedom mixed with sonority to produce several subversely subservient dramaturgy/diatribe/dialogue/dichotomy diptychs

el negro zumbón is complicated. usually attributed to silvano mangana she only mimed to the song in the film anna. it was written by italian composer armando trovajoli and the female singer is flo sandon’s

i’m grateful to samuel andreyev for his fascinating work on captain beefheart and the magic band – definitely one of the joys of youtube which despite my earlier diatribes i am overall in admiration for for its democratic all-inclusiveness. i certainly look forward to more from samuel.

maybe i’ve already written about the time i went to see ahmad jamal the only time i saw him but i’m proud to be able to say even that and if i haven’t written about it then no doubt i will repeat/not repeat it again in the future when my marbles start to lose their shine.

i’ve been to 3 howe gelb gigs but the 1st was something special. during the interval i was standing outside with my friend neil armstrong not the astronaut but maybe even greater in many ways. there was no-one else around and suddenly howe stepped out of the main entrance. he was about 40 metres away from us he looked around with a bewildered expression and then went back into the building. strange.

here’s a fantastic clip of king curtis

as a weather report fan in the mid-70s if i was to choose a favourite track mysterious traveller would be one of the top tracks in my opinion from that era and when i first heard 4,5,6 from kool g rap i recognised the sample straight away. it’s not one of the highlights of my hip-hop collection but is just in the end another of the great tracks that came out in the mid-90s an era that i have covered in the past.

finally what do i find so great about these gentle piano pieces that the catalan composer dreamed scored and deployed. apparently some say that there are superior representations of these pieces by more accomplished pianists than mompou was himself. to my mind who is going to interpret someone’s work better than that person themselves? i don’t know i just don’t get it.

Categories
geology mixes music quotations

thirteenth granite mix

granite 13 is a mix i constructed some time ago late at night in a lively pensive mood. probably i don’t really remember. some of the artists have been on other granite mixes but that’s only to be expected. graphs show patterns and patterns evolve into branched out structures of growth replete with inner and outer significance. trellises draw stems and tendrils favour south-facing surfaces.

lotte lenya, best singer of all bond villains is my favourite interpreter of her husband’s music. sorry this track isn’t great quality it came tortuously originally from a radio broadcast – bbc radio 3 that would be.

nancy wilson i have talked about before and not sure what else i can say except that if you’re going to look at only one of the youtube links that i’ve embedded in this post then i would particularly recommend hers

bonnie prince billy i find a refreshing character i’ve chosen a video rather than a live perfomance for the link because i somehow think he works especially well with film.

ron goodwin wrote the music for seventy-odd films including four miss marple features with margaret rutherford in the lead role. i can’t find any full versions of those online but here’s a trailer.

balkan music has got a strong thing going with it’s mixture of asian and european traditions and this albanian unit is a good example of what i’m talking about. what am i talking about?

raekwon

my clan done ran from japan to atlanta with stamina
slingers and gamblers and gram handlers
tical light the owl cigar let’s get steamed
infra-red guard your beam

i’m not an expert on the blues but for me john lee hooker was the guy who took it a bit beyond and spaced it out by reducing the number of chords which is always good for me though i admit sometimes i fancy putting a few in.

alfred schnittke is another composer/musician that i have talked about before and not sure what else to say. how about – my favourite composer? at the moment anyway.

baden powell – probably talked about him too (when i say talked i mean written). and the link is the second best one to watch.

here’s the mix

granite mix 13
artist title album
lotte lenya september song from radio
nancy wilson i can’t stop loving you today, tomorrow and forever
bonnie prince billy the lion lair ease down the road
ron goodwin miss marple theme film music of ron goodwin
unknown albanian musicians unknown albanian song from radio
raekwon guillotine (swordz) only built 4 cuban linx
john lee hooker crawlin’ king snake the best of john lee hooker
alfred schnittke collected songs where every verse is filled with grief kronos quartet – early music
baden powell dindi poema on guitar
Categories
jazz music quotations

Jazz Quotations 5

It’s singing with soul that counts. Billie has so much soul. When I sing a tune, the lyrics are important to me. Most of the standard lyrics I know well. And as soon as I hear an arrangement, I get ideas, kind of like blowing a horn. I guess I never sing a tune the same way twice.

Sarah Vaughan

But Bird never encouraged me to do anything that would prove wrong for myself. And on that record date, he really told me what to do so far as music and my life was concerned.
He asked me how I had been doing because he knew I was a young wild kid running around and not knowing what was happening. That day he showed me the thing he wanted me to do and the thing he stood for. The purpose of his whole existence was music and he showed me that music was the paramount thing and anything that interfered with it, I should stay away from. Later on I was able to take advantage of his advice, but he died before I had a chance to see him and tell him I had.

Sonny Rollins

What is most important is not the style itself but how you are developing that style and how well you can play within it. You can definitely be more creative exploring specific things within a style. Sometimes, Paul, Scott, and I play the same tune over and over again. Occasionally, everything falls in right, and we think it’s sensational. Of course, it may not mean much to a listener at the time, but, then, most people in clubs don’t listen closely anyway.

Bill Evans

It turned out that Milhaud was the one who convinced me to go back, saying I couldn’t possibly give up jazz, that it was in me and if I wanted to represent the culture, jazz was such an important part. He said it was more important to express the culture and not gain the technique. And he pointed out that every great composer had expressed his culture in which he was familiar and was completely familiar with the folk idiom and jazz was the folk idiom of America. He talked me back into it. It took a period of six months, I guess, and then I became interested in jazz again.

Dave Brubeck

I’ve never been in jail so I can’t write about chain gangs or cotton fields. Then I remembered when I was in Chicago and the watermelon man used to go through the alley-a couple of times a day-and he had a little song, ‘Wah tee mee lo-w.’ There were cobblestone alleys, and the first idea I got was to try to make some kind of rhythmic sound like a soulful wagon going over the cobblestones, with the horse’s hooves and everything. For the melody I started thinking, ‘Suppose somebody were calling the watermelon man-what would they say?’ They’d say, ‘Hey, watermelon man.’ So I tried to write a melody that sounded like that. And even before the lyrics came out, any time anybody joked with me about ‘Watermelon Man,’ they’d sing, ‘Hey, watermelon man,’ to the first melodic phrase, even though they didn’t know I had this in mind. I guess the melody sounds so strongly like it that you automatically get that kind of verbal image.

Herbie Hancock

Categories
geology mixes music quotations

granite mix 11

I think I mentioned before that this mix was to be a mix of things I’ve recorded from the radio over the years. It’s not something I do any more I can’t imagine spending the time. But I used to starting in the late 60s. At first it was to quarter-inch reel to reel. Then it was onto cassette which was what I recorded most of my radio recordings. Later I started to use mini-disc but by then I’d already slowed down in my recording habits.

The quality of the tracks is not brilliant in that they were recorded off the radio mainly onto cassette then in some cases kept for many years then digitised so there’s some crackle a bit of buzz and probably cases where there’s a subtle pitch change. I have mainly tried to make them live recordings in the radio studio or out at a gig but they may not all be – well one’s part of a dj set, that’s sort of live but there’s a couple I’m not sure about.

Thomas Morley was organist at St Paul’s Cathedral and composed many madrigals. He almost certainly knew Shakespeare as they lived nearby and London wasn’t that big back then apparently. He certainly wrote music for one of the playwright’s songs in a famous play. I don’t know who wrote the words for this song they are good.

Sleep, slumb’ring eyes; give rest unto my cares,
My cares, the infants of my troubled brain;
My cares, surpris’d with black despair,
Doth the assertion of my hopes restrain.
Sleep, then, my eyes, O sleep and take your rest,
To banish sorrow from a free born breast.

My freeborn breast, born free to sorrow’s smart,
Brought in subjection by my wand’ring eye,
Whose trait’rous sight conceiv’d that to my heart
For which I wail, I sob, I sigh, I die.
Sleep, then, my eyes, disturb’d of quiet rest,
To banish sorrow from my captive breast.

My captive breast, stung by these glist’ring stars,
These glist’ring stars, the beauty of the sky,
That bright black sky which doth the sunbeams bar
From her sweet comfort on my heart’s sad eye.
Wake, then, my eyes, true partners of unrest,
For sorrow still must harbour in my breast.

From a live concert of Paco Peña one of my favourite guitarists accompanied by another guitarist whose name I don’t know unfortunately. And I don’t know enough to say what type of piece this is siguiriyas or what have you.

Next is The Chemical Brothers well sort of it’s more like The Beatles really but it was a great moment when I heard this Essential Mix set one Saturday night in about 1996. Really you need to have more context than I’ve given here.

I was fortunate to see Paco Peña roughly around the time of the earlier recording and that is also true of this track by Oregon. I’m sure that the set on the recording is pretty much the same set that they did when I saw them in December 1990 at Hope Chapel.

This song by The Fall is taken from a radio session on the programme Mixing It which must have been sometime in 2005. Midnight In Aspen is the story of a dying Hunter S Thompson. I’ve got a better Fall radio session from an 80s John Peel programme but later on I’m using another Peel session. Anyway this is better sound quality.

I can’t remember when I taped this concert by Tadao Sawai but he died in 1997 so it must have been before then. The wikipedia page I have linked to only lists 1 album to his name which can’t be right. There are fortunately 2 albums of his on Itunes and for slightly less than 15 quid you can buy them both. Actually I might just do that.

From a Lou Reed gig broadcast on the radio in about 199? this is a version of A Dream which has Lou doing the vocals rather than John Cale who did them on the album (Songs For Drella) and the filmed performance of the album. I believe the words are taken from Warhol‘s diaries which I haven’t read but I will buy the book one day – gee wouldn’t that be great?

The Schnittke has a very quiet beginning – it’s a short piece and it’s very beautiful in a crystalline way. Without having listened to a great deal of his music I admire him greatly and I have got the underlying philosophy of his work and in a way shamelessly appropriated it myself. I can’t tell for sure whether I’ve included a full work here or just an excerpt of one, but I don’t see it matters and I hope he would agree with me

The oldest recording is this John Peel session which I did not record when it was first aired in about 1971 but later in the 80s when it was repeated. This session was issued on vinyl I believe in the Peel Sessions series and later there was a cd. Both formats are quite rare now. Syd‘s Two Of A Kind was only known to be recorded on this show – you can also find this on a compilation.

Finally a 1991 live concert recorded at the Royal Festival Hall. This was part 1 of the encore. Keith Jarrett is a very serious man and musician.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 11
Artist Title Comment
Thomas Morley Sleep Slumb’ring Eyes Unknown performers
Paco Peña Unknown See notes above
Chemical Brothers Chemical Beats/Tomorrow Never Knows Excerpt from Essential Mix
Oregon Unknown Live circa 1990
The Fall Midnight In Aspen Mixing It session
Tadao Sawai Unknown See notes above
Lou Reed A Dream See notes above
Alfred Schnittke Voices Of Nature? See notes above
Syd Barrett Two Of A Kind John Peel session
Keith Jarrett Somewhere Over The Rainbow See notes above
Categories
quotations triumph of the west

Triumph of the West 1

When I was a boy I read something about the ancient Romans which made a tremendous impression upon me. Here in Rome they used to hold ceremonies which they called triumphs… For them a triumph was a celebration held when a victorious general came back from the wars. On his return from his campaign they would put him in a chariot put a wreath of victory on his brows and then draw him through the streets in honour to the Capitol where the senate would receive him… But the Romans were a cautious and superstitious people and to avert the malice of the gods and to remind their general just who he was they put somebody else in the chariot too, a slave. From time to time the slave would lean forward and say to the general “Remember, remember thou too are human”.

Near the start of his masterly television essay on certain aspects of the history of the last 3,000 years the historian John M Roberts speaks these words. One can’t help thinking that his reference to this historical detail and his personalisation of it suggest that he, as a historian, is reminding himself of his lack of omniscience. His work is the next best thing to omniscience as suggested in AJP Taylor’s review of Roberts’ History of the World

It is unbelievably accurate in its facts and almost incontestable in its judgements.

This 1st episode (again I will admit now that I don’t have a complete set) really stands by itself as being the argument in a nutshell. The series is in classical essay form with the introduction stating all that is going to follow in brief then subsequently the deeper analysis in largely chronological sequence and finally the reiteration of the main message and if there is to be any futurology it should happen at this point too. I can’t remember whether there is or not but I expect it’s there.

There’s a lot of very powerful archive footage – only short snippets for obvious budgetary reasons and in most cases that’s all you need to keep the flow of the narrative going. It’s about 50 minutes long, the opening and closing credits are a bit clipped and at 160Mb it may take a short moment to load.