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Richard Thompson – Beeswing

This past week my selection for Hanspostcard‘s song draft was 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, by Richard Thompson, available here. In the comment thread, fellow blogger Aphoristical pointed out that Thompson’s Beeswing was just as good. Having not heard it in a while, I went back and listened to it, and I have to agree!

Since I haven’t posted any Sunday morning song in forever, I thought this would be a great choice

Beeswing is off of Thompson’s 1994 album Mirror Blue. Like 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, its a slower ballad about two doomed lovers, although this time there’s no death or motorcycles involved. This time, the individual needs and desires of the two, and their inability to agree about what they want in life and in their relationship, leaves each alone by the end of the song, and regretting the ways things turned out (at least from the protagonist’s perspective, but maybe from both?).

The couple meet working in a wash house, and he’s immediately taken with her beauty, but she wants no type of commitment:

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee’s wing
So fine a breath of wind might blow her away
She was a lost child, oh she was running wild
She said “As long as there’s no price on love, I’ll stay
And you wouldn’t want me any other way”

They move on from the wash house, living here and there, until he suggests settling down – that doesn’t go over too well:

And I said that we might settle down, get a few acres dug
Fire burning in the hearth and babies on the rug
She said “Oh man, you foolish man, it surely sounds like hell
You might be lord of half the world, you’ll not own me as well”

They end up splitting up, and we get to the song’s conclusion, where the man laments how things turned out:

And they say her flower is faded now, hard weather and hard booze
But maybe
that’s just the price you pay for the chains you refuse

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee’s wing
And I miss her more than ever words could say
If I could just taste all of her wildness now
If I could hold her in my arms today
Well I wouldn’t want her any other way

Thompson’s brilliance is in telling this tragic love story so eloquently in a five and a half minute song – the lyrics stand alone even if you removed the music – you feel the heady early romance, the pain and torment as things start to go astray, and the bitter regret looking back at a lost love.

Beeswing is a great example of Thompson’s brilliance as a songwriter.

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 6 PICK 4- MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS- ‘1952 VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING’- RICHARD THOMPSON

2021 Song Draft- Round 6 Pick 4- Mike and Paul’s Music Blog selects- ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’- Richard Thompson. Richard Thompson 1952 Vincent …

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 6 PICK 4- MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS- ‘1952 VINCENT BLACK LIGHTNING’- RICHARD THOMPSON

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 5 PICK 5- MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS- ‘LYIN’ IN A BED OF FIRE’- LITTLE STEVEN AND THE DISCIPLES OF SOUL

Here’s my latest song pick for the draft I’m participating in – had to get Little Steven in!

2021 Song Draft- Round 5 Pick 5- Mike and Paul’s Music Blog selects- ‘Lyin’ In A Bed Of Fire’- Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul. Little Steven…

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 5 PICK 5- MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS- ‘LYIN’ IN A BED OF FIRE’- LITTLE STEVEN AND THE DISCIPLES OF SOUL

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 2 PICK 8: MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS-‘INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET’- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

2021 Song Draft- Round 2 Pick 8: Mike and Paul’s Music Blog selects- ‘Incident On 57th Street’- Bruce Springsteen. Bruce Springsteen – Incident on …

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 2 PICK 8: MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC BLOG SELECTS-‘INCIDENT ON 57TH STREET’- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 1 PICK 9- MIKE AND PAUL’S MUSIC SELECTS- ‘CRUEL TO BE KIND’- NICK LOWE

I am participating in a song draft being run by Hanspostcard on his SliceTheLife blog. Here is my first entry.

slicethelife

Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind (1979, Vinyl) - Discogs

2021 Song Draft- Round 1 Pick 9- Mike And Paul’s Music Blog- selects- ‘Cruel To Be Kind’- Nick Lowe.

Paul’s blog can be found at- https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/84200726

First, thanks to Hans and Max for inviting me to be part of this draft! I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s choices so far. Since I’m newcomer to this, I’ve decided to just feature songs that mean something to me in some way. So here goes.

A perfect example of power pop, this song takes me back to my days living in Philly in the early 90s.

When I was younger and single, I had this habit that when a band came to town that I wanted to see, I just went and bought a pair of tickets, many times before knowing if anyone I knew would be able to or was interested in going. Most times I cold corral a friend to attend, sometimes…

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REM’s first national television appearance

I’ve been listening to a lot of REM lately. Several of the blogs I follow have featured them recently (see here for Aphoristical‘s updated list of R.E.M Albums: Ranked from Worst to Best; and here and here for song features from badfinger20(Max). And so the other night I stumbled on this gem on YouTube – R.E.M.’s first national TV appearance on Letterman’s show on Oct. 6, 1983.

What a joy to watch this performance! In less than 10 years, R.E.M will be one of the biggest bands in the world, but here they are, just 4 guys from Athens, GA trying to make it. Peter Buck and Mike Mills jumping and bouncing all over the stage playing Radio Free Europe, while Michael Stipe anchors the whole song stationary, hanging on the mic, “murmuring” the lyrics, although you sense he could bound off the stage if he lets go.

In those days Letterman would often give his musical guest two songs, and so after the commercial break, they play a song the band says is so new it doesn’t have a title – and its So. Central Rain.

I found it interesting that the between song chatter with Letterman was handled by Buck and Mills – Stipe, the lead singer, is off to the side , sitting on the drum riser, so uncharacteristic of a lead singer who is usually the band’s spokesperson. I recall reading somewhere that Stipe said he viewed his voice as just another instrument in the band, and this fits with the idea that he’s just another bandmember.

I didn’t get into R.E.M. until Document in 1987, and was barely aware of them during my college years (82-86). On the other hand, I watched Letterman religiously during college so I’m not sure why I missed this. Although on reflection that was more in my junior/senior year, so this performance would have been earlier. What I can say is that if I had caught this performance, I am willing to bet I would have become a fan much earlier!

Enjoy the performance!

Favorite songs of 2020

Ok a couple days late but its still the weekend so I’m going to slide my list of favorite songs of 2020 in and hope no one notices my tardiness…

2020 was a terrible year in so many ways but it was still a great year for new music finds. Here are 10 of my favorite discoveries this past year

10. The Chats – Pub Feed

I stumbled onto this band from someone’s blog earlier this year – sorry can’t remember who. The Chats are a self described pub-punk shed rock band from Queensland Australia who remind me of the Ramones with their straight head no nonsense punk sound. Their song deal with everyday concerns – getting a meal at the local pub, getting the clap, getting hassled by the police. Ok maybe not the everyday concerns of a 50 something white guy from the US East Coast, but great music nonetheless. Plus it keeps my streak alive of having at least one band from Down Under on the list the last number of years!

9. Tami Neilson – Call Your Mama

Tami Neilson is a R&B throwback to an earlier time. As Popdose describes here – ” If you’ve ever wanted to know what Wanda Jackson duking it out with Shirley Bassey in a alley while Rosanne Cash, Sharon Jones, and Amy Winehouse egged them on sounded like, look no further..” This put down on a cheating man cracked me up – A ring a ding ding!

8. Spanish Love Songs – Kick

This LA based rock band has been around since 2013 but I had never heard of them til this year. Their lead singer Dylan Slocum’s voice reminds me of another lead singer, but I can’t place it. Any ideas? Great guitar head cleansing rock

7. Brandy Clark – Who You Thought I Was

Brandy Clark has written a number of songs that have been hits for other country artists (Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgrave) but has also put out several albums on her own. I’m not a huge country fans, but do appreciate the roots/American branch, and I found this song gorgeous.

6. Okay Kaya – Psych Ward

I heard this song on a new music playlist early in the year and couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Then it seemed very topical as the year progressed as it felt like we were living in a psych ward what with the way our leaders were running our country. Favorite line – “I am a very patient patient” Video has alot of non song content so posting Spotify link instead

5. Best Coast – Everything Has Changed

One of my favorite bands is back after a 5 year hiatus and sounding as great as ever. Sounds like songwriter / vocalist Bethany Cosentino has found contentment and happiness as the songs are no long all about lost love and broken relationships

4. Marcus King – Beautiful Stranger

Marcus King is a 24 year old singer/guitarist from Greenville SC whose debut solo album El Dorado was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. The album is a fantastic combination of country, blues, R&B, and rock, anchored by King’s phenomenal voice. Featuring Beautiful Stranger here, but also check out the rest of the album, including The Well.

3. The Beths – Dying to Believe

Another of my favorite bands from Down Under whose album Jump Rope Gazers is great from top to bottom. I had tickets to see them in DC in May, which got postponed til the fall, which got postponed to …. actually I don’t know.. One of many huge disappointments this year. I really hope to see them in the States one day. But at least we got the new album. My buddy Mike posted I’m Not Getting Excited on his year end best of list (see it here), so here’s another keeper, Dying to Believe

2. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Dreamiscle

Jason Isbell is one of those artists that I’ve been aware of for awhile but for whatever reason have never really checked out until recently – and geez what I’ve been missing. His 2020 album with the 400 Unit has a bunch of great songs on it that made it hard to choose just one, but this one was definitely my favorite. Great lyrics, great imagery, great chorus.

1. Bruce Springsteen – Ghosts

I hear the sound of your guitar
Comin’ from the mystic far
Stone and the gravel in your voice
Come in my dreams and I rejoice

I don’t think there could be a better song intro for me in the current year for me than this, as it signals that Bruce and the E St. Band is back, better than ever. Its been a while, what with his book, the Broadway show etc. Just a fantastic fantastic song, which for me ranks in my top 10 Bruce songs ever. As my co-blogger Mike says, the album Letter to You is easiest is best in 20 years. From Roy Bittan’s piano, Max Weinberg’s drumming, to Jake Clemons sax, you just know that this song is going to be a killer live – and its even got the count out towards the end of the song to tease you. A bright ray of hope to all the great live musical moments that awaits us on the other side of this pandemic.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Five of my Favorite Christmas Songs

Well, its Christmas Eve 2020 here and while this year has been unique (and not in the good sense) the holidays helps anchor us to the traditions that make our lives meaningful and that can carry us through these challenging times. Yes the pandemic has altered Christmas as well, but it won’t stop me from posting some of my favorite Christmas songs! While there are many to choose from, here are five of my current favorites.

Eurythmics – Winter Wonderland

From the very first A Very Special Christmas benefit album from 1987 – I really love Annie Lennox’s vocals on this track, a very Eurythmics take on this classic. While the album was a mixed bag (imho) this was one of the standouts.

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl)

I’ve heard plenty of other versions of this song, but for me the original cannot be matched. There’s something about Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s vocals, and the Irish instrumentation that does it for me.

Pretenders – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Another standout from the A Very Special Christmas album – love Chrissie Hynde’s vocals on this.

Bruce Springsteen and the E. St. Band – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Of course this Bruce holiday classic would make my list – probably one of most popular rock versions of a Christmas classic ever. There’s nothing like hearing this song live in concert (which I’ve been lucky to hear several times) and hear old Clarence’s HoHoHo. Really miss the Big Man. Here’s a live version from 1978.

Bob Dylan – Must be Santa

I discovered this Dylan cover a few years ago and its my new favorite. To be honest, the video makes it for me – Dylan in the white hat/Santa hat, the accordion player, the unexplained altercation and escape and the exchange of glances between Dylan and Santa. Looks to be a fantastically fun Christmas party!

Hearing wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!