Jingle Jangle Morning

 

Francis_Alfred_Delobbe_The_Little_Tambourine_girl_1884

“Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
My senses have been stripped… my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step, wait only for my boot heels
To be wandering.
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.

Hey ! Mr Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you.”

First of all, jangle really is a word!  I had my doubts, but Merriam-Webster defines it as such:

(verb)

  1. 1:  to make a harsh or discordant often ringing sound keys jangling in my pocket

  2. 2:  to quarrel verbally

  3. 3:  to talk idly

(noun)

  1. 1:  a discordant often ringing sound the jangle of spurs

  2. 2:  noisy quarreling

  3. 3:  idle talk

Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French jangler, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch jangelen to grumble. First Known Use: 14th century

Second of all, Mister Tambourine Man! 🙂   Dylan is technically using ‘jangle’ as an adjective here, but no matter. You do not have to understand all of Dylan’s poetry to appreciate him. (Rumor has it he planned it that way.)

But ah, the jingle-jangle morning!  “I’ll come following you.”  Doesn’t it sound terribly romantic?

Tambourine

Here is Bob Dylan performing Mister Tambourine Man at the Newport Festival, 1964. Hope you like it!

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School’s Out!

 

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Here in Chicago, kids are winding down for their last week of school. As we get ready for beaches, barbeques, rising temps and rowdiness, I could not resist this classic from the fantastic Alice Cooper!

Taking the Wayback  Machine way back to 1972 for this one — although I would argue the song is just as relevant today as it ever was.  “We got no class and we got no principles.” Puns intended.

I have always loved the Coop (maybe because his name is Alice, hehe). They share a penchant for top hats, animals and other-worldliness.

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At any rate, turn up the volume, grab the sandals, shades and lemonade.  Get ready for a long, carefree summer, my favorite time of year 🙂

School’s Out!!

 

 

 

Jesus Christ Superstar, Female Apostles and the 1%

 

Jesus Netherlands

In honor of Good Friday, I am paying tribute to my favorite rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar!  Fresh out of The Netherlands comes this timely and creative interpretation, featuring female Disciples, a very young Jesus and a Roman government which is akin to Wall Street elites.  A lot of effort went into it — careful casting and two years rehearsal.  The play was first performed in 2016 at Candea College in Duiven.  The cast includes Tijmen Steg as Jesus, Don Voogt as Judas and Anne Baars as Mary Magdalene.

In the house of Lazarus, Mary  tries to anoint Jesus with precious oil, only to be reprimanded by Judas Iscariot.  “Woman, your fine ointment, brand new and expensive, could have been saved for the poor. Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe, three hundred silver pieces or more.”

Jesus, looking at the big picture and knowing he is not long for this world, answers: “Surely you’re not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot? There will be poor always, pathetically struggling; look at the good things you’ve got.”

(For more on Jesus’ anointing see my previous post Lazarus and the Pink Moon)

These very talented performers may come as a bit of a juxtapose and surprise.  I think they are fantastic!  Hope you enjoy it and have a happy Good Friday 🙂

Here, Anne Baars as Magdalene performs the ballad “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”.

Intrigued? Watch the whole opera here: (Running time about 1 hour 30 minutes.)

 

 

Póg mo thóin

 

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The river is green, the Guinness flows freely, the leprechauns are out and about. You never know what may be at the end of their rainbow.  However, it would not be Saint Patrick’s Day without music from the FABULOUS POGUES!!!!

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This Celtic punk band was formed in 1982 by front man Shane MacGowan (aka Shane Hooligan), a rabble rousing displaced Irishman who had plenty to say about politics, prejudice and poetry.

The band was originally named ‘Pogue Mahone’, which is the phonetic pronunciation of the Irish phrase Póg mo thóin. Translated to English it apparently means “Kiss my ass.”  🙂

Shane chose the name as a joke and figured no one in English speaking countries would be able to figure out the meaning, but au contraire.  The name caused a massive uproar.  The BBC banned performances by Pogue Mahone and they could not get a record deal, so they shortened their name to ‘Pogues’. (This was acceptable, the Irish word póg meaning ‘kiss’.)

Shane had the last laugh though, when the Pogues released an album called ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’. Reportedly the title was a quote by Winston Churchill. When asked about the state of the British Navy during World War 2, Churchill allegedly replied “Don’t talk to me about naval tradition!  It’s nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash!”

 

captain jack

 

At any rate, you won’t find a better band to celebrate Paddy’s Day. Here are two of their classics, ‘If I Should Fall From Grace of God’ and ‘Waxie’s Dargle’.  Break out the whiskey, kick up your heels and have a listen!

Lá Shona Fhéile Pádraig! (or Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!)

If I Should Fall From Grace With God — an Irish patriot grapples with his own sins and mortality. “Let me go down in the mud where the rivers all run dry.”  Worth listening just to hear Shane’s banshee scream mid song. I dare you not to dance, or at least toe tap!

 

‘Waxie’s Dargle’ is a traditional folk song, made punk by the Pogues.  A Waxie (candle maker) wants to go to the party (dargle).  Sadly she is so poor she cannot raise the money to go, not even by selling her husband’s suspenders.  “When food is scarce and you see the hearse you know you died of hunger!”

For such a morbid song, this version is hilarious! Sorry about the poor quality of this video, but nonetheless —  you can’t beat their loopy energy.  Sláinte!

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday George Harrison!

 

george-harrison

He was the youngest of the Beatles, reportedly ‘the quietest’ and also perhaps the most spiritual.

George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 to working class parents in Liverpool England. He was the baby brother of three siblings. According to legend, he fell in love with rock & roll after hearing Elvis Presley’s song ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ playing from a neighbor’s window. In 1958, at the tender age of fifteen, George auditioned for a band called The Quarrymen, led by two lads named John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Because he was so young, John thought it best he not join the band, but George wormed his way in, hanging around rehearsals and making himself so available they could not refuse him. That band, of course, was eventually renamed The Beatles. George’s age came back to haunt him when the Beatles played their first gigs in Hamburg. George was too young to legally work in Germany and got deported back to England. He rejoined the band after his eighteenth birthday and the rest is history!

beatles-in-hamburg-1962

Raised as a Roman Catholic, George sent himself on a spiritual search that lasted his entire lifetime.  As the excesses of materialism and the rock & roll lifestyle mounted, George became desperate to fill the hole of the soul with more substantial things. He explored Hinduism, Buddhism and transcendental meditation. He, along with the other band members,  traveled to Rishikesh India and studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

rishikesh-the-beatles

George also became interested in Indian music and culture. He learned to play the sitar under the tutelage of Ravi Shankar.  This influence changed his western perspective and reshaped his life.

George Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001.  His last words on his death bed were “Love one another.”

Ironically, whatever afterlife George found himself in, he still lives on in this physical world. The astronomer Brian A. Skiff, working out of the Anderson Mesa Station, located in the arid fields of Flagstaff Arizona, happened to discover an asteroid. He named that asteroid after George, the 4149 Harrison!

This interview, recorded in 1997 for VH1 was George’s last public appearance. He speaks wise words of life, death and spirituality.

 

Give Me Love – a song that I feel must sum up George’s philosophy. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth

 

bowie 1

On February 10th, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust, a title and persona which would lead him to enormous stardom.

david-bowie-ziggy-stardyust

Rock and roll could not help but take notice of  this peculiar, other wordly being as he graced the stage of the Toby Jug Pub in London. He was anorexic-thin with neon orange hair and a not sure if you’re a boy or a girl androgyny.  His chiseled face of porcelain white was painted with magenta rouge eye shadow. His costumes were lush, vivid prints, bell sleeves and satin sashes.  A shimmering silver circle, which some may have recognized as an instrument of telepathic communication, was etched on his forehead.  It all signified a connection to the planet — Mars or Wherever? —  and an allegiance with the mystified black holes of the universe.

Thus began a moon age daydream lasting all the way to his death in 2016. Oh David, we miss you! This video captures some great Ziggy moments. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

Starman and The King

 

elvis-bowie

These two amazing men share a birthday today, January 8th. Both were musicians, both were singers, both were film stars, both were graced with amazing gifts. Both were Capricorns, the ever striving mountain goat. Though seemingly opposite in style, they had more in common than one might think.

Elvis was the American South, an earthy mix of gospel, Delta blues and rockabilly. David was swinging London, an androgynous mix of techno-pop, space stations and scary monsters. David lived his life in multiple cities through out Europe, never calling any one place ‘home’. Except for his military station in Germany, Elvis never left the United States. Both had a magnetic charisma, the ability to charm and invigorate the hearts and minds of thousands.

Though gone they are not forgotten. Elvis Presley and David Bowie are infinite spirits, their music and presence forever alive.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo Mississippi to parents of modest means. They lived in a two room shotgun house while his father eked out a living through odd jobs.  Elvis’ story is a classic rags-to -riches. Having gotten his first inspiration from gospel music, he went to Sun studios with the intention of making a record as a gift to his mother. He was discovered by Sun executive Sam Phillips and the rest is history.

Some fun facts about Elvis:

  • He was one of a twin. His brother, called Jesse Garon, was delivered stillborn.
  • He earned his nickname ‘Pelvis’ from hip shaking, and was considered  an outrageous sex symbol until he joined the Army in 1958. This ‘normalized’ him and probably made him more palpable to mainstream America.
  • His hair was naturally brown but he dyed it jet black.
  • Elvis’ mothers name was ‘Gladys Love’. He had a great grandmother named ‘Morning Dove’.  His bloodline may have been Cherokee Indian.
  • Elvis was a martial arts expert with a black belt in Karate.
  • He was outrageously generous, giving fortunes to various charities. He once bought a limousine for a driver he happened to like.
  •  Elvis was the King of Rock and his daughter Lisa Marie was briefly married to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.  How’s that for a royal family?

Here is a clip of Elvis performing his classic ‘Blue Suede Shoes’.

 

David Bowie was born on January 8, 1947 in Brixton, South London, also to working class parents. An artistic child, David took an interest in music and strangely enough, got much of his inspiration from Elvis!

David listened to his father’s 45s of Elvis and is quoted as saying: “I saw a cousin of mine dance to ‘Hound Dog’ and I had never seen her get up and be moved so much by anything. It really impressed me, the power of the music. I started getting records immediately after that.”

Bowie played in several bands but his biggest success probably came with his song Space Oddity, a big hit in the U.K. and U.S. David invented his character Ziggy Stardust (the first of his many ever changing personas) and the rest is history.

Some fun facts about David:

  • His real surname is Jones, but he changed it to Bowie, after the Bowie knife.
  • His song ‘Space Oddity’ was released at the same time Apollo 11 made it to the moon. This undoubtedly contributed to the song’s popularity.
  • He is given some credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall, having lived in Berlin and  having brought a ‘western mentality’ to the Soviet Union.
  • Famous for his makeup and androgyny, he wore skirts on stage and was compared to actress Lauren Bacall.
  • His last album ‘Black Star’ was eerily released on the day of his death, January 10, 2016. He had said he wanted this to be his ‘swan song’ to his fans.

Here is a tribute to David Bowie which I put together last year after his  death.