6 Comments

Music Project: Colours: Blue

The mesmerizing Vienna Teng, and the next is because she’s another person I discovered at the same time, Melissa McClelland. She has a song called Pretty Blue but I like this better. And its also piano based.

Blue. Though a few other colours have meanings beyond themselves, none is quite as fecund as blue. Not only do we have the blues but the many songs, and it is not the same thing at all, the many songs about feeling blue. And then you have being blue with cold, and the big blue sky, the blue ocean, and blue eyes.

Another one of the great 60s bands. Yes, overplayed like them all but I always think of them as the Replacements of their time (though really the Mats are the Who of theirs). Both wrote as members of the audience rather than from the stage and both tore that stage apart. I curse CSI for running a few of their tunes into the ground and thank God they are not the best ones. (I have a fond and strong memory of Who Are You first being used in Nicholas Roeg‘s Bad Timing, one of the best obvious soundtracks ever laid down). This particular video also shows off Daltrey’s never to be equalled mastery of the corded mike toss and catch.

And of course you have to jump from The Who to The Guess Who. Why? Couple of reasons. First of all, just as the Who reincarnates as Replacements, I think the Guess Who reincarnated as Screaming Trees. Its a bit of a stretch but it works. And because the first time you heard the name you thought ‘Not The Who ” and then you thought it was a radio contest to guess the name, and this was before The Band.

What annoyed (and to be frank caused our northern jaws to drop to the fucking ground) was Lenny Kravitz covering American Woman (I’ve linked to the original not the travesty). This had for some time been a Canadian protest song about steering clear of the ruinous impulses south of our border and to hear it turned into a pop song which seemed to be about babes, naughty perhaps, but babes nontheless, was not only sacriligeous but smacked of total idiocy. It was a song that only made sense sung from this side. It was no different than hearing protest songs being used for bank commercials.

Okay a change of pace to the West Coast jazz scene….I was reminded of this through Elvis Costello‘s Almost Blue and then why not go to the source…Chet Baker.

Kind of funny but I’ve fallen off of Elvis though I won’t ever entirely abandon him because he takes chances. The man starts off all punky and then does things like the Juliet Letters or the country or jazz forays. Though I didn’t like the Burt Bacharach phase I still admire the man for going there. If I had to pick one great album Imperial Bedroom.

Costello appeared with about a hundred other stars on the Orbison tribute which seems to play every other day on PBS but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t one of the most moving examples of that genre. You have the almost forgotten artist, who then soon dies, and you have this great weight of talent lining up to acknowledge not only the debt but also how unique this particular talent was. Orbison had not only that voice but a way of writing a song that has shown up in Arcade Fire’s Funeral cd in Crown of Love. Listen to it and think of how the Orbison structure just keeps climbing to a crescendo at the end, a desperate cry. It also has that Orbison ‘ti did ti did did did did’ punctuation. What I love about this horribly beautiful song is that it sounds like a love song when it is almost the opposite.

Someday I might write about seeing these folks….Bertold Brecht jamming with gypsies. A great show. I remember lying on the couch listening to Rebellion for the first time and not knowing if I could take it all in.

But here a little plug for our hometown girl (well home province girl to be precise) kd lang singing Orbison’s Cryin back from her cowpunk days when she’d show up in town in her rubber boots and blowing out the cliches out of both country and country gals. Ok, she might look like our other adopted child, Wayne Gretzky, but she does seem to carry a tune.

Another country girl gone strange but in a whole different way. Lucinda. And, yup, she has a song or two with blue in the title but I’ll go with this scorcher.

But let’s end a little low key with REM and Electron Blue:

6 comments on “Music Project: Colours: Blue

  1. Fabulous! From The Who, Through Elvis Costello, and to K.D. Lang. I think you just described a quarter of the music on my iPod right now.

  2. I am loving Melissa McClellan. How do you find all these lesser known musicians? I’m curious.

    I kinda knew ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ was coming. That wreck of an Orbison song really is something. It reminds me of a magnificent hull of a ship eroding on a beach.

    Lucinda Williams. Every time I hear her voice I think of a quote I heard once, ‘Women who smoke are the best kind of women and men who smoke are the worst kind of men.’

  3. Have to know which ones are the “lesser ones” but I’ve discovered lots from CBC3 (Canada online station), CKUA (Edmonton online and “real” station), KCRW (Santa Monica online station), reading lists and wondering about the ones I didn’t know, and best of the year lists on Pitchfork and Exclaim. Lucinda was a bestseller list discovery. Have an aversion to country music, and that kept me far from any Lucindas but when Car Wheels got all the exposure I checked it out and been with her since.

    Some of these lesser ones might simply be because of geography. Some huge names up here might not register down there though at some point they have to like Arcade Fire.

    Love the “the hull of a ship eroding…”, for some reason brings to mind photos from that shrinking Russian lake where tankers are stranded miles from the water.

  4. […] the blue video compilation at Ass of Steel. Robin’s blue color series at Bountiful Healing Two blue herons, here and […]

  5. OMG. Look what I found! A Meet and Greet with Richard Branson and Elvis Costello”.How cool is this, I never thought I would ever have a chance like this. If you want a chance to bid on this visit this link. http://www.ebay.com/virginunite. There is this item up for grabs and many others. I think the auction page says that new items go up ever week too.

  6. […] – colours – black (Joan Osborne, Santana, Calexico, Nirvana, Eric Burdon and War, Black Keys) Music project – colours – blue (Vienna Teng, Melissa McClelland, The Who, Chet Baker, Arcade Fire, L… Music project – colours – purple (Hole, NIN and Beatles, Tragically Hip, Of Montreal, Jeff Buckley, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: