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Morning Song – Stockings

I like to think Suzanne Vega picked up her guitar one day, started playing around with the piano arpeggios at the opening of “Mama Told Me Not To Come” (Randy Newman’s off-center ode to the late 1960s Los Angeles party scene), suddenly was hit with a very different reminiscence—of two friends staying up late talking until they come upon, and cross, the line “where friendship ends, and passion does begin“—and wrote the enchanting, seductive “Stockings”.

 

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Morning Song – Kissin’ And A Huggin’

Few songwriters over the last five decades have explored the mysteries and dimensions of the human heart as extensively and thoroughly as Joan Armatrading. And even fewer have done so with anything even approaching the musical range and power she possesses.

Take “Kissin’ And A Huggin'”, for example. It doesn’t so much hop genres (from folk to funk, rock to jazz) as it does obliterate any and all preconceived boundaries that separate them. And it does so in the service of illuminating in miniature a beautiful, exhilarating, furtive memory of love:

Took my baby walking…
We sat down under a bus shelter…
Kissing in front of that old lady,
Who just walked past our seat…
It was a fine thing;
We were young, so much love to give;
It was the right thing;
We were alone under the stars….

Morning Song – Have It All

As the Washington Monthly’s invaluable political blogger, Nancy LeTourneau, succinctly and accurately stated, “…don’t listen to the latest tune from Jason Mraz if you prefer to wallow in doom and gloom.

“Have It All” takes its opening line (“May you have auspiciousness and causes of success“) from the translation of a blessing Mraz received several years ago from a Buddhist monk. From there the song tumbles forward with a stream of blessings, prayers, toasts, best wishes, and high hopes—by turns (and sometimes simultaneously) silly and profound, and ultimately irresistible.

In a season of graduations, commencements, weddings, and new beginnings of all sorts, it’s an almost absurdly appropriate, heartwarming, and spirit-lifting song.

May you know the meaning of the word happiness;
May you always lead from the beating in your chest;
May you be treated like an esteemed guest;
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath.

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Beauty All Around Me – Red, White & Blue

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Morning Song – Fire & Brimstone

The great Shawnee rocker Link Wray wrote and recorded “Fire & Brimstone” as a country-blues song in the early 1970s. It’s one of those songs that was “born old”. With its apocalyptic imagery and its plain, sturdy musical architecture, it sounds like it could have come from any of the last several centuries.

The Neville Brothers covered “Fire & Brimstone” in the late 1980s in a hallucinatory swirl of Caribbean percussion, shimmering, second-lining horns, wailing, incantatory voices, and greasy New Orleans funk. (The end times never sounded so good.)

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Noted Without Comment – Philosophical Anti-Materialism Edition

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Morning Song – Sailor Man Waltz

Thought for the day: maybe if there were more waltzes like The Mar-Keys’ “Sailor Man Waltz”, waltzing would be more popular.