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Morning Song – Into The Groove

Before she was a singer, songwriter, actress, producer, model, entrepreneur, humanitarian, movie director, and cultural icon, Madonna was a dancer.

Half a lifetime later, “Into The Groove” still revels in the freedom and possibility of stepping out onto the dance floor…and invites you to come along.

Music can be such a revelation;
Dancing around you feel the sweet sensation.


Morning Song – Make A Joyful Noise

(One in a series of posts inspired by Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World.)

Guitarist extraordinaire Jesse Ed Davis once explained his talent by saying, “I just play the notes that sound good.”

Which, when you look at it that way, makes it easier to “Make A Joyful Noise”.

Morning Song – Dreams

It’s easy to forget in the wake of the “Celtic Tiger” economic boom, but right up into the 1980s Ireland was an economic, social, political and cultural backwater, with emigration to America still (as it had been for 150 years) a default option for young people in search of opportunity and/or adventure.

The Cranberries’ 1993 debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, captured that moment of slightly stunned optimism and possibility as, in the wake of the remarkable success of performers like U2, Sinead O’Connor, Aslan and The Saw Doctors, young musicians all across Ireland expanded their horizons. Why not dream that a rock band from Limerick could become famous?

Especially when it had a songwriter and singer like the late Dolores O’Riordan. It’s been said that the reason the Rolling Stones didn’t need a horn section is because they had Keith Richards’ rhythm guitar. Well, Dolores O’Riordan’s gorgeous, ringing, tender-yet-unbreakable voice meant The Cranberries could go without horns, strings, or instrumental solos of any kind, relying solely—as they do here on “Dreams”—on O’Riordan’s uncanny ability to carry and convey a world of meanings with her voice alone.

And now I tell you openly,
You have my heart so don’t hurt me;
You’re what I couldn’t find;
A totally amazing mind,
So understanding and so kind,
You’re everything to me.


Morning Song – At The Purchaser’s Option

“At The Purchaser’s Option”, the story of a young slave about to be sold away from her infant (“at the purchaser’s option“) sounds like it was written centuries ago; and in a way, it was (see ad to the right). It’s just taken until now for the lyrics and music to incarnate themselves through Rhiannon Giddens’ body, mind and voice.

As Giddens herself said in an interview last year, “When you know the past, you understand the present and you can see where we’re going.



Afternoon Song – Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)

On April 7, 1968—just three days after Dr. King’s assassination—Nina Simone first performed “Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)”* for an audience at the Westbury Music Fair on Long Island, NY. Nearly 50 years later, it still—gorgeously, hauntingly, achingly—rings true.

*written by her bassist, Gene Taylor.

Morning Song – Lord Don’t Move The Mountain

In the movie, Selma, there’s a scene where Dr. King makes a late-night, long-distance call to Mahalia Jackson and asks her to sing over the phone, so that his spirit could be soothed enough that he could get to sleep. It’s something King did regularly in the final hectic and tumultuous years of his life. And this was in the days when it not only cost extra money to call long-distance (i.e., anywhere more than about 10 miles from your house); it cost a lot of money…and more for each minute.

Listen to Ms. Jackson’s deep, wise, understanding, compassionate rendition of “Lord Don’t Move The Mountain” and you’ll understand why.

Happy Blogoversary

But now I am Six,
I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

Many thanks to all of you—readers, viewers, commenters, followers, consultants, linkers, tweeters, emailers, etc.—who’ve helped make this little blog what it is.