Jokerman (1983) – Bob Dylan

Jokerman is the opening track of his 1983 album Infidels. It’s my favourite track from the album but License to Kill and Neighbourhood Bully sure give it run for their money. You just have to be reminded this record could have also included the outtake Foot of Pride and Blind Willie McTell. On the latter classic Dylan claims he can’t even remember why he chose to leave it off of Infidels, shrugging it off as “most likely a demo.”

Jokerman sees Dylan returning to some of his best lyrical imagery since Changing of the Guards on Street Legal. He also summons the passion and fervor synonymous with his earlier work and delivers an inspiring vocal performance. The song has appeared on several Dylan “Best of” compilations. I really like his groovy live version of Jokerman on Dave Letterman.

Standing on the waters casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?


Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

In a 1984 interview for Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan discussed his inspiration behind the song: “Me and another guy have a boat down there [in the Caribbean]. ‘Jokerman’ kinda came to me in the islands. It’s very mystical. The shapes there, and shadows, seem to be so ancient. The song was sorta inspired by these spirits they call jumbis” (A type of mythological spirit or demon in the folklore of some Caribbean countries).

As a single, Jokerman failed to chart, but was critically well-received and continues to have a positive legacy especially within Dylan fan-circles. The Telegraph named it Dylan’s fourth best song. The song also features Mark Knopfler and Mick Taylor on guitar.
I chuckled when I read what one person wrote below about Jokerman and I couldn’t resonate more:

‘This is my favourite song by Bob, amongst all my other favourites’
.

Reference:
1. Jokerman (song) – Wikipedia

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The AnkiDroid Collection (Part 28) – Sat Nam, Skinner’s Rats & Google Motives

Ankidroid additions related to Science, History and Philosophy. More information about Anki can be found in this article.

Sat Nam

In Kundalini yoga, Sat Nam is the most widely used mantra.

Sat – Truth and Light
Nam – Identity and Existence

I wrote about my yogi Nirvair Khaisa (pictured above) in two other articles here. My interpretation of Sat Nam based on Nirvair’s teachings is when you chant ‘Sat‘ you feel a burst of light representing ‘truth‘ penetrate and illuminate you and when you chant ‘Nam‘ you let that that become your ‘Identity‘ and divine wisdom.

Sat Nam‘ is also used as a greeting to acknowledge the Truth in each one of us and as a personal mantra to express or tune into one’s infinite identity.

Skinner’s Rats

I was umming and ahhing over whether to include this one here since I haven’t found confirmation this experiment was ever conducted, but it was relayed by someone who I considered a reliable source. May be someone here can chime in.

As I heard it – The behaviourist psychologist B.F. Skinner did a rat experiment of extended awareness. The interpretation of its findings which I heard recently is that it exposed the danger of being conscious of too much, especially relatable now in a globalised society with social media.

Rats which were put on a table of perspex floating on water and didn’t know of the danger just ran around randomly, and the perspex continued to float. When human beings were put under the same test conditions, they lasted to float for just seconds because they would run to the same side to ensure equilibrium and in so doing topping themselves over.

Knowing too much and oversaturated with too much stimuli can be a detriment to our human-race commensurate with extreme political polarisation since the advent of social media and systemic information dissemination problems associated with the Pandemic.
When we were living in clans – hunter gather or Agrarian societies we just went about making the most of life and living simply and locally. We weren’t conscious or inundated with how terrible human beings can be or the quantity of world problems. Sometimes knowing less means we can float.

Google Motives

The following are the three motives of Google according to Dr Robert Epstein from the American Institute for Behavioural Research which offers data on the power of Google and Big Tech:

1. Make Money

Google are the biggest advertising agency in the world by 20 times. A few years ago, Google made 100 billion, now they make 150 billion.

2. Impose Their Values

96% of donations from Google go to the Democratic party. They are trying to reengineer humanity according to company values. Recommended searches ie rid negative searches from who they supported ie Hilary Clinton, but let the negative pop-up in search suggestions for other candidates and turn a 50-50 split in undecided voters to a 90-10 split for the supported candidate.
My own thoughts: See the obfuscation / censoring of the Joe Biden’s son story leading up to last US election and Google’s alleged temporary suspension of Tulsi Gabbard’s advertising account after the 1st democratic debate.

Dwight Eisenhower post-war 34th US President (Head of Allied Forces WWII) in his retirement speech warned of the large military-industrial complex emerging, but also warned in the future of a technological elite controlling public policy without anyone knowing. The technological elite are now in control.

3. Share Intelligence

It became evident Google shared intelligence with Government and Law enforcement worldwide – finding threats to national security by looking at what individuals are searching. It was set up to track and observe search history.

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Posted in politics, Reading, Reflections

Jim Jones (1992) – Bob Dylan

Jim Jones is my joint favourite song from Dylan’s 1992 record Good as I Been To You. Canadee I-O which has already featured here is my other favourite from his cover versions of old mainly 19th Century folklore ballads. The difference with this one is it is steeped in the colonial-history of my home country – Australia. As I wrote in that Canadee I-O article below; the same could be said for my appreciation of the Jim Jones version by Dylan:

When I hear it, I can’t help but sing it at the top of my lungs. I so admire Dylan for unearthing these old 19th century English (Australia in this case) ballads that would otherwise remain dust-ridden in some old folk collection and giving them his signature acoustic sound. He really does them enormous justice and his guitar playing is brash, but entirely unique and incapable of replication.

The storytelling in this remarkable traditional Australian folk ballad ‘Jim Jones at Botany Bay‘ which dates from the early 19th-century immerses me like none other in my country’s early – white settlement history.

Come and listen for a moment, lads
And hear me tell my tale
How across the sea from England
I was condemned to sail
Now the jury found me guilty
Then says the judge, says he
“Oh, for life, Jim Jones, I’m sending you
Across the stormy sea
But take a tip before you ship
To join the iron gang
Don’t get too gay in Botany Bay
Or else you’ll surely hang
Or else you’ll surely hang,” says he
“And after that, Jim Jones
It’s high above on the gallows tree
The crows will pick your bones.”

From the Wikipedia article below: The narrator, Jim Jones, is found guilty of poaching and sentenced to transportation to the penal colony of New South Wales. En route, his ship is attacked by pirates, but the crew holds them off. When the narrator remarks that he would rather have joined the pirates or indeed drowned at sea than gone to Botany Bay, Jones is reminded by his captors that any mischief will be met with the whip. In the final verse, Jones describes the daily drudgery and degradation of life as a convict in Australia, and dreams of joining the bushrangers (escaped convicts turned outlaws) and taking revenge on his floggers.

This is a silly personal account I can relate here. When my class were on excursion to Botany Bay (a little south of Sydney) back in the 80’s I found washed up on the shores a piece off old wood which had fungi and moss growing on it. I declared to the class, that this rare artefact was in fact from one of the convict boats that arrived in Botany Bay during colonisation. I wanted to believe it and hoped others did as well even if it was for a few seconds.

Australian folklorists such as Bill Scott date the song’s composition to the years immediately preceding 1830 when bushranger Jack Donahue, who is named in the song, was fatally shot by troopers. The oldest surviving written version of the ballad is found in Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South (1907), a book of reminiscences by Charles McAlister, a pioneer who drove bullock teams in southern-eastern New South Wales in the 1840s. According to folklorist A. L. Lloyd, “Jim Jones at Botany Bay” may have been lost to history had McAlister not included it in his book.

Apart from the studio version below, there is a lovely live version here where Dylan’s acoustic guitar work is on another level.

Reference:
1. Jim Jones at Botany Bay – Wikipedia

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21/11 – 27/11/22 – Sam Harris & Herbet Marcuse

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

Bret and Heather 151st DarkHorse Podcast Livestream
Video podcast at Brett Weinstein

I wrote the following in response to the discussion at the commencement of this video about Sam Harris’ decision to leave Twitter because Elon Musk had let Donald Trump return to the platform:

I listened to Harris for years, but when he went TDR (Trump Derangement Syndrome) and after his more recent comments regarding Joe Biden’s son, I deleted all connections with his podcasts and news. He is finished as a ‘reasonable’ philosophical commentator as far as I’m concerned. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me he has deleted his account from Twitter to protest Trump’s reactivation after Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter.’

Just listen to his first podcast with Jordan Peterson about ‘What is True?’ which I wrote about here. ‘I feel only after probably 10 listens I can find a winner. One in which I feel comfortable claiming the sole victor‘. It was Harris’ unwillingness to see Science as much a moral endeavour than factual in the event of investigation (see COVID). Peterson said: ‘So the proposition that the universe is best conceptualized as subatomic particles is ‘true’ enough to generate a hydrogen bomb, but it wasn’t ‘true’ enough to stop everyone from dying. Therefore, from a Darwinian perspective it was an insufficient pragmatic proposition and was therefore in some fundamental sense wrong.’ (Watch entire podcast here)

This led me onto the next podcast which I couldn’t recommend more highly about understanding why we live in the World we find ourselves today.

One Pill, Two Pill, Red Pill, Blue Pill: Herbert Marcuse and the Administered Society (Pt. 2 of 4)
Audio presentation at New Discourses

This is a part 2 commentary of Herbert Marcuse’s essay about ‘Repressive Tolerance‘ which relate to the comments above. This was written in 1965 and is an exemplar foretaste of the political climate which operates today. Simply put, ‘It seems rooted in the idea that, if you feel morally superior there’s nothing you can’t do to others, and they must step out of the way or be punished‘. Hence ‘cancel culture‘, atonement (even encouragement) of ANTIFA’s protests and violence despite COVID, Sam Harris’ rhetoric and behaviour and scourge towards disparaging and obstructing those choosing to be unvaccinated are testament to these kinds of theorists.

James Linday says, ‘I want people to come in contact with this and engage it and understand it. It’s very important to realise this is what we are living in. If you can realise it, you can see it. And if you can understand it, you can explain it.’ (Listen to audio presentation here)

news on the march the end
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Jeremy (1991) – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam performing Jeremy live acoustic unplugged

Jeremy is the 4th song to feature here from Pearl Jam’s legendary 1991 record – Ten. The lyrics were written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music written by bassist Jeff Ament. Jeremy was released as the third single from Pearl Jam’s debut album. The song’s music was written before the band went out on tour in support of Alice in Chains in February 1991. I never fully understood the background of this song until researching it for this article. I had listened to it countless times and I had a good idea that something bad had gone down with Jeremy and the boy Vedder had bullied in school. Obviously the two events had a huge impact on Vedder’s psyche.

Ament stated: ‘We knew it was a good song, but it was tough getting it to feel right—for the chorus to sit back and the outro to push over the top. The tune went from practically not making it on the record to being one of the best takes. On Jeremy I always heard this other melody in the choruses and the end, and it never sounded good on guitar or bass. So, we brought in a cello player which inspired a background vocal…Most of the time if something doesn’t work right away, I just say fuck it—but this was an instance when perseverance paid off.

Clearly I remember
Pickin’ on the boy
Seemed a harmless little fuck
But we unleashed the lion
Gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady’s breast

How could I forget
And he hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurting
Dropped wide open
Just like the day
Oh, like the day I heard

Jeremy is based on two different true stories which some readers might find disturbing. The song takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 15-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle from Richardson, Texas, who shot himself in front of his teacher and his second-period English class of 30 students on the morning of January 8, 1991. In a 2009 interview, Vedder said that he felt “the need to take that small article and make something of it—to give that action, to give it reaction, to give it more importance….The world goes on and you’re gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back.”

The second story the song is based on, involved a student that Vedder knew from his junior high school in San Diego, California, who committed a school shooting. He elaborated further in a 1991 interview: “I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn’t take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past. I was kind of a rebellious fifth-grader and I think we got in fights and stuff. So it’s a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it’s also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew.

Reference:
1. Jeremy (song) – WIkipedia

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Jealous Guy (1971) – John Lennon


I was fascinated by today’s song Jealous Guy growing up. I don’t know how many times I put the needle down on this record (see image left), but it was a lot. We had one of those old wooden turntables which look like a dresser and I remember sitting at the front of the fireplace and putting down the needle on this thing. Jealous Guy is one of my favourite John Lennon songs, but there are many.

It was between Elton John, Abba and John Lennon in my early youth who I heard the most from. In my adolescent years Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen made centre stage and I locked myself in my room and devoured as much music from them I could muster.

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control


I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no, I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

Interestingly, Jealous Guy wasn’t released as a single but became an international hit in early 1981 reaching #1 in the UK and Australia. I never knew until now that Lennon began writing the song in 1968 and it was demoed by the Beatles before they recorded the White Album. The lyrics were inspired by a lecture given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in early 1968, when the Beatles attended his spiritual retreat in India. The first recording appears on the fiftieth anniversary release of The Beatles, which contains all of the demos recorded at Esher

Jealous Guy has been recorded by many musicians, to mention a few: Joe Cocker & Belinda Carlisle. Lou Reed covered the song for a 2001 Lennon tribute concert. I would like to give special mention to Bryan Ferry’s version which I was always fond of.

Reference:
1. Jealous Guy – Wikipedia

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It’s All Too Much (1969) – The Beatles

It’s All Too Much is one of my preferred later-period tracks from The Beatles although I haven’t heard it often. Most of what is contained in this article are excerpts from the Wikipedia reference below. The instrumentals blow my listening senses. George Harrison wrote it as a celebration of his experiences with the hallucinogenic drug LSD, but following a visit to Haight-Ashbury in August 1967, he distanced himself from its usage.

When I look into your eyes, your love is there for me
And the more I go inside, the more there is to see


It’s all too much for me to take
The love that’s shining all around you
Everywhere, it’s what you make
For us to take, it’s all too much

The song features a Hammond organ, which gives the track a drone-like quality typical of Indian music, electric guitar feedback, and an overdubbed brass section. Largely self-produced by the band, the recording displays an informal approach that contrasts with the discipline of the Beatles’ previous work, particularly Sgt. Pepper. The song’s sequence in the Yellow Submarine film has been recognised for its adventurousness in conveying a hallucinogenic experience.

Harrison credited LSD as being the catalyst for his interest in Indian classical music, particularly the work of Ravi Shankar, and Eastern spirituality. He also said his aim had been “to write a rock’n’roll song about the whole psychedelic thing of the time.”

Reference:
1. It’s All Too Much – Wikipedia

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Jar of Hearts (2010) – Christina Perri

In previous posts about Christina Perri, I mentioned how daunting it would be to write about today’s featured song – Jar of Hearts. Now that time has come, and I must step up to the plate. This song is my favourite ballad post 2000. I consider it one of the greatest female songs I’ve ever heard. It is fitting Jar of Hearts inaugurates the songs with titles starting ‘J’ in the music project.

Typically, when I write about a song here, I’ll listen to it and write about my reflections during the course of the performance. But here I can’t do that. I’m left speechless with this song as I hear it and I can’t summon the words to write. Every line, every intonation of voice and melodic sequence is pure magic to my senses.

This song is like the original Rocky of Music. You can’t compare anything to the original Rocky movie and the same with this song. Perri has gone out on a limb and created one of the greatest ballads of all time, but you can tell it’s all through blood, sweat and tears. It’s not pretty – dumbed down, on the contrary, this is someone in the 15th round of music who has been felled and then risen up against all odds.

I know I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
Don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most


I’ve learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time


Who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I am still umming and ahhing about which version of Jar of Hearts to present here. There is the live version on the Today Show here (which reminded me of Springsteen’s My Hometown when he did something similar) and then there is the original video version which I’m not overly fond of because of the video depiction. There is also the 10th anniversary version that I like a lot, but I think I’ll go with audio and lyrics.

The song appeared on Perri’s debut studio album, Lovestrong (2011). Perri drew inspiration for the song from a real-life experience with a love interest who wanted to rekindle a broken relationship. Perri was unsigned at the time of the song release, which created a lot of discussion between critics who favored the song. The song charted on multiple charts in the United States at 17 and peaked at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

The song is so vulnerable, but she was stomping on the piano in our lobby with her combat boots. She was so confident and poised — you could visualize her at Madison Square Garden
—Julie Greenwald, chairman and COO of Atlantic Records

Think of this quote when you watch Christina Perri in Sao Paulo, Brazil singing Human or in Manchester singing Jar of Hearts. Then she gives a masterclass lesson in how to deliver a song just a few months ago with Back in Time.

Reference:
1. Jar of Hearts – Wikipedia

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Isn’t it a Pity (1970) – George Harrison

Isn’t It a Pity is from George Harrison’s 1970 album All Things Must Pass. It was his first solo album after the break-up of the Beatles. It also featured as a double A side single with My Sweet Lord. The single was phenomenally successful in North America, and around the world. Both songs were listed at number 1 on America’s Billboard chart, for four weeks. Isn’t it a Pity was initially rejected for inclusion on releases by the Beatles in 1966. The title track All Things Must Pass was also overlooked by the Beatles. Isn’t It a Pity has been described as “a poignant reflection on The Beatles‘ coarse ending.

Isn’t it a pity?
Now isn’t it a shame?
How we break each other’s hearts and cause each other pain
How we take each other’s love without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn’t it a pity?


Some things take so long, but how do I explain
When not too many people can see we’re all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can’t hope to see the beauty that surrounds them
Isn’t it a pity?

The track serves as a showcase for Harrison’s slide guitar playing, a technique he introduced with All Things Must Pass. In its long fadeout, the song references the closing refrain of the Beatles’ 1968 hit “Hey Jude“. Other musicians on the recording include Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Gary Wright and the band Badfinger, while the reprise version features Eric Clapton (see the live in Japan version below) on lead guitar.

In his 1980 autobiography, Harrison explained: “‘Isn’t It a Pity’ is about whenever a relationship hits a down point … It was a chance to realise that if I felt somebody had let me down, then there’s a good chance I was letting someone else down.” His lyrics adopt a nonjudgmental tone throughout. According to musicologist and critic Wilfrid Mellers, writing in 1973, “Isn’t It a Pity” blends the three song types embraced by Harrison as a solo artist – love song, rock song and hymn. He viewed it as the “key-song” on Harrison’s post-Beatles debut solo album.

Reference:
1. Isn’t It a Pity – Wikipedia

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I’ve Got a Plan (2002) – My Friend the Chocolate Cake

The songs from the Melbourne ‘gypsy-like romp and ballad’ group ‘My Friend the Chocolate Cake‘ feature prominently at my Music Library Project. Another song I reviewed from them recently – ‘I Guess It Don’t Get Much Better Than This‘ describes today’s song I’ve Got a Plan to a tee. This is one of my favourite Australian songs.

I got a plan
Let’s take off in the blue station wagon
And find the open road to salvation
Away from here

Yeah, I got a plan
Change the patterns that I form a lot
Not try to be something that I’m not
That I’m not

I’ve got another plan – this time it’ll work
Yeah, I’ve got another plan – this time it’ll work
Or I’ll be struck down, struck down

A lot of the Cake’s lyrics (from David Bridie) seem to be about escapism from ‘habitual life’ that society and modern living has forged. I’ve always found their music ‘a key’ of sorts to unlock options about how I might want to live my life more audaciously.

I’ve Got a Plan was the lead single from the Cake’s second album ‘Brood‘. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995, Brood won the ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album.
Please excuse the poor audio in the video below, but it’s one of the few music-videos they released. You can find the original audio here.

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