So she bargained with the sailor boy,
All for a piece of gold.
Straightaway then he led her
Down into the hold,
Sayin’, “I’ll dress you up in sailor’s clothes,
Your jacket shall be blue.
You’ll see that seaport town
Now, when the other sailors heard the news,
Well, they fell into a rage,
And with all the ship’s company
They were willing to engage.
Saying, “We’ll tie her hands and feet, my boys,
Overboard we’ll throw her.
She’ll never see that seaport town
(2nd and 3rd verse from Canadee-IO)
Canadee-I-O is the second song to feature here from Bob Dylan’s 1992 album Good as I Been To You. It’s my joint favourite song from the record along with Jim Jones. It’s another traditional English folk ballad believed to have been written before 1839. It’s an engrossing story and the melody is to die for. 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 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. It is is a rather straightforward (but skillful) melody-ish strumming, with hammer-ons and sus4-chords over a basically very simple three-chord skeleton. (Read more about the arrangement at Dylan chords).
According to Dylan’s friend Susan Ross, Good as I Been to You began life as a contractual filler. Dylan had scheduled two weeks at Chicago’s Acme Recording Studio sometime in 1992, hiring long-time associate David Bromberg as his producer. On the charts, Good as I Been to You reached No. 51 in the US and No. 18 in the UK, and helped to restore Dylan’s critical standing following the disappointing Under the Red Sky. Canadee-I-O by Dylan is lamentably unavailable for free public listening unless you have a You tube premium account.
Ben Mendelsohn was one of the first young Australian actors I admired growing up. He appeared in the little known Australian movie The Year my Voice Broke (1987) alongside Noah Taylor who I also liked. Both of these actors have gone on to play austere parts in Hollywood movies and American television. They don’t pull in the big mula like fellow Australian actors Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman, but they are hardly soft contenders in the acting department. Ben Mendelsohn I would go so far to describe as an actor’s actor and that is no better demonstrated in two movies – The Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom where he won the AFI’s award for best actor and today’s featured film – Mississippi Grind.
IMDB Storyline: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with a younger, charismatic poker player named Curtis in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what has been lost.
Ben Mendelsohn is one of the true artistic professionals in how they approach the form. They encroach their character’s skin to such an extent, one can only conclude that what they do is hard work and the result of years of dedication. It is even a joy to watch them doing the mundane or rudimentary in film. In brief, from a voyeuristic perspective you are entranced by them despite however hideous, awkward or morally bankrupt the character is. And believe you me, Ben Mendelsohn ticks all those boxes in Mississippi Grind and Animal Kingdom.
Mendelsohn plays a gambling addict in Grind. I have known addicts of this sort and I have been down that gambling binge on occasions. Movies about Poker and gambling are a dime a dozen, but Grind sits for me well above most because Mendelsohn is just so fricken convincing and intriguing to watch. I haven’t seen Mendelsohn’s co-star Ryan Reynolds in many movies, but he is impressive too as the shining light and lucky charm for the downtrodden Mendelsohn character. They go on a road trip together to see if they can formulate magic between them as a duo gambling pair.
Few recent movies from Hollywood have intrigued me as much as Mississipi Grind. It may not resonate with those who haven’t seen gambling addiction up close or been in situations like these characters find themselves, but I admire the peculiar acting of Mendelsohn and the sharp script which doesn’t dumb-down for a mainstream audience. If you enjoy road movies like ‘Crazy Heart’ or ‘Rain Man’ or just want to admire an actor in ‘beast mode’ see ‘Mississippi Grind. Mendelsohn grounds the character and the film to a perfect level.
The quintessential Australian rock group The Go-Betweens have made a strong showing so far in this music library project. Today’s song Bye Bye Pride was the fourth song released from their 1987 record Tallulah. This song failed to chart in Australia or in the UK where the band resided, but Bye Bye Pride is now regarded by followers as one of the band’s most endearing songs. What really seems to resonate about The Go-Betweens is the aesthetic of their music and perhaps no better is that encapsulated than here.
Bye Bye Pride was written and sung by the band’s co-founder Grant McLennan. McLennan was a keen literature student and aspiring film-maker and had to be pressured by his teenage friend Robert Forster into forming a band with him. Forster was always the wanna be musician, but McLennan went on to become the band’s craftsman. Bye Bye Pride contains some of his finest lyrics:
A white moon appears like a hole in the sky
The mangroves grow quiet
In the Parisi de la Palma a teenage Rasputin
Takes the sting from her gin
“When a woman learns to walk she’s not dependent any more”
A line from her letter, May 24
And out on the bay the current is strong
A boat can go lost
At his best (and indeed the same is true for Forster) McLennan could take his very simple building blocks, his basic chord changes and semi-spoken tunes, and make gold out of them. Bye Bye Pride is one such example. It also features stellar contributions by Amanda Brown on oboe and backing vocals. Brown and McLennan had been lovers and she was hurt that McLennan and Forster had taken the decision to end the band (their first band breakup in December 1989) without warning her first. Amanda Brown left the group and many say the band never got back to the heights of where they were in her absence.
In 2015 Steve Kilbey (The Church) selected “Bye Bye Pride” as one of his top ten Australian songs, stating “This song is so full of longing and regret and naive hope. The lyrics are so Brisbane I can almost see it all happening right before me. I never could grow sick of this song.“ The Courier-Mail’s Noel Mengel called it, “One of the greatest rock songs of the ’80s’.
1. Bye Bye Pride – The Go-Betweens – Songs From So Deep
2. Bye Bye Pride – The Go-Betweens – wikipedia
Really… Joe Biden can’t even say ‘that defunding the Police is bad’ without the press denouncing him?
As a white left leaning progressive I’ve been pushed to get my news from right-wing conservative programs for some utterance of what’s really going on. When I read the ABC Australian news, BBC or the NYT, I am constantly told I am part of a inherently guilty oppressive white regime majority.
I was a kid who grew up listening and admiring Bob Dylan but now I have no other place to turn for logic and truth than those expressed from conservative sources. The Press, Multinationals are all telling me how to think and that I’m part of this systemic racist problem.
I wrote about it before here ad nauseam – the danger of post modernist and anti meta-narrative thinking and the event at Evergreen College which this post is attributed and appears microscopic is actually forbearing about the macroscopic world we find ourselves. In a nutshell, the excesses of Social Media has caused a vacuum of effective moderate Leadership.
Really, God help us all …from an agnostic Christian.
Larry David goes to see some battered women (women who have suffered from domestic abuse)…You might recall the fabulous actress Ma’am’ here as Eddie’s wife Catherine in the 1983 Vacation movie – Miriam Flynn. She made this scene work as much as Larry.
This post may not be to everyone’s liking, but such is comedy. I received a response to a comment on You tube which I had written eon’s ago about this video and I noticed it received 454 likes! That’s nearly boy-band territory and I was gobsmacked. My very likeable comment was as follows:
‘I think this is my favourite scene from the show. The support cast are just brilliant and the awkwardness and lack of sincerity conveyed by everyone in their suppressed anger states is utterly engrossing.’
Even before many decided my comment was so likeable I felt this scene… as far as comedy served was the best I’d ever seen. So in celebration of my intuition and the many likes I was greeted (and big-head), I commit this legendary video to my blog…
What ingenious comedic moment rings true for you?
Burbujas de Amor (Bubbles of Love) is the second song to appear from the Dominican – Juan Luis Guerra in this music project. It appears on the same 1990 album as the title song Bachata Rosa (see image above) which featured here. That album was a huge hit, selling 5 million copies worldwide. Juan Luis Guerra is arguably the most popular music artist in all of Latin America and one of the most internationally recognized Latin artists of recent decades.
The ‘radio-play’ his songs get here in Colombia is obscene and for good reason – Juan is enormously talented and the high quality and plethora of music he has released makes the mind boggle. Also, he almost single-handedly populised bachata music on a global level. Bachata music originates from the Dominican Republic and features a more traditional bolero rhythm and aesthetic mixed with bossa-nova influenced melodies and harmony.
Today’s song Burbujas de Amor, like Juan Luis Guerra’s previous entry here Bachata Rosa follows on in that Bachata tradition. What I find so appealing about his interpretation of Bachata music is that it’s just wonderfully soothing to the ear and there is a ‘romantic’ element to it which is distinct from anything I’ve heard in contemporary Western music. Since this music was so far removed from the music I was accustomed, it took me time to appreciate it. But upon subsequent listens I couldn’t help but feel truly immersed.
Burbujas de Amor caused quite a bit of controversy when it was first released. Apparently some people interpreted its poetry salaciously and it was banned from airwaves in some parts. Regardless, it’s now adored and laps the radio waves. Like with Bachata Rosa, I’m just so impressed by the lyrics-poetry in Burbujas de Amor. A translation can never be perfect… and in this case it’s almost impossible to capture the beauty of the poetry, but here goes with a loose translation of its first part:
I have a heart
Crippled by hope and reason
I have a heart
That awakens wherever
Ay, ay, ay, ay
Undresses itself impatiently at the sound of your voice
That struggles for its sanity
I would like to be a fish
So I could touch my nose in your aquarium
And make bubbles of love
Oh-oh-oh and spend the night in vigil
Soaked in you
I challenge long-term happily married couples to top this romantic gesture. According to Alexander Borodin’s biographer Serge Dianin, this quartet was composed as Borodin’s 20th Anniversary gift to his wife Ekaterina Protopova. Not only was he a Russian music composer (of Georgian heritage) but also a doctor and chemist. Romantic chemistry would appear to be one of his fortes but he regarded his musical composition as just a spare time pursuit although he is better known these days as a composer.
This chemist in his day was best known in his profession for his work concerning organic synthesis, and co-discoverer of the aldol reaction. Borodin was a promoter of education in Russia and founded the School of Medicine for Women in Saint Petersburg, where he taught until 1885. Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg as an illegitimate son of a 62-year-old Georgian nobleman and a married 25-year-old Russian woman. The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his Russian serfs, Porfiry Borodin, hence the composer’s Russian last name. Thankfully Borodin was well provided for by his Georgian father.
The third movement below Notturno is the most popular of the 4 movements he wrote. According to wikipedia Borodin was one of the prominent 19th-century composers known as “The Mighty Handful”, a group dedicated to producing a uniquely Russian kind of classical music, rather than imitating earlier Western European models. The third movement also serves as the score to Disney’s 2006 short The Little Matchgirl and as an excerpt of the piece played in the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery. His music is noted for its strong lyricism and rich harmonies.
1. Alexander Borodin – wikipedia
I think when I saw this video today in my YT feed of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing Freebird I knew I was in trouble nostalgically from the get-go.
My understanding is this concert was performed just 40 days or so days before their ill-fated flight which killed members of the band. But what really made an impression upon me was just seeing how healthy and animated appeared the crowd – living in the moment. These were times before processed food, tattoos-makeup and portable technology became the vogue. And also before HIV and now the pandemic COVID-19 windswept the populations.
I like to remember this performance as how life used to be. Look at the radiance exuded from these fresh faces. It’s hard to equate that vitality and innocence to anything seen in recent times.
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This Australian country song was sent to me by mother many years ago and I took an immediate liking to it. Buffalo Bill is from Sara Storer’s debut studio album called Chasing Buffalo. Storer won the Best New Talent award at the Australian country music awards for Buffalo Bill.
And will the real Buffalo Bill please stand
Holding a beer and a gun in each hand
Those bright blue eyes give away more than he knows
When they sparkle as his story tells of chasin’ buffalo
Sara Storer was born on 6th of October 1973 which makes her my senior by 100 days or so which means I would call her Ma’am and stand-fast when she addressed me. She grew up on a huge cattle farm in Wemen, rural Victoria – Australia and completed her tertiary studies in Melbourne, becoming a teacher. Living in Camooweal, she met a retired water buffalo shooter, Harry Chandler, whose stories inspired her to write, Buffalo Bill, her first song.
Sara has since gone on to do six studio albums, three of which have have reached the top 30 of the ARIA charts. Despite her successful recording career she has never lost her country calling. When in Darwin she married David O’Hare, a cattle buyer, in April 2012 and the couple have four children and live on a farm near Albury.
1. Sara Storer – wikipedia