Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word (1968) – Joan Baez

I first heard Joan Baez perform Bob Dylan’s song Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word in the 1967 documentary of Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England – Don’t Look Back. From 3:00 minutes in the second video you can hear Joan sing a short version of this song after her excellent performance of another Dylan song – Percy’s Song. I always preferred how Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word sounded in her raw delivery on the tour over the released version. Whoever went for the sitar-guitar on the released version should have been strongly advised against it. Joan Baez performed the song numerous times throughout her career.

Dylan, it seemed was giving out songs like candy. So many artists were achieving fame and making a fortune off his lyrics and tunes. Baez is shown in the scene where she tells Dylan, “If you finish it, I’ll sing it on a record“. Baez first included the song on Any Day Now, her 1968 album of Dylan covers; and she has since recorded it three additional times. Dylan never released a version of his song, and never performed it live.

For back story about Joan Baez’s relationship with Bob Dylan, I point you to my article about Diamonds and Rust. That song is regarded by a number of critics and fans as one of her best compositions and it is my favourite song from her.

[Verse 1]
Seems like only yesterday I left my mind behind
Down in the gypsy café with a friend of a friend of mine
Who sat with a baby heavy on her knee
Yet spoke of life most free from slavery
With eyes that showed no trace of misery
A phrase in connection first with she occurred
That love is just a four-letter word

[Verse 2]
Outside a rattling store-front window, cats meowed to the break of day
Me, I kept my mouth shut, to you, I had no words to say
My experience was limited and underfed
You were talking while I hid
To the one who was the father of your kid
You probably didn’t think I did, but I heard
You say that love is just a four-letter word

Baez was born on Staten Island, New York, on January 9, 1941. Her father was Mexican and her mother Scottish. The Baez family converted to Quakerism during Joan’s early childhood, and she has continued to identify with the tradition, particularly in her commitment to pacifism and social issues. While growing up, Baez was subjected to racial slurs and discrimination because of her Mexican heritage. Consequently, she became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career. She declined to play in any white student venues that were segregated, which meant that when she toured the Southern states, she would play only at black colleges.

Based on my limited observations, the music of Joan is more popular here in South America than Bob Dylan. Baez emerged at the forefront of the American roots revival, where she introduced her audiences to the then-unknown Bob Dylan. Baez’s distinctive vocal style and political activism had a significant impact on American popular music. She was one of the first musicians to use her popularity as a vehicle for social protest, singing and marching for human rights and peace.

Dylan didn’t share her political aims and Joan even mentioned in this interview: ‘I was just trying to shove him into a mould…I wanted him to be a political spokesperson. That was my hang-up. And it wasn’t until years later that I realised he didn’t need to be on the team. He wrote the songs‘.

1. Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word – Wikipedia
2. Joan Baez – Wikipedia

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Love Dream (Liebesträume No. 3) – Franz Liszt

Image result for Franz Liszt

Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major (Liebestraum – German for Dreams of Love) is the second piece to feature here from the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. Liebestraum is a set of three solo piano works published in 1850 by Liszt based on poems by Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath. In Western classical music tradition this is called ‘lieder‘ which is a term for setting poetry to classical music to create a piece of polyphonic music. Freiligrath’s poem for today’s piece is the third nocturne about unconditional mature love (“Love as long as you can!“, “O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst“). Below is the translated English version:

O love, as long as love you can,
O love, as long as love you may,
The time will come, the time will come
When you will stand at the grave and mourn!

Be sure that your heart burns,
And holds and keeps love
As long as another heart beats warmly
With its love for you

And if someone bears his soul to you
Love him back as best you can
Give his every hour joy,
Let him pass none in sorrow!

And guard your words with care,
Lest harm flow from your lips!
Dear God, I meant no harm,
But the loved one recoils and mourns.

O love, love as long as you can!
O love, love as long as you may!
The time will come, the time will come,
When you will stand at the grave and mourn.

You will kneel alongside the grave
And your eyes will be sorrowful and moist,
– Never will you see the beloved again –
Only the churchyard’s tall, wet grass.

You will say: Look at me from below,
I who mourn here alongside your grave!
Forgive my slights!
Dear God, I meant no harm!

Yet the beloved does not see or hear you,
He lies beyond your comfort;
The lips you kissed so often speak
Not again: I forgave you long ago!

Indeed, he did forgive you,
But tears he would freely shed,
Over you and on your unthinking word –
Quiet now! – he rests, he has passed.

O love, love as long as you can!
O love, love as long as you may!
The time will come, the time will come,
When you will stand at the grave and mourn.

Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major is the last of the three that Liszt wrote and the most popular. It can be considered as split into three sections, each divided by a fast cadenza requiring dexterous finger work and a very high degree of technical ability. The same melody is used throughout the piece, each time varied, especially near the middle of the work, where the climax is reached.

The three Liebesträume were inspired on two poems by Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862) and one by Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-1876), that describe, respectively, three types of love: love as religious ecstasy, love as erotic desire and love as total surrender.

1. Liebesträume – Wkipedia

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22/5 – 28/5/23 – The Grievance Studies Affair Special Edition

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

Our goal is to publish as many papers as we can that are unbelievably sophisticated parodies, and we are going to publish these in Tier 1 Journals‘ – Peter Boghossian

We are trying to go right to the source and say the whole enterprise is bogus… we’re hoping if we can get to the source and show that the scholarship everything is coming out of, is itself a fraud nobody has to listen to these people anymore‘ – James Lindsay

Joe Rogan – Exposing Social Justice with Peter Boghossian & James Lindsay
Video excerpt at JRE clips

In this video James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian break down what comprised the Grievance Studies hoax.

Pam Baker in the comments of this clip wrote: ‘As a person who relies on scientific, peer-reviewed, published studies to guide my actual practice as a healthcare professional I have to tell you that this is not only astonishing but makes me question every single thing about the world that we currently inhabit’. (View entire video interview extract here)

The Reformers (2023) – Part One
Video documentary at Michael Nayna

The Reformers explores the execution of the Grievance Studies hoax and aftermath for those involved. The hoax, orchestrated by a group of scholars (Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose) who submitted deliberately absurd and ideologically biased articles to prominent academic journals, made worldwide headlines and sparked intense debate about the influence of ideology and the erosion of critical thinking in academia. Nayna was embedded with the scholars from the hoax’s infancy. (View documentary here).

The Reformers (deleted scene) – Peter Boghossian’s Thought Experiment
Video excerpt at Wisdom for Life

This scene was shot around the time Helen Pluckrose, Peter Boghossian, and James Lindsay had started writing their hoax papers.

The conversation here in Peter Boghossian’s class is about the subject of Phrenology – The process that involves observing and/or feeling the skull to determine an individual’s psychological attributes.

From 2:00 minutes in the video:

Student: ‘Well, I guess the scientific method is pretty universal right? Regardless of what science you study, I mean if you use the scientific method ..’

Peter Boghossian – ‘Said from the dude with the small skull. I mean that’s the kind of argument that people who have warped skulls make’. (Watch video excerpt here)

The Evolution of Postmodern Thought | Helen Pluckrose
Video presentation at New Discourses

Helen Pluckrose develops the definition of “Social Justice” as it is used in the academic literature in this tradition, explains its connections to identity politics and the political correctness movement, and then shows the relevance of the original postmodernists to this Theory in some detail. She does this to elegantly describe the progression of these ideas from Theory to activism to the streets by describing how these ideas originated, evolved, and were built upon by successive generations of Theorists leading up to those who have become famous names even outside of the scholarly world today: for examples, Peggy McIntosh, Barbara Applebaum, and Robin DiAngelo. (Watch video presentation here)

news on the march the end
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Love Buzz (1969) – Shocking Blue

I was telling Bernie at his blog article on the (2015) Steve Jobs movie that California Dreamin’ as seen in Dragon ‘The Bruce Lee Story’ is the ants’ pants, because it demonstrates how delicate and fraught the whole notion ‘a dream state’ and opportunity is. What has that got to do with todays’ song or even Bernie’s article? Your guess is better than mine.

Any-hows, today’s song comes from a Dutch group and leads us nicely into the following clip that mentions the Dutch, Netherlands and Holland.

Today’s song has a similar sound and vibe to the psychedelic rock style of the Mamas and Papas. Love Buzz was covered by Nirvana, released as their debut single in 1988. I just read that someone paid 600,000 dollars for a smashed Kurt Cobain guitar. Are you f$%king kidding me?! You would have to pay me that to repair it and keep it in my living space along with my sole plant that I am compelled to spray and water once a week.

Would you believe me when I tell you
You are the king of my dreams?
Please don’t deceive me when I hurt you
It just ain’t the way it seems

Can’t you hear my love buzz?
Can’t you hear my love buzz?
Can’t you hear my love buzz?

I need you like a desert needs rain
I would rather like to die
Darling, oh when I don’t see you
So spread your wings and fly

Max mentioned at his blog PowerPop about the group Shocking BlueThe band was founded in 1967 and after recruiting vocalist Mariska Veres they soon became huge. With their single “Venus” they became the first Dutch band ever to reach the first spot on the American Billboard Hot 100.

The group were formed in Hague who are Dutch from the Netherlands and Holland. They were part of the Nederbeat movement in the Netherlands. I had little interest to look up Nederbeat, but for the story I thought I should go and look it up.
It says, ‘it is a genre of rock music that began with the Dutch rock boom in the mid-1960s influenced by British beat groups and rock bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.’ Gee whiz, I would never have guessed that!

1. Love Buzz – Shocking Blue

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Love and Mercy (1988) – Brian Wilson

The biographical Brian Wilson – Beach Boys movie by the same name brought me to this song. The original 80’s drenched synth recording of Love and Mercy left me cold, but his later renditions such as the one below I like a lot. It has been his closing number at his solo live concerts. The song was released as a single on July 1, 1988, but failed to chart. Brian Wilson is no stranger to this blog as his music has featured here prominently in the form of the Beach Boys.

I was sittin’ in a crummy movie
With my hands on my chin
All the violence that occurs
Seems like we never win

Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight
So love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was lying in my room
And the news came on TV
A lotta people out there hurtin’
And it really scares me

Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I respect and understand how this song is a recession in complexity for him. Sometimes in life you just need to go back to basics. Wilson noted the song as “probably the most spiritual song I’ve ever written“.

Brian Wilson is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and significant songwriters of the 20th century. His best-known work is distinguished for its high production values, complex harmonies and orchestrations, layered vocals, and introspective or ingenuous themes. Wilson is also known for his formerly high-ranged singing and for his lifelong struggles with mental illness.

“I would think love is a gentle thing and mercy would be more desperate, ultimately more desperately needed, thing in life. Mercy–a little break here and there for somebody who’s having trouble….I was going for a spiritual, semi-Beach Boy kind of background sound, but more of a Brian Wilson lead vocal thing”.

1. Love and Mercy – Wikipedia

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Lost Without You (2003) – Delta Goodrum (Darren Hayes Cover)

The Australian singer-songwriter Delta Goodrum made her mark with Lost Without You, but the version I want to focus on today is from Darren Hayes. Delta was the Pop Diva of Australian music in the early 2000’s…then she was diagnosed with cancer and her plight came somewhat of a national concern. Too sick to perform at the 2003 ARIA awards, fellow Australian artist Darren Hayes from Savage Garden flew out from Los Angeles to deliver his version.
What will forever be etched in my memory (apart from Hayes killing it from 3:15) is Delta’s reaction to her own song.

[Verse 1]
I know I can be a little stubborn sometimes
You might say a little righteous and too proud
I just want to find a way to compromise
‘Cause I believe that we can work things out

I thought I had all the answers
Never giving in
But baby, since you’ve gone
I admit that I was wrong

All I know is I’m lost without you
I’m not gonna lie
How am I gonna be strong without you?
I need you by my side
If we ever say we’d never be together
And we ended with goodbye
Don’t know what I’d do
I’m lost without you
I keep trying to find my way
But all I know is I’m lost without you
I keep trying to face the day
Lost without you

Lost Without You was released on her debut album Innocent Eyes as the album’s second single in 2003. The song became Goodrem’s second number-one single in Australia and also peaked within the top 10 in New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. You can find her official video release below Darren Hayes version. Lost Without You was released to Australian radio in early February 2003 and was the most added song to radio for that week.

On 16 August 2020, Goodrem released a six-minute video detailing the back story behind her song Paralyzed. In the video, she revealed that after having her salivary gland removed, she faced serious complications that led to the paralysis of a nerve in her tongue, which left her having to re-learn to speak.
In 2022, Goodrem was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2022 Australia Day Honours for “significant service to the not-for-profit sector, and to the performing arts“. She was also honoured with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

1. Lost Without You (Delta Goodrum Song) – Wikipedia

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Lost in the Dream (2014) – The War on Drugs

Lost in the Dream is the 5th song to appear here from the American band The War on Drugs. This song was the first which hooked me and is the title track from their third studio album released in 2014. The album recording took over 2 years to get right, and you can hear just how methodical they must have been.

In my article I Don’t Live Here Anymore, I posted a video of their ‘Tiny Desk‘ Concert and its very apparent how each band member are masters of their craft and play their instruments with delicate care to achieve the highest quality sound. I consider The War on Drugs the most impressive Americana folk – rock band I have heard in the last decade.

[Verse 1]
Lost in the dream
Or just the silence of a moment?
It’s always hard to tell
Down in the way
They cut it open and they sold it
It’s always hard to tell

[Verse 2]
I saw a soldier man
And he locked his eyes like they were rings
Ooh, but it’s hard, I can’t resist
You may risk it all
You’d risk it all for the memory
But it’s livin’ under your skin
Love’s the key to the things that we see
And don’t mind chasin’
Leave the light on in the yard for me, oh

There aren’t many songs which open with a more breathtaking guitar instrumental than this. Those two years were well – invested even to achieve these first 30 seconds of sound! You know you are listening to the best when you can’t fathom how they accomplished it.

When I was listening to their monumental ‘Pain‘ track I couldn’t help but think that the ‘Americana music’ torch had been passed on from Springsteen to The War on Drugs. They seem to represent the voices and concerns of a Springsteen middle ‘hometown‘ audience. Springsteen was cited as influencers for this album as well as Tom Petty and Bob Dylan.

The recording session of Lost in a Dream (album) was characterised by numerous rewrites. The album’s lyrical themes were influenced by the loneliness and depression (lead singer – songwriter) Adam Granduciel faced after he finished touring. The album cover (image above) features an image of Adam Granduciel standing in front of a window in his home.

Based on 139 year-end top ten lists compiled by Metacritic, Lost in the Dream was the most critically acclaimed album of 2014, appearing on 54 lists and being named first on 13 of them. Paste named Lost in the Dream as their album of the year, writing “from all the muck and malaise that midlife produces, something beautiful and permanent has been revealed—an enduring contribution to the canon.”

1. Lost in the Dream – Wikipedia

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Losing Your Way in the Rain (1979) – Mike Batt

I was writing just a few days ago the post about Christina Perri’s Bluebird and how underrated she is as a singer – songwriter. I had the same battle in the 80’s about Dylan.
Now we come to the undisputed western-world champion of ‘underappreciated’ music. Mike Batt’s 1979 album Tarot Suite (with the London Symphony Orchestra) is one of, if not my most beloved album, but is scarcely known. You might be more familiar with Mike Batt’s popular hit ‘Bright Eyes‘ performed by Art Garfunkel.

Today’s featured track Losing Your Way in the Rain is the sixth song on Tarot Suite as seen above on the back cover of this monumental album. ‘Losing Your Way in the Rain‘ tells you there is an easy path to falling into the abyss. I know it only too well. To find yourself in a ditch you just can’t get out of. And then you prefer the ditch because that’s the routine which makes you feel some semblance of being human or for just getting up in the morning and crawling out from.

When the colours of mourning have faded away
And you don’t know where the road is leading
The edge of the sky turns from blue into grey
And there’s nothing to ease the pain
When you’re losing your way in the rain

Oh, sometimes I’m right
Oh, and sometimes I’m wrong
But I’aching now and sinking slowly
And I know in my mind that we have to keep on

But it just doesn’t seem the same
When you’re losing your way in the rain
Don’t want to go back there again
When you see how far you’ve come

The music which opens Losing Your Way in the Rain is representative of the whole album’s mystical ‘tarot’ feel and fantastical journey. I know it’s widely expressed, but I have to reiterate ‘they don’t make music like this anymore‘. It’s a respectfulness for the listener. It’s not telling you how and what to think, instead letting you go along for the journey. Everything is just smooth, and it lets you inculcate the meaning even with a mystical padded ending that gives you time.

It’s hard to believe that Tarot Suite is now 40+ years old. No other album was played as often in our house during my youth than this one. Tarot Suite was inspired by the 22 major arcana trump cards of the tarot deck.

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Lord, I Hope This Day is Good (1981) – Don Williams

Lord, I Hope This Day is Good is the second song to appear here in the space of a month from my favourite classic-country music artist Don Williams. His previous entry Listen to the Radio was the first song that got me hooked as a youngster and todays featured track I came to appreciate much later in my musical journey of Don. These are great lyrics sung by a great voice.

I just find Don Williams voice so soothing. If you have an hour free you could put on a ‘Greatest Hits‘ video from Don and feel calmer for the experience in the middle of all the discontent and strife in the world. I still consider myself in the infancy of my appreciation of Don’s music since his music catalogue is so vast.

Lord, I hope this day is good
I’m feelin’ empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful, Lord, I know I should
But Lord I hope this day is good

Lord, have you forgotten me
I’ve been prayin’ to you faithfully
I’m not sayin’ I’m a righteous man
But Lord I hope you understand

I don’t need fortune and I don’t need fame
Send down the thunder, Lord, send down the rain
But when you’re plannin’ just how it will be
Plan a good day for me

Lord, I Hope This Day is Good is a country-gospel ballad written by Dave Hanner and interpreted and released by Don Williams as the third single from his eleventh studio album Especially for You. The song was Williams’ twelfth number one on the country chart. The single stayed at number one for one week and spent a total of twenty weeks on the country music charts.

Anne Murray also recorded a version of the song on her 1999 inspirational album. Anne was a personal favourite of my Mother. I remember her crying in my youth listening to Anne’s – You Needed Me, or it might be because I just got home from school.

I hope this song sets you on a good path forward today. Thank you for reading.

1. Lord, I Hope This Day is Good – Wikipedia

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Loose Change (1998) – Bruce Springsteen

To me today’s featured song Loose Change will always be the sister song to another Bruce song from the same record called Happy. These two songs are an awesome couplet from Bruce’s collection that I treasure. I could listen to them both all day long and not distill one from the other. They are a match made in Heaven.

When I recollected Happy, I wrote how it wooshed me back to living in Northcote, Melbourne cerca 2005. When I hear Loose Change, it’s just the same…. I had a girlfriend called Claire who was a clairvoyant (at that time and place)….I don’t think we ever had chit-chat, rather a fully transcendental conversation about the big questions in life.

I was smitten…Us two lost souls hang out a lot in her big yellow family-house beside the train-tracks and we shared moments in time that just clicked.

[Verse 1]
Met her at a friendly little bar down along the coast
She said it was her birthday so we had us a nice little toast
Drove around for a while, smoked a few cigarettes
Took her back to my place, she slipped off her party dress
She sat for a while on the edge of the bed just talkin’

Loose change in my pocket
Loose change in my pocket

[Verse 2]
Pint of gin in my boot cuff, I’m drivin’ for a drink and a dance
Sittin’ on the next stool, Miss a little time on her hands
Yeah, I knew she was trouble, but trouble sure was lookin’ fine
When I pulled her close, what I knew kinda slipped my mind
We lay in bed and watched the moon come up crawling

Loose Change always reminded me of a slow – tempo arrangement of a Bob Seeger song like Against the Wind. Loose Change comes from Tracks, a four-disc box set by American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, released in 1998 containing 66 songs. This box set mostly consists of never-before-released songs recorded during the sessions for his many albums. I wrote about this set recently on the Lonsesome Day article as it seemed to provide a welcomed relief after a lengthy drought of Bruce output since his Human Touch and Lucky Town records.

Loose Change is an internal story, not an external one.The lack of a melodic instrumental accompaniment helps to create the sense of isolation and alienation that pervades the song, a bit like Happy.

Springsteen toured Dublin, Ireland this May: his Irish ancestral roots. Bruce Springsteen just casually singing “My Hometown” in a local Ireland bar…nothing to see here lol. Can you imagine being there?

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