Garland Jeffreys

I can’t remember when I first heard Garland Jeffreys. One of my friends in Sydney had picked up an lp or maybe I’d bought one on spec at Woolworth’s in their rack of deleted lps. Or I might have even read a review in Rolling Stone. But he is a memory from my Cape Breton life. I have now in an mp3 collection Guts for Love; Rock & Roll Adult; Don’t Call Me Buckwheat.

He was more a cult favourite than a big pop star. More of a Warren Zevon than a Jackson Browne – who were also making ripples at this time. Jefferys’ sound was somewhat different though. More soulful, dash of reggae  Tough songs about love, politics & race. A direct influence on Lenny Kravtiz. Rock & Roll Adult is an amazing live album. Cool Down Boy about his physically abusive father is powerful.

Like many of my mp3 collections this one spans time & genres. So it also has Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. Hop-hop artist with a queer vibes that is sonically dense but none of the songs really grabbed me. Same with Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox – radio friendly pop. I enjoy this sort of disposable music from the likes of Mars or even the Jonas brothers. Romanic, r’n’b lite. 

Here as well is a Toronto indie band Melting Pot: Cancel Everything. Grounded by the guitar of Nelson Sobral this is solid rock that is well produced, engineered & fun. Finally another throw back with a sort best of collection of The Left Banke: There’s Gonna Be A Storm. A brilliant 60’s group that didn’t hop the psychedelic bandwagon & produced some great songs. Their mix of strings, harpsichord & rock is refreshing, clearly a precursor to the chamber pop of Antony and the Johnsons.

Pain

‘Is there pain after death?’ Tom looked over to Frank. ‘That’s what we’re here to find out, isn’t it?’

‘Not entirely. But that’s a good notion to work with. I doubt if there is pain after death, with no attachment to the nerve endings, no corporal presence to to be connected to, there is nothing to feel the pain.’

‘Physical pain but what about emotional pain, spiritual pain?’

‘Spiritual pain? Have you ever felt spiritual pain?’

‘Yeah. It’s a restless emptiness that can’t be filled with people, places or things. When I use them to sooth that pain, it only gets worse. The spiritual remedy is the only one that has helped.’

‘Well, we are certainly in a philosophical frame of mind this morning.’

‘Must be my Season of Change. ‘What has been started, continues in each of us, even if we don’t know it.’ ’

‘That’s from Dr Melburton’s book?’

‘I think so. It what made me come with you. To find out what there was to find out here.’

‘So you believe there is a power here.’

‘Here, there and everywhere. Hiding. Always hidden.’

‘Only we don’t know what we might find.’

‘We know what we hope to find. That’s a start isn’t it.’

‘And we hope to find out if there’s pain after death?’

‘Something like that. I’ve felt something around me since we heard that chant. You have too haven’t you Frank?’

‘I suppose. Seems the air is more humid today.’

‘Rainy season is creeping up.’

‘The dead are just hiding and we are seeking them.’

‘What?’

‘Something my Dad once told me. He said they have passed beyond mortal sight.’

‘As if life were hide and seek … I kind of like that image. They’ve merely hidden and we may never find them.’

‘Oh, we’ll find them. The harder we seek the sooner we’ll find them.’

‘Then perhaps we’d better stop looking so hard.’ Tom laughed uneasily. ‘I don’t think I’m ready to …’

A flash of lightening was followed by a nearby clap of thunder. The drinking glasses on the bathroom sink rattled.

‘Very close.’

‘I have come to protect you?’

They turned and the leader of the boys they had seen two nights ago stood on the balcony of their room. His body streaked with raw, red paint, daubed with splotches of red, white and yellow. He was naked.

There was another ground shaking crash of thunder. The rain started. Heavy. Thick rain that darkened the room.

The boy stepped into the room and collapsed on the bed.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Jacksoul to Jamiroquai

There was a time whenMuchMusic actually showed music videos!! One of the Canada bands that shone was Jacksoul lead by the talented Haydain Neale. I have their ABsolute, sleepless, Resurrected as stand alones. The sound is radio & music video friendly sweet soul with jazz touches. The songs are plaintive, romantic, & smooth to the ear. Neale has/had a very appealing voice. Very John Legend. Sadly he died some years ago.

 

Next on the shelf are a couple of Mp3 collections that feature Jamiroquai: a funk/acid jazz group lead by singer Jay Kay. On one cd is Emergency on Planet Earth; Travelling Without Moving; A Funk Odyssey; Synkronized; on the other is Rock Dust Light Star, Dynamite. Jay’s voice is very Stevie Wonder. There have been some radio hits, dance floor hits too. Music with an ecological message that you can dance to. The album sound changes over time as they flirt with then embrace old school disco: strings, congas. Sexy, enjoyable & never challenging.

 

In the first MP3 collection are several indie eps I picked up at local poetry shows. A couple by DanJahRus: 2019, Sunrise. Hip-Hop rap with Dan’s mixing skills equal to his writing. DRP: Clever Title – son of a friend of mine had a sort of metal bar band & recorded some tracks in a basement. Youthful fun.

BC’s CJ Leon: Booty Music for Zombie Swingers; Street Corner Gothic – folk punk sexual anarchy with zombies. good sound quality. Toronto’s: Examples. Rex is a folk punk queer Japanese protest singer. We need more of this. Archie & The Bunkers is an organ based trio full to the brim with sweet, cheese surf music fun. Three Beards: bearded men writing & singing about their feelings.

Also some non-indie powerhouse albums. I became obsessed with the song Lonely Street & found a decent version on Mick Hucknall’s American Soul. Mick was lead singer for Simply Red. This was a come-back attempt with covers. Easy listening pleasant. Bob Dylan’s Tempest. A recent release I picked up more for nostalgia. He still writes well & sings well in a Tom Waits way. The same with Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What. Paul Simon never wrote a bad song & his voice is still intact, as is his sense of political irony. Finally: Debbie Gravitte – Defying Gravity – this a great Lp of Broadway songs, some obscure, some well-known. I love her version of that title track, from Wicked.

Stroke of Genius

‘Mambo?’ Ted gave Jim a playful shove. ‘Where did you get that name from?’

‘Just came to me.’ Jim snapped his fingers. ‘A stroke of genius.’

‘Yeah along with ‘dat acc’nt mon’?’

‘Well, those guys had it coming. Snooping around here every night. Had to give them something they could enjoy.’ Jim began to wipe the green make up off his chin. ‘Did you see his face. Boy, looked like he was about to crap his pants.’

‘Yeah, but ‘Mambo.’ Good thing you didn’t give any of the others names.’

‘Good idea. You can be ChaCha. Phil can be Tango.’

‘I don’t feel right about it though. What if they … ’

‘What? Tell on us? I can see them now at the Militia Office. These boys with red and green faces told us they would protect us from evil. That’d go over big around here.’

‘You did pick the red and green. Afraid of the blue and white.’

‘Ted this is for fun. I know enough not to cross the line. That would have been begging for trouble.’

‘Since when did that bother you?’

‘It doesn’t. Fear is an emotion I choose not to fear. But that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot either. Bad enough we used the right markings.’ He continued to rub at the make up around his eyes. ‘Is it all off?’

‘Sort of but I think you rubbed too hard.’

‘You too.’ He gave another playful hip shove that sent Jim sprawling. ‘You think the other guys got home okay.’ Jim stood.

‘Don’t they always.’ 

‘I don’t think …’

‘Then stop thinking. Let me worry about that. We’d have more fun if  you’d stop all that thinking. It’s not as if we are robbing the tourists, just putting a little of local fear into them. Get their imaginations going.’

‘It’s not all imagination and you know it.’

‘Yeah! So. It’s no fun to play in safe places. So this had a little more edge than the rag doll and pins routine. Gives them more for their dollar.’

‘I know. I spooks me. That’s all. Mama Gre’loo says we have to be careful with the forest spirits. This is the Season of Change and all things that start a change now must follow where it leads.’

‘You gotta stop listening to that foolishness. You sound like one of those tourists. You know?’

‘I know. Come on, let’s get that stuff washed off so we can get home.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Mozart

Let’s get this catalogue out of the way first – My Mozart collection, in various boxsets, mp3 compilations, includes Abduction From the Seraglio; Clarinet Quintet; Piano Trio; Concertone; Sinfonias; Serenades; Divermentios; Musical Joke; Flute Quartet; Flute Concerto; Flute Quartets; Horn Concertos; The Magic Flute; Masses 1; Mass 317/Exsultate; Regina; Ave Verum; Overtures; Cosi Fan Tutte; Mass 427; Church Sonatas; Le Nozzie Di Figerro; Piano Concertos: 9 cds; Piano Sonatas: 5 cds; Piano Trios; Violin Concertos 1 2; Violin Duos; Piano Quartets; Violin Sonatas; Requiem D Min;  Serenade #9; Quintets; Variations; Serenade#19; Nacht Musik; String Quartets 6 cds; Symphonies 11 cds; String Quintets; Oboe Quartet; Piano Clarinet Trio; Violin Sonatas; Piano Four Hands; Woodwind Concertos; As well as a set of Bryn Terfel arias from the operas.

I am a fan 🙂 One of the first pieces of his that I totally loved was the Concerto for Harp & Flute. It transported me & still does. I had many of these on lps. First as box sets of the piano music that I ordered from Vox, some singly from MHS, then the bulk from Time-Life who did a complete Mozart in 5 lp box sets. I loved getting things in the mail. Some of these are lp to cd transfers.

 

It is hard to pick out favourites as I love the string quartets, the piano sonatas delight, his flute music is charming, his operas are okay (I’m not really an opera fan). The Magic Flute is a good intro to opera. His masses are moving and soothing. His range is amazing with sparkling music for flute, oboe, bassoon, & glass harmonica (yes this was a thing.) Oddly cello was never singled out for a solo extravaganza. My most recent addition was his music for piano four hands.

I also have pieces by his father, even his rival Antonio Salieri. Mozart didn’t write in a vacuum & I like to have ‘context’ for my favourites. I have jazzed up Mozart. Plus The New Koto Ensemble Of Tokyo plucking away at his war horses 🙂 (They also do a great version the Four Seasons). 

Mozart’s operas are excellent starts for people who don’t know or think they like opera. More emotionally open than his chamber music they edge toward the more romantic period. An innovator, a genius from a time when classical music was pop music 🙂 Much of his output was chamber music – pieces written for families – this was entertainment at home before radio.

 Sleep

‘Let’s check it now.’

‘Look, it’s nearly 3 a.m. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll check the tape in the morning.’

Frank was already plugging the cable connector from the camera into the back of the TV. ‘Tom this is what we came here for. We’ve been doing that jungle walk for two weeks and now we finally have something.’

The screen came to life. Murky movements jumped back and forth.

‘Worse than the Blair Witch.’

‘You try sometime then.’ Tom snapped back.

‘Sorry I was just …’

The picture came into focus. The sound was muffled, distant.

‘Shit!’ Tom hit the top of the TV.

‘That’s not going to do much.’ Frank laughed. ‘Turn it up.’

‘Why bother with that.’ Tom pulled the cables from the TV. ‘Let’s use this.’ He opened his lap top. ‘I have a program in here that will refine things considerably.’

It took the tape several minutes to be downloaded into the computer.

‘Couldn’t you get anything faster.’

‘You making a crack about the size of my hard drive?’

‘You said it not me.’

The program flashed that it was ready. The sounds were still muddied but with some audio editing Tom played them back clearly:

‘We call the time to change

we call the time to change.’

‘That’s not what that kid said.’

‘No, that’s what we heard first though. Remember. I thought it might be the wind in the trees.’

‘We call the time to change?’ Frank repeated. ‘Wonder what that can mean. We call the time to change.’

The lights in the room dimmed and the computer screen blinked on and off and on again.

‘Whoa! Better not say that too many times.’ Tom pulled the curtains shut.

‘You don’t think …’

‘You know what I think. I told you we would be playing with …’

‘We are not playing here Tom. This is serious research.’

‘Right and these are serious results.’

‘Okay. Let’s see what else we have there then. ‘We call…’ Frank began.

Tom put his hand over Frank’s mouth. ‘Enough with that. We have to be careful when we don’t fully understand.’

‘But it’s just words Tom.’

‘You know that isn’t so.’

The teenage boy appeared on the screen. His lips moving.

‘What! I can’t hear him.’

‘There’s no audio here.’ Tom punched at the keyboard moving back and forth along the audio indicator.

‘Silence.’

‘When did the sound cut out?’

Tom did more inputting.

‘Seems to have cut out when he appeared and comes back when he disappears.’

‘He’s the one called Mambo? What did they say he was called? Cha Cha?’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Joe Jackson

 

There was an 70’s wave of British punk/power/soul popsters that included of Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson & Graham Parker. Each made a place for themselves, at the time, & each after their initial break through took their own creative journey. All are still recording.

Costello went from nerdy threatening to fairly sweet mainstream. Parker stayed closest to his r’n’b roots. Joe Jackson explored & moved away from his punky snarl through so many styles he was a chameleon. In my collection I have as stand alone: Look Sharp!; Night & Day; Jumpin’ Jive; rain. In an mp3 collection is I’m The Man; Beat Crazy; Will Power; Big World. 

I remember those first couple of lps & having ‘discussions’ with friend as to who was better Costello or Jackson. Both had a nice streak of romantic snarkiness, punchy delivery, clever lyrics. So there is no clear winner 🙂 Jackson was more ‘dangerous’ though & still carries some of the punk edge. I was amazed when he embraced small combo big band with Jumpin’ Jive & Beat Crazy. Two albums I love for ether sheer joy. Will Power is his classical flirtation which is okay – Costello recorded with a string quartet – so they are even on the score. Big World he tries latino & other influences nicely. The more recent ‘rain’ is comfortable but to me, undistinguished.

To round out the mp3 collection I included Otto (Otto Maximiliano Pereira de Cordeiro Ferreira). He mixes traditional popular Brazilian genres with electronica, drum and bass and rap. I first saw the amazing video for Bob, from his first release Samba Pra Burro (which I do have in yet another mp3 collection). Here are his Condom Black; Sem Gravidade; Certa Manhã Acordei de Sonhos Intranquilos. His singing is emotive, the engineering is brilliant & he is a hottie. Finally here is Nation Beat: Legends of the Preacher – another Latino band out of NY (a successful fusion of Brazilian maracatu drumming, New Orleans second line rhythms, Appalachian-inspired bluegrass music, funk, rock, and country-blues) I love their cover of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

 Sleep

‘Let’s check it now.’

‘Look, it’s nearly 3 a.m. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll check the tape in the morning.’

Frank was already plugging the cable connector from the camera into the back of the TV. ‘Tom this is what we came here for. We’ve been doing that jungle walk for two weeks and now we finally have something.’

The screen came to life. Murky movements jumped back and forth.

‘Worse than the Blair Witch.’

‘You try sometime then.’ Tom snapped back.

‘Sorry I was just …’

The picture came into focus. The sound was muffled, distant.

‘Shit!’ Tom hit the top of the TV.

‘That’s not going to do much.’ Frank laughed. ‘Turn it up.’

‘Why bother with that.’ Tom pulled the cables from the TV. ‘Let’s use this.’ He opened his lap top. ‘I have a program in here that will refine things considerably.’

It took the tape several minutes to be downloaded into the computer.

‘Couldn’t you get anything faster.’

‘You making a crack about the size of my hard drive?’

‘You said it not me.’

The program flashed that it was ready. The sounds were still muddied but with some audio editing Tom played them back clearly:

‘We call the time to change

we call the time to change.’

‘That’s not what that kid said.’

‘No that’s what we heard first though. Remember. I thought it might be the wind in the trees.’

‘We call the time to change?’ Frank repeated. ‘Wonder that that can mean. We call the time to change.’

The lights in the room dimmed and the computer screen blinked on and off and on again.

‘Whoa! Better not say that too many times.’ Tom pulled the curtains shut.

‘You don’t think …’

‘You know what I think. I told you we would be playing with …’

‘We are not playing here Tom. This is serious research.’

‘Right and these are serious results.’

‘Okay. Let’s see what else we have there then . ‘We call…’

Tom put his hand over Frank’s mouth. ‘Enough with that. We have to be careful when we don’t fully understand.’

‘But it’s just words Tom.’

‘You know that isn’t so.’

The teenage boy appeared on the screen. His lips moving.

‘What! I can’t hear him.’

‘There’s no audio here.’ Tom punched at the keyboard moving back and forth along the audio indicator.

‘Silence.’

‘When did the sound cut out?’

Tom did more in putting.

‘Seems to have cut out when he appeared and comes back when he disappears.’

‘Mambo? What did they say he was called? Cha Cha?’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Kent State – The View From Here 1970

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Kent State – The View From Here 1970

I never knew them

but still I cried

I never will know them

now that they have died

 

but even if I could have

I doubt if I would have

for with apathy it’s easier to sigh

than get up & try

which is what they did

no longer content to be hid

by things yet to be said

now they are four dead

 

they never knew me

but still I cried

they never will know

now that they’ve died

hopeless dwarf desperation

overcomes giant hesitation

as I feel it’s my time

to move to the front line

to replace those that fall

or can’t relate to the call

then I wonder if I’ll see the end

alone or with a friend

 

I never knew them

but still I cried

I never will know them

now that they have died

now that they have died

‘Four dead in Ohio’ another Neil Young inspiration while he was part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The shooting in May 1970 stunned me & my friends. Many were musicians & angry protest songs were part of their repertoire. I was more flower-child than rabble-rouser. The found the hippy movement too heterocentric & unwashed for my sensibility. 

This is one of the few, perhaps the only, pieces I wrote then that reflected life outside my own muddling through life. There were student protests everywhere it seemed while I was started in my Cape Breton Ghost Town reading about it in Rolling Stone or seeing it on TV. What music filtered to the east coast was about as counterculture I got. Let’s face it even the  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were millionaires.

At the time I felt a sense of loss though. Loss & futility because the shooting made it clear the entrenched would always be with us & always in control. I see it today around the world. People calling kids who survived a mass school shooting ‘cry babies’ for wanting gun control. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Sunshine Corners 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Sunshine Corners 1971

summer day small & dangling

little blue suns from the bigger ray

falling adream in the middle of the day

with pieces of pie & cups of tea

long time cashed in by ups & me

cashed in for a boat ride

sold for a smile or a simile 

to sail away to

hidden treasure island innuendos

fastly teasing eyes & ears

 

hiding hiding

in sunshine corners

early days early days

late night mourners

streets of cars

eyes of ice

making the turn

signalling for a full stop

talking word after word

catching the bus

falling in a heap

like leaves on retreat

 

red night falling from behind

unaware of the feelings in the place

beneath the ground around all

I have to offer is a million marvels

a circus to some

an escape to others

a relief to be inside

the other side of the seesaw 

the scale that will never tip

 

in the air

in the air

in the air

the snow filled air

the thousand

never ending 

ever melting

fleeting flakes of snow

finding brief rest in sudden death

patterns in paper ribbons

or

sparkles

in dark hair

on moonlight August hills

in little corners of restaurants

where we ate the fun of it

drank the hell of it

finally left the rest of it

floating

in the air

in the air

in the air

 

it’s the moon in mystical mood

shining angular

on the fields of harvest stubble

on weather grey houses

on shadows as the crow

flies off for home 

or orchard 

or lingers to scream you awake too soon in the morning

you were saving for this moment

only to have it mocked by a black jester

who has never spoken to her sister

who shines for hours all day

while the moon bides her time

hidden in a cloud’s back pocket

 

there was a sun

bright & shining

now there is the blind man

feeling the sun on his face

feeling the water tugging his knees

deep in the other way of missing

building up

higher screaming hammering

all at once

empty

in silence each note unechoed

each temptation resisted

dry laughter

little sounds within

the big sound

daring 

repercussions of daring 

to be alone

doing this

for the first time

wondering if the 

telephone is too out of time

to use

 

falsely afraid

for the beams

cannot burn

cannot shatter

afraid that they might

security afraid

but hoping to be let down

 

somebody claims to have found him

in my writing

in my searching

but for 

some reason he

he does not seem to be

what I am searching for

he I have found but feel there is 

something besides all this besides

some velvet guillotine to stop the 

interloping tangents from regressing into

solenoid spheres & exaggerated 

laughing fits of yesteryears

falling 

jagged like music

in clumps of smooth & rough

harmony & discord 

 

breaking forth

after expending so 

many days of violent 

turbulent struggle

into a soft hello

or a tender glance

or even the merest thought of 

becoming unwithdrawn

to the point

where helloes & glances

take no energy at all

 

so tell the darkness

that this sound can be heard

even while the warmth comes

as waves & veils over & down

head to toe

reflected in a window

neglected in a cellar

full of madness

desperate afraid angry

lonely

yet aware of loving

every minute of it

 

there is only the flight of the gull

to cut across the face of the sunset

there are only my tears

to wash down my face at sunrise

 

still feeling the tingling

of the right notes up my back

as the engines shift into hyperdrive

while I wait for the

passengers to climb aboard this

rocket to the sun

Let’s get this influence up front: ’I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying/ In the yellow haze of the sun.’ There’s no denying the influence on early me by the early lps of Neil Young. ‘Ghost Town’ is clearly a variation of ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.’ ‘After The Gold  Rush’ was the same with all that longing & fragility.

There are many reference to my daily life here as well. Drinking tea, eating pie with friends in my comfy basement room, drinking in restaurants, waking up hungover & feeling like harvest stubble. The emotional build up to finally say hello, or in my case, never saying it. I love & cringe at the same time, at some of the melodrama ‘there are only my tears/to wash down my face at sunrise.’

I have two versions of this piece. One handwritten with drawings & the other typewritten. I don’t know which came first but there are slight differences between the two. This one is the typed version – line breaks & all. 

 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Ivy Jackson Jalbert

 

On the shelf are three stand-alones by Ivy: Apartment Life; Long Distance; In The Clear. In 1997 I read a review of Apartment Life and picked it up in December of that year. I enjoyed it enough to pick up another two of their releases. This is cafe music. Easy listening songs about love, loss, longing & travel. There is a decided French influence that adds to their appeal. Singer Dominique Durand has a sweet whisper of a voice – like Brigitte Bardot or Jane Birken. Appealing, almost romantic, background music for making out. 

The opposite is true for Millie Jackson – she doesn’t make background music. On an mp3 collection I have – Caught Up; Still Caught Up; Pleasure. All are classic r’n’b soul. Millie has a fine raspy voice. The albums are all concept albums about obsessive love gone wrong from the pov of the stalker. This is great music that taps romance in a highly relatable way as opposed to the blissful lovey dovey love song way. 

Also in this mp3 collection is Sister Monica: as the name suggests this is secular gospel music mixed with real life 🙂 She has rich full voice. Worth checking out. As is Alice Ruiz & Rogeria Holtz’s No Pais de Alice – fun Latino music with a message I nearly understand. Finally in this collection is a return to real French with La Mome: the soundtrack to the 2007 Piaf film. Recordings of Piaf, some slightly remixed for the sound track plus some of actual soundtrack music. This is a soundtrack that doesn’t need the movie for you to enjoy it.

I first heard Laurence Jalbert on MuchMusic’s French Kiss (no longer on the air) A P.Q. Bonnie Riatt but with more sensuality. I have stand-alones of her 1st & Corridors. Both bought in Montreal. Like many Quebecois singers her style ranges from r/n/b, soul, pop, a touch of country, some with traditional influence, even jazz. A warm inviting voice. My French hasn’t improved though 🙂

Protect

From were he stood on the crest of a small hill Tom could only hear broken phrases. A group of voices chanting in the night. The wind broken up the chant, as did the trees between him and them. The voices rose and fell almost with the rise and fall of the waves that crashed at the base of the cliffs. The timing had to deliberate yet how could it be?

‘What are you listening to?’ Steve asked.

‘Can’t you hear it?’

‘Sounds like the wind in the trees.’

‘No. It’s more than that.’

‘Perhaps a blood sacrifice to the moon?’

‘More like some drunken kids howling at the moon.’

The wind dropped suddenly. There was a cool stillness around them. A figure stepped out ten feet in front of them A te‚enage boy with a sloppy smile and even sloppier clothes.

‘Yo, watcha gawkin’ man. Take a good look while you can. There’s nothing other than the moon and you be the snake skin soon soon.’

Several other teens stepped out around them. Each repeating the same phrases.

‘We seem to have …’

‘Yo, man, no say anything. We protect. You be needin’ protection.’

The circle of teens pressed closer. All boys, about fifteen or sixteen years old.

‘We should be getting back to our hotel.’ Steve said. 

‘You be stain’ at Casa Trib’mana?’

‘Yes.’ Tom flexed his hands, ready.

‘Not to worry, man, we’ll not harm you. Others would be doing that, but we aren’t like that. We protect. Protect the foolish likes of you.’

In the dim light Tom couldn’t make out the faces of these teens clearly, but as they came closer, he saw streaks of scarlet had been drawn around the eyes, several short dashes of green along the chin.

‘You look at our whiskers.’ the first teen said. ‘We make our selves fit the world. You see this world.’

The boys spread out and vanished except for the first boy.

‘You better be head, back. A night like this isn’t one for strangers. You know my meaning. Not for strangers who have no idea where the world is headin. You need help ask for Rumba. I be Rumba.’

‘Thanks.’ Frank turned around. They headed back up the path.

‘Did you get all that?’ he asked Tom.

‘I think so.’ he tapped the bag that held the video camera. ‘That was best we’ve gotten so far.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Goldsmith Cats

It’s no secret that I love soundtracks. I have many in my collection, some of movies I have never seen :-). One of the first I bought was as a result of seeing the movie Papillon was by Jerry Goldsmith. I loved that lp & eventually replaced with a downloaded mp3 version. Goldsmith was a prolific soundtrack composer with an amazing grasp of many musical genres.

I also have his earlier work in the music for Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. These were spy parodies (forerunners of Austin Powers) starring James Coburn. The music captures 60s instrumental pop perfectly in that it embraces the sound rather than makes fun of it. Bouncy & sweet I love this type of movie work. Papillon on the other hand is lush, romantic, sweeping & at times meditative. It is one of my all-time favourites.

Another major film composer is Max Steiner – is this collection his King Kong score (rerecorded) & it is amazing, fun & evocative. Here too, is Elmer Bernstein’s score for The Man With The Golden Arm – brassy, jazzy & sometimes romantic. A film about a junkie trumpet player I have never seen. Listening to this I can sense where tension for the next fix is probably happening 🙂  

More modern & even more obscure is Bill Nelson’s music for the silent movie La Belle et la Bete. Nelson is best know as guitarist for BeBop Deluxe. The music here is a mix of sound effects, moody mellotron & percussion. It is excellent mood music & I’m sure works well with the movie – which I have seen but not with Nelson’s music. 

I’ve interspersed these soundtracks with various Scott Joplin rags. Many of which have shown up as  occasional moments in many movies. Finally a non-movie lp: Cats: London Cast highlights. I figured let’s go from film to stage for a break. I have seen a stage production of Cats & enjoyed it as much for the costumes as for the songs. There’s been talk of a film version for decades but I think it’s time as a film property has passed.

Last word: search out Papillon.

Eye Contact

‘Did you hear that?’

‘What?’ Janes was fed up with Frank’s constant questions. ‘What ?’

‘I though …shh…’

They stood in silence for a few moments, their breath visible in the icy air. 

‘I don’t hear anything.’

‘Shh.’ Frank was also impatient. Janes was too fast to move, to jump to conclusions while he was more methodical. Taking time made things more secure.

There was a faint crackle in the air. A small electronic sound, a discharge of static. At the same time both of them saw a thin blue aura at the periphery of their vision.

‘What as that?’ Janes reached to rub his eye. 

Frank stopped him. ‘Don’t.’

‘Don’t what?’ He pushed Frank’s hand away and began to rub his eyebrow. As he did the blue become brighter within his eye and he began to shake.

‘Shit shit shit. Why don’t you listen.’ Frank looked for something to move Janes’ hand away from his face. He knew that to make contact would pull him to the Connection. Once linked neither of them would be functional for the rest of the day.

The wooded area was barren. Tall trees whose nearest branch was several feet towered above them. There was no fallen twigs or even leaves. The broken shale of the ground held no other plant life. He’d need something though. The bark of the trees was thin like onion skin and peeled haphazardly but perhaps he could cut a piece of that if he moved quickly when he pulled.

‘Gr.. gl…’ Janes began to sputter.

‘Save your breath. I know you can hear me. You’ll be fine. In a day or so. Why don’t you listen.’

‘Gl… gr…’ 

‘Yeah I know … radio the captain. When we have a chance. But for now …’ The noon sun sent sparks of light through the leaves of the trees overhead.  ‘We have to keep moving. Follow me and I’ll see what can bed done.’

Frank had an idea. If he could get Janes to the trees and brush him against one, perhaps his hand would come loose. If they broke the Connection now there would be little damage to worry about. Just a fierce headache and the loss of an eyebrow. 

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Isis Of March

Next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Isis. I’ve blogged about Isis before so check that out. I recently watched Some Like It Hot, which includes an all-female swing band. No matter how musically inventive or competent such bands were they were always considered novelty acts not serious swing bands. Such was the case of Isis. The market wasn’t open to an all-female version of Chicago. Women in rock were usually limited to vocals,  not playing instruments, other than piano or acoustic guitar, themselves:-)

Also in this compilation are two releases by Lowell Fulsom: Drifting Blues, In A Heavy Bag. This is solid r&b. There were a couple of tracks by him on the Rojak Story compilation. I liked his old school soul sound & his voice, so downloads a couple of his solo releases. His cover of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ takes a road the Beatles would never have taken 🙂

Here as well is Otis Blackwell’s These Are My Songs. Never heard of him? You’ve probably heard some of his songs though, which include Great Balls of Fire, Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up & more. His take on his songs is refreshing. I always love to hear songwriters doing their work. I also never knew that these big hits where the work of the same writer.

For some reason I added Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play: The Château d’Hérouville Sessions to this mp3 collection – a classic lp I wanted to replace with better quality sound. The original lp was two sides with no track breaks. Here it has seamless track breaks & no need to turn it over half way through. The Château d’Hérouville Sessions includes other takes of some of Passion Play songs plus earlier versions of songs such as Skating Away. The sound quality is excellent even if A Passion Play is a bit overwrought 🙂

To round out this cd I added: Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane: Faster Than The Speed of Light. Crazy World world is the best known work by these two – Crane was keyboards on that lp. Neither followed it with another big hit but they reunited in 1980 for this release. Fun & surprisingly prog-rock with an Emerson, Lake & Palmer vibe without being as self-serious. Brown’s vocals are playful & the production values & engineering is excellent. Too bad it vanished almost as soon as it was released. Worth seeking out.

Snake Skine

“Priestess and the Snake Skine” by Davina K’ltra – set in the rich fertile islands of the Caribbean the third novel of Davina K’ltra continues her fascination with things dark and lurking. 

One almost expects characters from the previous books to walk in the door at each turn of the plot. It is almost as if she had merely changed the names with the help of word search, the plots are so similar and yet one keeps reading with pleasure.

As in her previous two novels – “Snake Skine Sisters” and “Sinner in Snake Skine “- an innocent person, often of indeterminate gender, finds themselves drawn to the world and power of a vodou like cult.

In each the innocent victim is unaware till the final moment that there is no turning back now that the door has been opened. There is no one to turn to when the very people thought to be protectors turn out to be Sirens, lures. There is no safety anywhere.

Even, as in this novel, when the innocent makes an escape off the island and back to the shores of the good old USA there is no real escape. Everyone, it seems, is connected with this nefarious cult.

The major departure in “Priestess and the Snake Skine” is the gender of the innocent. In the previous two novels it has probably been female. This time it seems to be male. A young Police Academy graduate celebrates his graduation with a two week jaunt in the Caribbean Islands before he is to take up his post in Detroit. Kaleb Jones comes from a middle class black family and has proven himself to be an open minded young man. Boxing champion for his class and built to be a prime example of the best America has to offer.

We meet his family first and enjoy the last weeks of his police training. A deceptive start for K’ltra, who seems to be trying to expand the horizons of her novels by opening them to new locations. Too bad the action once it does get started is so cookie cutter.

Perhaps though it is the predictability of this fatal action that allows the reader comfort to follow it. The ritual scenes are fevered and fast, the blood flows and even when it becomes human we are ready, almost wanting to participate ourselves so we can slip into our own dangerous skine.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Don Messer’s Jubilee

 

It all started with someone posting a link to a video of Fred McKenna playing some songs. What he was playing was not that interesting but it opened up a memories of my Sydney childhood in Cape Breton. When my father relocated us in Sydney it was a one TV channel town (almost as bad as a one horse town) and that channel was CJCB – which is still on the air but is now part of CTV.

 

CJCB was essentially community TV with some shows imported from Halifax. One of which was Don Messer’s Jubilee out of Halifax. Jubilee  (click Jubilee for link to video). To be honest I hated this show. I wanted real music i.e. radio top ten stuff. I don’t even recall if my parents enjoy the show but the minute it came on I dismayed. I must have watched it though because I remember the names of the singers – Marg Osburne & Charlie Chamberlain – who looked like a pair geriatrics. She was in her mid-30’s, he was in his 60’s. Fred McKenna was a frequent guest.

I also remember the Bupta Dancer who, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know were the Buchta Dancers – they did square dance crap. It was decades before I could tolerate the sound of country fiddle. But hearing Fred McKenna made me consider how this music influenced me, if at all. I did find one collection iTunes & downloaded all 32 minutes of it. Sweet but with almost no emotional resonance. The show’s intro music “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight” isn’t included 😦

Part of why Jubilee didn’t impress me was that none of the singers or dancers had a shred of sex appeal. Black & white TV didn’t help much. Bulky boxy conservative clothes made the square dancers & singers seem even more square. The show lacked glamour or sparkle. I have vague memories of watching Liberace with my mother & being impressed by his glittery style. Jubilee had no visual style.

The music is pleasant, folky, sometimes Celtic with strong fiddle playing by Don Messer. The songs are uncomplicated folk, sea shanty & religious. Only one of the ones I’ve downloaded has much of an emotional resonance for me ‘Farewell To Nova Scotia.’ A farewell I’ve never regretted.

See Me?

people think they know me

they see me in my writing

they don’t see fiction

the fact that each confessed event

is reality 

my reality

one that they can identify with 

as my actually experience

in fact the closer I capture 

something of their emotional life 

the more they are sure

I have to have experienced it

they don’t want to believe

that each piece is a mask

not a piece of me

they see my photos 

read bits of life that I process for display

and add it up into picture of me

they approach me with that 

ah-ha

I see by your web page 

that you are …

 

they don’t realize I am 

as big a liar as they are

I may not talk in internet inches

but I don’t reveal anything out of turn either

that would be too painful 

so like so many other’s 

I adopt a mask of playful indifference

ironic poses to amuse

what they don’t see 

I’m not going to hint it

 

trust me

no one has the entire picture

many don’t even have a glimpse

not that have hidden depth

there may be surprises

tucked away in many closets

I don’t see that something to confess

shoes shirts all get displayed

and even those things 

that I explain aren’t me

the endless lists of almost lovers

sweet boyhood sexual discoveries

the bitter relationship breakups

all those fictions 

I can make so real 

are things that happen to people

but not always to me

I’m too shallow for most of that 

safe in that distance

the pose that many writers seems to strike

knowing full well

that no one questions it

the fiction

is seen as a valid side of the writer

even if I deny the experience

it must be a part of who I am

of who you perceive me to be

the need to wear this disguise

reveals who I am

 

the mask one selects 

is a reflection of the person

Romeo Harlequin Godzilla

one after the other put on 

taken off

my face the mirror of yours

so what you see as me

isn’t me at all

but the you I squeeze into 

when I sit down at the keyboard

to see though what I think is your mask

losing sense of self to that image

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet