YOU ARE HERE is an exploration of diegetic music

Dec 19, 2012

"Chilly Winds"

A remixed (house-ified) version of Nina Simon's treatment of this song shows up on a few Christmas records, but it's Maxine Weldon's '71 straight-up R&B "Chilly Winds" track that warrants attention here.

.... because this morning, in this zip code, it was in the mid-30s F.

Dec 17, 2012

"Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (Symphony No. 3, Op. 36)

Funerals began today for children murdered in the mass slaughter incident at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Henryk Gorecki composed "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs" (Symphony No. 3, Op. 36)

Although the themes are about loss through war, pegged upon the Holocaust, it is a poignant piece for the day:
The first and third movements are written from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child, and the second movement from that of a child separated from a parent.
PREVIOUSLY: "Devil's Right Hand"

Dec 14, 2012

"Devil's Right Hand"

It's a horrible and horrific day at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticutt. Johnny Cash weighs in on the general topic with "Devil's Right Hand."

Not to be forgotten is the Boomtown Rats' masterwork "I Don't Like Mondays," which is specifically about a school shooting.

Dec 12, 2012

"Ballad of Bilbo Baggins"

Leonard Nimoy was once willing to do anything. He's been an actor, director, poet, photographer and, apropos of our purposes here, a singer. On the occasion of the opening of "The Hobbit" movie (Think of it as "Lord of the Rings IV, The Prequel" or "Middle Earth, Chapter One"), here's the most inane thing you may see today. The fidelity of video is pitiful, so here is the audio to "Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins", but the video is a true gem, in that it will be a regretful way of spending 2 minutes, but it's shareable for it's utter ridiculous charm.

Dec 11, 2012


Ravi Shankar:  April 7, 1920 – December 11, 2012

The sitar master performed in 10 decades (his last show was Nov. 4 in Long Beach) and he was among the most interesting things that ever happened to the Beatles; he played with symphonies and Yehudi Menuhin; collaborated with drum n' bass popster Talvin Singh; he played at Woodstock and the White House in the Ford Administration.

"Prashanti" comes from Shankar's '90 "Passages," a groundbreakingly weird collaboration with minimalist orchestral composer Phillip Glass, no stranger to boundary-busting himself.

And to some, he's Norah Jones' dad.

Dec 9, 2012

"Amarga Navidad" (Bitter Christmas)

via NY Daily News
Banda superstar Jenni Rivera died in plane crash today. Her song,  "Amarga Navidad", translates to "Bitter Christmas."
From Billboard:
Fully comfortable in English and Spanish, Rivera was at the height of her career. A force to be reckoned within multiple media platforms, she had two albums "Joyas Prestadas: Pop" and "Joyas Prestadas: Banda" -- currently coexisting on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart; her own reality show "I Love Jenni" on bilingual cable network mun2; she had recently inked a deal to star in a comedy on ABC to be simply titled "Jenni"; she hosted a syndicated weekly radio program and had launched both clothing and cosmetics lines; she was a coach on "The Voice Mexico" and had had a role in her first feature film, "Philly Brown." Rivera also launched her own foundation to help victims of domestic abuse.

Dec 5, 2012

"(Farewell) Jingle Bells"

Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012)
via Wikipedia
"(Farewell) Jingle Bells" comes from his "A Dave Brubeck Christmas" which is as much a title as a description.

Dec 3, 2012

"(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag"

This under-exploited song has a YouTube video of audio with a slideshow of Santa clip art, but here's the song pulled ino the 21st century "(Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag" (Thunderball Mix) from the superlative "Merry Mixmas: Christmas Classics Remix" which takes some standards and houses them up, deftly ... more jeweler's mallet than sledge hammer.

Recorded by big band vocalist Kay Starr in 1950,  we can be pretty sure it's not a drug song; eventhough a generation later, similar allusions in mainstream songs leave little doubt as to what they're taking about: The Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man," and the George Baker Selection's "Little Green Bag"

... But for some, with these lyrics, a case could be made:
Old Mr. Kringle is soon gonna jingle
The bells that'll tingle all your troubles away
Everybody's waiting for the man with the bag
'Cause Christmas is coming again
He's got a sleigh full, it's not gonna stay full
Stuff that he's droppin' every stop of the way
Everybody's waiting for the man with the bag
'Cause Christmas is coming again

He'll be here
With the answer to the prayers that
You made through the year
You'll get yours
If you've done everything you should extra special good
He'll make this December the one you'll remember
The best and the merriest you ever did have
Everybody's waitin' for the man with the bag
'Cause Christmas is coming again

Dec 2, 2012

"Writes of Winter"

Members of Led Zepplin were bestowed with Kennedy Center Honors for contributions to the arts -- a recognition that undoubtedly irked some traditionalists. The band that began heavy metal sharing an award with Isaac Stern ('84) and Eugene Ormandy ('82) can be marked in a denotative shift of terms: a "classic" radio station is playing rock not orchestral music, and a century ago "long-hair music" meant Beethoven and now it's "Starirway to Heaven."

In keeping with the topical mission of this blog -- including seasonal songs -- here's "Writes of Winter" by guitarist Jimmy Page, one of the most influential instrumentalists in the history of anything.

Dec 1, 2012

"Santa Claus Is Back In Town"

The a capella dectet, Straight No Chaser, seasons much of their music with irony and "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" is no exception. Undoubtedly, that helps to avoid the cliche of yet another vocal ensemble doing holiday songs and also may be due to a certain kind of college frat humor -- this band was born at Indiana University.

Here, they merge elvish with Elvis ... which of course relies on some Elvis cliches. But it's clever, even if it wears out its welcome after a while.

More irony: Taking their name from Thelonius Monk's stellar tune, and despite doing nothing but remakes, they haven't recorded a remake of that one.

Nov 30, 2012

"Little Saint Nick"

  In honor of today being St. Andrew's Day -- a fete of Scottish nationalism -- here's Andrew Gold (not Scottish but from the San Fernando Valley), with "Little St. Nick", yet another Beach Boys ode to a car but with a Christmas flavor. The Brian Wilson charmer gifted the oeuvre with the over-obvious lyric:

"Christmas comes this time each year"
and performed with more guts here by L.A. Guns.

Gold has a great pedigree, son to an Oscar-winning composer (for Exodus") and the top dubbed-in singing voice in movies (Marni Nixon).

"Best Christmas Ever"

K-Pop (that's "Korean pop" for the uninitiated) doesn't stop at Psy and his earworm "Gangham Style" (a video perhaps you haven't seen). Among that cultural tsunami is The Wonder Girls, and included here for their version of "Best Christmas Ever" -- a remake of the Ronnie Spector tune from her 2010 EP of the same name, a much grittier but scratchier song. This catchy K-Pop'd treatment has all the edges buffed off from the original but none of hip-hop stylings which put the Wonder Girls on the map, and consequently on the Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary collection (the entire series is worth investigation).

Not to be confused with the alt-rock supergroup, the Wondergirls.

Nov 29, 2012

"The Coventry Carol"

In this season of joy and giving, love and charity, it may be a bit discordant to learn that a traditional seasonal carol is about genocide. "The Coventry Carol" is a Middle Ages lament for the executed children of ancient Israel at the behest of King Herod: Wikipedia entry.

Sufjan Stevens has a version here: "Coventry Carol" -- because he is remarkably proficient and has a couple of Christmas compilations (two 5-EP sets each), at this pace, he'd have gotten around to this infanticide jeremiad eventually.

It ain't "Jingle Bells":
Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
 It's also called "Lully, Lullay" or some variable thereof. Regardless, versions tend toward the traditional, like this from the Eurythmics' Annie Lennox "Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol)". Consequently, this song is one the few songs to get posted that is not updated, rebooted, or tweaked in much of any way at all. Yaz' Alison Moyet turns in a good version too, here "The Coventry Carol".

Nov 28, 2012

"Que Verdes Son" ("The First Noel")

"Que Verdes Son" is a mashup of tradition and reinvention of a holiday standard from the surf/latino-billy rebooted remakes from behind Mexican wrestlers' masks and out of Nashville, Los Straitjackets on their cool  Yuletide Beat Christmas record.

Oct 10, 2012

"James Bond"

The Skatalites The Skatalites – James Bond

Moby – James Bond Theme - Moby's Re-version

Desmond Dekker – 007 (Shanty Town)
<< 007, 007
At ocean eleven
And now rudeboys a go wail
'Cause them out of jail
Rudeboys cannot fail
'Cause them must get bail

Oh, dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail
A shanty town
Dem a loot, dem a shoot, dem a wail
A shanty town

Dem rudeboys get a probation
A shanty town
And rudeboy a bomb up the town
A shanty town>>

Oct 9, 2012

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Since retailers have determined it's Christmas time, let's jump right in with the late-too-early Amy Winehouse (which proved to be a Dickensian name -- and what could be more Christmas than that?)

"A Gallon of Gas"

NEWS ITEM: Plenty of oil, except if you're in California owing to our specialized gas mix and 2 refineries and a pipeling shutting down.

The Kink's were prophetic in many ways, presaging alt rock and punk, but this punchy blues tune is especially apt for those of us in California: A Gallon Of Gas. Some lyrics (some others allude to how it's easier to buy drugs than gasoline):

''I've been waitin' for years to buy a brand new Cadillac
But now that I've got one, I want to send it right back
I can't afford the gas for my luxury limousine
But even if I had the dough, no one's got no gasoline

''I love your body work, but you're really no use
How can I drive you when I got no juice?
Because it's stuck in neutral and my engine's got no speed
And the highways are deserted and the air smells unnaturally clean

''It's got power assisted overdrive and carpets on the floor
But it's parked out front just like a dead dinosaur
And I'll be paying off the bank for 45 years or more
It should go 100 miles an hour but it's never moved away from my door

''Who needs a car and a seven forty seven
When you can't buy a gallon of gas
Who needs a highway, an airport or a jet
When you can't get a gallon of gas''

Oct 8, 2012

"Christopher Columbus"

In honor of the holiday: The King of Swing put a nice beat to the beginning of the end for indigenous culture in North America. Christopher Columbus by The Benny Goodman Orchestra. The guy sure rocked; sure he looks like a banker from a WWII movie, but for a long while he was one of the coolest guys on the planet.

And now for something completely different: Punk rockers The Left offer up Columbus Day from their album Jesus Loves The Left.

Sep 21, 2012

"Autum Leaves"

Henry T Berglund's  Autumn Leaves opens the season, and since retailers have already deemed it "The Holidays" I figured it's  time to dust off the ol' Spotify and get back into the merry.