Sunday, January 25, 2009

Without a song...

So I'm sitting here in the recliner, listening to Tony Bennett sing "When Joanna Loved Me," thinking about past and future loves, glad the weekend is here.

It has been a tough week. Don't feel well. They say that, half the time, medicine is guaranteed to "kill a cure." I believe it.

But, it could be worse. I'm not complaining.

In the end, this will all be worth it. I have to believe it. Sting sang a song about it, so it must be true, right?

Here's something for you to ponder awhile. Don't underestimate the power of music. Might be better than drugs.

Lucas Richman, maestro of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, was quoted by one of our reporters as saying that a recent study found that patients who listened to music didn't require as many painkillers. I believe it.

Played my old friend Elvis on the DVD tonight. Love to hear The King sing. Not the early stuff. The later Vegas, when his voice deepened, his range expanded. The man had a gift. Wish he were still here.

And my friend Robinella? Well, you've heard me talk about her before. Can't wait to go see her again when I'm feeling up to it. Those Sunday nights at Barley's keep me going.

Yesterday afternoon during a break at work, I surfed over to YouTube and found a clip of Karen Carpenter weaving her magic on Leon Russell's "Superstar." Like Robinella, she gives the illusion that she's singing just for you. Like Elvis, I miss Karen Carpenter; hers is a life cut too short by tragedy.

I never have cared much for hard-drivin' rock and roll. Skynyrd is as far as I go, or maybe Janis Joplin. Just because she kicked ass.

Sinatra? Well, I love that ring-a-ding-ding. But, he could sing even in the early days. Much more smooth then. You know, before heartache and cigarettes turned him into a saloon singer. ("It's a quarter to three, there's no one in the place, 'cept you and me...")

And country music. Oh, yeah. Not the new junk. The real stuff. Cash and Haggard, Possum and Hank. And Don Williams. And Willie Nelson. And so, and so, and so, and so. (I stole that line from Hawkeye Pierce.) Andrea Hayes introduced me to Jeff Barbra. He's good. Come to think about it, Andrea introduced me to Robinella. I will never be able to repay that debt.

Jazz? It smokes, baby, if you know what I mean. Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue." Duke Ellington, "Take the A Train." And Coltrane. And later Torme. And Ella. And so, and so, and so, and so.

New, old fashioned pop singers. The late, great Eva Cassidy. And Michael Buble. And Harry Connick Jr. One or two others, names I can't recall.

And the classic gang, too. Bobby Darin. Ricky Nelson. Johnny Mathis. And Barry Manilow, but not as much as before. And John Denver. ("Looking for Space" could have been ripped out of my life.)

It's funny. I love the hippy-era singers, too. Dylan, of course. Joe Cocker. I've already mentioned Janis. The Band, cause they know about "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down." Joni Mitchell, looking at life through both sides now. I say it's funny because for so many years I spent life as a rabid political conservative. Goes to show you that music can bridge a lot of gaps.

Speaking of the late '60s, do you know Jimmy Webb? He wrote some of my favorites. "Galveston." "Where's the Playground, Susie?" "Wichita Lineman." Funny, I just realized that Glen Campbell sang all those tunes.

Gotta mention cowboys. Marty Robbins -- now that guy could sing. Bob Wills, "Faded Love." Michael Martin Murphey. Chris LeDoux.

I know I would like some of the new stuff. Don't listen to it much.

Can't tolerate rap or opera or heavy metal. I need a melody, some harmony, always looking for the hook.

Maybe you have found the lyric to be true. "Without a song, the day would never end..."


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