This is my third dead celebrity post in a day! Sad. Still, I can’t not mention Mike Nesmith, who died before Christmas. “After school” for kids in the 1970s meant the following: the hours of 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. spent plunked down in front of the television watching reruns of the Monkees, Get Smart, Bewitched and the Brady Bunch. It was a couple of hours of bliss before the nightmare of my bullying older brother and/or the turmoil of dealing with my parents’ troubled marriage began. Nesmith was a very talented musician (whose mother invented liquid paper – I gather his creative gene came from her) and after his death I went down memory lane online listening to old and familiar songs. Interestingly, I discovered a song I had not heard before that I’d like to share here. He is in a duet with fellow Monkee Mickey Dolenz and it is just lovely. The harmonies! The lyrics (though I don’t think he wrote the song). So sweet.
I watched How Green was my Valley last night, and, of course, went through about fourteen boxes of Kleenex. Music is such a big part of that film and while I love “Men of Harlech” and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer,” I think my favourite musical moment in HGWMV is the Welsh version of “The Ash Grove.” It is sung by the townspeople as Ivor and Bronwyn leave the church after their wedding. Here is a version from Thomas L. Thomas, the Welsh baritone.
I always look for different versions of this, a song that would suit Easter as much as (or maybe more than) Christmas. One I posted in 2015; one in 2018; and there was another version I had put up, with Kathleen Ferrier singing, that has been removed from YouTube, sadly. Below, a singer and musicians from Ghana. This young woman, Francisca Kusi-Ababio, is sublime. What is bittersweet here is that there are people who would see this clip and be bothered that African musicians are performing work by a dead white male who enjoyed the fruits of imperialism and blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzz. (That people can fail to see this as glorious – this sharing of cultures – is beyond me.)
Enjoy. Merry Christmas.
Farewell Paddy Moloney. This half-Irish girl is grateful to you. (Yes, I know Van Morrison is nutty – don’t @ me. He has written and performed some magnificent music and Celtic Ray is a beautiful song that puts Moloney’s gifts on display.)
A friend sent me a link to the documentary below, which, in turn, makes me keen to read this book.
Because my last post was super depressing, I give you timeless joy.
A propos of nothing, I miss the heck out of this band and this song.
I posted previously about this wonderful trend on YouTube. Here’s another example, and honestly, if you can watch this and not smile, laugh and just feel great about the world, you have no heart. And probably no soul. Also, I want a t-shirt like Jamel’s. Update: the video below was blocked, sadly, but I encourage you to go to Jamel’s channel where there are numerous other videos and where he gives tips about how to see the blocked videos.
…and the world just got a bit dumber. What a great mind, thinker, writer (I don’t even like jazz and yet I love to read his ideas about jazz), musician. We could use him now. I gather he wasn’t well enough in the past few months to comment on current headlines.
I love this reflection of his on education – we have, unfortunately, lost this attitude. The last time I worked in a traditional teaching venue any talk like this would get you fired:
Mr. Crouch said in an interview with The Times in 1990 that too many discussions of race were “simple-minded and overly influenced by the ideas of determinism — if you’re poor, you’re going to act a certain way” — a self-perpetuating path that, he said, his public-school teachers had stopped him from taking.
“These people were on a mission,” he said of his teachers. “They had a perfect philosophy: You will learn this. If you came in there and said, ‘I’m from a dysfunctional family and a single-parent household,’ they would say, ‘Boy, I’m going to ask you again, What is 8 times 8?’
“When I was coming up,” he continued, “there were no excuses except your house burned down and there was a murder in the family. Eight times eight was going to be 64 whether your family was dysfunctional or not. It’s something you needed to know!”