A fond memory of my childhood was watching Wayne and Shuster on CBC – it was always on Sunday nights with Kraft as the sponsor. I seem to recall a segment where they bemoaned the fact that there were no great songs about Canadian cities. So true. All of this is to explain why I am not posting a great Canadian song about Canada, but rather, a great American song about the United States. It is July 4th, so why not? And it is also an excuse to post a video of Sinatra – when is that not a good idea? Please enjoy – The House I Live In. I adore this 1974 edition, though I also adore the original, featuring skinny young Frank, which I posted as part of a piece I published on my Substack. Check it out, but first, behold:
Such terrible news. Never envy anyone – you do not know their struggles. My oldest brother absolutely loved the Judds, in particular, this song.
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.