David Crosby died. Now, I’m of the belief that the 1960s have a lot for which to answer, and I do so tire of Boomers and their incessant romanticizing of anti-war protests and dancing naked in the rain at Woodstock and blah blah blah. Seriously, who cares? So I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this documentary about Crosby a couple of years ago and saw what an interesting, honest and oddly delightful – though by all accounts difficult – person he seemed to be. I quite liked his ageing hippie wife, too. And I’ve always loved so much of his music, in particular when performed by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Those harmonies! I get goosebumps from the following two songs. (I’ve long thought people like Bob Dylan and Crosby ought to stick to love songs. The political stuff is annoying.) Thank you for the music.
LBV was born on this day 252 years ago. An appreciation written in 2020.
I was in Vancouver for a conference for a few days last week. Pretty city – so nice to walk along the waterfront. Saw my lovely hipster niece. Brought to mind this Veronique Sanson song.
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.