Tag Archives: Arthur Russell

The Never Ending Happening


Sometimes the knife thrower misses, and that’s the breaks.  But other times he outlines his lovely assistant’s body with his knives, and she steps away and they depart from the stage with waves and a curtsy. And that’s the way we like it.

For your consumption I have made a mixtape for the moments after the knives are thrown. The outlines of figures and of life, in the shadows and in the light. What am I trying to say? I have no idea. But collaging these particular pieces of music together feels like a completion of something for me.

Perhaps I’ve constructed another memory lane for myself. Or discovered a rotting, long-lost corduroy road. I hope it translates into something meaningful for you.

The link is at the bottom.



Berceuse-Ilous & Decuyper

Man, is this stuff moody.

The Magnificent Ambersons 1

Excerpt from The Magnificent Ambersons 

An American masterpiece, however incomplete it is after being cut  against Orson Welles’  wishes by the studio.


Rhapsody- Rita Marley

This is not even a b-side, it’s just floating around Bob Marley box sets, and it’s unbelievable.

Weather Report (The Only Living Boy In New York)- The Tennors
A slice of amazing rocksteady, covering a Paul Simon classic, and also dropping lines from “My Little Town.”


Dying On the Vine- John Cale
“I’ve been chasing ghosts and I don’t like it.”


Sound On Sound- Big Boys
This is a quiet, collaged moment from the Texas punk band that really resonates with me.

Last Night at the Jetty- Panda Bear
Emotional stuff.


It Started Out So Nice- Rodriguez
At first the off-ryhmes and busy language seem like nonsense, but he’s really just created a new way of expression, and it’s the end of the affair.


Observatory Crest- Captain Beefheart
Everybody acts like this album is really awful because the original band had fallen apart. But the title is great, Bluejeans and Moonbeams. And this song is a winner about going to Griffith Observatory.


Snakes- Mike Nicolai
I met Mike Nicolai in Minneapolis at a bar called Dusty’s,which was located across the street from Grain Belt Brewery. He was a friend of a friend of mine. His girlfriend was bartending, and he gave me his album, and we had a couple of beers, and he put “I’m Going Down” by Bruce Springsteen on the jukebox. The whole album was amazing. Recently, while driving on Long Island checking out thrift stores, I burst into tears unexpectedly listening to this song. To me it sort of capture’s the loss of childhood. I didn’t know I’d lost it, and I didn’t know that I  was sad about it until then. Discover more of his music here.


The Neverending Happening- Bill Fay
Bill Fay brings it, per usual.


Bown Bown Bown- Francoise Hardy
In English!


Heaven- David Byrne & Caetano Veloso
They should play together more.

No Other Love- Jo Stafford
This song really builds up but is so controlled at the same time.

A Time To Live In Dreams- Dennis Wilson
A Dennis Wilson ditty that expresses, to me, the versatility of this guy: one minute he is a total horn dog, and then as heard here, a total sweetheart.

Cold Song- Klaus Nomi (Henry Purcell)

I first heard this during the opening credits of the French film  A Nos Amours, which I rented from Major Video in New Orleans as a teenager. A fantastic film.

Willin’ (live)- Little Feat
One of my favorite songs ever.

flo and eddie - moving targets
Sway When You Walk- Flo & Eddie
God, these guys wrote great pop songs.


Driftwood- The Wailers

Not THOSE Wailers.

Gypsy (demo)- Stevie Nicks
Just listen to it.  And watch the clip from the dressing room as she stares into her makeup girl’s eyes and sings an early versionsof “The Wild Heart” with a backup singer.


Story of My Life- Lesa Aldridge
Alex Chilton’s off-key muse and girlfriend playing around covering the Velvets in the studio, and I get it. And in this William Eggleston photograph she’s the one on top. You could read more about this photo here.

Song to the Siren: Tim Buckley
No one else could ever sound like this dude.


Empty Boxes- Everly Brothers
Nothing to say, but, like, wow.


What It’s Like- Arthur Russell
What happens after the young preacher uses you up and throws you away like a Kleenex.


Down Among the Sheltering Palms- Boswell Sisters
They were from New Orleans and they sang like birds.


While Drifting- San Sebastian Strings
I have a Rod McKuen problem. I love him for all his cheese and schmaltz. This is pretty great. He’s not the one speaking but he wrote it.

OK, here’s the mixtape, The Never Ending Happening.



The 1946 film Humoresque, starring Joan Crawford, John Garfield, and Oscar Levant is a real gem, and a real oddball movie. It’s a New York movie at heart. Garfield is a rough and tumble guy who grew up above his father’s Brooklyn grocery store (I’m thinking in my haunt of  Williamsburg– it has that A Tree Grows In Brooklyn feel). It turns out he’s a child prodigy violinist. He’s got a plain-jane musician girlfriend, until vampy Joan Crawford comes around, turned-on by Garfield’s music and ethnic upbringing. The film has amazingly witty dialogue courtesy of  Clifford Odets. And sour Oscar Levant, as Garfield’s sidekick, steals every scene he’s in.

N.Y. Times critic Bosley Crowthers wrote of the film:

…there is certainly nothing humorous about the lachrymose “Humoresque,”…It is rather a mawkish lamentation upon the hopelessness of love between an art-dedicated violinist and a high-toned lady who lives for self alone…the Warner Brothers have wrapped this piteous affair in a blanket of soul-tearing music which is supposed to make it spiritually purgative…The music, we must say, is splendid—and, if you will only shut your eyes so that you don’t have to watch Mr. Garfield leaning his soulful face against that violin or Miss Crawford violently emoting,… you may enjoy it very much.”

Crowthers’ sentiments echo the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who spent some time writing in Hollywood and said of Crawford’s acting ability:

She can’t change her emotions in the middle of a scene without going through a Jeckyll and Hyde contortion of the face, so that when one wants to indicate that she is going from joy to sorrow, one must cut away and then back. Also, you can never give her such stage direction as “telling a lie” because if you did she would practically give a representation of Benedict Arnold selling West Point to the British.

Personally, I find nothing more sublime than watching Joan Crawford suffer on screen, despite her over-acting. Here she is looking brainy in glasses.

So, having hardly anything to do at all with Humoresque except opening up with a piece of dialogue from the film, I present the exclusive Gentlebear mix Humoresque. It’s a cold-weather mix, with patches of sunshine.


“New York Is full of all kinds of animals…”- from Humoresque

Are You Happy?- from Farenheit 451, Bernard Hermann

Tears In The Typing Pool- Broadcast

Speed of Sound- Chris Bell

Do You Finally Need A Friend- Terry Callier

Morning Glory- Bobbie Gentry

I Hear You Calling- Bill Fay

Symphonic Revolutions- Mandrill

Lovely Sky Boat- Alice Coltrane

Lady In My Life- Shinehead

Something On Your Mind- Karen Dalton

My Sister- Tindersticks

Try Some Buy Some- Ronnie Spector

I (Who Have Nothing)- Maxine Weldon

Nostalgia- Tezeta

Don’t Make Me Over- Lynn Collins

Angel Come Home- Beach Boys

Close My Eyes- Arthur Russell

You Will Come- from La Double Vie de Veronique, Zbigniew Preisner


My New Orleans Public School kindergarten report card. Same as it ever was.

This has been a nutty year, filled with lots of sorrow which I worried I might never get over. But I did. Or at least, I’m out of the tunnel, and I amazed by my own resilience or whatever it is.

Of course, music is the panacea, and I’ve found a lot of music to dig this year. So I’d like to share this mix with my readers. Including but not limited to: Cher covering The Kinks. Young Michael Jackson tackling the complexities of love. Arthur Russell writing yet another love song to his boyfriend. Jonathan Richman lauding the arcane, which is what I do here a lot of the time.  Hope you enjoy.

Track list:

All This Crazy Gift Of Time- Kevin Ayers 3:46

Shake Sugaree -Elizabeth Cotten 5:03

Nobody Wants A Lonely Heart- Arthur Russell 2:26

I Hear Your Heart Singing- The Gun Club 3:57

Norwegian Wood- Peter Walker 4:16

Brother, Father, Sister And Mother- Tim Maia 3:17

I Go To Sleep- Cher 2:48

Old World- The Modern Lovers 4:01

The Creator Has A Master Plan- Louis Armstrong 4:07

Isn’t It A Pity- Nicky Thomas 5:20

The Way Things Ought To Be- Julie Covington 2:51

Golden Circle- Terry Callier 3:38

Dreaming- Polystyrene 3:48

A Groovy Kind Of Love- Diane & Annita 2:01

Nobody Sees Me Like You Do- Yoko Ono 3:33

It’s What You’ve Got- Pete Dello 3:16

You Keep Me-The Index 3:04

Raining In My Room- Swell Maps 1:44

In The Courtyard Of The Stars- Nirvana (UK) 2:36

Morning Glow- Michael Jackson 3:35

Dear God Please Help Me- Marianne Faithfull 4:29

End Title John Barry- The Black Hole OST  (2:28)

Gentlebear Mix- December 2009

Thanks for stopping in.


Obvious theme.


This song makes me feel like I’m stoned in the the park on the first warm day after a shitty, cold winter .  “Just bees and things and flowers…”

Everybody Loves The Sunshine- Roy Ayers Ubiquity


“I love you for who you are, not the one you feel you need to be.”

Everybody Is A Star- Sly & The Family Stone


“A cigarette butt when you you throw it in the water goes pfft…

Everybody Wants To Live- Brian Wilson


“She said If you’re with me I’ll never go away. That’s when I stopped and took another look at my baby! She said If you’re with me, I’ll never go away.”

Everybody’s Gotta Live- Love


The latest Arthur Russell release Love Is Overtaking Me makes me want to live my life to the fullest. For real.

Hey! How Does Everybody Know- Arthur Russell


“I got to get away from this day-to-day running around, everybody knows this is nowhere.”

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere- Neil Young & Crazy Horse


In which Sandie Shaw boasts and brags more than Jay-Z. “Who’s the most popular personality? I can’t help but thinking it’s nobody else but me!”

Everybody Loves A Lover- Sandie Shaw


Everybody loves Sam Cooke.

Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha- Sam Cooke


“Everybody has been burned before, everybody knows the pain. Anyone in this place can tell you to your face why you shouldn’t try to love someone.”

Everybody’s Been Burned- The Byrds


From the album in which the Memphis legend sings with some women.

Everybody Knows (The River Song)- O.V. Wright


Hypnotic, dubbed-out track from their 1982 Factory Records release. The whole album is killer and depressing.

Here Comes Everybody- The Wake


I like this version better than the original by The Kinks, it’s a bit more vicious.

I’m Not Like Everybody Else- The Chocolate Watchband


Canadian songbird covering Fred Neil song made popular by Harry Nilsson.

Everybody’s Talkin’- Bonnie Dobson