Tag Archives: Bill Fay

The Never Ending Happening

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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.

 

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Berceuse-Ilous & Decuyper

Man, is this stuff moody.

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Excerpt from The Magnificent Ambersons 

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

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Rhapsody- Rita Marley

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

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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.”

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

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

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Last Night at the Jetty- Panda Bear
Emotional stuff.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Bown Bown Bown- Francoise Hardy
In English!

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

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

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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.

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Sway When You Walk- Flo & Eddie
God, these guys wrote great pop songs.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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Humoresque

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.

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“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

Sad Songs They Say So Much

147 years ago today, the Civil War Battle of Ball’s Bluff went down in Virginia. It was a defeat for the Union, and resulted in the only death in the battlefield of a U.S. Senator, Colonel Edward Dickinson Baker. 

Today is my birthday, in itself no big deal except that I’m 33, the age when Jesus bit it. I don’t think I’ve been receiving any messages from God concerning a higher calling, thankfully. I’d be content to lead the rest of my life drinking whiskey, Michelob Ultra, or Coors, and writing this stupid blog. Also, making love and/or having sex with an attractive partner. I jest. 

I’ve made a mix of some of my favorite songs. They’re all kind of a drag. I like to spend some part of my birthday contemplating my existence for the past year; I guess this is it. Disclaimer: I am not suicidal. 

Here is the mix, clocking in at  01:09:33. (MP3 REMOVED BY REQUEST)

Sad Songs Say So Much

 

Track listing below, with corresponding pictures and video, which I hope you enjoy. 

“Vanity of vanities..“- James Mason, from Book of Ecclesiaistes

 

Dust-Filled Room– Bill Fay

In the dust-filled room she wished that the cigarette could last forever…

 

Flying On The Ground– Neil Young

… But if crying and holding on, and flying on the ground is wrong, then I’m sorry to let you down- but you’re from my  side of town, and I’ll miss you.

 

Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise– Phosphorescent

I won’t be alone, I won’t be waiting by the phone, I won’t be dreaming of you dreaming of me, anyway…

 

Looking For A Friend– David Blue

I never really had a friend of my own, I once I had a woman, I thought we were close.

 

First Girl I Ever Loved– Incredible String Band

Well I never slept with you, but we must have made love a thousand times…

 

Beware of Darkness– George Harrison

Watch out now, take care, beware of falling swingers…

 

Big Louise– Scott Walker

In a world filled with friends, you lose your way…

 

Blues Run The Game– Nick Drake

When I’m not drinking, baby, you are on my mind…when I’m not sleeping, you know you’ll find me crying…

 

I Watched My Dreamworld Crumble– Hank Williams

You promised, darling, that we’d never part…

Angel Cake & Wine– Hoyt Axton

I’m born to dine on angel cake and wine, and nothing ever shined on me…

 

Love Is Just A Four Letter Word– Joan Baez with Earl Scruggs, in his living room

Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me…

 

Seems Like Old Times– Diane Keaton, from Annie Hall

…and it’s still a thrill to have my arms around you.

 

I Don’t Know Where I Stand– Fairport Convention

Picked up a pencil and wrote ‘I love you’ in my finest hand, wanted to send it, but I don’t know where I stand.

 

Send In The Clowns– Frank Sinatra

I thought that you’d want what I want, sorry my dear.

 

It Was A Very Good Year- Frank Sinatra

It was a very good for year for city girls who lived up the stair, with all that perfumed hair… and it came undone, when I was 21.

 

Still I Dream Of It– Brian Wilson

A little while ago, my mother told me Jesus loved the world. And if that’s true then why hasn’t he helped me to find a girl, and find my world…


Rich Kid Blues– Marianne Faithfull

Love’s just a story, a story without words. Words are almost never seen and never even heard.

 

Baby Blue– 13th Floor Elevators

The empty-handed painter from your streets is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets…

 

Myself When I Am Real– Charles Mingus