Posts Tagged ‘Laura Nyro’

Mr. Wm Seabrook holds down the U.K. desk for Run-DMSteve Worldwide. He’s performing within acceptable parameters, despite his occasional musical lapses (Béla Bartók). In response to my last post about things I have lived long enough to see (which I wrote the day after Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s candidate for president), Wm writes:

I would add to the list:

  • Moon landing
  • Destruction of the Berlin Wall
  • A black president…in South Africa

Excellent choices, Wm. I see what you’re getting at, but I only had to live 14 years to get to the Moon landing, whereas it took me 53 years to arrive at Barack Obama’s inauguration as pesident.

But your list has made me think of even more things I have lived long enough to see:

  • The Mars Rover
  • The International Space Station
  • The Muslim mayor of London
  • The teenage prime minister of Canada

Wm adds this question: “But why is Hillary Clinton seen as so divisive in the U.S.?”

It would be easier to sequence the human genome from stone knives and bear skins than to offer a definitive answer, but I’ll give it a try.

An Englishman’s guide to why Hillary Clinton is so divisive
A preliminary study by Run-DMSteve

  1. She’s a woman.
  2. She’s an ambitious woman. She craves power.
  3. She’s an ambitious woman who won’t defer to ambitious men who crave power.
  4. She refused to shut up while her husband was president.
  5. She doesn’t know how to use email. She forwarded “100 Reasons Why Kirk Is Better Than Picard” to Kim Jong-un!
  6. While she was in the State Dept., she was a terrible secretary. She always forgot to order paper for the printers and she mixed up everyone’s plane reservations.
  7. When Bill ran for president in 1992, his campaign’s theme song was Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Fleetwood Mac promptly re-formed and went on tour. The Republicans have been waiting 25 years to use this one against her.
  8. Her husband cheated on her.
  9. She didn’t divorce his ass when he cheated on her.
  10. Why is Hillary Clinton so divisive? For the same reason Capt. Janeway never got her own movie: She’s a woman.

I hope this helps, Wm.

We also heard from:

Run-DMSteve Platinum Club member Accused of Lurking, who writes about our list: “I’m still waiting for an end to hunger” (what a compassionate man) “and the popularization of personal jet packs” (what a self-absorbed twit).

A rookie, Dr. D, who suggests “DC United wins a fifth MLS Cup.” That’s their real name? In a city that can’t agree on the time of day or the color of the sky, their team is called DC United?

And, finally, SexySandersGuy4788, who says, “Never give up! Never surrender!” I know why you boys are so angry. You joined the Bernie Sanders campaign to get laid, didn’t you? Nerds!

Random Pick of the Day 1
Laura Nyro, Gonna Take a Miracle (1970)
LaBelle recorded seven albums on their own, but they were at their best at the dawn of their career when they backed Laura Nyro, particularly on Nyro’s covers of “Dancing in the Street,” “Nowhere to Run,” and “Jimmy Mack.” You older kids will be out of your chair in seconds, singing and dusting off your Shirelles moves. Fuck you, Fleetwood Mac! Nyro’s version of “Spanish Harlem” is another standout. If you loved the music on Carole King’s Tapestry, you’ll love Laura Nyro’s Gonna Take a Miracle.

Random Pick of the Day 2
Girlschool, The Very Best of Girlschool (2012)
British female pioneers of heavy metal who took up arms in the prehistoric year of 1978. Listening to these 14 songs sent me into a pleasant dream where Deep Purple chilled with Joy Division in ZZ Top’s garage. Probably best suited for serious scholars of metal, though “Demolition Boys” from their 1980 debut, Demolition, seriously rocks.

Random Pan of the Day
The Raincoats, The Raincoats (1980)
Another all-female British group. The Raincoats were punk and post-punk. On this, their debut album, they chant like Siouxsie & The Banshees and sing like The Roches. They’re not good at either. Not recommended even for historians, though some of these songs (“Black and White,” for example) are catchy, at least for a little while. The Raincoats’ cover of The Kinks’ “Lola” is the high point. But c’mon, girls, it’s all the same key, I think.

 

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. (Colette)

When I was a pre-bar mitzvah sprout in Hebrew school, I was at the mercy of a teacher who came from the Old World with some old skool Old World characteristics, including teeth and fingernails yellow from chain-smoking and a tendency in any academic situation to fall back on his main teaching tool: violence.

I’m not going to tell you this man’s name, or the nickname we children gave him, or the songs we sang about him, because I don’t want his descendants to track me down and torture me the way he did. And anyway, maybe he behaved so badly because he had survived the Holocaust and journeyed to America and in his declining years ended up marooned in our declining, uninteresting city, teaching Hebrew to a bunch of youthful dumbshits. Whatever his motivations, when he called one of us up to the front of the class to recite and we couldn’t deliver, he always screamed, “Go back to your seat and study!!!”

This evening at the end of my Write-a-thon hour I wanted to send myself back to my seat to study. What I wrote was definitely not worth reciting at the front of a classroom or anywhere else. There’s a character I have yet to understand, and my subconscious writer brain refuses to let him walk through these pages as valiant, virtuous, and virtually flawless. Unlike my former Hebrew school teacher, who is long gone, I can figure out what makes this guy tick and why anyone should care.

Maybe that was my old teacher’s real problem. He cared too much.

The 10-year-old inside me just ducked and covered.

Random Pick of the Day
Three Dog Night, Cyan (1973)
Loyal Reader Accused of Lurking has pointed out my math error. Before I so blithely skipped to the Dave Clark Five, I should’ve stopped at Three Dog Night! I also skipped 4 Non Blondes. I’m rectifying the first error tonight.

I find Three Dog Night interesting because almost everything they sang was written by someone else. The original was practically unrecognizable after 3DN finished rearranging it. Look at their first record, Three Dog Night (1969). The composers on this disc include Tim Hardin, Stevie Winwood, Harry Nilsson, Lennon & McCartney, Randy Newman, Neil Young, and Johnnie “Guitar” Watson. Their second album, Suitable for Framing (also 1969), adds Laura Nyro, Dave Mason, Sam Cooke, and Elton John. I wish 3DN had lasted as far as 1980 because I would’ve loved to have heard what they did with songs by, for example, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Joan Armatrading, and Michael Jackson.

Other than the fact that I flee from any room where “Black & White” or “Joy to the World” is playing (the latter being the “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” song, which Hoyt Axton wrote to showcase the melody – the lyrics were a nonsensical placeholder), I’m OK with this band. They fit well on a road trip in-between the harder stuff. My favorite 3DN songs are “One” (Nilsson), “Eli’s Coming” (Nyro), “Easy to Be Hard” (the team that wrote Hair), and “Liar” (Russ Ballard). Except for “Easy to Be Hard,” these treatments are tougher than usual for them. They’re all from the first two albums.

Cyan (which includes the hit “Shambala”) is not 3DN’s best album (that would be their debut), but it’s their closest to the blue-eyed soul of Rare Earth. There’s also a gospel flavor to some of these tracks. (“Celebrate,” from Suitable for Framing, could easily have appeared on a Rare Earth album exactly as it is.)

For a few years back there in our rearview mirror, Three Dog Night was more powerful than the Van Allen radiation belt. According to Google, they ran up a string of 21 hit singles from 1969 through 1975. I’d rather revisit their music than that of their contemporaries Grand Funk Railroad, a band that rocks very hard for very little reason.