There were 2 songs that I tried to fit into this episode but the proper spot just didn’t present itself, so I will post them here. The first is Neil Young’s “Ohio” due to today being the 53rd anniversary of the events at Kent State. The second is the Barrett Strong/Norman Whitfield classic “Ball Of Confusion.” Be it the original recording by the Temptations or the 80’s Love & Rockets remake, it’s these lyrics that play on a loop in my head as I continue to witness our Society degenerate to a cold, dangerous landscape where we now expect daily mass shootings, and a never ending cycle of lies, thievery, greed and gluttony rotating at an alarming rate. Guns are the new religion, fear and loathing are around every corner and the beat goes on.
People moving out, people moving in
Why, because of the color of their skin
Run, run, run but you sure can't hide
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
Vote for me and I'll set you free
Rap on, brother, rap on
Well, the only person talking about love thy brother is the preacher
And it seems nobody's interested in learning but the teacher
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration
Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation
Ball of confusion
Oh yeah, that's what the world is today
The sale of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walking ‘round with their heads in the sky
The cities ablaze in the summertime
And oh, the beat goes on
Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul
Shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon
Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
And the band played on
So, round and around and around we go
Where the world's headed, nobody knows
Fear in the air, tension everywhere
Unemployment rising fast, the Beatles new records a gas
And the only safe place to live is on an Indian reservation
And the band played on
Eve of destruction, tax deduction, city inspectors, bill collectors
Mod clothes in demand, population out of hand, suicide, too many bills
Hippies moving to the hills, people all over the world are shouting, end the war
Aside from a few dated references this could have been written last week, instead of 1970. As I have said many times over the last Decade plus, as a highschool student when these events happened, I honestly thought we would be much further evolved as a society 53 years on. Clearly we are not. My only tip to hold on to sanity is to turn the music up.
New stuff this episode: Mountains Like Wax w/Julien Baker, Everything But the Girl, Jah Wobble, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Cowboy Junkies, Easy Star All-Stars, PJ Harvey, The Heavy, M.E.B., Low Cut Connie, Kelley Ryan, Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rufus Wainwright and Vincent and Theo.
Library items pulled for play include: Brad Mehldau Trio, Traffic, Prefab Sprout, Jimmy Witherspoon, Champion Jack Dupree, Elmore James, Free, Bobby Womack & Peace, David Bowie, Boogie Down Productions, Sly & the Family Stone, Common, Eddie Floyd, Cassandra Wilson, Charlie Hunter & Lucy Woodward, The Dramatics, J. Geils Band, The Faces, Humble Pie, Ray Charles and so much more
We also say farewell to Gordon Lightfoot and thanks to you have reached our funding goal, but don’t let that stop you as the donation link is good for another 2 weeks. Every little bit helps and is appreciated more than we can express. https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8TnoEM3bg2
As promised on the show, here is what Julian Coryell and David Shwartz wrote about their new project, Vincent and Theo.
(Julian): In April 2020 I got sick with Covid. My symptoms were bad, and I suddenly found I was not able to do much of anything. This was the early days of the pandemic. They didn’t even have a proper test for Covid, and they certainly had no cure. The doctor told me to stay in my house for the next two weeks and hope for the best.
The simplest tasks were now difficult. Going to the mailbox felt like running a marathon. I wasn’t allowed to go to my studio as it was a shared space. It was during this very challenging time my friend David sent me an instrumental track and invited me to contribute something to it.
Pre-Covid I was proud of my belting, brassy singing voice with its flexible range… that was all gone now. I struggled to breathe and was reduced to muttering in low, short intervals to save my breath. When I heard David’s track, I couldn’t have sang in my regular style even if I’d wanted to. But as I listened to it over and over, in the midst of what was now a great depression brought on by a sickness, I started to hear words and felt a feeling emerge. That feeling turned into a kind of character, and that character was yearning to communicate.
I’ve always written. It’s not uncommon for me to write prose for no other reason than to just get it out. Years ago, I used to connect with people by trying to be some kind of rockstar, but had given that up long ago. I never considered my writing as fodder for songs, only a substitute for that old musical connection I once had. But then David sent that track.
During those early pandemic days, we all did our best to keep sane and stay functional. It was very hard to sleep at night sometimes.
One of those sleepless nights, I crept into my living room and put on some headphones. I played David’s track over and over. I listened to his sturdy upright bass, the hypnotic drum beat and the playful harmonic information therein. Before long, a sympathetic relationship emerged. Some kind of intriguing correlation between words and music. I barely had a voice. Breathing was difficult. Not to mention my girlfriend and her daughter were asleep in adjacent rooms. Still, I was drawn to this moment of creative freedom that distracted me from the terror of what we were all experiencing.
I rifled through a drawer and found a cheap microphone. In no way did it resemble the pricey professional ones I had at my studio. I plugged it into my computer, opened up a software program, and imported David’s track. I mumbled a few words over it. Though I couldn’t really sing, and couldn’t even really talk for long, I could speak a line or two, stop the recording, catch my breath and start up again… When I finished, I listened back. I was surprised by what I heard. I had just met, for the first time, a character that later became known as The Storyteller.
The Storyteller was not a part of myself I’d met before, and it turned out he had some things to say. Unsure of what I’d done, I listened one more time, pressed save on the computer, and went to bed.
When I awoke the next morning, I wondered if it was any good. I gingerly went back to my laptop and listened to what had transpired in the wee hours. To my surprise, I still liked The Storyteller. I screwed up enough courage to send a rough mix to David. He responded positively and asked if I’d like to try another track.
And so it was over the next few weeks, David would send a track, I’d wait until late at night, and then sneak into my living room and whisper some prose over it. Weeks turned into months. Covid dragged on and this project saved my ass. It was the lifeline I grabbed and held onto when there was no work, when you couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone… It became the lone oasis in a desert of fear that surrounded the entire world for two years.
And here we are today. The world has changed forever. People are flying again, eating in restaurants. Work has resumed. And yet, this record endures. It’s the most honest thing I’ve ever participated in. It couldn’t have come about any other way. The Storyteller lives. And now he shall be heard.
(David): At the beginning of the pandemic with no work coming in, I realized I wanted to start creating my own music. I decided to create tracks that each started with my upright bass… I sent them to a few of my favorite musicians. Julian Coryell sent back a full song with vocals and lyrics. He asked for more and in a short time we had the 11 tracks that comprise the album. Julian and I both added various instruments and also included a few of our favorite players. Although Julian is one of the world’s great guitarists, he refused to play one note of guitar on this project. Everything about this project is different from what someone might expect from Julian or myself. ?+!
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