Monday, January 14, 2013

Today's Shuffle: It's a loss, it's a find

Wilco, Spiders (Kidsmoke)  A Ghost Is Born
Nirvana, Scentless Apprentice  In Utero
Amadou & Mariam, M'Bife  Dimanche a Bamako
David Bowie, After All  The Man Who Sold The World
John Hartford, I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow  O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack
Pixies, I Bleed  Doolittle
Elis Regina & Carlos Jobim, Aguas de Marco   Elis & Tom
Ike & Tina Turner, Acid Queen  Proud Mary: The Best of Ike & Tina Turner
Radiohead, Give Up The Ghost  The King of Limbs
Madonna, Skin  Ray Of Light
Michael Jackson, I Can't Help It  Off The Wall

I distinctly remember this song issuing from my Granddad's console stereo when I was a child. And Hearing it now, I realize it has the sound of a nursery rhyme--for adults. That must have attracted my attention, along with its downward steps, the throaty Portuguese, and especially the way they crack up near the end. It was some kind of dialogue, I'm sure I perceived, but about what?

And an aside about that console. It was beautiful. Walnut, or something like that. Not particle board. He paid a lot of money for it, Granddad did. During the holidays, my uncle relayed the story of how he sold the stereo to a guy recently and in cleaning it up (or getting it cleaned up) its bill or invoice was found. It cost several hundred dollars, and this was in the sixties, I think. I'm kind of sad that a stranger has it now. Granddad liked his music, and he purchased a nice piece of equipment on which play it, and listen to it.

So this song, rolling out of those textured fabric-covered speakers like waves of rain down the streets of Rio, you must understand, sounded lush, ambrosial--and from another world.

A few years ago I was researching songs to use for a dialogue-free comedic sketch in which we would battle a rainstorm with unwieldy umbrellas. We'd done a series of these, the two of us uniting against a natural or unnatural foe--cabs that won't stop, disgusting ladies restrooms, and so on. Seriously, I could do a whole show of nothing but physical bits and lazzi set against obscure music (don't say I didn't warn you). For some reason, I remembered this song, and, somehow, I traversed the Internet and found it--I should say, not knowing the title, or the singers, or anything besides the fact it was a goofy gibberish song that I was pretty sure was Brazilian jazz.

I love the lyrics. It's a nonsensical list that slowly makes sense, that, as I found pointed out this time during my Internet search, flows downward, like rain.

No, wait, I have to excerpt some:
A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a bow

The bed of the well,
The end of the line,
The dismay in the face,
It's a loss, it's a find

A spear, a spike,
A point, a nail,
A drip, a drop,
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun
in the dead of the night

A mile, a must,
A thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme,
It's a cold, it's the mumps

The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It's the mud, it's the mud

Afloat, adrift,
A flight, a wing,
A hawk, a quail,
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart

Footnote: and this video? Dude, at some point she picks up a freaking cig because at the 2:30 mark she's waving one around with abandon in her right hand. I mean, did she interrupt the whistling bridge to go grab a Pall Mall? God. The Seventies.

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