most of these songs are with me for a long time.
(Feeling like a soldier who’s come from a 4 year battlefield sharing the end of a struggle with fellow soldiers, lining up between being lost in the chaos at sea and having reached land. That’s what music does to me.)
One of my favourite programs is the Desert Island Discs. One of the smartest interview programs created as it draws out deep insights into a personality via the means of music. I am no person who would ever feature on the program. But I look back on this year, and music has become more dominant again compared to the first 3 years after my brother died. Music was always my “vehicle” to make sense. But I couldn’t enjoy it as much the last 4 years.
The Desert Island Discs’ “rules” are that a person, be it a politician, singer, actor, sports person, anyone in the limelight, can choose 8 songs to take on a desert island with them should they be stranded.
Out of the 8 they can choose 1 song they would save if the waves would flood the island. They are then given the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare and can choose one other book to take with them (no other complete works according to the rules).
And one last thing they can take with them is a luxury item, but it cannot be for practical purposes, but merely for luxury.
Some luxury items guests have chosen:
- A Library (Emmylou Harris)
- A bed with plenty of pillows (Morrissey)
- Sun cream (Annie Lennox)
- A typewriter and paper (Tom Hanks)
- and the most obvious was Simon Cowell who wanted to take a mirror to the island!
Of course those items are for broadcast, the real items only they know.
But hanging my post on this idea of the Deserts Island Disc concept, I want to post 12 songs, like 12 months of this year that carried me through this year on and off. Some old songs I know for years and others I just discovered.
These are in no particular order and without any reason at times.
Johnny Cash “I See A Darkness” by Will Oldman aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Nena “In meinem Leben” (In My Life)
I was a kid going home from school passing by a ferris wheel that was put up for a week playing this song in a loop of other songs. I had no radio or cassette player (sorry, MP3 of course!) at that time but was “destroyed” by this song. I went home from school, did my homework quickly, as not doing it would not allow me to play outside with friends. After homework I went back to the ferris wheel to wait for this song to come on again. And it did. I just stood there frozen, listening …
Dexys Midnight Runners “Come On Eileen” (on Jools 2013)
Cat Power “The Greatest” even her cover of her own song is my favourite cover. I borrowed her song for my brother.
I can only think of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, McDonald’s, the Marketplace, Life … where people have thousands of “friends” and “followers” and customers, yet where it takes very few people being despised by the many, until the many become the few. It takes few people to resist the crowd and stand on their own. I love Whitey’s take on Bukowski’s poem … a hidden artist tucked away from the crowd.
This song is one of the motors that makes me stand where everyone leaves me. Many artists, even those I respect tweet and post how they are against this and that. But very few stand out by speaking up against a particular brand, organization, political party etc. Bernie Sanders has fought against Amazon, Walmart etc for low-paid workers. He does not really “qualify” as an artist because it’s his bread and butter to work and struggle for change.
But I look to and fro the musical landscape to find artists like Joan Baez, who in her day went to prison several times, got released, went home, cleaned up, and went back on the streets.
I’m looking for artists who stand out from the geniuses of the crowd.
Whitey ft. Charles Bukowski “Genius of the Crowd”
Julie and Buddy Miller’s rendition of “Dirty Water”
Julie Miller being my all-time favourite artist, no one can topple her off the top spot, her song writing, simple poetry, authenticity and rawness is music on its own. But her covers of artists like Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris, Mark Herald etc. would be enough for a career, but this one is my favourite of her covering a song.
Genesis “Mama” (One of my favourite songs as a kid, the intensity of a build-up musically, priceless. I lip-synced to this song on birthday parties not realizing it wasn’t a song about mama 😀 )
Edward Elgar “Nimrod”
This “song” (sorry, Master Piece and Present) is my absolute favourite classical piece ever. I go to it, not when I need peace, but when I have nothing left to lose.
This piece is the most precious gift anyone can give. The symbolism apart from the beauty Elgar wrote for his German friend whose last name was Jaeger, meaning Hunter in English. Nimrod was a hunter in biblical times. Just the thought that someone would write a song for you, let it be a nursery rhyme or a clumsy hip hop tune. No, what kind of friend would write this piece for you taking your last name as one part of the inspiration?
The story is the cherry on the cake of the music. This kind of friendship only reminds me of David and Jonathan. But the music stands on its own. When deep friendship meets music. Nothing more to say.
I listen to this and shake my head in disbelief.
“In the cathedrals of New York and Rome
There is a feeling that you should just go home
And spend the lifetime finding out just where that is”
Forget Pixies, this cult band still too unknown, split apart, yet not forgotten, makes my ears spin and return to church. This song accompanied me throughout the years.
A discovery this year of being light in Germany …
In this case it’s true
1 + 1 = ONE
There’s no duet + band like this one …
God bless music, words, life experience, belief, faith, despair, failure, loss, fun, learning curves, stumbling about, purity.
Thank you Alan Lomax and Charlie Barnett for having been there LOUDLY in the field even while unheard on the main road.
Charles Barnett “Run to Jesus for Refuge”
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