erik lundegaard

Music posts

Thursday August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

How isolated was I as a kid in the ‘70s? How segregated are we as a society and a culture even though we had national meeting places like the three big networks back then? I saw “The Blues Brothers” in 1980, age 17, with some little knowledge of the world and music; and when Jake and Ellwood, on a mission from God, are putting together their band again, and recruit Matt “Guitar” Murphy at the diner, and his wife, a waitress, tries to stop him, singing “Think,” this was my thought halfway through that song:

Wow, that waitress sure can sing.†

I’d heard Aretha's name, of course, I just didn't know what she looked like. Of the big-name singers from that movie, Aretha, James Brown, Ray Charles and Cab Calloway, I only knew Ray. This was my intro to the others. So at least it gave us that.†

The Queen of Soul died this morning at the age of 76. Other remembrances here. The greatest remembrance of all is the music, which everyone is listening to this morning, and which lives on and on and on.†

The other day, when news broke that Aretha was sick, my friend David, a good Southern boy, posted this clip from the 2013 documentary “Muscle Shoals” to social media. It's a reminder that even with all that talent, even with all that power, it didn't have to happen. It's not just talent and hard work. You need people who know what they're doing. And even if you have all that, sometimes you need the right piano riff.†

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Posted at 04:30 AM on Aug 16, 2018 in category Music
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Sunday July 01, 2018

Song of the Summer

I'm going to have to steal “While ol' Satan stands impressed.” That's evergreen shit these days.

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Posted at 04:52 AM on Jul 01, 2018 in category Music
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Saturday May 19, 2018

Still Crazy After All These Years

Paul Simon Homeward Bound

Went with my friend Jim to the Paul Simon “Homeward Bound” concert at Key Arena last night. Not sure what else was going on, but Lower Queen Anne was packed. I met Jim at 6 PM outside Toulouse Petit, thinking we'd head into their first-come-first-serve Happy Hour pit; but we talked to a guy, next in line seemingly, who'd been waiting 20 minutes. Peso's was even worse. So we wound up across the street at the Tin Lizzie Lounge, a bar/restaurant associated with the Mediterranean Inn, which was also overwhelmed and/or understaffed. Orders never arrived; drinks took forever. But it was pleasant enough, and for whatever reason there were some astonishingly good-looking customers there. It felt a little like that secret club on “Seinfeld.” I felt like George, who somehow snuck in.†

The show at Key Arena began just as we were taking our seats. Paul opened with “America,” and talked a a bit about the current state of America, without really naming names. His voice, at 76, started rusty but soon hit its stride. Can't hit the highs (no “You can call MEEEE ... AL”) but skated through the middles. He's also in astonishingly good shape. Dude's got guns. Did a lot of fluttery hand movements throughoutólike his version of Elvis' latter-day karate poses. I wondered if the movements began as physical therapy. When you do one thing all your life, your body often rebels.†

His backing band was great, and he did a lot of favorites, but he mostly has favorites. Is there a more fun-filled all-American song than “Me & Julio Down by the School Yard”? It's nearly 50 years old now but feels contemporary, and I thought of the video versions I knew:

I also flashed back to an argument I had in junior high with my best friend Pete and his brother John. It was 1977, we were in their basement, and for some reason we argued over who was betteróPaul Simon (me) or the Bee Gees (them). I wound up storming out and we didn't speak for months. I was that odd junior-high kid whose favorite musician was Dick Cavett's favorite musician.†

What didn't he play that I wanted to hear? A few thoughts:

I also would‘ve liked to hear more from his first solo album, Paul Simon, or his second, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,†both of which feel underrated to me. But what are you going to do? There's so many.

Here's his set list for the night, 25 songs in all. A third encore is mentioned, but in truth, after the four songs of the second encore, he dismissed the band, stayed, and played the final two, including “The Sound of Silence,” with just himself and his guitar on stage. A fitting end: A poet and his one-man band.

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Posted at 08:51 AM on May 19, 2018 in category Music
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Wednesday March 28, 2018

This Wrecks Me

Mark Harris posted this video on Twitter yesterday and I watched it once, was impressed, assumed it was a guy singing about a girl. Then I read that it's from the annual MisCast gala, in which Broadway performers sing a song for a part they wouldn't be cast for. I was like, “Why wouldn't he be cast for this? Oh, it's from ‘Waitress’? And it's the title role singing? Oh, about†herself? She's singing to her younger self?”

Then I listened again. And lost it. Heartbreaking. And what a rendition from Jeremy Jordan.†

Here are the lyrics from Sara Bareilles:

It's not simple to say
That most days I don't recognize me
That these shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave them
It's not easy to know
I'm not anything like I used be, although it's true
I was never attention's sweet center
I still remember that girl
She's imperfect, but she tries
She is good, but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine
It's not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person and makes you believe it's all true
And now I‘ve got you
And you’re not what I asked for
If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew
Who‘ll be reckless, just enough
Who’ll get hurt, but who learns how to toughen up
When she's bruised and gets used by a man who can't love
And then she‘ll get stuck
And be scared of the life that’s inside her
Growing stronger each day ‘til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little, to bring back the fire in her eyes
That’s been gone, but used to be mine
Used to be mine
She is messy, but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone, but she used to be mine

It's the “mine” that really nails it. “She used to be me” would be ordinary. “Mine” puts it on another level. I think I've listened/watched 20 times now. Your turn.†

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Posted at 09:08 AM on Mar 28, 2018 in category Music
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Saturday December 09, 2017

'Man Shot, 1 West 72'

I should've posted this yesterday, on the ... which was it ... 37th anniversary. Almost as many years as he spent on Earth.

NY Daily News on the day John Lennon was killedWhat an inspired way to write the column, telling of the lives of the cops who picked up the body and brought it Roosevelt Hospital in New York. Part of it is brutal reading: another body, but not another body, in the violent country he desperately wanted to live in, on the cusp of our most violent year. He didn't even get an ambulance? Just cops picking him up and carrying him into the backseat of their patrol car? And still alive. And still aware. “Are you John Lennon?” A nod and a groan. The intersection of these cops' lives with the man they brought in. And that brilliant last line that feels more relevant than ever:

And Jim Moran and Tony Palma, older now, cops in a world with no fun, stood in the emergency room as John Lennon, whose music they knew, whose music was known everywhere on earth, became another person who died after being shot with a gun on the streets of New York.

Rest in peace, John. Rest in peace, Jimmy Breslin, 52 when he wrote this, 88 when he died earlier this year.†

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Posted at 09:13 AM on Dec 09, 2017 in category Music
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