Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interior Sound Tracks -- Redux

The word redux means "brought back, revived." And this blog post is titled thus because this morning I accidentally deleted the post, which originally was published on Tuesday. Unintentional deleting in a Word document can be repaired using the shortcut CTRL-Z (or Command-Z on a Mac.) But how does one retrieve a deleted blog post? Well, Google has the answer for everything. One solution (and there may be others but this is what worked for me) is to go into your History and scroll back in time till you find the original page that you posted. In my case, I got lucky. And what follows is the good fortune of my retrieval efforts. If only all things lost could be found so easily.

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We live in a world swirling with sound. Depending on where we live those sounds vary, from breezes through trees and railroads rumbling in the distance (or across the street) to honking horns and the assorted sounds that make up the backdrop of city life. And then there are the manufactured sounds that we envelope ourselves in by means of radios, CD players and other devices. Finally, there's a third source of sound, the music or interior dialogues that play in our heads as we walk or drive or work in the yard.

This weekend under a blue sky while working on a project in the raspberry patches we have I decided to write down the songs that went through my head while I was working. I assume that most people have an inner playlist that accompanies them once in a while. Have you ever taken notes to see what you're listening to?

On Saturday I had a pen and paper with me to jot down songs as they swam by. You'll notice, assuming you're familiar with these, that I had recently been listening to Cream's Greatest Hits. And of course there is always Dylan. Here's how it went for a while:

Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather (Dylan)
Crossroads (Cream)
Long & Narrow Way (Dylan)
Tales of Brave Ulysses (Cream)
Those Were The Days (Cream)
Born Under A Bad Sign (Cream)
Everything Is Awesome (movie soundtrack)
American Woman (The Guess Who)
Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
Passing the Time (Cream)
Visions of Johanna (Dylan) for about an hour, literally.

The interesting part in all this is how the music for "Everything Is Awesome" actually echoes the same riff as "American Woman."  If you do not know the two, you can find YouTube vids of these. Play the first six syllables for each. A-mer-i-can Wo-man. Even the energy is similar. Ev-ry-thing-Is-Awesome.

I draw attention to this because I've noticed this in other songs where one has a riff very similar to another. Compare "Victor Jara" from Arlo Guthrie's Amigo album to Dylan's "Desolation Row." And here's another. Compare John Prine's "The Glory of Your Love" with Lyle Lovett's "Farther Down the Line." The pace is different but when Lyle sings, "This time he sure took a bad one..." you can't help but hear Prine's "Oh the glory of your love..."

The Doors were famously sued for lift the tune for "Hello, I Love You" from the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night." (My first .45 single.) And yes, George Harrison got into trouble for "My Sweet Lord" which echoes "He's So Fine."

But what's astonishing to me isn't that songs occasionally echo other songs. Rather, it's astounding how many different song melodies there can be with only a handful of notes to play with. Do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do. Music is a gift divine in its origins. And its power is undeniable, whatever form it takes.

What are you listening to today? 

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