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“I was a fortunate and happy man,” Pavarotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published about a month after the surgery. “After that, this blow arrived.”

“And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness,” he told the newspaper.

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007

(Quote from AP article courtesy of AOL News. I know, I know, but they’re an old friend. A free old friend now.)

Ta ta. Off to find fortune and happiness…

Sam and DaveStax Records will be making a comeback!

I heard it today on Marketplace, a business radio show on my local NPR station. You can listen to that bit here, if you like.

Stax Records started in 1957 (a might fine vintage, if this 50 year-old must say so herself), meaning 2007 marks its 50th anniversary. Stax went bankrupt in 1976, after having provided us with some of the favorite music and musicians of my formative years…Booker T. and the MG’s, Sam and Dave, The Staple Sisters, Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Luther Ingram and Isaac Hayes (though his devotion to Scientology is disturbing to me).

This was the place where cutting edge soul music was made through the 60’s and early 70’s. Although I was then too young to be a serious consumer at the time, and, boy, do I wish I had some of those 45’s, Stax artists were the ones I most enjoyed on the radio. Remember the time before FM radio? for me, that meant WFIL in Philadelphia.

Shortly after the early seventies I discovered pot and what was then termed “hard” or “acid” rock. The memories of those wailing saxes and driving rhythms have never left and will always hold a special place in my heart, long after I gave up on Led Zeppelin.

Welcome back, Stax. Looks like everything old is new again and ain’t that just grand?

Gotta run now. I have gardening to do, now that it’s a little cooler outside.

Enjoy!

Remember when I said I would be glad to fuck this man? At the time I said that, I even said I’d go so far as to marry him. Well, that was before I found out that Bill just quit drinking. Sorry, but given my family history, the last thing I need is a drunk man for a husband (or a drunk woman for a wife, for that matter, though the “Dad connection” is much greater with a man).

If you’ve just now shown up for the first time, welcome and a little backstory: my dad died a year ago and he was an alcoholic all my life, though a dry drunk for the last dozen years of his. I imbibe a bit but am very conscious not to overdo. I’ve always lived with the fear of developing a dependency (other than the nicotine addiction). I lived with the fear of becoming mentally ill, too, but that’s another post…

So, Bill, I’m in for a weekend (even a long one) but not a lifetime, Hon. Too risky.

Below is one of the reasons I’d fuck the man.

Here is where you can listen to and buy it.

These Cold Fingers

Gina left town with the first snow of the year
He drove her to the airport in his Ford
And he tried to propose as he ordered one more beer
but the PA drowned out his words and it was time for her to board.

So he walked her to the gate
He took his hat off as he kissed her
He needed one more drink to take the chill out of his soul
He said a quick goodbye then spent two hours in the bar
Finally paid his tab and kept a dollar for the toll

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

It’s four o’clock and the sun’s gone down the drain
It’s still late winter but they say it’s early spring
Louis reads the gas pumps, Rossi counts the oils
But me I’m done so punch the clock and see you in the morning

There’s nothing back at home that ain’t gone greasy from the stove
I never laughed so hard as when that typewriter broke
Think I’ll stop along the river road for a half pint and some beer
Well everything would be ok if those old dreams would disappear

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

The dog can’t move no more, surprised he made it till the spring
His pain won’t go away and the pills don’t do a thing
You’ve known that old hound longer than you’ve known any of your friends
And no matter how you let him down he’d always take you back again

So it’s one tall glass of whiskey, one last drink for old times’ sake
The dog just lays in bed and watches every move you make
Wrap him up in his blanket, hold him once more close to you
Lead him out behind the barn with a borrowed .22

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

Bill Morrissey‘s These Cold Fingers, released on Standing Eight in 1989 on Philo Records. Available now on Rounder Records.

The raw emotion in that song, the heart-rending sorrow. Anyone with the ability to tap into that much pain in the world and keep on moving is a person of interest. Mind you, I had no idea he was speaking from personal experience about the booze. I assumed it was metaphor. Though from the raspy voice, I probably should have suspected…

Congrats on the sobriety, Bill! May it stay with you always!

 

Did I happen to mention that I turned fifty last month?

Please help me celebrate, at its advent, my mid-life crisis? In honor of the occasion I present Bill Morrissey’s Fifty: (These frigging lyrics are hand-typed, too, so appreciate the fuckers!…I couldn’t find them on a Google search. Will somebody get busy on that out there?)

Fifty

I turned fifty on an autumn (winter) day
The grass was brown and the sky was gray
But I never felt so strong
I turned fifty
So, come on, world, bring it on.

I can’t round the bases like I could
But I’m still in the game, so knock on wood
I get the jump on the pitch and I catch one more
I turned fifty
I quit keeping score

Hey you kids, this ain’t no jive
But I’ve seen the Beatles [Pink Floyd /David Bowie /Chick Corea (Why Scientology, Chick???) ] perform live
My new guitar (garden) is all hand-crafted
I turned fifty
Best of all, I can’t get drafted (I never could get drafted but that a whole ‘nother, long post!)

I don’t get carded in a bar
I (could) own my house and I (do) own my car
I can’t believe I made it this far
I turned fifty
And I still wish upon a star

Once life was a race and I had to run it
Now I know what not to do because I’ve done it
Well, there’s too much anger and too much crap
I turned fifty
I think I’ll take a nap

Sometimes I think about the days back then
But there’s no return in the way-back-when
I loved them all but those days are gone
I turned fifty
So, come on, world, bring it on!

Well, the days are gone, for me, of lovin’ them all back then but I’m still bankin’ on the loving of them in the future. Thanks, Bill.

Come on, world. Bring it on…

P. S. For those of you looking for that perfect gift(yellow, please?…)

I heard love can fall so hard, it can bury a kingdom
I heard it makes the spring appear out of season
It’s a storm in a shadowbox, a force to be reckoned with,
When it finds you and find you, it will.

And I’d not believed it til I loved, I love
The rivers sing and stars awaken above me
And the wind and the moon in fits of restless conspiring
Turn night to heaven for you.

But I am going to a far, far land
I know it sure as I’ve a past and a future
With my maps on the table, you see, I have lost many things
So many I won’t turn back.

And were I a deadwood ship, my heart a compass
I would leave with inanimate grace, no love could touch me
But I live and I know that I’ll burn as I grow (my motto)
Though it might break my heart to walk away and so

As a moon may adore you and remain, high moon
The wind may crown your head with leaves, and keep blowing
So I’ll stop and I’ll watch you, for I love, I love
And then be on my way. And then be on my way.

Dar Williams The Honesty Room (1993 Burning Field Music)

The snow lay up against the curb finally beaten by the sun.
Across the street the noon whistle blew calling back everyone.
And they came out from the luncheonette the tavern and the pharmacy
Walked across the wet street back to work their coats unbuttoned and talking easily.
The ice is cracked on the river rolling out by the bay.
On one floe rides a bob house.
Well, there’s always one that stays out too long they say.

There ain’t much to mill work.
The days just drag on and on.
There ain’t much to leaving home till you finally cut the cord and know you’re gone.
And there ain’t much to ice fishing till you miss a day or more
And the hole you cut freezes over
and it’s like you have never been there before.

Bill Morrissey, Ice Fishing 1986 (Bill Morrissey / Dry Fly Music, BMI, admin. by Bug Music)

Bill Morrissey, “The Essential Collection,” Rounder 2004

Road

You can say the sun is shining if you really want to
I can see the moon and it seems so clear
You can take the road that takes you
to the stars now
I can take a road that’ll see me through

Nick Drake, Road; from Pink Moon, Island Records (though they were cooler in the 70’s!)

If anyone associated with Nick Drake or his estate wanders over here, I hope you don’t mind. : )

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back
They’d frozen halfway down in the ice
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.

First we forgot where we’d planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot we’d planted at all
Then we forgot what plants are altogether
And I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary
Can we live through February?

You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning, we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we’d drop to sleep exhausted,
And we’d wake up, and it’s snowing.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus,”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you.”

The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house.
And when we got home, well we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And we’ll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.

 

Dar Williams, from Mortal City, Razor & Tie 1996

Mortal City

She never should have rented this apartment in the Mortal City.
The cold comes though every crack she puts her hand up to.
The radiator’s broken, so she has to use electric heat.

And tonight was the first date with the brother of the guy she worked next to.
He lived a couple streets away.
He listened, he had things to say.
She asked him up for dinner sometime.
“Sometime” was tonight.

She never should have rented this apartment in the Mortal City.
The cold comes though every crack she puts her hand up to.
The radiator’s broken, so she has to use electric heat.

The radio gave updates on the ice storm while she made the dinner.
They said, from all the talk, you shouldn’t drive, or even walk,
“And this just in — We’re asking everyone to turn off their power.
They need it at the hospital.”

She ran around pulling plugs, then she called him up.
Maybe now they shouldn’t meet; he said that he would brave the streets.
She met him at the door with a blanket and a candle,
Saying, “I heard it on the radio, I had to turn my power off.

He said, “You’re not the only one, the streets were dark tonight.
It was like another century
With dim lamps and candles lighting up the icy trees,
and the clouds,
and a covered moon.”

She said, “What kind of people make a city
Where you can’t see the sky and you can’t feel the ground?

“I tell you something, I have this feeling that this city’s dying.”
He said, “It’s not dying it’s the people who are dying.”
She said, “Yes yes I think the people are dying and nobody cares.

“We had all this technology. Our dreams were bold and vague,
And then one city got bad planners, one city got the plague.”

He asked, “Why did you move here?” She said, “For the job.
For the job and I’ve been so lonely here, so lonely.
There’s no one I can talk to.
You know I don’t even know your brother.”

He smiled and said, “Sometimes at night I walk out by the river.
The city’s one big town. The water turns it upside down.
People found this city because they love other people.
They want their secretaries; they want their power lunches.

“And think about tonight, I heard the same newscast you did.
I unplugged everything. I looked out the window,
And I think the city heard. I watched as one by one the lights went off
So they could give their power to the hospital.

They ate in silence while she thought this over.
They sat together in a dark room in the Mortal City.
Shifting in their blankets so they wouldn’t get spaghetti on them.

Then came the awkward moment after dinner, what to do.
The ice was still falling. The streets were still dangerous.
The cabs were not running and this neighborhood was not the greatest.

They both looked at the space where a couch would’ve been.
She felt her stomach sink. She felt like she could hardly think.

She said, “I never should have rented this apartment in the Mortal City.
The cold comes through every crack I put my hand up to.
The radiator doesn’t work. I have to use electric heat.”

And that settled it. They would both sleep in her bed.
It was a matter of survival.

She brought out teeshirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, hats.
If there was ever any thought of what would happen in that bed tonight,
There was no question now.
They could barely move.
They were wrapped up like ornaments waiting for another season.

They lay in bed, they listened to the pelting ice.
He said, “My brother’s not a bad guy, he’s just quiet.
I wished you liked this city.”
She said, “Maybe I do.

“I think I have a special kind of hearing tonight.
I hear the neighbors upstairs.
I hear my heart beating.
I hear one thousand hearts beating at the hospital,
And one thousand hearts by their bedsides waiting,
Saying that’s my love in the white gown.

We are not lost in the Mortal City.
We are not lost in the Mortal City.

by Dar Williams >(© 1996 Burning Filed Music, admistered by Bug)

Lyrics by Dar Williams. Punctuation and a little poetic license by me. Feel free to send me editorial suggestions on the latter and comments on the former.

I hope all is well.

Back to my blogging slumber…soon to be replaced with massive shoveling, purchasing, building, modifying, naturalizing, preparing and work.

Ahhh, spring…

Before that she bitched about: