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December 10, 2019

Song of the Day #1685

Song of the Day: Demolition Man, words and music by Sting, was first recorded by Grace Jones as part of her 1981 album, "Nightclubbing." The Police would record their own version of the song on their 1981 album, "Ghost in the Machine," as would Mannfred Mann's Earth Band for their 1983 album, "Somewhere in Afrika." Sting himself would release his own version as part of a 1993 EP in support of the Sylvester Stallone/Wesley Snypes film of the same name. I put this song up today with a little tongue-in-cheek (and with a hat tip to my friend, Brandon). For those who don't know why I've made this the Song of the Day, no explanation is possible; for those who do, no explanation is necessary. :) Check out the various versions: Grace Jones, The Police studio version and performance video, Mannfred Mann's Earth Band, and the Sting solo rendition [YouTube links].

December 05, 2019

Song of the Day #1684

Song of the Day: Pneuma features the music of Maynard James Keenan and the lyrics of Keenan [YouTube interview link], Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Justin Chancellor of the progressive metal band Tool for their fifth studio album, "Fear Inoculum." Hat tip to Richie! The word "pneuma" comes from the ancient Greek for "breath"---and this track certainly breathes. It captures the notion of "becoming"---in Stoic thought, the emergence of the vital spirit, soul, and creativity of both the individual and the cosmos. Check out this piece from their critically acclaimed #1 album on YouTube.

December 01, 2019

Sassy, Mel, and Merv

I was a senior in high school, and one night I caught a showing of the "Merv Griffin Show" that was absolutely splendid. I pulled out my trusty audio cassette recorder [a Wiki link for those who don't know what that is] and immediately hit the record button. On the show that night were two of my all-time favorite singers: Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme. Each did a solo spot (Sarah did "Someone to Watch Over Me" and Mel did a stupendous "Porgy and Bess Medley" [YouTube link to his studio version of it]). But then, the two jazz greats joined forces for "Lady Be Good" and an impromptu version of "I Got Rhythm." All these years, all I had to go on was the audio cassette version of this wonderful musical TV moment.

And then, just the other day, I was having a chat with a friend, mentioning one of the lyrics to "Lady Be Good" and I did a haphazard search on YouTube and---lo and behold, I found a clip from the "Merv Griffin Show" of Sassy and Mel doing the version that has been emblazoned in my mind due to my audio cassette recording of it back in the 1970s. And watching it, I was practically able to sing along and "scat" along with every note the two traded in their exhibition of the art of vocal improvisation.

So this is not a song of the day, since I featured "Lady Be Good" on---believe it or not---November 30, 2006 (where I referred to this Sass-Mel duet!), the very date (yesterday) that I shared with my friend one of the lyrics to the song. But for those who have never heard or seen this wonderful duet, check it out on YouTube [YouTube link]. If for nothing else, you will see on display the pure joy of two giants trading in a currency unique to them, which can be appreciated by anyone who trades in the universality of music.