Just Became Aware of Marilia Vargas This Morning…

Marilia Vargas singing Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilerias No. 5. To listen is to breathe more deeply, it is that affecting. Vargas’ voice strikes me as alternative, faithful yet modern, and I’m not even sure yet how so. Something in her expressiveness that is as open to the concert hall as the corner food mart, as if she wants that voice to leap over the seats to the street, bypassing the turgid conceits of the classical/pop bin.

Marilia Vargas sings “Et Incarnatus Est” from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. An unabashed, unembarrassed joyous marriage of the sacred and mundane in this beautiful, even mesmerizing, performance by Vargas. And though I feel compelled to say that the wonderful performance makes up for the poor quality of the audience member recording, I actually enjoyed it just as it is.

Vargas’ styling and sense of presence make me feel as though I’m in Mozart’s head listening as he realized the music, that this is how it came to him, this is how he meant it to be. This is how it was before performed.

They stood at the river, waiting for Colonel Bruce Hampton to pick them up and carry them to the other side

“…in Hoogie Boogie Land there is no war, there is no hate, can you relate? So take us Sparky. Take us where we want to be.”

And then, of course, you will want to watch the interview.

“Stop that,” the Colonel said, and rode on, exhibiting only a trace of embarrassment.

(Actually, one of the more brilliant theatrical music performances I’ve ever witnessed was a rambling Bruce Hamptonthon at the Moonshadow with the Late Bronze Age. Jerry Fields, Ricky Keller, Bill Hatcher. And Bruce pontificating. Marty remembers he was laying on the floor laughing and Jerry Fields ended up at our table, doubled over, he was laughing so hard. And I was laughing so hard that I accidentally set my shirt on fire with an unnoticed cigarette ash. I doused myself and no one was the wiser.)

Update: Ooops. It occurs to me that you may not look at the Youtube pages and see the videos are for a band called Complete. Nothing to do with Bruce. I was just free associating.

Mean Mister Mustard-Polythene Pam-She Came in Through the Bathroom Window and You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away – covers by Catastrophic Audio

The last of the circa 1995 messy unauthorized covers, by Catastrophic Audio, of Beatles tunes.

Particularly bodacious, messy, and best listened to aggravatingly loud…

#11. Mean Mister Mustard – Polythene Pam – She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.

And lastly (always better than last)…

#12. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.

Vocals by me. Instrumentation and engineering by Marty. Co-produced by Marty and me.

The previous Unauthorized Messy Covers are under the “The Unauthorized Cover” category.

The Night Before – another Catastrophic Audio cover

Wasn’t going to post this one but Marty convinced me to. I like the chorus but when I hear what else I did to it, especially at the end there, I feel like our ever reincarnating cockroach, Fred, scuttling as the light hits. Except for last night, finally caught in the bathroom, on the rug before the sink. “Mom, it’s Fred! I don’t think he’s feeling very good! He’s not moving!” He wasn’t moving but was still quite alive, too easy to kill, and left a mess on the rug. Anyway, out of my mouth belched certain sounds on this tune that I would have preferred not be preserved but here they are. I don’t know why I didn’t slash them out of the mix way back when. At the time I must have been kind of proud of those urps.

#10. The Night Before.

Vocals by me. Instrumentation and engineering by Marty. Co-produced by Marty and me.

The previous Unauthorized Messy Covers are under the “The Unauthorized Cover” category.

Continue reading The Night Before – another Catastrophic Audio cover

You Can’t Do That and Things We Said Today – covers by Catastrophic Audio

More messy unauthorized covers, by Catastrophic Audio, of Beatles tunes.

#8. You Can’t Do That.

#9. Things We Said Today.

Vocals by me. Instrumentation and engineering by Marty. Co-produced by Marty and me.

The previous Unauthorized Messy Covers are under the “The Unauthorized Cover” category. I’ve been saying they’re from 1997 but that was just careless of me. They’re circa 1995 instead.

I will next post Mean Mister. Mustard-Polythene Pam-She Came in Through the Bathroom Window and You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Which will be the last from this batch, I think, though I’ve two more.

Have another set of recordings from earlier, circa 1993, that we’ll perhaps transfer next week.

"We Can Work it Out" (and new conversion of "Revolution" to mp3), Unauthorized Messy Covers by Catastrophic Audio

I finished the conversions last night of this particular batch of the Unauthorized Messy Covers by Catastrophic Audio (me and Marty) that we did in 1997 and will be putting them up over the next couple of days.

#7. We Can Work It Out.

The above is particularly messy.

Vocals by me. All instrumentation by Marty. Engineered by him and co-produced by Marty and me.

#1. Revolution.

“Revolution” I did have up as a ram file and now have up mp3.

The previous Unauthorized Messy Covers from 1997 are under the “The Unauthorized Cover” category and include Baby’s in Black, She Said She Said, Helter Skelter, Gimme Some Truth, and Happiness is a Warm Gun.

Another Unauthorized Messy Cover Song by Catastrophic Audio – Baby’s in Black

Another Unauthorized Messy Cover by Catastrophic Audio. (Been a while since I’ve posted one of these.)

#6. Baby’s in Black.

Vocals by me. All instrumentation by Marty. Engineered by him and co-produced by Marty and me. Recorded 1997.

The previous Unauthorized Messy Covers are under the “The Unauthorized Cover” category and include She Said She Said, Helter Skelter, Gimme Some Truth, Happiness is a Warm Gun and Revolution.

I may as well put them all up. Have several more.

Slings, Arrows and Eggs

H.o.p. had a busy Saturday and Sunday at Atlanta’s Jazz Festival with his dad, seeing Jaspects and Julie Dexter, Airto and Flora Purim, and Bobby Hutcherson. I didn’t go along as I was otherwise occupied, but they had a great time and H.o.p. ran and ran and ran and ran and came home complaining about how sweaty he was.

Later we sat down to attempt to memorize the “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy. Why? I don’t know why as we’re not Shakespeare nuts here, but the other night H.o.p. announced that he wanted to learn it. Which means teaching him what it means.

And so we got to work.

H.o.p. began, “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler, in the mind, to suffer a series of unfortunate events…”

Yes, yes, much like that, but it’s not quite right, H.o.p. Though that’s a good substitute and I like it very much.

H.o.p. began, “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler, in the mind, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and the unfortunate egg…”

And he drops a plastic egg on my head, laughing uncontrollably and pleased with his sense of humor.

So was I, to tell the truth. But not after the tenth time.

“To be or not to be. The end!” and he flung himself on the ground, again pleased with his sense of humor.

Eventually, he was able to learn the first several lines.

“It has a lot of exclamation points,” he remarked.

And the occasional, unfortunate egg.

An awful mess

Good griefinicious, there lies my brain, on the floor, all drippy puddled and entreating me to try to mold it so it has some measure of coherence again. But it ain’t happening. When I nudge it, all I’m getting are little burps of H.o.p.’s computer game music. Oops, now it spits out anxious images of dismal global-warming futures then resettles in a mess on the floor. More computer game music burps. I stomp it.

“Need coffee,” it says.

“You are beyond caffeine resuscitation.”

“I hear the kettle’s whine. Get coffee.”

“You need something, but whatever it is is beyond my power, seeing as how you are lying in a mess on the floor, leaving me witless.”

“Quit stomping me and get that coffee.”

“No. Get up and exercise, damn you. Work it!”

“Caffeine! Music! Some John Coltrane. How about John Coltrane?”

“Everyone’s asleep but me, resting up after the past week’s exertions. The apartment steeps in dreamy silence. I don’t want to wake them up.”


“OK. How about this?”

Listen to Coltrane.

Not good. Takes over three minutes for my brain to start moving at all.

And it woke Marty. He’s not ready for Coltrane so I say what else and we volley it for a few minutes, he keeps saying no no listen to what you’re listening to that’s fine, if you want to listen to Coltrane go ahead, and I keep saying no come on I’m not sold right now, what else.

How about some Art Blakey.

I listen to Blakey.

Damn, not doing it for me this morning. Which is bad.

Bill Evans? Fish around and find “Waltz for Debby”.

While “Waltz for Debby” plays, I’ll get the dust pan and shovel my brain up off the floor, flog it with some coffee and see if I can get its electric self remotely registering again on the voltage meter. But I can see this is going to take some time.

(Time passes.)

H.o.p. (from the bedroom): OK, dad! I’m getting up!

Me: Your dad’s taking a shower right now!

H.o.p.: But…

(Time passes.)

“But what?” I’m thinking. “But what?”

(Time passes.)

Me: But what?!

(Time passes.)

H.o.p. is up and munching gummy vitamins while I listen to a Danish guy announce Monica Zetterlund and Bill Evans, “Once Upon a Summertime”.

Wasn’t thrilled with that selection.

Dum de dum.

OK, here we go. Yo Yo Ma and the Sesame Street Honkers.

(More time passes.)

(Quite a lot more time passes.)

What can I say? Nothing’s working. I’m at a loss…

Plug for the Dappled Grays

Like Bluegrass and Texas Swing? Marty recorded the “Dappled Grays” in the fall and their CD, “Doin’ My Job” is now out.

Here’s their website.

And here’s their Myspace page.

You can hear tunes at either.

I didn’t hear any of it until this morning and it’s some really fine music. If I wasn’t so allergied out then I would have been dancing some Texas Swing, even though I don’t know how to dance Texas Swing. Leah Calvert, the female singer, has a beautiful, sweet voice.

Marty dropped by their CD release party at Eddie’s Attic on Friday night. They’re a band that not only sounds good and has nice people and produced no studio horror stories (not that one wishes for no entertaining horror stories), but sounds the same live as they do in the studio.

The Dappled Grays’ website has a nice description of them and their history written by Andy Carlson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Music at Denison University.

The CD was mixed by Bill Wolf, who is famous in the world of Blue Grass music. He’s mixed all of Tony Rice’s albums.

H.o.p. is glad to have the CD. He became addicted to Blue Grass back in the fall, listening to XM radio, already influenced in that direction by some old Doc Watson and Tony Rice and Sam Bush he’d heard.

Update: I’m sitting here remarking on how much I like “Put You in My Pocket”, a song Leah wrote, and I now hear that they are a must to see live if only for Leah’s rendition of “I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates”, which apparently is provocative enough that her father said he’d prefer it if she never sang it again.

H.o.p. asks "What's your most embarrassing moment"

H.o.p. is wanting to know things like “What’s your most embarrassing moment” and by this he means two or three dozen. As my whole life is an embarrassment I was unable to make a selection. But the co-adult is less tragic and does have a segment that he has always related as “most embarrassing”.

He was about 21 years of age and was playing in Augusta with a band that had toured opening up for James Brown. I remember the incident as having happened a few years later than 1977 but he insists it was when he was 21. I remember the club as having a back room with a couple of arcade games that were more late 70s or early 80s than mid 70s, but there were a lot of clubs and it gets fuzzy. Considering the line-up of musicians it may have been as early as co-adult says it was and I do have a hard time imagining my spouse with a few more years on him being this stupid. And I should note that co-adult had so embarrassed himself it was a while before he told me this story, which is probably why I remember all this as being later. Anyway, they were playing a house gig at a club owned by a friend of The James Brown, Godfather of Soul. The club wasn’t doing very well and trying to boost it and help his friend, James Brown often came in and performed with the band.

Co-adult was young, by far the youngest guy in the band, James Brown was one of his big heroes and co-adult was so in awe of James Brown that he couldn’t bring himself to speak to him, which the bass player noted and asked why and co-adult explained this to him. Co-adult said James Brown was an easy guy to talk to and if he was nervous about it then go with a mission, ask him what song he wanted to sing.

Which co-adult did. During the break, he went over to James Brown and asked him what song he’d like to be singing next.

James Brown smiled and said he thought he’d like to do, “Try Me”, a hit from 1958.

Co-adult knew nearly all these tunes, but his brain had shut down. Had he been on stage and they’d started the song, no problem, but standing in the presence of the Godfather of Soul he lost all memory. He said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Brown, but I don’t know that song.”

James Brown smiled and said well, then how about “Please, Please, Please”, another 50s song.

Co-adult again found his brain a blank, and apparently determined that he should profoundly embarrass himself as penance, said, “Mr. Brown, I’m sorry but I’m way too young to know any of that old shit.”

James Brown smiled and said that was all right, how about “Poppa’s Got A Brand New Bag”. Having properly humiliated himself, co-adult regained his memory and that’s the end of that story. I suppose if you’re not a musician you might not be properly appalled but whenever I hear the story, though I snicker in appreciation of co-adult being properly embarrassed all these years by that moment, I can’t kick the sensation of ants crawling all over, nipping at me painfully.

Turns out we haven’t properly educated H.o.p. He used to love one of James Brown’s albums when he was a tiny tot, but it’s been a while, and he asked, “Who’s James Brown?” Talk about cringing in embarrassment of having failed to do one’s duty! For which reason we now have some new James Brown CDs and I’ve been showing him some of the performances archived on Youtube, such as the below “Please, Please, Please”.

If you’re not screaming and pulled out of your seat by the middle of this performance, there’s no redeeming you.

The music for the day was Arvo Part’s "Miserere"

For a few minutes yesterday AM H.o.p. woke up saying he was sick, something about his chest hurting etc. and fell back to sleep. Marty was worried. But on Saturday at acting class the regular teacher wasn’t there as she was sick and I’ve heard a lot about “sick” going around and I figured that H.o.p. was getting a cold (hopefully, and not the flu) and this was the first vague symptom (like his mom, irrelevance comes naturally to him)…plus his conking back out for hours was a good clue that the little boy wasn’t up to par. What it meant though was we didn’t make the couple hour drive to Marty’s mother’s for her birthday and that H.o.p.’s Uncle David went on alone. And H.o.p. stayed conked out and stayed conked out and stayed conked out and then was suddenly up and feeling quite good and then was quickly conked out again and then was up and bright again and then was conked out again.

And now here I sit in my red, black and white cotton penguin jammies (not plush though) with a Tazmanian Devil cup of Throat Coat with honey and a big roll of white toilet tissue (have a 6 pack so don’t have to worry about running out) from which I keep peeling sheets, whittling it down quickly, blowing mountains of goo out of my head (believe me, this is not unexpected, after the way I was feeling and sounding earlier today) and H.o.p. is feeling better than he was yesterday in that the cold has now focused itself where it belongs, in his head, and he has been in baby bear fashion helping momma bear whittle down the toilet paper roll not quite twice as fast as his head cold is thankfully not as gooey, but is made up for with dramatics such as when he qoke up today with a plaintive wail of, “Help me!” followed by, “I want Tylenol!”

“I’m having sinus problems!” he complained.

“You’ve got a cold,” I said.

“Oh.” Toilet tissue jammed up his nose. “It’s my allergies,” he said, resistant. He hates allergies (he’s got them, like his mom) but he’ll take them any day of the week over a cold.

Yes, the observant note that H.o.p. has toilet tissues as well, whereas I’m making do with toilet paper that’s not newsprint ready but will still leave me with a roughened nose eventually. That’s because…well, I don’t know why. But H.o.p.’s got the few remaining, coveted sheets because I’m too lazy to go over and bully him over it and take them from him.

He could tell earlier today I was getting sick too. Mom not being able to speak was a good indication. Because I couldn’t speak he did sign language for “I love you” hoping that it would make me feel better. Because I couldn’t speak and he was feeling better than I was, what this mainly meant to H.o.p. was that we did no spelling or math or anything else today, and we will likely not be tomorrow, and he was smart enough to hide his pleasure over this behind sympathy and hugs. As he told his dad, “I don’t want to make her feel any worse.”

Now I’m trying to figure out what medicine I want with this cold. Like I have any choices sitting around in my cabinets. I thought I did have some Tylenol Cold medicine but can’t find it. I may have thrown it out since anything that is Tylenol and for sinus or cold and is a white caplet makes me ill. The yellow caplets are fine but the white ones upset my stomach. Oh, wait, here I have two white caplets of Tylenol cold medicine left over from last year which escaped being thrown away. Good, I will now take them and risk the upset stomach.

OK, so I took the Tylenol cold caplets that on better days have a gag-me saccharine bite to them that reminds actually a good deal of why I resort to Throat Coat as a last resort as well, and I remember distinctly now how I felt the last time I took this stuff, like someone was thrusting fizzy balloons up my sinuses and calling it delightful and head-clearing and soothing when in fact it’s discombobulating hell that has the rest of my unsettled body wondering where went my head and unable to interpret the world and how to act without it…AHCHOO…excuse me, so sorry, while I discharge another 30 pounds of goo. Then I burp, because this stuff makes me burp. “Poor you,” H.o.p. says.

Update: It’s later and I’m drowning my sorrows in a bar of dark chocolate. AHCHOO! More tissue. More chocolate. This is our first bonafide major snotty cold of the season and I’m actually pretty pleased about that.

What music did H.o.p. choose for the day? Arvo Part’s “Miserere”. He does have a broad range of tastes, that kid does.