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Archive for the ‘music crushes’ Category

wildair

via The Wheatfield

Ah, summer! Time to step away from the stove and laptop, relax, and stay cool.

Mr. Cornelius, 50-something Paddingtons, and I are looking forward to ice cream sundaes, fresh peach pie, reading trashy novels mind-enriching classics, growing basil, hanging out with relatives, tickling the ivories, and shopping for cool things.

Before we sign off for a bit, wanted to share this interesting video of former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins interviewing Sir Paul McCartney at Rollins College last October. They discuss early academic influences (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats), songwriting, poetry, celebrity, and much more. Paul shares a few naughty bits from Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale” and sings “Blackbird” at the end.

photo by Scott Cook

I especially enjoyed hearing how the Beatles honed their craft, how John’s snarkiness complemented Paul’s optimism when it came to writing songs. Paul hasn’t lost any of his boyish charm or good looks, remains humble and grounded, and it was nice to know that had he not become a musician, he might have tried his hand at teaching English. :)

Can you imagine walking into class on the first day of school and seeing Paul as your teacher??!!! SCREAM.

The video is about an hour long, so you might want to bookmark this post and come back later when you have enough time to get nice and comfy, sip a tall glass of iced tea, and enjoy the meeting of two brilliant minds. The students in the video remain amazingly calm throughout. If I ever found myself in the same room with both Billy and Paul, I’d probably faint dead away. Just sayin’.

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The cute Beatle is 73 years old today!

 

paultea2

“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.”

"So, if I'm cooking, I'll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff."

“So, if I’m cooking, I’ll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff.”

"But you know, as a kid I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp."

“But you know, as a kid I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAUL!

Will you play us out?
(What a voice, what a face, what a song!)

 

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“I think of myself as a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I’ll die like a poet.” (Bob Dylan)

Just as he’s done for more than five decades, Bob Dylan is still releasing new albums (the latest is “Shadows in the Night,” a mellow collection of standards recorded live with his five-piece band), performing around the world with his Never Ending Tour, and receiving more honors and accolades (2015 MusiCares Person of the Year).

To promote “Shadows in the Night” he gave only one interview — to AARP Magazine, where he discussed his creative process and influences, revealing that he’s a big Shakespeare fan, and had he not become “Bob Dylan,” he would have liked to have been “a schoolteacher of Roman history or theology.”

When receiving his MusiCares award, he delivered a riveting acceptance speech crediting his sources of inspiration, thanking his various and sundry supporters, and even confronting his detractors. To those who would criticize his singing voice, he reminded them of what Sam Cooke said when told he had a beautiful voice:

Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.

The voice of our generation — plain, real, everyman — endures. We need to hear and will always value the hard truths good poets tell.

Enjoy this bountiful three-course feast honoring Bob, who’ll turn 74 on Sunday, May 24. :)

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photo by John Cohen (1970)

Throw me a bone: we’re going to the dogs today in honor of Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday tomorrow. Ruff!

So, am I the only Dylan fan who’d never heard “If Dogs Run Free”? A 50’s beatnik send-up embellished with Al Kooper’s jazzy piano riffs and Maeretha Stewart’s sassy scat-singing, this oddsauce number was included on Dylan’s album NEW MORNING (1970).

Actually it’s kind of silly to call anything the Archbishop of Anarchy has done “odd,” given his penchant for innovation, reinvention and doing whatever he durn well pleases. Yet this one is indeed unlike anything else in his vast catalog of 600+ songs. It’s spoken word, very Jack Kerouac, black berets, smoky coffee house. It’s so laid back you end up in front.

Hear for yourself:

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IF DOGS RUN FREE

If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That’s what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you’ll be king
If dogs run free

If dogs run free, why not me
Across the swamp of time?
My mind weaves a symphony
And tapestry of rhyme
Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee
So it may flow and be
To each his own, it’s all unknown
If dogs run free

If dogs run free, then what must be
Must be, and that is all
True love can make a blade of grass
Stand up straight and tall
In harmony with the cosmic sea
True love needs no company
It can cure the soul, it can make it whole
If dogs run free

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*finger snaps*

 So deep, Daddy-O.

 

And there’s more. This song was recently made into a picture book illustrated by Scott Campbell, who took the “kids love dogs” theme and ran amok with an animated visual narrative. Celebrating the free-spirited joys of childhood and championing fearless individuality, there’s not a beatnik or beret in sight — just lots and LOTS of dogs.

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“One of my biggest thrills for me still is sitting down with a guitar or a piano and just out of nowhere trying to make a song happen.” ~ Paul McCartney

Ribbet collage paulSir James Paul McCartney (my other secret husband) is 71 years old today!

He’s still one of the most well preserved classic rockers out there. Can’t get enough of his boyish good looks and irresistible charm. Plus, he makes good mashed potatoes. :)

Despite having been a member of the greatest rock band ever, and now described by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the most successful composer and recording artist of all time,” (wow) he seems remarkably down to earth. Paul just keeps on doing what he loves and we love him all the more for it.

Did you see him on Stephen Colbert last week? A little cheeky and always quick on the draw.

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Macca is the wealthiest musician in the UK (and probably the world); as of this year, his net worth is estimated in excess of £680 million. Not bad for a lad from Liverpool with a modest working class background. In this interesting BBC Radio 4 interview with Sheila Dillon, he talks about being raised on traditional meat and potatoes meals. His mother served Yorkshire Pudding as a dessert (with Golden Syrup), and the Sunday roast was the highlight of the week.

He enjoyed the usual chops and liver but drew the line at tongue, a cheap alternative to meat in those days of rationing. Can’t blame him in the least. As he says, “It’s a tongue!” Ewwww.

Ribbet collage lpaul 2

While touring with the Beatles, food was basically fuel. He remembers huge steaks drooping over the edge of the plate and thinking how Americans always like to do things “big.”

Though he was introduced to vegetarianism in the 60’s while studying meditation in India, it wasn’t until he met Linda that he adopted it as a lifestyle, initially because of his compassion for animals. Over the years, his commitment to a meat-free diet intensified as he learned more about its health benefits and the detrimental effects of livestock production on the environment. These days he passionately campaigns for animal rights, using his fame to help spread the word about how greenhouse gas emissions impact climate change.

paul's kitchen

The McCartney kitchen at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, is now maintained by the National Trust.

I like looking at the humble kitchen at 20 Forthlin Road, imagining 15-year-old Paul eating beans on toast or sausages for tea and writing songs with the Quarrymen, never dreaming where his life’s journey would take him.

Other things I love about Paul:

  • Sometimes, just for fun, he uses the pseudonym “Apollo C. Vermouth”
  • He wrote “Yesterday,” the most covered song in history (3000+ recorded versions)
  • He had a rare and genuine-for-real, 29-year enduring marriage to Linda, the love of his life
  • He’s a firm believer in family life and never spoiled his children, wanting them above all to be people with good hearts
  • He’s also a painter and a poet
  • He can’t read music and is largely self-taught, a natural-born instinctual artist
  • He’s considered one of the most generous musicians in the world, having contributed millions of pounds to various charities
  • He wrote beautifully lyrical love songs inspired by his real-life muses: “And I Love Her,” “You Won’t See Me,” “I’m Looking Through You, “Here, There and Everywhere,” “For No One” (Jane Asher), “Two of Us,” “I Will,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “My Love” (Linda McCartney)
  • “Blackbird” is his favorite song, and it’s mine too :)

Lookin’ good in Melbourne, Australia, 1975:

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To celebrate his birthday, I made the Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe included in The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2012), which Paul launched with his daughters Stella and Mary. It was nice to get a quick chocolate fix made with ingredients I already had on hand. It turned out to be more like a cakey brownie with a moist fudgy layer on the bottom. Yum!

IMG_0785

EASY CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE 
(adapted from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
7 tablespoons melted butter
2 organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons organic milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 1-quart baking dish.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the baking powder, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 cup sugar. Make a well in the center, pour in the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and organic milk, and beat until well combined.

Stir in the chopped pecans, and pour into the prepared pan. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and hot water. Stir well and pour over the cake batter.

Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. During baking, the cake will rise to the top and underneath there will be a delicious chocolate sauce. Serve hot with cream.

Serves 4.

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Here’s Paul to sing us out with “Birthday” from The Colbert Report. The song was written mostly by Paul in the Apple Studios 6 days before Linda’s 26th birthday.

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mccartneys

Paul with daughters Mary and Stella

♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MACCA! ♥

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Copyright ©2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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