… just swamped by waves of gradeapalooza, but I maintain hope for next weekend. The scheduling gods have smiled upon me, allowing me to get my finals out of the way on this coming Thursday, so I hope to have the decks clear by Sunday or Monday.
A couple of quick observations in the meantime:
I marked National Record Store Day by grabbing a 2-CD collection of the Animals’ singles, both during their bluesy years of the British Invasion and the later, more psychedelic (and goofier) late 60s stint as Eric Burdon’s backing band. Having listened to Disc 1 several times already, I’m struck by the relative length of the tracks (“House of the Rising Sun” comes in over 4 minutes — in 1964), and the intensity of the band on the Mickie Most-produced tracks. While I don’t know how much of the performance is the actual band, or whether Most brought in hired guns (as he was apt to do), the sheer ferocity of performance — especially Burdon’s snarling baritone — knocks pre-Yardbirds British R&B out of the park (and yes, I’m including the Stones in that estimate). I’m convinced that the folks who asked the tedious question, “Can white men sing the blues?” must not have listened to those early singles.
In a more serious vein, last night I joined an array of colleagues, friends, students, alumni, and other community members for a memorial service for Sally Cherrington Beggs. The musical performances were of the first water, as befits the send-off for a professor of music. As I spoke to her husband (and my colleague) Mike last night, I told him it was a beautiful service, and he smiled and said that Sally had picked all of it out. By contrast, a few days ago, I was teaching Heart of Darkness, and discussed Marlow’s fear that at the end of his life, he might not have anything to say. Sally did have something to say, from the passages of Scripture she chose to the postlude of Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” The last, I found humbly ironic — Sally was an uncommon woman, and worthy of the praise that was offered last night. I can only hope that when my time comes, if I have the chance, that I have something to say as well. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.
And with that, I’ll see you the next time I come up for air.