“Feeling Good” was the first Nina Simone song I heard.
I was 31, recently divorced, and I needed to find her. Her recordings became a frequent companion. Nina Simone gave me the sound of her soul — as an activist, as a woman want of love, full of wit, and hardened by pain. She deserves to be celebrated.
Tom Waits sings “Shenandoah” with Keith Richards. Classic.
As Open Culture describes it, the song is part of a sea shanty tsunami:
“In 2006, Anti- Records, home of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Neko Case, Kate Bush (and so many more favorites of mine, this list is already too long), published the tons-of-fun compilation Rogue’s Gallery, a selection of sea shanties and pirate songs as interpreted by an ensemble of luminaries from the pop, indie, and folk worlds. The two-CD, forty-three track release is available on YouTube (I’d recommend Nick Cave’s “Fire Down Below,” but he’s an old hand at this kind of thing).
We revive the too-long-dormant Tuesday evening melody with these haunting lyrics of The Long Wives, the solo project of Brandy St. John. The song is rather dark, the religious imagery visceral, and somehow I find some sustenance in its beauty:
They’re fighting in the streets They’re fighting on the TV Did you learn to make a fist Before you learned to speak? And did you cut your teeth a little too soon? The answer lies in your eyes It lies in our wounds
The violence of man The violence of the beast The violence in your heart Your violence for me And the blood it runs And the blood it runs And the blood it runs by
The master comes to eat The blood and the body Now he’s full of Christ And the life of the party He has a gun for you, he has a gun for me He just asks that we all send him some money All he really needs is a little more money…
Another musical legend has passed away. The sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. A spiritual and musical guru to many Western seekers, most famously George Harrison of the Beatles, he was also a teacher and a father. I think I’d like to best remember him as just that. Here he is instructing, improvising, jamming with his daughter Anoushka Shankar.
Loved Krista’s interview with her way back in 2003!
For so many Christians, this song was sung and played this past weekend on the first Sunday of Advent. But I’m going to guess that very few church services featured such a stirring pairing of piano and cello.