With curious enquiry we see the derivation of Harmony from the Greek Harmonia meaning joint agreement. The contrasted elements of higher and lower notes. It is the simultaneous soundings of notes. In pure parlance western music is based on major and minor chords.
To the untrained but keen ear we simply hear music of great beauty, whether it be from the fields of the deep south of America or the simple pureness of a choir. From the electronic signal to the heavy reverb and rifts of classic tracks, it is the contrast of such harmonies that draws us to the very spirit of humanity.
Music in whatever form joins the union of our souls and spirit. It is the coming together a shared experience that bond which marks our progress. Dedication to this art above all else is as a chord within which sounds aloud.
With utter pride, honour and much bewilderment let me express my great thanks to Flying@frankiescar who has so kindly invited me to blog jointly with 5 songs. I am much indebted to his generosity.
This is a truly wonderful joint agreement with much stunning harmony. Rejoice in the contrasts of our art. Let it sound for all to hear.
Res Ipsa Loquitur (the facts speak for themselves)
1 The Five Blind Boys of Alabama Too close to Heaven
Hailing fromTalladega,Alabamaand formed in 1939, a truly remarkable gospel group. This is music of such purity and emotion. There is little to compare to the harmony and beauty found. Standing in a room many years ago. A makeshift stage as those men stood before us. Hearing those voices for the first time. That feeling of utter devotion to the human voice and the notion that music can change your very being. Here is harmony beyond ever dreamt.
2 Murvin Junior Smith Police and Thieves
All the crowd comes in day by day
No one try to stop it in anyway
All the peacemaker turn war officer
Hear what I say
A masterpiece of social commentary and rhythm. As everIslandRecords at the forefront of music boundaries at a time when the nation sang to a very different beat.
Produced by the legendary Lee scratch Perry. For many of my generation this was an introduction to Reggae. Junior Murvin the Jamaican star released this song in 1976 with an album of the same name the following year. Mr. Strummer et al covering this glorious song.
A stunning simple melody built around the traditional skank rhythm much copied rarely bettered.
3 Thin Lizzy Whiskey in the Jar
As I was going’ over the Cork and Kerry mountains
I saw Captain Farrell and his money he was counting
I first produced my pistol and I then produced my rapier
I said stand or deliver or the devil he may take ya
Far from home sitting in a bar late one night. Warm air and the anticipation of adventure. A band playing covers washing over the audience. A piercing guitar rift and at once a fascination. That instant recognition of a Gaelic rhythm.
Mr. Lynott’s voice so distinctive and rich. This track is driven by the muted guitar. Simple production as ever delivers a ballad of intrigue of beauty. The images of Chorcaí and Chiarraí fixed firmly in the listeners mind.
This is a track of epic landscape. Much akin to my beloved band from Fife. Behold a band without typical constraints who no doubt led the way for another famous band from Baile Átha Cliath . That this song was released in 1972 is truly groundbreaking.
4 The Skids Charade
The band still played
through the interval
Candle lit but the room was still
while two men dealt amongst the chill
From my beloved Kingdom a band whose art was never truly understood and appreciated. Songs of such intense emotion allied to lyrics of such depth and reason.
Driven by the guitar of the late brilliant Mr. Adamson. We hear at once the nucleus of my band developing. Mr. Jobson delivering breathtaking crafted words.
Released in 1979 not the obvious track for the alternative movement. The call and response worked into a driven track with rich production so unique for the period.
5 The Cure Plainsong
Sometimes you make me feel like I’m living at the edge of the world, like I’m living at the edge of the world.
“It’s just the way I smile,” you said
Taken from the album Disintegration. Very rarely does a band release an album late in their career which captures a sound and vision so intense. It broods and threatens with such vision.
Plainsong opens the album and clearly sets the scene. A song with such motion to reflect a fractured mood. Mr. Smith delivers a stripped vocal so anguished. Beauty within such rare talent.
The production of this album sets it apart and defines a stark landscape. It is impossible to pick just one track from this unique masterpiece.
The harmony of music is as diverse as nations as rich as nature. If you hear the pureness of sound among the ravages of existence your heart will be free.
As with all Joint Ventures each party brings something different but of equal value to the partnership, In this one, Anis has the writing skills and musical taste and I am the support act!
So, I was extremely lucky to go to America very early in my life, it was a place I had been fascinated with from a very early age and aged 21 off I went to California, first class no less! It was all I expected to be and more, this was 1977 and LA was the place to be.
This was the height of the California Soft Rock Vibe and it has been my all time favourite form ever since. I can still remember being in a car going down Sunset Boulevard with this song playing on the radio.
I have always loved good guitar and no one did it better than The Eagles on this track, the sound washes over me and takes me back to that place every time I hear it.
It was the anniversary of the death of John Lennon on the 8th and I found out that I was not the only person who was devastated by the news of his death John Storer had to take the day off as well, the influence he had on music cannot be over stated.
This next track is my personal favourite and is one of the few tracks that all the instruments were played by John or Paul, I read a tweet on the 8th from someone who said if John was alive today he would be spending his time laughing at the Frog Corus and I had to say that I didn’t think he would, Lennon was a true muso he may not have liked it (Not Mcartneys finest work but in the words of Michael Caine “If you have a high standard of living you sometimes have to make a low standard of film!) but Lennon was a kind man, most of the time.
This track provides proof (if it was needed) that Ringo was not the best drummer in the Beatles!
I discovered New York in the 70’s and 80’s and it was an experience like nothing I had experienced before or since, it is my favourite place on the planet and Legalblonde and I spent some of our happiest times there, I have never had a bad time in NYC and I know I never will. I saw this next artist there a couple of times, he was a friend of Lennon’s and I have always loved everything he ever did, this is his most well known track but if you haven’t heard the rest of his music you should check it out.
Like Lennon he was at heart a poet and that shows in the lyrics of his music.
I was living in California for a while and this next band had hit after hit while I was there. Some may say cheese but I don’t care (I can hear you Jools!) I simply love it, the guitar work is outstanding. Once again there is a lot of great music from them that maybe you haven’t heard and I can only say you are missing out if you haven’t.
This one takes me right back to California, rolling down Pacific Coast Highway in an open top with the sun shining and the music playing, just bliss!
The final track today is another which just washes over me and makes me think of where I was when I first heard it and I shall share that with you,
I first heard this track in a club in London with some friends and we were on our way out, it was during a phase I like to think of as my “playboy” time! Clubs, Casino’s and other things best left in the past but damn we had a good time! Age is great way of calming down and getting sensible……and sometimes we even do it !
If you’ve stuck with us to the end, thank you and my thanks to Anis for this joint effort.
Sadly Artists die but the music never does play it often and play it loud.
It is all about the Music !
Have a great Sunday!