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Song Lyric Sunday – k.d. Lang

This week we have another prompt that is very different, that being using a song that features a Canadian artist or group.


I am still reeling over the death of Justice Ginsburg. I feel profoundly for her family. It must be difficult to grieve the loss when so many people have reverted to their most base desires for power and control. This is the sad statement about living a life in the public eye – your personal life is second.

My thoughts went to k.d. lang, a Canadian artist with a hauntingly beautiful voice. She wrote the song “Constant Craving” with Ben Mink. In an interview with NPR, she said of “Constant Craving”:

It’s an acquiescence. It’s a summation of human desire. It’s like yes, OK, we all are heartbroken. We’re all nervous. We’re all vulnerable. We’re all hopeful, but at the end of the day, constant craving has always been.

This is how I am feeling right now. Listening to this song has given me a sense of peace for yet another circumstance in 2020 that I have no control over.

According to Songfacts k.d. lang said “Constant Craving” is about Shambhala. From Atlanta.Shambhla.org:

Shambhala is about the inherent wisdom, compassion, and courage of all beings, and even of human society- our fundamental nature. We can acknowledge our inherent human dignity, worthiness, completeness and non-faultiness, and have confidence in that. These can be the foundational principles for society. They are the potential for enlightened society. In this tradition enlightened society is not a Utopian state, but it is a society that has enough confidence and trust to acknowledge humanity’s most innate principle: basic goodness.

Sounds like the types of things Justice Ginsburg was passionate about.

k.d.lang came out in 1992. As a result, some radio stations stopped playing her music. (I read there was a protest against her at the 1992 Grammy Awards, but I have had difficulty verifying.) Justice Ginsburg was a champion for LGBTQ rights in this country. She was the first Supreme Court Justice to conduct a same sex marriage. I find parallels here.

Constant Craving
lyrics from Songfacts.com

Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin

Constant craving
Has always been

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth

Constant craving
Has always been

Craving
Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been
Has always been

Constant craving
Has always been
Constant craving
Has always been

Craving
Ah ha
Constant craving
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been
Has always been


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Head over to Jim Adams blog to check out the rules and read some of the great responses to the weekly prompt.

Blog, SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Nina Simone


Welcome back to Song Lyric Sunday. I took a break last Sunday, but I am back this week to share one of my favorite songs, especially because the prompt this week was my suggestion. Jim’s description of the prompt is:

This week we have another prompt that is very different, that being using a song that features a contrast in it.  This prompt was suggested by Maggie From Cave Walls and she said that she will be showing up “with the proverbial bells on – in contrasting colors of course!”  Everybody needs to look for a song that features lyrics that include stuff like females and males, loud vs. silent, wet vs. dry, or hot vs. cold, Coke vs. Pepsi, war and peace, love and hate, bad and good or the Moon and Sun.  I think this will be fun for everyone.


Nina Simone was born in a small town in North Carolina and it just so happens to be the town in which we bought our retirement home. There is area downtown which houses a statue of her (photos at the end of the post). Recently, the house she was born in made the news when four artists pulled together the money to buy the house and it is now in the process of being restored and preserved.

Nina Simone started her music career in the Methodist churches where her mother was a minister. The song “Sinnerman” was often played urging members of the congregation to confess their sins and be saved.

“Sinnerman” or “Sinner Man” is an African American spiritual that seems to have derived from the lyrics of different songs over the course of time. The song is about trying to hide from our transgressions. It is the contrast between good and evil, heaven and hell — the temptations many have struggled with.

“Sinner Man” was first recorded in 1956 by the Les Baxter orchestra. The lead vocals performed by Will Holt, a talented singer/lyricist from Portland, Maine. On this recording, Holt is credited along with Baxter for writing the song, but that has been disputed. It has been recorded throughout the years by many different artists.

I chose to feature Nina Simone’s version. Ms. Eunice Kathleen Wayman was born in the town where I now live. She was a trained classical pianist and spent the summer of 1950 training at Juilliard preparing for application to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She was turned down feeling as if she was rejected because of her race. She began playing piano at the Midnight Bar & Grill in Atlantic City, NJ to help her pay for private classical lessons. There she was told she would also be required to sing. She changed her name to Nina Simone to hide what she was doing from her mother who would never approve of her playing this type of music.  (The contrast of good music and the devil’s music.)

Given the state of civil rights in our country today, I wanted to pay homage to her early voice in support of the Civil Rights Movement. (At one of her early concerts at the age of 12, her parents were made to sit in the back because they were black. She stood and said she refused to play if her parents (both ministers) could not sit in the front row.)

She wrote “Mississippi Goddam” in protest of the murder of Medgar Evers snd the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church where four young African American girls were killed. In 2019, the song was song was chosen by the Library of Congress to be included in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Nina Simone was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (contrasting periods of extreme highs and extreme lows) and she could be difficult to work with. She was bold and brash and opinionated based on the interviews I watched with her. She lived much of her life outside of the country because of the way black people were treated in this country and because of the way she felt the recording industry tried to take advantage of her.  There is so much about her that I could not do justice to. She led a fascinating and sometimes difficult life.

Sinnerman
Lyrics from songmeanings.com

Oh, sinnerman, where you gonna run to?
Sinnerman where you gonna run to?
Where you gonna run to?
All on that day
We got to run to the rock
Please hide me, I run to the rock
Please hide me, run to the rock
Please hide here
All on that day
But the rock cried out
I can’t hide you, the rock cried out
I can’t hide you, the rock cried out
I ain’t gonna hide you there
All on that day
I said rock
What’s the matter with you rock?
Don’t you see I need you, rock?
Good Lord, Lord
All on that day
So I run to the river
It was bleedin’, I run to the sea
It was bleedin’, I run to the sea
It was bleedin’, all on that day
So I run to the river
It was boilin’, I run to the sea
It was boilin’, I run to the sea
It was boilin’, all on that day

So I run to the Lord
Please hide me, Lord
Don’t you see me prayin’?
Don’t you see me down here prayin’?
But the Lord said
Go to the Devil, the Lord said
Go to the Devil
He said go to the Devil
All on that day
So I ran to the Devil
He was waitin’, I ran to the Devil
He was waitin’, ran to the Devil
He was waitin’, all on that day
I cried, power, power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)

Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Oh yeah
Well, I run to the river
It was boilin’, I run to the sea
It was boilin’, I run to the sea
It was boilin’, all on that day
So I ran to the Lord
I said Lord, hide me
Please hide me
Please help me, all on that day
He said, hide?
Where were you?
When you oughta have been prayin’
I said Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin’, Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin’, Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin’, all on that day
Sinnerman, you oughta be prayin’
Outghta be prayin’, sinnerman
Oughta be prayin’, all on that day

Up come power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
(Power, Lord)
Hold down (power, Lord)
Go down (power, Lord)
Kingdom (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Power (power, Lord)
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na-na

Woah, ho
Ha-ha-ha-ha
Ha-ha-ha-ha, oh Lord
Nu, nu, nu
No-no-no-no, ma-na-na-na-na, don’t you know I need you Lord?
Don’t you know that I need you?
Don’t you know that I need you?

Oh, Lord
Wait
Oh, Lord
Oh, Lord, Lord

Interview with Nina Simone

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Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Head over to Jim Adams blog to check out the rules and read some of the great responses to the weekly prompt.

Blog, SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Everybody Plays the Fool


Welcome back to Song Lyric Sunday.

This week we have some the more deviant, sinister, sordid, terrible, vicious words  Cruel / Evil / Horrible / Monster / Wicked, and hopefully everyone will be able to find a song that utilizes one of these prompt words in the title or in the lyrics.

I found a song I would not describe as deviant, sinister, sordid, terrible, or vicious.


“Everybody Plays the Fool” was written for country singer Charlie Pride by J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark, and Tim Williams. Pride decided the song was not ‘country enough’. The song was then given to a trio from Harlem who had been through several name changes – The Main Ingredient (the name taken from the words written on a Coke bottle). The song was arranged with an orchestra backup and recorded although the band did not particularly like the song.

Surprisingly, the song took off in the U.S. while the band was on tour in Europe unbeknownst to them. Also surprising was that the song could not get any airplay on R&B stations. Something certainly changed because the song hit gold, made #2 on the Billboard R&B chart, #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. and was nominated for a Grammy for best R&B song of the year in 1973.

The Main Ingredient was originally comprised of Donald McPherson, Luther Simmons, and Tony Silvester with Cuba Gooding, Sr. Singing backup. Unfortunately, McPherson was diagnosed with and lost his life to leukemia. Cuba Gooding, Sr. (Yes, Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s father and notice how much son favors his father) was then moved into the role of lead vocalist.

Aaron Neville covered the song in 1991 and it reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Sources:
Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 10). Everybody Plays the Fool. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:23, August 30, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Everybody_Plays_the_Fool&oldid=961719632
Simmons, R. (2017, April 3). The Story Behind The Main Ingredient, Everybody Plays the Fool.
Retrieved from http://www.rebeatmag.com/the-story-behind-the-main-ingredient-everybody-plays-the-fool/

(A note for John Holton over at The Sound of One Hand Typing: this is another good one with spoken lyrics!)

Everybody Plays the Fool
Lyrics from Genius.com

[Intro]
Okay, so you’re heartbroken
You sit around mopin’
Crying, crying
You say you’re even thinking about dying?
Well, before you do anything rash
Dig this

[Chorus]
Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby
It may be factual, may be cruel
I ain’t lying
Everybody plays the fool

[Verse 1]
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do
And there’s no guarantee that the one you love
Is gonna love you

Oh, loving eyes, they cannot see
A certain person could never be
Love runs deeper than any ocean
It clouds your mind with emotion

[Chorus]
Everybody plays the fool sometime
There’s no exception to the rule
Listen, baby
It may be factual, may be cruel
I wanna tell you that
Everybody plays the fool

[Verse 2]
How can you help it when the music starts to play
And your ability to reason is swept away

Oh, heaven on earth is all you see
You’re out of touch with reality
And now you cry, but when you do
Next time around someone cries for you

[Chorus]
Everybody plays the fool sometime
They use your heart just like a tool
Listen baby
They never tell you so in school
I wanna say it again
Everybody plays the fool

Listen to me, baby
Everybody plays the fool sometime
(There’s no exception to the rule)
No exception to the rule
It may be factual, may be cruel sometimes
Everybody plays the fool

[Outro]
Listen, listen, baby
Everybody plays the fool


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Head over to Jim Adams blog to check out the rules and read some of the great responses to the weekly prompt.

Blog, SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Cyndi Lauper and Matthew Shepard


Welcome back to Song Lyric Sunday. Mine will be short and sweet this week!

This week we have some general words that are used to describe object placement, being Above/Below/Between and hopefully everyone will be able to find a song that utilizes one of these prompt words in the title or in the lyrics.


I wish I could tell you the circumstances surrounding the first time I heard this song, but I cannot. I just know it touched me the very first time I heard it.

”Above the Clouds” was written by Cyndia Lauper, Jeff Beck and Jed Leiner as a tribute song for Matthew Shepard. Matthew was an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, tied to a fence and left to die in 1998. He later succumbed to his wounds. It is a heartbreaking tragedy.

Cyndi Lauper is a long time advocate of the LGBTQ community. As the mother, aunt and friend of many people in this community, I hope we all speak out against this level of hate. No child ever deserved a fate such as this just for being who he was.

Above the Clouds
Lyrics from Songlyrics.com

There’s a place where the sun breaks through
And the wind bites cold and hard
Stings my ears and
Tears my eyes
When the day starts to shout out loud

Stand tall
And glide
When you’re all alone in the crowd
Don’t fall
Don’t hide
When you walk above the clouds
When you walk above the clouds

When the light is against your face
And your smile is soft and sound
That’s when you tell me all your fears
and all your dreams
So proud

Stand tall
And glide

When you’re all alone in the crowd
Don’t fall
Don’t hide
When you walk above the clouds
When you walk above the clouds

I try and tell you
to keep your head upright
Don’t swing your sword and shield against the night
Don’t block your blessings, boy
You don’t have to fight
You don’t have to fight

Stand tall
And glide
When you’re all alone in the crowd
Don’t fall
Don’t hide
When you walk above the clouds

When you walk above the clouds


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Head over to Jim Adams’ blog to check out the rules and read some of the great responses to the weekly prompt.

Blog, SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Silhouettes

This week you might be perfectly clear about the prompt, or it may have left you in the dark. Hopefully everyone will see the light and choose a fun song this week.

This week we have some general words that are used to describe colors, being Clear/Dark/Light and hopefully everyone will be able to find a song that utilizes one of these prompt words in the title or in the lyrics.


I am not sure exactly why this song popped into my head, but I am glad it did. “Silhouettes” tells the story of a guy who goes to what he thinks is his girlfriend’s house only to see silhouettes cast on the shades of her in romantic embraces with another guy. I will leave you to discover the outcome of the encounter by listening to the song (if you are not already familiar).

The song was inspired in 1957 when Bob Crewe saw the silhouette of a couple embracing on the window shade as he passed riding the train. He collaborated with Frank Slay to turn this image he witnessed into a song. The song was recorded by the doo-wop group The Rays who Crewe and Slay had worked with on 2 prior singles.

Philadelphia disc jockey Hy Lit inadvertently helped promote the song according to this story on Wikipedia:

”The song received a break when popular local disc jockey Hy Lit fell asleep with a stack of newly released records on his record player. “Silhouettes” happened to be the last to play, and so it repeated until he woke up. He began to play the song on his show. It became popular enough that Cameo-Parkway picked it up for national distribution, and it eventually reached number 3 on both the R&B Best Sellers chart and Billboard Top 100 while also hitting the top five on both the sales and airplay charts. It was the group’s only top 40 hit.”

The Diamonds (canada 1957) and Cliff Richard (1990 UK) also recorded the song, but the version most familiar to me (although I remember the original well) is the 1965 recording by Herman’s Hermits. It reached #5 on the charts in the U.S. and #3 on the charts in the UK. According to Songfacts.com, Jimmy Page (guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin) was with the Yardbirds at the time and played as a session guitarist on this recording.

Silhouettes
Lyrics from LyricsMode.com

Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, hut-hut
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, hut-hut

Took a walk and passed your house
(Late last night)
All the shades were pulled and drawn
(Way down tight)
From within, a dim light cast two silhouettes on the shade
Oh, what a lovely couple they ma-ade

Put his arms around your waist
(Held you tight)
Kisses I could almost taste
(In the night)
Wondered why I’m not the guy whose silhouettes on the shade
I couldn’t hide the tears in my eye-eyes

Silhouettes silhouettes silhouettes
Ty-oh, oh-oh
Silhouettes silhouettes silhouettes,
Ty-oh, oh-oh

Lost control and rang your bell
(I was sore)
Let me in or else I’ll beat
(Down your door)
When two strangers who had been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock you’re on the wrong blo-ock

Rushed down to your house with wings
(On my feet)
Loved you like I never loved
(You my sweet)
Vowed that you and I would be two silhouettes on the shade
All of our days, two silhouettes on the sha-ade

Silhouettes silhouettes silhouettes
Ty-oh, oh-oh
Silhouettes silhouettes silhouettes,
Ty-oh, oh-oh

Two silhouettes on the shade
Silhouettes!


Why not join in on this Sunday blogging ritual. Head over to Jim Adams’ blog to check out the rules and read some of the great responses to the weekly prompt.