Friday, February 6, 2015

Updating of Playlist

how people apparently used to listen to music back in the day

I won't go so far as to say that i'm altering my list of the greatest songs ever to have been written or performed in my opinion. I will, however, offer an update of what I most frequently playing, either on my ipod or computer or literally playing with one of my instruments. i suppose that does make them my current favorites, though I'm not going so far as to say that my opinion of the world of music has changed so drastically that i've rearranged the sequence of thr quality of music in my probably-not-sufficiently-humble estimation. It's more likely a case of  what seems to suit my life right now,  The songs I'm citing [and posting where possible]  are in no particular order. They appear either as I think of them or in terms of convenience in accessing links.

I love hearing what others are playing [or singing]  with their own instruments, be they acoustic, electronic, and/or listening to with their more automated electronic equipment. automated, or whatever. please share your thoughts if you feel so inclined. Once again, the order is of no particular significance, though I suppose if I had to give the honor of a number one in significance at the moment, I'd give it to George.

1. "The Parting Glass" is a traditional Irish tune - a folk song with no known composer or lyricist or composer to the best of my knowledge.  other artists' rendering are a bit more famous than George's, though not as high in quality in my opinion. I especially like the cello work, and the piano accompaniment is perfectly understated.  George's voice is as it always was - deep, resonant, and beautiful. 

George Donaldson was a Scottish singer particularly popular in the glasgow area, though he was perhaps most well-known as the anchor member of the group Celtic Thunder. George passed away very unexpectedly one month and eight days shy of a year ago, leaving behind a devastated beautiful wife and adorable young teenage daughter, along with almost equally heartbroken musical colleagues and fans. my parents knew him better than I did, but I had the pleasure of meeting him on two occasions after concerts.  After one such concert, our family dined with him. He was a charming man who interacted with me me in an age-appropriate manner each time I encountered him despite my appearing considerably younger than my chronological age.

George [unbeknownst to himself, and he probably would have freaked and made every excuse in the book had he known he was on that motley assortment of unfortunate individuals designated by me]   was on my personal list of people who, as far as I was concerned, would have been allowed to adopt me had harm befallen my biological parents or had I simply decided they and I had experienced enough of each other at some point.

Someone compiled a memorial video of this recording with pictures of George in various facets of his life to accompany the song, but I prefer to see it and remember it the way George himself produced his own video.

I will not wax quite so loquaciously about each other entry on my list, but George deserves every word i have to say about him and many, many more. Rest in peace, George Donaldson. I and many others besides myself  miss you and will love you forever.

2. I seem to be channeling my inner Irish girl here. (I tend to identify more with my Irish side than with my French Canadian side, while I have nothing against French Canadians in general though my  paternal Acadian grandfather consistently ranks remarkably high on my $h!t list.) My next selection is also of Celtic origin. This one is "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears," which evokes in me thoughts of my own maternal grandmother [who traveled solo to the U.S. from Ireland in her late teens] as well as my mother's paternal grandparents, also Irish in origin, all of whom entered the U.S. through Ellis Island before it ceased to operate in 1943. My own personal favorite version of this song was done by Celtic Woman.  As i'm not a major name dropper, and also because i'm semi-anonymous in this blog, I won't say which one, but I'm not terribly distantly related to a member of this group. My parents have done vocal and  instrument work with them (in addition to being a virtuoso guitarist, my dad is also a decent percussionist) on a couple of tours and concerts.

In any event, it is to me a beautiful song, and it surely must  elicit bittersweet memories in those relatively few individuals  processed into this nation through Ellis Island who remain with us today.

3.This is, i believe, my personal favorite video or recording of  "Landslide," by Stevie Nicks, although there's another video in which she dedicates the song to Lindsey Buckhingham for various reasons, which I find somewhat cool in its own right. I appreciate the idea that some members of various and sundry musical groups can form romantic attachments and even marriages which don't all that often withstand to trials of the world of rock music and the test of time, yt can retain love for one another and respect for each other as musicians.

i maintain that, despite Stevie Nicks [IMO] godawful voice, no one else  should cover this song. Even with her raspy, seemingly damaged voice, which was seemingly somewhat compromised at the height of her musical career, indicating that  something other than a lifetime of touring and performing created her trademark sound, the song is hers, and no one else I've yet to hear does it justice. Sing on, Stevie Nicks, though I'd personally prefer that you limit your public performances to this song.

4. Les Mis  has been stuck in my head more than usual lately. I believe, vocally anyway, that this is the best Valjean Broadwqay has yte to come up, with no disrespect intended toward Colm Wilnkinson. The vocalist featured here, Ramin Karimloo, has as fine a male voicde as I've hear at any tome recently and perhaps ever. His basic baritone sound with range extending upwards into the tenor territory, he may even have a leg up on Josh Groban, vocally speaking. Nor does it hurt that he's stunningly handsome. Karimloo is married, so he's out of the picture for me even were I in his league, which I most decidedly am not. Still, just how would Mom and Dad feel if I brought home an ethnic [ albeit Canadian-born] Iranian and introduced  him as my serious love interest. It would be a most interesting social experiment in the interest of science. We say we're liberal, but just how liberal are we, really?

"Bring Him Home" is my favorite of all the Les Miserables songs, and Karimloo, performs it with extraordinary sublimity.

5. Mozart Sonata 4 in E-flat Major is my favorite Mozart sonata of many. The numbering is arbitrary, as there's limited evidence Mozart actually attached numbers to his sonatas, and what's number four to one "expert" is number X, Y. or Z to the next. Still, this a nice work. Mozart isn't my favorite of composers of either the classical, baroque, or romantic genre, though he's second only to Bach in my estimation and is incredibly fin to play. Try to remain in an agitated state while listening to this work. i'm not sure it's possible.

6. I won't even pretend  Fun's "We Are Young"  in any way compares or ranks in the same league as the work's of the world's great masters of music, but it was Jared's and my song. Enough said.

7. Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" is quite far from what should be my genre, but I'm the daughter of a man qwho worked his way through medical school as a touring and recording rock guitarist. my musical exposure is thus a bit eclectic for my age. i watch this video more than I listen to the song in audio form. Sometimes I think I am Sister Christian though I lay no claim upon being one of the world's better Christians. I see this as being, with all due respect to the great master Billy Joel, a more melodic yet less rocking version of "Only the Good Die Young."

&. This - Handel's keyboard suite in G minor #9, is a work  I play on piano or harpsichord (if one is handy) far more than I've ever listened to it. I usually just play the final movement, which is the gigue. I've played it since my early days as a pianist. Truthfully, I had to listen to several Handel suites to find it. It wasn't easy to find, as any given Handel work, when written in  the same key, sounds much like any other Handel work. Handel was a well known plagiarist in his time -- back in the day when social norms may have frowned upon such a thing, but laws did nothing to  prevent it.  Handel was blatant about it, usually excusing his act of theft of song by any other name, probably in German, "I used it better than he [the original composer of a tune] did, anyway," and he was usually correct in his assertion. Still, theft, whether of property or of creative ideas, is still theft. Handel plagiarized from himself just about as much as he plagiarized from other musicians, which is why I had to listen to several suites to locate the gigue in question.

Anyone who has the idea that Handel was some sort of religious figure and highly moral individual  because he used scripture in composing religious oratorios is lacking in knowledge of the history of late baroque music. Handel was out to make a buck. He did many things passably well, but unfortunately in the case of much of what he wrote, someone else wrote the same form of music just a bit better than Handel did. Handel was forced to resort to showmanship (writing music to be played on boats while nearby boats set off fireworks, for example, which backfired when a boat with fireworks exploded during the second such concert) and other innovations in order to turn his rags into riches. Sadly for him, some sort of wrench often fell into his plans. Most of his life he existed in  middle class at best, though at times he was favored by royalty and was consequently rewarded financially.  He was innovative and perhaps a bit before his time, as most of his success was posthumous. His single greatest contribution to the world of music was probably the oratorio.

Still, the gigue from Suite #9 in G minor a is fun piece to play, which is why I'm still playing it roughly twelve years after I first learned it.

9.  I'm returning my Celtic roots again.  This is Emmet Cahill's version  of "Always There." It's the best version of the song I've found. I sing it to myself when times are tough.

                                              Taylor's response

10. This is Kristen Chenowith's version of "Taylor , the Latte Boy"  which I occasionally watch for comic relief. I  have a friend who sings it at least as well as Ms. Chenowith performs it, but that's neither here nor there.  If you've ever heard "Taylor's" rebuttal, you probably found it even funnier.


11. I must once again channel my Irish heritage. Celtic Thunder does a nice rendition of this as well, but I'm partial to Celtic Woman's version.


  1. Have you ever heard of Eddi Reader? She is a Scottish singer with a gorgeous voice...

  2. i've never hear of her. I must check her out. Thanks.

  3. I don't remember how I discovered her, but I really like her.

  4. My English professor introduced me to Indie Rock last semester, so I've been listening to that a lot recently. Foxygen, specifically. Their song How Can You Really has a 70's vibe to it. It emulates Todd Rundgren to a certain degree. I also like Coulda Been My Love, by them as well. I am not sure what their other material sounds like as I haven't had time to fully investigate them.

    Other songs/bands I've been listening to... the National (their album Trouble Will Find Me), Bon Iver, Bob Dylan, and Donovan, specifically Wear Your Love Like Heaven, on repeat.

    I don't know what's wrong with me.

    Jason calls me a hipster, which is becoming slightly true.