“Fatherly Influence” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

Musical Journal:

I probably should have done this closer to Father’s Day but this post is more the result of reflection on my father the last couple weeks. I can count my mother’s influence on my musical tastes in a couple things – classical and choir arrangements.   My father, on the other hand, was eclectic in his music tastes. That rubbed off on me.

The family story goes that dad tried to buy a car but the guy said he had no credit rating so no dice. Dad then figured out the quickest way to get a credit rating.  He bought a record player on credit and paid it off in six months.  He then had the credit rating to get a car.  I don’t know what happened to the car.  But the record player was in my room as a teenager and I used it to play a lot of things. Including some metal if your wondering.

The result of this was a record collection which was part my mom ( a whole collection of classical music and some choir stuff) and part my dad. Later it would be part me. For my dad’s part, he was all over the place. Below are a few selections and some of my thoughts still regarding them. mostly though I picked up my eclectic, ‘if it sounds good to me I like it’ attitude from dad.

Personal Significance:

“Good Night Sweetheart” – Sha Na Na

I know it is hard to believe but when I was a teenager they had a show dedicated to the 1950s music and culture called Sha Na Na.  I suppose this song which is shortened for the purpose of the show represents a lot of doo-wop which my day was a big fan.  Dad never missed this show and mom liked it too.  I was kind of interested as doo-wop is still something I like to listen to on occasion.  I like this one because Bowser as a bass singer was top notch.

“Folsom Prison Blues” – Johnny Cash 

Probably the greatest thing dad ever did for me was expose me to Johnny Cash.  legendary song by a legendary artist in a legendary place.  To me Cash defies classification.  Is the country? Rockabilly? Rock-n-roll?  The answer is yes and no.

“Good Woman Blues” – Mel Tillis

Dad loved Mel mostly because he was fascinated by the fact that the man should sing like an angel but he could not talk straight because he stuttered. He always reminded me that just because people struggle in one area it does not mean they will be extraordinary in another.  This is also a good representation of the country music my dad was a fan of.

“Allentown” – Billy Joel

I used to have a paper route.  In the winter dad would drive me around to deliver and he would play the radio.  One of the songs at the time was this one and given my dad liked it.  He didn’t really like Billy Joel as a person much or even the message of the song completely.  having been a former union man and later on against them feeling a good boss and being a good human being was better than the antagonism of union vs. management. But he liked the song.

“In a Gadda Da Vida” – Iron Butterfly

The story goes that dad was putting together his next stereo and the guy at the shop said if he wanted to test the sound quality he should buy this song, sit between the two speakers and if he could tell him something interesting about the drummer’s playing then he had the sound right.  What it was is if you had it right the dri=ummer sounds like he is moving around you.  It works I tried it myself. This album stayed on dad’s record shelf until his death. He actually seemed to like the psychedelic 60s stuff.

Play List: 

“Good Night Sweetheart” – Sha Na Na

“Folsom Prison Blues” – Johnny Cash

“Good Woman Blues” – Mel Tillis

“Allentown” – Billy Joel

“In a Gadda Da Vida” – Iron Butterfly

Bonus Tracks:

Two Bonus Tracks today.  One more a representative of the doo-wop songs my dad had in his collection and something that I think was dad’s celebrity crush. Janis Joplin.  I think it was her voice.  I know to me, her voice is sexy as hell. Enjoy.

“Blue Moon” – The Marcels

“Piece of My Heart” – Janis Joplin

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Covers Better Than the Orignal” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day 

Musical Journal:

Cover Songs are something  I like to hear from time to time.  It is what causes me to remember that music is something that can connect with other people other than the original artist that did the song.  It also reveals from time to time that the emotions that the cover performer has are more closely connected to the song than the original artist.  When that happens the cover is often ‘better’ than the original. It is better in the sense that it speaks louder than original in terms of the strength and power of the message.

I have to say that a few covers have meant a little more to me than the original. So today’s List is cover songs that I find better than the original for the reasons outlined above.

Personal Significance:

Hurt – Johnny Cash: (Original – Nine Inch Nails)

You know a cover is better than the original when the original artist basically says: “That song is a Johnny Cash song now.”  For me, the whole idea of a man who has lost all that is really important to him but still has the other stuff, ‘my empire of dirt”, is a powerful metaphor.  One that I try very hard to remember.

Am I Evil – Metallica: (Original – Diamond Head)

I doubt very much people look up this song to hear Diamond Head play it.  It’s the live performances Metallica did when they were in their prime that people like to listen to.  you might even refer to the live performance of the big four of metal as well, but it is Metallica’s performance of this cover that makes my day these days.

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed: (Original – Simon and Garfunkel)

Now, I am not diminishing Simon an Garfunkel’s performance at all.  It is very haunting and wonderful and is one of those songs that you can’t get it out of your head.  What Disturbed does to this song si give it grit and power on top of all that.  They don’t take away from its wonderful quality, they add to it.

I Love Rock and Roll – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Original – The Arrows)

Yeah, nobody has ever heard of the Arrows.  Joan Jett takes this to a new height of performance.  You believe her when she says it and it was a 1980s anthem.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston (Original – Dolly Parton)

Dolly’s performance is memorable.  Whineys is unforgettable and it is her one of a kind voice that does it.  Yes, I know this song made the list last week, but that is just how good this cover is compared to the original.

Playlist:

The playlist this week is a little different in that each song will first have the original and then the cover.  You can listen for yourself.

Hurt:

Original – Nine Inch Nails:

Cover – Johnny Cash:

Am I Evil:

Original – Diamond Head:

Cover – Metallica:

The Sound of Silence:

Original – Simon and Garfunkel:

Cover – Disturbed: 

I Love Rock and Roll:

Original – The Arrows:

Cover – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts:

I Will Always Love You:

Original – Dolly Parton:

Cover – Whitney Houston:

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Me and Mozart to Metallica” – The Skald’s Lyre

Happy Saturn’s Day

I am currently planning on doing a lot of research on Norse Mythology in order to do a few Crossing Bifrost posts with a little more knowledge behind them.  I am instead going to implement one of the changes I proposed which is to create a series of posts on music.  This will be subtitled The Skald’s Lyre and will most likely appear with Crossing Bifrost on Saturn’s Day.  I miss discussing music and I want to get back to it.  The one effect this will have on other posts is that the Pagan pulpit will probably only have one song now on Sun’s Day.

I find music to be far more spiritual the older I get.  It has always had an emotional effect on me and I can’t go for too long before I find myself looking for something to listen to either motivate men or calm me.  I have also discovered over the years I am far less devoted to a particular kind of music or a particular era.  I am most interested in musical discovery; that is the discovery of new music from any era that I can enjoy and from which I can draw inspiration.

My musical journey like most people started with my parent’s music.  They both grew up in the 40s and 50s so that music was a regular part of what was on the radio.  My mom was a band member in high school and so she focused on classical music; so I cut my teeth in understanding music as a child on Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms.  I liked it, particularly Mozart. I don’t if she realized it but she sowed the seeds for my metal baptism later.

Dad was more of an eclectic guy when it came to music. He liked the 50s do whop groups, country (and by country I mean old country, not this new stuff that is more pop with a country twang) and he was the one that introduced me to Johnny Cash.  Both my parents were young adults during the 60s, and so that music was also around too. My dad must have had a thing for Janis Joplin and Iron Butterfly as he had their albums.

Of course, we went to church and the old hymns and gospel were there as well as some new fangled worship music later.  My problem was as I went through school, I never settled on anything.  Until my first day in high school.

I entered the doors as a freshman full of fear.  I have been introverted all my life. I was tall and skinny.  I had started playing football, but I had no real athletic talent. I was nerdy and kept to myself except for the few friends I would keep close because of church or school.  That first day though I walked in and half the school as wearing Def Leppard “Pyromania” t-shirts.  I bought the album a few days later and listened to it. My parents had gotten cable so I hit MTV and saw all kinds of what would be later known as Hair Metal.  It was not this that drew me, but I would close my eyes and hear Mozart, just played very fast and with electric power.

After that metal was a part of my life. We played it in the locker room before a football game so I began to understand the emotional power of music.  ‘Back in Black’ by ACDC became the unofficial school song as ‘red and black were our school colors and our home uniform for football was black, head to toe. Hard Rock, Metal and 80s Pop were aa part of the equation for me as a teen of the 1980s. When I hit young adulthood a band called Metallica would dominate my music in the 1990s.

Now you need to understand I lived a double life with music from my Freshman year in high school on.  I had an extensive Chrisitan Rock and Metal collection; which while it irritated the fundamentalist pastors I had at the time, they wouldn’t completely tell me to knock it off because of the lyrics.  That was my public music.  When I was away from the church and in my own room, there was a collection of devil worshiping secular music and Playboys under my bed.  It was this music, and perhaps even the Playboys, that brought out in me the side that was true to a part of me that church told me to repress.  I just never could shut that off and so I became a headbanger. A Christian one in public and a secular one in private.

I have always listened to what I want since becoming an adult. I like and prefer things with strings and multiple part harmony.  I like a lot of things my parents liked and since then I have a lot of very eclectic tastes.  I have never really gotten to be the old man shouting at the kids around – “That isn’t real music.”  Even as a metalhead, my only gripe is other metalheads who start decrying different types of metal as not real metal. What a bunch of noize.  If I like it, I like it and these last ten years I don’t think there is a genre of music that I don’t have at least one song in that I can enjoy.  That said. if I want inner peace, some form of metal, alternative music or a sappy love song hits my playlist.

The Skald’s Lyre will have different kinds of posts.  Sometimes I will focus on an artist or band. Sometimes I will focus on a particular song or group of songs. Sometimes I might focus on a particular genre of music.  I might follow a theme in music or even reactions to some songs that I have loved for years but some other person is hearing for the first time. The subject will be basically music I am listening to at the time and what I feel and think about it.

To close this week though I will leave you with a historically significant song.  This song was the first song to ever be played on MTV: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles:

Perhaps it will be as equally prophetic for me.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!