Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: A Hallelujah from Lyle Lovett

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Lyle Lovett’s “Church”:

I’ve wanted to post a piece of music from the great Lyle Lovett for some time. It’s been hard to choose just which. There’s any number of songs I could have posted. “Don’t Touch My Hat,” That’s Right You’re Not From Texasand “She’s No Lady” are a heck of a lot of fun. “She’s Hot to Go” swings. “Step Inside This House” is a bit of country with its taste of sadness and loneliness. But “Church” has won out.

Lyle Lovett burst upon the musical scene in the mid-eighties. When I first saw him on this or that tv show, I knew he was the genuine article. A great singer with a great sound with great songs. On top of it all, he was backed up by his Large Band.

When you search for his name on the Google, the Wiki proclaims him a country singer-songwriter. But like so many Texas musicians, he is larger than that. He does country, for sure. But he’s swing, gospel, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, depending on what he’s singing. And sometimes a stew of all of those traditions thrown in together for some good eatin’.

By the fact he’s from Texas. You’d know that just by seeing that he does his own “That’s Right You’re Not From Texas.” Like many Texas artists, he’s hard to peg down. Willie (that’s Willie Nelson) could easily be classified as a jazz singer. Townes Van Zant sang the blues like nobody. ‘Course he was a man who had lived those blues. Steve Earle is as much a folk singer as he is country. And where do you classify a song like Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”?

And just for kicks, throw in Buddy Holly, Z Z Top, Norah Jones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Dixie Chicks, Ornette Coleman, Erykah Badu, Gene Autry, Johnny Mathis, Janis Joplin, Barry White, Van Cliburn and the Winters Brothers, Johnny and Edgar. And never ever forget that Bob Wills is the daddy of them all. As you can see, Lyle Lovett fits right in.

“Church” takes me back to the time before the mega-churches starting mega-ing all over the  place. Before Tammy and Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart showed us how much Elmer Gantry there still was in American Christianity. It takes me back to the time to Sunday-go-to-meeting-and-dinner-on-the-ground time when “just folks” gathered for a mighty good time on the Sabbath. I could wax nostalgia-like here but I’d be a bore. So enjoy the song and maybe it will take you back too.

And just in case you haven’t got enough of Lyle, here’s another one:

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Rhapsody in Blue

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is Leonard Bernstein’s performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”:

America’s produced some great classical composers.  Duke Ellington, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein are among the best known. But it is George Gershwin and his “Rhapsody in Blue” many of us think of when we think of the quintessential American classical music.

Strongly influenced by jazz, it celebrates American urban life, especially the New York City. The lights, the noise, the wonderful chaos. Then it breaks out into a wonderful segment that makes me think of more than the city. It makes me think of the land of America the Beautiful, then it returns to the city and then there is the bitter sweetness of the blues. And running through the whole piece, there is the river that is American life. And the chaos that has been democracy.

I would have loved to have been there that night when it was first played before an audience. The applause must have been loud.

All I know is that when I hear it, I think of the best of my country. And what better person to perform it than Leonard Bernstein.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creative Artist: Cream

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creative Artist is the band Cream:

Cream’s Badge

I’ve been thinking a lot about Cream lately.  It’s the fiftieth anniversary of their first album, “Fresh Cream”. When they released the album, I asked a friend why Cream. He responded that they were the cream of the crop when it came to music. He was right.

I can’t think of a better way to begin 2017 than feature Cream as my first Spotlight Creative Artist. Made up of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker, the three made music the rock world had never heard anything like before. Influenced by blues, jazz, rock and folk, their music could be loud as Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records attested. It never was something other than pure music.

Dip your ears into the river of Cream and experience some great music.

 

Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick: Just Blue

It’s Thursday again. You know what that means. Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick. Uncle Bardie gives a double thumbs up to this week’s selection, another twofer: Chet Baker singing “Born to Be Blue“, accompanied by Bobby Scott on piano and Kenny Burrell on guitar, and Chet on “Almost Blue“.

It’s hard to limit the genius of Chet Baker to just one song. So I am giving you two. Like Satchmo, Chet had two talents, instrumental and vocalist. “Born to Be Blue” features his vocals backed up by the piano of Bobby Scott and Kenny Burrell. With “Almost Blue”, it is his trumpet that is featured. Both are pretty near perfect pieces. I can’t think of a single thing that’s wrong with them. Chet knew how portray loneliness better than just about any other musician. Though Sinatra came close, Chet gave us the real deal. If you are looking for three in the morning music, then Chet is your guy. And Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of him in the movie, “Born to Be Blue”, gives an insight into what it cost to produce such music.

Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick: The Girl from Ipanema

It’s Thursday again. You know what that means. Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick. Uncle Bardiie gives a double thumbs up to this week’s selection: Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz performing “The Girl From Ipanema”:

If you look up “cool” in your dictionary, you will find Astrud, Jao and Stan performing this song. Oh, your dictionary doesn’t feature this song as “cool”. There is something wrong with your dictionary, because this is the absolute coolest. As Kookie would say, “It’s the gitchiest.” Man, that is some kind of C O O L.