Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Music: Gloomy Winter

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 Music Spotlight is Dougie Maclean’s recording of “Gloomy Winter Noo Awa“:

Dougie Maclean is a well-known Scottish performer and composer. His album, “Tribute,” honors the three great Scottish poets/musicians of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Robert Burns we have all heard of. He’s Scotland’s national poet. But Niel Gow and Robert Tannahill, not so much. Unless we were a Scot. At least, not until Dougie Maclean’s album.

Of all the songs on the “Tribute” album, I love “Gloomy Winter” the best. The song is deeply moving. And the words, ah, the words. Here’s a poet who knows and loves his countryside. Here’s a poet who brings that countryside to reflect his loss.

As the year passes us onward into a new year, this is a good one to remember all those who have passed on.

And here’s another one from Dougie Maclean I am wishing ye at the end of 2018:

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Learning To Fly

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 Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly“.

When Jason Aldean appeared on Saturday Night Live the Saturday after that awful Vegas tragedy, what did he play? He played a Tom Petty song, “I Won’t Back Down”. That choice was so right in so many ways.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on “I Won’t Back Down”.

Man, I love Tom Petty. He was something else. For me, he represented that link to the best in rock ‘n’ roll. It wasn’t rock that he played. These days rock has gone in dozens of directions. No, Tom Petty played that kind of rock I call Straight ahead Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Tom Petty always stood for that which was authentic in rock ‘n’ roll. Something that was honest and optimistic and working class and had a swing to it. In other words, he was a hell of a rocker, and he did the kind of music that said, “I ain’t gonna take no shit from anybody.” He was a musician who’d earned his spurs. He worked harder at his craft than most. He never forgot his roots. He never forgot the place he came from.

And that voice. It could be so kickass. Then turn around and be so sensitive and gentle.

He had one hell of a band. You don’t get to front a band like his unless you are the Real Deal. And I loved his work in The Traveling Wilburys with Roy Orbison, George Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. Wanna see a Rock ‘n’ Roll Supergroup. The Traveling Wilburys were that group.

And he never cheated his audience. He gave some of the best shows. Because he cared about his craft and he cared about his audience.

That we lost him, it seems such a damned shame. But I gotta say that those who lost their lives that Sunday night in Vegas were treated to one kick-ass of a concert.

Thanks, Tom, for all the joy you brought us. We miss you. As Johnny Cash said of Tom Petty, he “was a good man to ride the river with.”

And just in case, you haven’t had enough of the great Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, watch this:

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Coen Brothers Have Done It Again

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Hail, Caesar!” (2016).

Once upon a time, I was a real fan of Coen Brothers movies. After I saw their masterly first film, “Blood Simple” and took a gander at “Raising Arizona”, I was hooked. As soon as a new Coen Brothers movie appeared on the marquee of my local cinema, I was in line. And they never seemed to disappoint.

Each reached into a part of the American consciousness and gave us a particular region. “Blood Simple” was in Texas. Guess you know where “Raising Arizona” took place. Each not only settled on a region of the country but a certain type of film. “Blood Simple” was a film noir murder mystery. “The Hudsucker Proxy” satirized American business. “Barton Fink” settled on Hollywood writers.

With “O Brother Where Art Thou”, they had themselves a big star. Somebody bigger than God in Hollywood. They had George Clooney. After that, Hollywood threw so much money at them that they seemed to have lost their way like Moses and the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. it seemed that they had lost the creative cojones that it took to make a decent movie. With “Fargo”, they had made a perfect movie. When you do that, where do you go from there? Only “No Country for Old Men” and “Burn After Reading” were decent films but nowhere near the creative spark they once had. Even Tom Hanks and Jeff Bridges couldn’t save them from re-make hell.

Now they give us “Hail, Caesar!” and it just might be the best thing they’ve done since “Burn After Reading”. Here’s the thing about this one. This is the Coen Brothers send-up of the Hollywood studio system in the fifties. It gives us the star system, the black list, the Cecil B. DeMille epic without Cecil B. DeMille, the Esther Williams swimming movie, the English drawing room drama, the Gene Autry/Roy Rogers singing cowboy Western, and a good impression of Gene Kelly in a dancing film.

This is a behind-the-scenes tour of the movie business back in the days when Hollywood knew how to make movies. They even show us the editing room. So if you love movies, this is one you’ll want to see. And by the way, it’s a comedy, folks.

Hamlet: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2

Act 1. Scene 1. A changing of the guards at midnight.

I am confused. What were two Italian guys or Spanish doing in an English play, taking place in Denmark? I am talking Francisco and Barnardo.

At least,Will didn’t use Balthasar. Balthasar makes an appearance in quite a bit of his plays. He appeared in four. And Antonio gets around, jumping from play to play. Bianca manages to get in a couple of plays as well. Petruchio was in both “Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet”.

Could Rosaline in “Romeo and Juliet”, the girl Romeo is pining over at the beginning of the play, be Rosalind in “As You Like It” when she was older.

When Barnardo and Francisco are first introduced on sentry duty, I am wondering if I made it to the right play. Maybe “Hamlet” is going to be another “All’s Well That Ends Well” or “As You Like It” set in Italy. True love wins in those plays. Then I see the Ghost and I go, “Big Whoop.” This play is not going to turn out well.

Makes me wonder why Barnardo is not Bernhard or Bernt. It is a popular name. It means “bear” and the character is a bear of a man. He may actually look like a bear. He may even grunt like a bear. He is not the kind of guy you’d take on in a bar fight, but he’d make a great bouncer. Only thing Barnardo doesn’t grunt in “Hamlet”. He talks and shivers in the cold like everybody else. Doesn’t even seem to be the kind who’d want to fight, though he is doing guard duty. Making sure Norway is not sneaking up to attack Elsinore Castle.

You know, Dino is short for Barnardo. Wonder if Dean Martin wasn’t a Barnardo. Guess that wouldn’t have been a good show biz name.

Then there is this Francisco business. The name means that the fellow is from France. Yet there is not one oui or a parlez vous francais in the whole play. Go figure. Wonder why Shakespeare didn’t call him Franz. That would have been the right name for the right place. But Barnardo and Francisco are only the tip of the iceberg.

Next, in steps Horatio and Marcellus into the scene. They have Latin names. Hey, what’s all these foreigners doing guarding the castle? Where the heck are the Denmarkians?

All this leads me to believe that maybe these folks are hired hands. Mercenaries hired by the king to come up to Denmark and help out with the soldiering. After all, Norway’s itching for a fight and the new King of the Danes still has to consolidate his power. It would make sense to hire some boys from way down South.

Ophelia and Laertes are Greek names. Claudius, Polonius and Cornelius, are more Latin folks.Reynaldo, Polonius’ servant, has a Spanish or Portuguese name. All these characters from way down South leads one to believe that Shakespeare still had “Julius Caesar” on his mind.

Only Gertrude, Osric, Voltemand and Fortinbras sound like they should be in a play set in Scandinavia. And of course, Hamlet. Hamlet was a variation on Hamnet. Hamnet was Shakespeare’s eleven-year-old son who had died four years before “Hamlet” was performed.

Back to the Italians. Next thing we know characters with the names Linguini, Lasagna and Calimari will be showing. Speaking of Lasagna, all this writing is making me hungry for some Italian.

But just what is it with the names?