Monday, October 30, 2006

Just like your daddy done


It's nearly 4.30 in the morning and I can't sleep - am watching hi-fidelity - always liked it, truth is I always thought Mr Cusak was a very underrated actor

But the reason I am writing is because about 17 minutes into the film after his break up with laura he puts on a record - and that record was the one that takes me to my happy place - it takes me home, to a home I've never known. It's the record/album/CD that if i only had time to listen to one record/album/CD this would be it - it defines who I am and who I aspire to be, embodies the struggles of my childhood, the hopes of my adolescence and the out working of an ever developing future

....It was 1981 and my cousin Anne (she was 15 at the time and i thought she was the coolest person on the planet) had just bought The River by Bruce Springsteen....I will never forget how I felt when I first heard it - it left me speechless and still sends shivers down my spine...maybe I was blind, but it made me believe that anything was possible, that I didn't have to do what my daddy done - that I could sculpt my own world - it's an album that still to this day helps me get my shit together. The line, 'is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?' still haunts me but forces me to look beyond my own cynicism to what might be...Springsteen will always be the quintessential romantic who captures the hopes and dreams of the ordinary and makes them believable and tangible - his works continue to express the inexpressible to me

So, you got an hour to live, or you're off to some deserted island and can only take one record, what would it be - what's the one album/CD that takes you home?

33 comments:

Awareness said...

Good morning Harbour......hope you managed to catch some sleep......
Mr. Piano Man, Billy Joel has been a part of my life since early adolescence. The Stranger is probably my most treasured album as it was released when I was in high school. But, the song that I will never grow tired of is Summer Highland Falls which is from one of his first albums. The first time I saw him in concert was in 1976.......a smallish venue before he started selling out larger ones. There is something about his voice, his melodies and the lyrics of his older songs that hits me like no other artist.
The artist who influenced me the most was Harry Chapin. He was a raspy storytelling songwriter who gave away most of his savings to various charities, particularly "World Hunger." After his concerts, he would stick around to meet and to talk to anyone in order to sell more shirts and cassetes.....with all the proceeds going to help eradicate hunger. So, I got to meet and interview him for a uni. paper. He died tragically in a car accident the summer of 1981 and it broke my heart.
One of his songs.......All My Life's a Circle.......I taught the campers and staff at the camp I worked at 20+ years ago..........it evolved to become a standard chapel song, which I was unaware of until I went to a reunion recently. It was there that I had the opportunity to lead a group of camp alumni in singing the song one more time......it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.....

Niki said...

I once wrote a post about the most influential artists, but I was 15 at the time and clueless. Well ok I'm still clueless, just slightly less so than two years ago.
I can't ever put my finger on a definitive record for me, although 'A Case Of You' by Joni Mitchell is beauty in a song. In fact Joni Mitchell is beautiful, all of her stuff.
Of course I have songs that pick me up, songs frequently played on my mp3 but they don't speak to me - don't mean anything.
You've inspired me today, I shall write a post on my music at 17.
love and hope

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Not a great deal really - might try a seista later before tennis with the animals

New Yorks answer to Bruce, Mr Joel - I too love Summer Highland falls, but my favourite Billy Joel song has to be scenes from an Italian restaurant. I agree about his voice, melodies and lyrics of his older songs - just not sure what happened to him after the mid eighties - i liked the nylon curtain and stormfront but not really sure he's matured as well as say Bruce who seems to have done his most remarkable works of late - but hey what do i know

A friend of mne covered a Harry Chapin song a few years back - 'the mayor of candor' - what a tangled web that song is!!

This conversation would be well had in a pub over beer.....maybe one day

Niki
Clueless is not a word that springs to mind when i think of you - I agree Joni Mitchell is fabulous - if you don't have it buy her album 'Blue' - breathtaking! look forward to reading your post later

mister tumnus said...

that's funny. at 4.30am this morning (i remember looking at the clock) i was gargling with salt water. watching hi fidelity would have been preferable.

my 'takes me home' album would be billy joel's 'innocent man'. i found it at home when i was very young. i think it was one of those brittanica free gifts that no-one in our house listened to much. but i was soon addicted. it was the first album i ever had and i used to make my mum play it in the car all the time.

i remember thinking how cool it was that the song 'christie lee' was like a story rather than a song. and it had such cool lyrics like 'she didn't need another lover all she wanted was the sax' (ho ho)

and i remember the point of realisation that the acapella song ('the longest time'?) was just people singing.

it definitely started my (slight) obsession with italian american men.

i am just sorry that westlife managed to ruin 'uptown girl'.

mister tumnus said...

oh how funny. i made that post before i read everyone else's replies and there bes old billy in two of 'em! yo.

mister tumnus said...

Pee Ess. (sorry for multiple posts again. my head's all over the place today) yes, agreed about 'blue'. there is not a bad track on that album. in fact there's not an un-fabulous track on it. 'i am a lonely painter/ i live in a box of paints/ i'm frightened by the devil/ and i'm drawn to those that ain't..'

Niki said...

I have Blue, it was copied for me and perhaps the best gift I've ever received.
Thanks
I'll write it tomorrow in my free.

Wobbler! said...

Bon Jovi reminds me of a great time in my youth so any of his songs/album would be my choice.
Makes me think and remember love of my life, who unfortunately is no longer in my life (all my own fault I might add!!!)
The song that does if for me is I'll be there for you, it was "Our" song.

Awareness said...

How funny that Joel is a thread across the waters..........

I love Italian Restaurant......it is the premise of the "Moving Out" Broadway show that Joel collaborated with Twylla Tharp on...... My mom took my sisters and I to see it last year in NYC. It was such fun.

I think Joel remained an "angry young man" and never slayed his menacing shadows. It left a chip on his shoulder that seems to have affected his creativity and his life decisions.

I wrote out a storyline a couple of years ago when I had heard of his first foray into rehab.....I think he stayed a week and was "cured" (yup sure thing Bill)....anyways the story was about how a fan (moi) sends him a letter thanking him for all the beautiful melodies he had created and to let him know that not only had his "presence" been felt at every milestone in the fan's life, but that if he didn't ever write another song.......it was just fine because he had offered so many gifts already.........blah...blah......
the letter then invites him to join the fan and her family for Thanksgiving dinner at the old summer place on the Atlantic coast. The fan sends the letter, promptly forgets the act until the Friday before Thanksgiving, Billy Joel arrives unannounced at her office. He promptly sits down and starts talking. All of a sudden, the "fan" finds herself counselling her favourite singer........surreal moments ensue........

hahaha......... I should revisit that idea..........I had such fun writing and planning it out and then completely put is aside.......

mister tumnus said...

oh i'd love to read that story! i used to make up stories about how i'd rescue the fonz from terrible danger....

and lately i have a great fantasy about meeting tom waits in a bar where bruce springsteen is giving a secret performance.

Arlen Crawford said...

I could mention hundreds of songs or dozens of LPs, but in the spirit of your post, I'll choose one: Sit Down Young Stranger by Gordon Lightfoot. That was the original title, but it was later changed to "If You Could Read My Mind" once that track received great commercial acclaim and chart success (it's all about reord sales....)

To me, If You Could Read My Mind is a song of staggering proportions, much like Joni Mitchell's Circle Game. And even though it was "commercial," I never tire of hearing it. Also great tracks off the LP are Approaching Lavender, Saturday's Clothes and one of my all time favorites, The Pony Man. I get chills just thinking about it.

I purchased the LP when I was 17 and still have my original copy, but I've also purchased the 8 track, cassette and CD over the years.

Suzanna said...

For me, it's 'Rush of Blood...' from Coldplay. I played it exclusively and protectively for over 18 months. I had come through a long stint of only "worship" CD's and found I was disconnected from the passions of humanity that have me worshiping God in the first place. I found I was worshipping worship.
Now my diet of music is much richer, thanks to Coldplay and many others inot limited to Dave Brubeck, and Hubert Laws, artists who make delightful breathtaking music that I listened to before I "converted". Lord save the converted!
I entered a trust with such music. Like Springsteen, or any artist, they are trustworthy because they are honest about their flaws and help me to embrace mine.
They help me like me.

Mata H said...

About a month after The River came out we bought tickets to hear The Boss in concert. Three days before the concert I was released from the hospital where I had emergency gall bladder surgery a few days prior. I went to the concert anyway, wearing a loose fitting top and tons of padding over a 12 inch incision. The next day I was re-admitted to the hospital, as it seems I had "somehow" pulled a couple of internal sutures and was in agony. I never did tell the doc about the concert ,,,LOL.

I might take a Waits CD - maybe "Heart of Saturday Night" or "Heart attack and Vine" -- or maybe Paul Simon's "Hearts and Bones" (his most underestimated and finest CD to date). Probably the Simon one. If you haven't heard it .....etc.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Mr T,
An obsession with Italian American men? I know, I have the same problem! (ha ha)
Joey from friends? How you doin?

Great posts on your site - will add my thoughts in due course

Niki,
if you like blue, try tapestry by carole king - it's beautiful, every home should have one!

Wobbler,
Bon Jovi - now there's a whole pile of flash backs fighting for the front row of my memory bank - i think the one that wins is watching them perform 'Always' at Niagra Falls in 1994 - a very surreal but poignant memory

Dana,
"I think Joel remained an "angry young man" and never slayed his menacing shadows. It left a chip on his shoulder that seems to have affected his creativity and his life decisions"
- bloody hell, thats powerful - i guess 'tunnel of love' was the best therapy Springsteen had - maybe it helped him visit his demons and 'slay his shadows'

ps, you should invite billy (and me) to thanksgiving dinner next year!

Shirley,
sorry forgot to say that if you here of that secret performance with Waits and Springsteen please call me

Arlen,
Confession time, i have never heard that song, but will remedy the tragedy. I do agree though that Circle Game is mesmerising!

Suzanna,
Ah those worship Cd's - whenever i think of them my mind drifts to the scene in dead poets society where Mr Keating tells the boys to 'rip those pages out, let me hear that ripping'

- i agree, people like coldplay and bruce are honest about their flaws and so do help us all to see and heal our own - that's why we need artists, and why i think the greatest 'worship' song is 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for'

Mata,
hmmm, now i wonder how that happened?! Dancing to Rosalita and Two hearts???

Heart Attack and Vine would be up there for me along with Mule Variations - am very much looking forward to Orphans later this month
Never heard Hearts and Bones!!! will buy it today!!

Awareness said...

What great songs.....I love Hearts and Bones........Gordon Lightfoot's If you Could Read My Mind.....a Canadian classic. I listened to a compiliation of his stuff yesterday as I took the day off from work to organize stuff around here. He has a mitt load of beautiful poetic songs. Early Morning Rain, Song for a Winter's Night, Canadian Railroad Trilogy, on and on........

Worship song? I agree Harbour....U2's anthem is the best and most powerful. It still sends shivers up and down my spine when I hear it.

You're on for Thanksgiving.....now I better sit down and write that letter to Mr Piano Man. Canadian thanksgiving has come and gone this year....so we'll have a year to plan. :)

Enjoy your day..............

mister tumnus said...

hmmm. except joey from friends. but i did fancy the older brother with the alcohol problem from 'blossom'(was he also a 'joey'?!)

and it was just bruce playing in that bar. tom was just at the bar hanging out (waiting -ho ho- to meet me i suppose...)

mister tumnus said...

hey awareness, can i get in on the thanksgiving thing too please?

urbanmonk said...

Where is Layla?

she couldnt have possibly missed this conversation..could she?

Well, let me add my Gen x contribution:) Its hard to narrow down. I would say WAR by U2. Only coz I used to listen to it stoned as a teenager and had no idea of the significance of what they were on about. Also coz of the absolutely raw passion of those songs. I didnt realise then that folowing Jesus could be raw and passionate. Little did I know :)

Would have to also add something completely unspiritual, and that is Mudhoney.. Superfuzzbigmuff only coz the first time I heard those guitars, it felt like the kind of music I had been waiting to listen to all my life. All 17 years of it: )

And no genexer can have a complete album list with out Nirvana.. Bleach. "Im a negetive creep"

Cried when Kurt died.

Suzanna said...

No need to rip out any music. It spoke it's message, needed at the time...
I like the idea of standing on the top of my desk to get out of the norm and into perspective. I am the shy character from "Dead Poets" who is finally urged to spill the truth from within.
more from Coldplay:

"And i’m not going to stand and wait
Not gonna leave it until it’s much too late
Oh, on a platform i’m gonna stand and say
That i’m nothing on my own
And I love you, please come home..."

Mata H said...

HofO - I am looking forward to what you have to say about Hearts and Bones and talking here about what cuts grabbed you. Re what got to me that night at the concert ? Hard to tell - probably Point Blank, Hungry Heart, or the fact that he did play NY City Serenade, maybe my all time favorite Bruce tune.

steve said...

either Songs In The key Of Life - Stevie Wonder or Sign The Times - Prince ... both are shining examples of a performer at their peak ... i travel with them ... mthey ahve to always be with me because i never know when i might need them ... now which one ... decisions decisions

Ellen said...

Oh so many to mention, but I found quite a few here already: Circle Game, If You Could Read My Mind, Piano Man, LP: Songs in the Key of Life, etc....

Sometimes it isn't exactly the album or CD I like, but rather particular lyrics of certain songs. One that makes me think: It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that gets us along. I have it as a personal mantra daily, but could never tell you who sings it, or the name of the song.

Funny thing about music, it's as diverse as the people who listen to it. I still love listening to Imagine by John Lennon, but was never much of a Lennon fan. Ironic, yes?

Layla said...

Excellent question. For me, it's also Bruce, but "Darkness on the Edge of Town". It was a defining time in my life for many reasons. I'd been a Bruce fan for years...but when Darkness came out, when I heard that first chord of Badlands...I was hooked. I sat and listened to every song over and over. Each song has a meaning to me - every single song is perfect.

I can't wait to get off work and go listen!

Layla said...

P.S. The River would have to be my second favorite. It was eerie to hear the words of the song:

"Then I got mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteen birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat...."

because at the exact time it came out my brother got mary pregnant, and he was 19, married her in the saddest wedding I've ever attended (they are now divorced).

Niki said...

I shall search for that.

Also last night I spent hours listening to 'Kind Of Blue' by Miles Davis - jazz died when he played his last note.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Dana
Hope you have a big dinning table - seems thanksgiving might be busy next year!! Have ordered me some Gordon Lightfoot too

Shirley
No Joey! How could you? I bet a little joey love goes a long way! then again perhaps not
Actually a conversation with tom whilst bruce played would be a devastating combo

Urban
WAR is a great album - haven't listened to it for a while - will have to hook it out - probably the best worship album ever made. Hillsong should have a listen - maybe i shouldn't go there again though!!
I love the long version of Layla - the way it drifts melts me every time

Suzanna
you are right, there is a season and time for everything - my take is that most worship songs are very milky, but the deeper stuff from U2, Bruce et al is much more meaty
Friends of mine in Nashville and in the know say that Jars of Clay's latest is truly fab - haven't managed to listen to it yet though....great lyrics from Coldplay!

Mata
Can you believe the store didn't have it!!!!! Had to order from amazon - but will give my take when it arrives
As for NY City serenade - wow - though I do prefer incident on 57 - why does no-one write 15 minute songs anymore?

Hey Steve
seems we have pip in common - dropped by your site today - like it
Two great albums - songs in the key of life is in my alltime top 5 albums
but much like another scene in hi fidelity - how can a man who crafted that write i just called to say i love you? One of life's mysteries i guess

Ellen
I like the lyric take - just listening to Paul Simon's latest album, surprise and this line just jumped at me:
'Nothing is different but everythings changed'
will mull on that today now...
Have to be honest and say I never really got Lennon, really don't get Sir Paul - was always more of a George man - was very sad when he died

Layla
Darkness is a remarkable bunch of tunes - and a remarkable follow up to born to run - the pressure to deliver after the future of rock n roll must have been immense - my favourite off that album is racing in the street
and yeah, very sobering lyrics....

Niki
do enjoy miles with wine - been listening to a love supreme of late by that other legend coltrane

Mata H said...

arghhh HofO -- the store didn't have it? Delayed musical gratification sucks. It is the oddest thing -- that CD is so brilliant, but it was almost 1gnored by the world at large -- ah well, do let us know when you hear it

Awareness said...

Harbour.........My dining room table can expand to any size. It's magical that way. All are invited to Thanksgiving. I should tell you though.......in my Billy Joel story, I invite him up and let him know that if he does take me up on the offer, I will ensure that I will introduce him as my friend "Will" so that he can relax and enjoy the fresh salt air and the unpretentiousness of the old house and community and not be Mr. Piano Man. So........ don't know whether he'll regale us in musical merriment...... we can only hope that he gets inspired in the shower or something! :)

Julie said...

Well there you go my friend again and again you speak to me of things so close to my heart and it encourages me...and boy do I need lots of that.
As you know Bruce is my all time fave. This album is very precious to me also and probably in my top 3 of all time. I think Darkness on the Edge of Town would be just a little out in front!

The River I 1st heard as a teenager when it was released. There was only one other person in the whole world at the time that I knew who liked Bruce and we would sit up all night in his freezing damp, dingy bedsit in a shared house in Oxford listening to it over and over again and discussing every detail of what the songs meant.We used to run out of milk around 2am and so have to drink black coffee and smoke roll ups til the early hours. I wasn't a Christian at the time and this album was a defining moment for me in that it started me searching for a better way, a different and more meaningful way of life.....eventually I married the guy had baby and he left me.

Listening to 'Little Girl I Wanna Marry You' and 'Point Blank' after he went ripped my heart out and watching our child grow up without a Dad has never stopped hurting.
We shared Bruce together, but in losing him Bruce and his music and ideoogies led me to find the truth. Only Jesus could mend my shattered heart and dreams.

Julie x

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

dana
the food company and conversation will be all this vagabond needs....but if he does play, hey, i won't stop him

julie
again, just glad my rambling encourage - am sorry your world seems tough right now - my thoughts (prayers, whatever they look like for me these days) are with you....sometimes I just want to do as he sings....'it's a town full of losers, and were pulling out of here to win....'

Suzanna said...

to by no means narrow the subject (and turning sharply from "last hour" music):
a big yes to 'jars of clay" -and I've always thought dctalk "supernatural" is EXceptional!

I downloaded "hearts & bones" So cool! I still could sing every word! I wore out my cassette tape.
Thank you to mata h for the reminder!

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

ok, so I've been listening to Hearts and Bones - how have i never been told about this class work?!

Listened to it 3 times through and I suspect it is going to get better every listen - beautiful melodies and lyrically stunning!!!

I love 'Think too much' - kinda sums me up

Very pleased to have it join my eclectic collection

merci one and all

Mata H said...

ahhh Suzanne and Harbour -- I love that you are delighted with Hearts and Bones. "everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance -- everybody thinks it's true..." ....