Good Wednesday morning! I hope this day finds you well and just in case you need that extra little lift to make it over the hump, here is an ecard to make you smile. Let’s make a batch of these cakes and send them to the White House! You-know-who is still there, squawking.
I’m hoping to see a wide variety of songs for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, hosted by Jim Adams. He had prompted us with ‘Days of the Week”. Some obvious ones jump straight into your head although we try to avoid them so we don’t all end up sharing the same song!
My first choice this week was “Another Saturday Night”. I was tempted to go with the Cat Stevens version but once I listened again to Sam Cooke’s smooth voice it was no contest.
I also went with a second song that I came across by Simon & Garfunkel. “Wednesday Morning 3 AM” from the album of the same name. I had not heard it before but it was too pretty not to share.
Cooke wrote this when he was touring England in 1962 with Little Richard. Along with many soulful ballads, he wrote a lot of lighter songs like this one (“Good News,” “Having A Party,” “Twistin’ The Night Away”), but did record a heavy political song shortly before his death in 1964: “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Cat Stevens recorded this in 1974 – his version hit US #6. Except for “Morning Has Broken,” it’s the only Stevens release he did not write himself.
The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll brings us this Sam Cooke moment: Cooke began as a gospel singer in church and replaced the Soul Stirrers’ R.H. Harris in 1951. For his first solo onstage, the crowd was skeptical of his ability to fill Harris’ absence, but Cooke eyes closed and arms outstretched, sang without the rasping delivery or broken vowels of older stylists, avoiding the tentative offering of Harris’ Roman tenor. Yet his voice, burrowing and soaring through plaintive dirges, exuding a gentle world-weariness, moved the congregation to a standing ovation.”
The album’s title, Ain’t That Good News, is an allusion to his previous gospel choir roots, as the Biblical gospel is often referred to as “good news” in witnessing and ministering.
This was the first song Cooke released after the tragic drowning death of his son Vincent, who was 18 months old. in the interim, he’d fled town for out-of-town gigs, as many as he could get.
Wednesday Morning, 3 AM arrived as Simon and Garfunkel were still finding their inner voice, if not their actual ones.
Their debut album, released on Oct. 19, 1964, is perhaps best known for including the original, acoustic version of “The Sound of Silence” – and then for nearly ending what turned out to be a hall-of-fame partnership.
Completed in early 1964, the pretty, if largely unsubstantial Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, found Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sticking close to an acoustic-focused sound that, by the time the album was issued in 1964, had been rendered utterly passe by the arrival of the Beatles. Columbia Records, completely misunderstanding the rising zeitgeist, actually subtitled the project “Exciting New Sounds in the Folk Tradition.” Not exactly. So thunderous was their opening flop that Simon and Garfunkel effectively split up. It would be another year before the album’s enterprising producer, Tom Wilson, decided – in a stroke of career-saving genius – to add electric guitars and drums to the existing version of “The Sound of Silence,” hurtling Simon and Garfunkel up the charts during an era in which artists like Bob Dylan reshaped rock ‘n’ roll after also abandoning folk music.
Dylan’s acoustic songs, in fact, had a noticeable influence on Wednesday Morning, 3 AM. Simon and Garfunkel offered a tame version of “Times They Are a-Changing,” and also included “Peggy-O,” which Dylan regularly covered during his early days. Moreover, Simon’s “He Was My Brother” owes no small debt to the his influence. But Dylan had moved on, and Simon and Garfunkel needed to as well. Instead, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM veered into too-precious reductions of Everly Brothers-style harmonizing, without the fully formed literary weight that marked their later successes. And their choice of source material didn’t help. An album-opening take on the gospel-folk song “You Can Tell the World” is more energetic than it is emotionally resonant. “Go Tell It on the Mountain” was just as ubiquitous at this point, at the tail-end of the folk-revival era, as it was uninteresting.
This is a great day in America! The votes have been counted and the people have spoken. Our beautiful diverse country has come together again in a united voice of love and respect for one another, because we are better that way. We say “Yes to love and no to hate”. Goodbye Trump. You will not be missed.
America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.
The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.
The writing challenge: Today we will write about color from the perspective of a synesthete. Pick one color or several colors. Create your own Dictionary of Color. All sounds have color. The alphabet has color. Days of the week have color. Each day has a color and a certain shape.