Pat Blythe – Meanings & Stories Behind the Songs – Part One

pat-blog

Jeez…..there’s nothing more challenging than following the venerable Mr. Vickers. The wizard of words, the lord of linguistics, the man who requires most of us to have a dictionary, any dictionary, in extremely close proximity, preferably at one’s fingertips (or at least within stretching distance), and has us laughing two sentences in. If you missed it, you’ll find his discourse (or diatribe) here Highly recommended reading!

lyricsNow, a slightly different tact for today’s piece. After listening to one of Sam Taylor’s songs “The Sound”, it had me wondering about the story or meaning of the song. Lyrics are such a vital part of any song and what we glean from them are our own personal interpretations. (which is why I don’t ‘appreciate’ much of today’s songs that are either derogatory and/or inflammatory). However, the words of the songwriter can be a disguise with much hidden beneath or between the lines….some are allegorical or double entendres concealing something deeply personal or life-altering. Others are purely descriptive, or simply a joke, or just plain fun with no meaning at all (think Tubthumping).  Others seem blatantly obvious but then you find out Lucille is the man’s guitar and I’m still not a 100% sure who (or what) is lying across Dylan’s big brass bed?

Hang on, I just found this posted on my Twitter feed. Thought at least the name of the song was applicable for the times. Sorry…..shiny thing…..

New Dark Ages – The Cross

song-explanation

The Julian Taylor Band (JTB) released their first double album, Desert Star, just a few months ago. It’s their second album after the 2014 release of Tech Noir. The official launch of Desert Star, held at Lee’s Palace, was jam packed with JTB fans. To watch the concert in its entirely, go here. https://livestream.com/TDSMM/DesertStar/videos/138170029

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Julian Taylor, Lee’s Palace, October 7, 2016

Although “Just A Little Bit” always get me dancing and “Chemical Low” just sucks me in (it’s also my ring tone), one song in particular has always stood out for me, not because it’s a favourite on the album, but because the lyrics touched something in me. The title of the song is “One Time”. The words can be interpreted in so many ways (every time I hear it I think of just one more time with Chris). Here’s Taylor’s story.

One Time is a song about mankind’s relationship with Mother Earth.  It began as a romantic song about a lover and how the relationship was beginning to fall apart.  Once the lyric “feel your light” came into the chorus we decided to shift gears and make it about the planet and how we must take care of our one true mother and giver of life.  Humankind has not treated her well over the years and it’s paramount that we do, otherwise there will be nothing left to support the next generation.”

 sam-smile-0024

Sam Taylor, Stone Cottage performance Nov. 5 2016. The man has a great smile as well as great hair.

Sam Taylor and The East End Love released their first, full-length album, What You Heard, in the summer of 2016. “The Sound” was originally released on their self-titled EP earlier in the year. A very impactful yet simple song, Taylor decided to include it on the full-length album as well. In Taylor’s own words, “The Sound” is about the feeling/sensation of knowing something is wrong without it being verbalized. Most times, we are aware of this sensation but hesitate to act when our own pride gets in the way.” Sound familiar?

The Sound – Sam Taylor

http://www.heartstringstv.com/episodes/sam-taylor/

This next piece is not so much the story behind the song but the story about the recording of the song. Thank you to Frank Zirone, producer of the Beatles tribute show ONES http://www.onesshow.com/ who uncovered this little gem while doing some research for another project he is working on. He originally told me the story during one of our many coffee klatches so I’ve asked him to retell if for the column.

The Gene Pitney song, “He’s A Rebel”, became a runaway smash hit for the Crystals after being turned down by The Shirelles, but what transpired behind the scenes is far more fascinating. This story is the condensed “Reader’s Digest” version.

According to Zirone’s research, “Pitney, with assistance from his publisher, found Vicky Carr, an up-and-coming new artist, to record the song. However, her recording and its subsequent release was underscored by a case of studio espionage. Producer Phil Spector, who happened to be in the studio when Carr was recording the song, became obsessed with getting it out on record in America before Carr. Spector had a vision that this song would be number one for The Crystals!”

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Vicki Carr

He’s A Rebel – Vicki Carr

“Now a group called The Blossoms were Spector’s ‘go to’ back-up singers. Since The Crystals were unavailable, Spector used Darlene Love, the lead singer of The Blossoms to fill in for the singer Barbara Alston, The Crystals’ lead vocalist. The song, of course, was credited to the Crystals, and its phenomenal success kiboshed any dreams Vicky Carr may have had. (at least for that particular song) It would take many years for Darlene Love to finally be rightfully recognized as the ‘the voice’ in “He’s A Rebel”, a voice Alston couldn’t match for live performance. Love, in fact, became “the voice behind the songs” of many female stars of the 60’s.”

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The Blossoms – Top – Fanita James, Front – L – Darlene Love, R – Jean King

He’s A Rebel – The Crystals

(actually The Blossoms w/Darlene Love on lead vox)

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Phil Spector and Darlene Love

…..and she’s still belting it out today in fine, fine form.

He’s A Rebel – Darlene Love

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author-martin-melhuishMartin Melhuish very recently posted the following video on Facebook. I found this beautifully mesmerizing. The songs these women sing are powerful, reaching deep within. Their combined voices are uplifting, soaring, primal, organic, compelling, evocative, soothing…..and can simply take you away. Just close your eyes. I found myself listening to this particular song several times before I got out of bed this morning (Tuesday).

Sztoj pa moru (out there on the sea) – Laboratorium Pieśni

Formed in 2013, the Polish, all female group is called Laboratorium Pieśni (translated Song Laboratory). From their website, “Using traditional, polyphonic singing, they perform songs from all over the world, mainly: Ukraine, Balkans, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Scandinavia and many other places. They sing a capella as well as with shaman drums and other ethnic instruments (shruti box, kalimba, flute, gong, zaphir and koshi chimes, singing bowls, rattles, etc.) creating a new space in a traditional song, adding voice improvisations, inspired by sounds of nature, often intuitive, wild and feminine.” Founders Aline Jurczyszyn and Kamila Bigusare leading the project called ‘Akademia Laboratorium Pieśni’ (Academy of Song Laboratory) at the University of Gdansk, as well as organizing and leading workshops of traditional singing in other places.” The group includes Lila Schally-Kacprzak, Iwona Majszyk, Magda Jurczyszyn, Klaudia Lewandowska, Alina Klebba, and Karolina Stawiszyńska. To find out more about these gorgeous voices check out their website here http://laboratoriumpiesni.pl/en/about/ Thank you Martin!! I get goose bumps listening to them.

Lecieli żurauli (Flying Cranes) – Laboratorium Pieśni

ocwaf-revised-season-brochure-artwork-toronto-02-05-15Oh, a note on my Gemini-nominated friend Martin…. He was born in Penzance, Cornwall which explains his penchant and love for all things British. He also wrote the book (among several others), Oh What a Feeling: The Next Generation: A Vital History of Canadian Music. The musical celebration OH CANADA, What A Feeling, which played at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, was based on this book. I attended two performances and was fortunate enough to photograph the cast after their last show. Melhuish “has worked for many trade magazines, including Billboard, Contact, and Rolling Stone and ranks among the top 10 music journalists and historians in the world.” Yikes! My research better be damn good!

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Cast members of OH CANADA, What A Feeling

….and the meaning of the work polyphonic….as a nod to Melhuish, I’ll use the Oxford Dictionary definition.

Adjective – pol·y·phon·icˌ pälēˈfänik/

Late 18th century: from Greek poluphōnos (from polu-many + phone voice, sound) +ic

  1. producing or involving many sounds or voices

1.1 Music (especially of vocal music) in two or more  parts each having a melody of its own; contrapuntal ‘polyphonic choral music’

1.2 Music (of an instrument) capable of producing more than one note at a time

Class dismissed!

….and now for pure listening, and watching enjoyment…. This is fantastic!!!! Take the extra time to follow how it was put together. Another story behind the song…..

Master of The Tides – Linsdey Stirling

Cheers!

Photos of Sam Taylor, Julian Taylor and the cast of OH CANADA,What A Feeling by Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

Sources

Something Else Reviews, Song Facts, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Laboratorium Pieśni website

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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