quinta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2010

Deixa-me rir...

Caros audiophiles, there are many artists who, whatever other great works they have sung or written or painted, are forever associated with one particular masterpiece. Al Stewart is one such artist. Perhaps his name may not immediately be familiar to everyone, but almost everyone will recognise the timeless classic song, and album, for which he will always be remembered, Year Of The Cat.
For me, the song's evocative descriptive lyrical imagery, recalling the film Casablanca, and the seductive saxophone in its musical soundscape transports me to summer days in some unspecified exotic place.



The first thing I ever knew about Al Stewart, even before I heard his songs, was that he was expelled from a boarding school near mine, filling me with the horror and curiosity of a conformist teenager. Listening to his cultured voice he does not sound much like a rebel but he was caught soming 'pot' I think, and later according to his biography he was the first songwriter to include 'f**k' in a lyric.
The first album I heard was Modern Times, and I particularly liked the title song about meeting an old schoolfriend in a bar and reminiscing about the old days but the schoolfriend seems neither to want to remember the past nor to engage with the present.
Al Stewart wrote many story songs of historical people and events, in particular on his album Past Present Future. My favourite here, for the poignant lyric and spanish guitar, is Roads to Moscow about the terrible fate under Stalin's tyranny of so many Red Army soldiers after they returned from five years fighting for Mother Russia against Hitler; Stalin did not trust the power of the military and many were executed or sent to Siberia labour camps.  


A proxima,
po
 

12 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

Great songwriter and musician, Philip. Don't particularly like his voice, though. It is fresh and very clear, but it lacks some soul ... thank you for introducing me (us?) to this artist. I had heard of him, but couldn't match any song to him! Loved the instruments (specially the piano) in the first one. Your description of him and the two albuns was lovely too. Thanks ... and we'll always have Paris... (last line of Casablanca, do you know it?) pcp

Anónimo disse...

It was great to hear again The year of the cat - now I know who sang it.
Casablanca magic (a fantastic movie even if not a great movie)and Bacall appearence (timeless beauty and charm...was it from Key Largo?)made me google the lyrics...
"...She doesn't give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow 'till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears
...
Well, she looks at you so cooly
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what's waiting inside
The year of the cat
..."
Perfect illustration!
Thanks PO
deA

marialemos disse...

po,
this is not a post - it is an OEUVRE D'ART.

totally agree with the expressions:
seductive saxophone
and
poignant lyric and spanish guitar

i'm curious: who plays the guitar?

Philip disse...

Dear All, thanks for your comments... DeA, the film clips, apart from Casablanca, were To Have And Have Not with Bacall/Bogart ("you know how to whistle, don't you?") and Out Of The Past. I do like Bacall though my preference is for Ingrid Bergman, but thanks for highlighting some of the 'femme fatale' lyrics... Maria, the spanish guitar was Isaac Guillory, but Al's main guitarist was Tim Renwick, a session musician and touring band member for many artists including Pink Floyd. On Past Present Future album, Al also employed Rick Wakeman (from Yes, take note BdeA!) and Roger Taylor (soon to become famous as Queen's drummer, take note pcp!).
I hope you will investigate Al a bit more. Plenty to find on Youtube! PO

marialemos disse...

po,

i love the sound of saxophone but i have to confess that my prefered sound is the one you get from the clarinete. all the pieces that i've heard are heaven:) but i'm just an amateur:) Do you agree with my 'léger' statement?

marialemos disse...

oh, nothing to do with your post.. forgot to say. There the saxophone is perfection IMVHO.

Philip disse...

MariaL, every instrument has its moment in the sun. So suggest to me some amazing clarinet pieces, in any genre you like. The only ones I can think of immediately are by Acker Bilk - Stranger on the Shore and Aria, but these are both 'pop' jazz. PO

JdB disse...

Dear Philip,
Can I suggest you an amazing clarinet piece (presumably you know it already)?
http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=2759184487908084688&postID=96640385232393238
(let me know if you cannot open it).
JB

marialemos disse...

po,
i'm going to look for those pieces i adore and will be back ASAP.
you have a way with words:every instrument has its moment in the sun - can't be better expressed:)

Anónimo disse...

Absolutely! Philip is amazing with words. He's very poetic, very humble and understated. We have two poets in this blog. At least... pcp

marialemos disse...

true pcp. his words flow and express exactly what should be expressed not one word + not one word -. some posts that he writes are pieces of art. amazing work

marialemos disse...

po, here is one but, it's ...
Mozart (that i worship)
Rondo (Allegro)played by Sir Neville Marriner
i can't attach it here(:
Mozart is also so playful that he totally conquered me.
think that Gershwin also has some beautiful pieces but have to check it and right now i have loads of work on my table to present next week at the university:)
so i promise that later on i'll send some of those to you.
Thanks again for the amazing post

Acerca de mim

Arquivo do blogue