Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nostalgia on

Some songs just take me back.

I discovered today. Hey, I can listen to 25 free songs a month, so I started playing. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. These took me back to various places and colors and times:

1. "White Bird" by It's a Beautiful Day. 1970 or so. I was so young. I remember having a compilation record with this song on it. I'd play it over and over, singing along, "White bird in a golden cage, on a winter's day, in the rain..." (At least, that's how I remember the lyrics.) "Leaves blow across the long, black road to the darkened sky in it's rage, but the white bird just sits in its cage alone. White bird must fly or it will die."

I have no idea what this song is about but I love the violin and the funky psychedelic decade's use of that organ (which works here, though I normally hate organs other than ginormous cathedral ones playing, oh, Bach). Male and female voice working together well, without the total sanitation of production we're used to nowadays. This song still feels ...a little human? And hippy-dippy. And I love it.

2. "China Girl" by David Bowie. I remember singing this as a newlywed in our first apartment, 1983. "Oh, baby, just you shut your mouth." I loved doing the shushing part, finger to mouth, SHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm sassy and 23 and madly, madly, madly in love and YOUNG and full of a sense of potential. And low of funds, but who cared when you had a hunk sharing your days and...heh...nights. Shhhhhhhh.

3. "Under the Moon and Over the Sky" by Angela Bofill. 1979. From the album ANGIE. If you've never heard Ms. Bofill, you've missed a lovely thing. I had the LPs back then. Bofill was introduced to me by my boss at my first job at BURDINES. I was knocked over by her passionate, soaring vocals and that delicious tone. ANGIE came out in '78, but I didn't get it until a year or so later, after I'd first tried ANGEL OF THE NIGHT, my fave of her albums. And yet, this is my fave of all her songs.

"A man and a woman, a love that could never die under the moon and over the sky...Let's all go out and reach for the sun. Happiness and love could be for everyone, if we just try a little harder."

And with a 3 1/2 octave range, trust me, some stunning vocalizations get going. (Her godfather was the late, great Tito Puente, and like my brother's kids, she is the product of a Cuban pop and a Puerto Rican mom.)

When it got to the more frantic Latin section, I'd dance Afro-Cuban style--the old style, the Santeria style, though I didn't practice it--with a full skirt and a pretend cigar (anything handy and cylindrical), feeling the music, barefoot, stomping, contracting and releasing the abdominals to get that particular convulsive move. The song starts out smooth and jazzy, then moves into the Yoruba lyrics with the percussion making you want to dance, the bass easy, the crystalline flute glittering above the darker sounds, up and all around, and then the Santeria chant and bird-like calls turn into a lovely jazzy scat and the music softens up yet again, chimes and flute easing down and she sings:

"Like the wings of a bird, my heart soaring way up high...under the moon and over the sky..."

Ah, if I was as nimble as I was at 19. Ah, if I was able to sing like THAT then or now!

Music is powerful. You can be any age, for a few minutes...

Charitable Opportunity: Ms. Bofill had a massive stroke in 2006 and was uninsured. She's had and continues to have fundraising by friends in concert and via soliciation of funds. If you want to donate via check or credit card, go HERE.


SolShine7 said...

I remember "China Girl" from The Wedding Singer. What a cute scene.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I was googling the lyrics to Under the Moon and Over the Sky (for some reason, those lyrics are particularly difficult to find) and I stumbled upon your lovely site.

Thanks for sharing!

Ms. Matrix from NYC