Archive for the 'Music' Category

Adventures at Midlife: Mah-velous Meryl

July 22, 2008

Anyone questioning if women have life, charm, chutzpah and sex-appeal after 50 needs to hustle down to the local multiplex and get a load of a perfectly cast Meryl Streep as the the matriarch in “Mamma Mia,” singing, dancing, falling out of windows and jumping on beds. Wow. She outshines her screen daughter and just about everyone else in the cast. She made me want to go find my old character shoes. (I have dibs on that blue peasant dress with the boho trim.)

And the girl has some pipes! (She apparently began her career out of Yale Drama School singing in musicals on and off Broadway.) The critics have been savaging poor Pierce Brosnan for his singing voice, which is at least as good as Springsteen, IMHO. Heck, give the guy a break. I’ve done a LOT of performing, and I guess I’ve listened to too many pear-shaped tones over the course of 30 years. I like real voices, from real people. A little Melissa Etheridge really clears the mind and the soul.

Forget the guy in black. (Three frackin’ hours of mayhem and nihilism. Sheesh.) I’ll put my money on Meryl.

Update: Body acceptance activist Kate Harding has a somewhat long but fun take on “Mamma Mia.”



May 18, 2008

Stevie Nicks is 60! Love’s a state of mind! (As is age!)

May Day Carol

May 1, 2008

We don’t make much of the first of May in America, probably because it was a pagan holiday and the Puritans couldn’t endure it. (Killjoys.) It’s celebrated, or at least remembered, in Europe and the British Isles, mostly as a political holiday. But it has a romantic past:

On the first day of May [in England] young men and women would to rise a little before midnight and walk to some neighbouring wood, making music with horns and other instruments. There they would break boughs of hawthorn and other trees, weave garlands, and wander till sunrise, washing their faces in the May dew so magical in its properties. The boughs were then planted before the house-doors, and nosegays left at the thresholds; carols being sung, and gifts asked for in song. (Via.)

I remember a particularly lovely song I sang in choir about May Day:

The moon shines bright, the stars give a light
A little before tis day
Our Heavenly Father, he called to us
And bid us awake and pray.

Awake, awake, oh pretty, pretty maid
Out of your drowsy dream
And step into your dairy below
And fetch me a bowl of cream.

If not a bowl of thy sweet cream
A cup to bring me cheer
For the Lord knows when we shall meet again
To go Maying another year.

I have been wandering all this night
And some time of this day
And now returning home again
I’ve brought you a branch of May.

A branch of May I’ve brought you here
And at your door I stand
‘Tis nothing but a sprout, but it’s well budded out
By the work of our Lord’s hand.

My song is done and I must be gone
No longer can I stay
So it’s God bless you all, both great and small
And send you a joyful May.

RIP: Gene Puerling

April 7, 2008

Who? Gene Puerling died late last month at 78. And if you don’t know who he is, you should. I grew up obsessed with my older brother’s Four Freshman albums and learned to sing harmony from them. I moved on to the Beach Boys, Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, and I loved my sons’ Boys to Men CDs. And they all owe a debt of gratitude to Puerling, who was the godfather of close-harmony singing. The recordings by his studio group, The Singers Unlimited, with the peerless Bonnie Herman, are masterworks. May his heavenly choirs be in perfect tune and vibrato-less!