Friday, June 26, 2009

Moon June Spoon #5A – Readers’ Choice

Thanks everyone for the positive response to Moon June Spoon! It makes me realize I’d waited a while to do one of these series—Songs 4 Foodies also was quite popular—so I’ll try to make sure the next song list series isn’t so long in coming.

When I started the series I mentioned that I was going to confine the lists to music I currently listen to. There was one song, however, that I debated including even tho I haven’t listened to it in ages. Interestingly, our very own SoCal Correspondent, Audrey Bilger, wrote me an email yesterday making a case for including that very song. So…..

Blue Moon: “But wait,” you say, “you did include that.” But no, I don’t mean the Rogers-Hart tune, which turned up in the very first Moon June Spoon installment; I mean Alex Chilton’s song “Blue Moon” from the Big Star album sometimes referred to as Big Star’s Third & sometimes referred to as Sister Lovers (& occasionally called Beale Street Green). Talk about a soundtrack to my life. I was completely obsessed with this album in the mid 80s, & particularly with such haunting tunes as “Blue Moon,” “Nightime” “Take Care” “Kangaroo” & “Holocaust.” These songs seeped into my poetry & into the way I saw the world. Please check out the video of “Blue Moon” below—
in my opinion the animation doesn’t fit the song, but just close your eyes & listen. This is a fantastic song from a truly great album, & one that I recommend highly. I have it on vinyl & also on a cassette—the two versions vary (there’s more material on the cassette, including Chilton singing “Nature Boy”). The “cassette” version is the one available on CD from Rykodisc. Big Star: Third/Sister Lovers (Rykodisc)

Audrey’s suggestion made me consider further that there have been other suggestions of Moon Songs—so here we have other readers’ choices, communicated either thru comments or email. I’ve included a couple of other videos, too.

Alleghany Moon – Patti Page (et al.)
Moon of Manakoora – Dorothy Lamour (et al.)
Moon Over Miami-The Platters (ditto)
When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain (Kate Smith)
Pink Moon (Nick Drake)

Special thanks to Jacqueline T. Lynch, as well as Audrey, for making suggestions. I also remembered that I meant to link to a site suggested by Dominic Rivron—the link is here, & while this doesn’t have to do with music, it has a lot to do with the moon. Check out the atlas section!

What’s your favorite moon song? Don’t be shy!

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  1. My favourite "moon song" is far-removed from your usual choices. It's by the Irish group, The Waterboys and it's called "Whole of the Moon". It makes me want to sway and sing at the top of my lungs. It is the most cathartic song for when you're feeling full of the joys of life and love, but works equally well when you feel hard-bitten or in the doldrums. Here's a link to a performance I've never seen before:

    and a version I have:

    Always love discovering new(to me) music here, John.


  2. Ah. "Bad Moon Rising".

    Kate Smith? OMG. That took me back. I developed very strong opinions about singers when I was just a little girl. By the time I was six, I knew I loathed Kate Smith, Gene Autry and Ethel Merman. My love list was much longer than my hate list, btw.

  3. Sandra Leigh - My husband can do the most amazing impersonation of Ethel Merman singing "There's No Business, Like Show Business"! (unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that he'll let me record it).


  4. Depending on the mood: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bad Moon Rising if I want to kick up my heels under the big bright moon,

    Or Blue Moon for a different mood, especially by Elvis,

    And then Moon River for a romantic touch.

    Thanks, John, it has been an interesting series.

  5. Hi Kat & Sandra & Linda:

    Kat: That's a cool song-- I didn't know it. The version with piano & tin whistle was very fun-- live version good too. Too bad you can't record the Ethel Mermen imitation.

    Sandra: Can't go wrong with a little CCR, right. I'd have to agree with you on Kate & Ethel, but I don't mind Gene Autry.

    Linda: Those are all good choices & all very appropriate to the various moods. Thanks!

  6. And "Rising of the Moon", one of the Irish rebel songs.

    I wonder, John, if there are more songs about the moon than about the sun? Is there something more appealing about the romantic aspect of moonlight, or something irresistable about the cyclical moon as opposed to the (poetically at least) more reliable sun?

    There is that line in the Robert Burns poem spoken by a rueful maid lamenting over a past love,
    "My love is like the sun in the firmament does run,
    Forever constant and true,
    But his is like the moon
    That wanders up and down
    And every month it is new."

    Is the sun more admirable, but ironically more boring in its very steadfastness?

    Tides, farmers, religous rituals, and womens' bodies are all bound likewise to the cyclical nature of the moon. And werewolves. Let us not forget the dear werewolves.

    Poor old sun. We've had a lot of rain lately, so I'm sorry for not appreciating it more when I had it.

  7. Hi Jacqueline:

    Rising of the Moon is a great tune. The constant sun, inconstant moon idea is a big concept in traditional poetry from the late middle ages thru the Victorians & beyond. It does seem that mutability is one of "the" poetic themes, & as such the moon is particularly appropriate. The sun does come up quite a bit in contrast to this. It would be interesting to look at the two in poetry-- perhaps I'll do that!

    & you're right-- don't forget werewolves!


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