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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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For Your Valentine: Share Those Favorite Love Songs, Here

Uploaded: Feb 14, 2014
Love and pollen are in the air this day, and unless you're sneezing, you may be humming a romantic tune. After all, the Bard had it right, way back when:

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it …


Music is forever plucking heartstrings, and easing heartache – everybody has a favorite few songs to arouse an emotion or memory, or soothe a hurt. At a particularly difficult turn in the road, I recall loading-up my hound and seeking solace -- tromping through the back country, belting out Billy Vera's famous lament. Whole species may have been endangered in the process, but it helped me, and old Trover the dog even joined-in on occasion. I can lump-up just finding that link on you-tube. Such is the power of song.

As a boomer, I've always felt that my parents' generation had a lock on romance. At least as I've been introduced to that songbook by the likes of Diana Krall, their anthems were lyrical and sentimental, verging sometimes on sensuous, but never particularly salacious. Stardust, Under My Skin, Let's Fall in Love – great stuff. And the jazz of Ella, Billie or John Coltrane is perfect to set the fuzzy, languid late-on-a-Saturday-evening mood.

I'm also a blues lifer, but in that case for its more overt sexuality. The hard rock-n-roll that derives from that genre picked up its direction and message – I love Albert Collins, Muddy, the Stones and Led Zeppelin in their place or at the gym, but that setting is not a candlelit seduction scene. When Robert Plant wails "Woman! You-ou Need me," red wine and the sweet scent of roses are not in my predominant mental image.

Motown comes a lot closer for me, and any conversation about Boomer-era love songs Must begin with America's Greatest Living Poet, one William Robinson, Jr. (Smokey). The stuff he wrote (remarkably – how'd he know?) in his teens and twenties gave life to many a crush or hopeless devotion ("… so much honey, the bees envy me," or "…if you can want, you can need, if you can need, you can care, if you can care, you can love – call if you want me, I'll be there.")

And his later work is Even better, as in Just to See Her, One Heartbeat and my all-time Number One Cruisin' Together. "Baby let's cruise, let's float, let's fly. And if you want it, you got it … forever." Whew! The music is played for love – indeed it is.

I am ridiculously blessed in that my love believes that Etta James' At Last My Love Has Come Along trumps even Smokey's best (it doesn't, but that in no way diminishes my good fortune). She'd also put in votes for Sinatra, Bobby Darin, the Beach Boys and the Everly and Righteous Brothers. I'd also find a place for later Marvin Gaye, and the Mamas/Papas Dedicated to the One I Love.

Okay, so that's my playlist – on this, The Most Romantic Day of the year: what's yours?

Comments

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 8:15 am

177 views and no comments. Sheesh. Romance is dead. Web Link


Posted by Woody, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 11:24 am

Here, I'll step into the void and respond to your cloying need for recognition....

Ah, yes, Valentine's Day, another one of those meaningful holidays, sponsored by Hallmark Greeting Cards and Sees Candies. Where me-me-me folks share a guiltlessly expensive bottle of wine and bask in the glow of their favorite, commercially successful, pop jingles.

Yes, Tom, you do exist. I say so. You may now rest easy.

p.s., I think Roz clicked about 150 of those 177 "views" you refer to.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 11:52 am

I recall this style of music when my family lived in the Basque Country.

Web Link

This music was recorded long after we moved to London. However we maintained contact with a few family members who remained in northern Spain. Of course while Franco was alive nobody was allowed to speak in the Basque language except in secret. I don't recall ever having celebrated Valentines Day as a teen. Not until we lived in the US did I know about the holiday.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Whew -- thanks, Woody. There may not be much to be said for snark, but at least it's not dead. I will speak with Roz about picking-up the pace of her clicking, too.

Now, Do you Have a favorite love song, or is your entire approach to interpersonal relations captured in your comment?

@cholo -- thanks, I enjoyed that vid.


Posted by Woody, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

@Cushing: best love song ever? Beethoven's 7th Symphony.

@Cholo: Enjoyed the video very much, Cholo. Loved the improvised percussion, borrowed from flamencoists of the south? But, like flamenco, the music shows the strong influence of Romanian gypsies who settled into parts of the Basque region after coming through Andalucía.

Speaking of flamenco, best love genre ever? Perhaps, or maybe better said, best ever unrequited love genre? Flamenco also bears the stamp of Romanian gypsies, but fused with both Indian (sitar) and N. African (la oud -- mistranslated into Lute). Web Link


Posted by Woody, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Cholo, also ... it wasn't only Catalan and other Basque dialects that were banned by the fascist Franco. Flamenco too was forbidden, as the music had to be played mostly in caves where people could laugh, sing, and dance without being arrested. And so today the romance of the musical form cannot be separated from its emancipatory impulses.

In the video I included above, beyond the music, the backdrop for Tomatito and his fellow musicians appears to resemble a cave, thus reminding listeners of how emancipatory music has often had to spring from the cave-like depths of political oppression.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Txalaparta: Web Link


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm

My last post. I couldn't resist submitting this magical video re: Flamenco.

It is FABULOUS! It's all about L O V E! VIVA! GORA!

Web Link


Posted by Woody, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Thanks for this, Cholo. The incomparable Camaron begins singing around the 20 minute mark, backed on guitar by Tomatito, the same guitarist I posted above. In addition, I noticed Moraito Chico playing next to Tomatito. Moraito, always deferring to everyone around him, I saw him perform solo in a small flamenco house of Seville many years ago, an experience I'll never forget. Camaron, taken from us way too early; and Moraito too! In addition to the eroticism of the music, and its shouts of freedom echoed across the barren plains of exile from the hell of hidden caves, there has also been its stubborn resistance (few exceptions) to commercialization. Ole! Viva!


Posted by Perky, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on Feb 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Love the contributions!!!!! My husband and I travelled to Spain about thwenty years ago and it was great and the music was fantastic. Thanks Cholo and Woody.


Posted by Perky, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on Feb 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Love the contributions!!!!! My husband and I travelled to Spain about thwenty years ago and it was great and the music was fantastic. Thanks Cholo and Woody.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Feb 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I am posting this link in case somebody might otherwise miss it -- it is Roger Angell's essay reflecting on life in the 90's (his) -- in many ways, it's a tribute to love, at any age.

Web Link


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