Archive for the ‘Mark Haddon’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LEE FIELDS-“Still Hanging On” (Field Recordings, April 18, 2012).

This was another Field Recording from SXSW filmed on the patio of Joe’s Crab Shack [Lee Fields: Early Morning Soul].

Lee Fields is soul singer who I don’t know.  Evidently he toured in the 1970 sand resurfaced in the ’90s.  He’s got a great powerful voice, but you can tell he’s a bit wiped out.

It was Friday morning during South by Southwest, and Lee Fields was gassed. The veteran soul singer told us he’d given his all in a concert the night before, and you could tell that our early appointment at Joe’s Crab Shack in Austin, Texas, had left his voice gravelly and raw.

He has steadily put out funk-tinged blues and gospel records, crooning love songs and belting world-weary anthems with an expressive voice full of swagger and regret.

So on that March morning, Lee Fields reached deep, fought off the morning fog and gave a passionate, stripped-down performance of “Still Hanging On” with the help of guitarist Vince John. It was a rare peek at a legendary, impossibly gracious singer who proved that, after all these years and even with little sleep, he’s still got it.

Somehow the rawness and weariness of his voice makes it all the more poignant and impressive.

[READ: January 8, 2017] “The Weir”

This was a fascinating story that went in a few different directions.

It begins with a fifty-something year old man throwing tennis balls to his dogs.  He is on a large swath of land that abuts a river.  He is using this time with his dogs to think about his family.  His wife left him six weeks ago and he feels he is coping well (the dogs help).

But his son was the real problem.  He was gone missing.  For years.  His wife had even said that it would be better if he were dead.

While in his thoughts, he sees a young woman hugging the cliffs on the edge of the river.  As he watches her he realizes that she is going to jump in (the river is extremely fast and dangerous).  He rushes to try to stop her, but she can’t hear anything with the noise of the river.

Without even realizing he did it, his jacket and shoes were off and he was jumping in.  The river is crazy and violent and he is tossed around.  Finally he catches up to her, but she is attacking him–whether on purpose or not he doesn’t know.  Eventually he is able to drag her to the shore.  The water was really cold.  The air is cold.  She is cold and he is cold.  She is breathing but not responsive.

He hauls her back to the car and wraps the dogs’ rug around her. The only thing she says is “not the hospital.”  So he brings her to his house.

It’s all really exciting. (more…)

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boomSOUNDTRACK: RATBOY JR.-“Champion of the Universe” (2013).

ratboyRatboy Jr was also in the Top Ten of WXPNs 2013 Kids Corner countdown (and was also on the Kids Corner CD).  This is a fun song told in a story.  It opens slowly with acoustic guitars and tells the story of a young boy with a very big head who wants to be a luchador.

When the chorus comes around, it kicks into full Mexican style swing with horns and flamenco style guitars.  Young Santos goes to a store where he gets a beautiful red wrestling mask.  And we all sing “La Cabeza Grande, champion of the universe!” in full chanting chorus (complete with yips and yee hees!).

I actually wish the songs was about five minutes longer.  But at just under 4 minutes it tells a good story and is super catchy.

[READ: January 2, 2014] Boom

I’ve read one adult book by Mark Haddon (but not his famous Curious Incident…).  I didn’t know that he wrote kids books at all.  But when this came out I learned that this was originally published in 1992 under the title Gridzbi Spudvetch! (and yes it was in English).  He says in the Foreword that kids and teachers loved it, if they were able to pronounce it (and that with a title like that he was lucky that 23 people bought it).

So it went out of print.  But fans said he should get it back in print.  So he decided to rename it a more reasonable name.  He also says the technology in the book was horribly out of date (which shouldn’t really matter, but if you’re going to update it, you might as well do it all).  And as since he was updating, he decided to rewrite, as he puts it, “every sentence.”  So I gather the story is the same, but it’s a very different book (and me being me, I’m very curious to read the original).

But now with the simple name of Boom, we get this fast paced and very enjoyable story.  (And yes, gridzbi spudvetch is still in the book). (more…)

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ferguson.jpgSOUNDTRACK: MODEST MOUSE-We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (2007).

mouse.jpgShouty shouty shouty. Modest Mouse are a fun shouty band, they have some catchy songs, but they seem so noisy most of the time that I am shocked, shocked, I say, that they ever had a hit. And “Float On” from their last album WAS a hit. So much of a hit that “Weird Al” stuck it in a medley of songs of his latest album. Now THAT’s making it big. And, yet, I’m still confused, because their music isn’t pretty. (more…)

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bother3.jpgSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Introducing Happiness (1995).

happiness.jpgThis is where the Rheos really hit their stride! The first 4 songs are simply great, including their cover of Jane Siberry’s “One More Colour.” If you check out my comments on the Rheos’ Greatest Hits record, you will see a comment about Jane Siberry; I had totally forgotten they did this cover, and somehow this validates my earlier comparison, so good for me. Anyhow, the song “Claire” is on this disc, and it is simply one of the best songs ever. Ever. Totally catchy, totally pretty, great background vocals…everything about it is great. Later on the record you get a back to back of two more great songs, “Take Me in Your Hand” and “Jesus Was Once A Teenager, Too.” Simply gorgeous melodies with thoughtful lyrics. There are a couple of wacky tracks on here too. The kind where people prick up their ears and make a “did someone fart?” face. But they’re kind of brief, and contextually they work, its just that when you’re casually listening to pretty songs, and then you get one with screams and guitars, it tends to make things go wobbly. But overall, this is a great record. If you’re going to try the Rheos, obviously Double Live is the place to start, but this is a close second. (more…)

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