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Mark Blackburn

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About Mark Blackburn

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    Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
  1. In 1977 'Mr. Guitar' Chet Atkins recorded a song James Taylor wrote for him – to sing as well as finger-pick in his inimitable style: ME AND MY GUITAR – I never heard another version in the intervening forty years. But if you're a guitarist, really – who else could do justice to a song which alludes to “you've got a friend” in the song's bridge/release – one of the prettiest JT ever wrote, says me! Ev'ry now and then, I'm a lonely man, and it's nice to know that I've got a friend, who'll put his power right in my hand . . . and all I've got to do is the best I can (if I can). Chet's arrangement may have pleasantly surprised James! – Funky sound, including 'chorus' effect on the vocal, and guitar stylings on the musical bridge that are artless (You think, heck I could play that: Oh no you can't!) The lyric is a uniquely brilliant appreciation by an everyday Everyman playing guitar: “I am mostly flesh and bone and he is mostly wood . . . never does grow impatient for the changes I don't know. If he can't get to heaven, maybe I don't want to go! Only version ever uploaded to YouTube (Thanks, “DaffyDoug”)
  2. JAMES TAYLOR -- ART GARFUNKEL reprise The Everlys' Crying in the Rain
  3. Christmas Memories: my favorite Christmas carol written for just for Frank
  4. Like Johnny Mercer listening to obscure French melodies and turning them into hits (like Autumn Leaves) a lesser-known American lyricist Carl Sigman rescued a German tune from sure oblivion with a new English lyric. Best version of ANSWER ME, MY LOVE was a symphonic treatment of 30 years ago -- Joni Mitchell with a 70-piece orchestra arranged by Vince Mendoza. According to Wikipedia: "Answer Me" is a popular song, originally written 1952 (with German lyrics) under the title "Mütterlein" by Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch. The English lyrics were written by Carl Sigman in 1952. After the song was recorded by David Whitfield and Frankie Laine in 1953, the "religious" version was banned by the BBC after complaints.[1] Nevertheless, it still reached number one on the UK Singles Chart,[2] after another version was written by Sigman in which, instead of directing the question to God about why the singer has lost his love, the lyric is addressed directly to the lost lover. In the new lyric, "Answer me, Lord above..." is changed to "Answer me, oh my love..." with other appropriate changes. The new song, entitled "Answer Me, My Love," was again recorded by Laine and Whitfield, but became a bigger U.S. hit for Nat King Cole in 1954.[3] Whitfield's version reached the top spot in the UK Singles Chart first, followed swiftly by Laine's. On 13 November 1953, for the first but not only time in chart history, one version of a song was knocked off the top by another version of the same song.[2] Four weeks later, for the only time in British chart history, the two versions of the same song were at number one together.[2] Joni's version played this morning on Sirius '71 And who was Carl Sigman? You know some of his songs by heart! [A partial Wiki list] "A Marshmallow World" (collaboration with Peter deRose) "Arrivederci Roma" "The All American Soldier" "All Too Soon" (collaboration with Duke Ellington) "Answer Me" "Ballerina" "Buona Sera" "Careless Hands" "Civilization" (aka "Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I don't want to leave the Congo") "Crazy He Calls Me" (1949 collaboration with Bob Russell) "Dance Ballerina Dance" (collaboration with Bob Russell) "A Day In The Life Of A Fool" "The Day The Rains Came" (1957) "Ebb Tide" "Enjoy Yourself" (1948) "Fool" "How Will I Remember You" (music by Walter Gross) "I Could Have Told You" (collaboration with Jimmy Van Heusen) "If You Could See Me Now" (collaboration with Tadd Dameron) "It's All In The Game" "Losing You (English lyrics)" "Music from Across the Way" "My Heart Cries For You" "Pennsylvania 6-5000" (collaboration with Glenn Miller) "The Saddest Thing Of All" "Shangri-La" "Till" "What Now My Love" "(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story" "The World We Knew (Over and Over)" "You're My World" [p.s. Deepest thanks to the Wise Men here who managed to change the platform (if that's the term) for the better, here at the world's biggest website for musicians. Most grateful for the improvements! Sincerely, etc. Mark B of the frozen North]
  5. I can't clear my throat without saying the words "My favorite" (or "Mom's favorite"). I got my love of superlatives from my Mom's English-born father -- who when I was little would tell me about the fastest bird ("The Swift" -- 200 mph in a dive) or "the fastest car" (the 'Reid Railton Special' driven by English furrier John Cobb who -- the year of my birth, 1947 -- briefly topped 400 mph in setting a two-way record at Bonneville (394 mph) that lasted for decades! That car ended up in a museum in Birmingham England -- Grampa Fortington's home town. To coin a phrase, What a coincidence!There are moments when I'm listening to Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio and thinking (one song after another) "No, THAT is my favorite version." Including (recently) "These Foolish Things" -- sung by Rod Stewart. I was at a party once and amid the ambient noise I could clearly hear a male singer's voice singing this English standard. I checked to see which singer was able to penetrate that much noise. The unique sound of Rod Stewart. Frank and Ella wouldn't have penetrated through that joyful noise the way the husky delivery of Rod Stewart does. In that particular way, you could say "Rod is the best!" In any case he had the good sense to record "my favorite version" as a video. Delightful, you may agree.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL0pgcRlZYk
  6. Incidentally, that final note on DIDN'T WE is the second lowest note Frank ever sang! Just as an aside: Like Oscar Peterson (and very few other people I know) my oldest grandson Thomas has perfect pitch. We'll be watching television, a musical commercial and I'll say, "What's that note?" "B-flat" says my 22-year-old musical wizard (a better guitarist than his funny old Grumpa ever was). We go to the keyboard and check. He's always right. The novelty will never wear off! I have to pick up my guitar (always in tune) and check -- a moment ago, the final low note on Frank's recording of the first eventual hit song Jimmy Webb wrote, DIDN'T WE. Our favorite singer takes it down to a low F-major. What about WAVE? Thomas could hear them once and tell me with certainty that "he's two tones lower" on WAVE: E-flat. That would be THIS. From his second album of A.C. Jobim songs, and yes, still my favorite song composed (words and music) by the fellow I call "The Cole Porter of South America."
  7. JIMMY WEBB -- my new favorite "Playing Favorites" show on Siriusly Sinatra
  8. "Hey Tony!" said Hank on the phone: "Why you go and ruin my song?"
  9. Connick's SOME ENCHANTED EVENING – still 'enchanting' ten years on
  10. I had a thread here that was 'this close' to half-a-million 'views.' (Once I had a railroad, now it's gone, brother can you spare a dime?) Reminded of "IF" -- my favorite poem by Rudyard Kipling: "If you can make a heap of all your winnings, and risk it on one turn of 'pitch and toss' and lose – and start again at your beginnings, and never breathe a word about your loss …. ---- I was nine when I first read that poem by 'The Jungle Book' guy; its insights into the human condition (and its perfect cadences) entered my memory without effort that day, and are still there 60 years on. Recalling too, a moment half a century ago when Sinatra started his own “Reprise” record label with Warner Brothers – and was suddenly, for the first time in his life, a really wealthy man – at the peak of his financial powers: That's when he shared with his first born Nancy his favorite line from that Kipling poem (mine too!) “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same” I'm 72 now, still singing "I Thought About You" to my three youngest grand daughters, who indulge me with smiles when I say, "That's by Johnny Mercer. He'll be your favorite too!" I like to write about great melodies, great lyrics and great renditions. "Without the rendition," said Jule (Just in Time) Styne "there is no song." To borrow a line from John Mercer: I hope you won't mind my bending your ear. My postings are appreciations – celebrations – of The Great American Songbook – usually prompted by what Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio channel 71 is playing “right this minute.” Or else by “you liked THAT, you may like this too!” offerings from the shuffle play miracle that is YouTube circa 2019. Hope you enjoy!
  11. [h=2]Discordant harmony -- the jazz player's genius[/h] As if to say -- you love Nancy Wilson . . . ever hear her version? Hit the "back one hour" button and Siriusly Sinatra satellite radio is streaming on the computer, "Nancy Wilson" -- someone I've always loved -- and my 'new favorite' rendition of "In Other Words" (Fly Me to the Moon). Whoever orchestrated it, they borrowed several 'signature' Duke Ellington arrangements for horns. The great Billy May, says one of the wise men at Sinatra Family where we celebrated this one today. Added a note to this superb version: (Thanks, "Nancy Wilson - Topic"): "Discordant harmony -- the jazz player's genius : Listen to what happens at -- Nancy appears to sing a half-tone flat ("please be TRUE . . .") But the vibes player (a jazz genius himself, whoever it was) underlines Nancy's conscious choice of what I call 'discordant harmony" by playing the exact same 'flat' -- which could be part of a chromatic display chord where just one note is off. (Oscar Peterson did it better than anyone else.) Yet another reminder that THESE are the good old days: The sonic purity of this version is surely as good as it gets, this side of heaven:
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