Icarus’ Favorite Song – Over the Mountain, Across the Sea

22 05 2015

Growing up in Philly “American Bandstand” was in our faces everyday in the 50’s. What we didn’t know was that other cities had their own version of the first American teenage dance show. Philly’s “Bandstand”(the original name of the show) started in 1952 showing short movies of music – precursors to the music videos of today. Milt Grant’s “Record Hop” was the Washington, DC version of AB. Here’s Johnnie and Joe singing their biggest hit on his show…

“Over the Mountain, Across the Sea” was every dreamer boy’s favorite song at the end of the 50’s, Jim Collins the hero of my novel included. It captured the yearning for far away romance. Jim knew little back then about how life was outside the neighborhood. Things are different now that we’re all connected by Smartphone, Androids and tablets.

There’s a 3rd voice on the record. Rex Garvin wrote the song, played the piano(an integral piece of the song’s impact) and was part of the vocal backup. Joe Rivers, the lead vocalist, was his friend and Johnnie Louise Richardson, the female vocalist was the record company owner’s daughter. By the way, J&S Records was owned by Zelma “Zell” Sanders. A woman record company owner was pretty unheard of back then.

The popular wisdom holds that everybody wanted to be one of the dancers on “American Bandstand.” The popular wisdom is wrong. The teenagers of the 50’s and 60’s had mixed feelings about it. Fictionally, some of Jim Collins’ buddies resent the fame those kids got on TV. Truthfully, two of the most popular dancers on “American Bandsatnd”, Eddie Kelly and Bunny Gibson, had to change schools to get away from the bullying and adult narrow mindedness of the time.

Read all about it here…

dcover

http://booklocker.com/books/7143.html





Song #2 from “Songs of Icarus” and the Reason Why…

13 05 2015

dcover

The book can be purchased here…booklocker.com/books/7143.html.

Why did I write a novel set in 1959?
First off it was a great year…”Kind of Blue”, “Mack the Knife”, “Lonely Boy”, “Mr. Blue”, “Mingus Ah Um”, “Come Dance with Me”, “Kansas City”, and “Beyond the Sea” to name a few songs popular that year.
The power of music is that it evokes emotion. Music heard at a specific time and place can make us “Alive Inside” for years after. I’m not talkin’ about “golden oldies” or “oldies but goodies.” The power and magic of music is therapeutic. I hope I’m wrong but I worry that the music of today does not have the soul of the music of the past. I’m not talkin’ “soul music” I’m talkin’ music that speaks to the soul. I listen to Cassandra Wilson’s tribute to Billie Holiday “Coming Forth by Day” and recognize the talent of the singer, the musicians and arrangements but none of it touches me like Billie does. I attribute that to an emphasis on technical production rather than reaching deep within the human psyche for the feeling of “Good Morning, Heartache” or “Strange Fruit” in the way of Lady Day.

billieh

cwbh

What’s missing from today’s music? Artists may be subconsciously relying on technology rather than their own talent and emotional depth.

That’s where Icarus comes in. The meaning of the myth itself has been argued over the centuries. There’s even an Icarus complex in psychology textbooks. Daedalus told Icarus 2 things…don’t fly too high…don’t fly too low. I’d call that middle-of-the-road advice. He didn’t heed the advice and for that I, like many other artists, admire him. Anne Sexton wrote…

To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Triumph

Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade,
and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn
of the labyrinth. Think of the difference it made!
There below are the trees, as awkward as camels;
and here are the shocked starlings pumping past
and think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well:
larger than a sail, over the fog and the blast
of the plushy ocean, he goes. Admire his wings!
Feel the fire at his neck and see how casually
he glances up and is caught, wondrously tunneling
into that hot eye. Who cares that feel back to the sea?
See him acclaiming the sun and come plunging down
while his sensible daddy goes straight into town.

Matisse’ Icarus is a puzzling image. Is he flying or falling? I’m not sure it matters in the end. I paraphrase Matisse’ words written on the page across from Icare in “Jazz”…upon graduation young people should fly to get another perception of the world they live in.

Icare

At the end of Chapter 1, Jim Collins, a modern day Icarus, wishes for something he doesn’t have.

SONG #2…








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