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Songs on my ipod - johnjosmiller
johnjosmiller
johnjosmiller
Songs on my ipod
I like to make lists.  Favorite books.  Major league autographs I need for my collection.  Popes who committed felonies.  Most strikeouts by a  New York Mets pitcher.  (For those interested, Tom Seaver leads the list with 2541;  the highest ranking active pitcher is Tom Glavine in 19th with 485.)  I thought it might be interesting to share what might be called my favorite songs:  the top most played on my iPod, and it's easy, because my iPod keeps track of it all for me.

I'm not a technophobe, but I don't have much use for many recent innovations.  Yes, I do use a computer (though my last novel got lost, through no fault of mine) and I realize that cellphones can be handy (though I don't have one), and I don't play computer games.  But I love my iPod.  Thanks again, Parris!

Here"s 10-6 on my most played list.  Rest to follow when I find the time.

10. "Santy Anno/Coal Tattoo" John Stewart and Buffy Ford: John Stewart and Darwin’s Army (1999)

And I’ve been a coal miner all of my life,
Laying down track in the hole.
Got a back like an ironwood bent by the wind, 
Blood veins blue as the coal.

John Stewart is one of America’s great neglected songwriters, though he had his share of fame as a long-time member of the Kingston Trio. Buffy Ford, who was asked to be the vocalist for Jefferson Airplane before Grace Slick joined the group, is his wife. This is a beautifully blended duet of the traditional sea shanty "Santy Anno" and "Coal Tattoo," written by Billy Ed Wheeler, the greatest coal mining song ever. Buffy Ford’s voice is still sweet. Stewart’s is gruff with age, but well-suited to this tough, uncomplaining song about the life of a coal miner.

9. "Song for a Winter’s Night" Quartette Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2003)

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin'
The morning light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin'

If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
Upon this winter night with you
And to be once again with with you

Quartette is four Canadian women singers/songwriters, including the fabulous Slyvia Tyson, who was once part of the great Canadian folk duo of the 1960's-1970's Ian and Slyvia. This is a beautifully lush arrangement with four beautifully lush voices of an unabashedly romantic Lightfoot ballad. The winter imagery is quite powerful for someone, like me, who grew up in snowy country.

8. "Rainy Night In Georgia" Brook Benton (1970)

Hoverin' by my suitcase, tryin' to find a
Warm place to spend the night
Heavy rain fallin', seems
I hear your voice callin' "It's all right."
A rainy night in Georgia,a rainy night in Georgia
It seems like it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world

An authentic rarity – a pop blues song with soul. "Rainy Night in Georgia" was written by Tony Joe White in 1962, and was a hit for Brook Benton in 1970. His semi-sweet, semi-rough voice is perfect for this melancholy ballad.

7. "Abraham, Martin, and John" Dion (1968)

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he's gone? 
I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill, 
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Something rarer than a pop song with soul – a pop song that is an explicit political statement. This song was written by Dick Holler (who also penned the immortal "Snoopy Versus the Red Baron") and recorded by Dion in 1968 upon his comeback from heroin addiction. It made it to number four on the pop charts.

6. W*O*L*D* Harry Chapin: Anthology (1974)

I am the morning DJ on W*O*L*D
Playing all the hits for you wherever you may be
The bright good-morning voice who's heard but never seen
Feeling all of forty-five going on fifteen

The drinking I did on my last big gig made my voice go low
They said that they liked the younger sound when they let me go
So I drifted on down to Tulsa, Oklahoma to do me a late night talk show
Now I worked my way back home again, via Boise, Idhao
That's how this business goes

Another character study masquerading as a pop song by the wonderful Harry Chapin – another great like Steve Goodman, Townes van Zandt, and Richard Farina who died way, way too young. The juxtaposition of age in a youth-oriented society strikes harder and harder as I work my own way through the calendar. Besides that, it’s just a great song, though it only made it to number 36 on the pop charts. Considering the subject matter, I guess that’s something of a miracle.

John Jos. Miller
*****************************************************
Now Reading: After taking out a few minutes to read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, I"m now back to Susan Cooper's THE DARK IS RISING sequence (Currently on:  GREENWITCH)

Now Writing: It's a secret until the official announcement at the end of August.

In the Publisher's Pipeline: A graphic adaptation of George R.R. Martin's "In the House of the Worm" for Avatar Comics. But "Mortality's Strong Hand" is also knocking at the door.

6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
hippoiathanatoi From: hippoiathanatoi Date: July 28th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
A very interesting list there, though I fear I've heard of few of them (child of the 80's and 90's here!)

What do you think of Cooper's series in comparison with Rowling's, as far as writing craft goes?

Also, any hints as to what "Mortality's Strong Hand" is? :)
johnjosmiller From: johnjosmiller Date: July 29th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually think that J.K. Rowling is a very good writer when it comes to the craft of writing -- I think so far Susan Cooper is superior.

Rowling has a good sense of place. She makes Hogwarts come alive. Cooper has an outstanding sense of place. I've been to Cornwall three times, so I'm not an expert on the area but I know a little about it, and Cooper has it nailed. Her descriptions are accurate and evocative. Makes me want to go back and spend a lot more time there.

Rowling has a good narrative style. Again, Cooper's is outstanding. Her ability to evoke the numinous is, well, outstanding. THE DARK IS RISING is maybe one of the 25 or so outstanding fantasies I've ever read. The other two, not as good, but still not bad at all.

Plotwise, I'm not done with the series yet so can't make a complete judgement, but they do take different approachs and are a little difficult to compare. Cooper was writing at a time when a "long" novel (special young adult) was 250 pages. That's not nessecarily a bad thing, of course. Her plotting is tighter, and her books take place over a much shorter time than Rowling's. The biggest problem (though problem is not exactly the right word) is that she's dealing with basically young kids (I think the books take place in a little over a year)so obviously (with one exception) they can't mature much in the process. There's only so much ten or televen year old kids can do, which nessecarily limits the plot (particularly true in the first book). Rowling gets to age her kids considerably, and which makes the books more "adult" as they go on.

I think Cooper's first book is by far (as I've read the series) the weakest in terms of adult interest, though still worth reading. It kind of sets up the series and introduces the basics: old Celtic religion and magic, which plays the defining role in the series.

It'll be interesting to compare the two series when I finish the other DARK books. So far I'd say that THE DARK IS RISING is the best book in either series, while OVER SEA, UNDER STONE is the weakest, though weakest is a relative term. It's still better than a lot of books I've read, though not in the first rank of the best.

If I get a chance later today I'll complete my song list (five through one). I high recommend checking out any of these songs if you're unfamiliar with them, and if you like the type of music they represent.

"Mortality's Strong Hand" is my story for the second of the new series of Wild Card books, told from the pov of Billy Ray, who has a new job which is giving him problems, an old girlfriend who is giving him problems, and, as usual, some nasty antagonists giving him problems. In other words,just the normal stuff for Billy Ray.

John Jos. Miller
*****************************************************
Now Reading: After taking out a few minutes to read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, I"m now back to Susan Cooper's THE DARK IS RISING sequence (Currently on: THE GREY KING)

Now Writing: It's a secret until the official announcement at the end of August.

In the Publisher's Pipeline: A graphic adaptation of George R.R. Martin's "In the House of the Worm" for Avatar Comics. But "Mortality's Strong Hand" is also knocking at the door.
hippoiathanatoi From: hippoiathanatoi Date: July 29th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll definitely check the songs out.

Cooper's evocation of her setting and the atmosphere she infuses it with is one of her strongest aspects, I think. Another writer for children who has a very similar knack -- actually, probably superior -- is Alan Garner. Something about the English landscape seems to get their creative juices flowing.

His work is also surprisingly appealing to adults. I'm still not quite sure of what happened in The Owl Service...
johnjosmiller From: johnjosmiller Date: July 30th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I've read one Alan Garner novel,and that more than thirty years ago. WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGHAM? Something like that I remember that I liked it, but not too many details. I'm sure that some would come back if I picked it up again. I think he's a little harder to find in the US than Cooper, but nowadays you can find damn near anything if you look long enough.

My list of books to read doesn't seem to get any shorter, even after so many years of reading. I wonder how that happens.

John Jos. Miller
*****************************************************
Now Reading: After taking out a few minutes to read HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, I'm now back to Susan Cooper's THE DARK IS RISING sequence (Currently on: THE GREY KING)

Now Writing: It's a secret until the official announcement at the end of August.

In the Publisher's Pipeline: A graphic adaptation of George R.R. Martin's "In the House of the Worm" for Avatar Comics. But "Mortality's Strong Hand" is also knocking at the door.
From: carl_q Date: January 15th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Susan Cooper, Alan Garner

Interesting to see you've been into the Dark is Rising sequence - and thanks for not doing a "Magician's Nephew" on the series (no-one ever remembers the Narnia "prequel" book, even though it's one of the better ones - both the BBC series in the '80's and the recent movie jumped straight to "the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Similarly, people often ignore "Over Sea, Under Stone", going straight to the superior second book. Look at the new film version of "the Dark is Rising"...no, on second thoughts, please don't, as it's a complete and utter travesty.

Anyway, I always get completely absorbed into Cooper's writing - "Over Sea" is Enid Blighton done with mysticism, but still fun for all of that; "The Dark is Rising" is an incredibly detailed, and powerful, blending of worlds (the Christmas Eve storm outside Will's window still scares me); "Greenwitch" is less detailed, and a difficult mesh of the two previous books, but at least it lets the one female member of the Six shine; "The Grey King" is the second-best book in the series, IMHO, and the only "children's" book I've ever come across where the mother of a lead character is referred to as a whore (see Caradog Pritchard's rant about "Your Gwen? She was everyone's Gwen!"); Silver on the Tree was too short for its plot (unlike TDiR, which is nigh-on perfect), sadly, but still a strong piece of work. It's great as a cycle, and I love it. I've read every book numerous times.

Alan Garner, though...much harder to re-read. "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen" and "moon of Gomrath", its sequel, are likewise beautifully detailed, and still give an almost visual depiction of a real place, but Garner's own mental problems and personal self-loathing tinge aspects of the second book - "Elidor" and "The Owl Service" are even harder to read than that; in fact, I've never been able to get through "Elidor". "Weirdstone", like "The Dark", has a scene that freaks me out badly, and still affects me - the crawling through the tunnel. Even if you're not claustrophobic (as I am, slightly), I defy you to read that without feeling real panic in places. I'd rather read the Mabinogion, or the Elder Edda, and see where the core ideas came from, but that's me.

Cheers, JJ. Can't wait for the next Wild Cards book (pre-ordered from Amazon yesterday!), nor for the new RPG!
johnjosmiller From: johnjosmiller Date: January 18th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Susan Cooper, Alan Garner

Hey Carl: Interesting comments on Cooper and Garner, both. I agree with much of what you have to say about the Cooper books. (I did finish the sequence a couple of months ago.) I was very impressed with the series as a whole, and although I didn't think that the first was as strong as the rest of the series it was still quite a worthwhile read. Her prose is very special. Her evocation of a summer day in the country at the start of "Silver" is one of my favorite bits in the whole series. It was magical -- though there was nothing fantastic about it.

Interesting info on Garner. I know nothing at all about him, though have read "Weirdstone" any years ago. Probably time for a re-reading, if I could get all three to knockoff one, two, three.

I stopped most of my "fun" reading from October through the end of last month when I finished worked on the ms. for the Wild Card RPG. Finally got that done, so am actually reading non-wild card stuff again. A friend of mine gave me an Algernon Blackwood bio that looks really interesting that I've just started. Fascinating fellow.

Hope you enjoy INSIDE STRAIGHT.
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