December 17, 2012

"I've been so many places in my life and time..."

We're listening to "A Song for You" here at Meadhouse tonight. The original, by Leon Russell, and this version by The Carpenters.

ADDED: Interesting that the lyric is "life and time," not "life and times." The stock phrase is "life and times." You see it in many subtitles — "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla," "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" — and titles — "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid." "Times" refers to the era in which the character lives, so "life and times" is a reference to 2 related things — the person and the setting where we find him. But "time" without the "s" seems to refer to the period of time that is the character's life. Think of how we say things like: Your time is almost used up or My time here on earth. "Life and time," then, is a redundancy, 2 references to the character's own life, and none to the era. When I listen to the Leon Russell original, I feel that I can hear an implied "s" on "time" (and a similar effect on the word "rhyme" in the rhyming line: "I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhyme"), but then I listen again and it's not there at all. I check Karen Carpenter's ultra-clear articulation: It's "life and time" and "some bad rhyme." It's odd when you contemplate the meaning of language, but when you think about the sound, closing down those lines on the hum of "m" is so much nicer than hissing into an "s."

AND: 1. "The Best of Leon Russell," and 2. "Carpenters Gold."

51 comments:

Don said...

I'm listening to Old Toy Trains and reminiscing about Decembers long past.

shiloh said...

Long ago and so far away ... Superstar written by Leon and Bonnie Bramlett.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Been playing that Leon song myself quite a bit lately. And going to see him Jan 6.

Shouting Thomas said...

Quite a contrast between the clear voiced, perky Carpenter and the funky Russell.

Russell played a free concert in the street in Rhinebeck a couple of years ago. Scheduled at the last minute. He must have had a free day during a tour.

I dragged my girlfriend there, telling her all the way just how great Russell was... and she didn't like him!

How do you figure? I've been playing "Masquerade" for decades.

Shouting Thomas said...

To continue the story...

It was quite a thrill to hear and see Russell in a little tent that the town had erected for the event.

At the end of his second set, he announced, in his southern drawl...

"Now, I know I'm supposed to get up and go away, and you're gonna call me back for an encore. But, I'm an old man and it's too hard for me to do any more. So, let's just pretend I did got up and came back, and I'll sing you one more song."

Wally Kalbacken said...

Jesus - when I first looked at that I thought he had died! Thank goodness!

Ann Althouse said...

"let's just pretend I did got up and came back"

Perfect!

I love him!

Ann Althouse said...

"Jesus - when I first looked at that I thought he had died! Thank goodness!"

I'm sorry! I didn't think of it that way. It was just something that came up around here. I happened to utter a sentence that was very close to "I've been so many places in my life and time" (actually it was: I've done so many bad things in my life) and that got Meade singing the song and then playing those 2 recordings.

Bob Ellison said...

Wow. 70s, I guess.

madAsHell said...

Leon Russell is a genius, but he seems to be more of a enhance the moment. He doesn't create until he gets to the studio.

Although....I've love everything he's done.

Shouting Thomas said...

Apropos the gun debate...

I played in Woodstock on Saturday night with the Old Dawgz.

For a few days before, my FB page had been filled with musicians howling at each other about all the usual gun control crap.

One of my old friends called a halt and said, basically... "What in the hell are we doing? Music is where we find peace from this shit."

Seemed to calm everybody down. Lots of folks wanted to come on down to the gig and sit in, so we made a place for them all to play a song or two. Plenty of names you'd recognize, but I'll skip the name dropping.

People just had fun and forget everything for a while. Saw and played with friends I haven't seen in decades. Politics just aren't that important. Too many friends gone. Too many friends I might never see again. Why part company in anger?

edutcher said...

My life is different from my times.

Ask somebody like Emily Dickinson.

Her times, the 56 years she lived, were some of the most dynamic in american history.

Her life was reclusive.

john said...

It's a little known fact that Judge Roy Bean did not actually know Lilly Langtry.

wyo sis said...

According to Thesaurus.com life is a synonym of time, but time is not a synonym of life.

Palladian said...

When I was a kid, I used to think that Dr Gene Scott and Leon Russell were the same person.

Don said...

Life and Times from another life in other times.

Shouting Thomas said...

Looking at the Greatest Hits album on your link, I noticed Russell covered Hummingbird.

Always think of that as a B.B. King tune. Song was on what I still think of as B.B.'s best album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

King does a little song fragment that he sings before the song, which has the most memorable blues lyric ever...

Nobody loves me but my mother
And she may be jivin' me too!

Shouting Thomas said...

Nobody Loves Me But My Mother

An extended version.

Palladian said...

Karen Carpenter had such a beautiful voice.

Steve Koch said...

One of my favorite songs, Leon Russell is awesome.

The line I like the most is:

"I love you in a place
where there's no space or time"

el polacko said...

caught leon here in oakland last month. he was in great voice and his skills on the piano haven't lessened. his 'a song for you' brought the house to tears and cheers. i'm so glad that he's being recognized again. the man has one of the most illustrious and varied careers in music. it's hard to think of any artist of the last five decades with whom he hasn't worked. look it up, you'll be amazed.
he did use the same "pretend i got up and came back" line...but it's a good one and it's true that he's no spring chicken so why not stay put for the 'encore'? i would have been happy if he had stayed put for another couple of hours of entertaining us with his music.

FWBuff said...

@Palladian I completely agree. Karen Carpenter had one of the greatest voices ever. Her brother Richard's arrangements were often sappy, but when she covered these melancholy songs ("A Song for You", "Superstar", "Desperado", "This Masquerade") there was no one better. Sorry, Leon Russell fans, but it's true. I also think her cover of "Ticket to Ride" was better than the Beatles' version. I have a running argument with my older brother about which untimely death was the greater loss to music -- Karen Carpenter's or John Lenon's. He of course thinks I'm blasphemous ...

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't know who Leon Russell is but that song didn't remind me of a hummingbird one single bit.

Should'a went Hmmmmmmmmvvvt-vvvvt-vvvt
hmmmmmmm-vvvt-vvvvt-vvvt

and then

hmmmmmmm-verrrrrrrrrrr
hmmmmmmm-verrrrrrrrrrr
hmmmmmmm-verrrrrrrrrrr
hmmmmmmm-verrrrrrrrrrr-vvvvvrt

sonicfrog said...

Always have a special place in my heart for the Carpenter version. Great sax solo in that song. In fact, the album "A Song For You" was their best IMHO. The Wrecking Crew in LA were the backing musicians on a lot of the Carpenters stuff.

sonicfrog said...

Karen Carpenter had a spectacular voice. She was quite the drummer too!

Here is another favorite song from the same album, with a fantastic guitar solo by Tony Peluso.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GntubUyDSE

FWBuff said...

Thanks, Ann. I'm sitting here listening to Karen Carpenter songs on GrooveShark on my iPad. My wife just came in and looked at me like I'm crazy. My life may be in 2012, but at the moment my time is in 1976...

chickelit said...

Althouse wrote: I feel that I can hear an implied "s" on "time"

I'd like to see the NYT rebranded as the "The New York Time". Its viewpoint is so singularly leftist..so exclusively urban...such a shortsighted and Eastern clamor that it hardly deserves a masthead proclaiming a plurality of viewpoints.

And when I think about the sound, The New York Time closing down on the hum of "m" is so much nicer than hissing-fits which currently end on an "s."

chickelit said...

Tunic (Song For Karen).

Did you hear that Thurston Moore's prize Fender guitar was stolen?

tiger said...

Professor? I thought you were over-thinking it but now, after having listened to it again, I'm not sure.

BTW if you don't have it get 'Will o' the Wisp'; great stuff.

tiger said...

Shouting Thomas said...
Looking at the Greatest Hits album on your link, I noticed Russell covered Hummingbird.

Always think of that as a B.B. King tune. Song was on what I still think of as B.B.'s best album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

King does a little song fragment that he sings before the song, which has the most memorable blues lyric ever...

Nobody loves me but my mother
And she may be jivin' me too!


Farking allah! I can't believe it!
We actually AGREE on something!

Lem said...

This was the first time I remember hearing the song.

virgil xenophon said...

Leon (the song is from his 1972 album "Carny") provides the FAR better version, Ann. (IMHO, YMMV) My fave off that album? "Goin' Back to Tulsa" (just one more time)

joe said...

Signs of the times!
Paintings of Titian.

(1488/90 - 1576)

1.The Miracle of the Newborn Child. St. Anthony worked a miracle in which a newly born child spoke in defense of his mother, who had been accused of adultery.
Soo, Look Whose Talking

2. The Healing of the Wrathful Son. St. Anthony reattached the foot of a young who had cut it off in an outburst of violent temper and had hurt his mother with it.

3. The Miracle of the Jealous Husband. A jealous husband stabs his wife and then, overcome with remorse, appeals to St. Anthony, who restores her to health.

2020a.d.
Painting by a MFA.

1.St. Maggie Brown Sanger worked a miracle in which a newly born noun child(a thing, not a person) spoke in defense of his mother, and was never born thanks to originated shadows cast on Gaia.

2. The Healing of the Wrathful Son. St. Woody Harellson deattached the foot of a young boy in an outburst of violent temper who had not hurt his mother with it.

3. The Miracle of the Jealous Husband. A jealous husband stabs his wife and then, overcome with joy, appeals to St Chickatilo, who invites him to a supper.

Jim said...

The definitive version of this song was recorded/performed by Donnie Hathaway - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeHiio1sTTI.

Bob R said...

Kent Hartmans book, The Wrecking Crew, is a good read on the LA studio musicians of the 60's. Leon was a part of this group (for instance he played on The Byrds' Tambourine Man) and makes a few appearances in the the book. And the Carpenters' connection is that they used Wreckng Crew musicians on their studio recordings. (Karen was a good drummer, but Hal Blaine was about the best there was.)

vet66 said...

"and when my life is over, remember when we were together, we were alone and I was singing this song for you!"

Prophetic and gone too soon.

kentuckyliz said...

Nobody loves me but my mother
And she may be jivin' me too!


This lyric belongs in the cruel mommy blogger post comments section, and any commentary about rampage killers.

Kelly said...

My favorite version of A Song for you starts out with Leon and Willie Nelson, then Ray Charles takes over and owns it.
http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=2UW4ELmVD9M&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2UW4ELmVD9M

Clyde said...

I was kind of surprised to see that it was a different song than the "A Song For You" that I knew, the one by Gram Parsons, which was also covered by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs on one of the bonus tracks for Under The Covers, Vol. 2.

Michael K said...

I went to a concert by Willie Nelson and Leon a few years ago. Small venue in San Juan Capistrano. What a great evening ! Willie's sister on the piano. The room probably held 200 people.

Robert Cook said...

I've never been keen on Leon Russell himelf--or any of that croaky, blues-inflected singer-songwriter rock much, for that matter, (Russell, Springsteen, Dylan, and their like)--but I do likes me some Carpenters!

I hated them in their heydey as they offended my elitist teen-age sensibilities--but then, so did Led Zeppelin, who seemed to me de classe, their fan base stoned losers and their music oppressively omnipresent and heavy, man--but as I grew out of my immaturity and could listen to the Carpenters absent my teen condescension, their expert pop and Karen's beautiful voice delighted me.

(I also came to appreciate Led Zeppelin years later; absent their original context and their caricatured image, ["Does anyone remember laughter?" *shudder*], their music could be heard afresh, and, as the Lord sayeth, it was good.)

leslyn said...

Leon Russell, yes--but the Carpenters?? (Shades of Lawrence Welk....) Say it ain't so!

SteveR said...

Was fortunate to see Leon Russell in 1973, I was young and not that familiar with his work. Going to concerts was what you did, but it left me with a great appreciation of his music. Back to the Island has always been my favorite.

sonicfrog said...

(Karen was a good drummer, but Hal Blaine was about the best there was.)

That's kind of comparing apple to caramel coated apples. Blaine was indeed an elite, in a class that includes the like of Colaiuta, Gadd, Keltner, Prcaro.... Sure, she wasn't in that league, but then, so few are. Don't let that distract from the fact that Carpenter was a fine drummer in her own right.

Mick Havoc said...

If Mama Cass had shared that ham sandwich with Karen Carpernter they might both have survived.

Strelnikov said...

Carpenters also recorded, and had a huge hit with, Russell's "Superstar". That is a weird connection.

Ann Althouse said...

I hated the Carpenters at the time, but ever since Karen died... that changed the feeling of all that maddening chirpiness. It got sad. Also, I'm impressed by the power of the really low notes... which come on "time" and "rhyme."

My preference to this day is for the Leon Russell version.

Charlie Martin said...

Singers are taught from pretty much the first day of kindergarten choir to suppress or eliminate the 's' sound, especially at the ends of words. The reason? It guickly sounds like an Indiana Jones nightmare.

"Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes!"

Ryan said...

Ann, I'm curious about the following:

Can we infer from your use of "Meadhouse" that you view the Man (Mead) is dominant to the Woman (House), at least in your household?

Stated differently, is this an intentional phrasing or is it merely because combining the names the other way around doesn't work?

This is not a personal question but more of a language question (per comments on recent posts), so I hope you don't mind me asking.

Ann Althouse said...

@Ryan I can't really remember. Given ALThouse, MEADHOUSE was the obvious combination. It's also nice to give the other person priority when you're making the decision.

The bigger problem was whether to leave the "e" on the end of "Meade," and I took it out, for readability.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the reply.