October 20, 2007

I smiled all the way through this....

... and also almost broke down and cried from sheer pleasure. I've always loved the use of things other than instruments for percussion — ever since a transplendent Incredible String Band concert I saw when I was a teenager where they kicked an old trunk for a bass drum sound. But this beats all. We all need to work harder at whatever it is we're doing, just like Ben Folds. It's a cover of something that was already awfully wonderful:

The Ben Folds clip came recommended to me in the first email I opened as I got on line in my old favorite coffeehouse here in Madison, Wisconsin, where I arrived last night. This morning I got in my car — can I still drive after not driving for a month? — and the disc player came on in the middle of the song I'd played over and over the last time I was here:

Am I still in the mood to find that almost unbearably touching? Could I ever be in the mood to listen to the Incredible String Band again?


reader_iam said...

Ben Folds fan here!!!

Joseph said...

Thanks for that Death Cab video. So sweet. Made my day.

Ron said...

Emotional Althouse is always more interesting to read than Legal Beagle Ann... Thanks for good vids...

rhhardin said...

When I was in kiddom, I listened over and over to Monteverdi's Orfeo, just to hear the instrumental interludes that came along every now and then.

Arkiv has reissued that old LP set on CDs, and here are all those high-school ``good parts'' strung together , a facility I didn't have then.

As it happens, I came to like the dull parts better, in the end.

That was a kid's choice of all and only sugar.

Anyway it was a relief from the crap they played all the time on WQXR, The Station of the New York Times.

John Stodder said...

Wow. You like the Kinks. You saw the Incredible String Band when you were a teenager. We so click musically.

Except I can't figure out how someone with such discerning musical taste can stand to watch "American Idol."

But no matter for today. These clips were wonderful.

P.S. Have you read Joe Boyd's "White Bicycle?" A British music scenester who is most known for his association with Richard Thompson, he also managed the ISB for awhile. What became of them came as shock to me. They were Scientology's first celebrity "gets."

Hector Owen said...

Thank you! I (fairly) often find myself singing little bits of Incredible String Band songs, particularly from "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter," such as "Witch's Hat" (which will come back now that Hallowe'en is approaching), "Koeeoaddi There," and the suite "A Very Cellular Song." (Amoebas are very small.) Was there ever a better song about boys' fantasies than "Swift as the Wind?"

PeterP said...

Could I ever be in the mood to listen to the Incredible String Band again?

...'Wee Tam and the Big Huge' - when did that ever go away?

Peter Hoh said...

I would mention my favorite song by the Postal Service, but I can't spell silhouette.

J. Cricket said...

Emotional Althouse is fake Althouse. It is, more acurately, Althouse as she would like to be portrayed. But it's all so calculated, so implausible, so lame.

rhhardin said...

John Kobylt of KFI's John and Ken says that being on the air is the only time he gets to be himself. He has to be Mr. Sensitive at home.

Danny said...

Ann, you should most definitely check out this mini-documentary/music video of the Arcarde Fire:


Also, Andrew Bird:


and Final Fantasy:


Ann Althouse said...

John Stodder said..."Wow. You like the Kinks. You saw the Incredible String Band when you were a teenager. We so click musically."

I love the Kinks. (Early Kinks.) I was driving in my car today and "I'm So Tired" came on the 60s channel. I considered it sublime.

"Except I can't figure out how someone with such discerning musical taste can stand to watch "American Idol.""

I don't have "discerning" taste. I have varying emotional involvement. And my interest in watching a reality show is about the value of the show as reality TV. I hate nearly all the music on "American Idol," but I enjoy something about the way it plays out... with the added element that it is bloggable.

Ann Althouse said...

Hector: "A Very Cellular Song."

I love that. It blew me away when I first heard it.

The one that really got me though was:

First girl I loved,
Time has come I will sing you
this sad goodbye song,
When I was seventeen, I used to know you.
Well, I haven't seen you, now, since many is the short year,
And the last time I seen you, you said you'd joined the
Church of Jesus.
But me, I remember your long red hair falling in our faces
As I kissed you.

At the concert, I had the uncanny feeling that they were referring to me (as I had long red hair at the time).

Ann Althouse said...

danny: "Andrew Bird"

The same person that sent me the Ben Folds URL has also been sending me a lot of Andrew Bird stuff, and I really love it. Very impressive.

Ann Althouse said...

Wait! The Kinks song is called "Tired of Waiting." Though it has the lyric "I'm So Tired," "I'm So Tired" is the title of a Beatles song (which I like very much).

Galvanized said...

Ah, now you've hit upon one of my favorite bands! Postal Service is great. Have you heard "Be Still My Heart?" It's lovely.

And this is the same Ben Folds (Five) that did "Brick" a few years back, isn't it? I adored that song!

Well, this was an enjoyable post :)

Hector Owen said...

I remember a cross-country trip with friends many years ago, during which we ran into a spell of bad weather. I told my traveling companions, singers also, that if we sang

May the long time sun shine upon you,
all love surround you,
and the pure light within you
guide you all the way on.

long enough, the rain would stop. We sang it for about three days, and sure enough, the rain stopped!

John Stodder said...

My first serious girlfriend used to quote that "May the long time sun shine on you..." lyric on notes she would pass me as we saw each other in the hallway.

She was my only hippie girlfriend. I regret not having more of them. It's quite possible my Ray Davies-inspired cynicism scared most of them away.

The ads for the new Wes Anderson movie use one of my favorite Kinks songs as background music: "This Time Tomorrow."

James M said...

I enjoyed this post Ann. I'm sure you've heard the Iron and Wine version of Such Great Heights. Yet another completely different twist on a fantastic song.

Roger Sweeny said...

I didn't realize that Ben Folds had done more than turn the hip-hop "Bitches Ain't Shit (but Hos and Tricks)" into an easy listening song.

That was one of the funniest things I've ever heard--and I couldn't stop singing it for days.

One of the many videos at youtube:


mrs whatsit said...

Does anyone know about the picture book/sketch diary in the video of "I'll follow you into the dark"? Who is the artist?

Smilin' Jack said...

I smiled all the way through this....and also almost broke down and cried from sheer pleasure.

I almost broke down and cried from sheer pain. What a dreadful hash of a great song.

I've always loved the use of things other than instruments for percussion...

And, apparently, the use of things other than singers to sing. This does, however, explain the American Idol fetish....

rhhardin said...

The smiling-through video award goes to this Stairway to Heaven, via Lileks.

Most appropriate video on it is here , ``Stairway to Nowhere.''