You talk too much (me)
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You can learn alot working in a used book, CD, comics shop. Today I learned that Nicholas Cage took his screen name from Marvel's Luke Cage aka Power Man. Maybe this is why I've never seen one of his movies. The news story was announcing that Cage will be auctioning off his comics collection at a comic con. (Maybe he's pissed because the Tim Burton Superman movie that would've starred him was never made.)
Thankfully I do get a more than celebrity gossip out of the shop. Vocal harmony for me is the crest of cheer and sensuality, the eudaemonic and the lascivious. Why? Beats me, jack. For some reasons the larynx makes my spine respond in a way handcrafted instruments never do. I grew up listening to honky-tonk and MOR radio. Of the latter the Supremes are the ones I still love today. Maybe it was listening to them or some oddball thing the Human Genome Project will eventually explain.
And it is black vocal harmony, virtuosi of which were perhaps the gospel singers of the 1950s. White vocal harmony groups are excellently chipper (even when their love has gone). But the Boswell Sisters aside the honkies never sound as rich, mature and complex (nor usually as good humored). Maybe it is like sports. If it can raise you out of poverty you'll spend every spare second on the street corner striving and honing. Not to forget the church. By all accounts church music being the highlight of many a poor black person's week the audience's connoisseurship was very exacting. Whitney Houston whatever you think of her music was raised in the church and has a better ear, more control than many a jazz singer.
Document Records Black Vocal Harmony series is twelve discs long. Being to buy Document CDs anymore I was pretty excited to have it come in the shop. So I've been spending odd hours trying to decide if I want to keep it or to let the store sell it.
Document's name is well chosen. Little of the music they release isn't available elsewhere. Therein can lie the rub. Sometimes the only surviving recording is full of snaps and hisses. I'm not a scholar or a collector. If I own a disc I want to listen to it with simple delight. I've been playing the discs on and off for a few weeks and still haven't been able to make up my mind. Some of the groups have only one surviving record (two songs), none of them made more than four.
I could suck the best on to the hard drive and burn my own. I'm too lazy. Some of the cuts are dull. Others very pleasing. None that I've noticed (and I haven't always been attentive) have the peculiar quality I've found a couple of times in old black vocal harmony. I sometimes hear it in jazz. The music seems to move forward in time in a way I can't fathom. It isn't a linear progression, maybe it moves like a corkscrew, maybe the various parts progress at their own individual pace. Meaningless? You bet. I haven't a clue what I'm trying to convey. Maybe it is the vestigial African component I've read about.
Sometimes, very rarely, listening to music feels much taking a psychedelic. I don't mean merely intoxicated (or I'd have said liquor). I've never divined the root or the ramifications. I just know I like it.
Speaking of my special pleasures. I went over to Gordon's and grabbed a stack of the Fred Astaire movies he taped. I've often mentioned how happy P.G. Wodehouse makes me. The best Astaire movies give me the same serene delight. Now I'll watch them with Charles.
I need to be writing Pam a birthday greeting. I mentioned her a few weeks back as a rare instance of someone I regard with warmth and esteem. I know no one is out shopping for that. My chariness is my own, not problem, not curse - quirk I guess.
I'd been watching her email correspondence with Gordon. Regular, warm, lively it was: a harmony of two minds (something like that, I'm not going to look up the sonnet). Well before I met Charles I'd something thought it'd be awful nice if they . . . well, even educated fleas do it. Once I was dangerously, dizzily in love, well, you know how it is with people dazed and bewildered by their own romance.
You never really expect to ever get your silly wishes. But sometimes life is more than kind.