Great Garble

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Jan and I dance at the Legion, music is provided by “karaoke” performers: digital music with live accompaniment: some are just DJs who sing, some are singers who also play an instrument or two: usually at least one chord instrument. I notice repeatedly: this and that singer sort of know the main phrase in the lyrics of any song, they repeat the main phrase ad nauseam. The dancers also murmur the main phrase. Where there’s an ambiguity, the possibility of a misinterpretation, the wrong fork is likely to be taken. For example, in the song Boot Scootin’ Boogie, also one of my favorite line dances, the singer is in a dive, a working stiff line dance dive, and the bartender asks, “What will it be?” And the singer, the way I’ve long heard the lyrics, answers, “I want a shot at that red neck yonder lookin’ at me”. But the Legion (and elsewhere, the Elks, Moose, VFW) the singer is likely to mumble, “I want a shot of that redhead yonder, looking at me”.

Dancing with Jan I regularly hear a song climax with what sounds to me like a son of a bitch-egoist request: “And name it after me.”
Some SOB wants to knock the girl up, wants her to accept it, doesn’t want to marry her, expects the baby to be of his gender, and wants her to name the kid after him? Ugh, obnoxious. Last night I recognized the song before it reached it’s climax: I thought I heard the lyric, So build me a statue … When I repeated my hearing to Jan, hoping she could support or correct me, she didn’t recognize any of what I said from what the singer had said.

What? Now it’s a statue he wants named after him?

Folks, anyone who recognizes any of this, please add your two cents.

2014 05 13 Got it! wikipedia didn’t help, neither did google, but Spotify solved it, with an improved search feature: it’s a country song: it’s a stature of a fool! made of stone! that the guy is commissioning: build a statue of a fool, made of stone, and name it after me.
That ought ‘a purge that ear worm.

Meantime what I want to discuss remains the same regardless of the song’s lyrics.

There are a lot of lyrics that are famously unintelligible. Louie, Louie. American Pie. I pledge the legions of the flag. Jose, can you see?

OK, that’s one brick. I move up along side it from another angle entirely: In the 1950s I heard Billie Holiday and instatly understood that we were hearing one of the greatest of all voices: “voice” in the fullest sense of the word: interpreter, fellow-feeler. I the 1960s I heard one of the greatest of all voices who felt exactly the same way: Edith Piaf worshipped Billie Holiday: they were born the same year, but Billie got very famous very young.

Jan and I watched a biopic of the little sparrow with the huge voice: “Piaf” sang in the brothel, sang on the street, a drunk among drunks, had an audience all her life … was invited to good venues, made money … But she got taken over by a handler who wanted to drill her delivery, her elocution, her breathing, her every facial tic … Poor Edith must have felt like Justine Henin, being made to work out like Arnold Schwarzenneger; except that we all know the result: skinny little Justine beat up the big girls, and Edith Piaf went from a Paris cafe singer with a local reputation to an internatioal star, worshipped world wide.

And just the other day I was referencing how Berry Gordy housebroke his Motown artists as though they were all Princess Di.


Maxine Powell
was Motown’s Miss Manners
who “groomed black pop acts for a largely white record-buying public”.
quoting telegraph, thanx

Before I land another brick next to these let me review: a lot of what passes for speech is garble, a lot of what passes for music is also garble. There are performers who get away with murder, but the sky’s the limit for those who approach perfection. Bob Marley’s back beat was the best of all time before he unveiled it to the public, everything after that was coasting.

Now: in the 1950s Marlon Brando was God.

Marlon Brando
thanx wikimedia

Trouble is, I don’t care who you are, after you’ve been God for a decade, they’ll all be out to get you. Not even Napoleon could string two good decades together.

Big Brick

I hope I get this right: the topic is here and blatant whether I get it right or backwards (or irrelevantly sideways). Back in the 1960s, when Richard Burton wasn’t God, but wasn’t that far off, I heard that brass-voiced hero discuss Brando on NPR. Specifically Burton addressed the crap-clap bull that Brando mumbled, was unintelligible. To me the accusation was simply false: and had to be dishonest to be made in the first place. But that’s not what Burton answered. What Burton said is profound no matter what:
He cited some famous speaker: declared that the famous speaker was entirely intelligible: hailed the speaker as a “good” speaker. Then he referenced Winston Churchill, said that Churchill mixed clarity and unintelligibility. “Churchill is a great speaker,” declared Burton.

Ah: like leaving details out of the Peanuts cartoon!

Related points being made currently about Aretha Franklin as a great inimitable voice.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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