Tuesday, November 25

O Sun, King of Day on Earth

A few nights ago (Nov 22, 2014) at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro North Carolina I saw a truly special Jonathan Richman concert!

Here are some pics I took:

The night was filled with classics such as "Older Girl", "Take Me To The Plaza", "Mr. Sorrow", a new Italian song, and a poem reminiscent of "Angels Watching Over Me" as a request from an audience member.

There is one song in particular that I just can't get out of my head and would like to share.
A song that I hadn't heard before:

Fire Above Us

A cool jungle beat starts up, similar in feel to a recent song about having a party around a fire Ja La BBQ. "En Esh...Bar-B-Q"

Jonathan starts chanting...

Fire above us
Fire in the blue
Fire that we ignore all day
Oh, Sun
(Tommy thinks the song is over and stops playing for a second, but Jonathan says "Keep it going!")

Jonathan chants turn more into primal singing...

Oh Sun,
Fire above us
A trippy, super-echo guitar solo mesmerizes the audience...
Oh Sun, in your fury
Rage on
Oh Sun, in your anger
Rage on

Jonathan seems to be crooning to the sun in a similar way that he croons to the Moon in O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth (which he played after this song.)

But rather than the crisp, stout, quiet, night-time feel "O Moon", this song features his guitar spitting out flamenco flourishes like solar flares.

It truly seemed to me like he was making the song up as he went.
Like, he had some sort of "feel" that he had probably developed in the last few days, and he was just playing off that as a basis.
Rolling wherever his emotions (and the audience) took him.

Jonathan continues...
He gave us this chance to be here on the ground
He gave us this chance to grow wheat
to grow corn
Oh Sun

Then, after a few more vamping moments, things quiet down.
He builds up the beat again...
Someone in the audience tentatively starts to clap with the beat...

On cue, Jonathan lights up:

"That's right...don't be afraid to give us a beat!"
"That's actually the idea! We want to warm up the atmosphere, that's the idea...Better already!"

Back to a roaring:

Fire above us
That we ignore all day
Fire in the blue
That we ignore all day
Oh, Sun

The song concluded with classic Jojo percussion and dance.

After reflecting, I realized that this song reminds of the song The Door to Bohemia.
I remember this show from 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina.
This is the earliest recording of the song that I am aware of, and it sounds as if he had a certain "feel" and was exploring it.
Making the song up as he goes, trying different words and guitar parts, letting the audience in on his creative process.

"Bohemia" today is a matured song that while always evolving to a degree, has settled. I wonder if this "Sun" song will do the same, or if it will join the long list of forgotten classics.

This type of songwriting is so authentic...literally molding the song in front of the audience...What a treat!

Monday, November 17

1 2 3 4 5 6!

Here's a cool little article about Roadrunner and the Modern Lovers: http://www.stereostories.com/roadrunner-by-the-modern-lovers

Thursday, November 13

Jonathan Richman doesn't do interviews for print media

Actually, sometimes he does — he just makes it awfully hard. This is a fake one.

SD: Who was your biggest musical influence? 
JR: You can look at the band and wonder where all that sound was comin' from with just four people there. Twangy sounds of the cheapest types, sounds as stark as black and white stripes. Bold and brash, sharp and rude, like the heat's turned off and you're low on food. How in the world were they makin' that sound? The Velvet Underground.