Sunday, September 06, 2009


Jesuit recruiting lit distinguishes between religious orders that are active and those that are contemplative--doing stuff versus , I guess, praying.

The Jesuits bill themselves as both: they are "contemplatives in action."

This distinction explains why the Johnny Mercer lyrics fail to support the beautiful tune.

The words are nice enough until you get to the payoff couplet:

And what did I do?

I thought about you.

This is anti-climax. Or worse, deliberate faint-praise. We're expecting an active verb here.

Have a listen:


When my band teacher assigned it he said that I Thought About You is a standard, but it rang no bell with me. The opening phrase sounds like "I get no kick from champagne."

The melody more than makes up for the lyric-lapse (one word in German). A Rhapsody search returns dozens of recordings.

The Examiner says we're getting another Sunday Streets event on the Great Highway today.

Didn't we just do this? Yes.

But this time we get live bands, paid for by rich guy Warren Hellman.

I wasn't personally consulted, but am assured that:

Hellman personally approved bands The Brothers Comatose, The Barbary Ghosts and Allofasudden to rock stages along Great Highway at Sloat Boulevard, Lincoln Way and Taraval Street.

I'll be working on the instrumental chorus Lenny wrote for I Thought About. I'm still learning to read jazz (rhythm) notation with its weird interaction of jazziness and precision.

I'm equidistant from two of Hellman's rock stages. Add the neighbor's backyard buzzsaw industry and it'll sound like a City College practice room.


I've been thinking about acoustic versus amplified music.  My theme: there are two kinds of music, the kind that comes from an electrically powered speaker, and that which comes directly from musical instruments.

The rock band performances on the Great Highway are an example. I won't be able to see the bands from my house, but I will be able to hear them.

From my perspective, there is no way to tell whether Hellman's music is from live performances or from recordings--it's all just coming out of speakers.

The great Frank Zappa hoax is a famous example, amusing and disturbing. It goes beyond lip-synching.

----- o -----


sfmike said...

Fuck Warren Hellman and his godawful musical tastes. We need to go to his bluegrass festival this year in Golden Gate Park and bear witness to the musical masturbation of a rich old gangster who thinks of himself as a "philanthropist."

sfwillie said...

Hi Mike,
This just occurred to me. For Gordon Getty to force SF Opera to produce his Flapjack of whatever, is like some old rich guy buying the Giants and making himself a starting pitcher.

btw: I didn't hear the music, maybe because of the low fog blanket.

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