'We Plucked The Heads Of Dandelions'

While I was in the farmers store this morning, befuddled over emulsion paint, Neil Young came on over the tape thing they play...he was singing Harvest Moon which I hadn't heard in the longest time...it's a sweet gentle song about falling in love...no raucous noise or shouting. Just a man singing about his girl and the great Harvest Moon low down in the night sky.

I found it on YouTube when we came home and listened to it again...and remembered all the words. The video is dated of course...the men have long hair, thought to be shocking at the time by members of the establishment...and my Father, who regarded anyone who wore their hair in a style other than short back and sides to be quite beyond the pale. But he was part of the establishment himself I suppose.

Another song I love is' Boots of Spanish Leather' sung by Nanci Griffith...again it is a love song...a girl is asked what would she like her lover to bring back as a gift when he goes away travelling...no huge amplifiers... nothing in the way of special effects...no glittery lights or half naked young men. Just a woman with a distinctive voice accompanied by a handful of musicians.

But my favourite...the one I could listen to over and over again is the McGarrigle sisters and Emmy Lou Harris singing 'Harlan'...again they sing with a handful of musicians...

The music I like the best are those songs I can sing along with...however badly that may be...Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel...'Come up and see me, make me smile'...all high cheekbones and that slightly weird Black man, who my friend Shane always says un- nerves him totally.

And The Moody Blues...'Isn't Life Strange'...

When I was doing a course some years ago about music and mental health, one of the points put was that the reason people don't connect with The Beatles music is because the drummer...Ringo Starr...was always half a beat behind the guitar and the vocalists...that half beat was enough to destroy the vital connection which your brain receives on hearing certain music which recalls memories or makes you want to get up and dance.

That half beat doesn't appear to concern anyone in raptures over Lady Ga-Ga or her ilk...

I can't bear to hear people like Paul Potts described as an opera singer...he isn't. El Divo are simply handsome young men who can sing a bit...they are not opera singers. There is no depth of passion or longing in their voices...listen to Pavarotti singing anything...he is living the part he's playing...you can hear it in the inflections of his voice...even when he sings with popular stars...one of my favourites is of Pavarotti and Barry White...there are those who said he was prostituting himself by singing with 'pop' stars...I thought the more he did so, the better the chances people would become entranced by opera.

17 Replies

  • Pavarotti and Elton John......Live Like Horses. Or the Rolling Stones ... Wild Horses

  • I listened to Pavarotti and Elton John Knitter and really enjoyed it...but I have to admit for not much liking the Stones Wild Horses...the only song of theirs I really enjoy is Waiting On A Friend...

  • Hi vashti I so agree with the point about opera singers. I remember someone saying once that with those who have good voices who sing operatic songs it is listening to the form without the content. That is so true. For pop stars those you mentioned have very good voices but for opera singers they don't. I love Pavarotti. I had a spell recently of listening to Mario Lanza and Maria Callas on youtube and felt so uplifted by their glorious gift.

    I think possibly 1 exception to this is Meatloaf. He has a wonderful voice and puts such feeling into his slow songs. xx

  • 'Form without content' is completely and totally excellent...sums it up precisely...

    I can't abide small children singing operatic arias either...the music and the words are simply inappropriate for their age.

    Meatloaf isn't pretending to be something he 'ain't...unlike the god-awful El Divo...and I've just thought of that oily eejit Andre Reiu! Pass the sick bucket ...quickly!

  • Yes I thought that which is why I remembered it. It was someone (not an opera singer) but in that world. It is curiously unsatisfying listening to an untrained opera type singer.

    I mentioned Meatloaf coz he has (or had) a fantastic voice and maybe even good enough for light opera. He put a lot of real, not pretend emotion in his voice.

    I am not a fan of El Divo and find them tedius. Andre Reiu I think is a great violinist if he would just stick to more serious stuff. I liked watching his shows because of the magnificence of them, and because he did have an opera singer or two on. x

  • I was at the concert in Hyde Park when Pavarotti sang. It poured with rain but everyone was spellbound.

  • I bet you were. Wonderful - I am so envious x

  • I put a Tesco bag over my head! people were buying black bin bags for £3 each!

  • That's so not fair...I'd not have minded the rain...lol

  • We certainly got soaked! There was a very fit man standing behind me, beautiful, perfect features. I had a hard time not ogling him.

  • The McGarricles - just the best. We had Mendochino playing at our civil partnership ceremony. I love all the people you mention Vashti. And we both love opera. We were playing a memory game the other day (we forget names all the time) and were trying to remember the three tenors. We got two but couldn't remember Pavarotti. I finally got it a day later :) We'd got the other two, which right now i can't remember either, oh Placido Domingo, but the other one is lost somewhere within my tangled synapses. :D

  • Jose Carreras :) x

  • You're not alone in forgetting...sometimes the more you struggle to recall a name, the more elusive it becomes...

    I do like 'common' opera...the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves...and actually I do like Carmina Burandi ( sp) all drama and passion!

  • I adore both of them. They did Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves at the Pavarotti concert.

  • Well done cough! Why couldn't I remember it when i'd been saying his name just the other day? :( The brain is a bit crazy. The only way i remembered Placido Domingo was because someone i knew had a crush on him, so i thought of her and then it came to me. xxx

  • I so agree with you over the label Opera Singer, it irritates the hell out of me when recording artists are given this title. Most of them have good voices but could they sustain a dramatic role as Callas did - I can't see Katherine Jenkins holding up through Tosca - or even as Tosca for that matter. Given all the right equipment they perform well and give a great deal of pleasure, but Opera Singers they are NOT.

  • Exactly...many have lovely voices and give their listeners much pleasure...but Callas they are not...!

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