July 18th, 2009


Female Appreciation Month Day 4

Today I spent the day with Ella Fitzgerald. I'm at a loss though to name a favourite song from the Queen of Scat. I have a really big spot for big band, swing, be-bop and jazz. What to pick? Lady is a Tramp? A-tiskit A-tasket? Summertime? Stormy weather, Cry Me a River, Oh Lady Be Good and on and on. Ella Fitzgerald had a career that spanned 59 years.

You know the truth is though that probably my favourite song is "Watch Over Me" which tells you exactly how I got myself into such romantic trouble these two last decades gone :) Or "Cry Me A River" which is the other half of that sad story.

Her voice is clear and full of passion and depth. And possibly the songs and her emphasis was a bit racy for back when she was at the beginning of her career. She's known as the Queen of Scat for being able to use her voice to sound like any of the horn section and she has been an influence for vocalists ever since.

To me, her music takes me to smokey jazz clubs of sexy women and sequins. Or heartbreak city. But she knows just how I feel on the best and the worst of days.

Here's a good version of what she could do, which pretty much says it all:

Dog says its bedtime so I'll finish this post tomorrow.


Female Appreciation Month Day 5

"All I know is something like a bird within her sang. All I know she sang a little while and then flew on" - The Grateful Dead, Bird Song

Today Janis Joplin was my companion. I went and bought "Pearl", which was her last album, released posthumously. It was released soon after her death and her version of "Me and Bobby McGee" on that album, sung in her band Full Tilt Boogee, was her only number 1 hit. I love that song, especially for the line "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose" but I think my favourite song is on Cheap Thrills, Joplin sings as part of Big Brother and the Holding Company, "Piece of My Heart". I've tried to get a good version of it so have two links below, one as performed at Woodstock which is pretty good, though she was totally tanked out of her nut. The second one shows her performing it live but the sound is not as good.

Now if that ain't hard, mean, heavy rock, then I don't know what is!

Other songs that I love include Cry Baby, Me and Bobby McGee, Mercedes Benz, and especially after listening to Ella Fitzgerald yesterday, Joplin's version of Summertime is so beautiful - so raw and hard edged.

I got seriously into Joplin about a year/year and a half before the ex and I split. I would play her really loud and let the music wash over me and just really and truly relate to her raw pain.

And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I’ve had enough,
But I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough.

I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on and take it,
Take it!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, oh, have a!
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby,
You know you got it if it makes you feel good,
Oh, yes indeed.

Course I used that as a bit of a theme song to keep throwing myself back into a relationship that really was taking a piece of my heart each and every day. But always listening to it and knowing that Joplin lived life hard, she lived it with her heart on her sleeve. She used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and get through it. And she died of a heroin overdose at 27. So much talent, so much gone all too soon.

I spent today working my way through the three albums I have of her work, some of it live, some of it with snippets of her talking and laughing. And I listened to her from a different perspective, as a survivor of a broken heart, as someone who took all her pieces back and reconstructed her heart over again. I can hear the rawness - of her voice and her heart and her soul - and I'm using it this time to empower me. There's strength in her sound and her work as well as pain.

I'm not going to leave listening to Janis Joplin so long next time. I'm going to take her with me, I think. She kinda makes it all just a bit better. Though she has also made me dig deep and think deep thoughts today. I feel kind woozy and out of it as a result.

Here's Cry Baby just cause you can never have too much Joplin!

Janis Joplin - proof that women can rock it out as hard as any guy!


Coode Street appreciates Shelby Lynne
deborahb appreciates Lucinda Williams


Dead brain

Too much Joplin in one go, me thinks. I've been in a bit of a stupor since.

Last night I went out for dinner with some work friends. I hadn't really felt like going all day. Last week was emotionally draining and I really just wanted to go home to bed. But I managed to get a couple of hours of quiet me-time in between work and meeting up with them and that did the trick. And I'm really glad because I do so love that crew - A, my last boss and her husband, and G and his wife. I work with A and G though not for that much longer. I am so lucky to have found so many people that I can be just myself with. A and G and my old boss are people like that and the 6 of us had a hilarious evening and dinner ended up being 5 hours! We didn't even end up at the restaurant that we wanted - The Imp, where you can't book. We ended up at the Silver Spoons instead cause The Imp was full and it was really lovely.

I got in after midnight and tried to get my FAM post up but Benji is pretty insistent about bedtime. He tends to go under the bed to snooze when it's late but he grumbles and whines and cries and makes it generally unenjoyable. Eventually, last night, he got back up on the bed, sat up looking at me and barking. Had to tidy up and turn lights out and go to bed to settle him down. Finally, *someone* knows how to send me to sleep earlier than I'd like!

Today some semblance of order was returned to my house, I mostly spent the day at home, with all sorts of people wandering in and out. I *may* have taken a trip to JB HiFi. Whatever :P

Tonight has been mellow, watching Season 3 of The L Word. Tomorrow I plan to catch up on work.