MCMLXIX #GiveThanks

It’s a time for words of thanks.  The last few days the news has been saying that the anticipated vaccine will begin rolling out soon, to be in place next year.  It is such welcome news.

As well, the holidays are here, when people don’t act as paranoid with each other given the holiday season.  It’s an unusual holiday season, of course, owing to the impact of the pandemic.

Here on WordPress, occasionally I find specific bloggers to be interesting for me, even if they aren’t well-known, at least not yet, anyway.  One guy like that is Jim Adams, who has a blog and who has planned blog prompts through to 2021.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/domesticated-animals/

Jim has a keen interest in music and a lot of knowledge to share.  Jim’s blog prompts are great.

I remember last winter when my dad pointed out to me that the link-sharing I was doing on social media didn’t seem to be too relevant, as far as he could tell.  I help out my dad with his business.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html

While I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, the day he offered that criticism about my content, I was a little miffed.  I know that my dad clowns, but I tried to look past that, to see if I could think of a better approach.

I decided a few weeks ago to take a direction that could feel more relevant, I hope, whatever the issue.  I’m chancing to utilize the focus right now that Jim provides.

I’ve been blogging since MySpace, kind of a wow.  On WordPress, I have done some posting with a bit of humour to it, and in the months since my dad said that to me about how I seem on social, I eventually decided I still wasn’t too far off the mark.

There aren’t too many “rules” for running a social presence.  When I started to read Jim, I thought it was great because I could see that, with his idea, I could collect my thoughts about the music I like.

For November 29, 2020, Jim’s prompts include, “bird.”  I know that the late Leonard Cohen made the song Bird on the Wire.

Cohen is a Canadian singer who became well-known for making music.  By the mid-1960s, Cohen started to form rock and pop melodies.  He had already written an expansive amount of writing, both poetry, and novels.

He studied at McGill in Montreal and made quite a name for himself through the sixties.  Cohen kind of burned out about that stuff in the early nineteen seventies, but his music came to him his whole career.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enlisted Cohen in 2008, and Leonard Cohen got a Grammy Award in 2010.

Bird on the Wire is on the record Songs from a Room, released April 1969, and is like a poem set to the sound of Cohen’s guitar.   The title Songs from a Room is very simple, understating the mastery of the music.

Songs from a Room LP

Being able to enjoy something from the years before I was born is lucky, as hearing Bird on the Wire is an experience that has power to it, sentimental.  Strange song title, eh?  A listener feels like the hardships of life have been met by others just the same, whether more talented, or more fortunate.

Photo by Burst from StockSnap

Not to sound presumptuous, but Bird on the Wire is great that way.  Leonard Cohen got into music as a popular singer when he was losing interest in writing.  Wikipedia says that Bird on the Wire is a country song, a detail which surprises me, and reading that, I thought additionally that the song just has a simplicity that sets it apart from other country songs.

The country genre of music isn’t something I understand, and maybe neither is the language of love, but when I was in college, I got to study, one semester, Canadian music.  Country music in the Canadian Prairies is a favourite choice of many resident Canadians.

I can infer that Bird on the Wire could be a favourite of many who can remember 1969.  It was years before I was born.

There is something about cowboy music, that we’ve adopted in Canada, that reflects how life in the Prairies shaped up.  The first herders calling themselves “cowboys” got to the Canadian prairies in the 1870s, riding up from the US territories of Idaho and Montana.

The romantic image of the cowboy emerged around this American subculture.  British Columbia “buckaroos” likewise sooner or later adopted the cowboy appearance.

I doubt that Cohen identified with being a cowboy; he was a novelist, poet and musician.  He identifies, I think, with the archetype of a cowboy’s passion.  I think of the scene in the Hollywood movie City Slickers, where Billy Crystal’s Mitch Robbins character plays the harmonica at the campfire.

Curly, Jack Palance’s character, interrupts the music.

Mitch Robbins:  [Playing harmonica]

Curly:  Put that away.

Mitch Robbins:  [Stops, then resumes playing harmonica]

Curly:  I said, put that away!

Mitch Robbins:  Hey you know, the first time I tried to talk to you, you embarrassed me.  So I teased you a little bit which maybe I shouldn’t have done, so I’m sorry.

And now you’re sitting over there playing with your knife, trying to frighten me – which you’re doing a good job.  But if you’re gonna kill me, get on with it; if not, shut the hell up – I’m on vacation.

City
Slickers

Wikipedia explains that before writing Bird on the Wire, Cohen carefully structured the song, before committing it to tape.  To tell the truth, before I read Wikipedia’s description, I hadn’t thought that the song would be identified as a country song.

Cohen’s music is usually in the genres of folk, and soft rock.  Romantic country music doesn’t meld with the other interests in music I have thought of.  If Bird on the Wire is a country song, it breaks, I think, with the tradition of country music that country music fans enjoy.

It’s unique that way.  I wonder if a country song should be simple, but distinctive.  The answer isn’t straightforward.

Sometimes answers to questions like that turn up unexpectedly, even if it isn’t initially clear where to begin, to get an answer to the question.  A post like this one, doing the research and writing the content, helps me understand better something that already interests me, the music.  Also, maybe somebody else interested in this blog challenge thought to say something about this specific song.

I first heard Bird on the Wire when I was in high school, the twelfth grade or so, on a simply dubbed audio cassette.  Leonard Cohen passed on November 7, 2016 (aged 82).

I saw him once in concert.  It was terrific.

Here are the lyrics to the song, followed by the song itself, in a video.

My links

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Coholan

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Bird on the Wire

Like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook

Like a knight from some old-fashioned book

I have saved all my ribbons for thee

If I, if I have been unkind

I hope that you can just let it go by

If I, if I have been untrue

I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn

Like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me

But I swear by this song

And by all that I have done wrong

I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch

He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door

She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh, like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

https://youtu.be/BmPUu-rMpWA

MCMXC

This blog gets me crossing paths with individuals who have something to add about the world as they understand it.  Like the Discover feature on TikTok, imagination is an alluring quality.  

Jim Adams is a writer with a fascination for music, who concocts prompts for a blog.  He thinks of words for participants to find in song titles, or lyrics, in a blog format.

Participants discuss the songs with a common element, the writing prompt, as it appears in the lyrics, or in the song title.  I am very late to the challenge this week, but I have seen Jim’s observe about his prompts, “better late than never.”

Photo by Matt Jones from StockSnap

Today’s a Thursday–another favourite blog of mine, Beauty Beyond Bones, goes live Thursday evenings.  In fact I am posting opposite hers tonight.

Although, this fall, her focus has often been on the election, BBB being an American, I can still with a clear conscience recommend her blog.  She is a kind Catholic girl who writes about the inspiration Jesus has for her when her eating disorder challenges her.  She has been in recovery something like thirteen years now.

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

I am new to Jim’s challenge.  I have read some of his participants’ blog discussions and I have followed along some of what is new with Jim–he has organized the challenge right through to 2021.  He publishes the prompts carefully, only a few at a time, to let his followers know what is coming.

For November 8, Jim prompted “days of the week,” and the song I thought of is Monday Morning, by the band The Church.  It has taken me a good deal longer than I anticipated to get this post ready and finished, but I thought the finished post might be good enough that I should go ahead and post it, whether or not I’m so late for Sunday’s challenge.

The Church is a rock band with a dark flavour for their music, rarely undemanding, weird at times, and atmospheric.  It’s not from my part of the world, but I like it.

The Church

The Church in the year 1990 wrote Monday Morning, singer Steve Kilbey, drummer Richard Ploog, guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper, and, guitarist Peter Koppes, for the record Gold Afternoon Fix.  The name of the album is an expression from the stock market, made here into an album title with a bit of a sense of humour.

At the time, The Church excused the completed collection as an innovative disappointment.   The percussion on the melodies didn’t turn out.

One of the songs for Gold Afternoon Fix is entitled Disappointment.  “Late for an appointment, clothes everywhere/I cannot find my memory anywhere/Ah disappointment just doesn’t care,” Kilbey sings.

I think Monday Morning is a song that initially appeared only on the CD release of the album, not the LP.  For me, The Church is a charming band, and I believe founding songwriter Steve Kilbey has since allowed that his original opinion about the album needn’t have been so critical.

The Church began in 1980 as a new wave band, a music genre emerging after the punk rock scene.  The Church was pretty noisy, good, though.  By 1983 they were making more experimental music.

By creative failure, I only mean music that lacks integrity, bad music.  That’s not The Church.  They are a band I quite like.

The chief problem with Gold Afternoon Fix is really that the personnel couldn’t come to an agreement about the percussion.  The melodies are very acceptable at any rate.  For example, I like the tune Monday Morning.

Perhaps the song is about a weekend fling, the freedom of time spent away, as from office life, when a free heart gets heavy again, when Monday morning arrives, and the weekend has dispersed.

The Church was in L.A. and the culture of the day must have touched on the lyrics Kilbey wrote for the record.  The air was full of energy.  “Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear,” Kilbey sings.

As far as the discography by The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix followed their record Starfish, their 1988 album, which was a major achievement for them, and which contains the exemplary melody Under the Milky Way.  The record Priest = Aura followed two years after the fact, in 1992, which Kilbey further views as the band’s show-stopper.  Steve Kilbey recalls fondly the 1990s in Sydney, Australia, he’s said on Twitter–I imagine that is the place where he withdrew.

Starfish

Gold Afternoon Fix is an album I like, and albums by The Church are often pretty good.  The band did have trouble getting the percussion for Gold Afternoon Fix correct, and drummer Richard Ploog only plays drums on four of the songs on the album.  The other songs have the beat of a drum machine.

Other than Steve Kilbey writing occasional new material with a drum machine, the band had never considered using that kind of percussion on an album.  They’d become known for being a great beat.  Richard Ploog, the drummer, couldn’t finish recording the drums for Gold Afternoon Fix, however.

Mr. Ploog’s interest in music had stopped meeting the vision the other members of the band had, for the songs.  Ploog’s energy was turning into contention, with the interest in music the other three artists had.

Ironically, one of the first songs The Church did is called Too Fast for You.  “Oh, and I hope I’m not going too fast for you/And don’t believe it when they say it’s over,” Kilbey sings.

Wikipedia says drummer Nick Ward played on their first collection; through the 1980s the band’s steady drummer, for a very long time, 1982-1990, was Richard, who left the band after Gold Afternoon Fix.  It doesn’t look to me like Wikipedia is altogether exact; I can see focuses that I don’t accept are right.  Mr. Ploog withdrew from The Church around 1990, to invest more energy with his better half.

In Marty Wilson-Piper’s blog, an entry Wilson-Piper wrote in October 2011, Wilson-Piper explains that Monday Morning is one of the four songs that Mr. Ploog is playing on.  Marty Wilson-Piper is one of the founding members of the band, along with Kilbey and Koppes.  He calls attention to Peter Koppes’ mandolin, on the melody, and that is somewhat enough to appreciate the tune.

Mandolin

Monday Morning is one of the last songs Mr. Ploog played on while The Church was a big commercial act.  They’ve remained to make records for years, but after 1990 they weren’t the same band, however good Priest = Aura turned out to be (a good album, too).

Artificial Photography

In my first year of school, 1996, I read a gathering about The Church.  There were some jokes about The Church’s concert film for Gold Afternoon Fix turning up in retail discount bins.  It was a joke about Gold Afternoon Fix not being their best album.

All things considered, fans’ excitement for The Church was unmistakable, and Richard Ploog got a ton of regard from audience members.  Gold Afternoon Fix also sold very well, commercially successful.  Ironically, the commercial rock was hard to combine with artistic integrity, Mr. Wilson-Piper’s comments reflect in his blog.

The difference between Gold Afternoon Fix and some of the earlier collections of music by The Church, like Remote Luxury and Persia, in 1984 and 1985, that the band’s vision for their music came across loud and clear on releases like the aforementioned, and was much more subdued, so to speak, by 1990.  To tell the truth, I don’t know that the meaning of a song like Shadow Cabinet is at all clear to me; however, Shadow Cabinet was the name of their fan webpage.  Though years ago, I am sure it would have seemed to be quite a simple page compared to how it might have been today; pictures and blocks of text, I recall.

I sat in one of the rooms of the home of one of my uncles looking for The Church on AOL.  The Church was one of my very first Internet searches ever, and certainly the first band that I researched on the Internet.

The meaning of the lyrics for Monday Morning are clearer for me than words like “Queueing in the ruins in the wake of the gale it’s/Harmony I say” in Shadow Cabinet.  I like the soul of what Steve Kilbey is singing there.

These days Steve Kilbey is a very small YouTuber, and both Koppes and Wilson-Piper have moved on from The Church.  Koppes continues to write and record music, as does Kilbey; both had new albums in September of this year.  I’m not completely sure what Wilson-Piper has been doing.

Fans of The Church are sometimes referred to as their Army.

Thank you to Jim for his prompt, “days of the week.”  You should take a look at Jim’s blog.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/a-week-is-a-unit-of-time/

As well, you’re welcome to like, follow and/or comment here.

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Coholan

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Monday Morning

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you

There was a lifetime spent in the sun

Hundreds of chances, blew every one

Dice rolled, double six, double six, double six

Owner of trouble, flesh blood and bricks

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

The start of the ash and the end of the flames

Turning you burning you

Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear

Oh Monday morning, take me back, leave me hare

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you around

//genius.com/songs/1178162/embed.js

Monday Morning