Friday, November 02, 2012
30 Wonderful Seconds
Here's something you may know, or, if you don't collect them yourself, may not know about song-poems: the vast majority of them are just dull as dirt. Not amazing and outstanding in some unexpected way, not accidentally hilarious, or car-crash awful or deer-in-the-headlights weird. Those are the exceptions, and the ones that get 98% of the attention.
No, most of the song poems I've ever heard - and I've lost count of how many I own in one form or another - are just pedestrian poetry, or bland melodies and arrangements, or going-through-the-motions musicians, or uninspired vocalists, or a combination of any of the above.
Today's feature, "Mother's Day", sung by Gene Marshall, largely fits that category, and because of that, I've sat on it for two months, trying to decide whether it's magical moments are enough to overcome the dullness of the remaining two minutes or so, on top of the fact that the record is fairly beat to hell. Today, unable to get that one amazing section out of my mind, I decided to go for it. I hope you agree with my choice.
Because here we have another heartfelt piece of poetry towards one's parent, sung with appropriate feeling my Gene Marshall, and with a nice enough backing, I suppose, but nothing here is special, unusual or outstanding. And then, about half-way through, something truly stunning happens - there is a 30 second solo, featuring either a flute quartet or a Chamberlin (can that instrument do the bending of the notes heard here - I don't know), with a singularly charming, absolutely gorgeous and downright weird little piece of chamber music, which appears as if plucked from another galaxy.
I assume Rodd Keith was behind this - I've not heard anything remotely like this on a song-poem record that he wasn't part of. I simply can't get enough of it, and hope you enjoy it, too.
On the flip side, the heartbreaking story of the loss no parent should endure, the loss of a child. Again, I don't think the music or arrangement are much to write home about here, but there's no arguing with the lyric in "The Lord Has Drafted My Son".