Poetry Spoken and Sung

Baptism: A Journey Through Our Time was a 1968 album of poetry spoken and sung by Joan Baez.

Artwork by Robert Peak. Design by Jules Halfant

 

TRACK LISTING

Old Welsh Song” (Henry Treece)
2.”I Saw the Vision of Armies” (Walt Whitman)
3.”Minister of War” (Arthur Waley)
4.”Song In the Blood” (Lawrence Ferlinghetti/Jacques Prévert)
5.”Casida of the Lament” (J.L. Gili/Federico García Lorca)
6.”Of the Dark Past” (James Joyce)
7.”London” (William Blake)
8.”In Guernica” (Norman Rosten)
9.”Who Murdered the Minutes” (Henry Treece)
10.”Oh, Little Child” (Henry Treece)
11.”No Man Is an Island” (John Donne)
12.”Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man” (James Joyce)
13.”All the Pretty Little Horses” (traditional)
14.”Childhood III” (Arthur Rimbaud/Louis Varese)
15.”The Magic Wood” (Henry Treece)
16.”Poems from the Japanese” (Kenneth Rexroth)
17.”Colours” (P. Levi, R. Milner-Gulland, Yevgeny Yevtushenko)
18.”All in green went my love riding” (E. E. Cummings)
19.”Gacela of the Dark Death” (Federico García Lorca/Stephen Spender)
20.”The Parable of the Old Man and the Young” (Wilfred Owen)
21.”Evil” (N. Cameron/Arthur Rimbaud)
22.”Epitaph for a Poet” (Countee Cullen)
23.”Mystic Numbers- 36″
24.”When The Shy Star Goes Forth In Heaven” (James Joyce)
25.”The Angel” (William Blake)
26.”Old Welsh Song” (Henry Treece)

 

Joan Baez‘s most unusual album, Baptism is of a piece with the “concept” albums of the late ’60s, but more ambitious than most and different from all of them. Baez by this time was immersed in various causes, concerning the Vietnam War, the human condition, and the general state of the world, and it seemed as though every note of music that she sang was treated as important — sometimes in a negative way by her opponents; additionally, popular music was changing rapidly, and even rock groups that had seldom worried in their music about too much beyond the singer’s next sexual conquest were getting serious. Baptism was Baez getting more serious than she already was, right down to the settings of her music, and redirecting her talent from folk song to art song, complete with orchestral accompaniment. Naturally, her idea of a concept album would differ from that of, say, Frank Sinatra or The Beatles. Baptism was a body of poetry selected, edited, and read and sung by Baez, and set to music by Peter Schickele (better known for his comical musical “discoveries” associated with “P.D.Q. Bach,” but also a serious musician and composer). In 1968, amid the strife spreading across the world, the album had a built-in urgency that made it work as a mixture of art and message — today, it seems like a precious and overly self-absorbed period piece.

A clip of Whitman’s poem spoken by Joan Baez can be listened on The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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The Dead Leaves

Les Concierges Rue du Dragon. Robert Doisneau, 1946

 
 

LES FEUILLES MORTES

Oh! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes
Des jours heureux où nous étions amis
En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle,
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu’aujourd’hui
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié…
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Et le vent du nord les emporte
Dans la nuit froide de l’oubli.
Tu vois, je n’ai pas oublié
La chanson que tu me chantais.

REFRAIN:

C’est une chanson qui nous ressemble
Toi, tu m’aimais et je t’aimais
Et nous vivions tous deux ensemble
Toi qui m’aimais, moi qui t’aimais
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis.

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Mais mon amour silencieux et fidèle
Sourit toujours et remercie la vie
Je t’aimais tant, tu étais si jolie,
Comment veux-tu que je t’oublie?
En ce temps-là, la vie était plus belle
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu’aujourd’hui
Tu étais ma plus douce amie
Mais je n’ai que faire des regrets
Et la chanson que tu chantais
Toujours, toujours je l’entendrai!

REFRAIN

 
 

____________________________

 
 

Oh, I would like you so much to remember
Those happy days when we were friends, and how
Life in those times was more lovely and tender,
Even the sun shone more brightly than now.
Dead leaves are gathering as in December
You see how one never forgets…
Dead leaves are gathering as in December,
Just like the memories and the regrets.
And then the north wind comes and sweeps them
Into oblivion’s icy night.
You see how I never forgot
That old song that you sang for me.

REFRAIN:

A song like us, birds of a feather,
You loving me, me loving you,
And we lived happily together,
You loving me, me loving you.
But life tears apart gentle lovers
Who quietly obey their heart,
And the sea invades the sand and covers
The footsteps of those torn apart.

Dead leaves are gathering, dead leaves are piling
Up just like memories and like regrets.
But still my love goes on quietly smiling
Thankful for life and for all that it gets.
I loved you so, you were ever so lovely,
How can I forget? Tell me how!
Life in those times was more sweet and beguiling,
Even the sun shone more brightly than now.
You were my most sweet friend and lover,
But regret just isn’t my thing,
And I’ll keep hearing all the time
The old song that you used to sing.

REFRAIN

 
 

Some of Prévert’s poems, such as Les Feuilles mortes (Autumn Leaves), La grasse matinée (Sleeping in), Les bruits de la nuit (The sounds of the night), and Chasse à l’enfant (The hunt for the child) were set to music by Joseph Kosma—and in some cases by Germaine Tailleferre of Les Six, Christiane Verger, and Hanns Eisler.

Les feuilles mortes (literally The Dead Leaves) with music by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, and the Hungarian title is Hulló levelek (Falling Leaves) Wa introduced by Yves Montand with Irène Joachim in the film Les Portes de la nuit (Marcel Carné, 1946).

It is a much-recorded popular song. The American songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics in 1947, and Jo Stafford was among the first to perform this version. Autumn Leaves became a pop standard and a jazz standard in both languages, both as an instrumental and with a singer. There is also a Japanese version called Kareha (枯葉) sung by Nat King Cole in his Japanese album version and 高英男 (Hideo Kou).

It has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg, Juliette Gréco, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Chet Baker, Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop, Andrea Bocelli, among others.Serge Gainsbourg paid tribute to Les feuilles mortes in his own song La chanson de Prévert.

The film Autumn Leaves (Robert Aldrich, 1956), starring Joan Crawford, featured over the title sequence the song as sung by Nat King Cole.

 

To listen to an altered version of this song performed by Michael David Rosenberg (better known by his stage name Passenger), please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Failed Communication Between Lovers

“This photograph is my proof There was that afternoon,
when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen, she did love me, Look see for yourself!”

Photograph by Duane Michals

 
 

THE DANGLING CONVERSATION

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.

And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar

In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with book markers
That measure what we’ve lost.

Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time

And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”

And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me

Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Paul Simon

 
 

The Dangling Conversation is a song written by Paul Simon, first released in September 1966 as a Simon and Garfunkel single The Dangling Conversation/The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine. The song only climbed to 25 on the US charts and never made it onto the UK charts. Simon was surprised that it was not a bigger hit and attributed the song’s lack of success to its heaviness. It was released a month later as a recording on the Simon and Garfunkel album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

The theme is failed communication between lovers. The song starts in a room washed by shadows from the sun slanting through the lace curtains and ends with the room “softly faded.” They are as different as the poets they read: Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.

Simon has compared this song to The Sound of Silence, but says The Dangling Conversation is more personal.

Joan Baez recorded a version of the song which is one of her greatest hits, originally released in 1967 on the Joan album. She changed one of the lines to “Is the church really dead?” and Simon insisted that a line be inserted on the album’s back cover that read: “Paul Simon asks Joan to note that the original line is, ‘Is the theater really dead?'”

Les Fradkin has a dramatic version on his 2006 album, Jangleholic.

 
 

To watch a scene of Frederick Wiseman‘s 1968 documentary High School related to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Insatiable Photojournalist

Salvador Dalí

 
 

Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

Paul Newman

 
 

Marlon Brando

 
 

Spanish bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguín and Pablo Picasso

 
 

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter Seeger

 
 

Charles Aznavour

 
 

João Gilberto

 
 

Dalida

 
 

Ruwenzori Mountains

 
 

<Muhammad Ali

 
 

Martin Luther King

 
 

kennedyJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy

 
 

Washington March

 
 

Enrique Meneses (1929 – 2013) was born journalist because of his father. He grew up and studied in France, Portugal and Spain because of the Spanish Civil world. He devour life, looking for being wherever something that could be tell happened, becoming along 30 years the most international Spanish reporter. He worked for agencies such as Fotopress or Delta Press, and media like Paris Match, Time, Life or ABC.

He is the author of iconic photographs of the XXth century that illustrate a time, with portraits of historic characters such as Ché Guevara, Fidel Castro and company when they where trying to defeat that dictator Batista, Salvador Dalí, Marlon Brando, Mel Ferrer, Paul Newman, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Melina Mercouri, Charles Aznavour, João Gilberto o Henry Fonda. As many other historic moments like the fight for civil rights in the USA, the Washington March with Martin Luther King, the tension with the Soviet Union or the Ku Klux Klan.

Sad Dove

Theatrical poster

 
 

Cucurrucucú paloma is a Mexican Huapango song written by Tomás Méndez in 1954 and introduced by Lola Beltrán in the film Cucurrucucú Paloma (Miguel Delgado, 1965). The song also appeared in other movies, such as Escuela de vagabundos (Rogelio A. González, 1955), considered one of the finest comedies of Mexican cinema, later adapted from the screenplay for the MGM movie Merrily We Live (Norman Z. McLeod, 1938); The Last Sunset (Robert Aldrich, 1961); Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai 1997); Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002);  My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Werner Herzog, 2009); and The Five-Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller, 2012). It has also been recorded by popular singers such as Luis Miguel, Rocío Dúrcal, Pedro Infante, Perry Como, Caetano Veloso, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Harry Belafonte, Nana Mouskouri, Julio Iglesias, Shirley Kwan, Lila Downs, Joan Baez (on her album Gracias a la Vida), Rosemary Clooney, and The Del Rubio Triplets.

It was played as a regular huapango song until Harry Belafonte sang it in Carnegie Hall like an <a title="Art song". Lola Beltrán's original rendering is considered by Mexicans to be the most powerful and faithful to the spirit of the song.

 
 

 
 

Original Spanish Lyrics:

“Dicen que por las noches
no mas se le iba en puro llorar,
dicen que no comía
no mas se le iba en puro tomar;
juran que el mismo cielo
se estremecía al oír su llanto
Cómo sufrió por ella,
que hasta en la muerte la fué llamando:

Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, cantaba,
ay, ay, ay, ay, gemía,
ay, ay, ay, ay, lloraba,
de pasión mortal moría.

Que una paloma triste
muy de mañana le va a cantar
a la casita sola
con las puertitas de par en par;
juran que esa paloma
no es otra cosa mas que su alma,
que todavía la espera
a que regrese la desdichada.

Cucurrucucú, paloma,
cucurrucucú, no llores.
Las piedras jamás, paloma
qué van a saber de amores.

Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú,
cucurrucucú, paloma ya no le llores.”

 
 

 
 

English Translation:

They say that every night
he was wholly overtaken by tears;
They say he never ate, but only drank
They swear that even the heavens
trembled to hear his wail,
he suffered for her so,
that even in death, he never stopped calling for her:

“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he howled,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
from a deadly passion, he died

They say that in early morning a sad dove sings to the little empty house
with its wide open little doors.
They swear that the dove
is none other than his spirit,
hoping still for the return, of the ill-fated woman.

Cucucrrucucu, dove
cucucrrucucu, don´t cry
What will these stones ever know, little dove, about love?

cucurrucucu, cucurrucucu
cucurrucucu, dove don´t cry anymore…)

 
 

Arielle Dombasle performed the song during Jean Paul Gaultier Spring Summer 2010 Haute Couture show. By the way, she descends from French-American immigrants in Mexico under her grandfather’s diplomatic tenure