This song is beautiful and minimal, attributes enhanced by its video. Cello reverberations swallow up a sorrowful song, calling to mind luminaries like Low who prefer to write songs that unfold at their own pace.
Turn the lights down low and put this record on. Female vocalisation at its best with killer songs and deep, spiritual Philly soul, made for hot summer nights. Nyro was a one-off and Labelle’s harmonies were the perfect complement for her on this gorgeous album. Have a listen to Desiree for a taste:
Lucian Freud, John Minton, 1952
I used to constantly gaze at this oil painting in a book in my Sixth-form art room. Maybe I thought by studying it, some of the late Lucian Freud’s talent would rub off on me. I remember thinking Minton looked like the singer Jonathan Richman who I had recently seen play at Middlesbrough Cornerhouse, which, I suppose, illustrates how works of art can intertwine with our lives and memories.
The choppy waves of hair, the slightly gormless expression, the big eyes containing worlds just beyond our knowledge – there are so many fine details in this painting yet it remains mysterious.
Yesterday, I heard the Megamix version of this song, which is more dancefloor-friendly, but this video has a retrospective charm (and a comedy cordless phone). The drum track is brilliant and I’m a sucker for the fey vocal over the top of such a house-y tune. No wonder it did well in Chicago at the time.
Cor! What a mover! Any excuse for a bit of Dame David in his pomp.
Robert Rauschenberg, Cy at Black Mountain College, 1951
Hearing of Cy Twombly’s death this morning, I remembered being mesmerised by his paintings in a Tate Modern retrospective three years ago. I allowed myself to switch off from my surroundings in the gallery and be taken under by the rhythms and harmonies in his huge paintings, often created by a mixture of the haphazard and the precise. It’s apt that his nickname, Cy, is derived from Cy ‘Cyclone’ Young, the baseball legend since his later paintings often look like the aftermath of an oceanic storm.
Scraps of poetry and mythology run through paintings such as this:
Outrageously controlled emotions from Mickey Newbury here as he performs his arrangement of a medley that Elvis made famous with his over-the-top-but-brilliant rendition. The steadily-plucked nylon strings are the perfect complement to Newbury’s elastic, velvety croon and what could’ve easily been jingoistic cheese is actually a poignant mediation on war and death.