New Yorker columnist and author Adam Gopnik confesses to ‘a perverse love’ of his city’s subway system. In particular, he likes the two hour run of the A train from the tip of Manhattan to the Atlantic Ocean in the outer borough of Queens.
Along the way he encounters vendors, preachers, rappers, beggars and the homeless passengers who live in the subway cars and in the tunnels.
As a jazz lover, he celebrates Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s song as an anthem of black migration. which imitates the sound of the train and insists: “You must take the A train To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem.”
“‘While the hemlock was being prepared, Socrates was learning a melody on the flute. “What use will that be to you?”, he was asked. “At least I will learn this melody before I die.” ’”—Emile Cioran, as quoted by Italo Calvino (via rhea137)
Tarheel Slim & Little Ann - It’s Too Late (Fire, 1959)
Tarheel Slim & Little Ann have this dark, condemned style that either gives you the creeps or makes you weep. Or both. It certainly makes Little Ann cry out in a sea of creepy reverb in the last leg of the tune.
“I soon got used to this singing; for the sailors never touched a rope without it. Sometimes, when no one happened to strike up, and the pulling, whatever it might be, did not seem to be getting forward very well, the mate would always say, “Come, men, can’t any of you sing? Sing now, and raise the dead.” And then some one of them would begin, and if every man’s arms were as much relieved as mine by the song, and he could pull as much better as I did, with such a cheering accompaniment, I am sure the song was well worth the breath expended on it. It is a great thing in a sailor to know how to sing well, for he gets a great name by it from the officers, and a good deal of popularity among his shipmates. Some sea-captains, before shipping a man, always ask him whether he can sing out at a rope.”—Herman Melville, Redburn (via rhea137)
I love this guy, I could listen to him all day. We had a nice chat after I took this recording. I should have got a photo of him really. Hopefully I’ll run into him again tomorrow, he seems to be there most days.
This is my last post before I head to Boston, MA USA to meet Craig Robertson!
We’ve got loads of stuff lined up, including recording (my EP might finally see the light of day…!) and, of course, our gig in Rhode Island. If you’re anywhere near Providence, you should come along.
I’ll be tumbling, tweeting and blogging along the way so keep in touch. I’m also slowly migrating towards Gmail so if you need to email me whilst I’m away, use that address (louarmer at gmail dot com).