The Song In Every Musical That No One Likes

The very clever Sarah Smallwood Parsons sings a truth universally acknowledged, to hilarious effect.

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Thanks to YouTuber CharactersWelcome

“Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie”

Monday Morning, Don McLean in a great re-make of “American Pie,” fifty years later. At last, all the verses again–not like the awful truncated version from Madonna. McLean is accompanied by the wonderful acapella group, Home Free. As always, not an instrument in sight; all the percussion you hear are mouth sounds from band member Adam Rupp, in the short-sleeve purple T-shirt. See here if you don’t believe it.

Once, when McLean was asked what the song meant, he replied, “It means I’ll never have to work again if I don’t want to.”

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More at Home Free

If I Only Had A Brain

Ray Bolger and Judy Garland, 25 years after their first meeting as The Scarecrow and Dorothy Gale from Kansas.

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Thanks to YouTuber The Vintage Archive

“We Can’t Be Forever Blessed”

Paul Simon’s sings his “American Tune,” written over 45 years ago; under our present circumstances, his incredibly touching performance makes it seem like it was written just yesterday.

Thanks to YouTuber soundofsimon

“I Don’t Want To Live Like This, But…”

Monday morning, Josh and Carson get locked out of their apartments.

In this cover of Vampire Weekend’s “Harmony Hall,” Josh figured that virtuoso singing and guitar-playing was too easy, so let’s throw in taking off and putting on the guitar capo a few times without losing a beat.

More at Josh Turner Guitar

“Who Wants Their Mind Changed?”: Roy Zimmerman, Part Two

And here’s Part Two of our interview with singer/songwriter Roy Zimmerman. Last week in Part One we talked with Roy primarily about his more comical satirical songs. This week, in the final part, the conversation takes a turn as Roy talks about how he writes a song with heavier political content–maybe songs that can change some minds.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear Part Two of my interview with Roy as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Part One can be found here: https://jackshalom.net/2021/02/16/yer-a-socialist-satirist-roy-zimmerman/

More Roy at Roy Zimmerman

“Dear Number 1036924053887”

In which your friendly neighborhood healthcare insurance company sends a letter of mild request to Roy Zimmerman…

One more example of Roy’s great witty songs.

More at Roy Zimmerman

Small Day Tomorrow: Janis Siegel

Janis Siegel’s name is new to me, but after hearing her sing this Fran Landesman/Bob Dorough song, I am definitely a fan.

Sometimes I hear a strong lyric and I smile, because I can imagine the songwriter knowing she has hit gold with a great idea. Bob Dorough, the composer of this song, told in an interview how his writing partner, Fran Landesman, came upon the lyric. One night Fran and her husband were out drinking with some wealthy business people, and one of the puffed-up men suddenly downed his drink and peremptorily said, “Folks, I have to get going, I have a big day tomorrow” And Fran’s husband drawled, “Well, I think I’ll stay. I have a small day tomorrow.” And of course, as soon as they got home, Fran knew that was the hook of a great song, wrote down the line and finished writing the lyrics. Bob Dorough says as soon as he got the lyrics from Fran, the melody practically wrote itself.

More at Janis Siegel – Topic

Rehearsing the Bridge

Monday morning, peeking through the bedroom blinds. Art Garfunkel and pianist Larry Knectal did 72 takes for the studio version of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the last of which eventually landed on the best-selling album. Above is an early version which has some different lyrics from the final version, and a lot less orchestral backing. While the lyrics in this version are a bit more filled with college-level angst, especially the cheesy “bedroom blinds” line, I like the simpler music arrangement a whole lot more, with less bombast than the released album version.

Thanks to YouTuber Simon and Garfunkel News

“A Crazy Carousel”

Ellie Stone’s version of this Jacques Brel song from the Off-Broadway play was mesmerizing, but here Geraldine Turner amps it up to the truly spooky and horrifying. And to think she recorded it *before* this week.

I wasn’t familiar with Geraldine Turner, but evidently she is a big musical theater star in Australia, kind of on a par with Angela Lansbury. She was the federal President of Actors Equity (MEAA) in Australia.

Thanks to YouTuber Brian Castles-Onion