Two for Tuesday: Keiko Matsui

I recently renewed my Spotify Premium subscription (actually started a new one, which earned me 250 Starbucks stars; gotta work the angles, you know) and became recacquainted with the music of smooth jazz and New Age keyboardist Keiko Matsui. Matsui-san started the piano at age 5 and became interested in jazz and composition in junior high school (roughly between age 11 and 14, a pretty amazing feat). She studied children’s culture at Japan Women’s College, then studied at the Yamaha Music Foundation. During that time she started the band Cosmos, with whom she recorded 8 albums, and met her husband, New Age shakuhachi (a traditional Japanese bamboo flute) player Kazu Matsui, who produced her first solo album, 1987’s A Drop Of Water. Her music blends Eastern and Western music with her compositions.

From her 2013 album Soul Quest, “Dream Seeker.”

From her 1995 album Sapphire, “Safari.”

The list of tour dates on her website indicates she’ll be working in and around Russia for the month of March.

Keiko Matsui, your Two for Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

Moday’s Music Moves Me: Smoke Alarm Battery Charge (Change?)

Cathy pulled out her calendar again for this week’s M4 theme. Evidently today is National Battery Day, so have a good one. She gave us four words, smoke, alarm, battery and charge, around which to center our songs. I added a fifth, change, because I thought there might have been some miscommunication; after all, Time Change Sunday is coming, a day when we not only change the clocks, we change the batteries in the smoke detectors. Sound good?

So, the list starts with two songs about smoke. First is Buck Owens, the Bard of Bakersfield, with his cover of Red Ingle and His Natural Seven’s “Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women.” I usually use the version done by Peter Sellers and The Muppets, so I figured you could use a break. Then, “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke That Cigarette,” the 1947 original by Tex Williams, who wrote it with the Dean of Fingerstyle Guitar Players, Merle Travis.

Next, a couple about alarm. First is “Incense and Peppermints,” the 1967 hit by Strawberry Alarm Clock (see what I did there?). It was their one and only hit, reaching #1 and earning a Gold record. Next is Peter, Paul & Mary’s “If I Had A Hammer,” because, after all, hammering/ringing/singing out danger and warning sounds like an alarm to me.

On to battery… now, in this case, I relied on the fact that the French word for a drum kit is la batterie and chose a couple of songs that feature some amazing drumming. First, a couple of scenes from the 1941 comedy classic Ball of Fire, which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck and featured the incredible drumming of Gene Krupa, appearing with his orchestra, on “Drum Boogie.” Miss Barbara’s voice was dubbed by Martha Tilton on the song. Then, The Surfaris with their 1963 hit song “Wipeout.” A friend of mine (who came from another school) said that he and his friends all owned copies of the record and would play the drum part on their desks when the nun was out of the room.

Next is charge. To do this, I looked up songs that had “charge” in the title, coming up with the finale of Rossini’s “William Tell,” also a part of the Overture and the theme song for the radio and TV versions of The Lone Ranger, and a song called “Charge” done by an electronic band called Bossfight. I have no clue if this is music from a video game or just stands on its own, but I thought it sounded interesting.

Finally, since I thought change was appropriate (also giving me five groups of two songs), we have a couple of “lite rawk!” favorites: The Little River Band’s “Cool Change” from their 1979 album Just Under The Wire, a song that reached #4 in the US that year, and Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” title track from his 1977 album.

And that’s your Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 18, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Song Lyric Sunday: “I Can’t Move No Mountains”

I know I just used this in a Battle of the Bands, but when Jim chose “hill/mountain” as the words for the week, I had to use it again, because it’s such a great song.

I’ve used The Free Movement here before, too, at the end of December when I played their 1971 hit “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own.” I really wish they had gotten more attention, because they were really good. This song was written by Robert John and Michael Gately and has been covered many, many times, including Blood Sweat & Tears. From 1973, “I Can’t Move No Mountains.”

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

Can’t stop the rain or keep the night from falling
Sometimes I just don’t hear you when you’re calling
I’m not a one man band, can’t write no songs about you
Can’t even tell you I’d be lost without you
But I can do things that will keep you smiling
Keep your face warm baby, make you feel like flying
Without to have trying

I can’t move no mountains
No I never said I could
I can’t make you love me
But I’ll make you feel so good
Or I could now

Can’t cool the sun or make a rock give water
Sometimes I treat you like a rich man’s daughter
But I can make your heart pound with desire
Make wonder, baby, how I keep the fire
Taking you higher

I can’t move no mountains
No I never said I could
I can’t make you love me
But I’ll make you feel so good

I can’t move no mountains
I can’t move no mountains

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for February 17, 2019.

Coping With Ennui #socs

I remember learning the word “ennui” in seventh grade. It stuck with me because it was the first time I had a word for how I really felt about school. It was more than merely boredom, it was boredom that annoyed me. Evidently “ennui” and “annoy” have the same Latin root. In school, there was really nothing to do about it but feign interest and try not to fall asleep.

One day (I was in seventh or eighth grade) I yawned in class and the nun asked “Are we boring you, Mr. Holton?” I made my apologies and tried harder not to yawn. Now that I think about it, I should have said “You’ve been boring me since kindergarten.” It would have been closer to the truth. Maybe that’s why I connected so well with Calvin & Hobbes: I understood Calvin. My flights of fantasy to fight the boredom of the classroom were nowhere near as colorful as Calvin’s, though.

Wonder what would have happened if I had answered that question the way I should have. I’d probably have been in serious trouble, but I think it would have been worth it.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Kool menthol cigarettes. When it’s time for a change, come up to the menthol magic of Kool!