A recipe for simple bread for the best toast, and thoughts on toasting over the years.
With its mix of musical styles, languages, accents, and voices, the album is a perfect tribute to the witty and self-deprecating, pretty and noisy, relatable and strange, hopefully despondent music of Jeffrey Lewis.
“I’m all the time studying what I can do for my people. You can’t do nothing for yourself unless you do it for somebody else first. You can’t bake a corncake for yourself unless you bake it for somebody else. It ain’t worth the effort. In this world we have to talk a little and hush a heap. Love is just like a vein in a spring: Keeps you with supplements to cherish up what you have.”
And the idea of living a pure heroic life dedicated to your art is naturally selfish and few attempt it without collateral emotional damage to their nearest and dearest. I get it and maybe that is why the songs move me so much.
They are works that make you feel happy. There is a level of complexity in the music that your brain can grasp immediately.
I wanted to put together a playlist that was a bit of what you might hear if you had tuned into one of my broadcasts. I hope you find a few things you’ve not heard before – maybe a surprise or two.
Following the death of Gary Brooker at the age of 74 last week, I feel compelled to pay tribute to his finest song, or perhaps his second finest song. Obituaries have been full of praise for the songwriter and lead vocalist of Procol Harum, concentrating on his first celebrated hit single A Whiter Shade Of Pale which reached Number One in the UK singles charts in the Summer of Love, July 1967. This piece shines a spotlight on a lesser -known song which is nonetheless full of power and emotion.
I’ve often wondered in subsequent years whether a career in acting was The Right Thing To Do. I have a complex relationship with my ghost career as a barrister, and often peek over to see how he’s doing.
“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: NO FEAR! I mean really, no fear. If I could have that half of my life. No fear. Lots of children have no fear. That’s the only way I can describe it. That’s not all of it, but it something to really, really feel. Like a new way of seeing. Like a new way of seeing something.”
Daunting, difficult, mysterious and magnificent, she defies easy category or glib biography, but she has touched me over and over since 1976 when I first heard her.