darchildre: moody black-and-white crow looking thoughtful (crow is thoughtful)
I have had Crooked Still's version of Wind and Rain stuck in my head for about 12 hours now. Let me tell you, that's a fun song to unconciously sing around other people and watch them slowly realize what the lyrics are.

On a related note, I would like to restate my lack of objection to having my body made into a musical instrument after my death. Y'know, in case anyone wants to. I'll try not to haunt it, so that you'll be able to play more than one song.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Sadly, one cannot call into work and say, "Nope, can't come in today - I am listening to murder ballads and have just realized that I need to learn at least 3 different versions of Two Sisters."

(Someday, I will be in a situation where my knowledge of various versions of ballads where people die horribly is useful. I don't know what that situation would be, but I'm sure it'll happen.)
darchildre: graffiti of a crow saying, "listen" (listen)
Heading to Seattle to hang out with my sisters and listening to my Stan Rogers collection on the ferry.

How do I have three different versions of The Mary Ellen Carter and not one of Barrett's Privateers on my iPod? Not that I dont love The Mary Ellen Carter, but still. Badly done, past me. Very badly done.

Maybe I'll just listen to The Nancy on repeat instead.
darchildre: Tiny Flash with his arms up going "yay!" (flash says yay!)
Today, while looking up the lyrics to a song*, I came across a truly awesome site - Murder Ballad Monday.

Oh man, they discuss so many variations of songs and link to recordings and lyrics, and they do British ballads and Appalachian ballads and modern ballads and I am going to learn so many songs about killing people.

Murder ballads are my favorite, you guys.



*Edward from Trad. Arr. Jones. Which I thoroughly recommend, btw, if only because I really love Annachie Gordon.
darchildre: graffiti of a crow saying, "listen" (listen)
One of my favorite things to learn to sing are old ballads (or songs that sound like old ballads), especially if they contain either fairies or murder, because they're long and tell a story and you can usually sing them well unaccompanied. (Also, because I enjoy singing pretty songs about over-the-top violence. Like in Lambkin, where they kill a baby by pricking it all over with a pin and then keep its blood in a silver basin for no apparent reason.) I learned the Fairport Convention version of Matty Groves a while ago and it's one of my absolute favorites. But two of the great things about ballads are 1) that you can learn many different versions of them and 2) Appalachian versions. And the other day, I was on 8tracks, listening to someone's playlist of ballads and came across Elizabeth Laprelle.

Here she is, singing Mathey Groves.

Oh my god, you guys, the voice on her. It's gorgeous and I now have to go buy all of her albums.

And learn that version of Mathey Groves, because it has hilarious extra violence.
darchildre: text:  "well, my doctorate is purely honorary, and harry here is only qualified to work on sailors" (only qualified to work on sailors)
So, instead of continuing to feel vaguely depressed, I decided to spend the evening listening to Stan Rogers songs that are not Cape St Mary's. Which I will now share with you because a) if you know at least one Stan Rogers song, obviously you would like to learn more and b) if you don't know any Stan Rogers songs, that is sad and must be rectified. So here are a bunch.



    The "rocking out" (insofar as that is possible with maritime folk music) section!

  • Barrett's Privateers - I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold, we'd fire no guns, shed no tears. Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers.
    I highly recommend shouting the lyrics to this song while driving in your car with the windows down.

  • Acadian Saturday Night - And oh, don't the fiddle make you roll? Your heart, she will pound like a hammer. There's a fat lady beating the piano like a drum and everybody's higher than a kite on Acadian Saturday night.



    Songs that are not particularly about boats!

  • Giant - The wind's in the north - there'll be new moon tonight and we have no circle to dance in her sight. But light a torch, bring the bottle, and build the fire bright. The giant will rise with the moon!

  • The Witch of the Westmorelands - This is very much a story song, so quoting the lyrics out of context doesn't work as well. But it's great - there's a wounded knight and and talking animals and a quest to find a witch who turns out to be a shapeshifting centaur lady. So that's pretty cool.

  • Scarborough Settler's Lament - Away wi' Canada's muddy creeks and Canada's fields of pine. Your land of wheat is a goodly land, but oh, it is not mine.



    Songs involving boats and/or fishing! (Warning: mostly sad. There aren't that many happy songs about fishing, to be honest. Or, if there are, I don't know them.)

  • The Maid on the Shore - In which a young maiden is, essentially, kidnapped by sailors but manages to trick them, steal all their stuff, and go back to living all by herself on the shore. She is pretty awesome.

  • Make and Break Harbour - In Make and Break Harbour, the boats are so few. Too many are holed up and rotten. Most houses stand empty, old nets hung to dry are blown away, lost, and forgotten.

  • Tiny Fish for Japan - So the days run together, each one is the same. And it's good that the smelt have no lovelier name. For it's all just a job now - we'll work while we can...

  • The Jeannie C. - Come all you lads, draw near to me, that I be not forsaken. This day was lost the Jeannie C. and my living has been taken. I'll go to sea no more.

  • Three Fishers - For men must work and women must weep, though the storms be sudden and the waters be deep.



    Songs that are really very Canadian!

  • Flying - This is a song about hockey. It is, in fact, the only song about hockey that I know. That alone would be pretty cool but also, it's quite a good song.

  • MacDonnell on the Heights - To say the name MacDonnell, it would bring no bugle call. But the redcoats stayed beside you when they saw the general fall. 'Twas MacDonnell raised the banner then and set the Heights aflame.

  • Northwest Passage - Ah, for just one time, I would take the Northwest Passage to find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort sea. Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage and make the Northwest Passage to the sea.
    All of the Due South fans out there are already singing along, right?



    I know we had songs about boats before but these are the two best songs about boats I know and thus deserve their own section!

  • The Bluenose - And does she not take wing like a living thing, child of the moving tide? See her pass with grace on the water's face with clean and quiet pride. Our own tall ship of great renown still lifts unto the sky.

  • The Mary Ellen Carter - And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow, with smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go, turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain and, like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!
    This is not only a great song about a boat, it is always one of the best songs I know, period.




Obviously, you are welcome to pick and choose the songs you find most interesting, but if you want to download them all at once, here is a link.
darchildre: a mad scientist lady doing mad science (malita is doing SCIENCE)
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that you can somehow end up on the wikipedia pages that tell you the plots of all the Child ballads, which will then link you to the lyrics of the ones you like. And then you can go on youtube and find videos of people singing them and learn workable melodies.

And that is why I currently have a song that ends with a person getting drawn and quartered stuck in my head.

Internet, what are your favorite murder ballads?
darchildre: clark kent drinking cocoa with his mom (cocoa with the kents)
Things I have thought about today:

- The degree to which I hate the AR reading program cannot adequately be expressed in words.

- Sometimes, I regret that I couldn't listen to some of the music I have now when I was a teenager. I was not and am still not a radio listener, so I didn't start getting properly exposed to music that was not my parents' music until I got to college and discovered Napster. Good times. However, this meant that, mostly, I expressed my teenaged angst via Broadway musicals. In retrospect, that is a little embarrassing. I mean, Sweeney Todd is acceptable because I still express a lot of angst in the form of "I will kill everybody"*, but the rest of it was just kind of sad.

- Although my normal reaction to fannish obsession is to make up stories, they come in two different kinds. About fifty percent of the time, I can make up proper fanfiction. The rest of the time**, I end up with serial-numbers-filed-off vaguely original fic that's heavily based on the fannish obsession. Apparently, the Avengers are the latter. Which means that I have spent the last several days making up superheroes. I don't have, y'know, plotlines yet or villains, really, but I do have pretty awesome superheroes. (They are all ladies. Because shut up, that's why.)

- I have a plan for tomorrow. That plan is to do absolutely nothing except watch tv and read fanfiction and probably knit. It is an excellent plan.

- Does anyone else spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to figure out where to put footnote asterisks in relation to other punctuation? It worries me.






*I do not actually want to kill everybody.

**Well, not quite. Every once in a while, there's a fannish obsession that I can't manage to do either with. Sherlock Holmes is one of these, for some reason. I can't write actual Holmes fic and filing the serial numbers off makes it unsatisfying. Fortunately, there is no lack of Holmes fic out there, both published and on the interwebs, so I make do.
darchildre: children reading books in a field. (books are for adventure!)
Today while shelving, I happened to glance at a book of lullabies and came across one that I vaguely remembered from when I was little. (It was the Gartan Mother's Lullaby and, after a bit of google and listening to things on youtube, I determined that it was the version I knew was the one sung by Meryl Streep on the For Our Children album).

Which led to me tracking down and listening to other music that I knew and loved as a tiny person. Which eventually led to Sesame Street songs because who doesn't love Sesame Street? So I listened to my favorite songs from Follow That Bird and then I thought, "Y'know, I spent pretty much my entire sophomore year of college listening to a streaming radio station that played nothing but Muppet Music. I wonder if that's still around."

It totally is.

You're welcome. 8)





A word of warning: Sometimes, when I used to listen to it all the time, they would play the Jim Henson Memorial version of Just One Person. Now, it's entirely possible that you can listen to that without crying, but I can't, so I feel I should tell people in advance so they can be prepared.
darchildre: vir waving cheerfully.  text:  "squee!" (squee!)
In which I have poor impulse control:

Did I just find out about the new Mountain Goats album that's being released in March? Yes, I did.

Did I immediately pre-order it, despite the fact that I have heard not a single track on it and I don't even buy cds at all anymore? Yes. Yes, I did.

When are you coming back to Seattle, John Darnielle?
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
Things, various and sundry:

- Today is the first day of the winter session of chorale! Hooray! I don't know what we're singing yet but I am excited.

- On a vaguely related note. So my dad and sisters and I do this thing where he plays the guitar and we sing and then we make cds to send to my aunt. (We pretend we are a band. Collectively, we are Quinn and the Eskimos because my dad's name is Quinn and really, there aren't that many songs you can reference if that's your name.) This time, I got him to play a Mountain Goats song with me. So, if you've ever wanted to hear me and my dad doing a Mountain Goats cover, here is your opportunity. (It is Woke Up New, because that one's easy and doesn't involve monsters or drugs or death. Because, y'know, singing with my dad.)

- Last night, I watched the first episode of the Raffles tv show, which I got from the library. I spent at least half of it going, "Oh, Bunny!" Which is pretty much my reaction when I read the books - he's such an adorably hapless little rabbit - so that bodes well for the series. The actors don't quite fit right for me - Raffles is all right, but in my head Bunny is a good bit shorter and also much blonder* - but I think that they'll work. Today is a crafting day, so probably I will be watching more of that.

- Or the Going Postal miniseries, which I downloaded because I have been listening to the audiobook at night for the past week or so and have been reminded of how very much I love Moist von Lipwig and Adora Belle Dearheart. I should look for fanfic, because I want stories and stories of those two having wacky adventures and Miss Dearheart not putting up with Moist's nonsense and also kissing. The actual books are all right for the first two, but they fall down a bit on the kissing front.







*Making Bunny one of the very few people who I have ever pictured in my head as being blonde. Fictional people are never blonde in my head. It's not that I don't know that blonde people exist or anything, but their presence in fiction always comes as a bit of a surprise. People in fiction have dark hair. Except for Lucy Westenra, Bunny Manders, and, to continue from above, Moist von Lipwig. But that's mostly because, contrary to all reason, I've always pictured Moist as looking a great deal like the Sixth Doctor.
darchildre: birch trees in autumn (yi elischi sa ai chi bedhul)
Things I have meant to post about today, but have been away from my computer and thus unable to:

- So, someone donated a bunch of hymnals to my church. We've never had hymnals, so we're trying to ease into using them and today was the first time we did so. Which meant that I spent most of the sermon leafing through the hymnal. I wish to share with you John Wesley's Rules for Singing, which were in the front of the hymnal, because I find them utterly charming.

Here they are: )

"Sing lustily and with a good courage." Isn't that marvelous?


- When I work on Sundays, I drive there straight from church. Sometimes, as today, I get there quite a bit early, so I spend the time reading in my car while I eat lunch. Today, I was starting The Haunting of Hill House, which I haven't read in far too long. Hill House has one of the best opening paragraphs ever so, being through with my lunch, I read it out loud. And then didn't stop.

I forget how much I enjoy reading aloud to myself, because I don't often have opportunity to do it. I flatter myself that I read aloud fairly well, with the right sort of book. I do quite nicely with Shirley Jackson and it was lovely, reading to myself all alone in the car with the rain tapping quiet on the roof.

I forget, too, how good Shirley Jackson is. I do occasionally find it a little disquieting, how easily and completely I identify and sympathize with her protagonists, but I love her stories and her characters and her use of language. I should buy a book of her short stories. I haven't read those in far too long either.
darchildre: lieutenant braca, smirking (smirk)
So, this morning, I was shelving in the AV section and I came across the Mountain Goats' Life of the World to Come album. Which at first made me go "bwee!" because that is always my reaction when shelving things I really love. And then I looked at it a little closer and realized that the person doing the cataloging had had no idea what s/he was processing and possibly classified it based solely on the fact that all the tracks have Bible verses for titles, because the label said that it was to be shelved with the sacred music.

I gave it to people to be re-cataloged, of course, but not until I had giggled for a good minute at the idea of someone taking that home as sacred music and getting to the track about vandalizing (and possibly burning down) a chapel, the one about going off your meds, the one that I'm pretty sure is about a drug addict killing somebody, or the one that John Darnielle says is about negative body image but I always kinda thought was about Dr Frankenstein. It would have to be a very broad definition of "sacred music".

Isaiah 45:23, though, that might work.
darchildre: graffiti of a crow saying, "listen" (listen)
Went out to dinner tonight with la familia and on the way back, we had a long nostalgic conversation about Camp Pecometh, the Methodist summer camp that Megan and I went to several times as kids. Which, of course, led to enthusiastic renditions of church camp songs,* and then favorite hymns. I've been the accidental choir leader for about five years now - I have a lot of favorite hymns.

That's a big part of why I still go to church and why I continue to be the accidental choir leader, despite my avowed heathenry. I love hymns. I love hearing them, I love singing them. It's no secret that I feel a strong connection between my experience of making music and my experience of the divine. There is something powerful and holy about singing hymns in a group, about singing words that people have sung thousands of times before you and will sing again long after you're gone.

O, for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer's praise, the glories of my God and king, the triumph of his grace!

Be thou my vision, o Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that thou art.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day. Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see; o, thou who changest not, abide with me.


Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say "It is well, it is well with my soul".

How can I keep from singing?

I have a deep, deep envy for the Christian musical tradition. I envy the Christians a lot of things, really - their millennia of unbroken tradition, their ability to find a church in any town in this country, their badass religious jewelry - but it's the hymns and the ritual prayers that I really covet. I find that I am hungry for that, lately - for that feeling of adding my voice to a river of other voices that have spoken before. I can write my own prayers and say them often enough that I feel a faint echo of that but I have no talent for writing music. It makes me sad, not being able to properly sing for my gods the way I want to.

Growl, growl. Where is the heathen Charles Wesley, that is basically what I want to know.





*I am going to know all the words to Pharaoh, Pharaoh till the day that I die.
darchildre: graffiti of a crow saying, "listen" (listen)
So...one of the things that I occasionally consider doing is teaching myself to play the violin. I once, when I was quite small, started taking violin lessons through my elementary school but ended up giving it up pretty quickly, mostly because it conflicted with choir and singing has always been my first and best love. I've always kind of regretted it, because the violin is such a beautiful instrument and, though I'm sure that I wouldn't ever be able to play it terribly well, being able to play at all would be a lot of fun. Much like my level of ability with the piano - I can plunk out hymns and showtunes and can work out classical pieces if I take the time to do so and that's enough for me. That's really about the level of musical skill that I want with anything that isn't singing - I'm not interested in performing, just in playing for my own enjoyment.

Violins are terribly expensive, though. However, since I would be playing pretty much only for me, perhaps it wouldn't matter as much if I started out on a fairly cheap instrument. So today, I am spending time poking around on the internet, looking at violins.

It's something to keep considering, at least.
darchildre: a cybermat!  text:  "grar!  i'm a scary monster!" (grar!  I'm a scary monster!)
So...I listened to the soundtrack to The Wicker Man in my car on the way to work this morning. Which, in a way, is a good thing because I enjoy the music.

On the other hand, it does mean that I have a constant loop in my head of Christopher Lee singing a bawdy song about a tinker. Which is not precisely library-appropriate.

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Renfield

June 2016

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