The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three for a Rainy, Gray Tuesday

When I started putting this post together earlier in the day, it was gray and overcast with sprinkles of rain falling. But after we returned from Joyce's 9th Taxol treatment (1 more to go!), the sun had come out. She's asleep now as I wrap this thing up. Today's post presents what I think are some really fine song lyrics; the first and the last have a late '60s early '70s folksie vibe in and of themselves, but the second, a Hoagy Carmichael song, gets that same vibe from the performer, Dave Van Ronk. 

Tom Russell is a California born singer, painter, novelist, opera composer, and songwriter, who's frequently identified as a Tex-Mex singer. He once was inspired when hearing a recording by Nina Simone on a jukebox to write a song about her. The lyric is beautiful and poetic without being overwrought, the Spanish trumpets and the cello are stunning, and you may disagree, but I think the evocative images on the video make this whole thing one damn fine artistic experience.
Remember Dave Van Ronk? Van Ronk was a friend of Bob Dylan in the early days and a noted folksinger, songwriter himself. I used to really like his version of "Bird on a Wire" but I couldn't find it on Youtube. But I like his version of the old Hoagy Carmichael song, "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out," just as much. This is another interesting video too.

I couldn't find Van Ronk's version of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire," but I did find this excellent take on the song by non other than Johnny Cash. The video here just features the lyrics, but I like they way they are presented.


  1. Good songs to match the bad weather lately.

  2. Nice selections, Dan. I liked Russel vid best, not the least coz of the images and editing. All three tunes are excellent.

    Speakin' of bein' Dylan's friend... Bobby turned 70 yesterday and I completely forgot to blog about it, and this after making a mental note to do so. I need to learn to WRITE THINGS DOWN!

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