The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Stacks o' Wax #6


The Eddie Albert Album (Columbia, 1966)

Although usually lumped in with other so-called "Golden Throats" like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, the late Eddie Albert had an extensive musical theatre background, including the original Broadway production of The Boys From Syracuse and taking over from Robert Preston in The Music Man. Still, it seems slightly incongruous that the star of Green Acres would get hip with the young crowd by covering Bob Dylan (Don't Think Twice It's Alright and, of course, Blowin' in the Wind), Simon and Garfunkel (Homeward Bound) and Gordon Lightfoot (For Lovin' Me) in his familiar avuncular manner. Just to be on the safe side, they include a new version of the Green Acres theme, lest anyone be disappointed.

But, as Eddie himself puts it (in the liner notes to The Eddie Albert Album):
"It's thrilling to open up a piece of music and see words that speak in a deeply true, way-out-of-the-heart feeling and experience of an individual. No one can miss the song and poetry of Paul Simon, or confuse it with Bob Dylan, or be unmoved by either. In a world of computers and machines, the young poets of today, whose medium is the popular song, speak with individuality, with strength, and with a beauty that rekindles the flame in our hearts for justice, for brotherhood, for equality, for love and for every valuable feeling in the world. I'm glad I live in a time when these voices ring out clearly; they're stronger for me than the whirr of computers and the blast of jets."

6 comments :

Tom Sutpen said...

His version of "Don't Think Twice" isn't all that bad, actually.

You ever hear that album Sebastian Cabot recorded for the MGM label wherein he recited Dylan lyrics to a diffident orchestral accompaniment?

I swear, that label would put out anything (I mean, "Hank Williams with Strings"!!).

swac said...

Not to mention The Velvet Underground!

BTW, I'm doing a show on CKDU FM on Monday morning (you can listen online at www.ckdu.ca) at 9 a.m. EST, and I'll probably throw on something by Eddie...probably For Lovin' Me...it's Canadian Content, after all. Any other requests?

Wish I'd bought that Sebastian Cabot LP when I had the chance, I saw it for $10 somewhere, but figured the one or two tracks I'd heard would be enough.

Funny story though...a friend had an opportunity to meet Dylan, and brought along a copy of The Golden Gate Strings Play the Music of Bob Dylan, which is cheesy muzak, but does sport a classic, Don't Look Back-era photo of the bard on the cover. Dylan took one look at the cover and said he'd never seen the record before, and my friend wound up having to fork it over, much to Dylan's amusement. Well, what are ya gonna do?

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

Funny story though...a friend had an opportunity to meet Dylan, and brought along a copy of The Golden Gate Strings Play the Music of Bob Dylan, which is cheesy muzak, but does sport a classic, Don't Look Back-era photo of the bard on the cover. Dylan took one look at the cover and said he'd never seen the record before, and my friend wound up having to fork it over, much to Dylan's amusement. Well, what are ya gonna do?

*****
That's not unusual. I've heard Dylan genuinely loves to find (and loves) odd renditions of his work like that (including the aforementioned Sebastian Cabot LP)

swac said...

Hey Tom, you going to see Dylan when he passes through town with Willie Nelson in a few weeks?

A friend of mine wants me to drive down for the Pittsfield show...

Tom Sutpen said...

I hadn't planned on it (this writing crap, this crap I'm writing, really has crowded out everything else, just about. I haven't even watched more than a couple of innings of a ball gane all season so far), but damn that sounds tempting.

I did get to see Dylan in '87, back when he was touring with Tom Petty. Amazing how someone normally quiet and reserved such as myself can go all fanboy geekazoid in the presence (albeit distant) of The Talented Mr. Zimmerman (the Speed I was on that night probably helped).

tim said...

One summer in my youth, there was a heavily TV-advertised Eddie Albert record, which featured him starting:

"I was born in Michigan
Where I wish- and wish-again
I was back in the land
where I was born".

Over and over, on the juke-box in hell. On the plus side, he was great as "Mr. Future" in Captain Newman, M.D..