Season 624 - My Hero/es

Today I'm learning another lesson in how important it is to have full use of your hearing. I have something going on with my left ear and I currently can barely hear out of it. There is no infection or occlusion so the doctor suspects a blocked eustachian tube for which I was given a prescription with the hope that it clears things up in the next two weeks. Having decent hearing on only one side was a bit odd when I couldn't fully hear what I was doing.

Anyway, I don't have a musical hero and I don't really believe such a thing exists but I do have a lot of groups and individuals whose work I greatly admire and at the top of that list would probably be the Beatles - With A Little Help From My Friends.

 
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Another Fats Waller original - and almost as big a song as Ain't Misbehaving, though it's probably less well-known now.

 
And here’s one from your host…

Several of you have written here how those you might have once considered to be your heroes have lost that status because of their behaviour - mistakes they made in their lives that tarnished your opinion of them. I understand that. But my nominated musical hero this week is my hero partly because of how he dealt with the very public aftermath of his mistakes. He fronted up to them - he didn’t try to hide away, or make excuses, or deny them. (See the interview he did on Parkinson here). He owned them very publicly and very honestly. And that takes a lot of courage and a lot of humility. For which I respect him hugely. And I love his music.

My musical hero is George Michael, and this is one of my favourite Wham! songs of all time. Along with baritone and tenor uke parts you’ll hear some synth bass, marimba, rock organ, brass ensemble, a homemade electric drum track and a doubled up vocal line (to be heard above everything else that’s going on!).

 
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Thanks all for your lovely music! It was a slow start, but gathering pace now and I'm really enjoying the quality and the variety of everything I'm hearing. I'll hopefully catch up with the most recent few entries tonight - if I've left anything off the playlist or not commented on YouTube, please let me know - it isn't intentional! And thank you all again! 🙂
 
Hi again Del.
I was going to try to play an instrumental by Michael Hurley titled Penguins, but I don't think I can make it work by this weekend.
Here is an original. A prayer for walking.
When I was walking home from work today the song wrote itself.
I did not know how to end the last line, but then No Hero came to mind and I recorded it like that.
Maybe it is a poorly written song. I dunno. It is like a prayer (to myself).
Sometimes I feel like I can't walk. Like there is a weight dragging me.

My father was bedridden in his last years.
One of the most vivid and amazing dreams I had, the most amazing dream I ever had, was one where my father was running up a hill bare feet, smiling widely and shouting to me : Look, I am running!!!
He was such a FAST walker when he was healthy. You needed to jog to keep up with him!

So here is a song with no hero, Del. I know you won't add it to the playlist if you don't think it fits. And I am fine with it. I will respect your decision.
(and if I need to post this on the Misfits thread instead just say it.(y))

i walk, i walk
with the callous in my heart i walk
with the candle in my soul i walk
with every fall i walk
i walk, i walk
with no hero i walk



I included a photo of my nephew Gylan when he first started walking, a video of my mum walking with a walking stick, one with a (blind?) old man walking with his dog - something I often saw on my walks years ago in Hobart. Also a video of me walking back home.
Thanks for hosting, Del. I will now spend a bit of my weekend listening to the rest of the songs I have not listened to.
 
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I'm going to borrow @dr_mitch's hero. Here's an instrumental composition by Fats Waller, called "Jitterbug Waltz." Last summer I saw instructors at the Strathmore Uke Fest (held in Rockville, MD USA) perform this piece, and I was smitten with it. James Hill was one of those instructors. He played the lead/melody on a violin! Thanks.

 
Hi again Del.
I was going to try to play an instrumental by Michael Hurley titled Penguins, but I don't think I can make it work by this weekend.
Here is an original. A prayer for walking.
When I was walking home from work today the song wrote itself.
I did not know how to end the last line, but then No Hero came to mind and I recorded it like that.
Maybe it is a poorly written song. I dunno. It is like a prayer (to myself).
Sometimes I feel like I can't walk. Like there is a weight dragging me.

My father was bedridden in his last years.
One of the most vivid and amazing dreams I had, the most amazing dream I ever had, was one where my father was running up a hill bare feet, smiling widely and shouting to me : Look, I am running!!!
He was such a FAST walker when he was healthy. You needed to jog to keep up with him!

So here is a song with no hero, Del. I know you won't add it to the playlist if you don't think it fits. And I am fine with it. I will respect your decision.
(and if I need to post this on the Misfits thread instead just say it.(y))

i walk, i walk
with the callous in my heart i walk
with the candle in my soul i walk
with every fall i walk
i walk, i walk
with no hero i walk



I included a photo of my nephew Gylan when he first started walking, a video of my mum walking with a walking stick, one with a (blind?) old man walking with his dog - something I often saw on my walks years ago in Hobart. Also a video of me walking back home.
Thanks for hosting, Del. I will now spend a bit of my weekend listening to the rest of the songs I have not listened to.

“All Truly Great Thoughts Are Conceived While Walking” – Friedrich Nietzsche
 
I’m using my host’s privilege to post this here, though it’s not part of the season (I wrote it last June for Season 592). But it’s a fitting tribute to the everyday heroes in my life - my family - and especially my Dad. His dementia is now very advanced - he doesn’t open his eyes at all and he doesn’t respond to talking, touch or music (up to about 6 months ago he would at least sing with me when I played his favourite songs on uke). His physical health isn’t good - we nearly lost him just before Christmas and he’s had a couple of other serious health crises in recent weeks.

This song is about one of my favourite childhood memories. I only regret that I didn’t write it at a time when he could have listened to it and shared the memory with us. 😢



Lyrics

‘The House Made Of Straw’ by Del Griffiths.

Walking through fields with my brothers and Dad,
Back in those halcyon childhood days;
When time didn’t matter, the air filled with chatter,
And life was much better in so many ways.
Yes life was much better in so many ways.

The smell of the harvest was the background aroma,
And bales of fresh straw all around as we played;
“Let’s build a house like the 3 little piggies…”
A finer suggestion has never been made.
A finer suggestion has never been made.

We did the shifting and Dad did the lifting -
The bales seemed so heavy and we were just small;
But buoyed by excitement, we all worked together -
Soon the house made of straw stood before us so tall.
The house made of straw stood before us so tall.

Then boys became piggies and Dad big bad Wolfie,
We hid in the house while he circled around;
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in!”
Wolfie huffed and he puffed till our straw house fell down.
He huffed and he puffed till our straw house fell down.

Then Wolfie came searching the ruins for dinner -
We jumped on his back and he had to give in;
Squeals of delight, he’d conceded the fight -
We piggies so happy to chalk up the win!
We piggies so happy to chalk up the win!

I wish we had stayed in that field for a lifetime,
That Dad was still Dad and that we were still young;
But though life took over, it cannot deprive us
Of a memory as gold as the straw in the sun.
That memory as gold as the straw in the sun.
 
This is a very interesting topic, much more varied and nuanced than perhaps it seemed to most of us at the outset.

I posted video two nights ago, from the first Thursday local monthly open mic here, and haven't gotten around to posting about it yet, because I have a lot to say and haven't had much time to write up my thoughts.

So here's my video, featuring my chosen musical hero Kate Micucci - you may know her from her duo with Riki Lindhome, Garfunkel and Oates - Kate is Oates and plays ukulele.

It's a live version of the song I learned and recorded last week for Val's positive songs theme - "Such a Loser". I've been really taken with this song. I can't get it out of my head, and it's fast becoming kind of a personal anthem for me in some things I'm dealing with since learning the song ... as well as just an all round great song!

Kate put out some fun new solo songs a few months back, two of which fit the then current food theme. I'd hoped to learn them then, and then again this week, but have only managed this one so far.

I did a four-song set at the open mic. I only had the one Kate Micucci song, so I created my own theme for the other three songs - songs that start with a parenthetical phrase. I did

"(I'm Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down" - The Proclaimers
"(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" - Otis Redding
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding - Elvis Costello (Nick Lowe)

They have nothing to do with the hero theme, but I've posted only the full set video, not individual songs ... so consider them optional bonus material.

 
Hey Del,
What was I thinking? Did you know old Willie Nelson just turned 92? Do you realize just how many great songs he's written? How about Crazy, for example. Sure, I covered a lot of Dylan songs, but Willie, he's also a true musical legend. Why am I saying all this? It's because My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys just popped into my head. (If you allow me a pass on this, I'll one day tell you the true story about how I made old Willie sing for me. The beer is my treat too.)


Great one! I remember first hearing this in the movie “The Electric Horseman” starring Robert Redford and Willie in a strong supporting role.
 
My musical hero is actually a lyricist. Heldur Karmo (1927 - 1997) wrote or translated lyrics into Estonian language for over 3000 songs. As a kid, I was surprised, if sometimes the lyrics were written by someone else than Karmo. He was prolific, worked quickly and more often than not avoided platitudes. The Beatles, Lead Belly, Bee Gees, Gershwin, Italian and Finnish pop songs - usually the first time I heard those songs, the lyrics were translated by Karmo, and only later I became familiar with the original versions.
karmo.png
"Where Have All The Flowers Gone" (1955) by Pete Seeger. Lyrics translated by Heldur Karmo. This translation is very faithful to the original, so subtitles are not needed.
 
Thanks for the big announcement, Del, but I am lucky to get just this one song out this week.
I have a lot of catching up to do to hear many of my musical heroes celebrated by the Seasonistas.

This is kind of a funny choice for me, because I did not really get into solo Steve Winwood until quite recently. @oldjazznut mentioned a slammer of a tune, Roll With It, in a post on the forums a while back and I got way into that one, including the incredible video. But then I started listening to other solo Winwood albums and could not ignore the high quality of the songs. He writes a lot of uplifting songs as well, and there are far too few of those to go around these days.

This week I was listening to Arc Of A Diver while lying in bed and I was struck by the production of the song. The close harmony vocals were so tight and perfect. So impressive! Winwood played all the instruments, overdubbed vocals, production, and engineering of that album at his home studio in, what? 1981? Incredible.
I guess most of these songs flew past my radar because they were a bit too jazzy and slick for my tastes back then.
I could have chosen to cover Roll With It, but I wanted to do something more from the core of his output. I like this song, because it is rumoured to be about another of my musical heroes, Valerie Carter, who sang my favourite version of Oooh Child. She was a great singer, may she rest in peace.

Anyway, here is some solo Steve Winwood.

 
I find it interesting that almost everyone's heroes seem to be famous people. My heroes are local people who make great music. I know lots of heroes who hold down a full time job but are still great musicians whether they are gigging regularly or playing a few open mics. They don't have loads of people round them to hustle for gigs, set up the stage, run the sound desk etc etc they just do it all themselves and don't get the recognition they deserve despite being as good as some of the big names who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
 
I find it interesting that almost everyone's heroes seem to be famous people. My heroes are local people who make great music. I know lots of heroes who hold down a full time job but are still great musicians whether they are gigging regularly or playing a few open mics. They don't have loads of people round them to hustle for gigs, set up the stage, run the sound desk etc etc they just do it all themselves and don't get the recognition they deserve despite being as good as some of the big names who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
I agree. All that said, I took the theme to mean “musician where I like their music, want to play some, and they seem, from what I can make out, to be or to have been a good human being.”
 
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