Revisionist History goes to Nashville to talk with Bobby Braddock, who has written more sad songs than almost anyone else. What is it about music that makes us cry? And what sets country music apart?
Tagged with “song” (82)
Memories of the much-loved song Who Knows Where the Time Goes? written by Sandy Denny.
Sandy Denny was just 19 years old when she wrote ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes?’, her much-loved song about the passing of time. Soul Music tells the story behind the song and speaks to people for whom it has special meaning.
The record producer Joe Boyd and founder member of Fairport Convention Simon Nicol remember Sandy and her music. We speak to musicians who have covered the song, including folk legend Judy Collins and the singer Rufus Wainwright, about what the song means to them. And we hear from people whose lives have been touched by the song, including the singer-songwriter Ren Harvieu, who suffered a back break in a freak accident and found strength in the song during her recovery. And neuroscientist and best-selling author David Eagleman explains why the years seem to fly past ever more quickly as we grow older. Also featuring contributions from Sandy Denny’s biographer Mick Houghton and Dr Richard Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University.
People reflect on the emotional impact of the country-pop crossover track.
Wichita Lineman, the ultimate country/pop crossover track, is the subject of this week’s Soul Music.
David Crary is a lineman from Oklahoma. He describes his job - storm-chasing to mend fallen power-lines; travelling on ‘dirt roads, gravel roads, paved roads… up in the farmlands of Illinois and Missouri… down south in the Swamplands… it ain’t nothing to swerve in the middle of the road in your bucket-truck to miss an alligator ‘.
He recalls the first time he heard Wichita Lineman, travelling in the back of his family’s Station Wagon, listening to the radio… thinking that being a lineman ‘must be a cool job’ if someone’s written a song about it. Also a part-time musician, David has recorded his own version of the song which sums up his working life… on the road, working long hours, away from his wife and six kids.
Wichita Lineman was written by Jimmy Webb for the Country star Glen Campbell. It tells the story of a lonely lineman in the American midwest, travelling vast distances to mend power and telephone lines.
Released in 1968 it’s an enduring classic, crossing the boundary between pop and country. It’s been covered many times, but it’s Glen Campbell’s version which remains the best loved and most played.
Johnny Cash also recorded an extraordinary and very raw version. Peter Lewry, a lifelong Cash fan, describes how this recording came about, towards the end of Cash’s career.
Meggean Ward’s father was a lineman in Rhode Island… her memories of seeing him in green work trousers, a plaid shirt and black boots, wrapping his cracked hands in bandages every morning before setting off to climb telephone poles are interwoven forever with Wichita Lineman… as a child she always felt the song was written for her father, who else?
Glen Campbell also gave an interview for this programme. Shortly after the interview was recorded, Campbell went public about his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. His contribution to the programme is brief, and includes an acoustic performance of the song. It was a real privilege to record this, appropriately enough, down the line.
Marie-Louise Muir explores the tradition of keening for the dead in Ireland.
Keeners were the women of rural Ireland who were traditionally paid to cry, wail and sing over the bodies of the dead at funerals and wakes. Their role was to help channel the grief of the bereaved and they had an elevated, almost mythical status among their communities. The custom of keening had all but vanished by the 1950’s as people began to view it as primitive, old-fashioned and uncivilised.
Now, broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir sets out to ask what’s been lost with the passing of the keeners.
She travels to Inis Mor, a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, where one of Ireland’s last professional keeners - Brigid Mullin - was recorded by the song collector and archivist Sidney Robertson Cowell in the 1950’s. Brigid’s crackling, eerie evocation of sorrow echoes down the years to capture a tradition in its dying days - a ghostly remnant of another world.
Dr Deirdre Ni Chonghaile is a native of Inis Mor and thinks modern funerals have taken on an almost Victorian dignity in a society that in general has become far less tolerant of extravagant displays of grief. Deirdre believes it was this very extravagance that helped lead to keening’s demise. Its emphasis on the body and human mortality was in direct conflict with the notion of a Christian afterlife and the influential role of the keening women may even have been regarded as a threat to the patriarchy of the Church.
As the story of the keeners blends with the waves and winds of Ireland’s west coast, Marie-Louise reflects on the passing of this once rich tradition.
Producer: Conor McKay.
Bridget Mullin with Sidney Robertson Cowell, keen performance and conversation. Smithsonian Folkways, Ralph Rinzler Archives.
Neil O’Boyle, keen demonstration on fiddle. Irish Traditional Music Archive, Dublin
Eithne Ni Uilleachan, ‘Grief’ from the album Bilingua (Gael Linn)
The Gloaming ‘The Pilgrim’s Song’ from the album ‘2’ (Real World)
Milk Carton Kids ‘Wish You Were Here’ (Anti/Epitaph)
Brian Eno ‘The Ship’ (Warp)
The legendary country singer-songwriter unveils the secrets of composing a great song.
Legendary country singer-songwriter Steve Earle unveils the secrets of composing a great song. Every year he runs a four-day intensive training session in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. Journalist and aspiring songwriter Hugh Levinson joined around 100 other would-be balladeers to see what they can learn both from Steve and his fellow teacher, Shawn Colvin. Listen in to stories of dreaming, methadone, guns, jail, death and betrayal. All the good stuff.
Composer Jóhann Jóhannsson breaks down a piece from the Arrival score.
The conversation with KCRW’s Chris Douridas was recorded just after Leonard Cohen’s 82nd birthday. The two talked about the singer’s health and final album, You Want It Darker.
Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden break down the MGMT song "Time to Pretend."
Hear Ryan Adams and Bob Mould Play Music And Talk About Everything Under The Sun : All Songs Considered : NPR
Bob Mould has a new solo album, and Ryan Adams, who is a fan, invited the singer to his home studio for a rambling conversation that’s occasionally interrupted by the pair recording a song together.
The National’s Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner break down "Sea of Love" on Song Exploder.
The National formed in 1999. They’ve released six albums, and have been nominated for a grammy. Their music is everywhere from Game of Thrones, to Bob’s Burgers, to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. In 2013 they released their sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts. The band is made up of singer Matt Berninger along with two sets of brothers: guitarists Bryce and Aaron Dessner, who are twins, and Brian and Scott Devendorf, who play drums and bass, respectively. In this episode, Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner break down “Sea of Love,” a song that they co-wrote. You’ll hear how it went from Aaron’s original guitar demo to a densely layered recording with contributions from their bandmates and others, and they’ll talk about how collaboration is an intrinsic part of their process and their band identity.
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