Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! –Ralph Waldo Emerson


Here’s another song that’s been stuck in my head.
I like the way the lyrics capture the feeling of being in a huge city (which is where I am as I write this, oddly enough). This is from the Manhattan Transfer’s Brasil album, which is a gem– you can listen to it end-to-end and walk away humming more than one tune, which is a credit to the composers (Djavan, Lins, Nascimento and others) and the Transfer’s arrangements.
The unfortunate thing about this album is that it fell through the cracks– many of the Manhattan Transfer’s fans thought it was too experimental, and many Brazilian music purists had issues with the English lyrics created for many of these songs. (Rather than opting for straight translations, the group enlisted Doug Fieger (of The Knack) to write English lyrics that *sounded* like the original Portuguese. As a result, the English words had nothing to do with the lyric content of the original songs.) The group had a minor hit from this disc with their version of Djavan’s “Sina,” reworked as “Soul Food to Go.”

Continue reading “Metropolis”


Saw Joao Gilberto at Ravinia last night.
He is a true legend. Here’s a guy who would just sit in his robe and play his guitar and sing for hours and hours, sometimes in the bathroom (where the acoustics are perfect, of course) and he came up with an entirely new musical style.
My one regret is that I didn’t get to hear him sing “Garota de Ipanema.” That would have been awesome.
It also amazes me that one guy and one guitar could fill the space that they did.
If only I could be that cool at 72.

Fourth of July Recap

The Fourth was pretty cool.
We saw American English at Frontier Days. I’ve seen these guys at various festivals over the past 10-plus years, but this is the first time I ever saw their entire show. They pull the Beatles thing off really well.
After the show, we bought their latest CD, “What If… 1971.” It’s the band performing the solo Beatles’ material that came out in 1970-1971 as if the band was stilll together (as in, the Beatles performing “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and “Instant Karma.”) They recorded the CD last year at Abbey Road Studios, which must have been a real trip for them.
The interesting thing was that the guys stayed in character as they were signing autographs after the show. [“Sure thing, mate.”] I wonder if they use the Liverpool accents as they go through the drive-through at McD’s in Schaumburg.