Thursday, December 23, 2010
Why Is Life Worth Living
There is plenty in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" that has affected me since I first saw it with my cousin on opening day at the Kings' Plaza twin in Sheepshead Bay in 1978, and after repeated viewings since then. One scene specifically, near the very end, when Woody's character Isaac is speaking into a cassette recorder, reciting his examples of why life is worth living, made the biggest impression. The next day I just had to hear "Potato Head Blues" by Louis Armstrong.
I can't do much in the way of pleasure without immediately thinking of this scene and how I'd love to recite my own random list to an audience of some. In many ways, Burning Wood is my own personal forum for why life is worth living, at least the musical examples. Though Arcade Fire is one musical excuse to take the gas pipe. But that's not why I'm here today.
Yesterday's subway ride home hit me with two of these examples, back to back, courtesy of A-Pod, my trusty ol' iPod--
The Beatles' "No Reply" and Sam Cooke's version of "Frankie & Johnny," two songs that start innocently enough, and then, with little more than the tools these artists brought to the table--read: little to no studio trickery--hit triumphant heights that never fail to make my bumps get goosey.
All Music (www.allmusic.com) lists 927 "occurences" for "Frankie & Johnnie" and 188 "occurences" for "No Reply."
I'm going all in. These two versions are the best.
I know this is nothing you haven't heard before, but aren't we supposed to be spreading some joy this tme of year?
FRANKIE & JOHNNY
Oh...and here's that scene from "Manhattan."