Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cry Baby Cry

Music, quite often, moves me to tears. It doesn't have to be a big sweeping ballad. Sometimes, just knowing Ed Sheeran is successful will do it. But seriously folks, I am not ashamed to shed a few tears over a song.

The last chorus before the guitar solo in Todd Rundgren's "Just One Victory" does it to me every time. It's joyous. It's hopeful. Triumphant. Good things we don't feel as often as we should.

Side One of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends" really does a number on me. "Voices Of Old People" into "Old Friends" into the "Bookends Theme" is just so damn beautiful and heartbreaking, especially the resolving strings. It's an entire life from birth to death in nine minutes.

I once played Bruce Springsteen's "Valentine's Day" for a friend and explained how the song really tore me up. He thankfully sat quietly and listened to it all, only to say, "Enough of this shit" on the fade.

Pick a gospel tune with a big choir. Any gospel tune with a big choir. How about, "How Excellent" by The River Of Life Choir? 100 voices harmonizing is a sure fire way to make my knees buckle.

The song that has been doing it to me good lately is the one featured at the very top. I know far too many people that have been having a real hard time of it this past year, with not much light ahead. (At least not yet.) Kasim Sulton, long time bassist for Todd Rundgren and all around utility man--like the Randy Velarde of rock and roll--released his third solo record, "3" in 2014. It's a terrific pop record, not unlike his band Utopia, but it's "Watching The World Go By" that gets all my attention. Talk about a hard time, here Kas sings about it, with great emotion, and the hooks and crannies needed to make a great ballad. I lose it on every spin.

I knew going into this that many of you were not going to be moved in the ways that I am. I have many friends who simply won't allow themselves to succumb to the "ballad." In all fairness, I have been accused of showing more emotion over a song or a movie scene than at real life bad news. That's just the way it is. We all have our moments and if you feel like sharing one of yours, a song or two that reduces you to a puddle, now is the time.

Be kind.


Chris Collins said...

The OJays version of Dylan's "Emotionally Yours".

Does it every time.

Troy said...

For some reason, "The Color of a Cloudy Day" by Allison Moorer and Shelby Lynne hits a nerve that just wrecks me. The original version by Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires is terrific, but something about the harmonies from Allison and Shelby on the repeated line "I could never find you in my dreams"...devastates.

Fishguy said...

Post 9/11, I had "In My Life" in my mind (and frequently my ears... well, my good ear, anyway), and an associated lump in my throat for probably the better part of a year.

rick said...

Coming from a long line of criers, whose family motto is 'We cry at Mall Openings', I'm glad you asked.

There are different kinds of crying in response to music: the first Bach cello suite still can get me simply because it's so perfectly wonderful. Once, when a troupe of second-stringers from the Met came here to perform "Madame Butterfly", I was advised by the guy in the ticket booth to get seats as close up front as possible; sitting in the second row center, when the lead soprano did un bel di vedremo, the sheer power of her voice combined with the beauty of the music+the sadness of the story, I felt like the top of my skull was blown off and some unseen power was shaking my core into absolute cathartic weeping.

Regarding rock and pop music, sometimes it's just a phrase that can get to me. When Tom Rush sings "Mama, give your love back to your husband/Papa, you have taught me well, goodbye", I'm moved to tears because once I was a young man leaving, and now I am an older man whose kids have grown and left, and because the song is so damn beautiful.

Then there's also the fact the some songs are so intimately tied to moments and places and people in our lives. Yeah, there was this girl back in college, and she turned me on to Van Morrison, and sometimes we listened to Fleetwood Mac's 'Bare Trees' together, and when I here certain of those songs I can get nostalgic and shed a tear or two of fond memories....

Anonymous said...

the most killer 12" in my collection, the Go-Betweens' "Bachelor Kisses/Part Company," has to be saved for non-maudlin days.

The whole of The Clientele's "Strange Geometry" works pretty much the same.

Anonymous said...

Two Drive By Truckers' songs do it to me every time: "The Living Bubba" for too many gone too soon and "Space City" for those left behind when close ones reach the cosmos.

Anonymous said...

Hello all, no, please remain seated,

You want to know what song always brings a lump to my throat? Always? Calling All Angels by Jane Siberry from 1991. Maybe it's a cultural lapsed R.C. thing but, man, this one always leaves an emotional mark......

Then it's one foot then the other
As you step out onto the road
How much weight? How much weight?
Then it's how long? And how far?
And how many times before it's too late?

Calling all angels, calling all angels
Walk me through this one, don't leave me alone
Calling all angels, calling all angels
We're cryin' and we're hurtin'
And we're not sure why

Just as powerful to me today even after a googol of listens.


Anonymous said...

"Hello in There" by John Prine. Amazing to think he was about 24 when he wrote/recorded that. And "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon, if just for the line "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."


Sal Nunziato said...

True story.
1995, maybe 1996, my wife and I are having a New Year's eve dinner with friends in their Chelsea apartment. There's a knock on the door and in walks a couple. Our friends introduced us. "This is Jane and Wyatt, our neighbors." I recognized her immediately. "Calling All Angels!" I was already drunk but I didn't care. She was gracious. Wyatt was amazingly friendly. And then they left and that was it and I haven't seen either of them in 20 years. Our friends thought I was a freak because I recognized Jane Siberry. Haven't seen them in 20 years either. Story of my life. But it's true! I swear!

Anonymous said...

Sal....arrghhh! How frickin' cool! I'm impressed, I'm jealous, I'm not worthy!

Devotees of Calling All Angels may also want to google up a version by the Wailin' Jenny's (which, you gotta admit is a pretty cool name gor a group)'

Regards, RichD

DaveF said...

Too many songs to mention some of which come in and out of fashion with the times of my life. Stand outs would be Rolling Stones "Angie," John Lennon,"Woman," Elvis Presley "My Way," the June 1977 version, Art Garfunkel "Angel Claire," and Jessie Winchester on Spectacle singing "Shama Ling Dong Ding, the lyrics slay in the context of Jessie's health at the time.

Shriner said...

"This Woman's Work" by Kate Bush moves me every time I hear it.

The lyrics:

"Of all the things I should've said
That I never said
All the things we should've done
Though we never did
All the things I should've given
But I didn't
Oh, darling, make it go
Make it go away"

The delivery.

The production.

Everything hits me in the gut every time I play it.

"Beautiful Boy" by Lennon choked me up right after his death, but hasn't resonated as much as I got older. "This Woman's Work" hit me as I became a father and continue to do so to this day.

Shriner said...

Oh and the other song that kicks me in the stomach?

"John Wayne Gacy, Jr" by Sufjan Stevens.

It almost brought me to tears when I first hear it, but for a world of different reasons than the Kate Bush song.

Michael Giltz said...

Oh gosh that perf of "Shama Ling Dong Ding" is so lovely and heartbreaking and sweet. The reaction of the other artists is wonderful though personally I would have thrown down my guitar and said, "I quit!" Cause how could you top that? Even the album version is powerful to the point where I try not to overplay the song or video for fear of diluting its impact. "Valentine's Day" is quite moving too, the perfect loping closer for the album.

ge said...

Well a slim claim to fame in my lifeswork
is a bona fide tearjerker that many admit to being moved to tears by:
includes comments of weepers
song= Valentine's Day by Nomi

Joe said...

Great question. For the performers that I listen to on a regular basis:

1. The Band - Out of the Blue
2. Todd R - Believe in Me
3. The Rascals - Baby Let's Wait
4. Southside J - Heart of Stone

But the real kicker for me is a song by a performer named Larry Santos. I loved his cover of Long Long Time. I found this single in college (sometime between '70-'73) and I still have it to this day. I have never heard anything else from this guy, but he apparently has not fared well with the music critics.

I think I will go and download it from Itunes. Thanks Sal for reminding me..joe

ken49 said...

Lucinda Williams' Lake Charles. Did an angel whisper in your ear and hold you close and take away your fears in those long last moments. I'm crying just typing this.

Robin said...

"The Drugs Don't Work" by The Verve, gets to me all the time, it has a swell that would put a lump in my throat regardless of lyrics or meaning and Ashcroft nails the vocal, his most heartfelt. And McCartney's/Wings "Mama's Little Girl", because I was.

Robin said...

Oh, just thought of another if you'll allow me, written by Patty Griffin and sung/performed either by her or the Dixie Chicks, "Top of the World". Speaking of Patty, her whole 1000 Kisses album tears me part, but is really cathartic- from "Chief" to "Making Pies" and "Long Ride Home" and one of my favorite Bruce covers, "Stolen Car".

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Great songs, all...Patty G's version of Stolen Car is also a personal fave of mine. Lake Charles is heartbreaking and "I can't talk now, I'm not alone..." is the mark of a writer at the top or his/her game (like jmsafree, I prefer prefer SSJ's version to Bruce's...tomato/tomahta)

I think there's a pretty moving mix tape to be made here - just put the sharp objects away before listening :)


vanwoert said...

You're a Big Girl Now.

Noam Sane said...

Todd's Hawking, particularly the sax solo. And Randy Newman's "Texas Girl at the Funeral of her Father." Both leave me unable to do anything at all for a few minutes afterward.

Never heard the Kas tune, thanks, and I will investigate everything here in comments, so thanks for that too.

DaveF said...

I forgot "Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home," by Steve Forbert.

Anonymous said...

These Days by Jackson Browne. A Little Bit of Everything by Dawes. With Or Without You by U2 from Rattle and Hum, right after Edge's guitar solo. Duane Allman's solo on Blue Sky on the 9/17/71 bootleg. Too many to list...


Gene Oberto said...

Because of its connection to an ill fated, torrid, sensual and too brief love affair (maybe my first adult entanglement) Judy Collins "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" is my go to emotional touchstone. The title song and "My Father" are the two that wrench my gut.

Bill said...

Weighing in on this way late, but the first song that sprung to mind was Loudon Wainwright and Joe Henry's You Can't Fail Me Now. The part that always gets to me is the the verse right after the instrumental break that starts "I lost the thread among the vines and hung myself in storylines that tell the tales I never would allow..." Have to admit I shed a tear or two when I saw Loudon play this live a couple of years back.