Monday, December 09, 2013

iPod and photo log: across the Brooklyn Bridge and back.

Another iPod and photo log (or, if you prefer, photo log with music). This one is longer than the one I posted on November 27, as this time I went over the Brooklyn Bridge, did a circuit of City Hall Park, stopping to look at some pieces in the "Lightness of Being" sculpture show there, then back across the Bridge, down to Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, up and across the pedestrian bridge, then back down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to home. I've let some of the photos speak for themselves, but have added explanatory notes for others.
1. The Four Tops, "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)": a Motown classic. I was fortunate to hear the original lineup live at a National Association of Insurance Commissioners meeting on Mackinac Island back in the 1980s. Listen here.
2. Tracy Nelson, "Ruler of My Heart": deep blues from a lovely woman with whom I had a pleasant chat at the Lion's Head bar years ago. Listen here. 
3. The Cranlyn apartment building (80 Cranberry Street, corner of Henry) (H.I. Feldman, 1931) is a fine example of the high art deco style popular between the two world wars. The photo shows a decorative motif above a doorway that may have been inspired by a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign.

Kingston Trio, "Utawena": I've dished on these guys before. Call them button-down shirt wearing bourgeois poseurs; well-to-do white men singing poor folks' music. Still, they were damn good singers and instrumentalists, they had a Mets connection (Nick Reynolds dated Tom Seaver's sister), and they introduced American audiences to what we now call "world music." Then there's "Utawena," which doesn't appear to be in any known language. You can listen here.
4. A monument to New York City Mayor (1910-1913) and Brooklyn resident William Jay Gaynor, designed by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman, stands near the north end of Cadman Plaza Park.

The Everly Brothers: "Bye Bye Love": these Kentuckians were reliable hitmakers from the late fifties through the sixties. "Bye Bye Love" was their first, going to number two on the Billboard pop chart and number one on the country chart in 1957, and began their long collaboration with songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. It was later covered by Simon & Garfunkel and by George Harrison. Hear it here.
5. Great Big Sea, "Boston and St. John's": Newfoundland's most popular folk group does a bittersweet piece about a sailor leaving his woman for a short voyage. Live performance video here.
6. The west (Manhattan side) tower of the Manhattan Bridge (Leon Moisieff, 1912), seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Giuseppe Verdi, Sinfonia from Nabucco, Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Fiorenze, Ricardo Muti, Cond.: here is an audio clip of Muti conducting the Nabucco overture with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
7. The west tower of the Brooklyn Bridge (John Roebling, 1883) seen from the pedestrian walkway. This tower was completed in 1875, but the bridge would not be completed until eight years later.

The Holy Modal Rounders, "Flop-Eared Mule": from grand opera we go to...a group once described as "the originators and sole exponents of the genre known as acid-folk." Join the real world here.
8. The 76 story 8 Spruce Street/"New York by Gehry" shows off its Bernini drapery in the morning sun. Peeking past it to its right is the top of the Woolworth Building (Cass Gilbert, 1912); to 8 Spruce's left is 1 World Trade Center (David Childs/SOM, expected completion 2014). At the far left is the top of the "understated and deferential" 4 World Trade Center (Maki and Associates, 2013).

Neil Young, "The Emperor of Wyoming": this dreamy cowboy movie music is the opening track of Young's first solo album after Buffalo Springfield's breakup. Hear it here.
9. A gilded pyramid crowns the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse (Cass Gilbert, 1931), named for civil rights lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in a rededication ceremony in 2003. The building was Gilbert's last major commission.

Neil Young, "The Loner": this track immediately follows "Emperor"; I have the two joined as a segue on my iPod, but there's no video or audio track that combines the two, although I think they belong together. When you get to the orchestral bridge just past the middle, you'll know why. Listen here.
10. For the past several years I've kept watch over the Brooklyn Bridge cactus. A year and a half ago, I was distressed to find it bisected. Now it's becoming overshadowed by something that looks like a spider plant.

Dusty Springfield, "That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)": down 'n' dirty blues by Goffin and King, with a little inspiration from Cab Calloway. Hear it here,
11. 250 Broadway (Emery Roth & Sons, 1962), at right, is typical of the "wedding cake" style of New York City skyscrapers designed between 1916, when a zoning rule limiting the bulk of tall buildings and requiring setbacks went into effect, and 1961, when the regulation was amended to encourage tall buildings without setbacks so long as developers provide adjoining public plazas. To the left is the Woolworth Building (photo 8 above); in the background is 7 World Trade Center (David Childs/SOM, 2006).

Derek & the Dominoes, "Layla": one of the three best rock songs about being in love with someone else's wife. (The others are "Midnight Confession" by the Grass Roots and Neil Young's "Saddle Up the Palomino.") Here's a version of "Layla" by Eric Clapton, with a different band, that's still dynamite.
12. Part of the "Lightness of Being" sculpture show in City Hall Park is "inverse reverse obverse" by Cristian Andersen. It's topped by two bronze broad-brimmed hats. Behind it is the Manhattan Municipal Building (William M. Kendall/McKim, Mead and White, 1914), topped by another sculpture, "Civic Fame," by the same Adolph A. Weinman who designed the Gaynor Monument (photo 4 above).

The Royal Teens, "Believe Me": I heard this once as a pick hit of the week on WDAE in Tampa when I was in eighth grade, then never heard it again until I was in my thirties and, flipping through a record bin in one of those Bleecker Street oldies shops, found a Royal Teens greatest hits album. I ran home to play the song that had been engraved on my memory so many years before. Hear it here. The tinkling piano is by one of the song's co-authors, Bob Gaudio, who later became part of the Four Seasons, wrote Sherry and, with Bob Crewe, other hits of theirs.
13. Another set of sculptures in the "Lightness of Being" show is this untitled group by the late Franz West, described by Ken Johnson in The New York Times as "brightly painted bulbous shapes, like enormous carrots planted point-first in the ground."

The Kingston Trio, "Across the Wide Missouri": the Trio's version of a traditional American song, also known as "Oh Shenandoah." Listen here.
14. Statuary decorates the exterior of the Surrogate's Courthouse (John R. Thomas/Horgan & Slattery, 1907), formerly called the Hall of Records, at the corner of Chambers and Centre streets in lower Manhattan. The statues are by sculptors Philip Martiny and Henry Kirke Bush-Brown.

The Rolling Stones, "No Expectations": on my more optimistic days, I think the Mets' theme song should be Dolly's Faut y croire (loose translation: "Ya gotta believe!"); on my gloomier ones, I think it should be this Stones ballad. Live version here.
15. The South Street Seaport Museum's tall ships Peking and Wavertree, seen from near the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Peking is in the foreground; Wavertree, which is still under restoration and missing her topmasts, is behind.

R.E.M., "Driver 8": an infectious guitar run; inscrutable lyrics. What more could you want? Video here with railroad scenes featuring pre-CSX B&O/C&O locos bearing the "Chessie" logo. (It takes almost a minute until the music starts.)
16. Neil Young: "Cowgirl in the Sand": didn't I hear this on my previous walk? That's OK; I love this song so much I don't mind hearing it again so soon. Hear the studio version here.
17. Hank Williams, "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me": maybe the best country song about being in love with someone else's wife who used to be your wife. Listen here.
18. This Georgian apartment building on the north edge of Brooklyn Heights sports precast triangular "English sunrises" above the dormer windows. Also note the dentils below the cornice.

John Prine, "Paradise": "Daddy, won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the Green River where Paradise lay?/ Well, I'm sorry, my son, but you're too late in asking. Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away." Hear it here.
19. Fenton Robinson, "You Don't Know what Love Is": Robinson, who died in 1997, was a solid Chicago blues artist and author of "Loan Me a Dime," which was a hit for Boz Scaggs with Duane Allman. This song should not be confused with another, recorded by Billie Holiday, which is also on my iPod. Listen here.
20. Doug Sahm, "Is Anybody Going to San Antone?": from the Doug Sahm & Friends album; this cut features, among others, Bob Dylan on harmony vocal and Flaco Jimenez on accordion. Hear it here.
21. Scott Joplin, "Magnetic Rag"; Itzhak Perlman, violin and Andre Previn, piano. From The Easy Winners. Listen here.

22. The Tom Russell Band, "Haley's Comet": a song about the lonesome death of rock 'n' roll pioneer Bill Haley. Live performance recording, with Dave Alvin and Katy Moffat, here.
23. Seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Manhasset Bay tows a much smaller tug down the East River, past Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

George Thorogood & the Destroyers, "It Wasn't Me": an able, nay, exciting, Chuck Berry cover by the hottest band ever to emerge from Delaware. Live performance video here.
24. Looking across from the Promenade, I saw the Manhattan Municipal Building (see photo 12) briefly bathed in sunlight.

Delbert McClinton, "Before You Accuse Me": another cover, this of a Bo Diddley b-side, by a superb Texas bluesman I once heard at the old Lone Star Cafe on lower Fifth Avenue. Hear it here.
25. Vivian Blaine, "Adelaide's Lament (A Person Could Develop a Cold)": a bathetic tale of blighted love, in Brooklynese, from the original (1950) Broadway cast recording of Guys and Dolls. See and hear Ms. Blaine's live performance from the 1971 Tony Awards here.

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