Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Night Music and Thoughts....The Wait

[ Click the Title + "The Weight" by The Band]
Here by Lake Erie we still have mounds of snow and ice and Bitter Cold.We are in the midst of the Primary Battle,so I am more than distracted.....Even with my battered hip I am working hard, and sadly the Blogs have been a bit neglected. My Apologies.
( I am blogging about my bashed hip next week, I am still too angry to write anything that is palatable.)

I have Posted the Song "The Weight". The Funny thing in the 70's when I first heard The Band I thought the song was called THE WAIT.....I really did think it was all about Waiting....I feel like we are in the Middle of the Big Wait right now....and in a way it is a Weight also....

Have a good Friday Night, share the Coco and the whipped cream and snuggle.....

( New Post about Dr.Charles Drew will be up this weekend for Black History Month )

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lady Day....Honoring Billie Holiday

*{Click the title: Billie Holiday singing " Sweet and Mellow" a song that she wrote}*
Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan, people in Baltmore always say she is Baltimore's Finest. ( She actually was born in Philidelphia, but spent most of her growing up years in Baltimore). Her parents were merely children in their teens when they had her and she spent much of her childhood being shuffled amoung relatives. She had a painful childhood and was raped twice before she was 15. Her assailant in NYC, was also a neighbor and eventually went to prison. In her late teens she was living in NYC with her mother and she started singing in Jazz Clubs for tips.

She was discovered and signed for a record Label by MrHammond and she ended up singing with Benny Goodman. You hear her sing, so sultry, yet vulnerable, with that smoky Voice and you can not help but wonder did she have love ? She had lovers and a husband, including Orson Welles, and a Sax Player named Lester Young. She married a man who was connected with the Mafia named Louis McKay who did try to get her off drugs and even alcohol, but with little luck. ( There were no Rehab Centers in those days). There is a beauitful Film with her singing with Louis Armstrong, it is called" New Orleans " in 1947. In the film she is dressed so beautifully and looks like a queen. There is also her autobiography , Lady Sings the Blues she wrote in 1956, many thought she knew that she did not have long when she wrote it.

Her most Famous Song is " Strange Fruit", which was written in the 1930's by a jewish school teacher, Abel Mercopol, and sung at Teacher Union Meetings. In 1939 with great trepidation she recorded it in 1939 ( I have posted it in the post below, you can click the title). It is the only song that has ever told sung that so beautifully and hauntingly explains the pain of Lynchings.When you watch the Video it is haunting and beautiful and painful, I had never seen it until Youtube, but I had heard it many times. It is a song that leaves you bewildered and saddened.I hear it now, I can't help by think of JENA. She showed such Courage to sing THAT song during that is amazing.

She died in the summer of 1959, 44 years old, her body battle weary from Liver and Heart Disease........and left all of us with her music in our Hearts.

I have talked about my Aunt May , she lived in Downtown Baltimore. I used to go see her and lay on her floor and listen to her stories, dust her Abraham Lincoln Glass Prints, and listen to music. She had been a performer, and Singer on at the turn of the Century. She taught Voice and Singing until the late 50's. She had a beautiful Voice and as I dusted her third floor she would sit and sing along with her records. I first heard Billie Holiday sing I was six, and when I was 8 my Aunt May explained What the Song "Strange Fruit" was all about....The Summer of 1968. The Summer of the Riots, that my Aunt May would not leave her neighbors.

Strange Fruit, Billie's Most Haunting song ( click the title)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Okay....So I have thought about this alot....There have been hardly any shows on cable about Black History Month. Not as many as there used to be....So this month I am going to honor Black History here at the ENIGMA CAFE....EVERYDAY....Now I know I am already late..but that is okay. So here we go...We will Celebrate the Culture and the History, the Music, and the Art and Food and More.

What I realized this Election Cycle- is that the MSM is so focused on Differences and Problems and Divisions, they have never considered what we all have in common, and how our cultures overlap and influence each other. And that has saddened me, we need to take this Further, and not fall behind 50 years right now.

The music linked to this post is a Great Song by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder from Youtube. I have to say that Youtube is such a gift. On friday and Saturday Nights there is Nothing Better than to WATCH one's favorite Songs. For me there are so many Great Artists I never ever saw, and so watching them sing has been heaven. ( Including the Video linked to the title). This video really choked me up, Watch these two men, both Blind but in total Sync with each other is riveting and inspiring.

So I sat there and I thought about there Really ANYTHING WRONG with being Inspired ? Imagine if Someone had told either of them "You can NOT Play the Piano- You are Blind !!!" And on another level....To them Color is So Different, I saw Ray on an interview talk about Women, and HOW he did damn well KNOW when a woman entered the Room in a Red Dress...and he laughed in a very appreciative way.

I watched Michelle Obama last sunday at the Obama Rally in UCLA when she led Stevie Wonder to the stage, and they held arms tightly and yes, he stumbled but held on and she lifted him back to the stairs. ( I did in that moment think she is indeed meant to be First Lady, so gracious, So Strong). It was an Incredible Moment, you could feel all the people take a Deep Intake of breath and say a prayer at that second....and then he came to the microphone and he was so moved to speak. And for days I had thought about him watching the Debate the week before, and wondered DOES HE FEEL IT? WHAT DOES THIS PLACE IN TIME FEEL LIKE TO HIM ?

So I am asking you to do Something the Next time Something Momentous Happens, STOP what you are doing....take a very deep breath and SHUT YOUR EYES and Feel it...ALL OF IT....Maybe that is the Lesson these two men have for us...each in their own way...with their own Beautiful gifts....But to Share their Gifts they also had to Believe Something Momentous was Inside themselves....

People say What is So Special About Obama. And I say, he makes you want to Do Something, Be a Better Person, Help Save Our Country....and you believe it....And I say What is Wrong Feeling Like THAT ?

I am going to go stand in the Snow today and just shut my eyes...and FEEL THIS MOMENT.....We are Living History Right Now.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Out The Window....

I was going to call this post...NOT Again....I am so sick of Winter. There I said it. I know last winter was so much worse and I am so much better off this winter- I HAVE A NEW FURNACE....and last winter at this time is when we had the BIG Freeze - 22 Days straight of Below Zero Weather.....but I wake up and there it is again....Snow...and I am just NOT feeling happy to see it. I want to put my surf shorts on and my flip flops...and feel the sun....sigh.....Okay..there is my rant for a Cold Snowy Windy Saturday.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Old Women in My Heart....

I have been thinking about the women that raised me....I spent alot of time with my grandmother, she raised me and gave me my Values....She "schooled me"...What was Right and What was Wrong...And because I spent so much time with her...she would take me to visit and check on all the relatives.....Stubborn Old Southern Women that were story tellers, laughing softly as they drank bourbon and lemon in their tea, and spoke with a Kentucky Lilt.....We used to check on them , do their laundry and also bring them meals and muffins...and warm sweaters....My favorite was My Aunt May, she live in an Old Brownstone in Downtown Baltimore. She was so many things, a Singer and a Performer at the turn of the Century.So listening to her sing or read was lyrical....special. She Bought her own Home in 1930....and she was determined to live out her days there...So we went to see her during the Baltimore Riots and she refused to leave her Neighbors...I learned from her much...I carry her in my Heart.

Yesterday the GOP Senators decided that old people should be taken out of the Stimulus package...And my first thought was didn't they have a granma or an auntie ? An old woman with a soft Voice, and tender hands and stories....that could sing Greensleeves ? Breaks my heart....The Elderly in this Country, Our Country, are treated like Unclaimed Baggage.

*** [Click the title + Emmylou Harris sing...}***