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A Valentine Folk-You Mix ~ Side One

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Last year I posted a Valentine’s Mix for all you lovely lovers out there who so faithfully visit here even on days of love. It was an admittedly cheesy, over-the-top affair, with power ballads from the 80′s and no dearth of shameless hooks and pop iconography. Side One featured Chicago, Survivor, and Journey, while Side Two had the likes of Debbie Gibson, Tommy Page, and… wait for it… Journey again.

This year I’m posting a mix I made many winters ago, one that I only now noticed contained a number of love songs. Not the dewy-eyed bubble-gum notion of love, but something deeper. Simpler too, and all the more powerful for it. Nothing here will strike your ear-drums with the aural bombast and pomposity of those pop power ballads, but perhaps you’ll connect on a sweeter level.

We begin with ‘The Wilderness: Prelude’ by Duncan Sheik. A simple, plaintive rumination on the heart, and words of love. The power of a single ‘yes’, which someone once claimed to be the happiest word in the English language.

 

THE WORD IS TOLD NOW, THE WORD IS SAID

THE WORD IS OLD NOW, AND THE STONE IS BREAD

THE HEART IS BONE NOW, THE HEART IS FLESH

THE HEART IS KNOWN NOW, AND THE NO IS YES.

I will forego posting the second song on the original mix, as it’s already been written about here: ‘Time In A Bottle.’ Instead, let’s fast-forward to ‘Annie’s Song’ by John Denver. Believe it or not, I was raised on such folk songs. My Mom spun Peter, Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, and John Denver on our record player, and we listened and sang along. It was a lesson in sweet melodies and soothing harmonies, underlined by a sentiment of love.

 

YOU FILL UP MY SENSES, LIKE A NIGHT IN THE FOREST

LIKE THE MOUNTAINS IN SPRINGTIME, LIKE A WALK IN THE RAIN

LIKE A STORM IN THE DESERT, LIKE A SLEEPY BLUE OCEAN

YOU FILL UP MY SENSES, COME FILL ME AGAIN.

On that original winter love mix, I also included ‘Dust in the Wind’ – but I’m not feeling it today. Folk it. The same will be said and done for ‘Gay Messiah’ by Rufus Wainwright. I adore the guy, but the dirge-like gay Jesus song is better left on the circumcision-room floor. Moving on…

Let’s return to our Duncan Sheik folk thread with ‘Mr. Chess’ – an acoustic guitar rhapsody on dreams and queens and kings and pawns – the parade of the Court of Life, marching across all our nights.

 

NOW I BESEECH YOU MR. CHESS,

TO LET ME SLEEP, TO LET ME REST

TO LET ME DREAM, TO LET ME SING WITHOUT A CARE

AND I WILL DREAM YOU THINGS SO FAIR

On this frigid Valentine’s Day weekend, our first side ends on the quiet note of the Cowboy Junkies, and their warm cup of ‘Cold Tea Blues.’ It’s a simple song, with only the strumming of a guitar and a few deftly placed piano notes, and the airy voice of Margo Timmins. I was first introduced to the Cowboy Junkies at a dinner that took place at the end of a high school winter. We were planning a trip to Europe, to pick up Suzie that summer, and on the stereo ‘Black-Eyed Man’ played in the background. While that album played a part in the following spring and summer, ‘Cold Tea Blues’ – off their ‘Pale Sun Crescent Moon’ album – would inform a future winter.

IF I POUR YOUR CUP, THAT IS FRIENDSHIP

IF I ADD YOUR MILK, THAT IS MANNERS

IF I STOP THERE, CLAIMING IGNORANCE OF TASTE 

THAT IS TEA.

BUT IF I MEASURE THE SUGAR TO SATISFY YOUR EXPECTANT TONGUE,

THEN THAT IS LOVE…

BUT IF I MEASURE THE SUGAR TO SATISFY YOUR EXPECTANT TONGUE,

THEN THAT IS LOVE…

SITTING UNTOUCHED, AND GROWING COLD.

 

{A Valentine Folk-You Mix will continue… stay tuned.}

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