I believe my last listening journey recorded here was the album “Spirituals” by Marian Anderson. The next recording in the book, 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, by Tom Moon, is “The House of the Rising Son,” by The Animals. This is one occasion where it is only one track that is highlighted, rather than an entire recording.
Now, I ran into a problem when I tried to listen to this song on Rhapsody. I found an album called “The Animals.” But it has been “enhanced,” or something. It’s got synthesized stuff all in the mixes, and really doesn’t sound at all like the original recordings. Plus, it is said to have been released on “Baierie Records” in 2005? What gives, Rhapsody?? It also doesn’t have the same track listing as the album released in 1964, called “The Animals.” That one was released on MGM Records. So…I went to a “Best of…” album and heard the original recording, which is the one in the Youtube clip above.
There is much controversy surrounding this song. The Animals were not the first to record the song, and, they changed the lyrics a bit. In fact, I don’t believe anyone knows who wrote the song. There is a recording as early as 1933 by Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster, but it is called “Rising Sun Blues.” In 1937, Alan Lomax, an American folklorist, ran across a 16 year old girl named Georgia Turner singing the song. Here are the lyrics as she sang them:
There is a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun.
It’s been the ruin of many a poor girl and me, O God, for one.
If I had listened what Mama said, I’d be at home today.
Being so young and foolish, poor boy, let a rambler lead me astray.
Go tell my baby sister never do like I have done
To shun that house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun.
My mother she’s a tailor, she sewed these new blue jeans.
My sweetheart, he’s a drunkard, Lord, Lord, drinks down in New Orleans.
The only thing a drunkard needs is a suitcase and a trunk.
The only time he’s satisfied is when he’s on a drunk.
Fills his glasses to the brim, passes them around.
Only pleasure he gets out of life is hoboin’ from town to town.
One foot is on the platform and the other one on the train.
I’m going back to New Orleans to wear that ball and chain.
Going back to New Orleans, my race is almost run.
Going back to spend the rest of my days beneath that Rising Sun.
Was there really a place called “The House of the Rising Sun?” Was it a brothel, as suggested? Was it a gambling house? No one seems to know for sure. Tom Moon wrote his article as though the alleged brothel run by Madame Marianne LeSoleil Levant is a verified factual story. However, it is not. There are a couple of people who own a place in New Orleans and they claim that it was, indeed, that house. But they have no proof. So, maybe it’s just a good story that made a good song. At any rate, The Animals probably had the biggest hit with it. Oh, and I almost forgot. The author’s caption over the article is “The Ruin of Many…”
Next up was the sophomore effort by Fiona Apple, called “When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring
There’s no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right.”
Uhuh. Right. I’m really not making this up. It’s usually just called “When the Pawn…”
The article is captioned “A Ninety-Word Title, and It Doesn’t Begin to Sum This Up…” I enjoyed listening to this album, having been a fan of Apple’s first single, “Criminal.” She has a unique vocal style and a different sound. Did I just say the same thing twice? This album was released in 1999 on Epic Records. The author’s “key tracks” are “Fast As You Can,” “On the Bound,” and “To Your Love.” I also liked “On the Bound” and “Fast As You Can.” But I would include “Love Ridden,” a haunting ballad, and “Mistake.” Oddly enough, there is one song on the recording that is not available to listen to on Rhapsody. Track number 5 is called “Paper Bag.” Here is the official video of that song, which, as it turns out, I like very much.
The next entry in the book thrilled me! I was pleasantly surprised to find this album listed in Tom Moon’s book. It is the third recording by a Canadian group called The Arcade Fire. The album, called “Neon Bible,” was the album in which I discovered this amazing group. I have listened to this album so many times, I almost have it memorized. But, just so I can remain true, I listened to it again yesterday. Believe me, it was no inconvenience.
The author’s caption over the article is, “The First Rock Masterpiece of the New Millennium.” Being as this was released in 2007, that’s quite a bold statement. However, I don’t necessarily disagree. The author’s key tracks are “Black Mirror,” “Keep the Car Running,” “Intervention,” and “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations.” The Arcade Fire is a very large group, led by songwriter Win Butler and his wife, Regine Chassagne. A quote from the article: “The music billows and swells into a rich orchestral splendor; just as quickly it can become haunting and spare.” The album was recorded in a church, and they made use of the full pipe organ in that church, especially on the tracks “Intervention” and “My Body Is A Cage.” I would include “My Body…” and “Antichrist Television Blues” as key tracks if I were writing this book. Here is a youtube that someone made of “My Body Is A Cage,” using some spaghetti western as the background. Whatever…I just want you to hear the song. Note the onslaught of full pipe organ, all stops out, midway through the song. It’s simply glorious.
I like this band…can you tell? By the way, The Arcade Fire won a Grammy award for best album last year, for their newest release, “The Suburbs.” While, in my opinion, not as good as Neon Bible, it is still a very good album, worthy of a listen.
Incidentally, while browsing today, I came across the official website of 1000 Recordings. I wish I had known that before I bought the book! Hah!