The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

Something for the weekend.  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.  The film was the ultimate Italian Spaghetti Western of Sergio Leone, showcasing the talents of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in a violent, albeit often bleakly hilarious, tale set during the Civil War.

 

The Faces of Lincoln

This video purports to have in it every known photograph of Mr.  Lincoln.  The songs in the video are Lincoln and Liberty Too, perhaps the most stirring campaign song in American history, Dixie, ironically a favorite song of the President of the Union, and the haunting Ashokan Farewell.

Published in: on May 2, 2022 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

O Sacred Head

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

How shall we explain the world-wide light of faith, swift and flaming in its progress, except by the preaching of Jesus’ name? Is it not by the light of this name that God has called us into his wonderful light, that irradiates our darkness and empowers us to see the light? To such as we Paul says: “You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord.” This is the name that Paul was commanded to present before kings and pagans and the people of Israel; a name that illumined his native land as he carried it with him like a torch, preaching on all his journeys that the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon — let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the day-time. To every eye he was a lamp on its lamp-stand; to every place he brought the good news of Jesus, and him crucified. What a splendor radiated from that light, dazzling the eyes of the crowd, when Peter uttered the name that strengthened the feet and ankles of the cripple, and gave light to many eyes that were spiritually blind! Did not the words shoot like a flame when he said: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk”? But the name of Jesus is more than light, it is also food. Do you not feel increase of strength as often as you remember it? What other name can so enrich the man who meditates? What can equal its power to refresh the harassed senses, to buttress the virtues, to add vigor to good and upright habits, to foster chaste affections? Every food of the mind is dry if it is not dipped in that oil; it is tasteless if not seasoned by that salt. Write what you will, I shall not relish it unless it tells of Jesus. Talk or argue about what you will, I shall not relish it if you exclude the name of Jesus. Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, a song in the heart.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Published in: on April 16, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on O Sacred Head  
Tags: , , , ,

Four Friends

 

Something for the weekend.  Four Friends theme from The Untouchables (1987) soundtrack.  It captures well the tale of four men who came together to perform the task of putting Capone in prison, two of whom paid with their lives.  ( The film has little in common with the historical Untouchables, but Eliot Ness during his lifetime began the process of turning history into myth, and the myth now overshadows the reality.)  The music by Ennio Morricone is wonderfully evocative of time and place.  The sad and powerful music recalls for me the line from The Lord of The Rings It is a sad thing to be a Man, but it is a proud thing too.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Four Friends  
Tags: ,

We’ll Fight For Uncle Sam

Something for the weekend.  We’ll Fight For Uncle Sam sung to the tune Whiskey in the Jar.  A nice tribute to the Irish volunteers who were a mainstay of the Union Army of the Potomac.  The song is also celebratory of George Brinton McClellan who led the Army of the Potomac in 1861-62.  Little Mac was a good organizer and he made sure his men were well fed and clothed.  He took care of his men and they were fond of him as a result.  Unfortunately, though not a bad strategist, he was a lousy battlefield commander.  During the battles of the Seven Days, although McClellan outnumbered the Confederates under Lee, he allowed Lee to take the initiative and force him back from Richmond.  At Antietam, in spite of enjoying better than two to one odds,  McClellan’s uncoordinated attacks blew a prime opportunity for the Army of the Potomac to destroy Lee’s army.  As a battlefield commander McClellan was worse than having no commander at all. (more…)

Published in: on March 26, 2022 at 5:31 am  Comments Off on We’ll Fight For Uncle Sam  
Tags: , , ,

The Wearing of the Gray

 

A stirring rendition of Wearing of the Gray, sung by The Wolfe Tones, an Irish group usually known for singing Irish rebel music.

Published in: on January 22, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Wearing of the Gray  
Tags: , ,

The Battle of New Orleans-The Song

 

Something for the weekend.  On January 8, 2015 we reach the 207th anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, so Jimmie Driftwood’s Battle of New Orleans seems appropriate.  Driftwood, when he was a teacher, wrote the song in 1936 to help his students differentiate between the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War.  After Driftwood became a full time singer and composer, he often sang the song.  Johnny Horton made it a mega hit in 1959 with his rendition.

After it became a hit, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, visited Newfoundland.  The song was banned for the term of her visit by the provincial government.  My sainted mother who loved the Queen, but also had to the full the Irish rebel spirit, used to regale me with tales of the lengths that Newfies went to make sure that the song was played continuously during the Queen’s visit as a result!

Newfies were hanging record players out of their windows, the volume cranked up full blast playing the song. Her comment on this fiasco was that if the idiots in government hadn’t attempted to ban it, no one would have been playing it. I think my attitude towards government began to be forged by this example of folly related to me at a very young age at my mother’s knee! (more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2022 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Battle of New Orleans-The Song  
Tags: , , , ,

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

 

Something for the weekend.  The incomparable Johnny Cash singing the hymn I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Christmas Bells on which the hymn is based  in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, and this knowledge makes the lyrics even more poignant:

 I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

 

Published in: on December 18, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day  
Tags: , , ,

Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.  Written by the ever prolific composer Anonymous in 16th century Germany, it quickly became a favorite hymn of both Catholics and Protestants in that time and land of religious strife, and that is a good message for Christmas. (more…)

Published in: on December 4, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming  
Tags: , ,

The Rising of the Moon

Something for the weekend.  I feel in the mood for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon sung by the Clancy Brothers.  The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland.  Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood.  However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and the Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute. (more…)

Published in: on November 13, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Rising of the Moon  
Tags: , , ,