Battery Park In Blue

September 2, 2010 12:51 PM

Written and recorded shortly after my first visit to the USA, this is a kind of sensory impression of the experience - a slightly woozy and bewitched mood piece I suppose.

I have shied away from uploading this one until now. Some of you almost certainly will not like the second part of the lyric. It's not meant in a personal way. I love a lot of things about the USA, it's a great country. But, in common with a similarly ambivalent attitude to aspects of my homeland (the UK), my genuine fondness is not blind or uncritical or without misgivings.

The little George Shearing-esque pastichy instrumental section at the end is for my late father. He adored Shearing and the MJQ and just about anything with vibes in it, and my love of modern jazz is his legacy to me. I was steeped in it from knee-high. George Shearing, coincidentally, lives about 20 miles away from me near Cheltenham. Must be well into his 90's by now.

posted by MajorDundee (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Guten Goshen...I thought I was the only person left alive that has heard of George Shearing!

My father idolised George.

Well done, and thank you for this.
posted by Zenabi at 2:48 PM on September 2, 2010

Your guitar playing is smooth and yummy!
posted by Zenabi at 2:53 PM on September 2, 2010

This reminds me of something I might hear from Ryuichi Sakamoto or David Sylvian in a way. More jazzy but definitely lovely textures and ambience. I'm really falling into this one.
posted by tunewell at 7:37 PM on September 2, 2010

I don't know what era this was, but it definitely reminded me of Sade, with a side of that Miles Davis album with Bette Davis Eyes on it.

Singing is great... this style totally suits your voice. Sounds totally relaxed. And the guitar playing is impeccable. Percussion is great, too.

On the second part of the lyrics, I think what bothered me was that it switched gear from iconic detail to a more abstract level. I'm never a fan of latinate forms in songs ('interrogation... infiltration...'). I think the politics would be fine if it were tied to particular observations, like the smoke coming from subway covers.

I once had a George Shearing book that I tried to learn jazz from when I was about 15. It completely baffled me. Not least because I'd never actually heard any jazz, let alone George Shearing, at that point.

Funny that we both, as Brits, just posted songs about iconic Americana. Very hard to do the same thing about England, slightly less so about Ireland or Scotland I think.
posted by unSane at 7:44 PM on September 2, 2010

Thanks very much all. Yes that is strange isn't it unSane. There aren't many songs I can think of that eulogise England - at least not modern England. There are, on the other hand, lots of songs that detail how shit it is. And getting immeasurably shittier under Mr Cameron'"leadership". The only songs that do seem to crop up in praise of old Albion are those pathetic football songs like "Football's Coming Home" (not any time soon, guys - get a life) which crop up every four years or so. Agree re the clunky lyric on this one. It's a pretty old track now though - water under the bridge.
posted by MajorDundee at 2:23 PM on September 3, 2010

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