May 24, 2004

Twenty Years of Ignorance

I have had certain principal musical influences at different times in my life. There was, amongst others, my Keith Green phase, Eric Clapton phase, Van Morrison phase, and yes, believe or not, my Neil Diamond phase. Other than the 2nd Chapter of Acts, Neil Diamond probably inspired me more than any other in the art of the live performance. Not that I ever actually incorporated any of his style or skill, but inspiration can be more ethereal than that.

The first "secular" tape I ever owned was "The Jazz Singer". For some of my friends at the time this was a bit scandalous. (Just a year or so before, I had been scandalised by a pastor in Wales [who I will see tomorrow for the first time since then] who had records by the group War in his collection.) However, vaguely knew of Neil from my junior high days when we sang "Sweet Caroline" as one of our concert pieces in choir.

I later had a cassette copy bootlegged of a friend's LP of what I think was titled Twelve Greatest Hits or somesuch - the tape is somewhere in Texas and the record is long out of print - ecplised by half a dozen other greatest hits collections.

When I was living in Texarkana working as a political consultant in the summer of 1985 (I was involved in mobilising the Religious Right in a Congressional Special Election), I had no television in my little apartment on 13th Street above the second-hand furniture shop, so I listened to Love at the Greek and read Battlefield Earth.

Tonight I was listening to one of the few Neil Diamond CDs I have - his third live album recorded at the Greek Theatre in LA - Hot August Night II and after all these years, the light came on. Have you ever noticed (you Neil Diamond fans out there, and you know who you are) that "Song Sung Blue" is a happy song? This is clearly the reason I have never understood it until now. That's right. I just now realised that it should have a comma. It's about a song, sung blue.

Posted by david at May 24, 2004 09:28 PM | TrackBack