Sunday, November 8, 2015

But I am writing little songs, As little ladies will.

Last night there was a great concert at the Montague Bookmill which featured two sets of music. The first set was by Ruth Garbus and Julia Tadlock and then Myriam Gendron played songs from her album, Not So Deep as a Well, which is on Feeding Tube Records. Ruth Garbus played songs from her Feeding Tube record, Rendezvous with Rama.

David Russell said about Ruth and Julia's set, "That music was so intense, it made me feel fucked up." and he was right. There was no point during their 8 song set that my mind wandered away. Ruth played guitar with a light finger touch that took us all through the songs without hesitation or question. Then on top of her sweet tune, she and Julia sang curious lyrics that I strained to catch and when that task seemed too burdensome, I enjoyed the instrumentation of their harmonies and voices. There was a point when my mind's comparison to them and the Roches seemed too base, too obvious, but then when they sounded like Giles, Giles and Fripp during the song "Slusher," I was more amused with that comparison. Not that I don't love the Roches but comparing one group of ladies harmonizing to another? I find that a dull comparison although I love to hear those sounds.

After Slusher, Ruth introduced the next song, "Grey Sweatshirt," and Julia pulled out some zils for accent while Ruth sang alone. I heard her sound a little like Nico during this slower, more reflective song. "I shall play my song and wonder if it should exist." She allowed herself a short piece of gentle scat singing which may have been improv'd, or, it may have been done before but tonight when I heard it for the first time, I thought appreciatively, "Wow, what did she just do?"

Julia pulled out a guitar and they played together while she sang a cover of Neil Young's "Motion Picture," and then they sang three other Ruth originals. The song in the middle I thought was called "Doritos" or "Doritos at the Time" because that was a repeating refrain. After the set I asked and Ruth said it was called "I could use more of that" and there was a very clever lyric about synesthesia and Byron Coley. People laughed aloud. Go listen to Ruth play. Buy her album.

The name of this post is a quote from this poem:

Song Of Perfect Propriety
Dorothy Parker

Oh, I should like to ride the seas,
A roaring buccaneer;
A cutlass banging at my knees,
A dirk behind my ear.
And when my captives' chains would clank
I'd howl with glee and drink,
And then fling out the quivering plank
And watch the beggars sink.

I'd like to straddle gory decks,
And dig in laden sands,
And know the feel of throbbing necks
Between my knotted hands.
Oh, I should like to strut and curse
Among my blackguard crew....
But I am writing little verse,
As little ladies do.

Myriam played a few songs off her album which is full of songs Myriam wrote the music for and used Dorothy Parker poetry as the lyrics. I dig Dorothy Parker and I loved Myriam's guitar playing but during the set, I am one of those numbskulls who wishes for a lyric sheet as a guide. I don't know enough Dorothy poetry to be able to hear and glean the meaning of the poem as Myriam delivered it vocally. Although, if I had the poetry guide, I might find myself paying attention to that and pondering the poetry instead of listening as closely to Myriam's guitar playing as it deserved to be heard. That is a nice situation to find oneself in, I expect. I was able to catch some phrases, like in the poem shared here, I remember hearing her sing, "but I am writing little songs as little ladies do" and that stayed with me and became a theme for the night because I was very eager to attend to these women's little songs just as I am eager to go home and write little songs of my own. I've watched shows and gone to hear music for most of my life and the powerful women musicians who I see more and more surrounding me in this community are exciting.

The Lady Killigrew was hopping tonight and the bookmill was full of people who were eager to sit on the floor and hear these women's music. It was great music and everyone seemed satisfied as they filed out the room or milled about afterwards talking or not talking.

Oh, I should like to dance and laugh
And pose and preen and sway,
And rip the hearts of men in half,
And toss the bits away.
I'd like to view the reeling years
Through unastonished eyes,
And dip my finger-tips in tears,
And give my smiles for sighs.

I'd stroll beyond the ancient bounds,
And tap at fastened gates,
And hear the prettiest of sound-
The clink of shattered fates.
My slaves I'd like to bind with thongs
That cut and burn and chill....
But I am writing little songs,
As little ladies will.

Thanks Dorothy Parker, for everything.