Shift Happens--I Hope
Insecurity doesn't apply to me so much these days as far as writing goes. Maybe ambivalence might be a more appropriate term to use for the way I feel. Knowing what I really probably should do is not enough to make me do it. A calumnious spirit of my inner writer seems to be trying to talk me out of wasting my time on an activity that might not reap that many benefits. Or maybe a deleterious attack of apathy is keeping me from doing much of anything in regard to writing.
On Tuesday an unexpectedly long wait at an auto dealer gave me some time to read a book that I had had the foresight to bring with me. These days I try to remember to bring a book with me whenever I think I might have a wait somewhere. For this wait I grabbed an old paperback that was from my junior year in high school. The book was The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. The last time I read this was nearly fifty years ago--the price on the book was forty five cents. While waiting I read over half of this relatively short book. I'll finish it tonight.
Maybe I need to read some more so I can spark my enthusiasm for writing. Or maybe by reading more I'll get discouraged about my own writing after reading someone else's good writing. I don't think so, but I do need a recharge.
Hopefully this is just a passing phase that will be over soon. Then maybe I'll shift into high gear and get back on that writing road. I hope that's what happens.
"La Cucaracha" Battle Results
When Louis Armstrong is one of the combatants in a Battle of the Bands contest he is likely to be the winner. I haven't been keeping records on this, but I believe Armstrong has been used more than once in various past Battles that BOTB participants have put up and I'm pretty sure he has always won. With my most recent Battle we can hand Satchmo another victory.
The Battle was between the ever popular jazz man Louis Armstrong and Mexican-American eclectic artist Lila Downs performing very different versions of the old song "La Cucaracha". These versions couldn't have been much different. There are many reasons other than simple taste or musical preference why Armstrong won this one. I won't speculate on any of these reasons, but I can offer a defense for my own reason for voting as I did.
No doubt that Armstrong's version is quite good, but to me he took what is often a trite song presentation and turned it into a somewhat trite hot jazz novelty tune which includes some scat singing (of which I am not particularly a fan) and mostly unintelligible lyrics that seem to say little if anything. When the sax and trumpet solos kick in at the end it's kind of cool, but nothing musically groundbreaking. Don't get me wrong; I like Armstrong's version just fine. It's fun and it's well performed.
However, Lila Downs actually gives "La Cucaracha" a sense of musical importance. The lyrics are complex, meaningful, and intelligible (if you understand Spanish). The minor key creates a sense of gravitas rather then making the song mere silly passing fun. Lila's vocal is far superior to Armstrong's and the musicianship is equal to the hot jazz band as well as being more interesting--to my ears at least.
My vote goes to Lila Downs with a nod of respect to the efforts of Louis Armstrong. Many of the voters felt similarly. The race was a very close one with Lila ahead at times and a near tie toward the end. But in the final stretch Louis Armstrong captured the votes he needed to score the win in this Battle.
Final Vote Tally:
Louis Armstrong 16 votes
Lila Downs 13 votes
My next Battle of the Bands post will be a special for the Halloween season. Be here on Thursday October 15th for the scary showdown.
Do you remember to bring reading material when you expect to wait somewhere? What required reading from your school days have you revisited in more recent years? What is your response to the outcome of my Battle between Louis Armstrong and Lila Downs?