For Those Who’ve Gone Clear: A Music Memoriam for 2011
A friend of mine sent me a link to his blog and accompanying videos. I was so impressed that I encouraged him to make them public rather than password protected so they could be more widely shared, enjoyed and admired by the audience they so deserve. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Here is his blog and videos (one above and one below):
Usually one of the most poignant moments of any Oscars telecast is the “Death Reel” – a quick video montage of actors, producers, directors and other beloved and/or influential film industry types that have passed on since the previous year’s telecast. The Emmys and the Grammys, as well as other yearly award shows, also have comparable tributes. Inevitably, even in a crowded room, there is that instant when each viewer recognizes a favorite whose death they’re just now learning. It’s that perfectly bittersweet crossroads where “I love them!” instantly lightning bolts headfirst into “Oh, no, they’re gone!” Most need a quick gulp of air to help them process the moment.
One of my favorite banjo players, Don Stover, wrote a song called “Things In Life” back in the early seventies. The last two stanzas are some of my favorites in the song and I think they’re particularly fitting for this blog post:
I’d like to be a small part of life
With some few things to achieve
Just to know I’ve been a fruitless cause
Would give my poor heart grief
Now when they lower my casket down
In some lonesome grave to rest
And you take your last look at my face
You can say I did my best
I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge music fan but I’m especially moved each year by all the talented musicians who pass away. If it’s someone who has really meant something to me I’ll often wind down the evening of their passing by listening to one or more of their songs, eyes closed and headphones on, and savor a musical meditation in their honor. With some time off this past holiday season, and using a buddy’s website (http://themusicsover.com/) as a resource, I put together my own personal memoriam reel for 2011. I thought it might be a twist on the typical “Top 10 Favorite Albums/Songs/Reissues/Etc.” list that folks have come to expect from me at the end of each year.
All artists included in the following reels are musicians whose music I own now in some format in my home music collection. Many have meant something incredibly personal to me (example: I led those gathered in a tiny mountain church at my grandfather’s funeral in 2010 with the lyrics to Hazel Dickens’ “Won’t You Come And Sing For Me“) and others are people I didn’t previously know by name but realized I had an example of their music in my music library. I hope you enjoy it and that any remotely melancholic revelation is eclipsed by the warmth of knowing that their music has brought joy to you and me and so many others.
The first video is close to 29 minutes long, the second one is 19 minutes long, but then, these types of things are never truly long enough. And as good as any of us feel we are in our respective music-centric jobs, I think we all can be easily humbled by the musical talent featured in these videos. If I copied you on this, you’re someone I’ve worked with in my job or are just a pal of mine who’s very into music; I figured you all would enjoy this tribute.
Note from FJ: just for clarification, Mizell’s songwriting and producing as mentioned in reel one was part of a producing team called “The Corporation” ™ and the Sun Records recording I referenced of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” wasn’t released for several years afterwards, not decades as my initial research indicated.
[ 1/15/12: I have been convinced to share these reels to a wider audience than my circle of music business contacts and music-loving friends. If any rights holders object, please let me know and I’ll restore the password protection or, if necessary, pull the videos down.]