14 years, right down the drain
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


I'm happily returned from an equally happy holiday to Toronto and Ottawa. No new musical insights, except that Stars of the Lid are really cool. Oh - thanks to those with the Mieskuoro Huutajat follow-ups. (nick, I'll be looking for you online.) Check out the CBC interview (via cyn and my mother). Their label actually answered my email, so it looks like I'll be able to nab me a copy, just as soon as I fax them my cc number.

Elvis Presley - "Are You Lonesome Tonight" [live]. "Do you gaze at your bald head," he asks, "and wish you had hair?" This is an infamous recording of Elvis cracking up in the middle of "Lonesome," snickering away as the back-up singer warbles on and on. (I imagine Elvis's manager before she signed her contract: "fuck up once, honey, and you're out. i don't care if the four horsemen of the apocalypse come marching through the theater - you don't stop singing, hear?") Perhaps not quite as cathartic as the Anthology version of the Beatles cracking up to "And Your Bird Can Sing," but good for a smile all the same.

Now two tracks from Madredeus, Portugal's vital, famed post-fado group. My dad's crazy about this stuff, but Madredeus doesn't follow the strict fado formula. Instead, they blend all sorts of European folk traditions, eking out songs that vary from oceanside loveliness to near-sinister gypsy blues.

Madredeus - "O Pastor". There's something dark and forceful to the accordion-pulse of this track, further underlined by the accusatory passion in the vocals. This feels like it should be the opening song to some brave, human film - a little boy bicycling frantically up a hill, the moon full and yellow above him. In fact, this is like the mature older-sister to the Oscar-losing Triplettes de Belleville track. You should download it.

Madredeus - "Oxalá". Madredeus at their most casually beautiful - it's a lazy, summery guitar melody over the light skip of an organ, and then Teresa Salgueiro's cream-and-lemon (but not-curdling) voice.

Posted by Sean at March 1, 2004 6:38 PM

Wow. That Elvis recording is great! From the moment he started cracking up I couldn't stop smiling for the rest of the song. Any idea on a date for that?

Posted by Emery at March 1, 2004 10:39 PM

Just listened to the Elvis.

Posted by forksclovetofu at March 2, 2004 2:29 AM

my music teacher in highschool always played that elvis-song in the first week of freshman's year. it always breaked the ice and he had won the class over from the start.

Posted by wilem at March 2, 2004 5:12 AM

According to this site, the song was recorded at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, August 26th, 1969.

Sounds like a way-cool (or perhaps simply canny) teacher, wilem. :)

Posted by Sean at March 2, 2004 6:18 PM

Love, love, love the Elvis song and have played it for absolutely everyone in the house.

Posted by caley at March 3, 2004 2:03 AM

If you're a big fan of Madredeus, you ought to check out the film that introduced them to me (assuming you haven't already, of course): Wim Wenders' Lisbon Story. It's not my favorite Wenders film, but it does paint a pretty picture of Lisbon, and not only do Madredeus provide the entire soundtrack for the movie, they also appear in it and perform a couple songs in their entirety for Wenders' camera. The Madredeus album Ainda is also the Lisbon Story soundtrack.

Just in case you didn't know.... :)

Posted by MoeRex at March 3, 2004 6:24 PM

first time EVER i made a mistake writing MY OWN name! wilem? tss.

sean, the teacher was simply a very nice man, very upfront, and in for a laugh. if he was canny (he might have been) i didn't notice it at the time. but then again, i don't really have a radar for cannyness in general...

Posted by willem at March 5, 2004 8:40 AM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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