The Decline of Fall
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.


Judee Sill - "There's a Rugged Road"

Judee Sill, in her spoken introduction to the California-folk ballad "There's a Rugged Road," offers this explanation for her song: "It's about everyone individually on their climb up, you know?" I'm reminded of the saxophonist Cannonball Adderley's spoken introduction to his album Inside Straight, in which he claims that he gave the album that particular title because "that's where I'm at, philosophically speaking, you know?" Obviously both introductions are unhelpful and somewhat annoying in that they both seek complicity, you know?, when, because of their obscurity, none can be given. In fact, the prologues are superfluous - Sill and Adderley are both much more articulate in their work than they are about it. Everything we need to know about Sill's song is contained therein: "There's a Rugged Road" is not, as the literal among you might think, the most general existential claim about a particular kind of road, but a study of one's struggle to stay righteous, despite the trials and temptations of life. A religious woman and a heroin addict (dead of an overdose at 35), Sill sings clearly and easily about a thing muddy and difficult: her climb up a short and rugged road to where? [Buy]


The Dirty Projectors - "What I See"

Ostensibly a cover of Black Flag's 1981 album, Damaged, the Dirty Projectors' latest record, Rise Above, sounds more like Prince playing Prokofiev with a juju orchestra than like the hardcore opus it's supposed to emulate (and, to be fair, it sounds only vaguely like Prince playing Prokofiev with a juju orchestra). What we hear in "What I See" is Dirty Projectors frontman Dave Longstreth's ability to seamlessly fuse seemingly irreconcilable musical influences (see the grasping, ultimately rejected description above) and to successfully plumb the ugly and the unintuitive for their latent beauty. Nat Baldwin, who once played contrabass in The DPs, and whose new album, Most Valuable Player, is a masterpiece, proves with his less difficult, more tender take on Longstreth's Melismatic beltings, that the Dirty Projectors' innovations are not just valuable in themselves, but serve as fruitful inspiration, too. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at October 24, 2007 5:59 PM

I very much enjoyed the song by Judee Sill. Thanks for the introduction.

Posted by Karin S. at October 26, 2007 1:37 PM

So few comments! Loved the Judee Sill song, had not heard of her previously.

Posted by Bryan at January 10, 2008 9:51 PM

Quite probably the most poignant song of the 70s. t calms my sould every time I hear it, and I carry it with me whereever I go.

Posted by Pete Kelley at May 11, 2008 1:43 PM

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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.

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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

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st-viateur bagel
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drawn + quarterly
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
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Cult Montreal
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