BRAD MEHLDAU / “River Man”

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 25th, 2007 at 12:34 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “BRAD MEHLDAU / “River Man””

Ukali Says:
March 25th, 2007 at 7:49 am

One valuable thing about Breath of Life is the breadth of life experiences wrapped up in songs featured here. The gladness of new birth; madness and blue mirth; the sadness of leaving Earth – it’s all here… encoded translations of the human condition expressed through words and sounds that extend our ability to grasp it.

Such is the case with “River Man,” a song that didn’t impress me as meaningful when I first heard Andy Bey’s rendition of it. Shoulda known better. After all, Andy is known for his deep, contemplative selections. What did impress me was the rhyming poetry in each stanza (ignoring what was actually being said). Untrained ears don’t always pick up on what’s important.

Now that you’ve brought it to this space, I made myself listen and am left to ponder the hauntingly evocative Nick Drake original. Here in New Orleans, in the dispiriting aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, “River Man” suddenly seems poignant and pressing.

There is, as Gamble and Huff taught, a message in the music. Thanks for delivering the word.

Kayvon Says:
March 25th, 2007 at 10:05 am

How ironic, a site about black music educating me (an English white/mid-eastern kid) about white English music. Last week with Alice Russell and here with Nick Drake.

I’ve heard some of my friends (white just for the record) who aren’t as into black music as I am, going on about Nick Drake before but i’ve never really been too interested to get into him.

It’s odd, I suppose I operate a slightly racist music policy in that i’m always digging up black music and tend to sideline white musicians. I guess I tend to favour music that espouses similar values to the black styles i’m into. Thing is though, with someone like that Alice Russell, I think we rate her because she comes very close to emulating or sounding like black American soul. Nick Drake on the other hand, I rate because he seems authentic in himself. Although he may be using some jazz techniques, his music (to me at least) doesn’t sound much like what i’d consider black music.

Hmm, has breath of life ever considered starting up a forum? As good as these little boxes are for comments it would be good to be able to talk further in depth about black music and also what it means to people like me across the globe.

Joel Dufour Says:
March 26th, 2007 at 3:03 am

I wholeheartedly agree with your advice to listen to Ray Charles’ great version of Max Roach’s "Blues Waltz" at Newport in 1958. Yet, for your information, during this gig Brother Ray played alto ONLY on Milt Jackson’s “The Spirit Feel” (mistakenly titled “Hot Rod” on the original LP). He played piano on all the other tunes. The saxophone solo you are referring to on "Blues Waltz" was actually played by David “Fathead” Newman. Joël Dufour

     Kalamu Sez      

My bad. You’re right. I was going by memory instead of going through the boxes and digging out the cd to double check the instrumentation. Thanks for the correction. It’s duly noted.


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