Friday, August 1, 2014

St. Thomas Aquinas Church Choir -- "Come, Labor On" (2011)

Redeem the time
Its hours so swiftly fly
The night draws nigh

To paraphrase John Donne, ask not for whom the night draws nigh – the night draws nigh for thee, boys and girls.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended church while vacationing on Cape Cod for the first time in many years.

I did have something of an ulterior motive for going to church that Sunday.  The minister at the church we attended – St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in the village of Barnstable, MA -- is going to officiate at the wedding of one of my daughters on Cape Cod in September.  Going to one of her Sunday worship services seemed like a good way to pay our respects and strengthen our family’s relationship with her.

An old "half Cape" house on Route 6A
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is located on Route 6A in Barnstable.  Route 6A – also known as the “Old King’s Highway” – is Cape Cod’s most historic and scenic road, and the stretch of 6A that goes through Barnstable is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Barnstable – which is one of the oldest towns on Cape Cod -- is the county seat of Barnstable County, which encompasses the entirety of Cape Cod.  Here’s the county courthouse, which was built in 1831:

St. Mary’s was originally constructed in 1891, and has been enlarged three times since then.  The church was built in early rural English style:

The church has beautiful and extensive gardens:

We sat on the right side of the aisle, under some small stained-glass windows that depicted a number of Cape Cod’s flora and fauna – including a codfish, a clam, a dolphin, shore birds, and a Rosa rugosa shrub (a species native to eastern Asia that thrives in the sandy soil of Cape Cod).

Rosa rugosa
Given how infrequently I go to church, I was very fortunate indeed that my favorite hymn was included in the service we attended.

I’m not sure when Come, Labor On became my favorite hymn.  For some reason, I react to it very emotionally.  Every time I hear it sung, I tell everyone I’m with that I want it played at my funeral.  (I am serious about that.)

At first glance, Come, Labor On is not about death – it’s  about work.  The words of the hymn exhort Christians to get off their keisters, spread the gospel, and give ol’ Satan what for.

The hymn begins with these lines:

Come, labor on!
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain 
While all around us waves the golden grain?

In the old days, when most men worked the land to earn their daily bread, the workday began at sunup and lasted until sundown – especially during the harvest season, when every minute counted. 

Here, the harvest is used as a metaphor for doing the Lord’s work.  Just as there’s no time for farmers to waste when the crops are ripe and ready to be harvested, there’s no time for Christians to waste when the devil is making mischief and the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

While most of us humans are pretty poor specimens, the hymn says that even the feeblest among us can contribute to accomplishing that task:

Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear! 
No arm so weak but may do service here: 
By feeblest agents may our God fulfill 
His righteous will

But time is flying – we have less of it than we like to admit, and need to use it wisely:  

Redeem the time 
Its hours so swiftly fly
The night draws nigh

Until the darkness falls, keep working!

Here’s the last verse of the hymn as it appears in the Episcopal hymnal:

Come, labor on!
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
Till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,
And a glad sound comes with the setting sun:
"Servants, well done!" 

If that’s not the perfect conclusion for a funeral hymn, I don’t know what is.

The lyrics to “Come, Labor On” were written by Jane Borthwick (1813-1897), a Scottish poet who translated a number of German hymns into English.  Click here to see the complete lyrics.

St. Thomas Church, New York City
The music for the hymn was composed by T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953).  Noble, who had been the organist and choirmaster at two Church of England cathedrals, moved to New York City in 1913 to become the organist at St. Thomas, a well-known Episcopal church that is located at the corner of 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue.  He held that position until he retired in 1942.

This recording of “Come, Labor On” was made at a Baccalaureate Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Charlottesville, VA, the day before the 2011 University of Virginia graduation exercises:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dead Weather -- "The Difference Between Us" (2010)

One day I'm happy and healthy
Next I ain't doing so well

I love 2 or 3 lines more than I should.  But let's face it: I ain't gonna need this house that much longer, and -- after my children -- my wildly successful little blog may be the most important thing I'll leave behind.  (I guess I can live with that.)

Jack White is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to songs featured on 2 or 3 lines.  (If you don't know what "leader in the clubhouse" means, get on your Google machine and look it up -- I'm leaving on vay-cay at oh-dark-hundred hours tomorrow, and I don't have time to do everything for you!) 

So far, 2 or 3 lines has featured ten songs by the White Stripes, a song by the Raconteurs, a Jack White/Loretta Lynn duet, and songs from each of Jack White's two solo albums.

Dead Weather
But somehow we've overlooked Dead Weather, the latter-day supergroup that White put together in 2009, even though "The Difference Between Us" is as compelling a song as anything White has recorded.

If you aren't familiar with 2 or 3 lines a day, you're in for a treat, bitches!  2 or 3 lines a day was a daily blog I did in 2011 -- that's right, 365 posts in 365 days.  

Writing three posts a week for 2 or 3 lines plus a post every effing day for 2 or 3 lines a day purt near killed me, boys and girls.  So I pulled the plug on 2 or 3 lines a day on January 1, 2012.

The final 2 or 3 lines a day post featured some lines from Semisonic's "Closing Time":

Closing time
Every new beginning
Comes from some other beginning's end

Just think about that, dude.  To paraphrase John Lennon, "Closing Time" is . . . so . . . HEAVY!  In the words of Casey Kasem, "It's ponderous, man . . . f*cking ponderous!"  

"The Difference Between Us" was released on Dead Weather's second album, Sea of Cowards, in 2010.  It was co-written by Jack White and Alicia Mosshart, the lead vocalist of The Kills.  (White recruited Mosshart for Dead Weather after The Kills toured with White's other other band, the Raconteurs, in 2008.)

Here's "The Difference Between Us":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jack White -- "Entitlement" (2014)

I'm tired
Of being told
What to do

I second that emotion, Jack White.  All of you people need to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

I mind my own business -- I really do -- but very few of you conduct yourself in the  exemplary manner that I do.

It's bad enough that you don't want me to let me do what I want to do.  But it's even worse that you think you have the right to make me do what you want me to do:

Somebody took away my God-given right
I guess God must have gave it to you
Jack White is all over 2 or 3 lines.  So far, we've featured ten songs by the White Stripes, a song by the Raconteurs, a Jack White/Loretta Lynn duet, and a song from White's first solo album.  (Somehow we've overlooked Dead Weather, a latter-day supergroup that White formed in 2009.)

White released a solo album titled Lazaretto last month.  I was shocked to find it available on Freegal (which is a free music download service offered by many public libraries( and immediately downloaded it.

I haven't listened to it enough to have an opinion as to whether it's good or not.  After I downloaded Lazaretto, I remembered that I had White's previous album, Blunderbuss, which I had never listened to.  So I've been listening to Blunderbuss a lot recently.  

Lazaretto debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart and sold 138,000 copies in its first week of release.  About 40,000 of those copies were vinyl LPs, and that set a record for first-week sales.

Jack White
I was very pleased to receive a copy of the Lazaretto "Ultra LP" as a gift.  There are a few things about that LP that are quite unusual:

-- It has two vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels.
-- It has a hidden track that plays at 78 RPM and one that plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record.
-- Side one of the LP plays from the inside out.
-- The "Just One Drink" track features something called "dual-groove technology": it plays either an electric or acoustic intro for depending on where needle is dropped.  (The grooves merge into one for the body of the song.)
-- There's a matte finish on side two, giving it the appearance of an unplayed 78 RPM record.
-- Both sides end with locked grooves.  (A locked groove is a continuous loop of music the length of one full rotation of the record.  Locked grooves can be silent but are usually used to repeat a second or two of music until you pick up the needle.)
-- The LP's vinyl is pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format.
-- The "dead wax" area on side one contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record.
In this video, Jack White and some bozo in a black shirt and yellow tie talk about the LP . . . and talk . . . and then talk some more.

That sh*t cray!

The following is presented as a public service to any of you ladies who have set your cap for Jack White:

“I’ve always felt it’s ridiculous to say, of any of the females in my life: You’re my friend, you’re my wife, you’re my girlfriend, you’re my co-worker,” he said.  "This is your box, and you’re not allowed to stray outside of it," he said, before weighing in with his thoughts on monogamy: “I gave that up a long time ago. Those rules don’t apply anymore.”

It's other words, Jack White is tired of being told what to do when it comes to women!

Here's "Entitlement":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Brooke Waggoner -- "Ink Slinger" (2013)

I can't contain the words
I am on fire

Brooke Waggoner is a classically trained pianist who played with Jack White when he recorded his debut solo album (Blunderbuss) in 2011, and then went on tour with him in 2012.

Brooke gets credit for the fabulous piano part on "Weep Themselves to Sleep," the Blunderbuss track featured in the previous 2 or 3 lines post.

But Brooke is a recording artist in her own right, with an EP and three albums to her credit.

Brooke and I were both born on May 30, so we are astrotwins (sort of).

Brooke Waggoner
If you want to get all technical, astrotwins are born not only on the same month and day, but also in the same year.  For example, Andy Griffith and Marilyn Monroe were both born on June 1, 1926 -- so they are astro twins.

Brooke Waggoner and I were both born on May 30, but she was born in 1984 and I was born in 19-NOT-84.  So we aren't true astrotwins.

Which may be just as well because Brooke Waggoner's sh*t is almost as cray as Jack White's.  (No wonder he picked her to play on Blunderbuss.)

If you don't believe me, just read what she wrote on her website about recording one of her albums:

This record began as small simple melodies on my spinet piano; a piano that was once a golden honey color -- a glorified brown.

I NEEDED this piano to be black.  In a burst of rash action I bought 9 cans of black spray paint and coated the entire instrument in layers of murky froth.  Pianos are heavy and this one couldn’t be moved.  So my studio, speakers, microphones, books & records were draped with tarps while the vapors clung to the wood.

A party was had.

A black spinet piano
I couldn’t wait 'til it dried to sit down and play the freshly painted instrument.  Surrounded in a cloud of white cloth tarps -- soaring on fumes -- I sat down and wrote songs; songs that bewitched me and are now smeared on the whites of the ivories.  Sweat and paint went into each note.

A party was had.

It was January then and I have a vague recollection of layered coats, dry skin, cracked cuticles on the keys, and passing the Chapstick around.  Harps, organs, big gold brassy instruments, field recordings, French films, basses of all different shapes and sizes, a magical choir, new friends and old somehow found their way into this music.  I’m forever grateful it did.

That sh*t isn't just cray, it's EXTRA cray.  Jack White's sh*t is cray, but I think Brooke Waggoner's sh*t may be even more cray.  (Women are generally crayer than men.)

"Ink Slinger," which is from Brooke's 2013 album, Originator, is a song about the process of songwriting.

The singer in "Ink Slinger" first fixes a pot of tea, then prepares for work:

Lock the doors and bolt the windows
Crack the knuckles, pop the elbows  

Songwriting is thirsty work:

Second cup of tea until this
Finish, 1-2-3, it will diminish

But suddenly the dam bursts, and and the songwriter is slinging ink like crazy::

Honestly, oh me, oh my
I think my nerves are growing high
I can't contain the words; I am on fire

Here's Brooke Waggoner's "Ink Slinger":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jack White -- "Weep Themselves to Sleep" (2012)

And men who fight the world and love the girls 
That try to hold their hands behind them
They won't be left behind by time
Or any rules that try to bind them

I don't think Kanye West was talking about Jack White when he uttered these immortal lines in "N*ggas in Paris":

That sh*t cray!
That sh*t cray!
That sh*t cray!

Kanye followed up "That sh*t cray" with this line:

What she order?  Fish filet?

Rap Genius offers this annotation of that line:

My coworker at our Firestone tire store in Inglewood [CA] used to always complain about women ordering fish filets when he took them to McDonald's because they were more expensive: "She even ordered two of them things.  It's not Easter, b*tch!"

That's a fact, Jack -- it sure as hell ain't Easter!  It's the Fourth of July!  (Or it was when I wrote this post.)

By the way, the Filet-O-Fish is far from the most expensive sandwich at McDonald's. 

The Big Mac is $3.99.  A Quarter Pounder with Cheese (or a "Royale with Cheese" if you're French) is $3.79 -- same as a Filet-O-Fish.

Of course, a Double Cheeseburger is only $1.59.  That's what 2 or 3 lines orders, boys and girls.  (It's delicious!)

But we were talking about Jack White -- whose sh*t is truly cray!

Jack White
Here's some stuff I pulled at random from Jack White's Wikipedia page:

In 2005 on 60 Minutes, White told Mike Wallace that his life could have turned out differently. "I'd got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin, and I was gonna become a priest, but at the last second I thought, 'I'll just go to public school.'  I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn't think I was allowed to take it with me."

It gets weirder:

At 15, White began a three-year upholstery apprenticeship with a family friend, Brian Muldoon. White credits Muldoon with exposing him to punk music and pushing him to play music with Muldoon as a band: "He played drums, well I guess I'll play guitar then."  The two recorded an album, Makers of High Grade Suites, as the Upholsterers. 

And weirder still:

White later started a one-man business of his own, Third Man Upholstery.  The slogan of his business was "Your Furniture's Not Dead" and the color scheme was yellow and black -- including a yellow van, a yellow-and-black uniform, and a yellow clipboard.  Although Third Man Upholstery never lacked business, White claims that it was unprofitable, because of his complacency about money and his business practices that were perceived as unprofessional, including making bills out in crayon and writing poetry inside the furniture.  Shortly thereafter, White landed his first professional gig, as the drummer for the Detroit band, Goober & the Peas.

White formed the White Stripes in 1997 with wife, Meg White.  For some time, they claimed to be brother and sister instead of husband and wife.  (Her real last name is White.  His isn't.)

Meg and Jack White
Jack and Meg White got divorced after releasing two albums as the White Stripes.  They then released four more White Stripes albums.  

White formed the Raconteurs in 2005.  That band released two albums.

He then formed Dead Weather in 2009.  That band also released two albums.

White released his first solo album, Blunderbuss, in 2012.  (Today's featured song is from that album.)  It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and was nominated for the "Best Rock Album" and "Album of the Year" Grammies.

When White toured in support of Blunderbuss, he played with both an all-male backing band (called the Buzzards), and an all-female backing band (called the Peacocks -- although calling them the Peahens would have made more sense).

I've chosen to feature "Weep Themselves to Sleep" from Blunderbuss in part because its dominant instrument is the piano -- a/k/a "The King of Instruments" -- rather than the guitar.  

The pianist featured on this recording is a classically trained pianist and composer named Brooke Waggoner.

Jack White and Brooke Waggoner
I'll have more to say about Brooke in the next 2 or 3 lines.  But all you need to know about her right now is that Brooke and her piano own this song!  (I kid you not!)

Here's "Weep Themselves to Sleep," featuring the fabulous piano of Brook Waggoner.

Click below to order the song from Amazon:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

LaRoux -- "Bulletproof" (2009)

There's certain things 
That should be left unsaid

Truer words were never spoken.  

But while I may agree with that sentiment in theory, it's simply not in my DNA to leave things unsaid.   

If you doubt the truth of that claim, just read the previous four 2 or 3 lines posts.  (And for God's sake, click on my effing ads when you do!)

There may appear to be no connection between our previous featured song -- "Stacy's Mom," by Fountains of Wayne -- and LaRoux's "Bulletproof."

But there is a connection, boys and girls.  Do you not see what that connection is?

You don't?  Really?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?  (That's Mark 8:18, by the way.)

"Stacy's Mom" and "Bulletproof" are sampled in consecutive tracks on the Super Mash Brothers' fabulous mashup album, Mile(y) High Club.  

Here's "Yo dawg, I heard you like music so I put songs in this song so you can listen to music while you listen to music," which samples "Stacy's Mom" (beginning at about 0:55).  [NEWS FLASH: My wildly successful little blog just hit 500,000 page views.  How appropriate is it that we reached that milestone with a smarmy and sophomoric song like "Stacy's Mom"?]

The instrumental track of "Bulletproof" is mashed up with Snoop Dogg's 2007 hit, "Sensual Seduction," at the beginning of the next track, "Blame It On The Adderall." 

La Roux was an English synth pop duo that consisted of singer/songwriter/keyboardist Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid (who never appeared in the group's music videos, or appeared on stage when Jackson performed live).

When she was young, Jackson was a fan of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Nick Drake.  Today, she lists David Bowie, Gerry Rafferty, Depeche Mode, Prince, Madonna and a Swedish electronic duo called The Knife as her influences.

Elly Jackson of La Roux
She is one weird-looking dude -- check out her hairstyle and eye makeup in the "Bulletproof" music video.    

"Bulletproof" is from La Roux's eponymous debut album, which won the Grammy for "Best Electronic/Dance Album" in 2011.  

Here's "Bulletproof":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fountains of Wayne -- "Stacy's Mom" (2003)

And I know that you think it's just a fantasy
But since your dad walked out
Your mom could use a guy like me

The novelist Saul Bellow wrote, "You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half."

That's not a strategy that works for me.  For one thing, I don't have half a life left.  And even if I did have half a life left, it wouldn't be enough time to correct all my mistakes.

To wit, the three recent two 2 or 3 lines posts -- which ran the gamut all the way from awful to awful to awful.

The third-most recent 2 or 3 lines was a tasteless throwaway post about M.I.L.F.s.  Any random 16-year-old high-school dropout could have written something more worthy.  

Let me correct that statement.  I should have said that any random 16-year-old high-school dropout who had just sucked down a six-pack could have written something more worthy.

The penultimate 2 or 3 lines was a tiresome screed on the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision.  If its goal was to provide a first-rate example of polemics and pedantry, it was a huge success.  Otherwise, it kind of sucked.  (Unfortunately, my employee health insurance plan doesn't include morning-after pills for bad ideas.)

And the most recent 2 or 3 lines was an egregious example of what the kids call TMI -- "too much information" -- about my ongoing digestive challenges.  We shall never speak of it again.

But what's past is past.  In the words of Omar Khayyam,

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on

I figure it that's good enough for the Moving Finger, it's good enough for 2 or 3 lines.  So I'm movie' on.

After all, I don't have time to wallow in the Slough of Despond -- that's no way for this pilgrim to progress.  I need to write a whole bunch of new posts before I leave on vacation.

So where do we go from here?  Quo vadis, 2 or 3 lines?

Right back to M.I.L.F.s is where we go!

I somehow missed "Stacy's Mom" when it was released by the Fountains of Wayne on their 2003 album, Welcome Interstate Managers.  The song was a big hit in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, and was nominated for the Grammy for "Best Vocal Pop Performance."

"Stacy's Mom" is your garden-variety M.I.L.F. fantasy.  The song isn't that bad -- it's almost innocent.  But the video is appalling.

"Stacy's Mom" video
The part of the singer is played by a kid who was 12 years old when the video was shot.  He is out of his friggin' mind if he thinks someone's mom could be the least bit interested in him.  

Especially when that someone's mom is portrayed by Rachel Hunter, who is a major hottie.  She was a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model and a Playboy cover girl and Rod Stewart's wife for 16 years.

Rachel Hunter
And a 12-year-old thinks he's going to get his hands on her?  Really?  (WHEN DONKEYS FLY!)

I've been delusional more than once when it comes to a woman's interest in me, but you best believe that this kid is delusional squared when it comes to Stacy's mom -- or delusional cubed.

Check out Stacy's heart-shaped sunglasses:

I'm sure the fact that Stacy's sunglasses closely resemble the sunglasses that Sue Lyon wore in Lolita was no accident:

I don't know why in the world the kid doesn't focus on Stacy instead of her mom.  Stacy is played by a 14-year-old actress named Gianna Distenca, who is a major . . .

I should probably stop right there before it's too late.

"Subtle" is not a word I would use
to describe the "Stacy's Mom" video
Here's "Stacy's Mom" -- I'd suggest watching this video when you're all alone in the house.  Otherwise you might find yourself in the embarrassing situation that the 12-year-old kids finds himself in at the end of the video.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: