April 30, 2009

Special Report: My Sweet Lord He's So Fine

In 1970, before the Beatles broke up, George Harrison wrote the song "My Sweet Lord" for Billy Preston, the keyboardist who played on "Get Back" & organ on Let It Be. Could this be the first time in your sad life you have heard the name Billy Preston? He's one of those beautiful figures who pops up all thru-out the history of music. I heard he smoked nargileh with C.P.E. Bach & played harmonium in the original production of The Threepenny Opera. The amazing video of him performing the song "My Sweet Lord" at the Concert for George Harrison (his memorial service) in 2002 has been taken off of the youtubes, but here is an older video:

If you don't know this story, it's quite interesting. Harrison released his version as a single in November 1970 & then on his first solo album. In March 1971, royalty payments to Harrison were frozen after the girly rock-pop group the Chiffon's sued him for copyright infringement - the song is very similar to a song they released in 1963 called "He's so fine."

The Chiffons - He';s So Fine
Found at bee mp3 search engine

I recommend the live version, which has a lot more energy, available at iTunes here.

In the court case Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, it was decided that George "unintentionally copied" the earlier song, & relinquished the royalties. This story raises the specter of the greatest fear to any songwriter, accidentally plagiarizing. One of my first music composition teachers told me how he had once written a saxophone quartet, & a friend pointed out after the premier that it had the same melody as a popular television theme song. What a nightmare! Because when a good tune comes to you, sometimes it feels like it sort of came from everywhere & nowhere. Paul McCartney described hearing the song "Yesterday" in a dream, & thinking it was a song he must have heard somewhere. I've also been told the story of a high school musical with music written by a student, how the catchy song at the finale was an unintentional rip-off of John Denver's "Country Roads"; & when that was realized, there was quite a fallout. The story is also a lesson about the artificiality of copyrights. "My Sweet Lord" is not the same song as "He's So Fine". The bridge is quite different, & the tone & subject matter couldn't be more different.

There are several nice twists in the My Sweet Lord / He's So Fine saga. First, is that George Harrison eventually bought the rights to "He's So Fine". The second is that the Chiffons recorded a version of "My Sweet Lord", which is better than their recording of their original:
The Chiffons - My Sweet Lord
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Since this little essay is about how different a song can be, & really come from different places, I want you to hear several other fabulous versions of  "My Sweet Lord". First is a sparse reggae version by The Rudies:

The Rudies - My Sweet Lord
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Jim Nabors, an actor from the Andy Griffith show, sang this inspirational version from his album "Songs of Inspiration":
Jim Nabors - My Sweet Lord
Found at bee mp3 search engine

He definitely gets to the soul of that song - altho perhaps he's missing the point by leaving out the 'hare krishna's. To each his own my sweet lords. I saw on wikipedia that Jim Nabors is from Sylacauga, Alabama, a small town I've traveled to to sing Sacred Harp!

LEAVE THE GROUND - Tasteless Electric Guitar Version

One of my favorite shaped-note folk hymns for the Western Harmony, I wrote last year, is a dark slow goodbye song called "LEAVE THE GROUND." (The illuminations on that shape-note score are by Pele.) We sang it at the new music sing this January, & I also have a pretty version I sing on the guitar. I got out my amp to help a friend test her new slide guitar, & later on my Les Paul, I realized that if you play the open harmonies of "Leave the Ground" with a distortion pedal, they turn into power chords. So, this is probably the most tasteless things I've done to one of my more beautiful pieces, here is the electric guitar version of LEAVE THE GROUND:

UPDATE: The original sounded like suck, so I remastered it. Listen to it again, it's marginally better & cleaner!

These recordings are only demos, I apologize for my inability to produce decently (or, shred, for that matter.) Download that mp3 here. I promise to record a proper pretty version some day. The lyrics:


Leaving here, like departing our lives,
And home to our wives,
Could angels sing in heaven,
Can I finally sleep all night?
Could angels sing in heaven,
We'll be alright.

Hugging our friends, we love you so much,
Embrace like death's touch,
The last dance is the slowest,
Will the weakest win the fight?
The last dance is the slowest,
We'll be alright.

Now we must all shake hands & go home,
It's over & done.
Cherubic cars are waiting,
We must drive till morning light,
Cherubic cars are waiting,
We'll be alright.

"We have a hard time keeping her in clothes"

I was worried I was spending too much time at home on the computer, so I came to the library to use their computers. It was a strange coincidence that, on the week that my Firefox browser has been crashing all the time, I worked as a waiter at a shwanky party for the Mozilla people. I resisted the tempatation to ask for computer help while working behind the soup bar, & I love their AdBlock add-on too much to put my saliva in their Celery Root bisque (which was delicious).

I am listening to the second half of Olaf Mary's "Jenny Ruth 'Bill Clinton' Crawford" Mix Tape Was Lost, too long for one sitting last night, which I recommend especially if you are a young woman going thru some confusing changes. Mr Mary Mohammad, who is the wonderful singer singing "We are riding in a boat to sail" about half-way thru?

Speaking of my housemate's name, & also of the 21st Century ease of finding people with your identical name, we call them namelgängers, my father sent us this image from Reno's Fox News website:

I'm facebook friends with a James Welsch who's a bluegrass musician in Maine, & there's also a classical composer in New York. James Welsch & I proposed starting a James Welsch band. Remember when we found dozens of James Quills, James Quilliam, & James Quillers?

The last anecdote comes from Miss Waswo, who's car is broke down in a small ghost town in California right now. The story is long & descriptive, as only things that happen to her can be, but culminates in being cornered by a creepy man with two chihuahuas. He told her one of his chihuahuas was "BRUTALLY RAPED", but the upside was, that's how he got the other chihuahua. My question is, how does one know when chihuahua love is consensual?

I also wanted to recommend putting "Dolly & Friends" on your Netflix queue. It's spectacular. She's amazingly pure in the 70s, & her guests are fabulous. Except for Kenny Rogers, who seemed like he got a little sauced before going on her show. Dolly Parton will always love you, & as we've learned from the opening song, whenever she's with us she thinks of butterflies:

FarAway Cities

I took these pictures about a year ago on my way east. They seem far away right now and I can't remember what I was thinking when I took them.

April 29, 2009

Two New drawings, One old Drawing

Mix Tape was lost! Vol. 15


CORIVD BRAINS: An Introduction

Corvidae is a family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies and nutcrackers. Collectively its members are called corvids and there are over 120 species. Corvids contain the largest brain, relative to their body size, of any bird. Based on a brain-to-body ratio, the corvid brain equals that of a chimpanzee, is roughly the same as a dolphin, and is only slightly lower than a human. (werecorvi.com)

Lepiota lutea (Yellow Parasol Houseplant Mushroom) & our Mysterious Houseplant

Here's an expurgated e-mail from Miss Cosmo Wernicky from late February 2009, when she first disappeared towards Bubidad, Hindoostan.

fromCosmo Wernicky ______@gmail.com
to"J. Welsch"_@itwaslost.org,
"Jenny Ruth" _______@yahoo.com
dateMon, Feb 23, 2009 at 3:55 AM
subjectRe: Alaine along the riverrun

My dear J.'s,
Do forgive me for writing to you both at the same time; my cyber time has been rather limited by the habit of the B____ to monitor my every move and by the constraints posed on computer use by intermittent availability of electricity in this land of the Hindoos.
Anyway, I miss you both a lot. Happy Birthday J. Craw.
J.--how comes the peace corp process?
J.-I'm most glad to hear about the mushrooms. I recall observing many species of mushrooming up in potted plants during my sojourn at Plant It Earth, notably Lepiota lutea, a lovely yellow variety some may refer to as "yellow penis mushroom mushroom."
well, I'm going to drop a quick line to mary now. I do love you all.
She had given to our Berkeley flat a mysterious houseplant, photographed here decorated for Christmas:

It has since grown about three times as many leaves. (I started watering it daily.) This spring, it began to grow large strange yellow mushrooms. Google searches corroborate it as the Lepiota lutea, or yellow parasol mushroom, which appear more often if organic compost has been used. They grew in several cycles. Each cycle would end with fewer & larger parasol mushrooms, culminating in the masterpiece I am looking at in this photograph:

The era of the Yellow Penis Mushrooms has passed. I expect them early next spring. If anyone can identify the mysterious houseplant she gave us, I think it is in the Erythroxylaceae, altho not Erythroxylum coca of cocaine fame.


Please "like" our band The Manna Tease on facebooks:

More shameless advertisement:
My illuminated nonsense rhyming poetry book - only $2.15 on scribd.com

Schismatic Board Meeting Minutes, 29 April 2009

The Board of Lost of It held an emergency meeting today, to discuss roma-bulgaric travel plans & also a shuffling in the department leadership assignations (as indicated in the "contributors" sidebar, now updated with relevant links: Olaf encourages you to listen to his Mix Tape Was Lost contributions, Quill to read his chronicles & Grainne to visit the artwork on her site.) There was a nasty schism about corvids, & in the interest of partial transparency we publish an excerpt from the board meeting minutes:

Olaf: anyway, Editor - i would be much obliged if you added corvid neuroscientist or researcher

i guess i prefer researcher
11:21 AM if you think it helps our bottom line
me: The board needs to vote on it.
Olaf: okay
me: Would anyone like to nominate Liam as itwaslost.org's official corvid neuroscientist?
Grâce: I don't want liam to be upset.
so, okay
Olaf: hm.
please do not patronize my research
Grâce: no, i mean give him a chance, he says he will back it up with posts
11:22 AM me: Is this a sympathy nomination? That's no way to run a corporation,
Olaf: yes, I will
Grâce: give him a chance to prove himself
me: Could someone please pass the cheese?
Olaf: i dont like you attitude
havent I?
me: All in favor say "ay"
Grâce: ay
me: We have one "ay".
J___ Quill: ay
11:23 AM me: Any dissents?
Olaf: oh SHIIIT!
me: Boom!
Grâce: make it like chrysler- we will give time to prove long-terrm corvid viability
Olaf: BAM!
me: The board is divided.
Cheese break.
Olaf: no it isnt
two votes ay
one vote nay
me: It's sad when there's a fifty-fifty tie.
11:24 AM I can't think of any way to resolve it.
J____ Quill: there are other votes though
me: My nay was really loud tho.
Olaf: oh
11:25 AM Grâce: everything is the same volume in chat
Olaf: we have spent too much time on this - let's move one!
Grâce: cosmo is an obvious ay
me: Brains passed as a the Secretary of the Department of Nonviolent Nondriving in a secret midnight session.
Grâce: an ay one can take for granted
Olaf: closed doors
me: Hookah-smoke-filled room.
11:27 AM J___ Quill: hookah
me: I hereby resolve that we need to hear more from Cosmo Wernicky. She never writes.
11:28 AM J____ Quill: second
me: All in favor.
Grâce: third
J____ Quill: ay
Olaf: AY!
Grâce: ay
Olaf: [...]
me: Corumba
Olaf: I take up all of her internet time
me: A likely story!
Olaf: i apologize
11:29 AM soon she will be more situated and with regular computing access
11:30 AM same goes for Southwerf!
Grâce: quill, how is your cat?
J____ Quill: my Turkish tutor is caring for him at the moment, because I've been out of my apartment a lot lately
soon I will reclaim him
11:31 AM Grâce: I look forward to hanging out with him
J____ Quill: haha. if you tell him you've been studying Turkish, he'll start babbling away to you
me: Are you drinking bulgick beer [...]?
11:32 AM J____ Quill: rakia
and hookah-smokin
me: Damn!
What a board meeting.

Melancholy Day 419 - Tiny Ambiguity in the 1991 Sacred Harp

Visiting singer & teacher Tim Eriksen held a singing school in Berkeley the Saturday before last Sunday's Golden Gate Sacred Harp Convention. For most of the class, we listened to the fundamentals of music & a brief history of folk hymns in America, with a few songs taught part by part. There was a fairly reverent & glad feeling in the room. Then, near the end, after we had sung a bit, he asked if there were any specific songs that confused people. He began going over the parts to page 419, Melancholy Day (composed in 1859 by H.S. Reese to an especially dark text by Isaac Watts. I love this song & try to conduct it super slow, in four. Mr Eriksen said something about how it proves you can make a lot of music without a lot of chords - this song's harmonies are more modal than chordal.) But then the class disintegrated around two ambiguous measures, with everyone arguing & talking over each other - in that special way a well-behaved classroom can combust.

I had to run out the door & go to work at that moment, & I was a bit confused that we were dwelling on this, I don't know how it resolved. But when Mr Greg Freeman led it the next day, it threw me. Look at the way the text is printed for "To those who have no God." The text lines up differently below the treble, alto, & tenor. (In vocal music, when notes are slurred together, it generally means they're sung on one syllable.) We've been singing the tenor lining up incorrectly with the words below it, even tho the way it's slurred lines up with the alto perfectly. In the next edition, they should put the correct words below the tenor. This recording of Alabama's United Sacred Harp Convention in 1959 corroborates the correct way:

Mr David Wright of Seattle, Washington, (in the comment below) tells us that it's an Alan Lomax recording, released in 1977. "To those who have no God" is at 1:07, (the first time thru they sing the shaped-notes.) This short essay about an extremely subtle detail was mainly an excuse to post this excellent song. Here's the lyrics:
Death, ’tis a melancholy day,
To those who have no God,
When the poor soul is forced away
To seek her last abode.

In vain to heav’n she lifts her eyes,
For guilt, a wearing chain
Still drags her downward from the skies
To darkness, fire, & pain.
Isaac Watts' Hymn 123 - Funeral Hymn-Death Dreadful, or Delightful can be read in context HERE. Looks like there's other American folksongs that use the other verses, I'd like to hear them if anyone knows where they can be found!

April 28, 2009

Fake Wedding Reception & Cake-Cutting Photos

If we took a holiday.
Took some time to celebrate.
Just one day out of life.
It would be, it would be so nice.

It would be so nice.

These are the last couple photos from my camera from April 5th, our FAKE WEDDING. The ceremony was above Claremont Canyon at a sunshiny vista in the Berkeley Hills. The above photo is from the hike down. The last few are from the cake-cutting & speeches. There was of course a garter-toss & much dancing to wedding party hits - my favorite of the night was The Outfield's Your Love.
The Outfield - Your Love
Found at bee mp3 search engine

I just wanna use your love tonight!
I don't wanna lose your love tonight!
Use your love-
Lose your love-
Your love!
-The Outfield, J. Spinks.

There are many more photos &c of this party

April 27, 2009

Magical Elixir Recipe

Thank you for staying loyal to this website during our necessary furlough. The true reason wasn't a budget deficit (altho it wasn't not a budget deficit), but that there was the Golden Gate Sacred Harp Convention. And very little time for sleep - on Saturday Night I was mopping up the floor at a cathedral at 2 am after a wild catering event, early Sunday Morning I was working the registration desk for the big sing.

How did I do it? My recipe for magic throat elixir - not that creative, but it does allow you to sing strong for two days straight:

-Boil a pot of water with a bunch of cut-up ginger.
-Brew tea. I recommend making it strong, with Good Earth te
a & Lemon Throat tea.
-Add lots of honey & lemon. Also, maple syrup is delicious.
-Pour it in water bottles with some ice & drink all day.
From the first photos to come in from yesterday's convention, Miss Beer is leading & Tim Eriksen is on the front bench (he held a singing school in Berkeley on Saturday & had a great gig at the Freight & Salvage Sunday night.)

April 25, 2009


The Board of Lost of It regretfully announces, due to bulging backstock & a budget deficit, the blog itwaslost.org will be FURLOUGHED from between the hours of 3am, Saturday, April 25th, & 11am, Monday, April 27th. This economy has hit everyone hard, but we believe that the American blogging industry is the greatest in the world. We thank our loyal customers for their support.

Mr Quill introduced me to google analytics, where we can track the website's statistics. An amazing feature is learning what google searches people have typed in to arrive at your website. I only set it up a week ago, but the top five most common for this week were:

1) laura kirilova chukanov
2) famous non-drivers
3) itwaslost
4) michael jackson castrato
5) curling jokes
But there's several hundred others. Some of my favorites:
-"delphinic fettishes"
-barack & obama & wedding & ceremony & text
-bop shu wop
-did michael jackson lose his viginity to cliona
-does anyone have a recipe for millet cookies?
-dude, this party is dead. you got any of those whippits left? i gotta cracker and some balloons in my car.
-got your scrotum in my mouth tea bag tea bag song ithaca
-pirelli's elixir original label for bottles
-sock fettishes
-we west forever life forever for the grabber
There were a ton about Michael Jackson's balls, Laura Chukanov (Miss Utah), Obama's 'stop smoking NOW' letter, & purple flags. Thank you, world, for googiling interesting things. We apologize for the furlough - - - - - - - times is hard, times is hard...

April 24, 2009

Fake Wedding Party Photo Shoot

Dolly Parton uttered, "you'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap." We proved the opposite principal true at our FAKE WEDDING - here's the third set of photos, of the wedding party & extended family, up in Claremont Canyon in the Berkeley Hills, Celebrating Fake Love for Eternity & a Day:

The Bride & Groom, with the Groomsmen, Maid-of-Honor, & Father-of-the-Bride

The Wedding Party
- Click on that photo for greater detail, & I've provided some handy close-ups:

From left-to-right: New Age Aunt Stella, the Father-of-the-Groom, pervy Uncle Howie.

Groomsman ("Tumbleweed"), Best Man, MILF-of-the-Groom, Groom, Bride, Maid-of-Honor
Seated: Hick shoeless cousin, Conservative bible-thumping cousin.

Bride's Parents, Failed Starlet Childhood friend, Laura Bush,
The US Ambassador to Mauritius, Officiant -

Seated: Ring bearer ("Igor")

Money Father-Daughter shot.

I've got a few more from the hike & cake-cutting, you will wait.
Photos from the ceremony here, the reception here. I believe in Love!