Monday, February 10, 2014

Music Monday ~ Roberta Flack 's and other Impossible Dreams

Roberta Flack, has a birthday today. Ms Flack is a superb interpreter of songs of many of our best songwriters including, among others, Leonard Cohen (Suzanne), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Until It's Time for You to Go), Jimmy Webb (Do What You Gotta Do), Bob Dylan (Just Like a Woman), Lennon-McCartney(whole album), and Ewan MacColl, who wrote what proved to be a Grammy-winning hit for both of them: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Her interpretations of songs are different - how could it be otherwise, she was born with both Sun and Moon in Aquarius! Her version of The Impossible Dream, long a favourite song of mine from the musical Man of La Mancha also strays from the standard interpretation.

This is a great song any way it's dished up, so, three more for good measure follow after this:

Quote from Man of La Mancha
I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is. Pain, misery, hunger ... cruelty beyond belief. I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets. I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle ... or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I have held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no gallant last words ... only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question, "Why?"
I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where
the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong
And to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star.
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march,
march into hell
For that heavenly cause.
And I know
If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart
Will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest.
And the world will be
better for this
That one man, scorned
and covered with scars,
Still strove with his last
ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

You spoke of a dream, and about the quest … how you must fight — and it doesn't matter if you win or lose — if only you follow the quest.

Jaques Brel's anguished performance of the song in his own French translation of the stage musical:

Tom Jones with a more standard version. This video has interesting images included:

Joe Longthorne (who's he?) I'd almost forgotten myself, but once reminded it all came back to me, how I was once a great fan of his. He's a talented guy from the city of my own birth, Hull, East Yorkshire, England. He has had to fight serious health problems, lymphoma, leukemia. I'm happy to find he appears to have overcome them, and "reached the unreachable star". He's a great impersonator as well as a really good vocalist in his own right, his takes on Shirley Bassey, Sammy Davis Jnr, Sinatra, and others are a sight to see with voices to match.


mike said...

The lyric to the "Impossible Dream" is phenomenally succinct to the condition of life for many. Sometimes a dream is the only remaining possession.

Susan Boyle's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" became her own impossible dream...I enjoyed the audience's dressing-down of her presence prior to her vocalization, then uproarious applause in disbelief of her elan.

The "Impossible Dream" reminds me of the Hindu trinity of Brahma (creator), Vishnu (maintainer), and Shiva (destroyer). There is constant tension between Vishnu and Shiva with temporary imbalances favoring one or the other, but always returning to stability. The "Impossible Dream" is created by the struggle of good vs bad, yin-yang, hope vs despair, creation vs destruction. The struggle can be man-made or a natural's all from the same universal pattern. There will always be saviors and there will always be despots.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Timeless and ever-relevant lyrics they are - yes.

Susan Boyle surprised everyone, even herself, I think, but I often wonder whether her dream became a nightmare she couldn't cope with comfortably.
I too enjoyed seeing the unfeeling rudeness of audience and judges regarding her appearance being slapped down once she began to sing.

Regarding your last paragraph mike - tomorrow's post might have some loose connection - I'll leave it to you to decide whether there is one. :-) I've been preparing the post this morning (though had it down for Wednesday - I shall now swap it and post it tomorrow instead).