Tag Archives: al jolson

The man who couldn’t cry

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Loudon Wainwright wrote and performed The Man Who Couldn’t Cry without making much of a splash.  Fairly typical of Loudon Wainwright, despite the fact he’s always had my vote for president or anything else he might want to do.

However, Johnny Cash is another man who has always had my vote and I’ll confess he does about as fine a job on the song as Wainwright.  As far as I know those two are the only people who’ve ever performed it.

Think about it.  We live in this amazing time.  The oldest, most musically astute of us probably couldn’t name more than a couple of 19th Century singers.  We know they sang and people loved their singing, Lola Montez, Lillian Langtry.  But we’ve never heard them do it.

For we 21st Century folks, though, Al Jolson’s still alive out there singing Mammy, Waiting on the Robert E Lee and Anniversary song.  In two part harmony with Lee Marvin singing I Was Born Under a Wandrin Star in Paint Your Wagon.  The Kingston Trio are their young selves being the Cumberland Three singing Civil War Songs, or as themselves rendering another South Coast and Seasons in the Sun.

It isn’t just the listening, either.  Incredibly, we can wander around on YouTube and watch young Lonnie Donnegan sing Jack of Diamonds and Chuck Berry perform Se La Vie Say the Old Folks.

A briefly popular song from 1961-62 used to run through my head, Dear One, by the Ravens.  I asked lots of people through the years if anyone remembered it with never a soul answering they did.  But there it is on YouTube.  Horrid song.  I can’t believe I loved it back when then was then.  But there you are.

But I’ve digressed.  I was listening to MP3 shuffling through songs, passing the time, and heard Johnny Cash singing The Man Who Couldn’t Cry.  I never recalled hearing it before.  Laughed and snorted, looked it up on YouTube to watch him sing it.  When Jeanne got home between jobs I played it for her to provide a laugh.

“Who’s that singing it?  That’s a Loudon Wainwright song!”

“Eh?  No, that’s Johnny Cash.”

“I know it’s a Loudon Wainwright song.  Look it up!”

Okay, spang robbed my macho.  Hell, until we met Jeanne had never heard of Loudon Wainwright.  [Nor a lot of her other favorite performers, I hasten to brag]  But here she is thanks to it being the 21st Century when all the singers of the 20th Century are still alive and young if they wanted to be, here’s Jeanne instructing me on whether that’s a Johnny Cash song, or a Loudon Wainwright song.

And the cool thing about that is the day is coming when nobody who loves Johnny Horton singing Miss Marcy will have been alive when Johnny Horton sang it.  People will probably dance to Al Jolson singing Anniversary Song and be as moved as they were in 1950.

At least as long as the Internet lasts.  Probably around December, this year.

Old Jules

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Post card art, lousy dreams and cats

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.  Jeanne’s about to zoom away on her morning bicycle ride, trying to find something long sleeved to block something just this side of the morning chill.    She says she had a lousy dream last night, dreamed Leonard Cohen died.  Bummer.

I recall dreaming Al Jolson died sometime a few years ago, but the fact he’d been dead several decades already took the edge off it.  Not a good dream, but better than when he actually did it.  I was in grammar school at the time and it’s the first time someone I really liked died, I think.  He had just come back from a USO tour visiting troops in Korea and went kerplunk.  Lousier than dreaming about it.

Anyway, in spite of myself I’ve been allowing my mind to wander into Jeanne’s Library job postcard art project.  http://librarymailart.wordpress.com/

Trying to think of something that could be forced down the throat of the post office as a post card and sent over there to be forced down their thoats disguised as art.  I’m considering gluing a 78 rpm record to a 33 rpm LP, a 45 rpm single, and a CD and putting address and stamps on the whole shebang.  Might do it yet if I can find the 78 and 33.

But I wanted to sneak around and tell you about cats, mostly.  That cat documentary at the top got me thinking about Hydrox and might have given me a dream about Niaid last night, or maybe she was just saying hi.  A lot better than dreaming about Al Jolson or Leonard Cohen.

Hydrox, by the way, is hanging in there, and I’m including him in my gratitude affirmations numerous times every day.  Been spending portions of almost every night outdoors doing what cats do.

And I’m about to toodle off to physical therapy to do what old human guys do when they’re hanging in there day to day, including themselves in their own gratitude affirmations numerous times every day.

Old Jules