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Friday on my Mind 207: The Price of Love. RIP Don Everly

Don Everly, half of pioneering rock music duo the Everly Brothers, who had an undeniable impact and influence on musical acts who succeeded them, including The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, died earlier this week. (I noted his brother Phil’s passing in 2014.)

Don was 81. (Astonishingly, the obituary in the printed edition of the Guardian said he was survived by his mother, who has therefore reached a very good age)

By the time I got to listening to music in the mid-60s the Everlys star had waned somewhat but their harmonies still had a distinctive edge.

This song, written by the brothers, was the Everlys last big hit in the UK.

The Everly Brothers: The Price of Love

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Isaac Donald (Don) Everly: February 1/2/1937 –21/8/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 48: I Am a Rock

“A winter’s day/In a deep and dark December.”

Today is just about as deep and dark as December gets.

So here’s a song about darkness in the soul.

Simon and Garfunkel: I Am a Rock

Reelin’ In the Years 144: Sixty Years On/Have Mercy on the Criminal. RIP Paul Buckmaster

Master musical arranger Paul Buckmaster died last month. I only got to know about it when his obituary appeared in the Guardian. I first knowingly encountered Buckmaster’s work on Elton John’s second album Elton John but I had heard it before on David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

Buckmaster’s importance to the overall sound of that eponymous album is most to the fore on Sixty Years On. I hadn’t heard anything like that on a pop record before (not even from The Beatles) except possibly for the orchestral backing to Simon and Garfunkel’s Old Friends on the Bookends album.

Elton John: Sixty Years On

Elton’s next two studio albums Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water also used Buckmaster’s arrangements to great effect as did his film score for Friends but his presence was missing on Honky Chateau. Elton turned to Buckmaster again with the stunning Have Mercy on the Criminal from Don’t Shoot me I’m Only the Piano Player.

Elton John: Have Mercy on the Criminal

Paul John Buckmaster: 13/6/1946 – 7/11/2017. So it goes.

Reelin’ In The Years 60: The Only Living Boy in New York

This only just creeps in as it was a January 1970 release, on the Bridge Over Troubled Water LP.

Never a single, to my mind this is the best song on the album; better even than the title track. The choral effect given by the multi-tracking of the duo’s voices is sublime.

Simon and Garfunkel: The Only Living Boy in New York

Friday On My Mind 9: America

Not a single, in the UK at least, so it doesn’t really conform to the artificial rules of this category; but hey! It’s perfection.

Simon And Garfunkel: America

Friday On My Mind 8: The Boxer

Sometimes when I hear this song it reminds me of lying in bed in a Nissen hut in Killin recovering from a cartilage operation. It came over the hospital radio one day.

Ah! The potency of music to unlock memories.

Most usually, though, I just think how good it is.

Unless it was played that week I was in hospital, this is unusual in that it reached the top ten without ever being featured on Top of the Pops.

The reason for that was probably its length. The Boxer is one of those long fade-out songs like Hey Jude. Except this doesn’t fade out. It ends.

Sublimely.

Simon And Garfunkel: The Boxer

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“A Winter’s Day, In A Deep And Dark December”

This morning it was pretty dark when I left the house. Well, it is only one week away from the shortest day and the overcast didn’t help. But it seemed much worse than last week and Friday was only three days ago. It was still more or less dark when I got to work and also when I left to drive home. So I’ve barely seen any daylight.

Dawn still gets progressively later over the next week and even though sunset has passed its earliest by now it gets later by a smaller margin so the days still shorten.

Had the clocks not changed in October I would already have had a month or so of travelling to work in the dark (with daylight only appearing around ten o’clock) and there would have been little or no lightness in the evening to compensate. Plus after the New Year another month of the same grind to get through.

(I’ve heard that people in Norway who only get one hour of daylight at this time of year don’t bother with it and just keep their curtains closed.)

As it is the mornings will be brightening from the beginning of January. And there’s a holiday season coming up. Reasons to be cheerful. Maybe.

I might give the game tomorrow night a miss, though.

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