Wednesday 14th April, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thought for Today

Some voice inaudible to man speaks to the month of April, and so we have pink blossoms everywhere.

 

This One Does It For Me!

Ken,

Mr. McKuen is a recent discovery for me and I've been surprised at the depth of his creative endeavors.

I was further surprised to hear he'd recorded one of my most favorite songs, "Time After Time."

What album did this song appear on and did he compose it?

Alexandra McKenzie

"Time After Time" appeared on Rod's album "Alone After Dark," Alexandra. And no, he didn't compose it.

It was written by that incomparable team of Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne and in my book it's the "standard of all standards." Originally recorded by Rod's friend and colleague Frank Sinatra way back in the 40's it's been covered by hundreds of recording artists but I think Rod's version is something very special.

You'll find the lyrics below along with the liner notes from the album.

Alone After Dark

There are many kinds of loneliness; but none can be more meaningful than being by yourself when the lights go out.

A clock ticks somewhere, a car goes by outside, the wind runs back and forth outside the window... and the only things that keep you company are the memories of times when you were not so alone.

Rod McKuen has chosen songs of night and early morning loneliness as a basis for this album, and in a way the whole of this recording represents the whole of Rod. At twenty five he is a man who has lived with love and without. Blonde and blue-eyed, he can look as moody as a modern Hamlet or in an instant smash the spell with a smile. He is contradictory and complex - a romantic realist, an unbeat beatnick who somehow seems happy when he is sad. The world he sings of is real, yet part of a practical fantasy. The combination of these characteristics account for the excitement he generates as a performer.

You will find that familiar standards, such as Imagination and Time After Time take on a new connotation when Rod interprets the lyrics, and relatively unknown songs such as I Walk a Little Faster and the plaintive Ballad of the Sad Young Men seem to say exactly what you are thinking.

We live in a world of sad young men, searching, looking for something to hold on to. A mechanized world, where emotional outlets are few, and music is one of the few things left that offer free expression for the emotions. Rod McKuen’s songs and singing have somehow always been directed to the lonely, even when the lyric is a happy one or the tempo bright.

And Rod’s career has taken many turns. In the Army he was a psychological warfare writer whose scripts were beamed behind the Iron and Bamboo curtains. He has been a night club entertainer, a reader of poetry to jazz accompaniment in the beatnick cellars of his birthplace, San Francisco. His musical compositions range from film and television scores to popular hit songs and he is the author of several books. His acting credits include a contract with Universal - International pictures, where he starred in several films, and appearances on many dramatic and variety television shows.

This album marks yet another departure for Rod. Till now his recording activities have centered on several albums of folk songs and readings for his own works. Here, he tackles the more sophisticated lyrics of big city loneliness, including five original songs written by Rod especially for this album, April People, Till My Ship Comes In, Why Does the Feeling Go Away, Very Warm and the title song Alone After Dark. The effect is “very warm” indeed.

“These are the kind of songs I like to sing when I work in a night club”, says Rod. “A song is as personal as a necktie or a love affair, and it’s got to mean something special to me before I sing it... and if the listener isn’t aware of that, then a singer might just as well confine his efforts to the shower. I liked making this album, because it gave me a chance to work with some of New York’s top-flight musicians... particularly Jack Pleis, Gloria Regney, Ellis Larkins and the wonderful soprano Miriam Workman. The only problem was making an album of this kind is selecting the songs, there are so many to choose from”.

Till the early hours then, when the daylight comes back to greet you Rod McKuen’s Alone After Dark.

- Martin Cohen

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ROD McKUEN CONCERTS

ROD McKUEN APPEARANCES

notable birthdays Paavo Berguland o Richie Blackmore o Robert Carlyle o Julie Christie o Brad Dillman o Sarah Michelle Gellar o Sir John Gielgud o Anthony Michael Hall o George Frederick Handel o Mary Healy o Valerie Hobson o Gloria Jean o Loretta Lynn o Bobby Nichols o Pete Rose o Rod Steiger o Annie Sullivan o Arnold Toynbee o Julian Lloyd Webber
Rod's random thoughts Children are God’s fingerprint.

Ego should contribute to life, not override it.

If you keep the heart alive a little longer, love will come.

TIME AFTER TIME

Time after time
I tell myself that I’m
so lucky to be loving you.

Lucky to be
the one you run to see
in the evening
when the day is through.

I only know what I know
the passing years will show
you’ve kept my love so young
so new.

And time after time
you’ll hear me say that I’m
so lucky to be loving you.

And time after time
you’ll hear me say that I’m
so lucky to be loving you.

 - by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. From the album "Alone After Dark"

 
    AND FINALLY

If you have a favorite McKuen song, poem or story you'd like to share, or a question you need answered, drop me a line (you'll find the address on our Contact Page) and I'll feature your request right here one Wednesday soon.

-Ken, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 14

 
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