About a year ago Leon Redbone and Dr. John, two of Bill Cushing's favorite musicians, died. For this reason, the image of a yahrzeit candle stuck in my mind when I decided to publish Bill's poems tonight.
THE REDBONE PANTOUM
Leon decked out in black, Ray-Bans perched on
a Syrid nose, his drooping moustache surrounds
the soul patch: a musical sage
peering from beneath that Panama hat.
Leon fretted multi-tonal sounds
from each and every timeless tune
with a voice sometimes smooth, then scat,
while coaxing that acoustic guitar.
Leon, ageless as a harvest moon,
did not die so much as exit the stage,
returning to the Araby bazaar,
and though gone, he continues to shine on.
So Long, Dr. John
Bid farewell to New Orleans’ favored son:
after more than a six-decade run
infusing sound with flamboyant fun,
we woke up to learn that Dr. John
had folded his sheet music and was gone.
He left us music that was c’est bon
making whoopee with syncopated ease
as hands danced and flirted across keys,
taking us back in time, but now he’s
in the right place at the wrong time.
He could make voodoo blues sublime
like Mardi Gras goes on all the time.
Both poems are in Bill's chapbook Music Speaks. So are some of the other poems you may have read at The Song Is... You may purchase a signed copy of the chapbook from him for $20 if you email him at email@example.com.
Let's add a few songs for you tonight. I'll start with Leon Redbone.
This performance of "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" is from 1977: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUxbInKev-o
This is Redbone's version of "Shine On Harvest Moon": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGUW0uAwDyw
Here is his "Champagne Charlie": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnNEXcLNUxo
And these are a few songs from Dr. John.
This version of "Right Place, Wrong Time" is from the 2012 Guitar Center's Battle of the Blues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6RtVmc5dSE
This version of "Gris Gris" is from the 1970 Piknik Dutch Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfN4Bn7LWxo
I'll finish with his version of "Such a Night" from The Last Waltz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCRrXZP8b0I
Enjoy, and see you later in the week!