The Song-Poems.

John F. Kennedy Was Called Away.
Baby, Set Your Date On Time.
Richard Nixon.
Jimmy Carter Says Yes.
Convertibles and Headbands.
Little Rug Bug.

The wonderment of the Song Poem has led a long and prosperous life. Advertisements in magazines and whatnot—especially the latter—calling for “non-professional” “poets” to go ahead and send in their masterworks, and have them set to music, have resulted in…improbable finished products. Many of the above sampling are the work of Rodd Keith, the so-called “Mozart” of the song poem. One Norm Burns takes a shot at some others. All are indisputable in their existence.

Hand of the Poet: Jarvis Cocker.

A Sheffield lad, Pulp’s Jarvis Branson Cocker remains a titan and figurehead of the British music world. The “Erotic Coathanger”‘s quirky, enigmatic ways make him a source of immense curiosity to millions. Then, there are his hands, the antics of which are unprecedented in the annals of such things.

The Gordon Lightfoot.

Seven Island Suite.

The great Gordon Lightfoot, who is not only a legend in the music world, but {arguably} rates as the highest-ranked Canadian of all time, has written some of the most iconic and memorable songs ever. A mere sampling is here presented, including some criminally neglected gems.

Paul Weller and The Jam.

The angry, but smartly suited, young men of The Jam, featuring vocalist and “Modfather Paul Weller, combined briskly tempoed rock with Motown R&B to exceptional effect. Weller went on to further fine doings with The Style Council before launching a solo career.

Townes Van Zandt.

Composer/Vocalist Townes Van Zandt is responsible for many poignant masterpieces; this represents merely a small-ish sampling. Loretta would be a prime example; though the lyrics are warm, a sense of melancholy nonetheless pervades the song. His “hit” Pancho and Lefty was covered by Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard, and wistfulness clearly prevails. The powerful Waitin’ Around to Die speaks for itself.

Tremendously influential, Van Zandt led a life that was quite troubled, being tormented not only by his bipolar condition, but by numerous addictions which eventually cost the great man his life. He contributed in ways difficult to fathom, however, to the musical landscape, and will not soon be forgotten.

David Bowie.

A modest collection of brilliant live performances by Mr. Bowie, with a wondrous, pared-down demo thrown in for good measure. The constantly reinventing, quasi-androgynous David Robert Jones {his birthname} pioneered his way through the music world, leaving the landscape forever altered—with new worlds and vistas previously undreamt of—in his wake.

The Bounding of The Al Stewart.

Two mighty renditions of this Bounding classic.

The maestro of haunting, enigmatic songster-ing, Al Stewart not only achieved immortality via his Bounding {Glaswegian Method}exploits; some of the most indescribably poignant, mysterious works ever composed/performed are entirely his doing.

Stewart here performs the timeless, iconic Year of the Cat; the mighty Lord Grenville {perhaps his finest, most evocative composition…}; and Palace of Versailles, so difficult to ignore or forget.

World’s Greatest Vocalist: Dwight Yoakam.

Dwight Yoakam can simply do the impossible with his voice. See North to Alaska, among many others, for evidence. He steps into the very large shoes of legend Johnny Horton, and…whoa. A transcendent, jaw-dropping, awe-inducing performance. And, the same can be said of his live 2013 reading of the Red Simpson-penned Close Up The Honky Tonks. Even a young, inexperienced Yoakam—in his 1985 performance above, he shyly asks the audience if they like the show—kills it. A not-many-times-an-epoch talent.