"Since the First World War Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation."

Norman Mailer
"The whole work of healing Tellus depends on nursing that little spark, on incarnating that ghost, which is still alive in every people, and different in each. When Logres really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China--why then it will be spring."

"This new history of yours," said McPhee, "is a wee bit lacking in documents."

C.S. Lewis

Synchronicities this week

  • June 24 Midsummer/St. John’s Day
  • June 24, 1947 The first flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold.
  • June 24, 1542 St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic and poet, is born.
  • June 24, 1938 500 ton meteorite lands near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
  • June 24, 1717 First Free Masons' grand lodge founded in London.
  • June 24, 1374 A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.
  • June 24, 1314 Battle of Bannockburn; Scotland regains independence from England.
  • June 24, 843 Vikings destroy Nantes.
  • June 23 Midsummer’s Eve
  • June 23, 1972 Nixon & Haldeman agree to use CIA to cover up Watergate.
  • June 23, 1942 Germany's latest fighter, a Focke-Wulf FW190 is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales.
  • June 23, 1888 Frederick Douglass is 1st African-American nominated for president.
  • June 23, 1848 Workers’ insurrection in Paris.
  • June 23, 1713 The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada. They choose the latter, migrate to Louisiana, and become Cajuns.
  • June 21 Summer Solstice (11:28 a.m.).
  • June 21, 1964 Three civil rights workers-Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney-are kidnapped and murdered by the Klan in Mississippi .
  • June 21, 1948 The 33 1/3 RPM LP record is introduced by Columbia Records.
  • June 21, 1944 Ray Davies of the Kinks born in London.
  • June 21, 1916 Mexican troops beat US expeditionary force under Gen Pershing.
  • June 21, 1877 The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrant labor activists, are hanged in Pennsylvania prisons.
  • June 20, 1947 Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, gangster, the “man who invented Las Vegas,” shot dead in Beverly Hills, Cal.
  • June 20, 1909 Errol Flynn, greatest of the swashbucklers, born in Hobart, Tasmania.
  • June 20, 1944 Congress charters Central Intelligence Agency.
  • June 20, 1943 Detroit race riot kills 35.
  • June 20, 1893 - Lizzie Borden acquitted in murder of parents in New Bedford Mass.
  • June 20, 1871 Ku Klux Klan trials began in federal court in Oxford Miss.
  • June 20, 1837 Queen Victoria at 18 ascends British throne ; rules for 63 years ending in 1901.
  • June 20, 1756 146 British soldiers imprisoned in the "Black Hole of Calcutta." Most die.
  • June 20, 1631 The Irish village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian pirates.
  • June 20, 1214 The University of Oxford receives its charter.
  • June 20, 451 Germans & Romans beat Attila the Hun at Catalarinische Fields.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gilding the Lily: The Remastered Beatles

As with every mystery, literal and metaphorical camps battle over the interpretation of the Beatles. The literalists want there to be a literal, comprehensible, even if awful, solution to the mystery of the Beatles. The search for the pseudonymous bootleg, the lost killer outtake, the “Carnival of Light,” the Masked Marauders, the clues to the death of Paul, even, down at the abyssal end of the chain, the Manson family’s Helter-Skelter delirium--these are all at one end or the other of the literalist quest.

But just as scriptures are richest when read metaphorically, so too with the Beatles.

Don’t look outside the work for miraculous validation, says the metaphorical view. Look deeper into it. The miracles are buried layer on layer in the work. Understand the puzzling, suggestive, evocative elements not as mysteries with a literal solution like a detective story, but metaphors designed to produce, as Owen Barfield said about poetry, “a felt change of consciousness.”

With its implied suggestion of a definitive revelation, of long-buried gold coming to the surface, the remastered Beatles catalog released this fall is in one sense a classic literalist project. The CDs come with a lot of fanfare and some inevitably excited expectations. “You’re going to be knocked…out,” my CD-store guy—normally cool as a cucumber in the face of hype—breathlessly assured me.

To get a manageable handle on the remastered catalog, I’ve taken two albums, one from the early ‘60s beginnings—With the Beatles--and one late ‘60s high point—Revolver. I then picked a “good part” from each song—a hook, a chorus, a riff, a bass line, a drum fill, a noise, a shout, the bits of gratuitous inspiration that great performances throw off. At these isolated high water marks, I’ve compared the remastered version with the previous CD version. Here are the results.

Read the rest at BlueGrassSpecial.com