Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Langley Schools Music Project circa 2048?

Brian Turner recently posted a link on WFMU's Beware of the Blog to a fairly jaw-dropping YouTube clip of The Young at Heart Chorus covering Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia." This was the first I'd heard of this group of senior citizens who have been staging theater and musical productions since 1983 (with an obviously high turnover rate in the line-up). Recently, there was a British documentary about the group that yielded the Sonic Youth clip, as well as the one below - a guy hooked to an oxygen machine, covering Coldplay's "Fix You." Music lesson of the day: renditions by ailing senior citizens seem to immediately lend gravitas to any Bed Head-drenched eunuch's schlocky, soccer mom-friendly, musical weepfest. If Rick Rubin is ever granted the power to re-animate the dead, look out; there won't be a dry eye in the house.



You can check out Channel 4's page for another clip from the documentary. Their own site also has links to other articles and coverage. There are items about the group's repertoire of poignant tunes, the occasional "Hey Ya" or Hendrix cover, as well as past collaborations w/ Latino breakdancers, punks, Cambodian folk artists and a production w/ a gay men's chorus called "Flaming Saddles" (I'm sure people were camping in line to see that one. Ha ha, get it? Camp? It's... ha ha... ha... uuuugh, help me, Rip Taylor). I have no idea if any of those last few projects were, y'know, watchable (yes, forgive me for having serious doubts about "Flaming Saddles"), but at least they sound like AARP meetings from Bill O'Reily's worst nightmares, which is fine by me.

Meanwhile, are you itching to hear tracks from the absurdly rare, alternate Velvet Underground & Nico acetate that was bought at a NY street fair for 75 cents and ended up going for $155,401 on eBay, probably to some douchebag emo-trepreneur? For a short time you can get mp3s of the alternate recordings over at Moistworks. The post's author is coy about his source - the party that was auctioning the acetate made a digital backup but I'm not sure if these mp3s originated from them or the poor-quality Japanese bootleg that surfaced a few years ago. In any case, I regret that I couldn't bid on this one past the $130,000 mark. I've currently got my eye on an ultra-rare 12" version of "Rapper's Delight" that replaces the third verse with a clip of Dick Cavett telling an anecdote about Groucho. They say only 5 people ever heard it but everyone who did went out and bought brown turtlenecks.

5 comments:

I love you in the face said...

Wow. You're oh so right - the "Fix You" lyrics seem more weighty and poignant delivered by people who have experienced a whole human life that doesn't feature popstar fame and sex with annoying, twiggy socialite cum actresses. (well, as far as I know anyway). Chris Martin will see this and churn out another tortured tune dealing with his yet unfulfilled desire to be old and bound to a breathing tube.

BayonneMike said...

You don't think those old folks are being a bit exploited by some Rick Rubin wannabe? Why not let them sing songs they like (I doubt there were any Coldplay fans among them)? Sure, it may improve on the original, but why subject them to original to begin with? Why not let them go out learning good songs, songs they've probably heard and enjoyed before?

Chris said...

Mike, yes, that bothered me. There's a link to a CBS news clip on their site that also shows them practicing stuff like "Sweet Jane" and "Lost in the Supermarket," along with more traditional songs like "My Way." The whole thing unfortunately has a drippy, obnoxiously conceptual vibe to it. However, from what I can tell from the other news clips and coverage I saw - not that those would be anything more than puff pieces - they seem to have their faculties and chose to take part, after all. Ultimately, except for the advanced age it's probably not that much different than any other production where the director calls the shots, even though the old folks have certainly earned the right to sing what they want. They seem to be getting into it and enjoying themselves though, and their families apparently appreciate it, so I didn't really expound on the more negative connotations.

BayonneMike said...

That's good to hear, Chris. I guess the idea of me spending my dotage learning My Chemical Romance songs was too horrible to contemplate.

Omar said...

This post is hilarious.