Friday, July 10, 2009

Four for mom and one for Mina

My mom Kara was cremated yesterday. She wanted no memorial service, but she wanted folks to sing during the time. I was teaching class and found out the exact time only later, so no singing from me at the appointed time, unfortunately. My sister Karlacita! sent a list of songs that she and mom chose for the occasion, and I've added a few choices of my own. None of the songs I've chosen is perfect, but then again, neither am I.

The Waters of Babylon David LaMotte

This song was chosen by Karla, and it is the closest to perfect of all the selections. She gave a link to the version from Mad Men, where the beautiful song is played as we watch a dialog free montage of the ridiculously beautiful cast, including Rosemary DeWitt, Jon Hamm, Maggie Siff, January Jones, Christina Hendricks and Jon Slattery. (Yes, the guys are ridiculously beautiful, too.) Embedding of that is disabled, so I chose this version of David LaMotte singing a round with himself using one of those echo machines I know instill avarice in my baby sister.

What'll I Do Bearly

My first choice is almost perfect. It's one of the greatest songs Irving Berlin ever wrote, which makes it one of the greatest songs ever written by anyone. It's about lost love, so it fits the mood. The only flaw is the line "wondering who's kissing you", but ignoring that, the lyric fits my mood almost precisely. There were a lot of versions on You Tube, but this was my favorite for being the best of the simplest. This guy is a German singer, he looks a little ragged but he has a lovely voice and excellent taste, so he is the one I most identify with, if I may be a little immodest.

Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father Randy Newman

Here the imperfection is obvious in the title, as we have the wrong gender of the missing parent. Still, it's a lovely tune. There's a version sung by Linda Ronstadt, whose voice is much prettier than Newman's, but I love the strings behind Newman in this version.

I Am Weary, Let Me Rest The Cox Family

The flaw here is that the song is about a child dying in the arms of her mother, which is of course the other way around from what happened this week for me and mine. But I love the sound of the Cox family, especially lead singer Suzanne. When singing together, my family can sound pretty good on occasion as well.

Put Your Records On Corinne Bailey Rae

This perky tune is probably not a sad song for the rest of the planet, but I first heard it and saw the video a few months after my friend Mina Millett died. Ms. Rae looks like Mina when she was young, and to think of how few summers were allotted to Mina still hurts me.

Every few months I listen to this to see if I can get through the whole thing without crying. Obviously, not yet.

Have a good weekend and thanks to everyone who has sent me their condolences and best wishes.


Dr. Zaius said...

My condolences for your loss.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I remember singing a Rivers of Babylon in French somewhere...

It's a beautiful text and this performance was stunning. An appropriate memorial for your dear mother.

Karlacita! said...

Thank you Matthew! These are fabulous!

My choir sang to her on Wednesday. We did Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, which she loved.

Do you want to do Babylon together at her memorials?

I love you very much.

namastenancy said...

What a moving tribute to a lovely lady. I am sorry that I never made it over to meet her in person. By the time I figured out the solution to my transportation issues, she had moved to Santa Rosa. But her love and your love comes across in these posts. What did Lennon say - love is all there is?