Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Paradoxical Waltz

The waltz is magnificently improper -- the art of tone turned lubricious. There is something about a waltz that is irresistible. Try it on the fattest and sedatest or even on the thinnest and most acidulous of women, and she will be ready, in ten minutes, for a stealthy smack behind the door -- nay, she will forthwith impart the embarrassing news that her husband misunderstands her and drinks too much and is going to Cleveland, O. on a business trip tomorrow.

H.L. Mencken, 1919.

Sorry for the lull, but I've been dealing with some complications of the heart here in Fluville, and fearing that perhaps I may be toeing the line toward the maudlin, I've restrained myself from dragging you listeners through my personal life.

However, there's just too much good music to ignore, and for reasons too complicated to explain I got to thinking about waltzes. So, forgive me while I indulge myself here for a bit - and then we shall resume our regularly scheduled programming - whatever that may be.

Today, we'll listen to some sad songs composed in a time signature that exists for an intimate dance. Therein lies the paradox. Not all waltzes are sad, yet 3/4 time or 6/8 - the imperfect waltz - lends itself well to songs of sadness, longing and loss.

The waltz, originated as a peasant folk dance - La Volta meaning "the turn" from Volver "to revolve." Louis XIII found it to be immoral for its sensual movements. The German word for this is waltzen, and it was from Austria where it emerged as a musical form most notably through Johann Strauss.

That's not what we're gonna listen to here.


"The Old Country Waltz" mp3
by Neil Young, 1977
available on American Stars 'n Bars

"I'm So Lonesome, I Could Cry" mp3
by Hank Williams, 1951
available on 40 Greatest Hits

"Weary Blues From Waitin'" mp3
by Hank Williams, 1952
available on
40 Greatest Hits

"Alone And Forsaken" mp3
by Hank Williams, 1949
available on The Complete Hank Williams Box Set

"The Last Waltz" mp3
by Webb Pierce, 1951.
available on More and More

"Kentucky Waltz" mp3
by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, 1948.
available on Anthology

"I Wonder If I Care As Much" mp3
by The Everly Brothers, 1958.
available on The Complete Cadence Recordings

"Dancing With Tears in My Eyes" mp3
by X, 1982.
available on Under The Big Black Sun

"Waltz #2 (xo) mp3
by Elliott Smith, 1998
available on XO

"Long, Long, Long" mp3
by The Beatles, 1968
available on The Beatles

A pair of songs written in 4/4 and covered in the ternary meter.

"Oh, Lonesome Me" mp3
by Neil Young, 1970.
available on After The Gold Rush

"Girl Don't Tell Me" mp3
by Jay Sherman-Godfrey, 2006.
available on Twoscore


"You Don't Miss Your Water" mp3
by William Bell, 1961.
available on The Soul of a Bell

And finally, a pair of songs that walk hand in hand down life's lonely highways and an early John Fogerty number that starts in 6/8 and takes off after the break when it switches to 4/4...

"Edge Of Town" mp3
by Clare Burson. 2007.
available on Thieves

"I Found A Reason" mp3
by The Velvet Underground, 1970.
available on Loaded

"You Better Get it Before It Gets You"
by The Golliwogs 1967.
available on Creedence Clearwater Revival Box Set


Wornoutmorgan said...

I'm sorry for your heart trouble mister. Last bout I had, I let the man at the record shop sell me a Webb Wilder disc - 'Town and Country', and followed connections, real and imagined, from there. Went through some Watermelon (label)records first, like the Derraillers, prod. by Dave Alvin, and found a bunch of his I never knew existed, Kimmy Rhodes, even Robbie Fulks - about 100 miserable albums later my heart trouble cleared up and I had a wonderful musical library section.

Ted Barron said...

thanks anthony.

oschene said...

I love a good waltz collection:
Rock on!

oschene said...

Hmm, I don't think that worked...

Let's try once more:

Richard said...

I'm notoriously hard to please & as such would dearly have loved it if you'd put up Ernest Tubb's WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS or even Alex Chilton's take on same...there you go 2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 etc etc....