Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

Tonite is an astrologer's wet dream. Did I just say that? I know very little about astrology, but the moon in our skies is a blue one, or more precisely the second full moon of the month, with a partial eclipse, and it's made of (blue) cheese. It's also New Years Eve. The term, "once in a blue moon" has come to mean seldom, rarely, or perhaps never. Apply this as you wish, to whatever may be your current milieux. A full moon is prone to wreak emotional intensity or mahyem. Wolves howl at them, and singers sing about them.

"Blue Moon" is a Rogers and Hart standard. Lorenz Hart wrote four different sets of lyrics to it for four different Hollywood films. The one that stuck, has been recorded by hundreds of artists, and the Elvis Presley version of 1954, is in my mind, one of the most beautiful and haunting records ever recorded. Sam Phillips summoned up some real magic that day in Memphis. Another beautiful and different song of the same name, was recorded by Big Star, in the same city twenty years later with another shaman producer--the late great Jim Dickinson--at the helm.

Bill Monroe's 1947 hit, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" is also a standard, in bluegrass, country, and rock 'n roll. Elvis recorded it in the same sessions that yielded "Blue Moon." In Monroe's version, it's a sad and plaintive waltz to a lost love, ("It was on a moonlight night/ The stars were shining bright/ and they whispered from on high/ Your love has said goodbye"). The stars are whispering to Monroe and he asks the moon to shine on the one that's gone and left him blue. Bill Monroe was a spiritual man, and made some of the spookiest records I know. In some folktales, a blue moon has a face and talks to those in it's light. Elvis, states the same, but asks a favor of the moon in a new set of lyrics for the introduction, "Keep on shining bright and bring me back my baby tonite."

What does all this mean? I haven't a clue. Consult an astrologer.

Happy New Year, and may the moon shine on you and yours, brightly, tonight.


"Blue Moon" mp3
by Elvis Presley, 1954.
available on Elvis at Sun

"Blue Moon" mp3
by Big Star, 1974
available on Keep An Eye On The Sky

"Blue Moon of Kentucky" mp3
by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, 1947.
available on Bill Monroe: Anthology

"Blue Moon of Kentucky" mp3
by Elvis Presley, 1955.
available on Elvis at Sun


Rene Saller said...

Wow! Very nice. I love all these songs. (Ella Fitzgerald's Blue Moon is lovely, too.)

Tony Renner said...

uh, did you mean astronomer's wet dream...?

Ted Barron said...

Nope, I meant astrologer (or maybe both), but like I said I don't much about those sort of things. Happy New Year, Tony.

peterrocker said...

Another really nice song is "Once In A Very Blue Moon" written by Pat Alger and sung by Nanci Griffith.
I also remember a good version of Blue Moon by Cybil Shappard

Anonymous said...

i love all these songs.
Blue moons occur once every three years. The last Blue moon in December was 19 years ago. Astrologically, the moon is full in Cancer tonight. The weather is likely to be wet, people are likely to be a little more emotional that usual - emotions bubble to the surface - tear up at sad commercials that sort of thing.. there's a yearning to be home or around people who make you feel at home or people who remind you of home. Hugging is good. Cancerians will be very popular. Maybe lucky! Capricorns may feel like they are in the dark. Don't worry Caps. Embrace your darkness. It's where dreams begin. Happy new year Boogie Woogie Flu.

Ted Barron said...

Thanks Anonymous. Happy New Year to you as well.

Anonymous said...

Ted, I've just discovered your blog, and boy, what fun! Much of what you've put up here is familiar to me, but so much more is completely new, for which I offer much thanks. Without guys like you, most of us out here in the creative wasteland of $$-driven performers would be missing some of the truly priceless gems of both the past and the present. I hope you've been over to Southern Shelter to check out the Vic Chesnutt live stuff there. An incredible loss, and not two days earlier I'd heard his interview with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air." Anyway -- thanks again! I'll be back -- Smitty59