Thursday, September 8, 2011

An old song re-sung

Last night the most unbelievable thing happened.

My encyclopaedic knowledge of Stephen Foster songs came in handy!!

I met Howard downtown at the Hyatt after work so we could hear Jackie Jocko. Howard and I live like college students. We hook up. Anyway, we were listening to Jocko sing and play the piano. And sometime during the course of the evening this gentleman comes up with his wife. And he asks Jocko for "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair."

This guy and his wife, they were adorable. Looked to be in their 40s or 50s, and both of them half in the bag. The woman's name was Ginny, or Jenny, something like that, and she had light brown hair, and that was apparently "their song." The husband was Asian, Chinese I am guessing. Handsome and distinguished-looking. They were hugging each other and asking Jocko for "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair."

Jocko did what he always does and faked it. "I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair..." he started.

Then he dropped off and just played the music. I was sitting next to the piano and I chimed in.

"Borne like a vapor on the summer air!" I sang.

What a strange line that is, when you think about it. Ghostly! But beautiful.

The husband, the Chinese husband, lit up.

"That's right!" he beamed.

All my life I have waited for someone to appreciate me knowing this song!

Stephen Foster songs ... still relevant. I just wished we could have gotten to my favorite line, which is "sighing light the night wind and sobbing like the rain..." In a way it is a pity that "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" got trivialized because of the sitcom "I Dream of Jeanie." This is a weird song.

I am charmed by this arrangement by Ned Rorem.

It has a great unresolved ending.

I think Ned Rorem "got" this song.

It is weird.

But beautiful!

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