I'll Shoot The Moon - The Black Rider [215]

A second week with Jenny Conley-Drizos sees her talking with Sam and Martin about restraint, morbidity and violence in this crooner ballad. With some of Sam’s “Overworked Lyric Unpicking” (patent pending) and Martin’s Smooth Marble Egg theory of music, we have one of the most stereotypical episodes of Song by Song yet... sorry folks, we’re 100% on-brand this week.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I'll Shoot The Moon, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

I'll Be Seeing You, Dreamy, Sarah Vaughan (1960)

I'll Shoot The Moon at 1h26m30s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

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Gospel Train/Orchestra - The Black Rider [214]

The mental gymnastics are in full force for this odd atonal instrumental, as Martin and Sam are joined by Jenny Conley-Drizos of the Decemberists to discuss the orchestral creation of “the essence of train”, Scott Johnson’s intense 80s editing strategies, and to list some instruments Sam has owned but never bothered to practice. 

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Gospel Train/Orchestra, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

John Somebody Part 1, John Somebody, Scott Johnson (1982)

Scott Johnson: Soliloquy (1991) from How It Happens (The Voice of I.F. Stone), Short Stories, The Kronos Quartet (1993)

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Russian Dance - The Black Rider [213]

It's St. Petersburg or bust this week for Charlie, Martin & Sam, as Waits pulls out a shortcut to the traditional music of Russia (Soviet, Tzarist or otherwise) for this odd interstital moment in both the album and the play. I usually write something which vaguely describes the episode here, but really you should just stop reading, go to the website and watch every single Little Big video right now. k thx bye.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Russian Dance, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

Skibidi, Antipositive pt. 2, Little Big (2018)

Skibidi (Romantic Edition), Single remix, Little Big (2018)

Russian Dance at 1h29m6s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

Soviet Anthem scene from The Hunt For Red October (dir. McTiernan), via YouTube (1990)

A variety of Little Big videos for your entertainment...

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That's The Way / The Briar & The Rose - The Black Rider [211/212]

Charlie Harding returns for this two-for-one special, listening to this twinned and linked pair of songs by Burroughs and Waits. With more talk of the endless foreshadowing as well as some comparisons to Shakespearian themes in pop music, Sam, Martin & Charlie think about the extra text for That’s The Way, the validity of biographical shout-outs, and the symbolism of neon shotguns.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
That's The Way, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

The Briar & The Rose, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

That's The Way / The Briar & The Rose at 28m36s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

Love Story, Fearless, Taylor Swift (2008)

Cruel To Be Kind, When Did We Do That?, Letters To Cleo (2008/1999)

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Flash Pan Hunter/Intro - The Black Rider [210]

Charlie Harding of Switched On Pop joins Sam and Martin for some discussion around this little instrumental interlude on The Black Rider. We begin with a brief exploration of leitmotif as related to lightsabers, and then move through Waits's more elegant compositional techniques, before landing on a bit of light bird identification. Many thanks to Charlie, as well as Suzy of The Casual Birder Podcast (casualbirderpod.libsyn.com), the hosts of Hannah & Erik Go Birding (www.gobirdingpodcast.com) and mash_ton of reddit for their input this week.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Flash Pan Hunter/Intro, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

Flash Pan Hunter/Intro at 55m33s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

Text - transcribed from the 2004 Barbican version of text, spoken over the top of Flash Pan Hunter/Intro

The The The The The The
The Angel
The Angel of Death

The angel of death spreads wings on the blast.
And breathed on the human worm has passed.
There lies the hero broke and rank.
The dew on his brow, the rust on his tank
The Widows of Langley are long in their wail
And the idols are broken in the temples at Yale.
(breath)
The might of the bored unspoke by the sword
Has melted like snow with the glance of the bored.
The wandering dead, like automatons,
out of control are all but demands
The work pyramid silently falling apart...
no crops in the fields... no food in the stores...
(shh)
Bleak, ragged figures, wordless and starved
Crawling through garbage, eyes covered with gore.
Some regress to the state of apes,
Roaming through cities to plunder and rape.
The human mold has broken to pieces
And all hell leaks out

OUT!

(breaths)
Star Wars Character Themes (via YouTube), Star Wars: A New Hope Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, John Williams, (1977)

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'Tain't No Sin - The Black Rider [209]

We’re sort of missing Waits this week, as William Burroughs covers this Edgars/Donaldson song from his childhood. Simon and David return for more discussion with Martin and Sam around authenticity (of voice, of writing, or of instrumental sound), the fusion of Waits and Burroughs’ writing, and the nature of wax art.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
'Tain't No Sin, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

'Tain't No Sin (To Dance Around in Your Bones), Lee Morse: A Musical Portrait, Lee Morse & Her Blue Grass Boys (1930)

'Tain't No Sin To Dance Around in Your Bones, Single, George Olson & Dick Gardner (1929)

'Tain't No Sin at 1h21m50s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

London Road Trailer, via YouTube, film adaptation of the stage musical by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork (2015)

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Black Box Theme - The Black Rider [208]

More mental gymnastics from David, Simon, Sam & Martin, as Song by Song grapples with not only defining the Black Box as a song, as well as a theatrical conceit. There’s some in-depth discussion of unusual instruments and their use in musical storytelling/signposting, comparison with other Robert Wilson collaborations, and we work our who that guy from Labyrinth is.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Black Box Theme, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

Knee Play 1, Einstein On The Beach, Phillip Glass/Christopher Knowles (1975/1979)

Black Box Theme at 1m51s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

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Just The Right Bullets - The Black Rider [207]

Playwright Simon Stephens and Composer David Shrubsole join Martin and Sam to talk about the influence of Kurt Weill, the nature of musical theatre and the origins of the story at the heart of The Black Rider. Looking at Porgy and Bess and the performance of Nina Simone in terms of themes of addiction, we touch on other autobiographical elements of the play, as well as the effect of poetic vs dramatic lyric writing.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Just The Right Bullets, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

I Loves You Porgy, Little Girl Blue, Nina Simone (1958)

Just The Right Bullets at 40m31sfrom The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

I Loves You Porgy, Porgy & Bess, Gershwin/Audra McDonald & Norm Lewis, (2012)

There's A Boat That's Leaving Soon For New York, Porgy & Bess, Gershwin/David Alan Grier (2012)

Trailer for The Threepenny Opera (adapted by Simon Stephens, MD David Shrubsole), National Theatre London (2016)

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November - The Black Rider [206]

As we try to unpick some of the interplay between the album The Black Rider and the play of the same name, Jeu Jeu la Foille, Martin & Sam reflect (pun intended) on the fatalistic imagery in the song, the foreshadowing of endings and beginnings, and the benefits of bonfire-building in awkward social situations.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
November, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

April Showers, Judy, Judy Garland (1956)

November at 21m27sfrom The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

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The Black Rider - The Black Rider [205]

Guest host Jeu Jeu La Foille returns for a second week looking at the opening tracks from The Black Rider, discussing with Martin and Sam the presence and absence of Wilhelm and Käthchen in the play and the music, the mirror the play provides to Burroughs' own history, and how "beauty" and "ugliness" represent themselves through music and performance.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
The Black Rider, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

Pirate Jenny (English-language TV performance, via YouTube), The Threepenny Opera, Lotte Lenya/Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill (1928/1966)

Seeräuber Jenny (German-language film performance, via YouTube), Die Dreigroschenoper, Lotte Lenya/Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill (1928/1931)

The Black Rider at 4m24s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

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Lucky Day (Overture) - The Black Rider [204]

Song by Song returns for its 15th season, digging into one of the densest and most involved albums in the whole project, The Black Rider. Guest host Jeu Jeu La Foille joins Sam and Martin to add her experience in use of Waits in theatrical performance as well as her own memories of the stage production, as we discuss the function of overtures & introductions, the interactions between ablism & empowerment, and how to properly discipline wayward children.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Lucky Day (Overture), The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

The Struwwelpeter Overture, Shockheaded Peter, The Tiger Lillies (1999)

Lucky Day (Overture) at 0m7s from The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

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The Black Rider Teaser - The Black Rider [203a]

We're just a week away from season 15, but The Black Rider needs a little contextual work from both us the podcast and you the listeners. Check the website for links to some of the material we'll be using to discuss the album as well as the play, collect your opera glasses and buy your popcorn, and we'll see you back here for the overture very shortly...

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Flash Pan Hunter/Intro, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

Black Box Theme, The Black Rider, Tom Waits (1993)

The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Weiner Festwochen, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (1990)

The Black Rider: The Casting of the 12 Magic Bullets (filmed at the Barbican Centre, London, via YouTube), Wilson/Burroughs/Waits (2004)

The Black Rider song breakdown from The Tom Waits Library
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That Feel - Bone Machine [203]

Sam and Martin get together (on the same continent no less!) to talk through both this track specifically as well as the album Bone Machine in general. Discussing what That Feel might be - in terms of love, religion or friendship - as well as the evolution of Waits's music in general, Song by Song wraps up season 14 with a little musical flourish from our very own Mr Zaltz-Austwick.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
That Feel, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

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Let Me Get Up On It - Bone Machine [202]

Ooh it's another little sound fragment track from Waits this week, as Scary, Martin and Sam explore the possibilities of a James Brown pun in this penultimate track from Bone Machine. With debate over seagulls vs. squeaking gears, various branding opportunities for the Godfather of Soul, and... and... and it's only 53 seconds long, so we just talk about some other stuff.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Let Me Get Up On It, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

(Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Sex Machine, James Brown (1970)

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I Don't Wanna Grow Up - Bone Machine [201]

Scary, Martin & Sam return to Bone Machine for this Tom-Waits-Does-The-Ramones song about the frustrations of youth towards age. We take a look at ideas of inspiration, the evolution of punk in general and the Ramones specifically, and the value of our own childhood ambitions.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
I Don't Wanna Grow Up, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

I Don't Wanna Grow Up, music video (dir. Dayton/Faris & Jarmusch) via YouTube, Tom Waits (1992)

I Wanna Be Sedated, Road To Ruin, The Ramones (1978)

I Wanna Be Sedated, (dir. Fishman) via YouTube, The Ramones (1978)

I Don't Want To Grow Up, Adios Amigos, The Ramones (1995)

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Whistle Down the Wind (for Tom Jans) - Bone Machine [200]

We're at another anniversary, as guest host Scary Boots joins Sam & Martin for our bicentennial episode (muttermutter-onefromtheheart-mutter-nightonearth-muttermutter-whataboutthefilms-muttermutter) taking a look at this mournful ballad to locale and lost opportunity. Listening to the work of Tom Jans and thinking about what the dedication of a song means, we get a bit reflective about our own responses to music as an audience and a podcast.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Whistle Down the Wind, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

The Eyes Of An Only Child, The Eyes Of An Only Child, Tom Jans (1975)

Champion (album) via YouTube, Tom Jans (1982)

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Black Wings - Bone Machine [199]

Creepy supernatural vibes dominate the track this week, as Mary, Martin & Sam discuss the terrifying figure who stalks through this track, as well as Waits's own intimidating vocal performance. We discuss the presence (and restraint) of Joe Gore, the mystery of Dr John, and the League of Extraordinary Musical Gentlemen that we'll be pitching to Alan Moore very soon.

(Please note that this episode was recorded before the passing of Dr. John.)

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Black Wings, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

Send His Love To Me, To Bring You My Love, PJ Harvey (1995)

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Murder in the Red Barn - Bone Machine [198]

Waits jumps on the salacious rumour-mill with this topical true-crime tale from... 1800s Suffolk. Maybe. Mary Epworth returns for a second week of conversation with Sam and Martin, discussing the truth and fiction around the real-life events that took place in the red barn, how Waits does or doesn't engage with this story, and issues surrounding vocal engagement and strain.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Murder in the Red Barn, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

Murder of Maria Marten, No Roses, Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band (1971)

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Goin' Out West - Bone Machine [197]

Martin & Sam welcome Mary Epworth to the show, as Waits expresses his dream of heading (back?) to the coast to make it in the movies. With images of Hollywood by Waits in the wake of his experiences with Coppolla, as well as other west-coast imagery in our interval, Song by Song continues its journey through Bone Machine and beyond.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
Goin' Out West, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

Goin' Out West, Glitter And Doom, Tom Waits (2009)

California Dreamin', If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, The Mamas & The Papas (1966)

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In the Colosseum - Bone Machine [196]

For this bread-and-circus-iest (breadiest and circusiest?) of tracks, guest host Jenny Owen Youngs comes out strong for Waits and his political diatribe... while Sam and Martin are more equivocal.

Music extracts used for illustrative/review purposes include:
In the Colosseum, Bone Machine, Tom Waits (1992)

Pretend We're Dead, Bricks Are Heavy, L7 (1992)

Pretend We're Dead, live on The Word, via YouTube (1992)

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