Friday, July 30, 2010

GBGC Top 40 Countdown: T-28: The Rainbow Connection

"Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
And look what it's done so far.
 What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?"

Those of you who know me well, know that knowing words to songs is not one of my strong points (ironic, being that I am indeed a so-called professional opera singer, I know). You know? Little did I know how poignant the lyrics to "Rainbow Connection" were. The video you are seeing must have been the 5th or 6th take, because I got choked up each time. Who knew that frogs could be so deep?

At the time of recording, I had just returned from a performance, so remnants of eyeliner are still caked in my eyelashes, and my hair is worse for wear after having removed my enormous red wig. I came home to find that one of my elementary school friends had a birthday today. Then I went on a trip down memory lane, remembering that he was my first square dance partner (that counted as a sport back then). I remembered ordering the Muppet Movie Soundtrack from one of those record clubs - six albums for a penny! When you're a kid, you don't read the fine print, so when they sent me the bill for the rest, I just ignored it and eventually, they ignored me. For a laugh, here are the six albums I ordered: the Muppet Movie Soundtrack, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Chuck Mangione, Pointer Sisters, B-52s Wild Planet and ... well, I don't remember the last one, although there's a good chance it was Captain and Tenille.

Counting down the days to my 40th birthday (there, I've said it), many memories fade or rearrange themselves. For instance, I always thought it was Gonzo who sang "Rainbow Connection" when indeed it was Kermit the Frog. With a banjo. Go figure.

So, I donned my only article of green clothing and recorded this song - it's 2 in the morning, I've just sung a full-length opera,  and I'm no closer to knowing why there are so many songs about rainbows, much less what's on the other side.

GBGC Top 40 Countdown: T-29, Closer to Fine

Who's idea was it to do a new video every day until my birthday? Well, a promise is a promise. For my dozens of fans, I bring you today's installment of the GBGC Top 40 countdown. One of my favorite songs - I actually know all the words! Didn't even need a cheat sheet. So, I've gotta run! More tomorrow on .... Grahamophone's Bad Guitar Channel!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

GBGC Top 40 Countdown: T-30, Just Can't Get Enough

I'll have to confess that "The Final Countdown" was never one of my personal favorites (although my rendition is quite nice, I must say). Depeche Mode, on the other hand accompanied all of my teenage years. They've got a song for every mood, this one being among the more cheery ones. I reckon I'll be listening more to "Black Celebration" a lot in the years to come. But for now, let's let our inner conflicts battle themselves out - as I have allegorized here with the dueling banjo reference. Also, I pay tribute to moments from previous GBGC videos. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GBGC Top 40 Countdown: T-31, Final Countdown

Too bad I didn't think of this nine days ago. It would've been funnier that way. One month from today I will be having a birthday (please send money), so I've decided to commemorate the event by recording one song per day until then -- most likely a timeless 80's hit. We'll see. For the first day, the obvious choice.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GBGC Quickie: Time for Me to Fly. The Kunst of saying goodbye.

First off, let me just say that REO Speedwagon has not gotten enough credit for the service they have done to the letter R. That being said, this GBGC Quickie is actually a subtle tribute to a new friend of mine who spends the better part of the year on the road. He stopped by for a short visit the other day, sat down at my piano and started playing "Keep On Loving You." I would have recorded that particular song today, but it has the dreaded F major chord in it which my delicate hands find painful - and the bad baby guitar strings cut even deeper than a full-sized one. "Time for Me to Fly" is still a fitting anthem to the flighty nature of friendship, however, which is punctuated and symbolized in this video by the telephone. How many times do we greet and bid farewell to our friends on a daily/monthly/yearly basis?

Monday, July 19, 2010

GBGC #22: Brighten the Corner Where You Are - In Loving Memory of Grandmaphone

For years, my grandmother had been planning her funeral. She had her obituary already written according to the standard style, and speaking of herself, she wrote, "She is remembered for her friendly smile and willingness to help those in need." That is all. Her wishes for what she wanted to have sung at the looming event, as well as some other details, were written on a small piece of paper, stuck to the refrigerator with a bird-shaped magnet.
She wished for me and my siblings to perform this song, and although I am unable to go to the funeral on account of my own performances, I couldn't not grant her her dying wish:

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

  1. Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
    Do not wait to shed your light afar;
    To the many duties ever near you now be true,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

    • Refrain:
      Brighten the corner where you are!
      Brighten the corner where you are!
      Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
      Brighten the corner where you are!
  2. Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
    Let not narrow self your way debar;
    Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
    Brighten the corner where you are.
  3. Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
    Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
    Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

Despite her friendly smile, my grandmother often did not get jokes. I'm sure she wouldn't have understood the intrinsic silliness of the Bad Guitar Channel. I'm sure if I had had a chance to play it for her, she would have said, "Pretty." And she would have meant it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

GBGC Original: Kazoo-zoo-zela. Inspired by Gounod, Orff, and the Vuvuzela - official instrument of the World Cup 2010

Alas, the jubilation is over. Last night, Germany lost a battle with Spain, thereby relinquising their chance at a fourth World Cup title. Weltmeister, indeed. One thing this year's World Cup gave us was the unmistakable  drone of the vuvuzela, South Africa's contribution to insomnia.
Inspired by the monotonic instrument, I hereby give you my tribute to the German national team. Sognando di Finale.... a dream that will have to wait at least another four years.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

GBGC #19: Oh L'amour. Still searching for answers

To tell you the truth, this episode of Grahamophone's Bad Guitar Channel did not come easy to me. I usually just go with the flow. It started out well enough, as I was fiddling around with the banjo one day and the famous Habanera melody from Bizet's Carmen just appeared under my fingers.

It didn't take too long to get Erasure's classic 80's hit to fit over top of it, either. Even the special sound effects from my beloved Garage Band seemed to flow effortlessly throughout the creation of the song.

When it came time to make the video, I must confess I had no plan -- not that I ever have a plan, but the ideas were just not flowing. That's when one needs to go back to the basics - the five W's of journalism. Who, What, Where, When, Why. And how!

(Special thanks to my camera men Oliver and Sebastian)