Monday, December 08, 2008

Ten Easy Pieces

Once again I have been moved by the magic elixir of song. Ten Easy Pieces is a collection of Jimmy Webb songs, performed mostly solo by Jimmy Webb, accompanied only by Webb's hand at the piano and sung so beautifully and soulfully that each exquisite song stands alone as a spiritual awakening, leaving no listener untouched or unmoved.

You may have thought you heard these songs before, but think again, this is the truth, as it unravels the beauty and depth of romance, of love found, of love lost, of love eternal. Others may have told these tales before, but no one shared the feelings of living sentiment with the listener like this.

It isn't until you hear Webb perform these songs himself, that you have heard any of them for the first time. "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" becomes the reality of parting from the love of your life, not some country pop song on the radio. You part, not knowing what happened, not knowing what is coming, or what is real anymore:

By the time I get to Phoenix she'll be rising
She'll find the note I left hangin' on her door
She'll laugh when she reads the part that says I'm leavin'
'Cause I've left that girl so many times before

You feel this music, the heartbreak, the sadness, the hopelessness of loss......a year passes, you miss her every day, you seek her out, she marries another. Webb takes those feelings here:
Girl I heard your getting married, heard your getting married, this time your really sure. And this is the end, they say you really mean it, This guy's the one that makes you feel so safe, so sane and so secure, And Baby if he loves you more then me, Then maybe it's the best thing, maybe it's the best thing that can happen to you, But it's the worst thing that can happen to me.
At the end of your journey you have lost. Life has turned and now you don't fit anywhere, nor anyone. This is Webb's vision, but it's your own life. How does he do it? This is the genius of the artist, he fills you with your own reflection, your own sorrow and remorse. Where once lay two, you are alone. Does he love her more? You know the answer and Webb provides the soundtrack:

I fell out of her eyes
I fell out of her heart
I fell down on my face, yes I did
And I tripped and I missed my star
And I fell and fell alone
The moon's a harsh mistress
The sky is made of stone

The moon's a harsh mistress
She's hard to call your own
Webb weaves a labyrinth of words and music around our lives. In the darkest moments, where thoughts ring hollow and heavy, you see and feel his vision all around you, the poetry and melancholy falling relentless, wrapping around a simple truth:

But the ending always comes at last,
Endings always come too fast,
They come too fast
But they past too slow,
I love you, and that's all I know.

And then there is Webb's masterpiece. Seven and on half minutes of what was formerly pop vulgarity, it falls anew, mystifies the senses, a rapture of feeling so personal, so privately sensuous and sublime that your heart gasps and you face mortality with a glance at the end:
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it

There will be another dream for me

Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun

And after all the loves of my life

After all the loves of my life

You'll still be the one
I will take my life into my hands
and I will use it

I will win the worship in their eyes
and I will lose it

I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
I'll be thinking of you

And wondering why

My first sit down and listen to Ten Easy Pieces ended in tears. To this day I don't know if it was the music, the words, the memories, or someone, but the experience buried me. Now what, you ask, does he mean by, "Buried me?" Surely he is still among us, having obviously written and posted this review. I will leave that answer to this music. This is no collection of songs, this is the fabric of life itself, full, robust, passionate and sadly tragic. Touched by love, never the same, this music will touch and change you.

What more can I say?



Anar said...

I guess the Trap Door theory may have not worked and it seems the market wants to rally for a little while....

Reminiscent of the rally we had up until Obama was elected... perhaps this rally goes until the Inauguration.

good song though!


Anonymous said...


How am I supposed to trade/make money off of this?


Dave said...

Deep. Reflection is important. I guess love can begin and end at the grocery store. Produce is where it's at baby. You're entitled Allan.

david said...

Don't hold your breath... trap door could still work! Allan said the C could potentially continue into this week. Who knows, we may have seen the beginnings of the breakdown today.

Anonymous said...

Here's one novice's guess at a possible short-term scenario:

It could spend another week (3-5 bars) meandering up to the 9500 mark, but then if these trends hold it'll spend a few weeks going back down to 7k.


Anonymous said...

Sounds as if your on that Love, Hate, Love again rebound road. Can we count on the market to mirror this personal move in your life?

Anonymous said...


That was truly beautiful--both the music and the expression of your own emotions. I too have been touched by Jimmy Webb, his poetic sweetness and sensuality.

'Ten Easy Pieces' has been one of my favorites but I listen now with renewed appreciation.


Allan said...

Sheila, thanks for that...methinks you know some of the between the lines meaning, which makes it all that much more poignant.


Luis said...


Someone wrote this and I think is true:

"Inside of every Lawyer there is a brilliant writer, held back by professional ambition or by fear of failure"


David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist said...

You may have thought you heard these songs before, but think again...

How correct you are, Allan.

I have had occasion recently to listen to Jimmy Webb's CD (Thank You!); to really hear it. And you are correct; Glen Campbell's interpretations (and those by other singers) were okay, but somehow... airbrushed. The listener did not get the sense that he felt the songs.

Jimmy Webb does. His voice creaks and cracks as his heart breaks, and we feel his pain and torment. While we listen, the songs we thought we knew transform into Art from merely pop music.

Thank you for sharing.

Wayne said...

Speaking of beatiful, soulful songs...