divendres, 7 de març de 2014

Sylvie Simmons: TVZ 70th anniversary / aniversari

english / català

"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that" (Steve Earle)
"TVZ és el millor songwriter del món, i ho diria damunt sa taula de cafè d´en Bob Dylan amb ses meves botes cowboy posades"

"I've met Bob Dylan and his bodyguards, and I don't think Steve could get anywhere near his coffee table." (Townes Van Zandt)
"Jo he conegut a n´en Bob Dylan i als seus guardaespatlles, i no crec que n´Steve es pogués apropar mai a la seva taula de cafè"

 Welcome to Orphans of Waits , Sylvie!

I was honoured to meet Sylvie Simmons in the Autumm 2000 while working at The Borderline´s ticket-office (best said "freezing ticket-cage"). Ryan Adams had sold out for his first solo career UK show.
Sylvie came with her boyfriend Neil, but she did not have "plus one" on the list.
So I begged the bouncer to let both of them in (risking my shitjob I assumed). His name was Ishmael (amateur boxer as well) and he made a wisely sarcastic smile while he whispered: "you want to make big contacts for your shows in Mallorca, eh, little bastard, he-he".
So in came Neil and Sylvie to enjoy Ryan´s Heartbreaker...so glad that they did, because unfortunately Neil is no longer with us (rest in peace that extremely cool guy; as cool as Sylvie).

Vaig conéixer Sylvie Simmons la tardor de l´any 2000 quan treballava a la taquilla de The Borderline (sala de concerts del soho londinenc). Recordo que va venir a actuar Ryan Adams per presentar el seu nou projecte en solitari (disc Heartbreaker) després d´haver tancat l´etapa Whiskeytown. Es va crear un gran rebonbori mediàtic i fou un d´aquells vespres de sold-out cantat. Sylvie era a la llista de convidats, però no tenia "plus one" . Va venir amb la seva parella, i com el "segurata" no podia deixar passar ningú que no estés a la llista, ni li podíem vendre cap entrada, na Sylvie va donar mitja volta per anar-se´n. En un impuls de fan (era un autèntic goig llegir les seves ressenyes a la revista MOJO) li vaig demanar per favor a Ishmael (boxejador amateur a més de guarda de seguretat) que la parella de Simmons fos el meu "guest".
Recordo perfectament el seu somriure de "selfmade man" i com em va susurrar sarcàsticament "you want to make big contacts for your shows in Mallorca, eh little bastard?, he-he".
I cap endins entraren Sylvie i Neil per disfrutar dels temes del Heartbreaker de Ryan Adams.
Desgraciadament Neil ja no és entre nosaltres (en pau descansi), així que estic realment orgullós de que ella pogués disfrutar amb ell d´aquella especial vetlada de música en directe, enlloc d´haver-se anat a fer pintes pel Soho...

With her worlwide recognised subtle English sense of humour, the prestigious music journalist (MOJO magazine and the wonderful Too Weird For Ziggy stories) and author of indispensable biographies of Serge Gainsbourg (click www), Neil Young (click www) and Leonard Cohen (click www)...

... has made an effort to remember her introduction 10 years ago to the Darkness On The Edge Of Townes - tribute show to the one and only Townes Van Zandt, promoted by Waiting for Waits.
Amb el seu característic humor fi (100% anglés a pesar dels molts anys que du visquent a San Francisco), na Sylvie ha fet un esforç per recordar l´introducció que va fer del concert "Darkness On The Edge Of Townes" fa 10 anys al Centre de Cultura "Sa Nostra" de Palma...

Townes for Tomeu

[NOTA: si vols una traducció al català o al castellà d´aquest text de Sylvie Simmons, envia un correu a orphans.of.waits@gmail.com]

His life reads like a Tennessee Williams story or like one of those great American ballads - a man born in Texas to a wealthy, high-class oil-family, who sent him to military school and later, when it all went bad, to a mental hospital. When he finally checked out he took to the road with his guitar and a pen and never looked back; Townes, so his best friend Guy Clark said, was "a rambling kind of guy".    Along the way he met Lightnin' Hopkins, who inspired him to play, Mickey Newbury, who encouraged him to write, Jack Clement, who got him his first record deal, and Roky Erickson, whose house and girlfriend he shared. And everywhere he went - which, being a rambling kind of guy, was everywhere - he played riveting performances of his songs.

Maybe he rambled to Majorca too - I don't know, but I wouldn't put it past him; he was still flying to England to perform towards the end of his too-short life. Townes, his friends all say, was about as much concerned with looking after his physical as he was his  'music career'. His last-ever show was in December 1996 in London, at a basement Americana music club called the Borderline.
Which, by coincidence, was where I first met Tomeu, who told me about the show he was going to put on in Majorca of singer-songwriters - British and Spanish - paying tribute to Townes' songs.
Tomeu emailed me from Majorca recently to ask if I would write my memories of the event for him to use in his upcoming celebration of Townes' 70th birthday. But all I can remember are glimpses... a beautiful but chilly villa in the orange groves, where we all stayed, drinking into the early hours and fighting over who would get the extra blanket; hearing Nacho Vegas for the first time; watching an old man in the audience slowly drift off to sleep when I spoke and Tomeu translated; the dusty delicacy with which the great Neil Halstead sang Townes' songs....
So instead Tomeu asked me if I would write a little about Townes and what makes him special. 

Hey, Townes was so special I could probably write a book - but, having just recently completed a huge book on Leonard Cohen, for now I'll just contribute these few words. Townes Van Zandt wrote unique, unflinching songs that both tear your heart inside out and show you what it is to be alive. He captured the crazy beauty and the deep melancholy of being alive like no-one else.
Sylvie Simmons, March 2014 

Many thanks Sylvie!. And best of luck in Frisco with your almost to be launched ukelele debut album!.


Simmons va entrevistar Tom Waits l´any 2004 amb motiu del llençament del disc Real Gone. Off-the-record li va comentar l´existència del nostre festival d´espera. Quan vaig tornar veure na Sylvie per The Borderline me va entregar una postal signada per Tom Waits on deia "stay green"...
Sylvie interviewed TW in 2004 and told him off-the-record about our Waiting for Him festival. When she came back to The Borderline, she handed me a postcard signed by Tom. It said "stay green"...

Idò avui, amb motiu del 70 aniversari del dia del seu naixement, toca una miqueta de "brightness on the edge of Townes"...
So today, a little bit of "brightness on the edge of Townes" to celebrate TVZ 70th anniversary ...

TVZ "Fare thee well, Miss Carousel"

The drunken clown's still hanging round
but it plain the laughter's all died down
the tears you tried so hard to hide
are flowin'
A blind man with his knife in hand
has convinced himself that he understands
I wish him well, Miss Carousel
but I gotta be a-goin'

Won't you come and get me when
you're sure that you don't need me then
I'll stand outside your window
and proudly call your name

The lady's been told that all of gold
is worth so much it can't be sold
No time to weep she'll need her sleep
When she carries her face to the market place
and bets it on the opening race
she can ring her bells, Miss Carousel,
but her singing brings me sorrow

(Repeat Chorus)

It's always done every mother's son
is shown that grown men never run
and so they fight with all the might
inside them
When the battle's been fought and they all been taught
that the trick is just not being caught
Will you give them hell, Miss Carousel,
when they're begging you to hide them

(Repeat Chorus)

When the need arose your eyes fell closed
you clamped your fingers round your nose
Would you say that's any way
to judge him
You haven't got the authority
to kill him in the first degree
but would you feel compelled, Miss Carousel,
if you had something to begrudge him

(Repeat Chorus)

On a velvet beach far beneath the reach
of those that come to pray and preach
The natural man who tries to stand
is fallin'
How long will it be before he sees
you own his legs but his mind is free
Only you can tell, Miss Carousel,
how long will he be crawling?

(Repeat Chorus)

The castle wall has grown so tall
it seems there ain't no hope at all
to reach the top even though you stop
for breathin'
But I ain't gonna try to make you cry
the tear drops couldn't find your eyes
It's all been swell, Miss Carousel,
but the time has come for leavin'

(Repeat Chorus)

Per escoltar la versió que va fer Nacho Vegas d´aquesta superlativa cançó, podeu clicar AQUÍ
If you want to listen Nacho Vegas (the most respected Spanish songwriter of the last decade) cover "Que te vaya bien, miss carrusel" you can click HERE

r.i.p. The late & great TVZ

1 comentari:

  1. Tom.
    Monsta has risen from the grave.