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Our Greatest American Poet

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by buzzbass, Feb 22, 2008.


  1. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    The music, the lyrics and the whole vibe of "Astral Weeks" makes it pretty much a perfect album in my opinion.
     
  2. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Yeah, it's currently in my alarm clock cd player. I've been waking up to it for the past 2 months. It's actually pretty hard to stuff for me to play, not because of technical difficulty, but to be able to capture that weird, swinging, jammy kind of tempo (while remaining incredibly contemplative at the same time). Just a killer album. Unsung giant in my book.
     
  3. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Tom Russell is the best poet/songwriter possibly ever.

    For proof? Here's 'Gallo del Cielo'

    Carlos Saragosa left his home in Casas Grandes when the moon was full
    He had no money in his pocket, just a locket of his sister framed in Gold
    He headed for el Sueco, stole a rooster named Gallo Del Cielo
    Then he crossed the Rio Grande with that roosted nestled deep within his arm

    Galllo del Cielo was a warrior born in heaven so the legends say
    His wings they had been broken, he had one eye rolling crazy in his head
    He'd fought a hundred fights and the legends say that one night near El Sueco
    They fought Cielo seven times, seven times he left brave roosters dead

    Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in San Antonio
    I have 27 dollars and the good luck of your good luck of your picture framed in gold
    Tonight I'll put it all on the fighting spurs of Gallo Del Cielo
    Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

    Outside of San Clara in the Onion fields of Paco Monte Verde
    The Pride of San Clara lay sleeping on a fancy bed of silk
    Adn they laughed when Saragosa pulled the one-eyed Del Cielo from beneath his shirt
    But they cried when Saragosa waked away with a thousand dollar bill

    Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in Santa Barbara
    I have 27 dollars and the good luck of your good luck of your picture framed in gold
    Tonight I'll put it all on the fighting spurs of Gallo Del Cielo
    Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

    Now the moon has gone to hiding and the lantern light spills shadows on the fighting sand
    A wicked black named Zorro faces Del Cielo in the sand
    And Carlos Saragosa fears the tiny crack that runs across his roosters beak
    And he fears that he has lost the 50,000 dollars riding on the fight

    Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in Santa Clara
    The money's on the table, I'm holding now your good luck framed in gold
    Everything we dream of is riding on the spurs of Del Cielo
    Then I'll return to buy the land Pancho Villa stole from father long ago

    The signal it was given and the roosters rose together far above the sand
    Gallo Del Cielo sunk a gaff into Zorro's shiny breast
    They were separated quickly but they rose and fought each other time and time again
    And the legends all agreed that Gallo Del Cielo fought the best

    But then the screams of Saragosa filled the night outside the town of Santa Clara
    As the beak of Del Cielo lay broken like a shell within his hand
    And they say that Saragosa screamed a curse upon the bones of Pancho Villa
    As Zorro rose up one more time and drove Del Cielo in the sand

    Hola my Teresa I'm thinkin of you now in San Francisco
    I have no money in my pocket I no longer have your good luck framed in gold
    I buried it last evening with the bones of my beloved Del Cielo
    I will not return to buy the land that Villa stole long ago

    Do the rivers still run muddy outside of my beloved Casas Grandes?
    Does the scar upon my brother's face turn red when he hears mention of my name?
    And do the people of El Sueco still curse the theft of Gallo Del Cielo?
    Tell my family not to worry, I will not return to cause them shame.


    My guitar player teases me that a typical example of one of my songs is six minutes long and someone dies at the end. Maybe I'm just trying to achieve what Tom Russell did with this.
     
  4. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    And despite that he still considers it his best song!

    But yes, Slip Slidin' Away has some amazing lyrics, especially the second verse about the wife.
     
  5. I'll put in a vote for Phil Ochs. Check out the lyrics to "Pleasures of the Harbor" or "Crucifixion".

    In "Miranda" (my favorite song of his, cos he sounded like he was having such fun with the words) he rhymes "agreement" with "cement." Now that took chutzpah....

    Her name's Miranda
    She's a Rudolph Valentino fan
    And she doesn't care to understand
    She bakes brownies for the boys in the band...
     
  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    No mention of beat poets. No love for "Howl"?

    Some underrated lyricists: Elliot Smith, Curtis Mayfield and John Cale.

    Amazing what happens when you give a group of session musicians with jazz backgrounds some acoustic guitar & vocal tracks and tell them to "play whatever you want".

    I've always described the bass playing on that album as "elastic".
     
  7. With spoken word, though, it can be a lot of fun. A good friend of mine is a published poet and I have played upright bass behind him on coffeehouse shows. What's neat about doing this is the challenge trying to come up with lines that will complement both the cadences of the poem and the words too.
     
  8. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ

    :confused:

    I thought it was
     
  9. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    There you go, that's the spirit ;)
     
  10. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    You said asstral...uh huh huhuh huh :)
     
  11. So - when Ted Nugent is named Poet Laureate, will he be the Poet Laureate of Michigan or of Texas? :spit:
     
  12. doctorjazz

    doctorjazz

    Oct 22, 2006
    Wilmington, NC
    Allen Ginsberg IMO.

    And so on and so on...
     
  13. Greatest American Poet?

    There have been some really outstanding American poets come out of the last 100 years, but my favorites include...

    Kenneth Rexroth, Theodore Roethke, Kenneth Patchen, William Stafford, Weldon Kees, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Denise Levertov, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, (did somebody sat beat poets?) Allen Ginsberg, Galway Kinnell, W.S. Merwin, James Wright, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, Gary Snyder, Stephen Berg, and Robert Mezey.....but at the top of my list has to be E.E. Cummings

    now songwriters on the other hand.....what to base the criteria on? just lyrical content? music and lyrics? Folk, Rock, Hip Hop? R and B? seriously it's like comparing apples to oranges...yea they are both fruit but the comparison ends there....
     
  14. Howl Rules....!
     
  15. Turock

    Turock Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Melnibone
    Bob Dylan is THE poet of our time.
     
  16. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    Turns out no one here reads books.

    As far as bona fide poets go, James Merrill is probably my favorite. I'm not sure if you count T.S. Eliot as an American, but Midwest born and Harvard educated sounds pretty American to me, so he's in the mix. Carl Sandburg is another favorite.

    If you want to broaden the notion of poet to include songwriters, then I think Bob Dylan and Robert Hunter stand at the head of the class, with an honorable mention to Warren Zevon.
     
  17. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    ^Hey Bard. Dig that poem. Thanks. I've never read that before. :)
     
  18. Um obviously you can't read...lol

    "There have been some really outstanding American poets come out of the last 100 years, but my favorites include...

    Kenneth Rexroth, Theodore Roethke, Kenneth Patchen, William Stafford, Weldon Kees, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Denise Levertov, Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, (did somebody sat beat poets?) Allen Ginsberg, Galway Kinnell, W.S. Merwin, James Wright, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, Gary Snyder, Stephen Berg, and Robert Mezey.....but at the top of my list has to be E.E. Cummings"

    That required lots of reading of them there books you mentioned

    T.S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg are about as exciting as watching flies fornicate or watching paint dry....only poets that makes me gag more than these two are Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams

    ah well to each his own! No hard feelings....:D
     
  19. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    T.S. Eliot is pretty academic so far as poets go, and to some that can be unexciting. He and Ezra Pound are probably the guys that require the most "literary competence" to read, meaning that you have to know Homer, the Bible, Dante, Virgil, Shakespeare, etc.

    Beat stuff is real hit and miss. Ginsberg had some good stuff, like "A Supermarket in California," but overall, I can't get over the notion that at least some of his poems are about shock and awe. I'm not familiar with most others. Also writing at that time was James Merrill, whom I have mentioned as my favorite.

    No need to get confrontational about it. My point was that a large number of those mentioned in this thread were songwriters, who have their words heard in songs, and not poets, who have their words read in books.
     

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