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Sunday Soul – Not Us Against The World So Much As Just You & Me Together
Year 11 – Playlist 32/52 – Art, Essay and music for the week of November 23rd 2014
Helen Maxine Lamond Reddy, the Australian singer, actress and activist, skyrocketed to the heights of American adult contemporary fame with a string of six number one singles in the 1970’s. Her biggest chunk of gold was 1972’s “I am woman” which galvanized Reddy as the mouthpiece of the progressive feminist movement and landed her right smack in the middle of the growing singer/songwriter explosion of the time. Until the middle 70’s the idea of equal rights for women, and feminism as a positive movement hadn’t quite arrived at the kitchen table of middle America. Helen was right on time with her AM radio smash hit, and she helped a majority of women around the world hear the power of their own roar. Thanks Helen.
Number four in Ms. Reddy’s string of consecutive number one singles was a curious song called “You and me against the world.” Written by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher as a joke, in true Paul Williams fashion, the very short and wildly unlikely star of 70’s variety shows nabbed the song for his 1974 album “Here Comes Inspiration.” Helen felt the song was too “paternalistic” to be a love song between a man and a woman, so she reimagined the song’s motivation and sang the song for her newborn daughter Traci and even dubbed the toddler saying “Mommy…” at the beginning and again at the end of the song so there wouldn’t be any confusion. Still, people skipped that message and the song became a favorite at weddings, anniversarys and other declarations of love for years to come.
Paul Williams was famous for being short, and strange, but really he was a gifted songwriter. He wrote a jingle for Crocker Bank in the late 60’s and Richard Carpenter loved that commercial. So when the Carpenters began to record their first album he called up Paul and asked if there was a whole song for that jingle. Paul said “Yes.” and then went straight home and wrote the rest of the song. Turned out to be the Carpenter’s smash hit “We’ve only just begun.” Paul Williams took on the world, but I think he tried to do it alone. Karen Carpenter did the same thing. Helen Reddy had a family and built a posse and seems to be doing just fine.
Somewhere between 1958 and 1959, one Neil L. Wilson and his associate Simon Blackburn named the principle of charity. They didn’t mean “charity” in the sense that you donate
your old pajamas and unopened tins of pumpkin spice for the poor, but rather charity as a principle where when you speak, write, or otherwise communicate with others, one must always be truthful and rational. The goal of this methodological principle is to avoid attributing irrationality, logical fallacies or falsehoods to the others’ statements, when a coherent, rational interpretation of the statements is available. So basically, charity of thought and dialog is to always be rational and honest. In short – don’t fuck with people just to be a dick.
I remember my second year of my second trip through University. We were studying existentialism and I didn’t like it (because I didn’t understand it) and so my term papers were almost invariably pot shots at the thinkers, and I’d accuse them of all sorts of things – my favorite was to simplify the terms these people had developed into common language and write two thousand words shaming them for hiding behind convoluted definitions of simple ideas. So in being pedantic about calling these thinkers pedantic I managed to squeak by with low A’s and high B’s, but I think it was more because I really worked at taking these creeps apart. The effort alone was worth a pretty good grade.
But it wasn’t until the last year of my second trip through college that I finally learned how to be a student. You may know this one, so forgive me please if this seems silly, but a Professor has studied the subject they are teaching (a lot of the time.) And they are sharing their experience with this subject for your benefit. The purpose of a class, or a seminar, or a workshop is for you – the student – to listen, and consider the thinking and expertise of the teacher – not you – and then (if you wish) to take it further into your life. Then your mission is to demonstrate your studies and receive your excellent grade for having done so. The professor – often who’s life’s main focus has been to study this material – does not want you to write hideously long papers about how you feel the subject of their life’s work is stupid, and/or hella stupid.
Rather, as the lucky recipient of the professor’s experience, it’s our job to listen politely and then write down what’s been said in our work book, or on our term paper and thank the professor for their time and for their knowledge (even if it’s hella stupid.) Not really because we are slaves and we’re
doomed, but mostly because it’s polite, and also because if you do that you’re likely to get a B+ (even if you weren’t listening.)
You can’t do it alone. There are so many reasons to say “Aw fuck it” and head for the hills, but you can’t even do that alone. And I don’t want you to. I want to walk up that mountain at your side. I want to come back to town and tell everyone what we found up there. The journey between our insides and the outside world, the ears of our community, the hearts of our true loves, and even the table in front of us seems like a lifetime from where we are sometimes. But if we don’t try, then we have already failed. It doesn’t take any courage at all to give up, or to refuse to cooperate. It takes real courage to open our hearts, open our mouths, and share our truth rationally as best we can with anyone who will listen. It takes real courage to love.
Thank you for listening. See you next week.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: Not Us Against The World So Much As Just You & Me Together
1. Sights – Ben Macklin Remix – London Grammar
2. People in the hop – Wyro Remix – Ceo Basso
3. Slow Down – Redward Remix – Jonathan Reno
4. Blax Two – Kevin Over
5. Feelin’ Love – Soulsearcher Club Mix – Soulsearcher
6. Like I Want To – Armando’s Deep Beat Edit – Lisa Shaw
7. Up To Now – Carlo Runia
8. Physical – Pawel Kobak
9. I Got That Feelin’ – Extended 12″ Mix – Dreamer G
10. The Feeling – Sugar
11. Conversations – Black Jazz Project Broken Mix – Rhythmikay feat. Kosmos
12. It’s Not Me It’s You – Submotion Orchestra
13. Sunday Soul – Program ID
14. Can’t Fake The Feeling – Geraldine Hunt
15. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 32|52
23 November 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hours 25 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.