Friday, December 14, 2007


Welcome to Blog d’Elisson’s Friday Random Ten, the weekly Exercise in Self-Aggrandizement in which I post a list of ten Random Bits o’ Musical Entertainment straight from the Little White Choon-Box d’Elisson.

Today, just for fun, I’ve added an eleventh selection, one not chosen at random. I picked it because I like it. Perhaps you will, too.

Let’s get started, shall we?
  1. A Case Of You - Joni Mitchell

  2. Across The Universe - Rufus Wainwright

  3. Bolero de Django - Django Reinhardt

  4. What’s He Building? (live) - Tom Waits

  5. Scene 5 - He Didn’t Say Goodbye - Philip Glass, Les Enfants Terribles

  6. Thorn Tree In The Garden - Derek and the Dominos

  7. Vanha Lapsuudenystävä - Alamaailman Vasarat

  8. Township Rebellion - Rage Against The Machine

  9. Pop’s Love Suicide - Stone Temple Pilots

  10. Japura River - Philip Glass

  11. You’ll Pay for Your Day at Pleasure Island - Michael Leviton

    Today’s Non-Random Selection is by Michael Leviton, an artist who came to my attention in Savannah back in May of 2006.

    I had journeyed to Savannah to see They Might Be Giants with the Mistress of Sarcasm. Just days earlier, I had attended the Blown-Star Blodgemeet in Austin, after which I had driven to Sweat City in order to transact some Great Corporate Salt Mine business. I then flew back to Atlanta and, without stopping at home, drove down to Savannah just in time for the show.

    Opening for TMBG was Leviton, a slender, dark-haired young man who stood on the stage with a ukulele...that instrument so beloved of 1930’s crooners, later cast into a dark well of semi-disrepute by the infamous (yet hilarious) Tiny Tim. Anyone who might have feared a reprise of Tiny Tim’s falsetto antics was in for a pleasant surprise, however, for that young man was amazing. His songs were wistful, well-constructed tunes, charmingly played on that most slyly disingenuous of instruments...but it was the lyrics that got my attention. Filled with subtle wordplay and sneaky rhyme schemes, they celebrated Summer Love with an undercurrent of cynicism that gave them just the right amount of bite.

    With most opening acts, you want to hear them perform a couple of songs - as few as possible - and then get the hell off the stage to make way for the featured act. (You know - the one you paid to see.) But not this guy. I was perfectly happy to listen to him play as long as he wanted to. Rarity of rarities.

    Mr. Leviton is modest about his songs, the lyrics of which are not printed on the album notes or splashed all over the Internet. Nevertheless, he was gracious enough to share them with me and give me permission to post I will be putting them up from time to time as the mood strikes me. Just be warned: Simply reading the lyrics doesn’t give you the real flavor of the songs.

    There ain’t no map to ecstasy;
    You reach romance by storm,
    Shipwrecked with sails all torn, baby.
    There ain’t no captain’s call before you fall.
    No, you will not be warned
    ’Til on maelstrom wings you’re borne, baby.

    Then your heart will bloom.
    You’ll croon love’s tune.
    That sweet typhoon’s left you marooned in paradise,
    A happy castaway who will be rescued soon.
    And that will be your doom, because...

    You’ll pay for your day at Pleasure Island.
    For love is grand until it ends
    And then your heart will be broken;
    That ride costs a token.
    You’ll foot the bill for every thrill.
    I promise that each caress, each moment’s passion,
    Is another check the bank will soon be cashin’.

    Love isn’t blind, just short-sighted.
    You get sick on champagne
    And all those dangled carrots,
    Never to fall again.
    Baby please, what fool would dare it?
    Not me. I ain’t no sucker,
    Though they’re born every minute.

    Kids today can’t live without their pleasure.
    But I’ve learned that sword’s a double-edger.

    Oh yeah, I’m in debt
    To a girl I can’t forget.
    I pray for love rekindled,
    But I know that’s just another swindle.

    I paid for my day at Pleasure Island.
    Seduced by land,
    Now I can’t stand
    The way it feels.
    But when I remember ephemeral affairs,
    I must admit that I got a deal.

It’s Friday. What are you listening to?

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