Mrs Miller and Wing – Outsider Musicians?

Posted in Music on August 31st 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Growing up in the 60s, I recall a number of (what at the time seemed like) bizarre, offbeat musical acts, including Mrs Miller, a woman who couldn’t keep time or sing on key, yet developed a huge following and sold tons o’ records. Feel the groove as she destroys A Hard Day’s Night, complete with what can be generously described as a guitar solo, featuring a standout, God-awful sour note in the midst of its execution. Cringe as you listen to the total cremation of the last few bars of the Petula Clark classic, Downtown. And what’s with the whistling??

What reminded me of Mrs Miller was an e-mail from Derryl, with a link to the site of the singer named Wing. Wing emigrated to New Zealand from Hong Kong, and notes “I have been learning singing in New Zealand and I do performances in Rest Homes and Hospitals and occasionally promotional concerts as I go along.” Recently she released Beatles Classics, featuring their famous, #1 hit, Hine Hine. Er, what? As for her take on the Beatles, here is a 30-second clip of her annihilation of I Want To Hold Your Hand. Her attempt to hit the high note when she sings, “I want to hold your HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND” is sad, and yet in a odd way, comforting. I wonder if she might consider doing a tribute album to McCartney’s 70s band, Wings. Wing Sings Wings. It makes sense.

It’s a pity that Mrs Miller is no longer with us, because if she and Wing decided to tour, I’d be first in line for tickets. Are Mrs Miller and Wing creators of outsider music? Last year, I bought Innocence and Despair: The Langley Schools Music Project, and loved it. Irwin Chusid, author of Songs in The Key of Z – The Curious Universe of Outsider Music, notes, “Outsider musicians are often termed “bad” or “inept” by listeners who judge them by the standards of mainstream popular music. Yet despite dodgy rhythms and a lack of conventional tunefulness, these often self-taught artists radiate an abundance of earnestness and passion. And believe it or not, they’re worth listening to, often outmatching all contenders for inventiveness and originality…” If so, I’d say Mrs Miller and Wing both pass the audition.

This post submitted to Blogcritics.com.

:: As for total weirdness, I just opened Amazon, to check for entries to add to this post (for Blogcritics.com). The page opened with “Hello, Randy…”, etc., and featured five products to do with outsider music. OK, is this like, cookie hell? I’m freaking out now.

“I’m Going Down In The Middle of Town” – with lyrics by Aidan Murphy

Posted in Friends, Music on August 28th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Here it is: the new song, with lyrics written by the up-and-coming young wordsmith, eight year old Aidan Murphy of Prince George BC, son of up-and-coming sf writer and good friend, Derryl Murphy, and the music by legend-in-his-own-mind, hack guitarist Randy Reichardt.

Background: Aidan wrote the words, and Derryl posted the lyrics on his site, Cold Ground. The recording was done in the basement of the Wests’ house, with Niki doing the engineering and recording on her little digital studio. We recorded it yesterday, it was a lot of fun. The voice and acoustic guitar tracks were done in one take, but the “bass” line (actually an electric guitar with mucho effects) took about 7 or 8 takes.

This isn’t the first time I’ve added music to lyrics written by a young one. There is something inspiring about the creativity of a child, but kid yourself not: it is a lot of fun for me too, to write and construct a melody and chords around the words.

“I’m Going Down In The Middle of Town”: lyrics 2004 Aidan Murphy, music 2004 Randy Reichardt.

A New Look At Kubrick’s “The Shining”

Posted in Smiler on August 26th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: This one put a smile on my face, for sure! Then check out Alien, The Exorcist, Titanic, and the link is correct, Jaws.

My So-Called Life

Posted in Television on August 25th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: This week, Family Channel started broadcasting the one and only season of My So-Called Life, the brilliant, inventive show that introduced us to Claire Danes and Jared Leto. Danes went on to win the Golden Globe for her work on the show. ABC, of course, cancelled the series after one year. Network weasels, as Letterman would say. A quick ‘net search uncovered a detailed, encyclopedic MSCL site, on which it is noted that 10 years ago today, August 25, 1994, ABC aired the first episode. It remains one of my all-time favorite tv shows.

Update

Posted in Film, Random Thoughts on August 23rd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: My mom is home from the hospital in Winnipeg, resting and recuperating as best she can, trying to regain her energy. It’s been a long four months of dealing with various medical problems. Thankfully she is on the mend.

:: On 23rd Avenue, which is the main west-to-east route near my house, a section of the south side has been resurfaced with asphalt. I love driving on it now, it feels like like my car is moving over a pillow.

:: I saw four movies on the weekend, including Festival Express, Control Room, Open Water, and the original Shaft (1971 version). I enjoyed the three new movies, especially Open Water. I think it’s a great achievement, given the small crew and the budget of $150,000US. The weekend estimates for the period ending 22 Aug 2004, show Open Water at $10,800,000US, which was an increase of 1,109% over the previous week, bringing it up to $13,900,000 as of yesterday. Not too shabby. I wonder if it might set a record for rate of return compared to cost of production.

:: Earlier this year, I bought a Swiffer WetJet. Today I bought the dry land version, along with the duster. I assembled them, and did some dusting. Life doesn’t get much more exciting, does it?

Blogcritics Review: Love in “The Village”

Posted in Film on August 21st 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: As posted to Blogcritics.com.

The Village, the new film by M Night Shyamalan, is a bit of a mess. One review I read tagged it as an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. I found the film ultimately disappointing. However, the performances by the cast members are uniformly superb, including Brendan Gleeson (who like Brian Cox, appears to be in every second film these days), despite having very little to do in the film. Leading the way are, ostensibly, the two leads: Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard, daugher of Opie/Richie Cunningham.

There is one scene with these two actors that deserves special mention, however, and I wish to describe it here. Therefore, if you haven’t seen the film, please note the following as a spoiler.
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