Truth be told: I love Patti Smith. In almost every way I think she is one of the blessed ones of this era. And from "Horses" and "Gloria" to "Banga" and everything in between she shares her heart and soul in ways that grab me where I live. Somebody said that Patti Smith is what it looks like when you are faithful to rock and roll. A few years back she put out this cover that I adore.
Seems to me, I was in a waaaay folky groove when "Horses" first came out in 1975. But when I came back to NYC in 1981, after 6 months in Costa Rica, I was ready for this wild woman. Like Bono once observed: she (and Tom Verlaine from Television) were the real deal when it came to poetry and punk sensibility. No bullshit, no compromise and no phony rage: what they offered was naked passion and intellect in a molotov cocktail that after the explosion had you begging for more.
This song from her 1997 release still slays me...
And now she's gone and done it again with "Banga" a real monster! "In an interview on CBS News Sunday Morning on April 1, 2012, Smith explained the album's title: "for those who are curious, you can find what Banga is if you read The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov." In The Master and Margarita, Banga is Pontius Pilate's dog who Pilate could freely complain about the hemicrania that tortured him. Other songs on the album were also inspired by literature, particularly "April Fool," inspired by Nikolai Gogol. (check it out @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banga_(album))
On our ride home from Canada, we listened to her play guest DJ on Bob Boilen's "All Songs Considered" on NPR: check it out @ http://www.npr.org/2012/06/19/155291456/guest-dj-patti-smith Or go to her own website and find out what a gas - what rockin' prophet - and what a wise old rock and roll soul she still is @ http://www.pattismith.net/ intro.html Douglas Heselgrave writes of the new CD:
Smith reminds her listeners that—along with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen—she is one of the few artists working in the popular music arena who has a literary sensibility that draws from a well of culture that goes far beyond rock’s tired paradigms. Though she’s only 65 years old, her command of language and metaphor that often demands or expects a familiarity with classical literature and thought makes her seem as if she’s from a far more archaic world than her years indicate. As in all of her work, the ghosts of the beat poets, Rimbaud and the Catholic saints inhabit and can be felt in every syllable and nuance of her new songs. On some cuts like “Amerigo” or “April Fool,” Smith sounds almost sweet, demonstrating that her voice has lost none of its flexibility over the years, while other songs like “fuji-San” and the title track bathe her listeners in the trademark angry, dancing, shivering wail that recalls some of her powerful, early work from the late ’70s.
On NPR she noted that she had to close the new CD with some hope and peace after the almost apocalyptic rage of "Constantine's Dream" so she chose Neil Young's almost childlike "After the Gold Rush" performed lived with her own two children.
Psalm 131 in Peterson's reworking says:
Like a baby content in its mother's arms, my soul is a child content.
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