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Date: Mon, 30 Sep 85 01:12:13 PDT
From: Kevin Carosso <allegra!scgvaxd!engvax!KVC>
Someone mentioned "Night of the Swallow" on TD and I somehow feel compelled to exclaim that (at the moment) this is the best thing I have ever heard!!! It's simply GLORIOUS!!! But words can't describe it...
Anyway, of more interest to the rest of the list, I wanted to ask what the instrument is in "Swallow" that accompanies KB through the passage that begins just after "Take them over the water..." and includes "Tonight's the night of the flight..." (or something like that). It's the sort of continuous, haunting, high note that tags just a tad behind her voice through this part of the song. In any case, that sound and the way she sings that passage defines (to me) all that is true artistry and beauty in music. I've heard a great deal of music, but very little of it have a FELT as I do that passage. (Most others have also been KB..) At high volume the rush can be devastating! No doubt there is a law against it somewhere...
Date: Sat, 24 Sep 88 23:57 PDT
Subject: A visit with two Irish musicians (Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn)
IED just returned from the debut West Coast concert by Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn. The concert was only about seventy-five minutes of actual music, but the quality was breathtaking, and above all the musical authenticity was absolute. They emphasized reels, jigs and hornpipes, and played only three slow airs all night, which to this novice of Irish music was something of a disappointment. But overall, 'twas a truly grand evenin'.
After attending the concert, and after waiting without result for some time afterward outside the musicians' practice room while the audience for the second show filed in and began getting impatient, IED decided it was time to be obnoxious and just barge in...so he knocked timidly. Donal (who plays bouzouki and guitar) said yes, come in, though "we are a bit preoccupied." Which didn't exactly put your Love-Hounds KorrespondenT at ease; but he pressed on.
When they heard the name "Kate Bush" spout from IED's lips, however, they relaxed visibly and became quite friendly -- expansive, even.
IED asked them first how their parts for "Night of the Swallow" came to exist. In the album notes Kate gives full credit to Bill Whelan for both the writing and the arranging of the parts for Uillean pipes, etc., and Donal and Liam basically confirmed that fact.
But Liam explained that this was not because Kate had no music in mind when she sent them the tape (which they also confirmed was a twenty-four-track tape which already included a rough mix of the song and a computer time-code on the first couple of tracks, making it a "slave"). On the contrary, Liam said. Kate went to Bill Whelan to find notes that the Uillean pipes were capable of playing in that spot on the track, because (and this IED didn't really understand, because Liam is such an absolute master of the instrument) Bill was better able to define the technical limitations of the pipes than anyone else.
When the new tracks were finished, however, Donal said that Kate worked on and shaped every tiny detail in them to suit her ideas. Donal said it was clear that, although in the end she hadn't actually changed any of the specific melodic lines that Bill had come up with, it was very clear by her care with each note that if there had been anything that didn't suit the piece, she wouldn't have had any difficulty changing it herself. It was more out of respect for their own work, in other words, than out of any indecision on her part, that led her to work with Bill on the writing of the music.
Donal then began to rhapsodize about Kate's personal beauty, and when he started saying how she was like a fairy princess and rolling his eyes meaningfully, IED felt it was time for another question about music...
[see HoL --WIE]
From: uiucdcs!uiucuxc!rtmvax!nrc@uunet.UU.NET (Richard Caldwell)
Date: 15 Dec 88 02:56:50 GMT
Subject: "The night doesn't like it ..."
"The night doesn't like it" from Night of the Swallow.
(How *does* she do that? Is that all her voice or was that electronically touched up? )
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 88 12:35:34 EST
From: jsd%UMASS.BITNET@MITVMA.MIT.EDU (Jonathan S. Drukman)
Subject: Re: "The night doesn't like it ..."
> "The night doesn't like it" from Night of the Swallow.
(How *does* she do that? Is that all her voice or was that electronically touched up? )
That's all real, although there's probably some sort of electronic effecting on it. I doubt that it is artificially induced distortion. Drink a lot of milk before singing (or acting) - it coats your vocal chords and a) lowers your range slightly and b) makes your voice much rougher and prone to crack.
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 88 19:26 PST
Subject: Night of the Swallow
>"The night doesn't like it" from Night of the Swallow. (How *does* she do that? Is that all her voice or was that electronically touched up? )
It's not clear to IED exactly which sound you're alluding to. In the line you quote Kate is mainly just singing her ass off (pardon IED's French). There may have been other stuff done to the voice there, however. IED couldn't say what. But Kate did once explain that in order to get the rough yet remarkably rich fortissimo vocal sounds in Houdini ("We pulled you from the water!" etc.)--which have very much the same timbre as in Night of the Swallow --Kate prepared by consuming a lot of milk and chocolate, in order to "build up mucus in the throat". Now that's hi-tech voice-processing for you.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Vickie Mapes)
Date: 19 Oct 92 01:48:12 GMT
Subject: NotS Landing...
> "Night of the Swallow" is probably my all time favorite Kate song, but I've not a clue what it's about -- what do you think this situation is that she's describing? Don't you love the line, "wings fill the window, and they beat and bleed".....
Absolutely! NotS is my all-time favorite Kate song too. It's the song that clicked the entire album into my brain and set it into a very comfortable place called "Favorite Kate Album! Do Not Remove Or The Entire Universe Will Collapse In Upon Itself And Everyone Will Be Really Upset!"
What it's about?
Cast 'o characters:
Husband-adventurous, greedy and somewhat henpecked
Wife-paranoid, worried and somewhat shrewish
Old rented airplane for "daydream" sequence.
Middle of the night, presumably
Couple's home, whereabouts unknown
Dover, England and Malta are mentioned, but we don't know for sure if he actually goes to either place. They *talk* and he *thinks* about it, but did he go??
FADE FROM BLACK
Nightime. We're in an English cottage somewhere in southern England.
Wife pleads with husband to not go on his "mission" to Malta.
Please don't laugh at me, this night doesn't feel right.
She threatens to call the coppers if he leaves.
Please don't go. I don't like the sound of it.
She can see that he isn't even listening to her.
Listen to me! I won't let you do it! I won't let you go through with it!
Husband is not listening to his wife. He's thinking about the flight ahead. He can't wait to get to Dover where the plane that he will pilot is waiting. He's itching to get up in the air, the only place he feels free of the drudgery of his "real" life. He's aware it's dangerous and illegal, but he doesn't care. He wants to fly like a swallow. I'm just the pilot, I didn't plan the whole thing. I don't even know their names, and they don't know mine. It'll be ok, really. It's a moonless night, and the plane will blend in with the darkness. There no risk, really. And I'll be home before the morning.
Wife: No, please, you'll get caught. You'll get caught in Malta and they'll lock the door and throw away the key. You want to be a swallow, but swallows behind bars just beat their wings against the windows until they bleed. They'll keep you in jail, in another country far away. No! I won't let you do it!
Husband: No really, it will be fine. I'm just going to be the pilot. I have to take them to Malta. Don't worry. I'll be back before dawn.
He loses patience with her.
(GIVE ME A BREAK! I HAVE TO FLY! GET OFF MY BACK AND LET ME HAVE *SOMETHING* TO SHOW FOR MY MISERABLE LIFE!)
I want to *fly*, fly like a swallow. Let me go.
Wife, sadly: But you're not a swallow.
FADE TO BLACK
That's how it plays out in my mind, anyway. I'm not as good a "screenwriter" as Kate, but I fill in my own details, such as them standing in the living room, by a fire, arguing.
I really think that the wife cares for her husband. She is a bit of a shrew (he complains of having a "miserable life") but she doesn't want to lose him. She's willing to have him arrested but that's something I'm not clear about. She doesn't want him arrested in Malta, but she says "they'll head you off when you touch the ground," which sounds like the ground in Malta. I just pop my own imagination in there and assume that he would take off again before the police have a chance to board the plane, and assume that that's what she's thinking will happen too. She does care, and she's very, very scared.
Now, we don't know who Husband is going to be taking to Malta. I'm not clear if he's supposed to take them there and leave them there, or if he's taking them there so they can pick up something to bring back to England. Most likely he's taking them there to pick up drugs or maybe illegal aliens to bring back.
As I said above, it's never made clear if the husband actually leaves the house. I assume he does, but since all the flying "scenes" are happening in his overactive imagination, who knows.
The biggest clue to point toward his actually leaving the house is the sad whisper at the end "But you're not a swallow."
Sometimes, when I'm in the mood, I switch the man and the woman's places. Gender is never really made clear on either side. I think it's interesting to sometimes picture it being the woman who is piloting the airplane.
There are some discrepancys in the lyrics that are printed in the booklet (looking at the Box Set CD booklet now)
"They'll never find us" should be "They'll never find me"
....."posing as the night" (she sings "me" every time)
This makes a real difference to me, in his characterization. "Us implies that he's thinking of everybody on the plane. "Me" implies that he isn't really thinking about anybody but himself. This is *his* flight, *his* adventure, *his* escape. It doesn't matter to him what or who the plane is--or will be--carrying. I think that's why Kate leaves the actual crime unknown. The song isn't about the crime at all, it's about the husband and wife, the willingness to risk everything they have for adventure (him) and safety (her.)
"For all of the guilty to set them free" should be
"For all of the guilty to let them free"
I'm not sure what difference this makes, but "let" sounds better.
"Oooh let me try" should be "Oooh let me fly"
....."Give me something to show for my miserable life"
Either word would sound good, but fly fits in much better with the bird imagry. Besides, he's a very confident fellow. He's *sure* that there will be no problems. I can't see him saying "try" at all. I wonder how it got into the lyric proofs.
It's quite an amazing song musically and vocally. The drums and Irish instruments send shivers up my spine. Lyrically, it's (to me) one of Kate's most vivid and "filmic" songs. (hey, if she can say it so can I) Vickie
On to "All The Love"
written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Sept 1995 June 1996