Rolling Stone - "The Glory of Gershwin"
Astrology for the 21st Century - "Kate Bush: Any Day Now... A New Chapter in the Whole Story"
The New Statesman - March 28, 2005 - Sandy Shaw's Diary (Kate meeting the Queen of England)
To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents
The Glory of Gershwin
by Elysa Gardner
January 26, 1995
Of all the tribute albums around, The Glory of Gershwin holds the distinction of being the only one to feature an 80-year-harmonica player and Meat Loaf. Beyond that it also pays homage to one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. George Gershwin's ability to convey rapture and longing through his melodies alone was virtually unrivaled among his peers. Sure, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers crafted brilliant songs, but neither wrote A Rhapsody in Blue.
It's fitting, then, that although numerous household names lend their voices to Glory, the album's star is an instrumentalist: octogenarian Larry Adler (Gershwin's friend and musical associate), whose savvy, richly intuitive harp work graces every track. With its nuances and gritty pathos, Adler's playing emphasizes the folksy but haunted sense of Americana that runs through much of Gershwin's music, particularly Porgy and Bess.
Among the singers, Elvis Costello and Lisa Stansfield come cloest to matching Adler's effortless virtuosity. Stansfield's technically supple alto is well suited to show tunes, and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" is a perfect vehicle for her flirtatious vitality; Costello delivers a reading of "But Not For Me" that's both tasteful and heartbreaking. Others show signs of stretching or challenging themselves but are often equally impressive. Peter Gabriel ("Summertime") and Sting ("Nice Work If You Can Get It") start off singing so low in their ranges that it may take a moment to recognize them, but their performances turn out savvy and affecting. And Kate Bush milks every ounce of desperation in "The Man I Love," imbuing the song's wistful lyric with a delicious hint of madness.
Granted, some push a bit too hard. One wishes that Mr. Loaf, who quavers ardently through "Somebody Loves Me," had waited for the Andrew Lloyd Webber tribute; the same holds true for Cher, whose version of "It Ain't Necessarily So" is, predictably, an exercise in overzealous vamping. Fortunately, producer George Martin keeps the bombast to a minimum, arranging the songs with an unpretentious intelligence that frees them to do what they have always done, which is inspire and enchant.
Kate Bush: Any Day Now... A New Chapter in the Whole Story
"Vicky Page aspires to join the Lermontov Company, acknowledged to be the greatest team of ballet dancers in the world. Boris Lermontov is not interested - until he sees her dance. Then he realizes that she will become a great ballerina. An iron disciplinarian, he expects Vicky to dedicate herself completely to her art. For Vicky, that is a particularly harsh demand she is attracted by Julian Craster, the young composer who is another of Lermontov's brilliant protégés. Julian has composed the music for The Red Shoes ballet, a version of the Hans Andersen fairy tale. In it, Vicky achieves stardom. The fantastic shoemaker gives her the magic shoes which impel her to keep on dancing ; she becomes more and more exhausted, until finally she dances to her death.
performance of the new danseuse brings full recognition of her talent.
But the unhappy theme of the ballet is borne out behind the stage.
Vicky is irresistibly caught between love for Julian and devotion to
the ballet. Lermontov, determined to fulfil her genius, is enraged by
the human passion which distracts her. He bullies Vicky; he pleads with
her. Unable to make the choice between Julian, whom she has married,
and her career, Vicky, bewildered and despairing, deliberately brings
her life to a premature end." - From the Plot Synopsis at
song of Kate's where this Venus septile Pluto aspect can be glimpsed is
'Hounds of Love'. Kate has described this song as about being hunted,
pursued and ravaged by love, in its guise as a frightening monster - a
very Venus-Pluto idea.
Driven to be different
Kate's Sun in conjunction with Uranus in Leo symbolises the drive to be original, idiosyncratic, and trailblazing in the expression of her creative ideas. Interestingly, for Kate's one and only tour (so far) her team made a headset microphone so that she could dance and sing simultaneously -
"Well, as far as I know, it's the first time it was used live, 'cos I wanted to be able to move around and dance and use my hands, and at the time the sound engineer that we were working with came up with the idea of actually adapting a coat hanger, he actually used a coat hanger, and opened it out and put it into the shape, so that was the prototype." - Kate Bush, speaking on ITV, 1993
This was over a decade before Madonna - who was born just over a fortnight after Kate - popularised the use of this type of microphone in concerts. Kate was born during a Jupiter quintile with Uranus, adding to the ground-breaking nature of her creative impulse. From a review of Kate's tour:
"Kate Bush lines up all the old stereotypes, mows them down and hammers them into their coffins with a show that is - quite literally - stunning. This quaint, cute suburban redhead turns pop upside-down by not merely singing but performing songs with explosive originality."A 'transpersonal' Mercury
Sandy Shaw's Diary (Kate meeting
the Queen of England)
The New Statesman
March 28, 2005
I turned around and there was Da Kween in a bright turquoise
suit smiling at me, holding out her hand to be shaken (no gloves).
By Sandie Shaw
''Keep still and stop fidgeting," muttered Grace through a mouthful of pins. Perched precariously on a chair, I stood as still as I could while my daughter sewed the hem on my pink Armani suit. Outside, Eric Nicoli, the chairman of EMI, stood in the rain with his chauffeur, George, waiting for me to emerge.
In the car we checked our ID - passports, driving licences, birth certificates, bank statements and personal invitations from the Queen to visit her at Buckingham Palace. We were on our way to a royal knees-up - a "do" to celebrate "the contribution of the music industry to the culture and economy of the United Kingdom". Like everyone else, I was invited to come alone, which filled me with great panic. I have never gone to public occasions on my own. I felt like a child on her first day at school. In desperation I rang Eric, who luckily also had an invite and offered to be my escort/minder for the evening. Eric has the dubious notoriety of being called "Big Boy" by Davina McCall on TV at a Brit Awards ceremony, so I felt I was in good hands.
Outside on the palace steps were a few straggly old-guard paparazzi, struggling to focus their cameras. Inside, I suddenly felt like Cinderella at the ball and had the wild urge to kick my shoes off and dance barefoot in the light of the sparkly chandeliers. Ushered through the echoing halls, we passed lines of waiters polishing glasses and pouring wine. I quickly went over to grab one (a drink, that is) for Dutch courage, and committed my first faux pas of the evening. "We'll bring the drinks to you in reception," advised the head waiter, bowing so deeply I thought he would split his trousers. I took an orange juice and mingled. I then committed my second faux pas. While being introduced to the Duke of Gloucester, I suddenly broke into a coughing fit. Hordes of equerries ran amok trying to furnish me with a serviette to mop up. Actually it wasn't such a bad mistake. Apparently most people had tried not to fall asleep while talking to him - or, having previously met him, completely avoided being reintroduced. He seemed a perfectly nice chap but somewhat lacking in the charisma department.
The three questions I knew my friends would ask the next day were: "Who was there?" "Did you meet the Queen?" and "What did she say?" Here goes . . .
The guests included the leader of the band of the Coldstream Guards, the head of music collections at the British Library, the conductor of the Windsor and Eton Choral Society, the director of the Specialist Schools Trust and (of course) the Master of the Queen's Music. Add to this a smattering of jazz musicians, sopranos, triple harpists, a large pinch of indie record company founders, a slice of fat-cat rock managers, movers and shakers, all mixed with a twist of current and former pop icons, and you had a rather heady royal cocktail.
I particularly enjoyed meeting up again with some of the old guard: Cilla Black, Roger Daltrey of the Who, Robin Gibb (still stayin' alive) and Ray Davies of the Kinks (accompanied by a rather attractive Swedish nurse, no doubt to take care of his recent mugging injuries - not). I really enjoyed meeting some of my Eighties musical heroes for the first time, like Peter Gabriel, Joan Armatrading and Kate Bush. Peter admitted to having me as a bedroom pin-up as a boy; Joan informed me she was now chair of Women in Music; and Kate took us on a grand tour of the Queen's art collection, which adorned the walls. She was ecstatic.
"Can you believe it? That's a real Rubens up there. Fancy having that in your front room," Kate bubbled. I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was Da Kween in a bright turquoise suit smiling at me, holding out her hand to be shaken (no gloves). She chatted away amiably and even managed to look interested as I explained my latest foray into European copyright law. All the while, Kate was rummaging in her handbag. Suddenly, she produced a pen and some paper. "Would you mind awfully signing this for my son?" she asked sweetly. The Queen looked lost for words. "I think that's a pop-star thing, Kate," I mumbled. The Queen seemed pleased to be let off the hook. "Quite right," she answered as an equerry quickly hustled her away.
Reaching Out main page
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds