Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bring Em All In

Rob Halligan and Gareth Davies-Jones perform Mike Scott's song "Bring Em All In" which Daniel Levitin gives pride of place as the last song discussed in the final chapter ("Love") of his The World In Six Songs. He says it, "is to my ears among the most perfect love songs ever written".

Here is a YouTube with audio of Mike Scott performing the song himself. And here's another with him performing it live less than a year ago with an Irish fiddle wailing in the background.

It's almost like a mantra with the repetitive rhythms and lyrics, and the idea behind the words suggests the Buddhist prayers for "all sentient beings". Scott has connections to and performs at Findhorn, which I didn't realize was still a going concern.

Besides the song itself, I really like the performance in the embedded video up above. 

* The guitar player gets a groove going immediately and sustains it until the end. His sound with the acoustic guitar with internal mike fed to the monitor speakers in front of him has a great fullness. An electric guitar just wouldn't have that crispness, and without the monitors the sound would be thin. That full sound enhances the immersion in the rhythm.

* The way the guitarist moves, his gestures, gives the music a physical reality. I'll never forget seeing Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review two consecutive nights, in San Antonio and then Austin, back in the mid 70's. Sometimes the way he moved with the music made it seem the music was a force field and it was moving him rather than he creating it.

* The singing is a lot of the time almost conversational, and because it's almost masked by the guitar it "brings in" the listener so as to hear the words.

* The other singer with the egg shaker and box percussion adds a lot to the performance, and the two of them really connect with each other and the audience making that rhythm together. 

* I really like that the only staging is just the various instruments and the mixer, so all the focus is on the music itself. 

* Currently Mike Scott is in Dublin where he's going to present a number of  W. B. Yeats poems he's put to music. I read through the complete Yeats several times as an undergraduate years ago and was entranced. And Celtic music has always been a favorite of mine. So part of why I like this song so much probably has to do with its Celtic feel.

Many thanks to our Vermont readership for finding this video and insisting I take the time for a dial-up download of it.

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