Category Archives: Blues

Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand): Ostranenie

An ordinary word sung in an extraordinary way is a treat. A parallel universe frisson of excitement. We pay extra attention whenever the familiar is made unfamiliar.

Ostranenie works its magic in Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand). The backing singers offer such an unusual version of the word’anyone‘ that they throw the slow honey of Irma Thomas’ voice into reassuring relief. They pronounce anyone as nobody pronounces anyone. Irma’s telling a love story, so she sings anyone as a deep, warm version of itself:

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I Heard it Through the Grapevine

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In a Broken Dream

It was my mate who convinced me to do it. He ran a car showroom, and he said, ‘I’ve got this group come from Australia, but the singer’s not very good. Can you do a demo for me?’ I said, ‘What do I get?’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t have any money. I’ll give you a set of carpets.’ That was 1969″

                                                                                                                         Rod Stewart

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Blue Canvas: The Artist Miles Davis (BBC Radio 4)

“A painting is music you can see, and music is a painting you can hear.”     

In a BBC Radio 4 Seriously…  documentary, Miles Davis takes up art as therapy after his stroke in 1982 and comes to love it so much that he carries a sketchbook and pens in his trumpet case:

Richard Williams’ interview with Miles from1983 in the Guardian here begins: I’ll answer your questions if you’ll print my drawings. Richard regrets not buying some of them! You can see some of Miles’ artwork here.

© Sing Better English, 2016