Friday, June 08, 2007

Parker's Mood

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is no finer songwriter working today than Joe Henry. He wrote the definitive song about Richard Pryor. Now he’s done it again with Charlie Parker.


Parker's soaring, fast, rhythmically asymmetrical improvisations could amaze the listener. His harmonic ideas were revolutionary, introducing a new tonal vocabulary employing 9ths, 11ths and 13ths of chords, rapidly implied passing chords, and new variants of altered chords and chord substitutions. His tone was clean and penetrating, but sweet and plaintive on ballads. Although many Parker recordings demonstrate dazzling virtuoso technique and complex melodic lines — such as "Koko," "Kim," and "Leap Frog" — he was also one of the great blues players. His themeless blues improvisation "Parker's Mood" represents one of the most deeply affecting recordings in jazz, as fundamental as Armstrong's "West End Blues."
-- from the Wikipedia article on Charlie Parker


Where’s my sock?
And where’s my other shoe?
I didn’t know what time it was
When I came to
The only light in here is my flickering TV
Watching back at me
Oh, my love is here to stay
Oh, my love is here to stay

Saints alive
And all the saints we praised
I see them all around me now
For they've been called and raised
Their jaws have all gone slack
Their yellow nails are long and curling back
To scratch the phantom ache
Of our lost days
Oh, my love is here to stay
No matter what you say

Well I came home this morning I was dead on my feet
Drunk on the victory of my own defeat
Now I’m reeling on the ceiling
But what Yardbird law is this
When a heart in chains is what remains
The prelude to a kiss?

God is in the details of the smoke in the air
The devil he’s a pauper prince nesting in your hair
The things we put together
Ah, the world will tear apart
Well I beat them to the start
Along the way
Oh, my love is here to stay
Oh, my love is here to stay
-- Joe Henry, “Parker's Mood"


Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting these lyrics. He really is the best lyricist working today.

Any word on whether Joe's new record was engineered by Husky Hoskulds? I've been disappointed to see Ryan Freeland picking up Husky's work on the last few albums Joe produced. It's good clean engineering, but it lacks the beautifully imaginative dimensions Husky captures.

Leonid said...

solid and evocative. we are still looking for ways to sweep up after henry. on the page these are just as potent as in aural form.

havent heard from you yet, but I have cds and I want to get you one. it all begins now. let me know how I can do so.

lmaymind at gmail dot com


Anonymous said...


how about in keeping in line with the 5 star album since the millenium...listing your biggest disappointments since 2000. you know, the ones you were truly anticipating and thought would be great and worse?