Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
She would have kept fit!
Ballad Of The Virgin Soldier.
Lyrics were written by Ray Davies, but were rewritten by Larry Kusik and Eddie Snyder for the
movie The Virgin Soldier.
Leon Bibb (February 7, 1922 – October 23, 2015) was an American folk singer and actor who grew up in Kentucky, studied voice in New York City, and worked on Broadway. His career began when he became a featured soloist of the Louisville Municipal College glee club as a student. He lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, after 1969.
Bibb was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was one of the performers at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959. He also had his own NBC television talk show. During the late-1950s and early-1960s, Bibb was one of a number of American entertainers, such as his good friend Paul Robeson, who were blacklisted for alleged ties to left-wing groups and causes. In 1963, Bibb traveled to Mississippi to join Dick Gregory and others in the fight against racial segregation in the United States.
Despite that setback, Bibb continued to perform, and around 1963–64 he was featured singing on the national TV show, Hootenanny, on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed with Bill Cosby on tours. He also provided the soundtrack to Luis Buñuel's 1960 film The Young One. His a cappella vocals blend his classical, spiritual and blues influences.
In 2009, he was made a Member of the Order of British Columbia. At the time of receiving this honor, Bibb was still an active performer.
He died on October 23, 2015. He is the father of the New York-based acoustic blues singer/songwriter Eric Bibb, and grandfather of Swedish dancer and performer Rennie Mirro.
------------------------------------------- Wikipedia info
To be honest I had never heard of this guy before, and I almost posted the info for a news anchor of the same name lol
I wasn't able to find the lyrics for the track. I would be very interested to hear/read what lyrics Ray put down for this, particularly since the Arthur album from around the same time had some excellent war related lyrics.
This is musically based around the theme music we already looked at, but with a few minor differences.
I'll have to leave it to you guys to dig a little deeper into this track, as I am not really sure where to go with it. It is certainly relevant to our thread, but has little to do with the Kinks really.
Thanks for posting this Mark: I had always assumed that Leon Bibb was another conductor like Greenfield or Schroeder doing an instrumental version of the theme: I had no idea he was actually a black American folk singer! The lyrics are very poignant and not a million miles from ‘Some Mothers Son’, hauntingly conveying the waste of the death of young soldiers, (emphasising how as Virgins both literally and in a broader sense, they hadn’t lived lives of their own yet) however I do agree they just don’t sound like Ray Davies work; I wonder if there was anything left of Ray’s original lyric in Kusik and Snyders rewrite or if it was ground up.
Confession time: I’ve never seen the Virgin Soldiers film, and all this time I just assumed it was set in WW1, dunno I must’ve just lazily conflated it with the Arthur songs. I now see it’s actually set during the Malaysian Emergency of the 50s, so very recent history when the film was made. The inclusion of the theme (along with another briefer instrumental piece Ray apparently also wrote for the film, ‘Soldiers Coming Home’ ) on the Arthur box further muddies the waters: Ray seemed to make the decision to retroactively group the music from this project with Arthur via that compilation even though they were originally separate.
I can’t figure out why a film producer would hire a songwriter, I would assume based on a certain style and songs written to date, and then seem to be okay with an end product that doesn’t resemble anything previously written.
Johnny Rogan's bio of Ray sheds a bit of light on this.
Ned Sherrin, the producer of the movie, had never heard of the Kinks. He's quoted as saying 'my knowledge of sixties pop radio and record charts was poor to non-existent.' But after one of his collaborators suggested Ray, Sherrin took a shine to his songs and invited him to do the theme. On that Rogan says 'at first, Davies wrote some "noble lyrics" to accompany the theme tune, but they were swiftly rejected.' Ray says 'I realised they didn't work when Ned very gently and humorously managed to get me to see it and we dropped them.'
Just guessing, I'd suggest Ray's lyrics might have been more serious or reflective for a movie based on a comic novel.
This happened around the time Sherrin commissioned Ray to write a song a week for the BBC series Where Was Spring?
At least the Virgin Soldier stuff was written and released the same year as Arthur… To fill up their most recent box sets, it's fair to say Ray and the compilers stretched any kind of track-listing "logic" to the limit, recording new tracks, including unreleased songs from other time periods etc. to lure in the dedicated fans already in possession of the mono mix, b-sides and Dave's "hidden" treasures. Because you need the dedicated fans on board for these kind of stuff, don't you ?
My karma for expressing near-apathy for the song "Arthur" is that the tune has now been stuck in my craw all week, on repeat. Someone went into my brain's jukebox, took out a pocket full of quarters, and programmed that song again and again. sheesh.
Hmm. Still, the book says that the producer took a shine to his songs. I guess I think in terms of Ry Cooder taking on a soundtrack. Or Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard ‘One Fast Move Or I’m Gone.’ It’s different than their usual...but still recognizable. (I guess my latter example might not be such a good one as it is all distinct songs instead of movie soundtrack background music. In which case: Jay Farrar ‘The Slaughter Rule.’ A bit more traditional soundtracky.)
Been there, done that with ‘Dandy.’
Hold My Hand
I looked up Larry Kusik & Eddie Synder and it seems that the most famous song that they wrote lyrics for was "A Time For Us", the Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet. They seemed to specalized in contributing English lyrics to foreign songs. Here's Edddie Synder's obituary:
Just don't try and touch my butt or kiss me
I've been absent for a while, but had to look back to read your account of this one. A great write up, for a great, great song.
Is it the Kinks finest moment on record? On some days I think it could well be, an absolutely beautiful song, and the version I saw Ray sing live, on his last full UK tour brought tears to the eyes. Genius.
Well welcome back.
You'll have plenty of time to catch up, if you want to. This week is mainly going to be summarizing the sixties, and next week I'm on vacation, and AJ will be running through The Long Distance Piano Player.
Ned Sherrin became a close friend of Ray's. He was mentioned in X Ray. He was also in the Kinks at the Rainbow TV show discussing the "Virgin Soldier Theme" & how Ray's lyrics were better than the "two aging protest writers" that ended up doing the lyrics.
This sounds like it was influenced by the Kinks
Sure, influence, yes. There is some shared DNA to some Madness tunes in relationship to the Kinks. I would never deny that.
I'm just saying that unlike, say, Blur and Oasis, I don't immediately think of the Kinks when I hear them. They mostly have a different sound that is uniquely theirs.
Here's a bunch of Kinks related articles from the old UK magazine Beat Instrumental (via the World Radio History website) which I think will be of interest to my fellow Avids (I even included articles on Nicky Hopkins, Barry Fantoni & the "other" Ray Davies):
Have some great reading!
Is Madness coming to Boston or are you going to see them in the UK?
I hope they come to Arkansas.... but I doubt it....
“And on comes that agonized smile again.”
It's just gone noon half past monsoon
On the banks of the river Mississippi!
I know there was sort of kerfuffle about what Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull thought about the Kinks in this thread. Here he is on the "Blind Date" portion of the Melody Maker issue dated October 18, 1969:
The Kinks Tracks From Arthur (Pye). "It's something with life in it. It's like breathing again. I really like this one. It's not the Kinks, is it? Great Let me listen to a bit more. The first thing that hits me about it is that it's alive They're real people musically. It's music at last and they're 1n control or what they are doing."
I'll be seeing them in Boston. Back to good ol' Landsdowne St at the House of Blues. The English Beat are opening for them and I'm over the moon.
That's a cool bill, particularly for 2021!
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