Monday, December 5, 2011

"When Amy came to Dingle"


I wonder how many people, men and women, hear Amy Winehouse's voice and know, without a doubt, that they are not alone on this earth. I remember hearing her voice for the first time. I was in a hurry. It was in the midst of war, inner and outer. I stopped to listen. It is an ancient voice. Astounding that such an emotionally vulnerable young woman carried the gravity and levity of that voice for as long as she did. I am moved by what she says at the end of this film clip about listening to Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin:

"... Gospel is so truthful. There is nothing that, you know, I mean I'm not religious, but there is nothing more pure that the relationship with, you know, your God or what you believe in, your faith, you know, there is nothing stronger than that, apart from your love of music, and so gospel to me is very inspirational."


The Solitary Walker said...

I am moved by Amy Winehouse's ancient voice, and what happened to her was part of an ancient tragedy.

am said...

Solitary Walker -- With your words about Amy Winehouse in mind, I'm reminded of Abraham Lincoln's memorable compassion and insight and nonjudgmental stance in regard to the ancient tragedy of the alcoholic:

"In my judgment such of us who have never fallen victims have been spared more by the absence of appetite than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class."

"There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and warm blooded to fall into the vice. The demon of intemperance, ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some relative, more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? He seems ever to have gone forth like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay, if not the first, the fairest born of every family." (my italics)

(!) Just noticed that it appears that Bob Dylan lifted a line from Abraham Lincoln for the song "Summer Days":

... He been suckin’ the blood out of the genius of generosity ... (from "Love and Theft")

I'm not looking for these odd connections. They just jump out at me! It is likely that Bob Dylan may have read something of Abraham Lincoln's address to members of the Washingtonian movement in Springfield, Illinois, on February 22, 1842.

The Solitary Walker said...

Although I realised 'Love and Theft' was full of rich borrowings and references, I, like you, had not made this connection! The passage you quote from Lincoln is wonderfully compassionate and full of insight, as you say.

There but for the grace of God.

am said...

My experience is that being an alcoholic is not a tragedy as long as I don't drink. It was at the time of Janis Joplin's death in 1970 that I began to seriously wonder if I was an alcoholic and start to be more conscious about alcohol and its effect on me. It wasn't until 1987 that I realized I am an real alcoholic. I don't think I would be alive today if I hadn't stopped drinking. Amy Winehouse's death reminded me once again of that very real possibility.