Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Along Comes Mary

Random musings on a Summer Day….

Songs about women were first written within minutes of the first instruments being tooled. Women named Mary have been the beneficiary of some great ones since that time. With no proof I would offer up that it is the most common woman’s name in history. My cousin who’s been married a few times even has two ex’s named Mary. Like I said, this is unscientific, but I stand by it.

Anyway, below is a selective, but compelling list of five songs that use the name of Mary in the title and a few that use a variation of the name. Feel free to submit yours to us. Titles are alphabetical for simplicity’s sake.

Arms Of Mary - Sutherland Brothers If you’ve never heard this, then you’ve never experienced what a girl named Mary could mean to one person. This is perfection from first note to last. The only other song that comes close in this department is “Walk Away Renee.” This one just stops time and allows you to search your psyche for your own “Mary.”

Hello, Mary Lou - Rick Nelson An ode to teenage love that while sounding quaint, never seems overwrought. Rick gives us a gentle reading that recalls the girl a few houses down who seems to notice everyone but our narrator.

Mary In The Morning - Al Martino In his pre “Godfather” days Al offered a credible version of this one for the masses. Elvis Presley though did one for the ages. Check out his soulful reading of it on “That’s The Way It Is.”

Mary, Mary - Monkees Although Mike Nesmith wrote it, Mickey does the vocal honors on this one. It’s a nice slab of pop from the late sixties. Also check out the Paul Butterfield Band’s version for a different perspective.

The Wind Cries Mary - Jimi Hendrix Experience This one arrives like some drugged induced dream with its imagery and stop and start musical passages, then it seems to just float around the room long after it ends.

Some Variations…

Maria - (West Side Story) This one has had its share of covers over the years, but Johnny Mathis delivers its most soulful version. After all of these years seeing the names of Sondheim and Bernstein under the title brings thoughts of seeing McCartney and Dylan together as co-writers.

Marie, Marie - Blasters Early eighties rockabilly that smolders from start to finish. Vocalist Phil Alvin uses the words of brother Dave to woo a local girl for a night on the town. It pulls together all of the urgency of living for the moment, not the times. This is one of those songs that you just can’t play loud enough.

So Long, Marianne - Leonard Cohen With a parable known only to Cohen he weaves his spell around yet another lost love.