Ladies and gentlemen, let’s all sit down at the table, raise a glass, and toast the music. Many of us listen to a lot of it. A zillion songs, more or less, floating around our collective consciousness. Some songs are dismissed right off, others burrow into our brain, and a few delve deep into our soul. Blame it on the melody, the lyrics, a particular time and place connected with the song, or something else. Everybody has a story connected with their favorites. One such tune, for me, is none other than Roy Harper’s Another Day.
Roy Harper, the bloke immortalized by Led Zeppelin in Hats Off to (Roy) Harper is a British singer-songwriter. Well, he’s more than that, better known in the UK than stateside. Another Day is from Harper’s fourth studio album, 1970s Flat Baroque and Beserk. He said “Another Day is one of the greatest love song I ever wrote.” The record, unhappily, escaped my notice then. I did catch on to the next one, though, Harper’s scathingly brilliant When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease (titled HQ in his native UK).
It took the better part of the decade for another chance with Another Day. A video of the song surfaced on Kate Bush’s 1979 Christmas Special tv show (shown in the UK). The video, a collaboration between Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, offers a poignant illustration. The clip opens with Bush and Gabriel sitting at a kitchen table. They look straight ahead Behind them, a video backdrop of Gabriel and Bush, acting as their own inner thoughts. Gabriel begins “The kettles on, the sun has gone, another day. She offers me, Tibetan tea, on a flower tray. She’s at the door, she wants to score, she really needs to say.” Bush picks up “I once loved you a long time ago, you know. Where the winds own forget-me-nots blow, you know. But I couldn’t let myself go. Not knowing what on earth there was to know. But I wish that I had cause I’m feeling so sad that I never had one of your children.” Their anguish is absolute.
This is the version I knew first. I’m a KB fan since her Wuthering Heights debut and a Gabriel fan since he sang about Carpet Crawlers. The musical collaborations between the two have always been special. Perfect for this song and video. Later, I sought out Harper’s recording so I could make the comparison. Both versions were haunting and both were different. Both are superb. However, Elizabeth Frasier (This Mortal Coil/Cocteau Twins) presents the one I prefer. She coos, soars, and envelops her voice around the lyrics, “Across the room, inside a tomb, a chance is waxed and wained. The night is young, why are we so hung-up, in each others chains-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh. I must take her, I must make her, while the dove domains- heh-heh-heh-heh-heh- heh-heh.” Frasier’s delivery slightly holds back the affectivity, but it’s the most ethereal. I’ve always liked ethereal.
Copyright © October 06, 2007