The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny
The cover art and the title – spacious, melancholic, poetic – drew me in. Sort of lit a sense of fondness & nostalgia for my own home town*. Feelings that only exist by virtue of going beyond its boundaries and limitations.
* Penrith in outer Western Sydney when it was sparsely populated and largely rural
Interest was almost sure to convert to sale … and the names of the artists sealed it. I trusted it would be a quality offerheard quite a lot of Charlie Haden over the years extending back to school days and some of Pat Metheny.
I trusted it would be a quality offering.
Both Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny grew up in Missouri – about 100 miles from each other. And composer Jimmy Webb’s roots are not all that far away in the neighbouring state of Oklahoma.
The song has been recorded by many, the first by Joe Cocker in 1974. I had never heard the song (as far as I remember) until I played this album.
It was late, quiet, the track started and the world seemed to stop – a song that seemed as spacious as the Missouri sky. Timeless, a momentary visit to a parallel universe where joy and melancholia can be felt simultaneously.
Webb composed this song around the the title of the highly acclaimed 1966 book from Robert A. Heinlein.
What connects The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress with Highwayman?
Jimmy Webb is the link – composer of both songs (and many others).
Other Stuff You Might Enjoy.
* Interview (mostly about Charlie Haden) with Jack Black – Charlie Haden’s son-in-law. (16m 58s)
* 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz – A documentary (58m 58s) that focuses on 4 jazz albums released in 1959. Charlie Haden played on one those albums – Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come. Haden is also interviewed in the documentary. The other 3 albums are: Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue; Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Hum; Dave Brubeck – Time Out.
* Playlist on YouTube – 10 Clips:
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny – Live, Germany 2003;
Joe Cocker from his 1974 album, I Can Stand A Little Rain;
Joe Cocker – Live. Unsure where, I think it is 1983.
Glen Campbell – Live 2001
Joan Baez from her 1987 album Recently;
Judy Collins from her 1975 album Judith;
Radka Toneff – I think this is from the 1982 Fairytales album;
Linda Ronstadt accompanied by Jimmy Webb; (the sound is distorted)
Karin Allyson from her 2004 album Wild For You
North: Song Of The Moon by Lucia Popp (from Dvorak’s Rusalka)
East: Islands by King Crimson
South: Highwayman is on that road
West: One Day I’ll Fly Away by Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden