Chaucer Meets American Pie

For out of olde feldes, as men seith,
Cometh al this new corn fro yeer to yere;
And out of olde bokes, in good feith,
Cometh al this newe science that men lere.

Chaucer, Parlement of Foules




Hattip to Mrs. Darwin. Nicholas Jackson has transcribed Chaucer’s version of American Pie:



A longe longe tyme sithen, and yet yt me remembreth yn what maner that musique was wont to make me smyle.

And Ich wiste wel, hadde Ich a chaunse, thanne Ich mighte maken the folk to daunse, and peraventure thei wolde feele mirthe a litel while

Yet Fevrier did maken me to quake, wyht everye lettir patent Ich did take. Ill tidinges at the gate-hous, and barely Ich koud get oute.

Ne me myndeth whethir Ich wepte, whane Ich knewe of sorwe a widow kepte. But myn inwit did much agrieve, the daye the musique took yts leave

And thei were singinge…

Bye, bye, Englisshe Jakke of Dover, drove my palfrey almoste halfwey but the tourney was over.

And the fayre goode lordes were sippinge ypocras and rhenish, and sayinge thys daye my lyf shal be finisshede.

Hast thou writte the boke of love, and kepestow feyth yn God above, yf the scrypture sayeth so?

And believestow yn rokke and rolle, kan vernacular vers saven thy mortale soule, and kanst thou teache me howe to daunse the saltarello?

Ich knowe thou lovst hym paramours, for Ich sawe yow on the palais floor. Ye doffede yower krakowe shoon, and than did thos trumpetes blowen

A solitarye valet burninge in loves biere, wyth a livery badge and a destrier, & Ich ful wel was yn despayre, the day the musique perisshede

Bye, bye, Englisshe Jakke of Dover, drove my palfrey wel nigh halfwey but the tourney was over.

And the fayre goode lordes were sippinge vernange and rhenish, and sayinge thys daye ower lyves shal be finisshede. Continue Reading


Killing Lori Softly?


Something for the weekend.  Killing me Softly with His Song , written by Charles Fox  with lyrics by Norman Gimbel.  Out of the musical wasteland that was the Seventies, this is one of the few songs that I enjoy.  Sung by many artists, this version by Roberta Flack is the standard.  The song had an interesting genesis if one believes one version of how it came about.

Don McLean, he of American Pie and Vincent, was singing and folk singer Lori Lieberman had an emotional reaction to his song Empty Chairs.  She wrote a poem and the song was based on the poem.  She sang the song in 1972 a year before Flack’s version.  Here is her version: Continue Reading


Genius, Weird Al Yankovic

That is a word that many music entertainers use to describe “Weird Al” Yankovic.

All of the songs that Weird Al parodies he gets approval for.  In fact after the Coolio controversy about his “Amish Paradise” music video he now makes sure he speaks with the music entertainer directly before he proceeds in the production of any new venture.

Weird Al also parodies music styles, ie, pastiche, in addition to pop music hits.

In another cult classic which is a rare original from Weird Al, he pokes fun at the pop music group Devo and their brand of music which is New Wave.

Shortly after the song was released, Weird Al received a letter from the lead singer of Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh, congratulating him on writing “the perfect Devo song”.  He has also said that the song is “beautiful … and I hate him for it, basically.”

An apocryphal story has been recounted where the lead singer of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, said after viewing the video for “Dare To Be Stupid” that Weird Al is a “genius”!

Dare To Be Stupid is the title song of the same album, and in my personal opinion his best album ever.


[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

Continue Reading