February 11, 2011
Never too Late for Paul Muldoon, Norman McBeath & Hailey Beavis
In a sign of just how back-logged I’ve been since the beginning of the new year, here’s a podcast from Christmas which I barely promoted at the time. However, I think it fits in with the ‘Let’s Get Lyrical‘ campaign running through Edinburgh and Glasgow this month. You can read about other people’s favourite lyrics and songs or add you own — here on the ‘Let’s Get Lyrical’ site.
See, this podcast has a timeless track from our friend Hailey Beavis (which, if you haven’t heard, you simply must) but also Paul Muldoon wrote songs with the legendary Warren Zevon.
So first, an aside on Warren Zevon
Warren Zevon is just about my favourite songwriter and the only person I know of ever to use the word ‘Brucilosis’ in a lyric. This from a song Zevon wrote in response to Lynrd Skynrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’
“Grandpa pissed his pants again / he don’t give a damn” is still what I consider to be rock’s greatest opening line. Anyway, Muldoon wrote a few great songs on Zevon’s penultimate album. Here’s one of the songs Muldoon wrote with Zevon. Of course you’ll note it sounds pretty Irish but it is also a sardonic, cynical and super macabre tale with semi-dated references to NASDAQ and dot.com companies.
This is all on Zevon’s penultimite album — ‘My Ride’s Here’ — a pretty portentious title considering Zevon died of a rare form of lung-cancer in 2003. That year he released his final record — ‘The Wind’ — forgoing treatment in order to complete the record. After he died a tribute album was released which found Bruce Springteen coving Muldoon / Zevon’s song ‘My Ride’s Here’
I am always happy when Springsteen calls Zevon one of the “great, great American song-writers’. He had a fantastically noir tone and a fearlessness when it came to subject matter mixing the biblical with the pop, he could do sensitive geek and cowboy killer, he was a magician, he was a mutineer. Here’s a glimpse of his last performance on Letterman where, when asked if he knew something about life and death, Zevon replied, “Not unless I know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”
.There are so many great lines in this song from the opening ‘yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum’ to the absolute tenderness of the lyrics. I want to be a Mutineer!
This was released around Christmas but the interview was done in summer and Hailey’s song is timeless and awesome so what difference does it make that I’m posting it now? I think you’ll enjoy it no matter what you think about Warren Zevon. It features the effervescent and insanely talented Paul Muldoon as well as the brilliant photographer Norman McBeath both of whom are legends. Better late than never, right?
We start off with the marvellous Hailey Beavis and Jed Milroy with their track “Snow”. For mains we present Paul Muldoon and Norman McBeath talking about their poetry and photography project Plan B. And there might be a special something at the end…
First published Tuesday 21 December, 2010
About Paul Muldoon
Paul Muldoon was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and educated in Armagh and at the Queen’s University of Belfast. From 1973 to 1986 he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Since 1987 he has lived in the United States, where he is now Howard G. B. Clark ’21 Professor at Princeton University and Chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts. In 2007 he was appointed Poetry Editor of The New Yorker . Between 1999 and 2004 he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, where he is an honorary Fellow of Hertford College…
- Read more about Paul Muldoon on our Poets A – Z page
- Paul Muldoon’s website
About Norman McBeath
Norman McBeath is a photographer who specialises in portraits and reportage. The National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh hold fifty of his works in their permanent collections. Recent solo exhibitions include Oxford at Night at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford with an introduction by Jeanette Winterson; Evidence at Edinburgh Printmakers with an introduction by A. L. Kennedy and City Stories at the French Institute, Edinburgh with an introduction by Janice Galloway. His work has been shown widely in the UK and overseas, including Beyond Beirut – an exhibition commissioned by the British Council which toured the Middle East and North Africa. Plan B – a collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon, which exhibited here at the Scottish Poetry Library in summer 2010 – is his latest exhibition. He lives in Edinburgh.
- Paul Muldoon on Poetry Archive
- Got that moreish Christmas podcast feeling? Why not listen to our Twas the Night Before Festivus episode from December 2009?