Friday, May 29, 2015

Water: Water Song/Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna: Water Song
[purchase Water Song from Burgers]

Water: at the same time powerful and soft. It flows gently around your toes and ankles at the beach. It roars, surges and tears apart the largest, strongest edifice that man can build.

The therapeutic value of music is more or less established: you know, "music soothes the savage beast".

In fact, early practitioners of the art of medicine made use of the sound of water to heal the ill: there is plentiful archaelogical evidence that doctors at the ancient Greek city of Pergamon (Bergama) made use of the sound of running water to heal their patients. The Pergamon ascelepium (various spellings) was a medical center designed so that ran water past the hospital rooms.

G.F. Handel gave it a try back in 1717. Handel's <Wassermusik> flows almost like water - but that is easier accomplished with classical music and acoustic instruments than with electro-rock (not to detract from Handel's composition skills: and it's not just Wassermusic that flows like water - listen to the Messiah, and it's like listening to water therapy.)

Incorporating the sound of water in rock music is no mean feat. Yes, rock/music can soothe the soul, but the pump and beat of rock almost defies the relaxation that the sound of water signifies: imagine waves quietly lapping the shore of your summer retreat. Now imagine the sound of the Jefferson Airplane. Doesn't quite match up.

However, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassady of the Jefferson Airplane came pretty close to conveying the sound and emotion on Water Song from their 3rd Hot Tuna album, 1972's Burgers.

There's a ripple to the notes. There's the rolling repetition of Kaukonen's finger picking style that makes the music come close to the sound of water. I loved it back then and am even more impressed to see this version, when the gentlemen are in their 70s and still going strong.

Let it flow.

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