Americana One Two Three

We were a bit surprised when The Count dropped in this morning, as there was something a little different about him – he was still counting of course, because he loves to count, but this time his numerical progressions had something of a philosophical bent to them.  “How many sides does a circle have?“, he asked – well that’s an old chesnut.  “Two, Count, count them, inside and outside the line describing the circle.”  He grinned that toothy grin “Very good, we can count one side outside and one side inside – one, two sides….but even if the circle is an infinitely thin disc described as a two-dimensional figure in a plane does it not also have a top and a bottom?  Ha ha…one, two, three and four sides!  I am the Count and I love to count!

Yes, it seemed that the Count was having something of a topographical kind of day, enveloped in the world of shapes and space.  It happens every now and again, he goes off at something of a tangent but hopefully the songs this inspires will still strike a chord.

And let’s start with a simple circular song: a song that just goes around and around like life is ‘Circles‘ by Bill Callahan.  This is rather beautiful we’ve thought for a while, as is the album it comes from.

And of course a circle rotated through 360degrees is a sphere, and it turns out that spheres are quite hard to find but there is one in ‘Thirty More Years‘ where Steve Forbert sings “and Earth is still a sphere.”  It actually isn’t, it’s slightly oblate, but let’s not be pedantic.  Grief, pedants are such a pain, aren’t they?

Another simple shape we all know and love is the triangle, ah yes, the old triangle, one our favourites.  Irish Mythen though prefers ‘The Auld Triangle‘ and we really can’t argue with this convincing rendition.

Next up we count one two three four sides – and then note that the square is a very special kind of rectangle. And also that ‘All the Squares Go Home‘ is an infectious little funky Americana tune from the time when Steve Wynn was trading under his own name, but the album ‘Tick…tick…tick‘ is of course a must have for any fan of The Dream Syndicate – although, you know, it does sort of sound like Steve had been hanging out with Chuck Prophet.  Or Stephen McCarthy.

A less regular four sided shape is the rhombus, which we sometimes refer to as the diamond, although it is neither carbon based nor naturally sparkly.  Someone who is carbon based and naturally sparkly is Miranda Mulholland, who sings of a ‘Black Diamond‘.

Actually she sings of  ‘All the diamonds‘ too…

The Barrel‘, by Aldous Harding, did make us wonder but the Count explained that we should “imagine a regular  elliptical shape which we translate through one two three dimensions to describe a solid conicoid.”  We nodded but said “Well, ok – but that’s still more like an elongated egg shape Count, not a barrel.”  Haughtily he drew himself up and added “I had not yet finished, we cut this shape with one, two planes to describe a doubly truncated ellipsoid, is it not now a lovely classic barrel shape?  I am the Count and I love to create complex three-dimensional shapes.  And count, I love to count too.”

And finally, The Count introduced us to a combination of shapes: “Circle, Square, Triangle, Waves” – we did balk a little at ‘Psi Power‘ on the grounds that “err, isn’t this Space Rock, Count?”  He looked at us wryly and stated “This isn’t the Robert Calvert voiced original, it is the acoustic version – and anything acoustic is virtually folk, no?”  We weren’t fully convinced “No, it’s just acoustic space rock, Count.”  So he used his mesmeric powers.  And suddenly we saw he was right, it is, after all, a lot of shapes.

Now of course we’ve barely scratched the surface of the realm of shapes – so please feel free to suggest your favourite Americana songs of pyramids, hexagons, pentagons and dodecahedrons.  We can barely wait…

About Jonathan Aird 2727 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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