Our Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

La Casa Azul (reposted from Facebook)



Another rare instance in which I wrote the music BEFORE the lyrics. I was just playing around on the piano and trying to come up with something very torchy to include in the big band styled bonus tracks for SAD SACK. Once I'd achieved the melody, I needed a libretto. As I'd done a year earlier with bonus tracks for THE TRICK, I tweeted a query for suggestions. And, also as before, my first (and best) reply came from artist extraordinaire, Ivan Chan.


The parameters I'd established were that I wanted to write a love story, but it had to have an historical basis with political implications. Ivan's suggestion met all three criteria: He suggested that I write about the love affair between Frida Kahlo and Leo Trotsky.


The finished recording was done piecemeal, track by track: First, I recorded the piano bits to a click track. Next, Paul Galiszewski (drum god) added percussion. Doing so was a trickier deal for him that it would seem. First, "soft" ballad drums are generally harder to control than full-on loud rock drums, because drumming in the former manner runs counter to instinct.


Additionally, this song is in a waltz time (specifically, a 6/8), which is not something a rock drummer gets to do on a regular basis. To make matters more difficult for ALL the musicians, my middle bridge is not a middle 8... It's not a middle 12 or 16 or 18 or 24 or anything logical like that. It's a middle 13. But it works. And Paul kept the beat wonderfully, not even phased by the idiosyncrasies of the song, AND then added some gorgeous cymbals throughout for colour. Since nobody else was in Steve Jankowski's studio that day to add parts, I went ahead and recorded the vocals. I'd say that this song was probably the toughest song for me to sing on the EP because it required a very stylized approach and required that I hold back on the volume. Since the tune is neither in my upper register, where I could have floated it in my sinuses, or in my low register, where I could have whispered it up from the bottom of my diaphragm, the amount of breath required to sustain the notes was exhausting. (Paul specifically thought I should have done another take to lower the vibrato, but Steve and I vetoed his suggestion.)


The strings you hear were done in England in by Adam Silverstein of Karl & the Marx Brothers at the Brick House studio in Melbourne, UK.


Finally, Jacque's bass was the last element and the finishing touch. While Paul coached Jacque on the technical aspects of adding his track, I gave him my artistic/narrative approach: While Leo Trotsky is singing the melody, the bass is actually Leo; meanwhile, the piano is Frida, and the strings are the emotional upheavals in their lives and the lives of their spouses due to the romance. The cymbals are the embrace between Frida and Leo. Each musical element is included to weave a thread in the narrative. Hence, we have a sparse arrangement, just what is necessary for the storyline.


So, without further ado, here are the lyrics. There are also links to purchase at the bottom of the post.

LA CASA AZUL

Your husband sent you to greet my wife and me

At the boat dock when he could not come.

A clandestine touch on the platform...

La Casa Azul: I played the fool.

You, my jewel, my tender surprise.

I found my asylum in more ways than I had dreamed,

The "Old Man" made young in your eyes

(For a while... That was always your style...)

In front of our spouses, we spoke only English,

Barely masking this farcical fare. Still, that he should have been with your sister!

La Casa Azul: I played the fool.

You, my jewel, my tender surprise.

I found my asylum in more ways than I had dreamed,

The "Old Man" made young in your eyes

(For a while... That was always your style...)

One curtain fell like a wall to the east; one on an act of my life.

Two others parted, out from which you stepped in your portrait,

But you had Diego, your husband, and I, Natalia my wife.

To my dear F.K., no letter shall I send,

No correspondence to cheapen this bond.

Affectionately, Comrade Leo.

La Casa Azul: I played the fool.

You, my jewel, my tender surprise.

I found my asylum in more ways than I had dreamed,

The "Old Man" made young in your eyes

(For a while... That was always your style...)

Don't forget to buy a copy of the EP! CD Baby has the best payout for me (and the cheapest price to you): Of course, if corporate/brand familiarity are your wheelhouse, then there's always iTunes: Just this song: Or

The whole EP: But don't forget that you could always just send me a private message! For $6.50, I'll send you the seven-song EP, and that will cover postage and handling as well!