It’s a rainy morning and with numbing literality I am going to post three songs with the word “rain” in the title. Three songs which, in different ways, capture something about rain – from the emotional storms of Sinatra to the relentless drive of The Go-Betweens to the gentle, dappling sound of Linda Perhacs.
First up, Sinatra’s version Robert Mellin and Gunther Finlay’s “Rain (Falling From The Skies)” from his 1957 album “Where Are You?” All Sinatra’s albums have striking covers, but even amongst the classic 1950s series “Where Are You?” has a particular striking image:
The conventional wisdom is that the high points of Sinatra’s career were all Nelson Riddle-arranged – though I have disputed this before. “Where are you?” was his first post-Riddle album, arranged by Gordon Jenkins who would be Frank’s arranger of choice for some time. To my ear, it is at least the equal of the Riddle albums. s Rain is a fine example of the emotional complexity of Sinatra at his best, combining yearning, resignation, and a certain restrained hope.
“The Sound of Rain” is one of the earliest Go-Betweens recording. The Go-Betweens were, in the late 80s/early 90s, the classic example of a band that was critically acclaimed without enjoying any commercial breakthrough. Indeed, this became such a theme that I suspect it became something of a straitjacket for them. Years later, Grant McLennan signed my UCD DanceSoc membership card in Whelan’s – I had nothing else. I apologised as I handed it over – McLennan brushed that off with a gentle “this is beautiful.”
“The Sound of Rain” has a shimmering, clear quality which I don’t think is quite captured by the audio on YouTube so I can only recommend you go out listen it properly:
Finally, Linda Perhacs was a Californian dental hygenist (I am not sure if this is what we on this side of the Atlantic would call a dental nurse) whose 1970 album Parallelograms appeared without seemingly leaving any trace, but was rediscovered 30 years later. Hearteningly Perhacs’ musical career received a second wind. Parallelograms is a mysterious album with something of an outsider art feel.
“Chimacum” is a community in Washington state, named after a Native American people whose cultural identity seems to have vanished.The song captures a certain quality of a certain kind of rainy day, with gentle showers appearing and re-appearing:
Rain is not without its pleasures.