Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"The only song of mine that's been done by others is 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes,' which was recorded by Judy Collins and Nina Simone. In a way, I'm glad: it makes a song more personal when it's your own--although, own up, I was knocked out when they did that song!"
--Sandy Denny (Melody Maker, 15 May 1971, interview by Ray Coleman)

Last night we were driving home, me and the kids, and I was playing Nina Simone's version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes with the windows open. Gabrielle asked me if it was a man or woman singing and I said woman. She had asked me the same question two weeks earlier when I had played Antony and the Johnsons.

This song, it's a live recording from 1969 in New York, and Nina being Nina does this thorough introduction that is at once both rambling and melancholy and beautiful and I thought, that is why I love you. There is a blessed moment in the beginning of John Malkovitch's The Dancer Upstairs where three men are in a car driving into the mountains and this song is playing. The driver asks, as Nina wearily talks before the song, "Why does she talk?" And a man replies, "She is preparing to sing."

We are recording tonight and if this were a recording we'd be trying to do some things but actually I'm too tired to do. But as Faye Dunaway, I think it was, she said, when Bonnie and Clyde come out, she said she tried to give people what they wanted. That's a mistake, really, I know. You can't do everything, you use up everything you've got trying to give everybody what they want. But I will learn my lesson soon, and then you will buy more records, right, cause you're gonna see me. Let's see what we can do with this lovely, lovely thing that goes post all racial conflict and all kinds of conflict, it's a reflective tune. And sometime in your life you'll have occasion to say, what is this thing called time? You know what, what is that? The clock, you go to work by the clock, you get your martini in the afternoon by the clock, you drink your coffee by the clock, you have to get on the plane at a certain time, and it goes on and on and on. And time is a dictator, as we know it. Where does it go? What does it do? Most of all, is it alive? Is it a thing that we cannot touch and is alive? And then one day you look in a mirror, how old, and we say where did the time go? We leave you with that one.

-Nina Simone. Who Knows Where The Time Goes. Recording live session 1969 Oct. 26, New York, Philarmonic Hall

I cleaned out my sketchbook so that my wife may use the plentiful untouched pages that I have neglected. What follows is a sample of everything that was pulled out of it, that fell out of it: letters, music lists, drawings from friends, photos, letters from people and general melee...I actually left out most of the letters because they are too personal. The one I left in I did so because it speaks on its own and in no way do I want to disrespect the person it was written to. I hope I didn't. A lot of this stuff spans the last fifteen years.


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