Believe it or not, this author reads things other than mermaid stories. While I do have a guilty pleasure or two, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about The Holy Or The Broken – Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” by Alan Light. – Here is where I start to sound like Bill Flanigan, the rock critic on CBS’ Sunday Morning. – In many respects, it is the typical rock n’ roll opus. It details who met who and when, what gigs they played, who died tragically before their time, etc. In other words, this detail is not unlike all the “begats” in the Old Testament. In between all of this, are nuggets about the song, Hallelujah, and how it was interpreted by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, et al.
There are around 80 verses to Hallelujah. k.d. lang sang three of them. Most of us have heard four. A relative few have heard five and even fewer have heard six verses. That leaves about seventy-four verses waiting to be listened to. They used to say that Harry Chapin’s songs were too long for the relatively brief air play allotted each tune on FM radio. The late story teller doesn’t even come close to what Leonard Cohen hath wrought.
Hallelujah has become a kind of fin de siecle “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. It fills a need in the national psyche and fingers crossed. it will not be forgotten anytime soon. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has had amazing staying power and there is every reason to believe that Leonard Cohen’s masterful composition will do likewise.
So, why am I banging on so much about Hallelujah? The sequel to Urban Mermaid focuses on music to a certain degree and this song has a cameo role in the story. More specifically, a cover of Hallelujah performed by the IDF – Israeli Defence Forces – has the cameo role.
For the record, the young soldier/musicians of the IDF have set the gold standard as far as covers of Hallelujah are concerned.
The You Tube video of their performance has been added to the Slideshows & Videos section of the Colony Island website and well may you wonder what all this has to do with a mermaid story. All I can say is you’ll just have to wait until the sequel to Urban Mermaid is published.
Urban Mermaid garnered a bit of attention in the Virginia Book Notes column for May 7th in the Richmond Times Dispatch. To save you the trouble of wading through the contents, here is what they said:
- Howard Parsons, who was born in Petersburg, grew up in Hopewell and now lives in Charlottesville, offers readers an adult fairy tale in “Urban Mermaid: Tails From Colony Island, Book One” (452 pages, Moonlight Garden Publications, $17.95). The story focuses on Penelope Tench, a mermaid who splits her time between land and sea.
Heigh Ho! I’m off to the BookExpo/BookCon 2016 in Chicago, IL. I’ll be signing copies of Urban Mermaid at the IBPA booth on Saturday, May 14th, from 5:30 thru 6:00 PM. If you’re in the area, please stop by. I would love to meet some of my readers.
Time to go and finish packing.
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