an inspiring blog that praises carl's efforts

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an inspiring blog that praises carl's efforts

Post by amanda-renee on Mon 17 May 2010, 10:38 am

hey guys i found this blog and there is a passage of it that claims that this person claims that Carl Riseley's version is the closest version of pure imagination to do the song justice since the original, including attempt that have been made by mariah carey, sami davis jr and karen carpenter i have made the passage bold so you can find it. enjoy, carl should be so proud that he has touched yet another person with he's style and lyric.

THINK DIFFERENT & POSITIVE – THE RAINBOW CONNECTION


As I continue my slide towards senility it is now time to define some of what makes me tick. Those Folks that really know me have seemingly appreciated this sometimes naďve, innocent and always idealistic component of my demeanor. For those that never have known this part of me, here it is good or bad for your review and entertainment. This post and its message is dedicated to my two grandsons.

I have always loved music - understandable as Mom and Dad instilled that in us early on. Sundays would find us returning from church at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, consuming a generous Sabbath dinner and then listening to music that ranged from Classical to Broadway Show tunes. Offerings from South Pacific, Oklahoma and The King and I, Peter and the Wolf (I identified with the duck/oboe) among others seemed to be favorites. Broadway musicals to include West Side Story, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music didn’t come until later and were not an integral part of our Dallas Sunday education in civility. Please know that whenever Victor Borge (aka The Clown Prince of Denmark, The Unmelancholy Dane, and The Great Dane) was on TV or came to town we were there laughing and admiring his ability to entertain and create an educated appreciation for music.

I had already begun singing as a treble at Cathedral School at St. Matthew’s and then in the choir at St. Mark’s and on to St. Dunstan’s in Providence, RI continuing through my senior year at Lenox School. So, music was ingrained in my persona (especially the Anglican Church repertory) and to this day remains an integral part of what makes Ned – Ned (would that I could still carry a tune). My taste in music literally includes all genres and in the sixties and Seventies seemed to mostly include Folk and some Rock where the message was just as important as the tune… Buddy Holly (not Elvis) was the King,

From my seemingly rapid run from boy soprano to a fluctuating tenor to a sorta baritone (no crastato here), music offered me the vehicle to really express myself – a therapy and a refuge of the first order. In an exercise of escapism I was always spirited away to that other place where birds sing, frogs croak & chirp and all is at peace with the world. Music of my liking has always been a reflection of my spiritual reality - a world of light, colors, tone and harmony where simple was usually always better.

I have loved many songs and will continue to embrace (sometimes obsessively so) songs that touch my core. And that’s what this post is all about – two simple songs (of many) that have deeply touched me.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the passing of Jim Henson (May 16, 1990 – he would have been a young 73). I thought to first ponder upon his person and the affect he has had on my life. Henson was puppeteer (creator of The Muppets), storyteller, performer, innovator and Humanist - all of the first order. As Kermit the Frog (1955 - ) he sang Rainbow Connection in The Muppet Movie in 1979. That song is at the core of this post.

Rainbow Connection was written and composed by the iconic singer/songwriters Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher specifically for the movie. Henson made it his own theme song, however, and from that point on Henson, Kermit and Rainbow Connection were inseparable. The song hit #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for an Academy Award only losing out to the beautiful It Goes Like It Goes from the powerful Norma Rae. Jennifer Warnes interpreted the song beautifully and if she needed any help she got a big boost from the heroic content of Norma Rae (the working man). That song, not so ironically is another of my favorites.

Kermit including Rainbow Connection was performed solely by Henson in Muppetdom until his passing. Nobody was as good as Henson singing this song, not even composer Paul Williams, or the myriad of genuinely great singers that have attempted to reinterpret Rainbow. It’s all about spirit and ownership of a song that addresses our inner voice that says that anything is possible – Henson’s Mantra.

Henson’s memorial service at St. John the Divine in New York City began with an organ rendition of the Sesame Street theme song and then Rainbow Connection punctuating the message that Henson dedicated his life to delivering. The Great Organ at St. John the Divine is legendary and listening to any piece let alone Rainbow Connection is an event unto itself… suitable for a Henson memorial.

I recently experienced another little reminder of this message when in April, 2010 AT&T resurrected a portion of the song Pure imagination, from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as sung (and acted) so superbly by Gene Wilder aka Willie Wonka. Their Rethink Possible / Birthday ad certainly was well done and was the epitome and manifestation of the decision by AT&T to take the high road in their advertizing wars with Verizon.

For me AT&T made a great choice and reminded me of the magic of this song recapturing the Pure Imagination that continues to convey us back like Rainbow Connection, “to those innocent days of childhood, which knew no boundaries, to remind us of how creativity can be rediscovered.” It’s a message we can still embrace and find the motivation to take that extra step well beyond even our own expectations.

No one has sung it better (then or now) than Wilder though many have tried including, among others, Mariah Carey (sortof), Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis Jr., Karen Carpenter, Ben Vareen, Buckethead (awesome guitar!), Maroon 5 (good job!) and Lou Rawls. If you like acoustic and think Buckethead is good then you need to hear the UK’s Helen Marshall (must have some Scots DNA) do her thing on a borrowed guitar. Yes, she is appropriately the Spectacular Celtic.

There is one young and thoroughly talented Australian musician Carl Riseley who has come closer than anybody when on Australian Idol in 2007 with his mellow big band voice and flugelhorn he nailed Pure Imagination. You be the judge. Henson would have approved…

We grow up all too soon and then face those inevitable realities of life with its highs and lows including taxes and then that ultimate passage (Valhalla or not). These songs tell us we do have options: to hang on to the values of those innocent days, be strong, develop and embrace a humanity and humility knowing that there can be no boundaries – if we can only believe.


Henson’s ambition was to be, “One of the people that who made a difference in this world.” He hoped to leave the world a little bit better for having occupied space on this planet. He enjoyed life and turns out he made a magnificent difference and probably had more positive affect on the young population of the world than the combined efforts of all his peers – and then some. Jim Henson awakened the soul of generations, young and old, and we need never forget our heroes.

So, we have seen a meeting of like minds and spirits where Rainbow Connection meets Pure Imagination and, yes, they are almost the same place. Believe.

Aye,

Ned Buxton

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