Frankly, Aretha – OUCH!
|Aretha Franklin Croaks|
I had the pleasure to watch the historical inauguration broadcast on every TV station known to mankind on Tuesday. I thought I would discuss some of the musical issues that concerned me. Particularly the atrocious rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” performed by Aretha Franklin just before President Obama was sworn in.
Was anyone else horrified? I know Aretha is the Queen of Soul and is a goddess among the hall of fame R & B singers, but DAMN! Her pitch was spread out and random like she threw darts at a musical staff. Breath control was non-existent. Example: “My Coun (GASP) try ‘tis (GASP) of thee”.
Oh, and the pre-recorded chorus arrangement was ridiculous. “Let freedom ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring ring….”
I can’t imagine she was nervous. She’s been singing for over 40 years. And I know it was 15 degrees and all. But maybe a younger more classically trained singer like D.C. native Denyce Graves would have been a better representative of the stature of the day. And besides, it would have been recompense for singing at Dubya Bush’s second inauguration four years ago.
US Military Band Lip Syncs
And did anyone else notice that “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band was lip syncing during the pre-inauguration music? I couldn’t believe it! The cameras closed in on the percussionists and they were moving sticks but not beating anything! Then looked more closely and realized that nobody was playing.
But ok, I can sorta forgive that one. Having personally experienced marching band in sub-freezing temps I know how bad a band can sound. And the best and most disciplined band in the country needed to remain “warm” for the actual playing of ‘Hail to the Chief’ when the time came, so they piped in recorded music for two hours. But why did they need to pretend as if they were playing along to Sousa marches?
And lastly, as far as music went, I’m very impressed with the Obamas for standing front and center and actually PAYING ATTENTION to the bands as they marched past in the parade. I had the honor of marching in the inauguration parade for Bush Sr. in 1989. He, and all other Presidents I’ve watched in the parade since, were lounging somewhere unseen by the marchers and paying little attention, as if they had something better to do like run the country or something. But I’m proud as a former marching band member that Obama paid particular attention to each band. Yup, Obama rocks!