Tuesday, April 16, 2019

April is an epic

This song has a very strange history for me. I heard it once, in 1968 I think, then it was stowed  at the back of my brain, filed under "something I heard once but will never hear again." And there it stayed, until a year or two ago.

I was standing in my sister's apartment in Toronto, with the FM radio on as usual. She had gone off to work, and I was alone with this enormous mug of coffee.  Then this music came on. It wasn't rock, it wasn't  pop, but almost had the mournful flavor of troubadour music. Or was it vaguely Spanish? There was a long sort of riff on guitar, and then without warning the music went orchestral. It was almost medieval-sounding, a sound of antiquity. The orchestrated middle passage led in to  a sort of primal wail on electric guitars, an updating of T.S Eliot's howl of grief and longing and impossible hope.

So the piece was a sort of trilogy, three disparate forms which somehow went together. My brain memorized every atom of  the piece, for some reason, and then at the end of it the announcer said, "April". And that was that.

No more memories or associations until much, much later, when I began to think about that medieval-sounding piece, whatever it was, wasn't it called April? That was literally all I had to go on. I had no idea what the group's name was or even what year it came outHow could I ever find it now? How! Within six minutes, or maybe it was six seconds, I had it up on YouTube, and for the length of it the hair stood up on my scalp and all over my body.

Yes. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, that was it.

April is an epic, an example of how popular music of the '60s attempted to meld classical with rock. It's really three separate pieces that lead into each other, so I have to listen to them with three sets of ears. But it's good, very good, I might even say awesome if I ever used that word, to be reunited with this unique, quirky mystery, this paean to the month of Aries, this Rite of Spring. 

       April is a                            cruel time
               Even though the sun       may          shine 

And world looks in the 
shade                                                                       as it 

slowly comes away

Still falls the April 

           And the valley's filled with            pain
And you can't tell me
 quite why

As I look up to the 
gray sky

Where it should be blue

Grey sky
where I should see you
Ask why,                                 why it should be so

I'll cry, say that                
I don't know

Baby once in a while

            I'll forget and              
I'll smile

But then                  
the feeling    comes       again

             of an April without end

Of an April 
     lonely as a girl
         In the dark of    my mind 

I can see all too fine

But there is nothing to be done when I just 
can't feel the sun

And the springtime's 
   the season of 
                          the night

Grey sky 
where it should be 
Grey sky 
where I should see you

Ask why,      why it should be so

     say that      
I don't know            
      I don't know

I don't know