What makes us laugh? The unexpected, surprise, the absurd … ultimately the joy of life. This is a much-needed romp, in this day and age, through wit, slapstick, characters, chuckles and guffaws – all induced by songs written and recorded over the years with the sole purpose of bring a smile to our lives. 90% music.
Scattershot Symphony is presented by Watchfire Music. Learn more about this episode at their website watchfiremusic.com
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The Music of Peter Link
People ask me, “Why “Symphony? You’re not a classical composer.” Well, Wikipedia defines “Symphony” as: an extended musical composition most often written by composers for orchestra – often presented in several movements.
And so, I bring you the music of a lifetime of composition – often presented in several movements. That’s the nature of these podcasts – a scattershot look at a lifetime of music …
From a variety of genres;
Pop, Rock, R&B, Gospel, Musical Theater, Inspirational and ...
... whatever ...
Basically, the music we all grew up on
All from the labyrinthine (la·br·in·thn) mind of composer, Peter Link
So, strap on them headphones.
We’re 90% music with just a smattering of commentary.
And for god sakes,
Turn it up!
This week being the third episode of this podcast series, I’m supposed to tell you who I am and why I’m doing this. I prefer to let the music do the talkin’. However, if you need to know more about me, please visit Wikipedia.com – Peter Link.
(We hear a burst of laughter)
This episode is entitled “Just For Laughs.”
What makes us laugh?
Well, the absurd makes us laugh.
An elephant and a hippopotamus walk into a bar …
Then there are sight gags …
Man slips on a banana peel.
(Whistle Bonk -- Laughter)
What is it? To ”laugh?”
It’s an expulsion of energy.
The “slipping on a banana peel” laugh comes from the unexpected.
It usually comes from some form of surprise … whether it’s small or large.
A chuckle …
Or just a smile …
Didja hear that?
Yeah …well, that was … just a smile … the appreciation of simply “jus’
… something being … funny.”
There’s all kinds of humor. There are sight gags and farce, burlesque and satire – and my own personal favorite, wit.
Oh yes, and then, of course, there’s today’s favorite – Toilet.
I prefer “wit.” I long for the days of wit.
So, in this particular episode, I shall feature songs that in some way or another feature a little bit of all of the above.
Welcome to our first example.
Let’s start, with a smile …
For The Birds
Wife Julia and I, bought a second home in the mountains of Colorado. There I cloned my NY recording studio
so I could go out there and work sometimes.
Our home had huge picture windows
with spectacular views of the mountains around us.
In the window, outside the studio, we put a hummingbird feeder.
Those little birds were real fans of my music. Sometimes I would look up from my work and three or four of them would be hovering, in the window … wings a blur … madly dancing, looking at me as my music filled the house. Now THAT would make me laugh.
And so, a musical tribute to my fine feathered fans …
This one’s … For The Birds.
I Can’t Remember My Name
Ok, next subject: The absurd.
Some of you out there will think this next song absurd. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is not. I, for one, happen to think that life is eternal – probably not in this particular body, but I like to think that something of my being goes on, … continues. Probably, what gets left behind is the hard drive
in our brains that contains our memory of this Planet Earth experience.
I know this because I have no recollection of what I was doing …
before little Petey was born decades ago.
Now I could go on and on on this bent for hours, but I promised 90% music and by golly, you’re gonna get it. So …
The Woman In Me
Now here’s a song that I wrote when producing an album for wife, Julia called Julia Wade – Duets – Woman 2 Woman. That’s numeral 2. Get it? Woman 2 Woman? Duets? Clever, eh?
Julia very much wanted to do an album with some of her favorite girlfriend singers, and well, who am I to stop her. I mean, I like girls … and it seemed like a lot of fun. Which it was …
But when we were finished, I was kind of sad cuz, well … it just wasn’t an album that I could sing on. I mean, after all, we are a famous duo … on our block, anyway. And anyway, I felt kinda left out. So …
Goin’ For A Ride
If ya’ wanna write a funny song an’ ya’ wanna make sure ya’ get the laughs, just write one for kids. They’ll laugh at anything! Well, almost. But kids just love to laugh … and the more absurd, the better. With kids you can pull out all the stops … sight gags, Poop jokes, silly noises, … whatever you throw at ‘em, they’re ready to rock.
Here’s one of my favorites from an album that Julia and I did years ago For Kids Only. Actually, that was the title song, For Kids Only. Actually, that was the name of the album too – For Kids Only. But we’ll get to that one later.
Anyway, put on your helicopter beanie an’ roll with me now cuz
we’re Goin’ For A Ride!
I Ain’t Gonna Grieve/ I Got Shoes
Speaking of Kids … Now here’s one from my childhood. In fact, here’s another funny song about dyin’. I didn’t write these lyrics. (Though I did add a few of my own thoughts) This is a medley of Traditional Spirituals that always had great appeal to me as a kid. In my CD, Goin’ Home, that is, in fact, not about dyin’, but rather about eternal life, I thought these two good ol’ songs made a needed and positive statement.
I also deeply appreciate the added energies of the inimitable Jenny Burton on this one – a medley.
I Can Sing
I had just finished writing and recording a new Broadway Musical entitled Searching For My Father with bookwriter, Ragan Courtney, when the pandemic hit. Obviously, it’s gonna be a while before 1500 people sit in a Broadway theater together, so that project, along with several others got shelved until, who knows when.
The musical is a story about a 13-year old, totally atheist boy who changes his mind because Bible characters from the past, time travel to him
to convince him otherwise by telling their miraculous stories.
One particular visitation tells the story of David and Goliath ... from the point of view of Goliath. So it is ol’ Goliath who pays the visit ... dressed in full battlefield regalia. Now, we know that Goliath was a giant of a man. But Ragan and I decided that ol’ Goliath probably did not have a giant brain. Since this is a scene from a musical, we decided that Goliath should sing. But what would he sing about? What would he sound like? And, most important ... would he be able to carry a tune?
One of my claims to fame in life is that I got the chance to work with a Master Funny Man, Neil Simon, on a Broadway play with music called The Good Doctor … Neil Simon: the most successful playwright, financially, in the history of the world. I learned so much from this man. What applies here is that he often said that the real laughs in a show always came from character, not jokes. If humor is character driven, there’s no need for jokes. And if there is a joke, it’s the character that always makes it
three times funnier.
With that said, we now take you to our 13-year old boy, and his time traveled visitor, Goliath who will prove to us all, once and for all,
that giants can sing.
In the Broadway Musical, King Of Hearts, Lyrics by Jacob Brackman with music by yours truly, our hero, a World War One naive American soldier whose sole responsibility is to manage the care and feeding of the carrier pigeons, proudly recounts his newly elevated position in life to his sixth grade teacher who, it seems, never really believed in him.
Her name ... Mrs. Draba
Johnny, our hero, is played here deliciously by super talented Don Scardino who did the lead on Broadway.
Hit it, Donny!
The Night I Met Saint Nick
In yet another example of character humor, why not a Christmas song? Here we imagine a young and innocent, yet skeptical, girl,
on Christmas Eve, hiding behind the couch, waiting to see if ‘ol Saint Nick would really come down that chimney. Well, of course he does,
but what results is a true fantasy of the imagination.
Julia Wade — The Night I Met Saint Nick
I first met Noah Marlowe when he was 12. I hired him without ever actually seeing him just because of his most impressive singing voice which I had heard on line. He showed up at my studio as a driven Broadway Kid ready to knock down tall buildings.
He had already appeared in several Broadway shows
and was a 4 foot 9 inch professional.
I liked him immediately when he walked in the door because he wore a black tee shirt with a great color picture on the front ...
the face of Albert Einstein. Not a rock star’s face, not Derick Jeter,
but the face of a physicist. I immediately took him into my office
to show him a huge 4-foot picture of the same funny looking old man hanging on my office wall — my own hero, Albert.
Noah did a bang-up job on the first studio job I gave him
and I was hooked. He was 12 going on 13 and fast approaching the time that his gorgeous “kid soprano” voice would change to an awkward teenager voice. So, we signed him to do an album
that I would produce before the octaves began to drop.
I think we made it by the skin of our teeth ... or by the hair on his chin.
Naturally it seemed only appropriate to write him a song
about our mutual hero. It’s not a comedy song per se,
but it is a song that will elicit a few smiles. Check it out!
Noah Marlowe -- Albert Einstein
The Truth Be Told
back before the turn of the century,
back when I really stood for something,
back when one really went to war for one’s principles,
back when the battle for righteousness was fought on the plains of justice and the American way, I too, sacrificed and stood up to the enemy proudly and with passion.
That’s right! I went to war. And I did battle with great conviction ...
with my telephone company.
I don’t remember the exact reason.
I only remember that I was right and they were wrong.
In the long run, I won ... I won the war ...
for MCI Communications went out of business.
But at the time, I lost the battle. No matter how stalwart I was,
they simply had the mighty advantage over both me and my billing concerns. Time was their arsenal and I simply could not out-gun them.
In the abyss of frustration, in the depths of my defeat,
the only light left for me was to write this next song ...
and pour my experience out to the world.
I give to you now … The Truth Be Told
For Kids Only
(Start with children giggling and then laughing - SFX)
OK, this last one’s for “The Kid” in each of us!
Anyone who doesn’t wanna laugh, giggle or smile
has to now leave the room. That’s right. Get out!
The rest of ya’ can stay,
but you have to stick your finger in your nose,
stand on one leg and shout, “Hiyo Silver!”
(More kid delighted laughter)
Very good! Very good!!!
If there isn’t a kid in each of you who loves to laugh,
well … you probably wouldn’t have made it this far in the podcast.
By the third song you would have said,
“Oh, Please …” and turned us off.
So you’re still here!
You can now take your finger out of your nose.
This song’s for you.
For Kids Only
Well, there ya’ have it. Scattershot Symphony.
The third movement.
Right after the first of the year we’ll be comin’ atcha with a lot more Scattershot Symphony movements. Each episode will cover concepts like
Songs Forgotten But Now Remembered
No Lyrics, No singers, Just Music
Julia Wade – Secular Songs
Peter Link Theatrical Songbook
And, yes, even Sunday Morning Sacred
Also, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts.
And to keep abreast of the latest episode, you can subscribe to Scattershot Symphony from your podcast app of choice.
Thank You To …
Watchfire Music, Nathan Burgdorff and the entire staff for all your work in producing and promoting this podcast.
A very special thanks also to Stuart Barefoot, our Associate Producer for all your invaluable knowledge and good vibes.
And a posthumous thanks to Ludwig Van Beethoven for your opening 4 bars.
(over playout music)
This podcast is presented with loving care by the staff at Watchfire Music. If you liked what you heard, we got lots more where that came from. In the meantime, you can find the songs you just heard on watchfiremusic.com/podcast. There you can purchase the singles or albums and have access to all the lyrics. Also, there you will find all previous podcasts and future scheduling.
If you just became a Scattershot fan,
tell your friends and Stay tuned!