Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Songbird from Bouth ♥


 I am potentially very chuffed because I may have found out something that, to me anyway, is amazing. I just need to check to be absolutely sure that I am right.

 On one of our Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditions, we stopped in a Lake District village that I'm pretty sure was called Bouth. And if it is the right Bouth, it is where Christine McVie was born!

 I must have read this sometime in the past, before we went, because I love Christine McVie and have  researched her and her music many times. However, I had forgotten where she was from, and when we were in Bouth I never realised the incredible significance of the place - or, rather, the significance it should hold for me, personally, as a Christine fan.

 Even without this significance, it is still a lovely village. And the Lake District is always wonderful. But to discover that, without knowing, I visited the birthplace of one of my idols, is pretty amazing news, at least for me☺♥

 I think I mentioned Christine McVie in my very first post on this blog in which I listed some of my favourite songs, and her Songbird was among them. For a while Songbird seemed to be a staple on reality TV singing shows, and it probably still is, though I wouldn't know because I watch a lot less of that sort of thing than I used to. Life's too short! But anyway, for years I hadn't heard the original, though I knew it was by Fleetwood Mac. When I listened to it for the first time, I fell in love.

 From those first lines, 

"For you, there'll be no more crying.
For you, the sun will be shining."

 You just know that what is going to follow is something beautiful and extraordinary. This really is one of the most sincere, from-the-heart things I have ever heard - more than most songs, more even than poetry. It's like a love letter, sung with all her heart and soul. None of the other versions of this, lovely as some of them may be, can possibly capture the spirit and feeling behind the original. 

 I hadn't been absolutely sure that it was her song, so many people have sung it, so I looked it up and when it said on Wikipedia, "written by Christine McVie," my heart gave a little twinge of happiness and love. Of course it's her song. How could I have doubted that for one minute? Only Christine McVie could write a song like this one.

 I would love to be able to sing this in concert one day. If I ever become a good enough singer, and have enough confidence, to do her justice! 

 Although nobody can sing this as well as she who wrote it, I do believe this is one of those songs that anybody could sing well if they mean it with their heart and they pick out one person to whom they can sing every lyric and mean it with all their soul. It is one of the best love songs I know. And I can give no higher praise than that. 

 Christine McVie is a genius, and, almost more importantly, she writes straight from her heart. And that, when writing anything that is meant to touch the soul, is what really matters.

 And her voice! Nobody else I have ever heard has a voice quite like hers. It is so, so beautiful and rich and full of love or pain or emotion or whatever she is feeling as she sings. She is blessed, yet I imagine she has also worked hard to train that voice, and I love it so much when a natural talent is nurtured properly to make the world a better and happier and more loving place, which for me, at least, it becomes when I listen to her singing.

 Here is Over My Head, another of her songs which would probably never sound as good sung by anybody but her. It is just a Christine McVie song. It works with her voice so beautifully to create something truly magical.

 There is another nice live version I wanted to put on here but Blogger won't let me! Ah well, this version is gorgeous, taken, it would seem, from the same concert (The Dance, 1997) as the Songbird one. I wish I had been at that concert! But I was only three at the time and I didn't really get to know the music of Fleetwood Mac until I was seven or eight, when my dad bought my mum the Very Best of Fleetwood Mac compilation CD (both my parents are Fleetwood Mac fans). 

 We used to listen to that CD all the time. My brother became a Lindsey Buckingham fan. I liked Gypsy by Stevie Nicks, and I came to really like a lot of Christine McVie's songs. However, it was when I was a lot older that I began to really appreciate the beauty and emotion of her lyrics, and to realise what a gifted songwriter she is. But Over My Head was always a favourite of mine and my brother's.

 A Christine McVie song that I always liked but have recently come to love is You Make Loving Fun.

 I just wish I could sit down at a piano and play and sing this! I could never be as good as her, but it would bring me such pleasure just to play those gorgeous chords and sing those bitter-sweet lyrics. I will try and find the sheet music to this and learn it! It could be my tribute to this amazing woman. Her maiden name was Perfect, and she really is perfect in every way as a musician. 

"I never did believe in miracles, but I've a feeling it's time to try. 
I never did believe in the ways of magic, but I'm beginning to wonder why."

 I used to think it was "I've a feeling it's time to fly." Either lyric is beautiful.

 I must also share Everywhere with you - as I said to my mum just now, "You can't have a Christine McVie post without Everywhere!" It is so... her. So Christine McVie. I know that sounds silly, but I feel this song just sums up perfectly what Christine McVie is all about. It is a beautiful love song, with simple yet amazingly powerful lyrics, and she sings with such strength and pride yet such vulnerability, in a voice as stunning as ever.

 Here it is live in The Dance (with a bit of Dreams at the beginning):

 And here is the video - there is another one which is similar to this but with Christine - and, I think, the other members of Fleetwood Mac as well - appearing in silhouette at intervals. Regretfully, I can't find that version on YouTube. So here is the video sans band (it's still a great video):

 I remember feeling smug because I thought I was the only one who knew this was based on The Highwayman. Maybe I was, but I doubt that somehow! Anyhow, somebody has written about the poem on YouTube and it's the top comment as I write, so now everybody who looks at the video on YouTube knows. 

 Ah well. It's still a brilliant idea for a music video, and it really brought the poem - which I'd studied at school several times - to life for me. I just wish I could see the band's lovely faces in the video!

 The song is gorgeous, and the beginning so distinctive, as is the case with many Fleetwood Mac songs - you hear it and you know at once that it's going to be Everywhere.Then that powerful drum beat kicks in, and Christine's amazing vocals, and you sit back and are taken on a journey into a fantastic, wonderful, magical song, and into her heart and soul. It is an amazing song; a masterpiece. Along with Songbird and so many other beautiful songs Christine McVie has written during her long and hugely successful and fruitful career.

 I feel so privileged to have had the chance to listen to her amazing music for ten years or so and I hope to continue to enjoy her genius and talent and beauty for many years to come. Bouth is a lovely village, and from it came one of the best musicians of our time. I'm glad I got to visit it.

 I will leave you with probably her biggest hit, "Don't stop," one of the most upbeat, hopeful, reassuring songs I know, which is just perfect for putting you in a better mood.

 Fleetwood Mac are just amazing! And Christine McVie is a legend and should be very proud of all the beautiful, powerful, inspirational, moving songs that she has put into this world.

 Thanks for reading,

Songs: Songbird - Fleetwood Mac - written by Christine McVie - 1977 (this live version 1997)
Over My Head - Fleetwood Mac - written by Christine McVie - 1975/76 (this live version 1997)
You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac - written by Christine McVie - 1977
Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac - written by Christine McVie - 1987/88  (live version here from 1997)
Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac - written by Christine McVie - 1977 (this live version 1997)

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