Jesse Winchester appreciation tagged posts

The World’s Best Love Song

The world’s best love song doesn’t have “love” in the title, nor does it appear on any “Best” lists that I could find of the most love-centric titles for Valentine’s Day. No “Love Me Tender,””Greatest Love of All,” “She Loves You” (“yeah, yeah, yeah!”), “Love Is Blue,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “How Deep Is Your Love.”

None of that.

Instead, the world’s best love song is titled, “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding,” and it may just be the now departed singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester’s finest work in an illustrious, if under-appreciated career.

The silly title is both fun and deceiving, offering Winchester a playful refrain that could easily have been rendered into a clever har-de-har bit of laughter, an inconsequential breather (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) in an ouevre that sparkles with lyrical originality, accessible, compulsively singable tunes,...

Read More

The Rhumba Man Sings No More: A Jesse Winchester Appreciation

I don’t know when the term “singer-songwriter” came into vogue, but it’s difficult to think of anyone who defined the very essence of that term as cleanly and clearly as Jesse Winchester, he of the impeccably rendered lyrics, near perfect diction, lovely simple melodies and sincere, affectless stage presence.

Winchester died on April 11, just about a year after I gravitated to his music for my shortest ever blog post in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. At the time, his soothing and tender balladry seemed just the prescription for a tormented national psyche.

Winchester engendered a deeply devoted following over his nearly 45-year recording career. That career took a distinctive turn very early on when he opted to go to Canada in 1967 rather than respond to a draft call that might have seen him pressed into service in Vietnam, a war he considered morally repugnant...

Read More