This is a song I have always lked by Hirth Martinez. Martinez was from East Los Angeles, and never got too well known in the U.S. He had stellar references, Bob Dylan introduced him to Robbie Robertson of The Band, who appears with othe members of the Band on his albums.
I don’t know much about Be the Voice. They a Japanese band that is doing this song. I like their version and I appreciaate that they sing it with not too much accent in most places. It still comes through, but she has mastered sounds that are difficult for Japanese.
It came It came like a thief, in the night I happened to be looking Out through the window I swear it was brighter than hell Man, I saw a light, through the window It was hovering above The house next door I froze I froze like a stone All alone I swear my hair stood up And I said a prayer to end all prayers I reached for the phone But the phone was dead Next the glowing ball turned red And a voice inside my head Said, “Boss(Fred), go on back to bed From now on You are gonna be able to see From now on you are gonna be All at once with peace and harmony In rhyme and reason altogether alone” It came It came like a song In the day, the way I play When I get off on a feeling Of wheeling and soaring through space Like the word what flows Like the lover as it explodes Kicking off the start of time Rhyme and reason altogether alone(repeat)
This is the movie from which the famous like, “What we have here is a failure to communicate” comes from. As with all of the movies, watch it and try to understand it. Use the script for parts you can’t understand. Find parts of the movie you can talk along with, and if possible, record yourself and compare to the movie.
The Wizard of Oz has been loved by many generations, first in movie theaters, and then as a Christmas special on TV for many decades. I watched it when I was growing up and have probably seen it 10 times. Rarely does a week go by when I don’t find myself singing one of the songs. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, was being posted on social media when Trump lost. When Carly Fiorina got fired from HP, the employees of the company burst into the song.
It is referred to in countless other movies, and many phrases and scenes are the basis for idioms. For instance, when someone talks about “the man behind the curtain,” they mean that someone is manipulating things from behind the scenes.
This poem is by Robert W. Service, who became famous and wealthy through his light-hearted poetry and fiction. His biography is fascinating.
When I was a child, my dad read this poem to me many times.
I linked to two readings of the poem, the first is meant to be close to Standard American English. The second I included as a listening exercise. It is by the beloved country-western singer, Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was born and raised in Arkansas, which has a Southern accent associated with people that live in the hills. Though the term is out-of-favor, they have been referred to as “Hillbillies.” Cash’s popularity extends far beyond country-western music He has written hit songs in popular music as well. He has acted in many movies. He is often referred to as “The Man in Black,” because of his signature black clothing. It is useful for your ear to beable to recognize variations in English, and this is a lighthearted way to practice.
Listen to both versions until you can recognize all the words. Pay close attention to where the speakers get louder or softer; when they slow down or speed up, and which syllables they accent.
Then try to read it yourself. You can record yourself to check yourself and try using Google text-to-speech to see how you are doing on pronouncation.
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall, a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”