The final, and magical, scene of Good Morning, Vietnam (released in 1987) included Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World. That’s when I realized it is one of the best “prayers” in existence. As Arlo Guthrie said in his crazy song, I Don’t Want A Pickle,
I learnt it right away.
Here is the lead sheet I use when playing it. Can’t remember where I found the chords – I have played it for a long while. The good thing is that this sheet is written in the key of F major – the same one Satchmo used in this wonderful arrangement. – so you can play along with the video. It’ll be pretty close, if not right on. I’ve included the chords tablature for the ones I use in the song at the bottom. It is number 235 in my personal, haphazard songbook – which holds songs I haven’t/hadn’t completely memorized. Hope you get as much enjoyment out of this song as I do. If this helped you, please let me know.
I apologize for the pixelation in these photos. They were taken with my camcorder because my SLR at the time had low light sensitivity, and I didn’t have Anita’s awesome Canon point and shoot. Now I own a Sony NEX-5N mirrorless. Quite a change!
Ronda’s plaza de toros is one of the most famous bull rings in all of Spain. I attempted to take an available light photo of the little room where the matador prays before entering this bloody contest, giving him an, albeit slight, unfair advantage. Actually the torero has many unfair advantages over the bull. Advantages I don’t need to list.
On the verge of pressing the delete button after coming home the photo appealed to me. I can’t say that I heard anything, like a tiny peep of “please don’t delete me” or a lightning bolt suddenly coming out of a clear sky. Maybe more the fact that I was in it…
Anyway, the more I look at it the more I see. Like a poem with many layers. I would really be interested in what you see in this accident, other than the fact that my baseball cap was on backwards. Not a fashion statement, but a photographer’s technical choice.
I remember thinking that, if there were a hierarchy of moments when prayer is necessary, this would rank pretty highly.
Proof of what I just said is given below in a photo on the wall of a well known bar off Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, called Bar Andalú, El Torre de Oro. In this gory (I beg your pardon) example, it is demonstrated that the matador sometimes has to delegate the final kill to his underlings.
The Bar Andalú is a shrine to the art of bullfighting. On its walls hang the heads of famous bulls, vestments of famous bullfighters and photo after photo of bulls, bullfighters and iconic political figures as wildly different as Franco and Che Guevara.
Another photo of the Bar Andalú, one of a bunch of crazy places that make Spain uniquely fascinating.
I am mostly done with bullfighting, I hope, but not with beautiful, historic Ronda…