I discovered Ken Nordine I don’t know how long ago. But he’s addicting. You see, he’s not exactly a poet and much more than a musician. He’s a bard working in the realm of jazz. Yet even that doesn’t do him justice. Well here, take a listen.
Yes, listen. His voice is so soothing, you forget that he’s taking you down a surreal path into the ridiculous and poignant. Most of these (can I really call them songs?) come from a series of albums titled Word Jazz that came out in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
This first song/story, titled “Magenta,” comes from an album I don’t have, yet I love the animation that has been attached to it.
This next listen, “My Baby,” is just plain silly. Many of his song/stories are structured in this way. A sort of confessional as he tells you his secret. He speaks to you as if you’re in the room with him. Look for the twist at the end.
This is one of my all time favorites. It’s called “I Used To Think My Right Hand Was Uglier Than My Left.” Now that’s a title for you. Who wouldn’t be drawn to that?
“Down the Drain” embodies a serene feeling I get when I take a bath. Maybe you get it too. Although I don’t know if my mind travels to all the places Ken’s does.
“The Sound Museum” is just what is sounds like, a museum of modern sound “paintings”. Bizarre, I know, but Ken Nordine pulls it off. Take a listen.
At this point you might be wondering why you recognize his voice. Ken Nordine has such a deep and captivating voice, that he’s done many voice overs and commercials. He was even the coach for Linda Blair in the Exorcist.
When you have a chance, pick up one of his albums, sit back, and let his voice carry you into new realms of thought.