Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

Another rainy night in New Orleans.

Sometimes songs come to you. Unbidden. You don’t consciously call them up. No person, no time, nor event even suggests the tune’s appearance, but. . . no matter, there the air is.

Here is Fire and Rain”. I’ve written at length about the song and its back story before. See this rundown from when I did Breath Of Life (Sept. 2010), my music blog back in the day. You can find most, if not all the versions mentioned on the internet. But I’m highlighting three of those interpretations–all on the slow and deeply moving side of my emotional fence.

I don’t know what or who I was thinking about. . .but I’ve already said that. I’m just truly moved by a combination of a passing melancholy and a realization, as another song says, into each life some rain must fall.

My earlier write-up investigates the legend. As I’ve said (or was written) on some other occasion: we “Negroes” (referring to us in a fifties vernacular, with tongue firmly in cheek, because this is looking back, not forward), us folk can make the most beautiful music out of emotionally shattering experiences.

The three totally dissimilar but somehow similarly evocative versions are by:

Bobby Womack


New York born but long time Canada-based Ranee Lee


and a man I used to occasionally and sometimes sardonically imitate his voice and style, Richie Havens

R&B, Jazz, and Folk, respectively. They all three speak to me, and hopefully to you, in a self-reflective moment.

Just one of those moods. If it’s not for you, doesn’t appeal to you, well, skip it. It’s ok. The sun will shine tomorrow.

–15 Sept. 2021



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  1. Tor E Bekken #
    September 16, 2021

    After listening to the Havens version, I’ll have to wait for a while before listening to the others. He was such a moving performer.

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