I’m lucky to be here. #PlagueSongs, no. 27

This song is a personal favorite of mine, and one I’ve long considered recording for this Plague Songs series. However, in an effort to keep the mood more upbeat, I have — up until now — chosen more uptempo selections. But, as coronavirus deaths in the U.S. surpass 350,000 (and 1.85 million worldwide), it’s time for…

I got the medicine. So, you should keep your eyes on the ball. #PlagueSongs, no. 26

“Dynamite” is cheerful, bright, and contagious — but in a good way. That’s one reason I decided to record a version of it. We could all use a little joy, and this song is full of joy. I also like the ESL poetry of the lyrics — a series of common English-language phrases, many of them encouraging…

Banish sadness and strife. #PlagueSongs, no. 22

Bringing you the words of Buddy DeSylva and the music of Jerome Kern to — as the song says — “banish sadness and strife.” Written in 1919, this is the earliest in my Plague Songs series and the last regular weekly Plague Song. Appropriately, perhaps, this song dates to the pandemic of a century ago. Written for…

Mann, wer hätte das gedacht, dass es einmal soweit kommt #PlagueSongs, no. 21

The balloons are not red, and there is no toy shop. The narrator doesn’t dream of red balloons either. But, like its English-language counterpart (“99 Red Balloons”) Nena’s “99 Luftballons” (1983) is about an accidental, apocalyptic war triggered by 99 balloons. Luft means air, and ballon means balloon. So, literally, a luftballon is an air…

No matter how I struggle and strive. #PlagueSongs, no. 11

Given that I’ve played all of these on an acoustic guitar, you’d think I’d have covered a country song by now. But this song, co-written by Hank Williams and Fred Rose, is the first. Williams recorded “I’ll Never Get out of This World Alive” in June 1952, the single was released in November 1952, and…