As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

Tiger Talk (6) – Tiger in the Rain

July 29 is International Tiger Day. This week is a great opportunity to talk about tigers. Today I feature Tiger in the Rain by Michael Franks.

I have been a Michael Franks fan since my teenage years. Tiger in the Rain, Sleeping Gypsy and Dragonfly Summer are some of my favourites of his albums. When I decided to do a whole week’s post on Tigers, I knew I had to include Michael Franks’ “Tiger in the Rain”. Funny enough, my dear friend Luchi in Chicago asked me yesterday if I was going to include Michael’s song. What can I say? It’s almost like my friend can read my mind. I already had this song lined up to be published on my blog.

I love TIGER in the Rain (the title track) because it personifies tigers and shows a more tender side to them. The king of the jungle that we all fear is actually afraid of thunder and lightning..and seeks shelter from the rain. It’s sort of a metaphor as well of people who seem so strong and brave on the outside but inside they are like everyone else, scared of life’s storms, turmoils and uncertainties.

Tiger in the Rain 
is a jazz vocal album by singer/songwriter Michael Franks, released in 1979 on Warner Bros. Records. It is the first album he made that did not use the producing team of Tommy LiPuma, Al Schmitt and Lee Hershberg. 

The album features lots of horns, strings, vocals and includes a large rhythm section all arranged and produced by John Simon. Franks, who is best known for his unique vocal style lends a hand not only on guitar, but also on banjo and mandolin. Also present here are some celebrated jazz figures.(Info Source)
Tiger in the Rain
Most of the time

He’s the lord of the jungle

Everyone grins while he gripes

Usually he’s found just

Lounging around in his stripes

His tiger lady’s

A superfine feline

Just what his highness deserves

A sweet purring pussycat

Proud of her pussycat curves

He’s a tiger in the rain

It’s the thunder and lightning’

He can’t explain

A tiger in the rain

Who’s frightened

Caught in the storm he came

Searching for shelter

Right up to me and my spouse

Both stroked his chin and

Invited him into the house

He’s a tiger in the rain

It’s the thunder and lightning’

He can’t explain 

A tiger in the rain

Who’s frightened

He’s a tiger in the rain

It’s the thunder and lightning’

He can’t explain

A tiger in the rain

Who’s frightened

From the reviews that I read about Michael’s songs, I’ve discovered that some men are almost too scared of liking his songs, because his voice and his music seem too soft for them. Michael is a fine lyricist and composer, and he gets his message across. His melodies connect directly with the spirit (if the spirit is willing to listen and connect, that is). So my message to those men who are saying Michael Franks songs are too soft for them – Don’t be scared of getting in touch with your tender side, be like the tiger and take shelter – shelter in words and sounds that touch the heart. 

Some quick facts about Michael Franks:
Info Source

  • He grew up in southern California with his father Gerald, his mother Betty and two younger sisters. Although no one in his family played music, his parents loved swing music and his early influences included Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer. 
  • At age 14 Franks bought his first guitar, a Japanese Marco Polo for $29.95 with six private lessons included – the only music education that he received.
  • At University High in San Diego, Franks discovered the poetry of Theodore Roethke with his off-rhymes and hidden meter. 
  • In high school, he began singing folk-rock, accompanying himself on guitar. 
  • Studying English at UCLA Michael discovered Dave Brubeck, Patti Page, Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. 
  • He never studied music in college or later, but earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in comparative literature in 1966 and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1968. He had a teaching assistantship in a Ph.D. program in American literature at the University of Montreal before returning to teach part-time at UCLA.
  • During this time Franks started writing songs, starting with the antiwar musical Anthems in E-flat starring Mark Hamill. He also composed music for the films Count Your Bullets, Cockfighter, and Zandy’s Bride, starring Liv Ullmann and Gene Hackman. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee recorded three of his songs, including “White Boy Lost in the Blues” on their album Sonny & Brownie. Franks played guitar, banjo and mandolin on the album and joined them in touring. In 1973, he recorded an eponymous album, later reissued as Previously Unavailable, which included the minor hit “Can’t Seem to Shake This Rock ‘n Roll”.
  • In 1975 Franks released his second album The Art of Tea, beginning a long relationship with Warner Brothers Music. The Art of Tea featured Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and Wilton Felder of The Crusaders and included the hit song “Popsicle Toes”. His third album, Sleeping Gypsy (1977), which includes the song “The Lady Wants to Know”, was partially recorded in Brazil. Around this time, percussionist Ray Armando gave Franks a cabasa, which became a signature instrument for him to play on stage when he was not playing guitar. Burchfield Nines (1978), which includes the song “When the Cookie Jar Is Empty”, reflects his move to New York City and features more of an East Coast sound. Since then, Franks has recorded more than 15 albums. Read more on Wikipedia…

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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