Tuesday, February 23, 2021

“Fare Thee Well, My Nightingale”


Today is the 17th anniversary of the passing of singer and actor Carl Anderson, whom I’ve been honoring throughout February – the month of both his birth and death.

This honoring continues today with the sharing of “Nightingale,” a hauntingly beautiful song written by Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas, and dedicated to Carl.

“Nightingale” first appeared on Cohen’s album Dear Heather, released in October 2004, eight months after Carl’s death. The song features the vocals of Cohen, Thomas and Sharon Robinson. Thomas composed the music for the song using an abandoned poem of Cohen’s. Because Anjani Thomas had known and worked with Carl, “Nightingale” was dedicated to him.

According to the official Leonard Cohen message board, Cohen’s poem helped Thomas through a difficult time in her life, and she not only “connected its romantic lines with Carl’s voice,” but “heard the melody immediately.” The album Dear Heather was also dedicated to Carl, along with Cohen’s ailing friend Irving Layton and the late Canadian poet A. M. Klein.

In 2006, Anjani Thomas re-recorded “Nightingale” for her album, Blue Alert. I actually prefer this version of the song to the one on Dear Heather, and so it’s the one I share today in honor of Carl.




I built my house beside the wood
So I could hear you singing
And it was sweet and it was good
And love was all beginning

Fare thee well, my nightingale
’Twas long ago I found you
Now all your songs of beauty fail
The forest closes ’round you

The sun goes down behind a veil
’Tis now when you would call me
So rest in peace, my nightingale
Beneath your branch of holly

Fare thee well, my nightingale
’Twas long ago I found you
Now all your songs of beauty fail
The forest closes ’round you

Fare thee well, my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Tho’ you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you


“So rest in peace, my nightingale”

Carl Anderson

1945-2004


The Wild Reed’s February 2021 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering an Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire
An Electrifying Spectrum of Emotions

The Wild Reed’s February 2020 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Carl Anderson: On and On
Carl Anderson and The Black Pearl
Carl Anderson in The Color Purple
Carl Anderson: “Let the Music Play!”

The Wild Reed’s February 2019 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
Carl Anderson’s Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
Carl Anderson’s Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”
Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”
Playbill Remembers Carl
Remembering the Life of Carl Anderson: “There Was So Much Love”


For more of Carl at The Wild Reed, see:
Carl Anderson: “Like a Song in the Night”
Carl Anderson: “One of the Most Enjoyable Male Vocalists of His Era”
With Love Inside
Carl Anderson
Acts of Love . . . Carl’s and Mine
Introducing . . . the Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
Forbidden Lover
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)

Related Off-site Links:
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part I: A Broadway Legend with Lynchburg Roots – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org, May 12, 2015)
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part II: The Legend Lives On – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org,June 10, 2015)
Carl Anderson – Jazz Legend: The Official Website
Carl Anderson Memorial Page
Carl Anderson at AllMusic.com – Ron Wynn (AllMusic.com)
Carl Anderson Biography – Chris Rizik (Soul Tracks)


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