This month, it’s time once again for another episode of: Vintage guy, playing an 80’s song on a 60’s guitar. It worked so well when I tackled the Cure that I decided I would take a similar stab at another 80’s icon, playing Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time on my ever reliable, but infrequently played, Giannini Craviola.
About the song
Cyndi Lauper’s first album, She’s So Unusual, came out in 1983 and was pretty much inescapable during my junior and senior years at Iowa State. Lauper was all over MTV, all over the radio, and her first single, Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun, was an anthem played by every women’s dorm floor, at every single house party, to a chorus of drunken ladies yelling along in rapt agreement. I can remember having mixed feelings about the commercial success of the record. On the one hand, I loved Cyndi’s outsider persona, complete quirkiness, and obvious taste in picking pop songs to sing. On the other, I just always seemed to reject anything that appeared to have mass appeal, and that album had massive appeal. Also, I found her whole connection to pro-wrestling and working class taste schtick, well…schtick…and I didn’t care for it. But then, I thought it was very cool that she covered Prince’s, When U Were Mine, although I am still partial to the Lamont Cranston Band’s version of that song as heard in the sound track to the awful Hot Dog, The Movie (just piling on the 80’s trivia).
All in all, at this distance, it is very hard to deny that She’s So Unusual is an amazing achievement, despite the over the top lengths Lauper went in marketing herself and her music. I’m forced to confess, yet again, my snobbery at the time seems, as usual, kind of dumb.
The second single from the album, Time After Time, is just a gem. It gets covered a lot, and I am certainly not creating a particularly new statement with my version. As a 55 years old father I approach the song from a different perspective than a 20 something young woman who was trying desperately to make it in New York. I was impressed, however, that the lyric leaves plenty of room to appreciate and use the song from different angles. I found myself thinking of my daughters, more than my wife, and the way in which we will likely transition in our dependencies on each other, as time goes by. I think this aspect of generational tug of war was there in Cyndi’s original. As you watch her video for the song, you can see the loved ones she is emotionally wrestling with include a boyfriend AND her mother. Anyway, I like this song, and I thought it might sound nice played in a reflective manner using a classical guitar. Last month’s song elicited a nice comment from one of my Brazilian subscribers, and that reminded me that I should get out the Craviola.
About the guitar
The Craviola is probably my oddest of odd duck guitars. With its unusual shape, and tiny sound hole, it manages to produce a surprising and remarkably deep resonant sound. The intonation is a little sketchy, however, and putting a capo on doesn’t help matters. Nevertheless, I still have a soft spot for this guitar, and it was nice to pull it out and play it on this song. You almost can’t help slapping and drumming on it. It’s Brazilian, after all. It wants some rhythm!