Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Blue Valentine," And Penny and the Quarters

We don't review movies on Ithaca Blog, because plenty of other places do that well, but we would like to recommend this picture "Blue Valentine," newly released.

We saw an advance copy "per dolem", as we say in Latin ("by means of a trick"). It has won prizes at Sundance, Cannes, etc.

We mention it not only because it is good, but because we own a record/CD store, and the film features an astonishing song by an astonishing band that, somehow, was never famous, or even known.

The song is called "You And Me." It is by a group from long ago called Penny and the Quarters. They were from Ohio and that is about all anyone knows about them.

The song is presented in a demo version, with nothing but voices and one guitar. It is a gospel-based soul ballad. It is staggeringly simple, and beautiful for that.

It is reminiscent of "People Get Ready" and "This Old Heart Of Mine," two huge soul hits. If it antedates them, it is a brilliant amalgamation. If it predates them (no one knows, at the moment), it is monumental, if that is not too strong. (For people interested in song composition and history, not to mention copyright law, it is not.)

The makers of the film are searching for any vestiges of the band, to pay them.

You can read a bit about the band on Wikipedia - or, better, hear the song on Youtube. Simply search there for Penny and the Quarters.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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