Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper
billroper

For Your Consideration

The annual Pegasus Award nominating ballot will be closing soon. If you're a member of the filk community, let me suggest that you go nominate and -- having nominated -- remember to vote.

Let me also suggest one thing that you should consider nominating and voting for: Juanita Coulson's classic song, "Chess" in the Best Classic Song category, which seems to me like a fine place to be nominating a classic song. Darn near tautological.

"Chess" suffers from several problems that have made it difficult for it to win a Pegasus Award, although -- as you'll see at the link! -- it has been nominated more than once. First, it is egregiously out of print. It's certainly possible to win a Pegasus Award when no one can actually get a copy of the song, but it never actually helps.

Second, because it is annoyingly difficult to sing and play, it doesn't get covered a lot, so people don't hear it in filk circles. It is to the point where Juanita pretty much can't play it any more unless she's having a good day and that's a shame, because it is a lovely song. It is one of very few songs that I know that are anchored by an E7sus4 chord and a C9-5 chord. (The other, just for the record, is "Lunatic Moon", which I wrote while learning "Chess" partly because I wanted to see what else I could do with those perfectly good chords. :) )

But, damn, it is a classic song, because it was one of the very first filk songs out there that went places melodically that other filk songs feared to tread. (The only other one that I can think of off the top of my head is Juanita's lovely setting of Heinlein's lyrics for "Grand Canal".) It was operatic in construction and tone.

No, more than that: it was space opera, space opera on the grand scale.

And Juanita did all this in the 1970s, when most of us were busily wailing away and bouncing between Am and G and their little friends. "Chess" was the ground breaker, getting out there in front and showing us where we could go.

One-by-one, we followed. And filk is richer for it.

For those reasons, "Chess" deserves to win a Pegasus Award.

But there's more that I need to mention. I'm a baseball fan. I'm a Cardinals fan, despite having lived in Chicago for thirty years now.

That didn't stop me from recognizing that former Chicago Cub, Ron Santo, belonged in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But he never got in, waiting year after year, until he finally died.

Yesterday, Ron Santo was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Posthumously.

Juanita Coulson has never, ever won a Pegasus Award, which I find almost incomprehensible. And there is an unknown, but finite, amount of time that Juanita will be around -- as she periodically reminds me when we discuss her long-delayed album that I'm working on. :) (In good humor, I will add, just so we're clear on that.)

"Chess" is a song that deserves to win a Pegasus Award. Juanita deserves to win a Pegasus Award.

Maybe we could try to do something about this in the near future?

Thanks for reading!
Tags: baseball, cubs, filk, musings, pegasus
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