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Music

Everything’s Alright (by the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar) 

In a family of multiple religions, Easter was usually a big deal as a kid. My Grandmother on my Dad’s side was Baptist, which basically meant her dealings with the Almighty were direct calls in the morning when she woke up. “Oh Lord, I thank you.”, she’d mutter when she awoke and sat up at the side of her bed, thankful for another 24 hours of life. She would be downstairs in the kitchen as early as 5am, cooking in preparation for dinner and visitors. A radio in the kitchen would play morning hymns, usually from anyone who sounded like Frederick K. C. Price.

My Grandfather, who passed before I met him, was Jewish by way of his mother (according to my older aunt, who is Jewish by conversion). Supposedly, being very poor and very hungry when he was younger, he stumbled upon a Catholic Church that sheltered him as long as he studied their ways. As a result, my younger Aunt and my Dad were born and baptized as Roman Catholics. That’s the story, anyway. Neither of them ever went to Church as much as others felt they should – they had a firm belief in religion and felt Right Action lead to Peace and a place in Heaven. (or at least this is how I view it when I look back on things). Do some good, protect yourself, and hopefully the world would do the same. My Older Aunt kind of dances between both Passover and Easter. She loves St. Patrick’s Cathedral, but you’ll never see her go near a lobster or shrimp, voicing that eating “anything off the ocean floor is unclean.”

My Mom was more modern. I think she went to Catholic School at some point. Sitting here writing this, I’m a little frightened at how little I can recall of her past. You don’t really pay attention too much to the histories as they’re told to you (especially when they’re repeated so much). Then you lose family members and you suddenly find yourself trying to hold on to everything they told or showed you growing up, as if each memory was a picture you’d place on an ofrenda. What sticks out the most with my Mom was something she said about Hell once. She said, “All this, right here, is Hell. Stick through this, and you’ll get Heaven later.” Her view was that life itself is pretty much suffering, with pockets of good moments in between. Those good moments are to be cherished. My siblings were all baptized (including myself, excluding my cousin) and everyone younger than me went to Catholic School. For Easter, there was a time where we’d get dressed up to the nines, visit Mama’s place and have dinner in the early morning. We’d try to leave before my inebriated Uncle would show with our many cousins from the Bronx and travel to my Grandma in Brooklyn’s place for a spell before returning home to relax and do the Paas Easter Egg Coloring. That was the best part of Easter by far. We’d sometimes do the Easter Egg coloring a day on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

I don’t really follow much when it comes to religion. I respect other’s paths as long as they don’t require afflicting harm on anyone. There was a time where I was very curious about it, and my Aunt gave me a Black King James Bible with the Lord’s words in red (which was awesome). My cousin, on the other hand, really loves the Holiday and still picks up the religious arguments that her mom used to have with my Older Aunt. She was the one who got me into Jesus Christ Superstar. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it over time. The Temple / The Leper Song was my favorite, Trial Before Pilate reminded me a little of Ministry’s “Tonight We Murder”, and I knew the main theme from Wrestling. My cousin knows all the songs, so we usually watch it this time of year. She argues that she would have loved to hear Chris Cornell sing “Gethsemane” before he passed. Cornell would have totally nailed it. We’ve also done a duet with The Last Supper, with my playing Judas.

On hearing Everything’s Alright during a watch in the living room, my cousin explained the scene to me. “She’s got a great voice, who is that?” I asked, her voice sounding so familiar to me. I knew I heard it somewhere. Before my cousin could chime in, I pulled out my phone and googled her name.

“Yvonne Elliman…Hmm….” I smiled, scrolling through what she worked on..”Cool….oh no.” My smile faded.

“What?”, my cousin turned to look at me. I could already hear the tune in my head, echoing.

“Dammit. She also did ‘If I Can’t Have You.’ from Saturday Night Fever.” If I Can’t Have You is a major childhood earworm for me. One listen, and it’s stuck with me for hours on end.

“Oh!” My cousin’s face brightened and she started singing.

“No, no! Don’t do it!” I laughed, but it already hit me. “Ugh, too late.”

Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Passover and Happy Easter!

Lyrics:

MARY MAGDALENE
Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you, oh.
Don’t you know
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine.
And we want you to sleep well tonight.
Let the world turn without you tonight.
If we try, we’ll get by, so forget all about us tonight

APOSTLES’ WIVES
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s alright, yes.

MARY MAGDALENE
Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you, and anoint you.
Myrrh for your hot forehead, oh.
Then you’ll feel
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine.
And it’s cool, and the ointment’s sweet
For the fire in your head and feet.
Close your eyes, close your eyes
And relax, think of nothing tonight.

APOSTLES’ WIVES
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s alright, yes.

JUDAS
Woman your fine ointment, brand new and expensive
Should have been saved for the poor.
Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe
Three hundred silver pieces or more.
People who are hungry, people who are starving
They matter more than your feet and hair!

MARY MAGDALENE
Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you, oh.
Don’t you know

APOSTLES’ WIVES and MARY
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s alright, yes.

JESUS
Surely you’re not saying we have the resources
To save the poor from their lot?
There will be poor always, pathetically struggling.
Look at the good things you’ve got.
Think while you still have me!
Move while you still see me!
You’ll be lost, and you’ll be sorry when I’m gone.

MARY MAGDALENE
Sleep and I shall soothe you, calm you and anoint you.
Myrrh for your hot forehead/
Then you’ll feel
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine.
And it’s cool and the ointment’s sweet
For the fire in your head and feet.
Close your eyes, close your eyes, and relax
Think of nothing tonight.

APOSTLES’ WIVES
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s alright, yes.

MARY MAGDALENE
Close your eyes, close your eyes, and relax

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