Friday, November 30, 2007

Sorrow Stay - The King's Noyse with Paul O'Dette

John Dowland was a contemporary of Shakespeare whose music was recovered as part of the "early music" revival of the twentieth century. Philip K. Dick was a fan and used the title of one of Dowland's pieces ("Flow my Teares") to form part of one of his own titles. Performed on period instruments, here is a good rendition of one of his works. Can't track down the singer's name--sorry.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Todd Haynes: Using 6 actors to play Dylan in "I'm Not There"

Rather than post another trailer of a film, I've located a clip of the director talking about the new Dylan biopic I'm Not There. If you're a serious Dylan fan, and if you're a Todd Haynes fan (I missed Far from Heaven, loved Velvet Goldmine), you will be in heaven watching this movie. Otherwise, probably not. But it's a great example of one no-shit-real-live-artist-and-not-just-an-entertainer crafting a work of art about another one. Go see it.

One other thing, because it seems relevant: I became a Todd Haynes fan at the moment in Velvet Goldmine when a UFO drops off the infant Oscar Wilde at a doorstep in the middle of the nineteenth century. This in a movie about the glam-rock scene of the 1970s. Simultaneously audacious and utterly apropos (and it wouldn't work if it weren't both), it's a sequence born of a vision rooted in a communal experience but willing to say something previously unsaid in quite that way. And that's how art gets made.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One Rainy Wish - Jimi Hendrix

This is the side of Jimi Hendrix that was not adopted by generations of heavy metal guitarists. Not even in the power ballads. This music came and then it went, but thanks to the miracle of sound recording we can enjoy it today. Please do so.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Warren Zevon's Hasten Down The Wind - Linda Ronstadt

A little more Warren Zevon, this time as interpreted by Linda Ronstadt. The flip side of his worldly-wise humor (Lawyers, Guns, and Money, for example) was his heartbrokeness, as in this song or in Accidentally Like a Martyr. Enjoy isn't quite the right word, so just soak it in.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let it Be

One of several alternate versions, with slightly different lyrics, breaks, solo from the album and single.

Paul for some reason thinks he needs to look directly into the camera as much as possible--probably something Jane Asher once told him that he misunderstood but couldn't forget. Billy Preston on a Hammond spinet organ, George on a rosewood Telecaster, John on a Fender Bass 6, Yoko as sphinx. Ringo gets no close-ups.

There will be no sorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mary Ann - Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield

This is an old Ray Charles song performed by Mike Bloomfield on guitar and vocals, with Al Kooper on Hammond organ. It's from the Live Adventures album. The contrasting soft/loud sections really goose up the arrangement, and blues disciple Bloomfield as usual tears it up on guitar.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Warren Zevon - Boom Boom Mancini

It would take a while to explain why this is one of my favorite Warren Zevon songs. No time, so here you go.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Summer Daydream - Ralph White

After mentioning Ralph White's proficiency on the kalimba the other day, I then posted a song that didn't really show off that skill. So here's a better choice, off the same album. You can also hear some fretless banjo, played in the frailing style, as well as his usual fiddle, accordion, etc. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Poco - You Better Think Twice

Talk about your blast from the past. The show's theme music and graphics were already dated in 1972, which means this was a typical big network production of the time. So it is presented here strictly as a cultural artifact.

Poco did not hit the big time until about six years later, with Jim Messina (the songwriter and singer in this clip) long gone to a partnership with Kenny Loggins. I was a fan of Poco's earliest work, which was pioneering country rock done at the same time as Gram Parsons-era Flying Burrito Brothers. Both of Poco's first two bass players went on to join the Eagles, which tells you something about influences and relative levels of success, and in fact the Tim who identifies himself in this clip is still with the Eagles today.

In any event, this is a song from one of Poco's early albums, and represents a blend of musical traditions (C&W/rock'n'roll) that at the time was innovative but which eventually would become the new mainstream, at least for country music. Nothing earth-shattering here, but a good song in a nice arrangement with great harmonies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Navasota River Devil Squirrel 1 & 2 - Ralph White

Ralph White was a founding member of the Bad Livers, the world's first punk/bluegrass band, and served as the multi-instrumentalist of the group, playing mostly fiddle and accordion. In the last few years he has been making solo recordings, overdubbing those two instruments and many others, particularly the kalimba. Often known as the thumb piano, this African instrument is often used in the West to provide very simple bits of musical flavoring. But there are people who can actually play it well, and Ralph White is one of them. Here is the opening track of his most recent CD, Navasota River Devil Squirrel. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Robert Haas - Meditations at Lagunitas

Since I don't want to risk a copyright violation, here is a link to another page with Robert Haas's poem "Meditations at Lagunitas." Enjoy.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Never Again - Richard & Linda Thompson

A minor-key waltz, composed by Richard Thompson and sung by his then-wife Linda. They are of course the parents of singer/songwriter Teddy Thompson. There's a story that at their last public appearance as a duo Richard performed with blood dripping from his bald pate, thanks to the ashtray that his soon-to-be-ex-wife had thrown at him in the dressing room shortly before they went on stage. What does all that have to do with this song? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

No Country for Old Men - Trailer

Coin flipping in films for two days in a row. Brutality is a normal part of everyday life, but sometimes it gets out beyond the usual range. Presented for your approval, Joel and Ethan Coen's latest. Blood Simple was twenty-five years ago now, and they're back in Texas again, letting us watch people get killed, again. With age, their approach to violence has become less stylized but no less horrific.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Heads)

Since there was no post yesterday, double post today. Here's the opening of Tom Stoppard's film version of the play that made his reputation. He still hasn't made a film that's quite as good as any of his stage work, but this isn't bad. Some people, however hard they work, do just have a gift. Stoppard can write dialogue better than just about anyone.

I Was Standing by the Bedside of a Neighbor - Sweet Honey in the Rock

A short clip, truncated for some reason, of the great vocal group. Just to follow up on the audio selection I posted recently, here's a chance to see them as well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thanks, my blood wasn't already boiling--part 5


Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues (Live)

I'm not usually a fan of guitar heroics, but this is pretty nice. Gary Moore is a British guitarist who wrote this piece, which is, like (for example) "As The Years Go Passing By," less of a strict blues song than a minor-key, slow-R&B meditation on blues themes. I just got introduced to it today. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tipitina - Fess & Meters

The music here is very good but not amazing, but so what. It's Professor Longhair on stage with the Meters, a combination I never knew had been caught on video, so if you love New Orleans music that's reason enough to watch.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tomorrow - Sweet Honey in the Rock

Sweet Honey in the Rock was founded by Bernice Johnson Reagon who, among other things, (1) has a resume as a singer that runs back at least as far as the Freedom Singers during the civil rights era, (2) created and hosted the radio series Wade in the Water, about African American sacred music, and (3) is the mother of the singer Toshi Reagon. For more info, here are her Wikipedia and All Music Guide entries. "Tomorrow" is from the 1986 album The Other Side.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Joe Pass - Solo Jazz Guitar

If you don't play guitar, you'll probably think, "That's pretty." If you play guitar at an average level, you'll think, "How the fuck does he do that?" Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Leonard Cohen - Chelsea Hotel#2

Broken hearts--are there any other kind?

Mired in my provincialism, I will note that this song is about a Texan.

Flaco Jimenez

Since I've posted material from Doug Sahm and Don Santiago Jimenez, it's only fitting to add something from Don Santiago's son and Doug's bandmate, Flaco Jimenez. This is some home video from the 1990 Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, which I think is held in Mission Park on the southside. A beautiful place, if you understand what you're looking at. Why am I not there now? Many reasons, dear reader, many reasons. For one thing, my propensity for rhetorical questions takes up a lot of time. Enjoy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Four Seasons - Dawn (Go Away)

Dawn dates from 1962, I think. One of my favorite groups when I was young. The things that are burned into your brain when you're a child never leave. Great arrangement by Crewe and Gaudio, who were yet more disciples of Spector.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou-Seu Jorge-Rebel Rebel

I used to play this song in a band a long time ago. Never would have thought it would appear in a wacky film in a solo version by a Brazilian singer/guitarist, in Portuguese no less. Which just goes to show you.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Unchained Melody - Vito and the Salutations

When the big hit movie of the day was Ghost, this song was e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. Bobby Hatfield's voice was wonderful in that version, but it got so overplayed that I used to turn to this version just for relief. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sir Douglas Quintet - Nuevo Laredo

This looks like the 1969 version of the band, lip-syncing on a European TV show. Doug was originally from a neighborhood near mine in my home town and was someone I would always hear stories about, so I've always felt some connection to him. This music is so straightforward and pure in the same way that the best blues, reggae, or old country music is. Like a lot of other people, I still miss him.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bee Movie - Trailer 3

I can't wait for this movie to open--because then all of this relentless, pounding, endless hype will be over and done with forever. Besides, while I love some of these movies, this one looks like all that it has going for it is the return of Jerry Seinfeld. Usually the best gags are in the trailer--I have yet to see anything in any of these trailers that actually made me laugh.