Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Bailout

This post is now a couple of days old and has been superseded by the actual vote, but it's an excellent overview of the problems with the bailout bill which was defeated in the US House yesterday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fey as Palin

You've probably already seen it somewhere, but damn it's good, so what the hell.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

That McCain Guy

If it's Sunday, it's Frank Rich.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RIP Paul Newman

When I've thought of Paul Newman in the last few years I thought of the little scene that takes place in this clip between about 1:00 and 2:00. His character is an old gangster talking to a boy whom he's known since birth, and to whom he's been like a grandfather. He's trying to decide if the boy knows too much about a murder, and whether the boy is going to have to be killed. The blend of authentic sweetness and real evil that Newman shows here blew me away when I first saw it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Marty Robbins - Big Iron

Happy birthday to Marty Robbins, born on this day in 1925, gone too soon in 1982. The lyrics to this song mark it as a cultural artifact from its era: it's an old-fashioned cowboy movie in words.

What still holds me is his voice, which is about as pure and natural-sounding as a human voice can get. Other people agree with that assessment. According to Wikipedia, "The Who's 2006 album Endless Wire includes the song 'God Speaks of Marty Robbins.' The song's composer, Pete Townshend, explains that the song is about God's deciding to create the universe just so he can hear some music, 'and most of all, one of his best creations, Marty Robbins.'"

The background vocals are by the Glaser Brothers, and the musicians are the cream of Nashville circa 1960, including (I believe) Grady Martin on guitar.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Muddy Waters - 40 Days & 40 Nights

It's only forty days until the election, which put this song into heavy rotation in my head. Now it moves from my head to this post. You may well ask, but what do this song's lyrics have to do with the election? And my answer would be, um, ah, well...Muddy Waters and Barack Obama both lived on the South Side of Chicago--does that count?

Okay, there's no real connection, but it's a great song, so enjoy it for that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

UBM on B Clinton

Undercover Black Man has a nice explication of Bill Clinton's lukewarm support of Obama.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Krugman Said

As usual, when I want to try to understand a macroeconomic issue, I turn to Paul Krugman.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Corey Harris - Honeysuckle

Corey Harris was born in 1969, and plays music heavily influenced by people who were born about eighty years before that. Maybe it's true that the blues will never die.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues

This looks like a typical lip-sync job from Germany's Beat Club TV show, but hey, it's really them, the classic lineup of the band doing their best-known song. Granted, it was written by someone else, and they pretty much lifted the Who's arrangement (although the Who did not release a recorded version until 1970, they had been performing it live for several years before then), but when I was fifteen this blew me away. In the same way that people point to Jackie Brenson's "Rocket 88" as the first rock and roll song, before that term was adopted, this was heavy metal before the term existed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Cass Elliott's Birthday

Today would have been Cass Elliott's sixty-seventh birthday. Maybe her family will be celebrating the occasion. If you think of her just as one of the more singular personalities from "the sixties," here's a nice piece of evidence that she was a real live musician, and not just a personality. (Although God knows she was also that.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Norman Whitfield RIP

One of the great songwriter/producers of the 1960s and 1970s is gone. I've heard that this song actually derives far more from the work of Roger Penzabene than it does from either Barrett Strong or Norman Whitfield, who were the other two credited co-composers, but what the hell, it's a beautiful example of a Whitfield production. He knew how to keep things simple when that was required, as in the beautiful opening section. And he may well have pushed David Ruffin to deliver the fully committed lead vocal. The way the line "And crying eases the pain" is delivered is something very special. Or maybe it was all Ruffin. But then Whitfield knew enough to keep out of the way, another hallmark of an excellent producer.

Damn, this is the third RIP I've done in a week. People are dropping like flies. Stop it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rick Wright RIP

There must be hundreds of blogs at least that today have essentially the same post as this one, but what the hell. Now that Richard Wright has gone to the great gig in the sky, here is his song by that title.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Financial Markets at Work

Today's "Abbreviated Pundit Round-up" at DailyKos offers an excellent set of articles on the current turmoil in the financial markets.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

RIP David Foster Wallace

I have to admit up front that I have little familiarity with his work, but I knew enough about him to know that this is sad news.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ain't It Fun by Rocket From The Tombs featuring Peter Laughner

I've posted at least one song by Peter Laughner in the past, and hey, here's another. RFTT was the immediate precursor to Pere Ubu, and contained a few of the same members.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Vladimir Nabokov discusses "Lolita" part 1 of 2

I had no idea that this was on YouTube until I read about it on James Wolcott's blog. I'm enough of a Nabokov geek that I read not just his fiction but also his books of lectures, so I was thrilled. Perhaps not surprisingly, his personal manner seems more like an Oxbridge don than anything else, but you certainly wouldn't think "Russian emigre." But he was. In the century of exiles, he was an exemplar.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Frank Rich Explains It All, Again

Best headline I've seen in a newspaper recently: Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage. And since it's Frank Rich, the article is great too.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gil Scott-Heron - A Lovely Day

If you are a progressive, then you believe that political struggle is not an end in itself. Its purpose is to make it possible for ordinary people to live decent lives, to have dignity, and to enjoy the good things that life has to offer everyone. Here's an explanation.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Buddy Miles

Today would have been the sixty-second birthday of Buddy Miles. Here he is in the Band of Gypsys with Jimi Hendrix (and Billy Cox), at one of the Fillmore East shows that produced the BOG album. Buddy was not a prolific songwriter, but he could deliver the goods when he did write. "Them Changes" is probably the best-known of his compositions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008