Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle - Take Me Home/Presents

Two short tracks from the One From the Heart soundtrack. Crystal Gayle's voice in the first track makes it clear why Waits wanted her for this project. The second is an instrumental based on a melodic theme used in an earlier song.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Benny Goodman - I Found A New Baby

Happy one hundredth birthday today to Mr. G., whose childhood playing of klezmer gave him a unique sound among jazz clarinetists (according to himself). This piece is officially by the "Benny Goodman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian and Count Basie," both of whom are given solo space.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Krugman on Fears of Inflation

Doctor K offers his opinion.

But does the big inflation scare make any sense? Basically, no — with one caveat I’ll get to later. And I suspect that the scare is at least partly about politics rather than economics.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mike Bloomfield & Barry Goldberg - Jimi The Fox

One thing about the hippie musicians is that they usually genuinely believed in peace and love, everybody is in this together, music is all one, stuff like that. For example, Eric Clapton allowed Duane Allman acres of solo space on the Layla album. Similarly, Mike Bloomfield was always open about his admiration for Jimi Hendrix, and in 1969 recorded this tribute called "Jimi the Fox." It was released on a Barry Goldberg album, but it's Bloomfield all the way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Little Willie John - Let Them Talk

Little Willie John is not a name you hear that often, but he was one of the major R&B stars of the fifties, and as such a huge influence on the next generation of singers--when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, it was Stevie Wonder who did the honors.

LWJ did the original version of "Fever," now associated with Peggy Lee, and of "Talk to Me," which I first heard by Sunny and the Sunliners. He had a great voice and a short difficult life. In short, he deserved, and deserves, better, and this offering is only one small act towards that end.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Krugman on California

Two links to NY Times columnists in two days? Either I gotta get out more, or these guys are good. Maybe both. Paul Krugman on what's happening in the Golden State:"California, it has long been claimed, is where the future happens first. But is that still true? If it is, God help America."

To be blunt: recent events suggest that the Republican Party has been driven mad by lack of power. The few remaining moderates have been defeated, have fled, or are being driven out. What’s left is a party whose national committee has just passed a resolution solemnly declaring that Democrats are “dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals,” and released a video comparing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Frank Rich Explains This Moment in Gay Rights

I try not to overdo the links to Frank Rich, but damn, he's good. Here he is on the current status of gay rights, and the weird mix of progress and stasis that characterizes it.

The gay civil rights movement has fewer obstacles in its path than did Dr. King’s Herculean mission to overthrow the singular legacy of slavery. That makes it all the more shameful that it has fewer courageous allies in Washington than King did. If “American Idol” can sing out for change on Fox in prime time, it ill becomes Obama, of all presidents, to remain mute in the White House.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bob Dylan - Hard Times

The economic situation has prompted Bruce Springsteen to adopt this Stephen Foster song as the first encore in his tour. Here's Bob Dylan's version from his 1992 album of covers, Good As I Been to You.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kids in the Hall - Sausages

Compare and contrast: this clip with any episode of Home Improvement. Show your work. When finished, leave your exam on the stack in the trash can.

H/t Onion A/V Club.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Beatles - Because

Why post this song? Just because.

Great harmonies, harpsichord, and Moog.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fleetwood Mac - The Madge Sessions No. 2

Like the songs I posted a few weeks ago, this is from the pre-Stevie Nicks FM, when they were a blues/rock band led by Peter Green. This is an instrumental that highlights the interplay between the guitarists. Have no idea what the title means, except that it has nothing to do with Madonna.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bad Plus (joined by Wendy Lewis) - Lock, Stock and Teardrops

Because the world doesn't listen to enough Roger Miller. Here he's interpreted by the Bad Plus (joined by Wendy Lewis) via k.d. lang.

Monday, May 18, 2009

RIP Sid Laverents

If you don't know the name Sid Laverents, use Google to find out what you can. Genius will out, I guess, even if you have to make the world's greatest home movies in order to express yourself.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Liberace - Misty

Today would have been Liberace's ninetieth birthday. He was, to say the least, a complex human being who did his best to hide that complexity from the public whose attention he craved. And the fact that he was a gay man in the closet was only part of it. He loved the spotlight more than he loved his own talent, and paid a certain price for it.

I love the description the person who posted this on YouTube used: "A Horrible Interpretation of Errol Garner's Misty Played by Liberace." This performance is way, way too much all the way around, but that's what Liberace wanted to show the world.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Simon & Garfunkel - So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

I was going to post "The Boxer," because it occurred to me that it was first released forty years ago this spring (as a single--it didn't appear on album until a couple of years after that). But then, why post a song you've likely heard, when something a little more unusual was available? "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" is from the Bridge Over Troubled Waters album, and combines a seemingly surreal but sort-of-based-in-reality lyric (Garfunkel did actually study with Frank Lloyd Wright shortly before the great man's death in 1959, although I doubt they ever harmonized 'til dawn) with music clearly based on a certain type of Brazilian music (reasonably complex chords on classical guitar, a thousand violins, a quiet singer, genteel reverb). It was not like anything their contemporaries were doing, or indeed like anything S&G did before or after. Here it is.

Bonus points if you can make out what the faint voices are saying near the end.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peter Schilling - Major Tom

Hearing this song in a car commercial reminded me how much I liked the original version. Which is good enough reason to post it.

If the video won't play, try going here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Larry Collins & Joe Maphis - Golden Slippers

Things you can do with a double-neck Mosrite.
H/t commenter Mark at the blog If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger,There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art Tatum - Willow Weep For Me

Art Tatum was a piano player. In the same sense that the Knock Nevis is a boat. If you have ever spent much time trying to coax music out of a piano, then you recognize what it is that he is doing here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Delaney, Bonnie & Friends - Comin' Home

Another blast from the past. Delaney is playing the all-rosewood Telecaster that the Fender company had give George Harrison (and which he is seen playing in the Let it Be film), and which George then gave to Delaney. George is playing the Stratocaster he played in the Magical Mystery Tour film. Eric Clapton is playing a Les Paul through a Dual Showman, and as far as I know that's not in any film. The bassist, drummer, and organist went on to form Derek and the Dominoes with Clapton. Saxophonist Bobby Keys went on to become a sort of auxiliary member of the Rolling Stones. In short, the people in this video function as a dense node of late sixties-early seventies rock. It's also a pretty good song.

H/t twincityblues.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Frank Rich On the Changes in the News Business

Frank Rich, as usual, has something to say that is both thoughtful and well-informed.

Reporting the news can be expensive. Some of it — monitoring the local school board, say — can and is being done by voluntary “citizen journalists” with time on their hands, integrity and a Web site. But we can’t have serious opinions about America’s role in combating the Taliban in Pakistan unless brave and knowledgeable correspondents (with security to protect them) tell us in real time what is actually going on there. We can’t know what is happening behind closed doors at corrupt, hard-to-penetrate institutions in Washington or Wall Street unless teams of reporters armed with the appropriate technical expertise and assiduously developed contacts are digging night and day. Those reporters have to eat and pay rent, whether they work for print, a TV network, a Web operation or some new bottom-up news organism we can’t yet imagine.
It’s immaterial whether we find the fruits of their labors on paper, a laptop screen, a BlackBerry, a Kindle or podcast. But someone — and certainly not the government, with all its conflicted interests — must pay for this content and make every effort to police its fairness and accuracy. If we lose the last major news-gathering operations still standing, there will be no news on Google News unless Google shells out to replace them. It won’t.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Firesign Theatre - The Chinchilla Show

Back in the day, sometimes on Saturday afternoons on the TV you'd have what were sort of primitive infomercials, where someone would try to explain a money-making proposition that required only a little training and a cash investment to buy supplies. Sometimes these were so ludicrous as to be uncomfortable to watch. The fact that the people doing the presentation were often straining for an oxymoronic casual formality, which eluded them, didn't help. The Firesign Theatre remembers those days.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Careful de Guy Maddin

The Onion A/V Club has an appreciation of the work of filmmaker Guy Maddin. I confess I've only ever seen Careful, for which this is the trailer, but that film alone made him one of my favorite auteurs (and in his case, the appellation is actually deserved). If these images interest you, you must see this movie.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chuck Carbo - Bells In My Heart

This is a little rough compared to the original, although by the end they blend beautifully (it's the original lead singer with a pickup backup group). But what a song.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Herbert on Kemp

Bob Herbert of the NYT on the late Jack Kemp.

Kemp, who died on Saturday from cancer, would later be much better known for his long career as a conservative Republican politician. He had two very big ideas for his party. One was terrific, spot on. The other couldn’t have been more boneheaded. The G.O.P. being the G.O.P. rejected the good idea and went hog wild for the boneheaded one.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding

Following up on yesterday's post--it turned out that YouTube had what I was looking for. Here's Robert Wyatt singing "Shipbuilding."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Elvis Costello - Shipbuilding

On this date in 1982, during the Falklands War, a British submarine fired torpedoes which struck the Argentine ship the General Belgrano. Three hundred twenty three people died, which according to Wikipedia means that this single incident accounted for just over half the total of the deaths that Argentine forces suffered in the conflict.

Here's Elvis Costello singing his oblique song about the Falklands War, Shipbuilding. The trumpet solo is by none other than Chet Baker.

Robert Wyatt's version of this song is supposed to be even better, but a copy could not be found in time for this post.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spike Jones - Cocktails for Two

Maybe there really is a God and he really does love us. After all, we didn't really deserve the sublime Spike Jones, who departed the earthly plane on this date in 1965.