Monday, November 30, 2009

"What If the Beatles Were Irish?" by Roy Zimmerman

Just because.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deep River - San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

For Sunday morning, a hymn. In one of her autobiographical books, Maya Angelou talks about being somewhere in eastern Europe and having a polite stranger play Paul Robeson's version of this song for her, and the complex emotions that event raised in her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dvorak, Slavonic Dance, op 46, no 4

This is the version for piano, four hands, as they say, rather than full orchestra. Since the person who posted it at YouTube decided to disable embedding, you'll have to click on this link to hear it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Lovin' Spoonful - Rain On The Roof

An adequate job of lip-syncing, an exceptionally poor job of play-syncing -- but what the hell, only musicians care about that. This is a song about what it feels like to be in love, and that's what matters.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sly & The Family Stone - Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa

Give thanks. "Thank You for Talkin' to Me Africa" is Sly's junk-influenced remake of his "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." It's from 1973's There's a Riot Goin' On and is often held up as an example of what the words "deep funk" refer to. How slow can a song be and still make you want to grind?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nick Drake - Time Has Told Me

Nick Drake explains to us the meaning of "a soul with no footprint, a rose with no thorn." First song on his first album. The delicate electric guitar work is by Richard Thompson.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Taibbi on Palin and Outsidership

Matt Taibbi explains the relationship between Sarah Palin and the press. H/t Atrios.

What the people who are flipping out about the treatment of Palin should be asking themselves is what it means when it’s not just jerks like us but everybody piling on against Palin. For those of you who can’t connect the dots, I’ll tell you what it means. It means she’s been cut loose. It means that all five of the families have given the okay to this hit job, including even the mainstream Republican leaders. You teabaggers are in the process of being marginalized by your own ostensible party leaders in exactly the same way the anti-war crowd was abandoned by the Democratic party elders in the earlier part of this decade. Like the antiwar left, you have been deemed a threat to your own party’s “winnability.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Anita O'Day at the Newport Jazz Festival 1958

Life is the ultimate performance art. Being a good singer is great, but you also want some style and the right attitude. Or, to put it another way by focusing on just one detail, don't just listen to this: dig the gloves as well.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frank Rich Explains Sarah Palin and the Americans

Leave it to Frank Rich to show a little more perspective than most in his evaluation of the Palin book tour, and what she might do in the future.

Even by the standard of politicians, this is a woman with an outsized ego. Combine that with her performance skills and an insatiable hunger for the limelight, and you can see why she will not stay in Wasilla now that she’s seen 30 Rock. The question journalists repeatedly asked last week — What are Palin’s plans for 2012? — is a red herring. Palin has no obligation to answer it. She is the pit bull in the china shop of American politics, and she can do what she wants, on her own timeline, all the while raking in the big bucks she couldn’t as a sitting governor. No one, least of all her own political party, can control her.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Duane Allman - Little Martha

Happy birthday to Duane, who would have been sixty-three today. Here he plays his own composition on acoustic guitar, noteworthy for someone who rarely wrote songs and was identified with the electric guitar. Dickey Betts supports him on another acoustic guitar, but otherwise it's all Duane.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sir Douglas Quintet - At the Crossroads

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of Doug Sahm. "At the Crossroads" is one of his best-known songs, and in certain circles has been played to death. Still, it's worth hearing again. There are people who think it's an Ian Hunter song because Mott the Hoople recorded it, but that just means that Hunter knows a good song when he hears one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gilda Radner - Let's Talk Dirty To The Animals

The lovely Gilda offers a simple suggestion: Let's talk dirty to the animals. A song from the perennially delightful mind of Michael O'Donoghue.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hubert Sumlin - Little Girl, This Is The End

Mr. Sumlin is joined here by an English guitarist from a band named after a Muddy Waters song. "Little Girl, This Is The End" is the only song from Sumlin's release About Them Shoes which he wrote and sings himself, although of course his guitar playing is all over it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Birthday

I've posted this song before, but have a personal reason for doing so again today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Henry Thomas - Fishing Blues

Probably every version of this song that you've ever heard derives from this one, recorded over eighty years ago.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Paul Simon - Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy

Just had this song on my mind. It's one of those songs where, if you meet someone who knows it, it's interesting to ask what they think of it. Often people notice its pleasant sound and can sing along, but never really notice how sad the lyrics are, especially the very end. Rather than describe it, I'll just let you listen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightning

Time for some Wolf. According to the notes, this was in England in 1964 with Willie Dixon and Hubert Sumlin.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Frank Zappa - Ship Ahoy

In 1981 the mind-bogglingly prolific Frank Zappa released a 3-LP set of nothing but guitar solos, called Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar. "Ship Ahoy" was recorded at a performance in Japan. I have only a vague idea what type of effect he's using on the guitar, but it sure sounds cool.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Krugman on the Republicans Again

Sometimes I wish that I disagreed with Krugman more, when he foresees a grim future.

Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren’t interested in actually governing, they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Oouffnoon

The influential jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie died ten years ago today. I only had a chance to see the Art Ensemble of Chicago once, but it was a wonderful opportunity -- I wish I'd had more.

Here they are performing live at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1972. They were beginning to become better-known in the world at large, and were ready to tell that world who they were and what they were about. Here is Oouffnoon from that performance. In this particular song saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell gets most of the solo space, but Bowie is, as always, a key part of the group interplay.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Digby, Harrison, Obama, the Economic Crisis

Digby links to Edward Harrison at Naked Capitalism, and I link to Digby. It's just how these here internets work.

Obama certainly was predisposed to ignore the Krugman camp, which includes a number of other economists, like Harrison, who argued for bank "nationalization" and other more aggressive methods of containing the damage. As the termperamentally thrill seeking Bush threw in with the nuttiest foreign policy elders of his own party, Obama, being a far more deliberate type, threw in with the most staid and establishmentarian economic elders of his.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sly & The Family Stone - If You Want Me To Stay

"If You Want Me To Stay" -- one of the great bass parts ever. Eventually it became a pretty common style, but apparently just about every bass line you've ever heard that sounds like this (such as "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones) is derived from this one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Conservative Wave...May Have Crested

The conservative who drove a moderate Republican out of the race in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional district lost to the Democrat. A seat that was held by Republicans since 1872 has now switched parties. Here's the story from the local paper, the Watertown Daily Times.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mort Shuman - Amsterdam

Mort Shuman is best known as being half of one of the great Brill Building songwriting teams in early rock and roll. With his partner Doc Pomus, he crafted songs for many of the great acts of the era. But a few years later he became interested in the work of the French singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, and began working to promote him in the US. Shuman began to provide English translations for Brel's French lyrics, and eventually became part of a group that put together a review called "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris," which ran for a long time off-Broadway. To top it off, he became one of the four performers who sang the songs every night. Here he sings Brel's "Amsterdam," an intense and grim portrait of life in the less-than-pretty parts of a port town.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Beatles - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

If you haven't seen the movie, then some of the things you see may be inexplicable, such as Leo McKern wearing a manhole cover as a hat. But it's the song, and Richard Lester's sense of cool in the cinemaphotography, that matter here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Frank Rich on Scozzafava and the GOP

More on the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district this Tuesday. Frank Rich uses it to discuss the current state of the national Republican party.

The right’s embrace of Hoffman is a double-barreled suicide for the G.O.P. On Saturday, the battered Scozzafava suspended her campaign, further scrambling the race. It’s still conceivable that the Democratic candidate could capture a seat the Republicans should own. But it’s even better for Democrats if Hoffman wins. Punch-drunk with this triumph, the right will redouble its support of primary challengers to 2010 G.O.P. candidates they regard as impure. That’s bad news for even a Republican as conservative as Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose primary opponent in the Texas governor’s race, the incumbent Rick Perry, floated the possibility of secession at a teabagger rally in April and hastily endorsed Hoffman on Thursday.