Sunday, February 28, 2010

W.E.B. DuBois's Niagara Movement Speech, done on Virtual Harlem in Second Life

Since DuBois died in 1963, not really all that long ago, I was surprised how hard it was to find a clip of him speaking. As a substitute, here is a twenty-first century manifestation of his influence: one of his most famous speeches, originally delivered in 1905, re-created in the online virtual world Second Life. Hope you had a good Black History Month.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Andres Segovia - Variations on a Theme by Mozart

Been posting clips from various guitarists, but not Segovia yet. Arguably he is responsible more than anyone else for the popularity of the guitar in the twentieth century, since he re-established its common use in classical music, a trend which then influenced a lot of popular musicians in the 1930s. Not to say that the popularity of the guitar as a relatively cheap and portable instrument for poor people, in places like Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, didn't matter -- but Segovia was applying pressure from the other, more "respectable" side of society.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fats Domino - I'm Walking

Happy eighty-second birthday to Mr. Antoine Domino, professionally known as Fats. He was the least likely of 1950s teen idols, being a chubby man closer to forty than fifteen. So why was he at one point one of the best-selling musicians in the USA? The answer lies in this clip, even though it's from twenty years later. Fats may not have been as riveting as Little Richard, but he was definitely a star of the TV era -- something just comes through in his performance when you watch. It's been said that he is one of those rare people in show biz, in that who he is onstage is pretty much the same as offstage. Besides his musical ability, his personality is somehow simultaneously understated but compelling. Of course it doesn't hurt that he swings like a...words fail me.

It's worth noting that no matter how famous he became, Fats never left his home, staying close to his roots in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. Until, of course, Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

13th Floor Elevators - Slip Inside This House

There's psychedelia and then there's psychedelia, but then there's the 13th Floor Elevators, the band that put it on record before anyone else. "Slip Inside This House" is from 1967's Easter Everywhere. This is apparently the single version, but it'll do. Just remember: other stories given have sages of their own.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Robben Ford - Worried Life Blues

Just an example of a guitar player with great command over his instrument. Plus, I wish I had a coat like that. I'd wear it when I went grocery shopping.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Rahm Saga Interpreted

Cenk Uygur performs a bit of inside-the-Beltway kremlinology, so to speak, and explains what the recent Rahm Emanuel puff piece in the Washington Post really meant. His interpretation surprised me, for one. H/t to Atrios.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Todays's Dumb Joke

It's Washington's Birthday. Be sure to take advantage of the sales by stocking up on plenty of sofas and mattresses. I recommend at least a dozen each.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Zack Kim - Blue Bossa

Double guitar tapping on a jazz standard by a musician I just heard of. I love YouTube.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Walter Becker - Haitian Divorce

Happy sixtieth birthday to the lesser-known half of Steely Dan, who here takes a rare vocal turn on a twisted (what else?) faux-Caribbean romp from the band's catalog.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Face of a Killer

Joe Stack.

The secret, if there is one, is that no, you can't tell.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

T. S. Eliot - Ash Wednesday

I posted this last year, but it's too good not to post again: T.S. Eliot reading his poem Ash Wednesday, courtesy of blogger Tom Watson.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Five Americans - Western Union

Steverino introduces the band. The original recording was produced by Dale Hawkins (best known for writing and performing Susie Q), who died on Saturday.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love - Doggone

Love, led by Arthur Lee, may be the band that has benefited the most from the rediscovery of lesser-known sixties acts. Forever Changes is in fact sometimes called the best album ever made. "Doggone" is from a later album, made with a completely different version of the band, with leader Arthur Lee the only holdover. But he was still a true original -- a soft and gentle song (which references among other things his transition to new band members) with...a drum solo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Frank Rich on Tea Partiers, Again and Some More

Mr. Rich as usual has things to say which seem pretty obvious but which no one else seems to be saying. The key line for me:
The Obama White House remains its own worst enemy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cat Stevens - Morning has Broken

Happy one hundred and twenty-ninth birthday to Eleanor Farjeon, English writer who was already grown when Queen Victoria died, then lived long enough to leave this plane of existence about the time the Beatles released Help. Nowadays she's best known for one thing: writing the words to "Morning has Broken," one of Cat Stevens's most popular recordings. When it was all over the radio, it was easy to miss the fact that it's a hymn. This version features the piano work of prog-rock god Rick Wakeman (not yet famous, he was hired here as an uncredited session musician) and a zillion key changes. The pictures are pretty. too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Dream A Highway (Gillian Welch Cover)

My favorite things on YouTube are the things that people obviously do purely for love. This is a cover of a Gillian Welch song that's over ten minutes long. Note the look on the man's face when he finishes.

Overall, so far I kinda like the twenty-first century.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash - The Jimmy Durante Show 1959

Really, it's just the way he walks through the spotlights. Even as a kid, I knew in some weird way it represented coming to terms with death, which is a hell of a way to end a musical variety TV show every week. But it worked.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hacienda - She's Got a Hold on Me

Something new, at least to me. H/t to Phil Ramone and Danielle Evin at Dog Ears Music on the Huffington Post.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frank Rich on the Political Consequences of the DADT Repeal Struggle

Frank Rich on why the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is good politics and not just good policy.

On “Meet the Press” last weekend — John Boehner, the House G.O.P. leader, fended off a question about “don’t ask” with a rhetorical question of his own: “In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat, why would we want to get into this debate?” Besides Mullen’s answer — that it is the right thing to do — there’s another, less idealistic reason why President Obama might want to get into it. The debate could blow up in the Republicans’ faces. A protracted battle or filibuster in which they oppose civil rights will end up exposing the deep prejudice at the root of their arguments. That’s not where a party trying to expand beyond its white Dixie base and woo independents wants to be in 2010.

Friday, February 5, 2010

nada strives for regnance

Nothing today, sorry. Had a blow-a-hole-in-your-schedule type of incident yesterday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Beach Boys - The Trader

Just a song I've always liked. It was originally on the studio album Holland, but this version was recorded in concert in 1973. There are many instrumental parts, but everything fits together so smoothly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Otis Taylor, Gary Moore, & Jonn Richardson — 2006

A lot of the best stuff on YouTube is amateur video, and not just the cat-failing-to-land-on-a-table stuff (although that's good too). Otis Taylor has been touring some with Garry Moore in recent years, and here they, along with Jonn Richardson, work out on some one-chord blues. For my money, it gets really good at about the 5:30 mark.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spirit - Groundhog

I think I post this song every year on this day, which admittedly bespeaks a lack of imagination. On the other hand, it's a great song.

Guitar gearheads will note that in some of the images, Randy California is playing a Danelectro.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Krugman on Canadian Bankin'

The anti-Gordon Gekko, the Nobelist says "Dull is good."

Yes, I know, Canada is supposed to be dull. The New Republic famously pronounced “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative” (from a Times Op-Ed column in the ’80s) the world’s most boring headline. But I’ve always considered Canada fascinating, precisely because it’s similar to the United States in many but not all ways. The point is that when Canadian and U.S. experience diverge, it’s a very good bet that policy differences, rather than differences in culture or economic structure, are responsible for that divergence.