Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fleetwood Mac - Sentimental Lady

I've always preferred this version, recorded when Bob Welch was a member of the pre-Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac, to his solo version from a few years later. The simpler arrangement seems to suit the lyrics better. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for a guitar solo through a Leslie speaker.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Krugman on Obama and the Progressives

 Krugman usually makes an excellent case. This one is no exception.

What explains Mr. Obama’s consistent snubbing of those who made him what he is? Does he fear that his enemies would use any support for progressive people or ideas as an excuse to denounce him as a left-wing extremist? Well, as you may have noticed, they don’t need such excuses: He’s been portrayed as a socialist because he enacted Mitt Romney’s health-care plan, as a virulent foe of business because he’s been known to mention that corporations sometimes behave badly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joni Mitchell - For Free

Since I posted Leonard Cohen yesterday, maybe I'm covering Canadian singer/songwriters. Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, or Bruce Cockburn might be around the corner. Be that as it may...

Most Joni-philes think this is one of her best songs. I have to admit that I listened to it for years before I finally noticed the sting in the tail -- the final lines that undercut, or else underline, everything that has gone before. The fact that it could be either is what makes it such a good song.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leonard Cohen - Famous Blue Raincoat (Lisbon 2009)

Excellent version of amazing song, captured by amateur video at a recent concert.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blackadder - The Cavalier Years

The several Blackadder series and one-off episodes are best appreciated, I've come to find, in large helpings, so this fifteen-minute singleton may not be the best introduction. In addition, I had to have it pointed out to me that Stephen Fry's playing of King Charles I is funny to an English audience because his mannerisms and vocal inflections are based on those of his namesake, the current Prince of Wales. Still and all, it's pretty good stuff, and if you're a Blackadder fan it's an integral part of the canon.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Honeycombs - Have I The Right

A bit of the British Invasion circa 1965, produced by the one-of-a-kind Joe Meek.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Frank Rich on Shirley Sherrod

I might as well stop apologizing for linking to Frank Rich so often, because it looks like I'm going to keep doing it. It's pretty simple: frequently he provides the best overview of a recent political episode. The key quote in this one: The N.A.A.C.P. was wrong to demand that the Tea Party disown its racist fringe. It should have made that demand of the G.O.P. instead.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dynamic Moods

The official title of this clip is "Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day inferred from Twitter." Basically it represents the mood of the USA over one day, as represented by keywords found in tweets. The size of a state is based on the number of tweets at that time, so California at 3:00 a.m. is much smaller than California at 3:00 p.m. And the colors represent the mood: green for happy, red for unhappy, and different shades between. H/t DarkSyde @ DailyKos.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd Sextet - Desafinado

From 1962. This was the birth of the bossa nova craze in the early sixties, predating the Getz/Gilberto pairing that made "Girl from Ipanema" wildly popular. Not as Brazilian as the Brazilians themselves, of course, but pretty darn good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Biggest star ever found

I loved astronomy in college, even though a liberal arts goon like me couldn't handle the calculus needed for the real stuff. But if you have much of a sense of wonder, it can still be fascinating.

Biggest star ever found may be ticking antimatter bomb - space - 21 July 2010 - New Scientist


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Michael Martin Murphey - Wildfire

Considering that this is one of the classic mush-rock songs of the seventies (making Dave Barry's list of Worst Songs Ever), it's a little odd that the words are actually about death spooky death in the old West. Add in the fact that the opening and closing solo piano sections are based on a piece by Scriabin, whose philosophy of music made him seem strange even compared to other twentieth-century classical composers (who all in all tended to be a pretty strange bunch), and you have a resulting cultural artifact that is more than a little bizarre. But what the hell--it's pretty, isn't it? And the creator of this video added some pretty pictures.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Frank Rich on Mel Gibson's Latest

As usual, Frank Rich takes a current controversy and does a good job of nailing the essential points.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thanks, my blood wasn't already boiling--part 21

The new normal. In case you still had any doubt: yes, the world you grew up in and took for granted is going away. In more and more of the rural USA, paved county roads are returning to gravel because the money to repave isn't there.

Ht/ Atrios.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Patsy Cline - I Fall To Pieces

This post is to honor the memory of songwriter Hank Cochran, who died this last Thursday. Here is one of his best-known works (co-written with Harlan Howard, Bono's fave), performed by the inimitable PC.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sugar Minott (R.I.P.) & the Youth Promotion Crew 1986

The heavy, in both beat and emotional impact, side of reggae is so prominent that it's easy to forget that crooners have always been an important part of that world. Sugar Minott left the earthly plane (not sure if that's the Rasta term) last Saturday. Here he makes a live appearance in his hometown.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Digby on the Limits of Reason

As the cool kids put it: what Digby said.

It turns out that our brains are designed to create "cognitive shortcuts" to cope with the rush of information which I'm guessing is more important than ever in this new age. I'm also guessing one of these "cognitive shortcuts" is trusting in certain tribal identification and shared "worldview" to make things easier to sort out, which is why things are getting hyperpartisan and polarized in this time of information overload. (And sadly, one of the effects of that would be more confirmation of whatever bad information exists within the group.) So politics becomes a dogfight in which the battle is not just between ideas, but between the facts themselves.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blind Lemon Jefferson - Shuckin' Sugar Blues

What can I say? I got busy this morning, then forgot. But here's something, albeit late in the day. Literally.

Today mark's Blind Lemon Jefferson's birthday. A company called Pristine Audio is performing digital restoration of old recordings, and their results tend to be very good, as can be heard in this recording made over eighty years ago.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jelly Roll Morton - Dr. Jazz

As you might suspect, not the same song as "Dr Jazz" by Squeeze. From the man who claimed he invented jazz, a falsehood tolerated because he was such a great musician anyway.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nico - These Days

Andy Warhol's favorite chanteuse sings a song written by her young guitar player, aka Jackson Browne.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pinetop Perkins and Friends

Pinetop Perkins turns ninety-seven years old today. To mark the occasion, here's the trailer for a film about him that came out a couple of years ago. (Today is also the day that Ringo Starr turns seventy. He's a wonderful drummer and prominent cultural figure, and I could have marked that occasion, but I promise I'll make it up when Ringo turns ninety-seven himself.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

US Politics Quiz

Gail Collins is one of the few political commentators who actually does seem to be relatively even-handed in covering Republicans and Democrats, which is no mean feat. Here she offers a quiz testing your knowledge of recent events in US politics. Besides its other attributes, it's also funny.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Leonard Cohen - The Partisan

The American lyricist Hy Zaret died on this date in 2007, just a few weeks short of his hundredth birthday. He wrote the lyrics to a very wide variety of songs: "One Meatball," "The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas," "Unchained Melody," and the English lyrics for this French song from World War II, performed here on French TV in 1969 by LC.