Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nichols and May at the 1959 Emmy Awards

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cream - Crossroads (Live 1968)

Happy Birthday to Eric Clapton, here shown as a member of the group that made him famous.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big Joe Williams - Baby Please Don't Go

Probably from the mid-sixties, when he would have been about sixty years old.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Note on the New York Times Paywall

As of today, the New York Times website will be far more restrictive in how much access it allows for free. Since I sometimes link to the Times, this will have an impact on how much I do so in the future. I also don't know how this will affect existing links; in other words, I don't know if the new rules apply only to new pages, or if any links I've made in the past will be affected. But it's out of my hands, and while I'll feel bad if the Times becomes much less useful (as seems likely), there's little to do but see how this change plays itself out. For the record, I think it's a mistake, and that there must be better ways for them to make money from their online presence. I regret this decision, but it's their decision.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Donovan - Isle of Islay

I was looking for more material with Harold McNair and came across this, which is, alas, one of the songs on this album (Donovan in Concert, recorded live Anaheim, California in 1967) that he does not perform on. But it's too good to not post.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Harold McNair - Herb Green

English jazz flutist who also recorded with people like Donovan. Long gone now.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

RIP Pinetop Perkins

I posted a clip on Pinetop Perkins's ninety-seventh birthday last year. Not all that surprising that it was his last, but it's a shame anyway. He won his most recent Grammy just a few weeks ago. Here he is in 2007 at his late-1940s stomping grounds of Helena, Arkansas. He's joined by his longtime colleague in the Muddy Waters band, Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith on drums, along with Bob Margolin on guitar and Bob Stroger on bass.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Johann Sebastian Bach - O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden

This is a small piece from Bach's St. Matthew's Passion as it was originally meant to be heard: performed by a group of anonymous people in a church in Germany. Happy birthday, J.S.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bill Frisell - Follow Your Heart

Live performance of a piece written by John McLaughlin. Frisell doesn't really get going until about four minutes in.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March

The assassination scene from Joseph Mankiewicz's 1953 film of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Ah, Hollywood in the fifties.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Andy Williams - Can't Get Used To Losing You

Doc Pomus died twenty years ago today. With his partner Mort Shuman he was the "other" great songwriting team of the Brill Building in the late fifties, after Lieber and Stoller. Like any good professional songwriters, Pomus and Shuman wrote a lot of songs for a lot of singers, and Andy Williams would not be an obvious choice for their work. But here it is. I always loved the pizzicato strings in this arrangement.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Frank Rich Leaves the Times

Well, my fear of linking to Frank Rich too often is no longer going to be a problem, as he is ending his weekly column in the New York Times. So it's only fitting to link to his farewell.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dusty Springfield - I Just Don't Know What to do With Myself

Another Burt Bacharach / Hal David classic, covered by many people. This is arguably the best-known version. But the White Stripes' version, not to mention Elvis Costello's, besides drawing their own fans, have actually directed people's attention back to this version as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gail Collins on Guns and Gun Laws

Ms. Collins explores why the shootings in Tucson have led many legislators to the idea that there are simply not enough guns in public places.

The nation’s state legislators seem to be troubled by a shortage of things they can do to make the National Rifle Association happy. Once you’ve voted to allow people to carry guns into bars (Georgia), eliminated the need for getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon (Arizona) and designated your own official state gun (Utah — awaiting the governor’s signature), it gets hard to come up with new ideas.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stan Brakhage - Mothlight

Avant-garde cinema from the middle of the twentieth century. This is not at all the way this film is meant to be seen -- it's meant to be on a large screen in a dark room, an immersive visual experience. But this is the best we can do for now. If you get a chance to see it the right way, do so.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Krugman on the Value of Education

Krugman points out why, although a less-well-educated worker will almost always earn less, a better-educated workforce is not the secret key to restoring the middle class.

The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible-sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information — loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands.

Some years ago, however, the economists David Autor, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane argued that this was the wrong way to think about it. Computers, they pointed out, excel at routine tasks, “cognitive and manual tasks that can be accomplished by following explicit rules.” Therefore, any routine task — a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs — is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules — a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors — will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Band - Sleeping

I still miss Richard Manuel. I guess now I always will. Here he sings a song for which he also received a songwriting credit.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Walker Brothers - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)

Before being elected governor of Wisconsin and attempting to destroy public unions, Scott Walker was one of the Walker brothers, who had this big hit in 1966. He later had a long solo career, was very popular in the UK, and still serves as an inspiration to many younger singers.

You know what? The current governor of Wisconsin hadn't been born in 1966. I'm betting it was probably a different Scott Walker. These things are so complicated...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Who - Love Reign O'er Me

Happy birthday to Roger Daltrey, lead singer of the Who. We'll take the opportunity to celebrate one of his finest recorded performances.