Friday, September 30, 2011

RIP Sylvia Robinson

Sylvia Robinson has died at the age of seventy-five. To mark the occasion, here are two of the songs with which she was associated: the first as performer, the second, a quarter of a century later, as producer.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miles Davis - Moon Dreams

A little more Miles can't hurt...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Miles Davis - Baby Won't You Please Come Home

Miles Davis left the planet twenty years ago today, so we note the occasion. Obviously there are many songs to choose from, and I've posted this one before, but it's a lesser-known gem that I always return to. From 1963, backed by the germinal form of the Second Great Quintet (no Wayne Shorter at this point).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tommy Quickly - Kiss Me Now

Early sixties homegrown English pop music. The Buddy Holly influence is strong.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weather Report - A Remark You Made

I was in a conversation recently about Jaco Pastorius, and thought of this song. It was written by Josef Zawinul and the primary soloist is Wayne Shorter, but Jaco's contribution is huge, even though his part is fairly simple. The original studio version is better in some ways, but this is still excellent -- and Jaco's smile at one point is priceless.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Digby Said About What Michael Tomasky Said

Easiest just to go read it. Basically, there's good reason to think that Perry bests Romney in spite of the fact that he's a clumsier candidate.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Krugman on the Taxing Disparity

"Class warfare" -- yeesh. Krugman explains.

One consequence of the shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work is the creation of many situations in which — just as Warren Buffett and Mr. Obama say — people with multimillion-dollar incomes, who typically derive much of that income from capital gains and other sources that face low taxes, end up paying a lower overall tax rate than middle-class workers. And we’re not talking about a few exceptional cases.

According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A cover of one of my favorite REM songs, by a YouTuber. I loved them in the beginning but gradually grew disenchanted, but, well, they once mattered, which means to one degree or another they always will.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Randy Newman - Dixie Flyer

R. Newman is, when you look behind his reputation with the public at large (based mostly on "Short People" and the Toy Story movies), a writer of some very sad, sweet, and strange songs. Here's a perfect example.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Krugman on the Continuing Crisis

I was thinking that it makes me feel bad when Krugman tells the truth, but then realized that it doesn't make me feel as bad as when the Foxbots don't.

Consider, in particular, what is happening to America’s manufacturing base. In normal times manufacturing capacity rises 2 or 3 percent every year. But faced with a persistently weak economy, industry has been reducing, not increasing, its productive capacity. At this point, according to Federal Reserve estimates, manufacturing capacity is almost 5 percent lower than it was in December 2007.

What this means is that if and when a real recovery finally gets going, the economy will run into capacity constraints and production bottlenecks much sooner than it should. That is, the weak economy, which is partly the result of budget-cutting, is hurting the future as well as the present.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Al Kooper - The Great American Marriage/Nothing

Another song from long ago, but not quite so long ago as the previous one.

Tangle Eye Blues

Got busy and didn't post yesterday, so two today. First is a song by a prisoner in Parchman Farm penitentiary in Mississippi, recorded by Alan Lomax in the late 1940s. I don't have the liner notes so unfortunately can't provide the singer's name.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jimi Hendrix - If 6 Was 9

Mr H left us on this date a long time ago now. This is the song with the line, "I'm the one that's going to have to die when it's time for me to let me live my life...the way I want to."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Benny Golson - Out Of Nowhere

A curiosity.

A friend recently loaned me a CD reissue of an album from 1962 that was one of those recordings meant to demonstrate the wonders of stereo. Benny Golson was hired to create arrangements of jazz standards in two forms: a jazz version and a "pop" version. The pop version would have strings, the other would have jazz horn players. (The musicians themselves were all A-list, including Eric Dolphy and Bill Evans.) The kicker is that the two versions would share the piano/bass/drums rhythm section, and the pop version would play in one stereo channel with the jazz version in the other. Therefore, according to the liner notes, the buyer would get three times as much entertainment: listen only to the left channel for the pop version, only to the right for the jazz, or both together for...something else.

Which is what this version is. Try listening to one side at a time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Henry Qualls - Motherless Children

Sometimes called the last of the country blues musicians, Henry Qualls didn't get much attention until the nineties, when he began recording regularly and playing blues festivals. Here he is in the studio in 1994. He died in 2003.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Krugman on Official European Folly

When you think that things can't get any worse on the world's financial stage, along come the leaders of the European Central Bank...

Financial turmoil in Europe is no longer a problem of small, peripheral economies like Greece. What’s under way right now is a full-scale market run on the much larger economies of Spain and Italy. At this point countries in crisis account for about a third of the euro area’s G.D.P., so the common European currency itself is under existential threat.

And all indications are that European leaders are unwilling even to acknowledge the nature of that threat, let alone deal with it effectively.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This photo was taken on the morning of September 11, 2001, by an astronaut on the shuttle. We are looking at the New York City metropolitan area. A trail of smoke from the twin towers goes from the center to the right.

The MSNBC article which has this pic is here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Scene from the Bastrop Fire

From the Austin American-Statesman, a car that was burned and partially melted.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jefferson Airplane - Thunk

Some late early psychedelia, so to speak. From 1972, a composition by their then drummer, Joe E. Covington.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Republican Looks at Republicans

This article by a former Republican congressional staffer has been making the rounds. Who am I to stand in its way? H/t Atrios.

This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mike Bloomfield - My Labors

A live version I'd never heard before from 1975, with Nick Gravenites singing his own composition. The reggae arrangement makes this notably different from the original 1969 studio recording.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sting - You Can Close Your Eyes

The world's best-known lutenist (although not the world's best lutenist) does a James Taylor cover.