Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obray Ramsey - Rain and Snow

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Beatles - I'm Only Sleeping

Rough night.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Aztec Camera - Hot Club of Christ

A medley of Christmas songs, remade in the style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli's Quintet of the Hot Club of France, by an eighties British post-punk band. Go figure.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mr. Bean at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony

Update: Looks like the copyright cops jumped on this, and now the only versions you can find have weird gaps from clipping the offending material. Oh well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Robert Wyatt - Gharbzadegi (Live on BBC Four - 2006)

First appeared on Wyatt's 1985 Old Rottenhat. The original version was all Wyatt, overdubbing in the studio, so it's interesting how well it works with a full band. As so often with Wyatt, the lyrics are political but oblique.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chuck Berry, Poet

Yes, really, at least in the way that a song lyricist can be, such as Lorenz Hart or Bob Dylan. I hadn't heard of Stephen Akey before, but this article is good. H/t the New Yorker's Page-Turner blog.

Chuck Berry has had a hard life: reform school, two prison terms, financial exploitation, bankruptcy, racial discrimination, and much else. It is not his manner to rehearse his private grief in public, though the sly braggadocio of “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and the crypto-autobiography of “Johnny B. Goode” trade playfully on his public image. Whether the pathos of “Memphis, Tennessee” derives from his own domestic sorrows is, strictly speaking, beside the point, though in a song this tender and touching, no supposition seems entirely extraneous. At any rate, “Memphis, Tennessee” is one of the greatest story songs in American music, all the more affecting for being so offhand and bouncy. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nina Simone - Do What You Gotta Do

Didn't know until recently that this song was written by Jimmy Webb. Ms. Simone doesn't just sing it, she inhabits it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Al Green-Let's Stay Together

As covered by the President, whose rendition has been popularized by his opponent, the former governor of Massachusetts. What does it all mean? Who cares? It's a great song - just enjoy it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dave Brubeck - Strange Meadowlark

The second song on the Time Out album, which also contains the famous "Take Five." Always liked this one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Nice - Hang On to a Dream (Elegy)

Keith Emerson plays piano on a Tim Hardin song in 1969. Bassist Lee Jackson sings.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

David Bromberg - Summer Wages

This Ian Tyson song is one of Bromberg's standard tunes, so there are a number of recordings of his version out there. This isn't the best, but it's still pretty darn good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng

My favorite TMBG song with autoharp. Ending's truncated, but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cat Stevens - Trouble

I guess a song called "Trouble" can only have one tone, because there are ways in which this is similar to Ray LaMontagne's song of the same name from thirty years later. Still, it's not close enough in melody etc. to suggest that it was a direct influence. Must just be what some people hear when they think of the concept "trouble."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Woody Guthrie - I Ain't Got No Home

Should've posted this yesterday on Woody's one hundredth birthday, but forgot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Krugman on VIPs

Are things getting better in the economy? Not yet, really. Are the super-rich exhibiting a better understanding of how the economy actually works? Krugman discusses the issue.

Quite a few of today’s superrich, Mr. Romney included, make or made their money in the financial sector, buying and selling assets rather than building businesses in the old-fashioned sense. Indeed, the soaring share of the wealthy in national income went hand in hand with the explosive growth of Wall Street. Not long ago, we were told that all this wheeling and dealing was good for everyone, that it was making the economy both more efficient and more stable. Instead, it turned out that modern finance was laying the foundation for a severe economic crisis whose fallout continues to afflict millions of Americans, and that taxpayers had to bail out many of those supposedly brilliant bankers to prevent an even worse crisis.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gillian Welch - Hard Times

Sometimes just staying alive, just enduring, is a lot of work, but you can't let that get to you. I think that's what this song is about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hedy West - The Wife of Usher's Well

The first version I heard of this Child ballad. Eerie evocations of death and pain.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Henry Zimmerle - La Puerta Negra

More Texas music. That someone with a German name is singing in Spanish says much about immigration patterns in the Western Hemisphere in the last few centuries.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Krugman on Romney's Bain

Professor K discusses Mitt Romney's credentials as a businessman, and what that has to do with being president of the USA.

Just to be clear, outsourcing is only one source of the huge disconnect between a tiny elite and ordinary American workers, a disconnect that has been growing for more than 30 years. And Bain, in turn, was only one player in the growth of outsourcing. So Mitt Romney didn’t personally, single-handedly, destroy the middle-class society we used to have. He was, however, an enthusiastic and very well remunerated participant in the process of destruction; if Bain got involved with your company, one way or another, the odds were pretty good that even if your job survived you ended up with lower pay and diminished benefits.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Little Jack Melody & His Young Turks - Samba Ordinaire

What happens when you get decent musical training and have an off-center sense of humor.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Krugman on the European Crisis, Part 8342

Things are not getting better. Krugman explains.

It comes as something of a shock, even for those of us who have been following the story all along, to realize that more than two years have passed since European leaders committed themselves to their current economic strategy — a strategy based on the notion that fiscal austerity and “internal devaluation” (basically, wage cuts) would solve the problems of debtor nations. In all that time the strategy has produced no success stories; the best the defenders of orthodoxy can do is point to a couple of small Baltic nations that have seen partial recoveries from Depression-level slumps, but are still far poorer than they were before the crisis.

Meanwhile the euro’s crisis has metastasized, spreading from Greece to the far larger economies of Spain and Italy, and Europe as a whole is clearly sliding back into recession. Yet the policy prescriptions coming out of Berlin and Frankfurt have hardly changed at all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Lost Gonzo Band - I'll Come Knockin'

Written by Walter Hyatt, probably best-known for Uncle Walt's Band, whom Lyle Lovett has named as an inspiration.