Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Randy Newman - Memo To My Son

A song about loving a small child.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another Op'nin', Another Show

On this date in 1948, Kiss Me, Kate opened on Broadway. Cole Porter was by then an institution in American musical theater, and "Another Op'nin', Another Show" became one of his most enduring songs, largely because it is itself about show business. This performance was recorded in 2002 and is based on the 1999 London revival.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Texas, Our Texas

Happy 169th birthday to the state of Texas.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gloucester Cathedral Choir - In the Bleak Midwinter

Nineteenth century Anglican hymns were some of the first pieces of music I fell in love with. H/t KH.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Billy Bragg - A Lover Sings

Happy birthday to BB. Here he performs with Ian McLagan, who's been gone two weeks now.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jonathan Winters - A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" was first published on this date in 1843. I heard Jonathan Winters reading the story on NPR a few years ago and really enjoyed it. So for your delectation, here it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gene Clark - The French Girl

This uptempo arrangement loses some of the sense of mysterious loss that this song by Ian Tyson can convey, but it's still pretty good.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sidney Bechet + Louis Armstrong + Django Reinhardt 1952, La Route Du Bonheur (excerpt)

This stuff is obviously synced instead of live, and the Bechet section mostly features someone else soloing, but still it's pretty cool to see footage of these great musicians. H/t echidne.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Mothers Of Invention - Cruising For Burgers

Stuck in my head for some reason. Frank Zappa proves once again that he will mix any and all elements to produce a piece of music.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Krugman on Greece Today

Easier to read than explain.

The truly disastrous effect of the Greek crisis was the way it distorted economic policy, as supposedly serious people around the world rushed to learn the wrong lessons.

Now Greece appears to be in crisis again. Will we learn the right lessons this time?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Bonzo Dog Band - I'm The Urban Spaceman

Happy seventieth birthday to Neil Innes, writer and singer of this song, colleague of Vivian Stanshall (the mustachioed gentleman in this clip) and the unofficial six-and-a-halfth member of Monty Python (as seen in Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Krugman on the Recovery (Such as It Is)

Yes, things look better. No, they don't look good. Krugman explains.

There are recessions and then there are recessions. Some recessions are deliberately engineered to cool off an overheated, inflating economy. For example, the Fed caused the 1981-82 recession with tight-money policies that temporarily sent interest rates to almost 20 percent. And ending that recession was easy: Once the Fed decided that we had suffered enough, it relented, interest rates tumbled, and it was morning in America.

But “postmodern” recessions, like the downturns of 2001 and 2007-9, reflect bursting bubbles rather than tight money, and they’re hard to end; even if the Fed cuts interest rates all the way to zero, it may find itself pushing on a string, unable to have much of a positive effect. As a result, you don’t expect to see V-shaped recoveries like 1982-84 — and sure enough, we didn’t.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Emmylou Harris with Waylon Jennings - Spanish Johnny

I came to this song through the David Bromberg version, but Emmylou as usual does a nice job. Here she's aided by WJ on harmony vocals.

Friday, December 5, 2014

RIP Ian McLagan

Not a household name, but widely heard. Here are the two songs on which he played which were probably the biggest hits. Note the electric piano on "Miss You" and the organ on "Maggie May."

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jerry Orbach - Promises, Promises

This is from the original Broadway cast recording. Orbach, probably best known to most people from his long-running role on Law and Order, was an old theater song and dance guy. Reportedly he asked Dionne Warwick for help in how to negotiate Burt Bacharach's tricky rhythms.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Judy Holliday - The Party's Over

A song I came to love at that age (nine?) when grownup emotions start to make a little more sense than they did before.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Iggy Pop & Deborah Harry - Well, Did You Evah

Iggy and Debbie do Cole Porter for the Red Hot + Blue charity compilation from 1990.