Friday, December 31, 2010

Dougie MacLean - Auld Lang Syne

A Scottish singer performs what is, after all, a Scottish song. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nina Simone - I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free

Billy Taylor's death was announced yesterday. He was eighty-nine, and had a long and distinguished career as a jazz pianist and educator. (He took education extremely seriously, not only teaching for many years but also earning a Ph.D. when he was in his fifties.) But to pay him tribute, instead of featuring one of his own performances, I've picked what is probably his best-known composition in its best-known performance.

Co-written with Dick Dallas, "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free" is a civil rights anthem written in the style of the kind of hymns found in the black church when Taylor was growing up. Nina Simone, as usual, nails it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guitar Slim - The Things That I Used To Do

A true blues classic. Like a lot of people I came to it through the SRV version, but this is the original.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off Baby

Still got the Captain on my mind. This may have been the first Beefheart song I ever heard.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Frank Rich on the Dream of Egalitarianism

At what should be a happy time of year, two grim posts in a row. But the perspicacity of Frank Rich will not be denied. Read it and weep.

This month our own neo-Kennedy president — handed the torch by J.F.K.’s last brother and soon to face the first Congress without a Kennedy since 1947 — identified a new “Sputnik moment” for America. This time the jolt was provided by the mediocre performance of American high school students, who underperformed not just the Chinese but dozens of other countries in standardized tests of science, math and reading. In his speech on the subject, President Obama called for more spending on research and infrastructure, more educational reform and more clean energy technology. (All while reducing the deficit, mind you.) Worthy goals, but if you watch “Disneyland Dream,” you realize something more fundamental is missing from America now: the bedrock faith in the American way that J.F.K. could tap into during his era’s Sputnik moment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Krugman on Humbug Ascendant

I'd love to post something cheerful today, but what Krugman has to say is too good to ignore.

When discussing the alleged huge expansion of government under Mr. Obama, I’ve repeatedly found that people just won’t believe me when I try to point out that it never happened. They assume that I’m lying, or somehow cherry-picking the data. After all, they’ve heard over and over again about that surge in government spending and employment, and they don’t realize that everything they’ve heard was a special delivery from the Humbug Express.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Judy Garland - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

The original version, seen here in its original context, as part of the movie Meet Me in St Louis.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gail Collins on Achievements of the Lame Duck Congress

I think this is the first time I've linked to Gail Collins, who's been a columnist for the New York Times for a relatively short period of time. But she's pretty good, and getting better.

“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who called the hard-charging lame duck “a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions.” This is the rapidly evolving new hyperpartisan Lindsey Graham, who was so ticked off at the fact that the Senate was devoting a mere eight days to the treaty that he told the antitreaty obstructionist Jon Kyl of Arizona: “I want to apologize to you for the way you’ve been treated by your colleagues.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Krugman on a Newborn Zombie Lie

Prof Krugman does this weird thing where he, you know, does actual research and stuff. What's that all about?

If you read what right-wingers say about the economy — and even alleged moderate conservatives, like Tim Pawlenty — you see, over and over again, the assertion that under Obama, government employment has risen sharply even as private employment has fallen. And you even get numbers, like Pawlenty’s assertion that 590,000 public sector jobs have been added. Yet the data say otherwise. What’s going on?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ricky Nelson - Fools Rush In

From his folks' TV show. Master of the Telecaster James Burton plays lead.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

John Lee Hooker - Hobo Blues (1965)

The backdrop is a little weird -- there's no way to make something "authentic" by using a backdrop -- but it's still John Lee Hooker, and that's what counts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jimi Hendrix - Little Drummer Boy

The music and the video don't match, but what the hell, 'tis the season.

about yesterday

No electricity in the morning, then busy all day long, so no post yesterday. Sorry.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frank Rich on the Smithsonian Furor and Gay Rights

Mr Rich points out the obvious that no one else quite seems to see.

It still seems an unwritten rule in establishment Washington that homophobia is at most a misdemeanor. By this code, the Smithsonian’s surrender is no big deal; let the art world do its little protests. This attitude explains why the ever more absurd excuses concocted by John McCain for almost single-handedly thwarting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are rarely called out for what they are — “bigotry disguised as prudence,” in the apt phrase of Slate’s military affairs columnist, Fred Kaplan. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has been granted serious and sometimes unchallenged credence as a moral arbiter not just by Rupert Murdoch’s outlets but by CNN, MSNBC and The Post’s “On Faith” Web site even as he cites junk science to declare that “homosexuality poses a risk to children” and that being gay leads to being a child molester.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Krugman on the Recent Tax Deal

In Krugman's opinion, it's not a good deal. As usual, he's almost certainly right.

You may say that economic policy shouldn’t be affected by partisan considerations. But even if you believe that — how’s the weather on your planet? — you have to consider the situation likely to prevail a year from now, as the good parts of the Obama-McConnell deal are about to expire. Wouldn’t there be pressure on Democrats to offer Republicans something, anything, to improve economic prospects for 2012? And wouldn’t that be a recipe for another bad deal?

Surely the answer to both questions is yes. And that means that Mr. Obama is, as I said, paying for the release of some hostages — getting an extension of unemployment benefits and some more stimulus — by giving Republicans new hostages, which they may well use to make new, destructive demands a year from now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Lennon - Oh My Love

With George Harrison and Nicky Hopkins. Phil Spector and Yoko are seen at the beginning. From the Imagine album.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cal Smith - The Lord Knows I'm Drinking

Written by none other than "Whispering" Bill Anderson. This live version from the Porter Wagoner show doesn't have the background vocals of the single version.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ray Price - For The Good Times

A great song by Kris Kristofferson, a great voice. That hair, though...

Friday, November 26, 2010

In Memoriam J.R.L.

August 16, 1940 -- November 25, 2010

Second time in six weeks I've lost a relative unexpectedly. This sucks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Krugman on the Economic Mess, Again and Still

Professor Krugman on the slow-motion financial disaster and, in this case, it's cheerleaders.

The fact is that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it’s doing the governing. And that party now controls one house of Congress, which means that the country will not, in fact, be governable without that party’s cooperation — cooperation that won’t be forthcoming.

Elite opinion has been slow to recognize this reality. Thus on the same day that Mr. Simpson rejoiced in the prospect of chaos, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, appealed for help in confronting mass unemployment. He asked for “a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth with strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits.”

My immediate thought was, why not ask for a pony, too?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frank Rich on Palin 2012

Sometimes people will say, don't you get tired of always being right? Frank Rich is, once again, stating obvious facts that for some reason almost no one else is.

Of course Palin hasn’t decided to run yet. Why rush? In the post-midterms Gallup poll she hit her all-time high unfavorable rating (52 percent), but in the G.O.P. her favorable rating is an awesome 80 percent, virtually unchanged from her standing at the end of 2008 (83 percent). She can keep floating above the pack indefinitely as the celebrity star of a full-time reality show where she gets to call all the shots. The Perils of Palin maintains its soap-operatic drive not just because of the tabloid antics of Bristol, Levi, et al., but because you are kept guessing about where the pop culture ends and the politics begins.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frank Sinatra - It Never Entered My Mind (1955 version)

Lyrics by the brilliant Lorenz Hart, music by the estimable Richard Rodgers, arrangement by the remarkable Nelson Riddle, singing by il maestro.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jerry Garcia Band - Mission In The Rain, 11/11/93

Not great image or audio quality, but good enough, and great shots of JJG playing guitar. It's such a low key song that it may take you a while to realize that it's burned into your brain.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Byrds - I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better

Gene Clark rules! Plus, Chris Hillman is nearly unrecognizable with straight hair.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mills Brothers - Lazy River

The film clip is quite the period piece, and features four men working very hard to appear relaxed. But those voices...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hatsune Miku - World is Mine

Hatsune Miku is an anime character, famous in Japan. She has recently been performing "live" in that a hologram, with a band composed of human beings. Welcome to the twenty-first century. H/t HuffPo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tommy Tedesco - A Taste of Honey

Tedesco was one of the busiest session guitarists in LA in the sixties, heard on hundreds of recordings. Here he is under his own name.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Susan Tedeschi - Angel from Montgomery

Bonnie Raitt, posted yesterday, may have been the first white woman to become well-known for playing blues guitar, but there have been others since. Here Susan Tedeschi does a John Prine song that Raitt herself has performed for many years.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Question

So I've got a question for anyone who looks at this blog. But first let me explain the situation.

For about three years, if I wanted to post a music file on this post, I used a hosting service called Vox. I built up a small library of songs on my Vox account, and the posts here linked to the actual songs that I had uploaded to Vox. But Vox shut down not long ago. Fortunately I was able to migrate my account, including all my posts, to Unfortunately, all the links broke. So if you go to one of the old posts on this blog that linked to Vox, you will be directed to my typepad account, but not to any particular link -- you'd have to search for that specific song.

So here's my question: should I go in and try to fix all the links on the old posts? It's labor-intensive work, and if people don't really care, there's not much point in doing it. But if people do care, I'll do it. So let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Election

A simple note: congratulations to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Because...he wasn't beaten by the Tea Party candidate. And the Republicans did not take control of the Senate.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Frank Rich on the Tea Partiers and the GOP Establishment

Mr Rich feels that the Tea Party folks are going to be disappointed by what the fat cats are buying for them.

What the Tea Party ostensibly wants most — less government spending and smaller federal deficits — is not remotely happening on the country club G.O.P.’s watch. The elites have no serious plans to cut anything except taxes and regulation of their favored industries. The party’s principal 2010 campaign document, its “Pledge to America,” doesn’t vow to cut even earmarks — which barely amount to a rounding error in the federal budget anyway. Boehner has also proposed a return to pre-crash 2008 levels in “nonsecurity” discretionary spending — another mere bagatelle ($105 billion) next to the current $1.3 trillion deficit. And that won’t be happening either, once the actual cuts in departments like Education, Transportation and Interior are specified to their constituencies.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ronnie and the Daytonas - Little GTO

Today marks the official passing of the Pontiac automobile, established in 1926. To mark the occasion, here's one of the best-known car songs of the past fifty years. Adios, Pontiac -- rust in peace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Darkbasicer - Parking Lot Blues

More piano playing, this time from a YouTuber playing at home. The world is full of music -- you just have to look for it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Del Wood - Down Yonder

An anomaly: a piano instrumental that became a country music hit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alan Parsons Project - I Wouldn't Want to be Like You

Eventually you're going to meet someone who makes you feel like this. It's just a matter of time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Frank Rich on Obama the Politician and the Financial Sector

Mr Rich as usual makes a good case.

Since Obama has neither aggressively pursued the crash’s con men nor compellingly explained how they gamed the system, he sometimes looks as if he’s fronting for the industry even if he’s not. Voters are not only failing to give the White House credit for its economic successes but finding it guilty of transgressions it didn’t commit. The opposition is more than happy to pump up that confusion. When Mitch McConnell appeared on ABC’s “This Week” last month, he typically railed against the “extreme” government of “the last year and a half,” citing its takeover of banks as his first example. That this was utter fiction — the takeover took place two years ago, before Obama was president, with McConnell voting for it — went unchallenged by his questioner, Christiane Amanpour, and probably by many viewers inured to this big lie.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Count Basie - Green Onions

Basie does one for the kids, in a sense. Or that would have been the case in 1966 or so.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Booker White - Aberdeen Mississippi Blues

Also frequently spelled Bukka. His driving rhythm gave him obvious appeal for the young musicians of the early sixties who went on to create rock music a few years later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Krugman on China as Economic Partner and Economic Competitor

China may be the best eaxmple of a frenemy that the US has. Dealing with it effectively requires a sort of cautious strength. Krugman, as usual, nails the essential points.

Major economic powers, realizing that they have an important stake in the international system, are normally very hesitant about resorting to economic warfare, even in the face of severe provocation — witness the way U.S. policy makers have agonized and temporized over what to do about China’s grossly protectionist exchange-rate policy. China, however, showed no hesitation at all about using its trade muscle to get its way in a political dispute, in clear — if denied — violation of international trade law.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In Memoriam A.G.

November 17, 1977 -- October 14, 2010

Requiescat in pace et in amore.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Krugman on the Mortgage Foreclosure Mess

So it's a little sloppy of me to link to Krugman two days in a row, but hey, when he's good, he's good.

True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?

The response from the right is, however, even worse...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Krugman on the research behind this year's Economics Nobel, and why it's relevant

This posting is actually from a few days ago, but it's too good not to use.

So, this line of research concerns the fact that many markets, and above all the labor market, don’t fit the classic supply-and-demand paradigm, in which prices quickly rise or fall so as to ensure that everyone who wants to buy finds someone willing to sell and vice versa. Instead, the labor market, or the housing market, is one in which heterogeneous sellers confront heterogeneous buyers, and it takes time and effort to find appropriate matches. That’s why the unemployment rate isn’t zero at “full employment”; it’s why structural unemployment is an issue.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Opener to "Route 66" US TV series, 1960--64

What Don Draper's young colleagues watched every week. Draper's adventure fantasy was his own life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gene Vincent - Be-Bop-A-Lula

As one of the commenters on YouTube said,"Squid pro sweeps him and a beast, he sweeps pro squid and a crossbow." Or at least that's how the online translator rendered the Portuguese "ibop pro lula ele e uma besta, ibop pro lula ele  e uma besta."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Krugman on "Big Government Spending"

Dr K on the size of the stimulus, the size of the recovery, and (once again) Obama's messaging.

Actually, the administration has had a messaging problem on economic policy ever since its first months in office, when it went for a stimulus plan that many of us warned from the beginning was inadequate given the size of the economy’s troubles. You can argue that Mr. Obama got all he could — that a larger plan wouldn’t have made it through Congress (which is questionable), and that an inadequate stimulus was much better than none at all (which it was). But that’s not an argument the administration ever made. Instead, it has insisted throughout that its original plan was just right, a position that has become increasingly awkward as the recovery stalls.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Chiffons - One Fine Day

Some more girl group music. "Girl group" in this case refers very specifically to groups from the early to mid sixties, usually performing material written and produced by Brill Building talent In this case, that BB songwriting talent was Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Frank Rich on Why O'Donnell Is Not Bad For the GOP (Despite What You've Heard)

FR explains.

By latching on to O’Donnell’s growing presence, the Rove-Boehner-McConnell establishment can claim it represents struggling middle-class Tea Partiers rather than Wall Street potentates and corporate titans. O’Donnell’s value is the same as that other useful idiot, Michael Steele, who remains at the Republican National Committee only because he can wave the banner of “diversity” over a virtually all-white party that alternately demonizes African-Americans, Latinos, gays and Muslims.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway - Where Is The Love

Remembering Donny Hathaway on what would have been his sixty-fifth birthday -- this is the one that sticks in my head. Roberta Flack was already an established star when this was song was released, but it was the first time a lot of us had heard him. It made an impression.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tom Waits - The Piano Has Been Drinking

To celebrate his nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here is Tom Waits on Fernwood Tonight in 1977, with Martin Mull and Fred Willard.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Krugman on Structural Unemployment

Talking about long-term unemployment, Dr K as usual displays both erudition and sense. The money quote: So all the evidence contradicts the claim that we’re mainly suffering from structural unemployment. Why, then, has this claim become so popular? Part of the answer is that this is what always happens during periods of high unemployment — in part because pundits and analysts believe that declaring the problem deeply rooted, with no easy answers, makes them sound serious.


Damn. Sorry for not posting yesterday. Been a long time since that happened. The day started out strange and that seemed enough to throw everything out of whack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Pogues - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Happy birthday to Eric Bogle. The Pogues play what is probably his best-known song, about innocence and needless bloody slaughter.

Kids in the Hall - Reg

Kevin McDonald said that if he had to pick one KITH sketch to put in a time capsule, it would be this one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jupiter Approach

For astronomy nerds [raises hand], the news that the planet Jupiter is closer to Earth than it has been in fifty years is, well, news. Step outside tonight and take a look.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Brass Bed - Shame of an Earache

There's good new bands all over the place these days. Here's one of them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pretenders - Back On The Chain Gang

A song that seems to be about the benefits of hard, hard work in helping to manage grief. Happy birthday to Chrissie Hynde, still one of the most underrated songwriters of the rock era.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Derek And Clive - The Worst Job

Pete and Dud,
Dud and Pete.
Pete was smart and Dud was sweet.
Dud was smart too,
But not like Pete.
And Pete was never, never sweet.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday at the Village Vanguard - Bill Evans

I won't generally post what is basically a sort of advertisement, but I can't let this one pass. Orrin Keepnews was one of the great producers of jazz records, and here he discusses the genesis of one of the best-known of all jazz albums, Bill Evans's Sunday at the Village Vanguard.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tony Judt on Captive Minds

Tony Judt, who died in August, wrote extensively on post-World War II intellectual life in Europe, both Western and Eastern. In recent years he commented often on current political issues, usually drawing a parallel (or even explicit connections) with some stream of thought in his area of study. In this article from the current issue of the NYRB, he performs that process in reverse, beginning with Czesław Miłosz and moving to today's financial crisis. If you never saw a similarity between Jean-Paul Sartre and Phil Gramm, then let Dr Judt explain.

Captive Minds | The New York Review of Books


Friday, September 10, 2010

Rick Perlstein on the Bookburners and the Current State of the Media

Pearlstein speaks with so much common sense you can be sure that the media will have no difficulty ignoring it completely.

The problem is that elite media gatekeepers have abandoned their moral mandate to stigmatize uncivil discourse. Instead, too many outlets reward it. In fact, it is an ironic token of the ideological confusions of our age that they do so in the service of upholding what they understand to be a cornerstone of civility: the notion that every public question must be framed in terms of two equal and opposite positions, the "liberal" one and the "conservative" one, each to be afforded equal dignity, respect — and (the more crucial currency) equal space. This has made the most mainstream of media outlets comically easy marks for those actively working to push public discourse to extremes.

H/t digby.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Krugman on Partying Like It's 1938

No, the 2009 stimulus was not enough to turn our economy around. Krugman explains why the parallels with the Great Depression give us little reason for hope at this point. Apparently a global conflagration (with its obvious drawbacks such as millions of deaths) was needed last time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Elton John - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Obviously before the hair plugs. Nice song, though, which is why I'm posting it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nilsson - You're Breaking My Heart

As a companion piece to the Cee-Lo song posted here a few days ago, here's a golden oldie from Harry N.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ken Mehlman Announces that He is Gay

Here's the NYTimes story.

In equally surprising news, it was announced that very early tomorrow morning, throughout most of the world, a large extremely bright object will become visible on the eastern horizon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aldus Roger - Bosco Stomp

The great Cajun accordion player with his band, the Lafayette Playboys.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Led Zeppelin - Black Dog

He doesn't sound like this anymore, but what the hell. Robert Plant rips it up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cream - Blue Condition

Happy birthday to Ginger Baker. "Blue Condition" was one of his contributions as a composer to Cream.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Temptations - For Once in My Life

A Motown classic best-known in Stevie Wonder's version, but Paul Williams, one of the original members of the Temptations, shows here what he can do with it. Plenty, as it turns out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Steve Jordan - El Tremblor De San Francisco

The amazing Tejano accordionist Esteban "Steve" Jordan died on Friday. Unlike most of his colleagues (such as Flaco Jiménez), he played a piano accordion, not a button accordion, and was the first to start using electronic effects on the instrument, leading to his being called the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion. That's not quite accurate, but in "El Temblor de San Francisco" you can hear what people meant when they said so.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Coro de Câmara EMVL - Alguém Cantando

Homemade video, which is why the sound isn't perfect, but a wonderful arrangement and performance of one of my favorite Caetano Veloso songs. "Someone is singing."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos - Together Again

The clip starts when the song is already in progress, but what the hell, it's Buck in his prime doing what is not only one of his best songs, but one of the great country songs, period. Singing harmony is his longtime collaborator Don Rich, who became something of a cult figure in his own right. Rich eventually recorded several songs with Phil Ochs, not exactly a C&W singer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Impressions - It's All Right

Curtis Mayfield, particularly early in his career, was one of those songwriters who seemed to delight in taking something that most people wouldn't much notice -- a simple phrase, for example -- and using it as the seed for a song. "It's All Right" is about as simple a phrase as there is, but in the hands of Mayfield it became the kind of song that sticks in your head a long, long time. His group at the time, the Impressions, knew how to do it right.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Krugman on Budget Cuts and Basic Services

Dr Krugman makes me sad, but then telling the sad truth is sometimes a doctor's job.

In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation’s foundations to crumble — literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education — they’re choosing the latter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Santana - Aspirations

"Aspirations" is from 1974's Borboletta, which was when Carlos Santana was doing some of his most musically adventurous, and economically unrewarding, work. Such is life. Santana himself does not even appear on this track, instead letting it serve as a showcase for the remarkable bass playing of guest Stanley Clarke.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Memphis Minnie and Joe McCoy - When the Levee Breaks

Memphis Minnie departed the earthly plane on this date in 1973, which meant that she lived long enough to have heard Led Zeppelin's version of this song. Don't know if she ever did, though. Or if she did, what she thought of it. Maybe she would've thought, like the rest of us, that it had a kick-ass drum sound.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Krugman Explains Deflation

This post is from a few days ago. In it Krugman does something simple but useful: explains why, even though high inflation is bad, deflation is also bad.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood - Some Velvet Morning

There's a version on YouTube that is a clip from the 1967 Nancy Sinatra TV special, but it doesn't allow embedding, so here you go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Paul Simon - The Late Great Johnny Ace

This song was first presented to the larger world as part of the HBO special of Simon and Garfunkel live in Central Park in 1981. When the home video version was released, it was not included. It was however included in Simon's album Hearts and Bones the following year, in a much more elaborate arrangement. That was good, and Philip Glass's coda was a wonderful addition, but I always felt that the impact of the lyrics had been muted by all the added stuff. Here is Simon's original demo version of "The Late Great Johnny Ace," from the bonus tracks on Hearts and Bones. It may be the best song I know that tells what it was like to live through the fifties, the sixties, and up to the immediate pre-Reagan era. After that, all bets are off.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Rascals - See

About the time that it seemed like the Rascals (originally the Young Rascals) might be running out of steam as a creative force in the late sixties, they put even more great songs. "See" was part of the album of the same name released in 1969.

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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Eva - The Locomotion

For some reason this is truncated, but it's still the best version I could find on YouTube in terms of actually seeing the performer, which is something I place a high value on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Theda Skocpol on Republican Obstructionism in Congress

Some good stuff from Talking Points Memo.

Democrats, led by the White House, are not handling this strategy well at all. Trying to pretend this is a reasonable argument about the deficit, or that it is about "compassion" for the unemployed, is nuts. Republicans may or may not care about unemployed people, most of whom will not vote for them anyway, but Republican leaders know what they are doing strategically: slow-walking economic growth until they get back into office.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

They're Pissed Off

This article by a philosophy professor may be the best thing I've read about the Tea Party. Also the bleakest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arnim & Hamilton - Pepperman

An artifact from the late sixties or early seventies. On International Artists records, best known for the 13th Floor Elevators.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beatles Cartoon - I'm Only Sleeping

From the animated series that was shown on Saturday mornings. They really were everywhere at the time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Krugman on the Latest Fiscal Insanity

I thought that the people in charge would have more sense by now. I guess Krugman did too.

So America has a long-run budget problem. Dealing with this problem will require, first and foremost, a real effort to bring health costs under control — without that, nothing will work. It will also require finding additional revenues and/or spending cuts. As an economic matter, this shouldn’t be hard — in particular, a modest value-added tax, say at a 5 percent rate, would go a long way toward closing the gap, while leaving overall U.S. taxes among the lowest in the advanced world.

But if we need to raise taxes and cut spending eventually, shouldn’t we start now? No, we shouldn’t.

Right now, we have a severely depressed economy — and that depressed economy is inflicting long-run damage. Every year that goes by with extremely high unemployment increases the chance that many of the long-term unemployed will never come back to the work force, and become a permanent underclass. Every year that there are five times as many people seeking work as there are job openings means that hundreds of thousands of Americans graduating from school are denied the chance to get started on their working lives. And with each passing month we drift closer to a Japanese-style deflationary trap.