Monday, December 31, 2012

Jimi Hendrix - Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Donovan - Poor Love

From the movie Poor Cow. Sometimes life doesn't give us what we want. Sometimes life doesn't even give us what we need. Can't stop anyway.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

NASA Images 2012

A gallery of the most striking NASA images of 2012, from the Guardian. Here's Europe, Africa, and part of Asia at night.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Krugman on the Latest Economic Anxiety, Part 87

I link to K's postings because I think they're accurate, not because they make me happy.

One of the enduring fantasies of the pundit class – most dramatically demonstrated by the ludicrous Politico piece on What Insiders Know – is that all we need to fix our economic problems is to get the great and the good together and bypass those pesky elected officials. Business leaders, in particular, are presumed to have the know-how to deal with all the important issues.

But the reality is that the business leaders intervening in our economic debate are, for the most part, either predatory or hopelessly confused (or, I guess, both).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Steve Cropper - With A Little Help From My Friends

If you're looking for guitar pyrotechnics then Steve Cropper is not your man, but there are probably few guitar players so respected by his peers. He falls in the "never a wasted note" category. Everything is executed flawlessly, and every guitar player's true unique feature, the touch, is unbelievably clean. This arrangement of the Beatles' tune is clearly based on Joe Cocker's version, but Cropper nails it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour Trailer 2012

It was forty-five years ago today that the Beatles experienced their first real public flop, after five years of a charmed existence. (Not coincidentally, it was their first big project after the death of their manager Brain Epstein, who among other skills was good at reining in their most extravagant impulses.) The showing of their film Magical Mystery Tour on Boxing Day 1967 drew at best a response of bafflement from their devoted fans. Still, it had a certain charm, and of course the music was fantastic. Here's a trailer from the 2012 Blu-Ray edition, in German or some reason. Let's pretend that's part of its quirky charisma.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Ghost Shivers - Santa's Sack

Be aware: this is pretty much double-entrende from beginning to end. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jeff Beck - Cause We've Ended As Lovers

I've actually posted another version of Jeff Beck doing this Stevie Wonder song, but that was a while ago, and, well, this is really good. Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld gets a solo as well, and makes the most of it. This is an amateur clip made, according to the YouTube page, on Feb 23, 2009, in Saitama, Japan.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Iron Butterfly - Soul Experience

To mark the passing of Lee Dorman, the bassist in this clip, here's one of Iron Butterfly's post-"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" singles. It's obviously lip-synched, but so what, it's an artifact of a now-vanished era.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Krugman on the Breakdown in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

It's both simple and complicated, as these things often are. Dr K explains.

Once again, the Republican crazies — the people who can’t accept the idea of ever voting to raise taxes on the wealthy, never mind either fiscal or economic reality — have saved the day.

We don’t know exactly why Mr. Boehner didn’t respond to the president’s offer with a real counteroffer and instead offered something ludicrous — a “Plan B” that, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, would actually raise taxes for a number of lower- and middle-income families, while cutting taxes for almost half of those in the top 1 percent. The effect, however, has to have been to disabuse the Obama team of any illusions that they were engaged in good-faith negotiations.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Choose Something Like a Star

A poem by Robert Frost set to music by Randall Thompson. This piece is apparently well-known among choral singers, but I had never heard of it until the other day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

James Gang - The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind

From Joe Walsh's first well-known band. Sort of a period piece from 1970, but nice guitar work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Krugman on the Potential Fiscal Cliff Deal

As must be obvious, I trust Krugman on economic issues. He's now saying that the currently rumored deal is still bad but not horrible, and may be the best we can hope for. I've got my fingers crossed...for what, I'm not sure.

But is this rumored deal better than no deal? I’m on the edge. It’s not clear that going over the cliff would yield something better; on the other hand, those benefit cuts are really bad, and you hate to see a Democratic president lending his name to something like that. There is a case for refusing to make this deal, and hoping for a popular backlash against the GOP that transforms the whole debate; but there’s also an argument that this might not work.

Monday, December 17, 2012

King's College Cambridge 2011 Easter - O Sacred head Sore Wounded (JS Bach)

I posted Beaver and Krause's "Sanctuary" a couple of days ago. Here is another setting of the same melody. The ending is abrupt, but it's still worth hearing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Katia Ricciarelli - Pergolesi - Stabat Mater (Dolorosa)

I've posted this before, but it was several years ago. It's part of the traditional Catholic work Stabat Mater, and seemed appropriate because it's partially about a mother mourning over the death of her child.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Beaver and Krause - Sanctuary

When I heard about the shootings in Connecticut, this is the music that came into my head.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RIP Ravi Shankar

This is the end of the movie Monterey Pop. Shankar himself apparently felt this was one of his best public performances.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Madness - Our House

A classic song and video from MTV's glory days in the early eighties.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Krugman on Robots vs. Workers

Very interesting stuff, because it reminds us that economic analysis of a situation must change if the technology influencing that situation changes enough.

Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries with large markets and good infrastructure (which may soon not include us, but that’s another issue). On the other hand, it’s not good news for workers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Politics and Geography

This article in the Atlantic provides an interesting and useful perspective on the correlation between red/blue and rural/urban.

The gap is so stark that some of America's bluest cities are located in its reddest states. Every one of Texas' major cities -- Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio -- voted Democratic in 2012, the second consecutive presidential election in which they've done so. Other red-state cities that tipped blue include Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Birmingham, Tucson, Little Rock, and Charleston, S.C. -- ironically, the site of the first battle of the Civil War. In states like Nevada, the only blue districts are often also the only cities, like Reno and Las Vegas.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Republicans and Reality

From Gary Younge in the Guardian. H/t Meteor Blades @ DailyKos.

For some time now [Republicans] have been bingeing on everything from climate change denial to creationism. But in the last four years they outdid themselves with birtherism and death panels, insisting Obama was a Kenyan imposter imposing European values. Believing they were entitled to their own facts, they started to believe their own spin....Finally it appears defeat has sobered some of them up, forcing a rift between those willing to engage with the world as it is and others who prefer dystopian visions, woven from whole cloth. Over the past few years Republicans presented a united, impenetrable front guided by the latter. Now the party's pragmatists, who laid low for fear of Tea Party retribution, seem to be slowly finding their voice.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nat King Cole - Lush Life

Billy Strayhorn's masterwork, as recorded by one of the great interpreters of the American songbook.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

John Lee Hooker - Burning Hell

Time for a theology lesson. Hooker's original version came out in 1949; this version is from 1970's Hooker 'n' Heat album, with the band Canned Heat backing Hooker. This is something of a showcase for Alan Wilson on harmonica. Wilson died shortly after recording it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What's in the White House Fiscal Cliff Offer

Actual analysis -- what a concept. From DDay @ FireDogLake. H/t Atrios.

Either the White House has learned that there’s no margin in pre-compromising, or they don’t believe that they will ever get to an actual deal with Republicans, so they might as well put out their optimal policy preference. Either way, they are definitely playing some political hardball so far.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Zombies - This Old Heart of Mine

One of the original British Invasion bands cover a Motown song. Recorded live in France, looks like 1965 or 1966. H/t Hacienda.

Rats. Just found out that embedding is disabled, so click on this link to see/hear the clip.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Beatles - Girl (Love Version)

How about one more from the Love album...except that this one was not released on the original version, but only as a bonus track last year. The changes are pretty subtle.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps

A beautiful and very different version, from the 2006 album Love. The end contains a bit of studio chatter introducing the next song, "A Day in the Life."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cracks in the Solid South

An interesting article in the WaPo about indications of Republican weakness in voting patterns in the South.

Much of the post-election analysis has focused on the demographic crisis facing Republicans among Hispanic voters, particularly in Texas. But the results across other parts of the South, where Latinos remain a single-digit minority, point to separate trends among blacks and whites that may also have big implications for the GOP’s future.

The results show a region cleaving apart along new electoral fault lines. In the region’s center, clustered along the Mississippi River — where Bill Clinton polled most strongly — the GOP remains largely unchallenged and the voting divide between blacks and whites is deepening. Nearly nine of 10 of white voters in Mississippi, for instance, went for Republican nominee Mitt Romney this year, according to exit polls. About 96 percent of black voters in the state supported Obama.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Part 1: The Sea and Sinbad's Ship

One of my favorite pieces of music when I was a kid. Here it's performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as conducted  by Fritz Reiner.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sam & Dave - I Thank You

Let us give thanks, among other things, for this slice of Stax soul.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reality Gets Faced

Dan Senor, one of the more prominent advisors in Republican circles in the last few years, reluctantly but more or less clearly speaks the truth: Republicans got blindsided by the election results because their polling sucked.

"There is some kind of systemic crisis today in the world of polling, I think particularly on the right-of-center polling. The modeling was way off," Senor said during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rubio Declines to Speculate on Age of Earth

One of the Republican party's leading contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, tells an interviewer that questions about the age of the earth are best left to theologians. From the WaPo.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Laeverick - What Does The Deep Sea Say? (Where Is My Sailor Boy?)

Recorded at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival 2012, Burra, Shetland Islands. One of the members of this group is the granddaughter of Thomas Fraser. His story is an interesting one, as the Wikipedia article attests. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Marcia Grandioso

The band is unfortunately not identified. A classic march.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trouble in the Old Country

Anti-austerity protests throughout Europe are underway. In democracies such things are not supposed to be necessary because the ballot box allows the people to lead, but, well...maybe they're necessary anyway.

Here's some pics from the Guardian.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Major Harris - Love Won't Let Me Wait

I could link to Krugman again, but I do that enough already. So instead let's honor the memory of Major Harris.

(Ah, what the hell. Here's Krugman too.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why the D's Won: The Greg Sargent Version

Greg Sargent ties together a lot of threads on Obama's win but points to one element in particular: the Obama team's ability to create an effective narrative, a story of a president faced with nearly overwhelming challenges but succeeding anyway.

The Obama team long believed that Republicans themselves were contributing to this storyline. By putting up unprecedented roadblocks at a time of national crisis, they may have only reinforced voters’ sense that whatever their disappointment with the recovery, Obama is the one who can ultimately be trusted to fight relentlessly on behalf of their interests. Poll after poll found the GOP brand in tatters. And poll after poll — despite relentless attacks on Obama as out of touch with economic suffering — continued to find strong trust in him to fight for the middle class.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Leonard Cohen - Darkness

Another song from his most recent album, Old Ideas. Who else would come up with a flamenco/blues hybrid?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Krugman on Cliff-Diving

Yeah yeah yeah!

So President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately, about how to deal with continuing Republican obstruction. How far should he go in accommodating the G.O.P.’s demands? My answer is, not far at all. Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this is definitely no time to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Get Yer Numbers Right

These two articles together more or less sum up the key point about what happened to Republicans on Tuesday: it's important to remember that if you do a good enough job gathering accurate numbers, you can make an accurate prediction. If not, you can't. Here's an article from the LA Times and one from Talking Points Memo.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nate Silver on Colbert

Nate Silver gets the opportunity to explain himself on TV. There's so been so much nonsense written and said about him recently that it's nice to see he still seems sane. I don't think I've ever seen a better example of shooting the messenger, which says something about our current media environment.

Monday, November 5, 2012

nada embraces all distractions

Got nothing today. I understand there's some sort of political event happening in the very near future -- I'd just pay attention to that, if I were you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Leonard Cohen (with the Webb Sisters) - Come Healing

Live in Helsinki, Finland, about nine weeks ago. This is one of the songs from his most recent album.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Krugman on Romney the Bipartisan Magician

When the man's right, he's right.

So we shouldn’t worry about the ability of a re-elected Obama to get things done. On the other hand, it’s reasonable to worry that Republicans will do their best to make America ungovernable during a second Obama term. After all, they have been doing that ever since Mr. Obama took office.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Classics IV- Spooky

Yeah, I know Halloween was yesterday, but I forgot, okay?!? Get off my back!

And of course, yesterday's post, "Stormy," was originally performed by the Classics IV as the follow-up to this song.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Meters - Stormy

Pioneering New Orleans funksters when they were in a contemplative mood.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Krugman on Medicaid and its Enemies

As usual, it's not really complicated: it works pretty well but that success doesn't fit the conservative narrative. Professor K explains.

Why, then, are Republicans so determined to do the reverse, and kill this success story? You know the answers. Partly it’s their general hostility to anything that helps the 47 percent — those Americans whom they consider moochers who need to be taught self-reliance. Partly it’s the fact that Medicaid’s success is a reproach to their antigovernment ideology.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Whedon On Romney

Joss Whedon is one of the best-known TV/movie writers of the last twenty years. Here he offers his endorsement in the presidential race. H/t Josh Marshall @ TPM.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Leonard Cohen - The Faith (Cover)

A prayer. Not sure who the singer is, but these heartfelt cover versions are, for me, the best thing about YouTube.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday the 13th (Original Version, 1980) Trailer

I got nothing, so let's look at...this! Today is Friday the double thirteenth! And it's almost Halloween! So...something.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Muddy Waters - Bus Driver

RIP Steve Paul, whose record company helped to revive Muddy's career in the late seventies. H/t JLT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Extremely influential songwriting/producing team at Motown in the sixties.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Krugman on the Slow Recovery and Its Causes

Krugman is...ah, just read it.

Why is recovery from a financial crisis slow? Financial crises are preceded by credit bubbles; when those bubbles burst, many families and/or companies are left with high levels of debt, which force them to slash their spending. This slashed spending, in turn, depresses the economy as a whole.

And the usual response to recession, cutting interest rates to encourage spending, isn’t adequate. Many families simply can’t spend more, and interest rates can be cut only so far — namely, to zero but not below.

Does this mean that nothing can be done to avoid a protracted slump after a financial crisis? No, it just means that you have to do more than just cut interest rates. In particular, what the economy really needs after a financial crisis is a temporary increase in government spending, to sustain employment while the private sector repairs its balance sheet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Monte Montgomery - Little Wing

I just heard about this guy last night. Quite the technique he has. The recording quality is rough, but you can tell what's going on.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kris Kristofferson - Casey's Last Ride

Sorrow and misery. From Kristofferson's first album. A tad overproduced, but whaddayagonnado.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Newsweek to Cease Print Publication

Presented as another example of the evolving media landscape, and thus in our world the cultural landscape. Newsstand copies of Newsweek appeared for nearly eighty years. When something that seemed to be a permanent fixture of American life disappears, it's worth noting. From the LA Times:

Newsweek's announcement marks a significant transition for the magazine, which was founded in 1933 and has been undergoing its own identity crisis and financial turmoil in recent years. Its problems are emblematic of the disruptions faced broadly by the print media industry, as readers shift online and away from the most valuable advertising. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crazy Horse - Beggar's Day

Just an old song I've had in my head. I hadn't realized that it had been covered by Nazareth and is now much better known in that version.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Krugman on Death by Neglect

I'm trying to post less often to Krugman, not because he's not good, but because it can make the entries here sort of lopsided, so to speak, if there are too many linking to him. But this one is too good to pass up:

So there’s no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year. But that’s not a fact Mr. Romney wants to admit, because he and his running mate want to repeal Obamacare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death. And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Rolling Stones - Doom And Gloom

Wow, a brand-new Rolling Stones song that doesn't suck. In fact, it's good.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why Social Security and Medicare Are Still in Jeopardy

What Digby said:

I would just suggest that Peterson and his Masters of the Universe pals may not be quite as ingenuous about their "worries" as Yglesias imagines. It's true that's what they say. But Peterson and his friends were all for privatization, which would have the same economic effect on protecting living standards of the elderly at the expense of greater economic activity. So I'm just not convinced that old Pete is being entirely above board. But none of that changes the fact that this all based upon magical thinking. Peterson may be worried about his grand kids (insufferable privileged jerks that they are) but I suspect he's mostly worried about the fortune he's bequeathing them. 

And keep in mind that these people who are so convinced that these projections have been sent down from Mt Sinai are many of the same people who deny that climate change exists and are perfectly content to wait to see if the catastrophic droughts, famines and massive refugee crises actually develop.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Krugman on the BLS "Conspiracy"

It shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it was still kind of a shock, when a good monthly jobs report was immediately denounced as lies by leading Republicans. Krugman as usual provides a good overview.

If anyone had doubts about the madness that has spread through a large part of the American political spectrum, the reaction to Friday’s better-than expected report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should have settled the issue. For the immediate response of many on the right — and we’re not just talking fringe figures — was to cry conspiracy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Blind Willie McTell - Delia

Bob Dylan's version brings out the sadness a lot better, but he certainly knew this rendition, as well as the one by the Reverend Gary Davis. Delia's gone to the graveyard, but she ain't coming back.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dvorak, Slavonic Dance, op 46, no 4, Tempo di Menuetto

The debate was a big deal, but I honestly can't add much to what's being said elsewhere. I could link to Krugman again, but I do that all the time. So something else. This performance is piano only rather than full orchestra, but excellent.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Music Machine - Talk Talk

Big talk talk on the tube tonight. I will be watching and taking it seriously, but this song seemed at least somewhat appropriate. The introduction is by the late Dick Clark, and the clip is from his Where The Action Is show.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Rolling Stones - Sitting on a Fence

Brian Jones has been gone so long there are probably people who consider themselves Stones fans who know little about him, but he was the real musical genius in the band. He was also an arrogant and abusive substance abuser, and his life was short. He plays the harpsichord in this bit of misogyny that's gentler than the Stones usually produced in this era.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Krugman on European Austerity, Again

Yeah, I know I've been linking to Krugman a whole lot lately, but this stuff needs as much exposure as it can get.

Suddenly, Spain and Greece are being racked by strikes and huge demonstrations. The public in these countries is, in effect, saying that it has reached its limit: With unemployment at Great Depression levels and with erstwhile middle-class workers reduced to picking through garbage in search of food, austerity has already gone too far. And this means that there may not be a deal after all.

Much commentary suggests that the citizens of Spain and Greece are just delaying the inevitable, protesting against sacrifices that must, in fact, be made. But the truth is that the protesters are right. More austerity serves no useful purpose; the truly irrational players here are the allegedly serious politicians and officials demanding ever more pain.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Andy Williams - Can't Get Used To Losing You

This was always a favorite of mine. Years later I found out it was a Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman song.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Krugman on Romney and Economic Confidence

Can't have too much Krugman.

In fairness to Mr. Romney, his assertion that electing him would spontaneously spark an economic boom is consistent with his party’s current economic dogma. Republican leaders have long insisted that the main thing holding the economy back is the “uncertainty” created by President Obama’s statements — roughly speaking, that businesspeople aren’t investing because Mr. Obama has hurt their feelings. If you believe that, it makes sense to argue that changing presidents would, all by itself, cause an economic revival.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper - 59th St. Bridge Song/I Wonder Who

Feel like hearing some Hammond organ, so two songs from the Live Adventures album. A few bum notes to prove it's live, but mostly nice nice nice.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Charlie Parker - Love for Sale

I've posted this before, but it looks like the link is broken, so here you go. This recording is from near the end of Parker's short life.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Krugman on the Republicans' View of Workers

Dr K does what he does so often: state the obvious truth that no one else is quite saying. Here's the link.

Where does this disdain for workers come from? Some of it, obviously, reflects the influence of money in politics: big-money donors, like the ones Mr. Romney was speaking to when he went off on half the nation, don’t live paycheck to paycheck. But it also reflects the extent to which the G.O.P. has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Paul Simon - Long Long Day

I've posted this song before, but not this version. Sometimes this is just how you feel.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Politicians Say Goodbye to Private Space

I don't usually link to a news article in the Washington Post, but this is interesting.

Researchers studying human interactions with computers find that nearly everybody has accidentally conveyed a message intended for a narrow audience to an uncomfortably broad one — sometimes by doing something as simple as hitting “reply all” on a company-wide e-mail.

Such issues are particularly explosive in the political arena. Campaign operatives seek to warn candidates that they are all but public nearly every second of every day. But experts say humans — no matter how smart, polished or famous — need private space and the more relaxed interactions that allows.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mal Waldron - Warm Canto

Lots of interesting stuff going on in politics with the release of the Romney fundraiser video, but I dunno, my mind is drawn elsewhere. This is considered by some to be a lost classic of fifties/sixties jazz. Mal Waldron wrote and plays piano, with an all-star band supporting and enhancing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chet Atkins - Windy And Warm

This is the original 1961 version, not the later remake that's easier to find. There's a clip on YouTube of the writer, John D. Loudermilk, telling the story of how Chet Atkins asked him to come up with something that sounded like it was already part of the country guitar tradition. This was the result.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cream - Sunshine Of Your Love

This version is from the reunion shows at Royal Albert Hall in 2005. Not bad, but can't re-create how ground-breaking the original was nearly forty years earlier. Which, come to think of it, would be true of most re-creations.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bob Dylan - Duquesne Whistle

Some new music for a change, although admittedly by someone best known for sixties work.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Electric Flag - Easy Rider

Yes, the current political controversy over the attacks on Americans in the Arab world, and Romney's response, matter a lot and deserve attention, but...not today, folks. Here's a song that's short but sweet, featuring the guitar of Mike Bloomfield.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Krugman on Equivalency in Covering Economic Plans

I know I link to him a lot, but it's because he is often simply saying things that others are not. Like this, for instance.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1st Unitarian Church of Nashville TN - Amazing Grace (shape note)

For 9/11, something that reflects both sorrow for what has happened and hope for the future.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Krugman on Republican Intransigence in Congress, Again

If it sounds like a stuck LP, it sort of is, but you can't blame the messenger.

Put it this way: When Republicans took control of the House, they declared that their economic philosophy was “cut and grow” — cut government, and the economy will prosper. And thanks to their scorched-earth tactics, we’ve actually had the cuts they wanted. But the promised growth has failed to materialize — and they want to make that failure Mr. Obama’s fault.

Friday, September 7, 2012

RIP Shulamith Firestone

Shulamith Firestone was one of the lesser-known luminaries of second-wave feminism in the US, but she was an original voice. It seems obvious, but people often forget that original voices are one of the necessary components of any effective social movement. She had left active political work, but she deserves to be remembered. The Guardian has the obituary.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Big Dog Speaks

Bill Clinton formally nominates Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. From the Guardian:

In an old-fashioned barnstorming speech to the Democratic national convention – much of it ad-libbed and considerably longer than the prepared text – Clinton boiled the differences between Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney to a simple, essential point. 
The choice in November, he said, would be between whether voters wanted to be part of a "we're all in this together society" or a "winner take all, you're on your own society".

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bobby Hebb - Sunny

I've posted this before, but sometimes there's a reason to post something again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Krugman on Perception of Paul Ryan

Professor K explains why there are people who want to take Paul Ryan seriously, even if they don't qualify as hard-core supporters.

So what the VSPs were doing was relying on a character judgment to dismiss hard evidence about the reality of Ryan’s proposals. That is, I’ve often argued, something you should never do — the truth is that we’re not that good at the character-sniffing thing (remember how Bush was a bluff, honest guy?), and in any case policy proposals should be evaluated on the merits or lack thereof. But since this is the way people work, it becomes very relevant to point out that the serious, reasonable guy is in fact in thrall to the ideas of a very unserious, unreasonable novelist.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Coasters - What About Us

The voice of the 99%, more or less, though it's not exactly Rage Against the Machine.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now

Been following the Akin controversy, but can't think of anything remotely original to add to the conversation, such as it is. So something else instead...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Donald Fagen Talks About "Chain Lightning"

Ever wonder how songwriters do what they do? There are truthfully as many ways as there are songwriters, maybe even as many as there are songs, but here's one songwriter talking about how it worked for one song.  His partner (Walter Becker) must have figured in the final result as well, but Fagen in this clip is explaining the basic foundation of the song.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Krugman on Ryan's Budget Plan

About what you'd expect, I'm afraid. We're doomed. Dr K explains.

So if we look at the actual policy proposals, they look like this:

Spending cuts: $1.7 trillion
Tax cuts: $4.3 trillion
This is, then, a plan that would increase the deficit by around $2.6 trillion.

How, then, does Ryan get to call himself a fiscal hawk?... 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Battle of Culloden (1964) Part 1 of 7

This docudrama first shown by the BBC was apparently something of a turning point in how such films could be made, with actors in period costumes being interviewed by a TV reporter. The obvious anachronism is quietly ignored, which works in the end, and the focus on the poorest characters is often moving. If you have time, watch the whole thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Washington Phillips - Paul and Silas in Jail

An early gospel performer whose reputation has grown greatly in the last few years. He doesn't sound quite like anyone else.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The End of Macbeth

Nine hundred fifty-five years ago today, the battle of Lumphanan in Scotland marked the end of the reign of Macbeth as king of Scotland. He would be little remembered today, were it not for the fact that Shakespeare wrote a play about him over five hundred years later. Macbeth's final soliloquy is considered to be one of the most memorable and emotionally resonant pieces of blank verse in the English language. What does it signify? Nothing -- just like the man says.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

RIP Brent Grulke

One of the mainstays (behind the scenes) of the Austin music scene for decades, Brent Grulke died unexpectedly yesterday. Here's an appreciation from an old friend of his, Michael Corcoran, who moved in many of the same circles. Hat tip to HLN.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hedy West - Barbara Allen

A leading voice of the folk revival performing one of the best-known of traditional folk ballads.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gabby Pahinui & Atta Isaacs - I'm A Livin' on a Easy

Some true traditional Hawaiian music, although the English lyrics are (deliberately) a little goofy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Terry Reid - Superlungs My Supergirl

From 1969, but not one you're likely to hear on your classic rock station. Terry Reid was Jimmy Page's first choice to be Led Zeppelin's vocalist, but he turned it down and recommended Robert Plant instead. Reid's solo career earned him a lot of respect but not much commercial success. Here he nails a Donovan song.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RIP Robert Hughes

I honestly haven't read much Hughes, but he's always stood out for me as an example of what any sort of critic should be: tough without descending into knee-jerk bitchiness, appreciative without being fawning, and always performing the seemingly essential but distressingly rare feat of knowing enough about the subject matter to know what he was talking about. Here's the Guardian obit and an appreciation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Joan Baez - A Stranger In My Place

Co-written by none other than Kenny Rogers in his First Edition days, this song became a country standard. This version was the first I ever heard. Love never really dies, and sometimes that causes problems.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

NASA: Curiosity's Seven Minutes Of Terror

NASA's website is understandably overworked, so this is a link to someone's YouTube copy of the video. Cross your fingers.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mark Twain in 1909

It just blows me away that stuff like this exists. This was film shot by Thomas Edison the year before Mark Twain died. It's available on the Internet Archive.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RIP Gore Vidal

I came to prefer his essays to his fiction, even though the fiction was often quite good. But the wit and erudition in his nonfiction, the breadth of his areas of interest, and the fact that he seemed to be personally acquainted with nearly every person of interest in the Anglophone world of the twentieth century, made his essays a rich feast. His book of collected essays, United States, is about nine hundred pages, and I devoured it as fast as I could.
Among the people he knew personally: John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Carson, Italo Calvino, Amelia Earhart. And that's just a bit of the tip of the iceberg. Plus he had something interesting to say about each of them. Vale, scriptor. Not sure if that's proper Latin, but what the hell.
Here's the Guardian obit.

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.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Monty Python - Birth (from The Meaning of Life)

It's worth noting that the lead actor in this sketch, Graham Chapman of Monty Python, was in fact an MD who instead chose comedy as his career. Thus the satirical aspects here are rooted in a reality that he knew. H/t Atrios.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moody Blues - Tuesday Afternoon (Live)

Was curious to see how well this song would work live, since it seemed like a pure studio concoction. But it's not bad.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eagles / Already Gone / 1974 California Jam

I'm posting this as much for the visuals as the music. The visuals in this case aren't the stage lights or sets, but the time-capsule aspect: the hair and clothing styles, plus the general ambience of a classic rock era festival. A lot can change in nearly forty years.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

PJ Harvey - Zaz Turned Blue

PJH performs a song written and first performed by Was (Not Was). They persuaded Mel Torme to do the vocal in that version, resulting in something approaching the surreal sublime. This is very good, but different, but that's what PJ Harvey does, no?

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Shirelles - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

A classic of early sixties American girl-group music. Written by Carole King with writing partner (and her then-husband) Gerry Goffin.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dave Rawlings Machine - Ruby

Dave Rawlings, guitarist with Gillian Welch, did a project a few years ago called the Dave Rawlings Machine, in which Gillian Welch turned the tables and supported him. Here they are accompanied by members of Old Crow Medicine Show at an in-store performance in 2009.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Very busy day - posting slipped my mind. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket

James Honeyman-Scott was one of the most influential guitarists of the British New Wave, and this breakthrough hit by the Pretenders shows his strengths: a resolutely unflashy but still prominent role in supporting the song. He died thirty years ago today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lovin' Spoonful - On The Road Again

Lip-synced, third-rate audio (the left channel seems to be nonexistent), but it's fine to watch them in their happy prime. Zal Yanovsky takes a rare lead vocal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Black Flag - Slip It In

Happy birthday to Kira Roessler, whose bass powers this classic Black Flag song.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Soulettes - Let It Be

They blow off most of the lyrics, but what the hell. A reggae version of the Beatle song posted yesterday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Beatles - Let It Be

This version was not released on record, and has slightly different lyrics and guitar solo, as well as a few other minor changes, from the better-known versions. I've always liked the lyrics in the final chorus in this version. The way Paul keeps looking into the camera is a little creepy, though.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fleetwood Mac - Sentimental Lady

I've actually posted this before, but am doing so again to mark the passing of its writer and singer, Bob Welch. This is the post-Peter Green, pre-Buckingham Nicks, Fleetwood Mac. Welch later re-recorded this song as a solo artist; still, I've always preferred this version.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gil Evans - Round About Midnight

From his New Bottle Old Wine album, in which he arranged eight jazz classics, from "St. Louis Blues" to this song, for orchestra and soloist. Cannonball Adderley takes the solo.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mapping Depression in the Brain

I find this kind of research fascinating. From Medical News Today:

It is the first piece of research to show there is a brain mechanism behind Freud's classical idea that depression differs from normal sadness by proneness to exaggerated feelings of guilt or self-blame.

Dr Roland Zahn, from the University's School of Psychological Sciences, told the press:

"For the first time, we chart the regions of the brain that interact to link detailed knowledge about socially appropriate behavior - the anterior temporal lobe - with feelings of guilt - the subgenual region of the brain - in people who are prone to depression."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Palestrina - Gloria

The Sixteen, an early music vocal ensemble conducted by Harry Christophers, perform music published in 1567.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hi-Def Video From an RC Plane

The real point to this video is that it's homemade. A micro hi-def video camera was attached to a remote-controlled plane and these images were captured. The results are amazing. Deeper point: the future is here, now. And as a not so incidental side note, privacy in public places is now even rarer than it was. H/t SW.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hunt Sales: A Life

When your work is famous but you're not, and in fact is still making a lot of money that you never see, I guess it's more than a little weird. Drummer Hunt Sales created and played the intro to Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life," which has been used in various movies, TV shows, and commercials over the years. He seems to be reconciled to things, and in fact is still playing regularly. Here's a recent article in which he talks about David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, Buddy Miles, et al.

And here's the song itself: