Saturday, March 31, 2012

Roy Haynes - My Heart Belongs to Daddy

The drummer Roy Haynes with his band in 2008. Living legend is a term that doesn't get used much anymore, but it's appropriate in his case. He was eighty-three when this clip was shot, and he's still going strong.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl Scruggs Breakdown

Neglected to note the passing of master instrumentalist Earl Scruggs the other day. At eighty-eight, he had accomplished an awful lot, so celebrating his life is more in order than mourning his going. I'm not sure what the actual name of this song is, but the clip looks like Flatt and Scruggs from the fifties.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hot Tuna - Hesitation Blues

Considering that they started as an offshoot of the Jefferson Airplane over forty years ago, the fact that Hot Tuna are still a going concern is worthy of note. Their repertoire has always been an eclectic mix -- here they're in 20's blues mode.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waylon Jennings - Old Five and Dimers (Like Me)

Hard to believe Waylon's been gone ten years now. This may be my favorite of his recordings - it's from the Honky-Tonk Heroes album, a 1973 release that consisted of mostly Billy Joe Shaver songs, including this one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lonnie Johnson - Lazy Woman Blues

One of the most influential of all blues guitarists, Lonnie Johnson's work in the twenties and thirties was absorbed by many better-known musicians who were young at the time. This recording is from a little later, 1941, but is an excellent example of his clear single-note style.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Krugman on the Corporatization of Criminal Justice

This explains a lot. Krugman has the info.

Language virtually identical to Florida’s [Stand Your Ground] law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Transvaal Rocking Jazz Stars - Here is a Message

One of the things I've been listening to is a box set called Africa at 78 RPM, and one of my favorite tracks on it is by the Transvaal Rocking Jazz Stars. That song is not on YouTube, but there are others by the group which give a good indication of their work. Wonderful mid-twentieth century jazz from Southern Africa.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Krugman on Republican Paranoia

I wish I didn't believe that Krugman is right about this, because it's kind of scary.

As Richard Hofstadter pointed out in his classic 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” crazy conspiracy theories have been an American tradition ever since clergymen began warning that Thomas Jefferson was an agent of the Bavarian Illuminati. But it’s one thing to have a paranoid fringe playing a marginal role in a nation’s political life; it’s something quite different when that fringe takes over a whole party, to the point where candidates must share, or pretend to share, that fringe’s paranoia to receive the party’s presidential nod.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Barbara Dickson - We Work The Black Seam

Sting's song about British coal miners, as interpreted by a Scottish singer. It's one of those songs that's so pretty that a lot of people miss how grim the subject matter is, but the portions of this video that consist of old film shot in the mines should help clarify matters.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gail Collins on the Never-Ending Gun Law Loosenings

La Collins discusses what happens when the NRA has already gotten nearly everything it wants.

This is big business. The N.R.A. takes in more than $200 million a year, which is a heck of a lot more than it made back in the old days, when its principal activity was running marksmanship classes. A considerable chunk of the cash comes from gun manufacturers and gun sellers. I cannot help but think that this was the constituency its lobbyists had in mind when they recently pushed Virginia to repeal its one-handgun-a-month purchase law. According to a recent poll, two-thirds of the residents of the state liked the law just fine. However, it did pose a considerable hardship for hard-working small businessmen involved in the transport of large quantities of weaponry up the East Coast to drug gangs in Philadelphia and New York City.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

David Crosby - Laughing

I've posted this song before, but the link has broken. It's slow, dreamy, and sad, and every so often comes back into my head from nowhere. Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel guitar.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Krugman on ObamaRomneyCare

Professor K focuses, as he usually does, on the essentials.

To understand the lies, you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?
For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them. The act is aimed, instead, at Americans who fall through the cracks, either going without coverage or relying on the miserably malfunctioning individual, “non-group” insurance market.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gail Collins on State Legislatures and Reproductive Issues

Collins's blend of humor with solid reporting makes her the closest we have to Molly Ivins today.

Lawmakers venture into murky waters when they attempt to deal with the mysteries of human reproduction. The results are generally short of scientific. Once, when I was covering the Connecticut House of Representatives, a bill introduced at the behest of professional musicians, “An Act Concerning Rhythm Machines,” was referred to the Public Health Committee under the assumption that it was about birth control.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goldman Sachs Exec Quits, Blasts Firm

We'll see if this makes any difference in the long run.

A Goldman Sachs director in London has resigned after publishing a devastating open letter accusing senior staff of being "morally bankrupt" and bent on extracting maximum fees from clients by offloading unsuitable investment products.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Omm Kalthoum - Inta Omri

A taste of someone many people think was one of the greatest singers who ever lived. Robert Plant has cited her influence on him more than once.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Aretha Franklin - Never Grow Old

Aretha Franklin singing a song that I first heard on the Smithsonian collection of classic country music in a recording from the 1920s. The best-known gospel songs of the twentieth century tended to cross over between the black and white gospel traditions, and this song is no exception.

According to the YouTube page for this video, she was fourteen years old when this recording was made, but her voice and interpretive skills are very much as they were in her best-known recordings.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

RIP Peter Bergman

Here's the LA Times obit. And now for some Jack Poet Volkswagen ads from 1969. Peter is your host.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Krugman on the Republican War on Education

Krugman, well, he's right as usual.

One of our two major political parties has taken a hard right turn against education, or at least against education that working Americans can afford. Remarkably, this new hostility to education is shared by the social conservative and economic conservative wings of the Republican coalition.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme

What you can do with several computer-controlled tiny helicopters, musical instruments, and an imagination. H/t Andrew Sullivan.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

John Coltrane - Chim Chim Cheree (Part 1)

Recorded at the Half Note in 1965. This song, along with many others, was written by Robert Sherman and his brother Richard for Disney. Songs like "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "It's a Small World" are perfect earworms, but also lend themselves to an interpretation like this one by Coltrane. Robert Sherman died on Monday at the age of eighty-six.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Krugman on Government Spending, and Which Government Should be Doing the Spending

Krugman, as usual, looks at the evidence and comes to a reasonable conclusion, a mode of operation which is increasingly rare for pundits.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ronnie Montrose - Town Without Pity

Geez, musicians are dropping like flies. The only time I saw Ronnie Montrose he played this song, and it stuck with me. RIP RM.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hell Freezes

An apology from Rush.

The Carter Family - Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow Tree

Oops, missed a day. That's what happens when your schedule falls apart. Apologies.

This is the first song ever recorded by the legendary Carter Family, and already contains all the elements for which they became famous: strong three-part harmony, powerful rhythm from the stringed instruments, melody plucked on the low strings of the guitar (instead of the high strings, as was more common), etc. Today's country music doesn't sound much like this, but they were not only very popular during their heyday but hugely influential for decades afterward.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Monkees - Riu Riu Chiu

One more Monkees song to mark the passing of Davy Jones. Very nice a capella harmony singing of a traditional Spanish song. I'd never heard this before.