Sunday, March 31, 2013

Paul Simon - St Judy's Comet

RIP Phil Ramone, producer extraordinaire. The first time I remember seeing his name was in the credits for There Goes Rhymin' Simon, the album from which this song was taken.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Arcade Fire - Modern Man

A lot of people were shocked when The Suburbs won the Grammy for best album a couple of years ago, but in retrospect it makes more sense. The Arcade Fire stretch the limits of pop music without stepping far outside the boundaries; they're intelligent but never lose the primacy of the beat; and their lyrics are neither stupid nor preachy. Here they are on Jools Holland's show in 2010. H/t PK @ NYT.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Monty Python - Nudge Nudge

Happy seventieth birthday to Eric Idle, who wrote and takes the lead role in this sketch.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Beatles - Because (Love Version)

As in, this is the version from the Cirque du Soleil show Love. The harmonies are not just prominent, this is close to being pure a capella.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cat Stevens - Into White

It's a shame that he drifted away from making music like this, because no one else did it quite as well.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Jeff Beck Group - Rice Pudding

Jeff Beck on guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Ron Wood on bass, Micky Waller on drums. Rod Stewart, the vocalist, is taking a cigarette break in the hall. Recorded in 1969.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lightnin' Slim - Rooster Blues

Not as famous as the Chess contingent (Muddy, Wolf, et al.), Lightnin' Slim possessed one of the great blues voices.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

David Grisman Quartet - Dawg's Bull

From the Fridays TV show, introduced by Larry David, which just goes to show...something.

Friday, March 22, 2013

RIP Chinua Achebe

I read Things Fall Apart three times in school in the nineties, for different classes. Achebe is far from the only post-colonial writer to have achieved prominence in the last half-century, but he was one of the first through the door. The Guardian has a good obituary.

A novelist, poet and essayist, Achebe was perhaps best known for his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, the story of the Igbo warrior Okonkwo and the colonial era, which has sold more than 10m copies around the world and has been published in 50 languages. Achebe depicts an Igbo village as the white men arrive at the end of the 19th century, taking its title from the WB Yeats poem, which continues: "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."

"The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one," says Okonkwo's friend, Obierika, in the novel.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peter, Paul, and Mary - Early Morning Rain

PP&M with one of their biggest singles, written by Gordon Lightfoot. Looks like they're lip-syncing to the original studio version, but what the hell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Death @ SXSW

Proto-punk band Death, reunited in the last few years, is getting their career on. H/t BB.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Spinners - I'll Be Around

RIP Bobbie Smith, lead singer on many of the Spinners' classic 70s songs, including this one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eric Clapton - My Father's Eyes

Eric Clapton never met his father, and his son died at four, so this song came out of him in a meaningful way.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

T-Bone Walker - Call It Stormy Monday

Aaron Thibeaux Walker left his mortal frame behind on this date in 1975. One of the most influential blues musicians of the postwar period, he codified the image of the electric guitar slinger in a way that affects people today who may never have heard of him.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Milquetoasting of CPAC

Hunter at DailyKos is one of the reporters attending CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), and notes that the traditional hot-button social issues like abortion and gay marriage seem to be deliberately downplayed. More here.

It is suddenly quite clear why the current conservative movement is obsessed with taxes and deficits to the near-exclusion of all other topics: those are the only topics they can agree on. Those are always the consistent applause lines, while muddling along into anything else is treated tepidly unless it is spectacularly generic. Freedom? Yes, Freedom Good. Specify what kind of freedom you might mean, however, and unless it is about taxes or cutting the government you are likely to start a fight.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mal Waldron - All Alone

Looks like it's from relatively late in his career, but clearly his technique is intact. His mind and his heart, of course, that goes without saying.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Joni Mitchell - Day After Day

Some more very early Joni. According to her Wikipedia article, this is the first song she wrote. Looked at in that light, it's a stunning piece of work, with a level of musical complexity that the average guitar-picking folksinger in the early sixties could only have dreamed of. Not that it's perfect, and she wrote enough better songs that she never officially released it, but as a sign of just who that person was already, it's remarkable.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Krugman on Whither the Deficit

The way the doc explains it, it's not that complicated.

Right now, a sustainable deficit would be around $460 billion. The actual deficit is bigger than that. But according to new estimates by the budget office, half of our current deficit reflects the effects of a still-depressed economy. The “cyclically adjusted” deficit — what the deficit would be if we were near full employment — is only about $423 billion, which puts it in the sustainable range; next year the budget office expects that number to fall to just $172 billion. And that’s why budget office projections show the nation’s debt position more or less stable over the next decade.

So we do not, repeat do not, face any kind of deficit crisis either now or for years to come.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Joni Mitchell - Born to Take the Highway

This is the kind of thing that makes YouTube necessary: a clip of Joni Mitchell before she was Joni Mitchell.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Krugman on Stock Prices

Krugman speaks on the stock market (s)peaking.

What, then, are the markets actually telling us?

I wish I could say that it’s all good news, but it isn’t. Those low interest rates are the sign of an economy that is nowhere near to a full recovery from the financial crisis of 2008, while the high level of stock prices shouldn’t be cause for celebration; it is, in large part, a reflection of the growing disconnect between productivity and wages.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sue Thompson - Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)

One of the things on the radio in 1961, and yet another song from the prolific mind of John D. Loudermilk.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - You Really Got A Hold On Me

RIP Miracle Bobby Rogers, who's singing the close harmony with Smokey on this early hit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bob Dylan - Something There Is About You

Pretty much the only song on Planet Waves that I really liked, but that's probably just me.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sly & Family Stone - Thank You For Talking To Me Africa

I've posted this before, but I think the link to the music is broken, so all's fair etc. Sylvester Stewart, AKA Sly Stone, was one of the pioneers of deep funk. This song is a great example of the genre.

Friday, March 1, 2013