Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Randy Newman - Memo To My Son

A song about loving a small child.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another Op'nin', Another Show

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Texas, Our Texas

Happy 169th birthday to the state of Texas.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gloucester Cathedral Choir - In the Bleak Midwinter

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Billy Bragg - A Lover Sings

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jonathan Winters - A Christmas Carol

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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gene Clark - The French Girl

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

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

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

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Mothers Of Invention - Cruising For Burgers

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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Krugman on Greece Today

Easier to read than explain.

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

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

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Bonzo Dog Band - I'm The Urban Spaceman

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Krugman on the Recovery (Such as It Is)

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

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

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

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Emmylou Harris with Waylon Jennings - Spanish Johnny

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

RIP Ian McLagan

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jerry Orbach - Promises, Promises

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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Judy Holliday - The Party's Over

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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Iggy Pop & Deborah Harry - Well, Did You Evah

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Firesign Theatre - Zeno's Evil

Peter Bergman was born on this date seventy-five years ago. Here he's the driver.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Benny Goodman Trio - Body and Soul

With Teddy Wilson on piano and Gene Krupa on drums as the other two members of the trio. Recorded in 1935.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks for the Memory

Thankfulness often comes mixed with sorrow. Bob Hope and Shirley Ross perform the original version of this song in The Big Broadcast of 1938.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Frank Zappa - Trouble Every Day

Zappa wrote this song after the Watts riots in August 1965. Fifty years later it's sad how little has changed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Krugman Points Out the Truth, Again

Dr K speaks. Maybe if he does it long enough people in power will eventually notice.

So the counterintuitive realities of economic policy at the zero lower bound are likely to remain relevant for a long time to come, which makes it crucial that influential people understand those realities. Unfortunately, too many still don’t; one of the most striking aspects of economic debate in recent years has been the extent to which those whose economic doctrines have failed the reality test refuse to admit error, let alone learn from it. The intellectual leaders of the new majority in Congress still insist that we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel; German officials still insist that the problem is that debtors haven’t suffered enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marin Marais - Sonnerie De Sainte-Geneviève Du Mont De Paris

Nikolaus Harnoncourt, viola de gamba; Alice Harnoncourt, violin; Herbert Tachezi, harpsichord.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sleepy John Estes - President Kennedy

SJE sings and plays guitar on a song he wrote. Ry Cooder on mandolin; the piano player is probably Jim Dickinson.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dr. John with The Band - Such a Night

Happy birthday to the doctor. Horns arranged by Allen Toussaint, another iconic New Orleans music figure.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP Mike Nichols

A founding figure of the improvisational comedy scene in the fifties, an innovative filmmaker in the sixties and seventies (then a more ordinary filmmaker in later years), lifelong friend of Susan Sontag (they met in college), a nice guy and a helluva talent. Here's an example of some early work with his comedy partner Elaine May.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

RIP John Doar

Pierce on an unsung hero.

Quite simply, there was no braver American amid the tumult of the 1960's and the 1970's than John Doar. Arguably, there were very few greater Americans during that same time. He made the law a shield, and then he made the law a sword, and he stood in against the most dangerous beasts in this country's heart and beat them all. He never wrote a book. He did not become the star he could have become. (Almost everyone else involved in Watergate did, god knows.) And, last Tuesday, he died, at the age of 92. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Art Pepper - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To

One of the great alto saxophonists, recorded in 1957 with Miles Davis's rhythm section at the time (Red Garland, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Philly Joe Jones, drums).

Monday, November 10, 2014

What is Reality?

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo shows what happens when an ideologically driven news site moves too fast.

H/t PK @ NYT.

As noted a bit earlier, on Saturday Breitbart published an exclusive pointing out that President Obama's Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch was part of the team that defended President Clinton during the Whitewater investigation - not a bad little scooplet. Only it wasn't the same Loretta Lynch, which kind of takes the punch out of the story.

Breitbart then issued a 'correction'. But like I said, it's a correction for the ages.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture of You

Happy birthday to Guy Clark. Here's a song about his late wife Susanna, a successful songwriter in her own right.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Car Talk Guys on Arthur

RIP Tom Magliozzi, whose reach into the culture, along with his brother Ray, proved surprisingly deep.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Los Días de los Muertos

Los Días de los Muertos were celebrated over the weekend in Mexico. This year the event held a different significance for me. Here's a decent explanation of the phenomenon.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dionne Warwick - Message to Michael

One of her many Bacharach/David songs, from the era when the three of them created hits regularly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Black Keys - Gotta Get Away

So the classic rock style isn't dead yet. Live at Glastonbury 2014.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Jack Bruce - Theme For an Imaginary Western

RIP to one of the most influential bassists of the rock era. This is from his first solo album, Songs for a Tailor. The lyrics are by Peter Brown, who also wrote the lyrics for Bruce's songs in Cream.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Krugman on Amazon

I knew that Amazon was engaging in some pretty predatory behavior, but I'm still surprised at some of this. Krugman explains.

So far Amazon has not tried to exploit consumers. In fact, it has systematically kept prices low, to reinforce its dominance. What it has done, instead, is use its market power to put a squeeze on publishers, in effect driving down the prices it pays for books — hence the fight with Hachette....And on that front its power is really immense — in fact, even greater than the market share numbers indicate. Book sales depend crucially on buzz and word of mouth (which is why authors are often sent on grueling book tours); you buy a book because you’ve heard about it, because other people are reading it, because it’s a topic of conversation, because it’s made the best-seller list. And what Amazon possesses is the power to kill the buzz. It’s definitely possible, with some extra effort, to buy a book you’ve heard about even if Amazon doesn’t carry it — but if Amazon doesn’t carry that book, you’re much less likely to hear about it in the first place.

So can we trust Amazon not to abuse that power? The Hachette dispute has settled that question: no, we can’t.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Obama Action Figure

In Japan this actually exists. I support our president, but this is...unusual. H/t digby.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lesley Gore - Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows

As long as we're doing Marvin Hamlisch, here's his first commercial success as a songwriter.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Peter and Gordon - I Go to Pieces

At the height of their popularity in the late 1950s the Everly Brothers left a deep impression on a lot of English teenagers, which meant that a few years later there was music like this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded

Sometimes the world isn't such a bad place. Reuters has more.

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls' right to education, and Indian children's right activist Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Yousafzai, aged 17, becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner by far.

Satyarthi, 60, and Yousafzai were picked for their struggle against the oppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jean Redpath - Five Scottish Songs

It takes a very, very good voice to sing this well unaccompanied. Pete Seeger and Roscoe Holcomb look on.

The songs are:
"The Beggar Laddie"
"Skye Fisher's Song"
"I Lost My Love"(seems to be actually a medley)
"Miss McLeod's Reel"
"Auld Lang Syne"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Krugman on Pimco and the Reign of Error

Here 'tis.

In 2008-9, a number of economists — yes, myself included — tried to explain the special circumstances of a depressed economy, in which deficits wouldn’t cause soaring rates and the Federal Reserve’s policy of “printing money” (not really what it was doing, but never mind) wouldn’t cause inflation. It wasn’t just theory, either; we had the experience of the 1930s and Japan since the 1990s to draw on. But many, perhaps most, influential people in the alleged real world refused to believe us.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home

This is apparently a clip from the time the song was recorded, the psychedelic year of 1967. Brian Jones plays the mellotron.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Krugman on the Most Unequal

Just read it.

Does the invisibility of the very rich matter? Politically, it matters a lot. Pundits sometimes wonder why American voters don’t care more about inequality; part of the answer is that they don’t realize how extreme it is. And defenders of the superrich take advantage of that ignorance. When the Heritage Foundation tells us that the top 10 percent of filers are cruelly burdened, because they pay 68 percent of income taxes, it’s hoping that you won’t notice that word “income” — other taxes, such as the payroll tax, are far less progressive. But it’s also hoping you don’t know that the top 10 percent receive almost half of all income and own 75 percent of the nation’s wealth, which makes their burden seem a lot less disproportionate.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Steve Miller Band - My Dark Hour

A curiosity from 1968. The pre-hyperfame Steve Miller was recording in London when Paul McCartney dropped by. This performance is apparently Miller on guitars and vocals with McCartney playing bass and drums. Miller later recycled the guitar lick for "Fly Like an Eagle."

Friday, September 26, 2014

David Bromberg - Lower Left Hand Corner of the Night

Taken from an LP, so it's a little scratchy and includes a bit of the previous track.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blow-Up - Antonioni (Yardbirds Scene)

David Hemmings is looking for Vanessa Redgrave but finds only Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck destroys his guitar. David Hemmings takes part of it, then throws it away. All very cryptic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Charles Mingus Sextet Featuring Eric Dolphy - Fables of Faubus

By 1964 this piece inspired by Arkansas governor Orval Faubus's reaction to the desegregation of Little Rock schools was several years old. But the civil rights struggle continued, and so did the Mingus band's evolving take on the song. Recorded live at Cornell University, this version stretches out for a half hour.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Joni Mitchell - Refuge of the Roads

The great bassist Jaco Pastorius died on this date in 1987. Here is one of my favorite performances of his, from Joni Mitchell's album Hejira.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Doc Watson - Windy and Warm

I heard that John D. Loudermilk wrote this for Chet Atkins, but Doc takes it even one step further than Chet did.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Joel Dodge on Republican Resistance to Medicaid Expansion Georgia Logothetis

Good stuff. H/t Georgia Logothetis @ DailyKos.

Republican incumbents who resisted ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion — including Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, and Kansas' Sam Brownback — are in much tighter races than those who accepted it. "Republican governors who bucked their party's stance and accepted the policy are faring better with voters — in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better," Wang discovered.

Monday, September 8, 2014

George Harrison - I'd Have You Anytime

Bob Dylan wrote some lyrics without music. He gave them to George Harrison who wrote music for them and then recorded the result.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Atta Isaacs - How'd You Do

You probably have to play guitar at least a little to appreciate just how good this guy is. Otherwise it just sounds like pretty and pleasant music.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Brute Force - The King Of Fuh

A true novelty record. George Harrison loved the song, added strings, and released it on Apple in 1969. Everyone in the music industry said that it could not be played in public, so only 3000 copies were pressed and distributed. Thirty or so years later it received an official release.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Randy Newman - Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father

I actually posted this same song on this same date five years ago, and for the same reasons. Five years is a long time, so it's fair game. This is one of the saddest songs I know.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shostakovich - Jazz Suite No. 2: VI. Waltz 2

Dmitry Yablonsky conducts the Russian State Symphony Orchestra in a piece that Stanley Kubrick used in his final film, Eyes Wide Shut

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wyoming Considers Medicaid Expansion

Obamacare continue to gain ground. Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo explains why even a deep red state like Wyoming is discussing accepting Medicaid expansion.

There is now a growing body of evidence about how refusing to expand Medicaid hurts hospitals financially. Fitch Ratings cited missing Medicaid money in recent credit rating downgrades for some hospitals in non-expansion states. Meanwhile, hospitals in expansion states have reported drops in uninsured patients and the corresponding increase in paying customers, a sure benefit to their bottom line.

Hospitals were among the key stakeholders that helped to get Obamacare passed in the first place. But they've been hung out to dry in states that declined to expand Medicaid. Some hospital associations in major states have said that they're basically giving up for the time being until the political winds change. But others in states like Wyoming are pressing on and perhaps setting a template for how to push expansion through in these tougher political environments.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fats Waller - The Jitterbug Waltz

The original recording of this jazz standard, with composer Fats Waller also making one of the earliest jazz recordings to feature a Hammond organ.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Maynard G. Krebs Explains

1960s-era TV comedy. A pre-Gilligan Bob Denver shows how Hollywood saw beatniks, at least for comedic purposes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Velvet Underground - After Hours

Happy birthday to Maureen Tucker. Here she sings a song written, unsurprisingly, by Lou Reed, and which ended the Velvet Underground's third album, called simply The Velvet Underground.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Eugenia León - Corazón Gigante

There are an infinite number of ways to mourn the dead. Many of them help, none come close to healing the wound completely.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

John Cale - Hallelujah

Nowadays "Hallelujah" is a standard known to millions, but for a while it was a lesser-known song on one of Leonard Cohen's lesser-known albums. That changed with this recording. John Cale heard Cohen perform it live and liked it so much he recorded it. Jeff Buckley's version, which brought the song to many people's attention, was based on this one.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cowboy Junkies - If You Gotta Go, Go Now

A mid-sixties Bob Dylan song that was never officially released at the time, but was covered by many other artists. Here the CJs provide a contemporary gloss.

Friday, August 22, 2014

George Harrison - That Is All

Posted Harry Nilsson's version of this recently -- here's the original.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman

According to Wikipedia, this song was Motown's first number one hit, and was released on this day in 1961. The image and sound quality of this clip are not great, but it's wonderful to see the young women perform. Well, they're lip-syncing, but still.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

H. P. Lovecraft - The White Ship

Recorded live in 1968. The band had secured rights from the author's estate to use his name.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

L.C. Cooke - Put Me Down Easy

Still listening to the recent release of L.C. Cooke archival recordings. Here's an original vinyl release of one of them.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Krugman on the Roots of War

Not an economist's area of interest, normally, but there's a tie-in.

Modern nations can’t enrich themselves by waging war. Yet wars keep happening. Why?

One answer is that leaders may not understand the arithmetic....And delusions of easy winnings still happen. It’s only a guess, but it seems likely that Vladimir Putin thought that he could overthrow Ukraine’s government, or at least seize a large chunk of its territory, on the cheap — a bit of deniable aid to the rebels, and it would fall into his lap.

And for that matter, remember when the Bush administration predicted that overthrowing Saddam and installing a new government would cost only $50 billion or $60 billion?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Luther Allison - It Hurts Me Too

Oops. Missed posting yesterday. Maybe this'll be good enough to make up for it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri, USA


“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings

Conducted by Raymond Leppard. The players are not identified, alas, in the link I have.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Judy Collins - Albatross

One of the few songs that Collins wrote and recorded herself, "Albatross" was originally released on the album Wildflowers with orchestral accompaniment. Nearly thirty years later she released this version with only herself on piano.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Four Tops - Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever (Alternate Mix)

What a great song, nowhere near as well known as their biggest hits. Not sure of the source of this alternate mix.

Friday, August 8, 2014

John Renbourn & Wizz Jones - Fresh as a Sweet Sunday Morning

The wonderful John Renbourn turns seventy today. Here he is in a performance recorded just a couple of months ago. I'm not familiar with Wizz Jones, his accompanist, but he acquits himself well.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

L.C. Cooke - Sufferin'

I first heard of L.C. Cooke a number of years ago but at the time could find very little information about him. Nowadays, however, that has been rectified. Last week saw the release of The Complete S.A.R. Recordings, SAR being the label run by his older brother, the much better-known Sam Cooke. The similarities between Sam and L.C. as vocal stylists are clear, but L.C. has a quality all his own that makes him well worth listening to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pink Floyd - Arnold Layne

Happy birthday to Joe Boyd, American-born English producer. His list of work in the late sixties and early seventies in particular is amazing, consisting of a lot of the most interesting rock coming out of London. Here's one of his earliest.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Krugman on Dodd-Frank

Dr Krugman refers to it as Obama's "other" success.

The Dodd-Frank reform bill has, if anything, received even worse press than Obamacare, derided by the right as anti-business and by the left as hopelessly inadequate. And like Obamacare, it’s certainly not the reform you would have devised in the absence of political constraints.

But also like Obamacare, financial reform is working a lot better than anyone listening to the news media would imagine. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ernest Dowson - They Are Not Long

It's the birthday of Ernest Dowson, born this date in 1867. He died in 1900, and his brief life resonates well with what might be his most famous poem. The Latin epigram may be translated as "the brief sum of life forbids us from thinking of far-off hope."

    Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam.

    They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
    Love and desire and hate;
    I think they have no portion in us after
    We pass the gate.

    They are not long, the days of wine and roses;
    Out of a misty dream
    Our path emerges for a while, then closes
    Within a dream.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Krugman on Experts and Reality

Dr K discusses what the economic consensus is and what the general perception of that consensus is.

Are we as societies even capable of taking good policy advice?

Economists used to assert confidently that nothing like the Great Depression could happen again. After all, we know far more than our great-grandfathers did about the causes of and cures for slumps, so how could we fail to do better? When crises struck, however, much of what we’ve learned over the past 80 years was simply tossed aside.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Emily Bronte - Remembrance

Happy 196th birthday to Emily Bronte, one of my favorite writers. Her major achievement was the novel Wuthering Heights, but she wrote poetry as well. Here the reading is by Stella Gonet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alfred Deller - I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Some more Deller, here doing the same song I recently posted in the Charlie Haden version. The guitarist is not identified in the source I have.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Alfred Deller - Sweet Kate

Oops. Got so busy both Saturday and Sunday mornings that I forgot to post at all. Never done that before. How about a little more Alfred Deller? Here again he is accompanied by Desmond Dupre on the lute, with Mark Deller, who I believe is his son, as second countertenor.

Friday, July 25, 2014

John Dowland - Flow My Tears

As performed by Valeria Mignaco, soprano, and Alfonso Marin, lute. I've posted Dowland before but the link is broken.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Children and Art (from Sunday In The Park With George)

Lately I've been listening to this soundtrack, and for some reason this song in particular stands out. Bernadette Peters, who originated the role on Broadway, plays the second of her roles, Marie the grandmother.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alfred Deller and Desmond Dupré - Have You Seen But the White Lily

It's always nice to discover a talent with which I was unfamiliar. Alfred Deller, here accompanied by his frequent collaborator Desmond Dupré on lute, was apparently the godfather of the countertenor revival a few decades back. His most important asset, while difficult to describe, is basically the same as the one possessed by Frank Sinatra: he sings the song, not the notes. There is a great deal of craft and skill on display here, but it is put at the service of emotion.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ringo Starr - Easy For Me

Mr Starkey sings a song written by his good friend Harry Nilsson.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Charlie Haden - Wayfaring Stranger

After Charlie Haden's recent death NPR's Fresh Air aired a sort of "best of" of his appearances there over the years. Part of this recording was played. This is Haden's only recorded vocal, in a voice rendered weak by childhood polio, singing a song he learned from his mother. We make jokes about "Love" and "Death," but really, what else is there?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Johnny Winter - Highway 61 Revisited

Haven't honored Mr W's passing yet. Here he reconfigures a Bob Dylan song on his second album.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Josh Marshall on the Consequences for Russia of the Malaysian Airlines Shootdown

This makes sense.

Find extremists and hot-heads of the lowest common denominator variety, seed them with weaponry only a few militaries in the world possess - and, well, just see what happens. What could go wrong?

The audio tapes posted by The New York Times might as well be from some future Russia-based version of Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show, a comical rendering of rustics and morons stumbling into an event of vast carnage and international consequence mainly because they're hotheads and idiots - the kind of people no one in their right minds would give world class weaponry to. It's like finding some white supremacist/militia types on their little compound in the inter-Mountain west and giving them world class missile launchers and heavy armaments.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Four Tops - It´s the Same Old Song

Classic Motown from the Holland-Dozier-Holland era, with James Jamerson pumping the bass. The "sentimental fool" phrase was used years later by Michael McDonald, a huge Motown fan, in the song "What a Fool Believes."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes

Yeah, it's funny, but he pretty much hits all the points that word nerds harp on these days.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Haydn: Symphony in B-flat major "La Reine" Hob I:85 Part:3. Menuetto e Trio: Allegretto

Happy Bastille Day. This is the third movement of Hadyn's Symphony 85, known as the "Queen Symphony" because it was a favorite of Marie Antoinette. So I guess this is basically the music of the people on the losing end. Not a hundred percent sure who the performers here are or I'd credit them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Finishing the Hat (from Sunday In The Park With George)

Mandy Patinkin sings Stephen Sondheim's song about what it means to live the life of someone devoted to creativity, its pleasures and its perils.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Harry Nilsson - Perfect Day

There's a glitch at the beginning, but what the hell. This is the last song off Nilsson's last album for RCA. He only put out one more album, which wasn't even released in the US until decades later. So for most of his American fans this was the last new music they ever heard from him.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ed Kilgore on the Republicans' Outreach to African-Americans

A nice piece of information and analysis touching points I haven't seen covered elsewhere. Kilgore is referring specifically to the current situation in Mississippi regarding the Cochran/McDaniel race, but it applies to many other places.

The idea that becoming more conservative is going to lift the prospects of Republicans among African-Americans is a complete hallucination. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say, reflecting [McDaniel campaign manager Melanie] Sojourner’s comments, that conservatives want African-Americans to change before they are worthy of outreach. And in a place like Mississippi, that means the GOP will remain the White People’s Party perpetually fearing black encroachment on its White Primary by “corrupt” pols like Cochran who dare suggest that representing constituents is more important than maintaining pure conservative ideology.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Harry Nilsson - That Is All

Harry covering a song from George Harrison's solo career, in 1976.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Krugman on Reality-Deniers

I guess I can face reality, because I read this and believe it.

The problem, in other words, isn’t ignorance; it’s wishful thinking. Confronted with a conflict between evidence and what they want to believe for political and/or religious reasons, many people reject the evidence. And knowing more about the issues widens the divide, because the well informed have a clearer view of which evidence they need to reject to sustain their belief system.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

Otis Rush - All Your Love (I Miss Loving)

I first heard this song on the John Mayall album that featured the young Eric Clapton, then years later I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan open a performance with it. But this is the original. Rush was another Mississippian who went electric, and was a guitarist that both EC and SRV admired greatly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Carole King - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Didn't mark the passing of Gerry Goffin, so better late than never. The original version of this song was a number one hit in 1960. Carole King's slowed-down version was a hit eleven years later.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Horace Silver - The Preacher

Heard this recently and it stuck in my mind, so let's have another post to mark the passing of Horace Silver.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Rolling Stones - It's All Over Now

RIP Bobby Womack. This is the first version of one of his songs that I ever heard.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cochran, African-Americans, and the Future of the Republican Party

Daniel Paul Franklin at Talking Points Memo explains.

Will this moment bring policy changes to benefit Mississippi’s blacks and their communities? Here is the key point: African American voters don’t have to change their politics to participate in Republican Party primaries, but the GOP candidates may need to adjust to attract black votes. Tellingly, Cochran spoke in favor of full voting rights and participation in the course of his last-minute appeal for votes in African American areas. At the very least, Cochran will now have to be cognizant of who kept him in office – and if he keeps the pivotal support of African American constituents in mind, he may well moderate his politics to inoculate himself against pressure from the far right. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Harry Nilsson - Turn Out the Light

There's a full version of this song on his next album, Duit on Mon Dei, but this demo included as a bonus track on the Pussy Cats CD has its charms. For one thing, the voice that comes in on the second verse is a nice example of Nilsson's sense of humor. There's a buzz on this particular clip, but it only gets in the way a little.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Keith Whitley - Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone

Performing the old Carter Family song when he was a member of Ralph Stanley's band.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ten Misconceptions About Science

Why not? Although I believe he's funnin' us with number ten. H/t MLB.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Horace Silver - Song for My Father

RIP to a great pianist, songwriter, and bandleader, who has died at the age of eighty-five. "Song for My Father" is his best-known tune. Big-time jazz fans Steely Dan acknowledged lifting the opening motif for their song "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." For more info, here's his Wikipedia entry.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Krugman on the Perception v. Reality of Obama's Achievements

It's not that the things that Krugman highlights are all that hard to see, but for some reason he doesn't have much company in the punditry.

Put it all together, and Mr. Obama is looking like a very consequential president indeed. There were huge missed opportunities early in his administration — inadequate stimulus, the failure to offer significant relief to distressed homeowners. Also, he wasted years in pursuit of a Grand Bargain on the budget that, aside from turning out to be impossible, would have moved America in the wrong direction. But in his second term he is making good on the promise of real change for the better. So why all the bad press?

Part of the answer may be Mr. Obama’s relatively low approval rating. But this mainly reflects political polarization — strong approval from Democrats but universal opposition from Republicans — which is more a sign of the times than a problem with the president. Anyway, you’re supposed to judge presidents by what they do, not by fickle public opinion.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Henry Purcell - Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary

I've posted parts of this recently, but this is the complete work. It's been much in my mind lately. The performers are alas not listed on the YouTube page for this clip.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Krugman on Movement Conservatism and its Discontents

Interesting that an economist has to do this bit of political analysis, that it seems to be beyond the ability of the average political pundit. Of course, when you're invested in the system, you can't really look at it too closely...

The combination of a successful electoral strategy and the safety net made being a conservative loyalist a seemingly low-risk professional path. The cause was radical, but the people it recruited tended increasingly to be apparatchiks, motivated more by careerism than by conviction.

That’s certainly the impression Mr. Cantor conveyed. I’ve never heard him described as inspiring. His political rhetoric was nasty but low-energy, and often amazingly tone-deaf. You may recall, for example, that in 2012 he chose to celebrate Labor Day with a Twitter post honoring business owners. But he was evidently very good at playing the inside game.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Harry Nilsson - Salmon Falls

Another one of the tracks from the Nilsson box set that's caught my attention. A slow and rather strange song, co-written by Nilsson and Klaus Voorman.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Krugman on the Meaning of Cantor's Loss

Krugman points out something I hadn't seen elsewhere.

Being a movement conservative in good standing meant considerable career safety: even if you or the politician you worked for lost an election, there were jobs to be had at think tanks (e.g. Rick Santorum heading up the “America’s enemies” program at a Scaife-backed think tank), media gigs (two Bush speechwriters writing columns for the Washington Post, not to mention the gaggle at the WSJ and Fox News), and so on.

In other words, being a hard line conservative, which to be fair involved some career risks back in the 60s and into the 70s, became a safe choice; you could count on powerful backing, and if not favored by fortune, you could fall back on wingnut welfare.

And Eric Cantor...came across very much as a movement conservative apparatchik. He took very hard line stances, but never seemed especially passionate; he was, arguably, basically a careerist, and as such was fairly typical.

Maybe that’s what the primary voters sensed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Digby on Democratic Presidential Politics

As the saying goes, what Digby said.

In essence, the result of that 2008 near tie vote was that Obama got to go first with the understanding that Clinton would automatically get the nomination 8 years later. What this means is that (barring unforeseen circumstances)there will have been no left wing challenge in presidential races for 16 years and I think that suits the Party and its rich donors just fine.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Harry Nilsson - Save The Last Dance For Me (Demo)

Not crazy about the fact that we get to see nothing but his tombstone while listening to this track, but there you go. There was a full-blown version of STLDFM on Pussy Cats, the John Lennon-produced 1974 album, but this more intimate version really appeals to me.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Johnny Rivers - Memphis Tennessee

JR's version of "Memphis" is good, but for me part of the value of this clip is the interview at the end. It's a real time capsule of the era.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Krugman on the New Carbon Pollution Rules

I could say something cute, but hey, why not just say it's here.

For what it’s worth, however, the attacks on the new rules mainly involve the three C’s: conspiracy, cost and China. That is, right-wingers claim that there isn’t any global warming, that it’s all a hoax promulgated by thousands of scientists around the world; that taking action to limit greenhouse gas emissions would devastate the economy; and that, anyway, U.S. policy can’t accomplish anything because China will just go on spewing stuff into the atmosphere.

I don’t want to say much about the conspiracy theorizing, except to point out that any attempt to make sense of current American politics must take into account this particular indicator of the Republican Party’s descent into madness. There is, however, a lot to say about both the cost and China issues.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vera Lynn - A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

In 1940 Britain was already at war, and the young, who love love and are the ones who go to war, wanted to hear songs like this, understandably.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bobby Helms - Fraulein

I've posted this before, but the link is broken, so it's fair game.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

RIP Maya Angelou

File:My Heroes - Maya Angelou connected with countless people through her powerful poetry.jpg

My favorites of her works are the memoirs. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is deservedly a classic, but the books that follow, which take her through much of her adulthood and a rich and fascinating life, are also good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bobby Morse - The Best Things in Life Are Free

I don't have cable these days so haven't been able to watch Mad Men, but hey, I hear things. This is a wonderful moment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

nada keeps no schedule

So distracted I hadn't realized until now that I hadn't posted on Saturday. Which is sort of ironic, since this post is just to say that I don't have anything to post today.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Krugman on What Works in the European Economy

It's all here.

Europe’s financial and macroeconomic woes have overshadowed its remarkable, unheralded longer-term success in an area in which it used to lag: job creation.

What? You haven’t heard about that? Well, that’s not too surprising. European economies, France in particular, get very bad press in America. Our political discourse is dominated by reverse Robin-Hoodism — the belief that economic success depends on being nice to the rich, who won’t create jobs if they are heavily taxed, and nasty to ordinary workers, who won’t accept jobs unless they have no alternative. And according to this ideology, Europe — with its high taxes and generous welfare states — does everything wrong. So Europe’s economic system must be collapsing, and a lot of reporting simply states the postulated collapse as a fact.

The reality, however, is very different...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Harry Nilsson - Walk Right Back/Cathy's Clown/Let the Good Times Roll

I've posted another piece of this 1971 BBC show before. The "Let the Good Times Roll" portion made it onto his next album, Nilsson Schmilsson. Using the available technology to let him sing with himself was an excellent idea.