April 21, 2016
Formerly, the Artist known as Prince.
I ain't gonna get maudlin. But:
It would be more meaningful if there were a close competitor, but that's quite a performance.
February 12, 2016
Gaga for the Anthem
It was a pretty good Super Bowl for this Bronco Fan. I walked the dog and missed most of the halftime show. I enjoyed several of the commercials, and there was that 24-10 thing.
I really dug Lady Gaga's national Anthem rendition. I collect them and enjoy both contemporary individualized and traditional versions. The lyrics are sublime and exhibit a nuance and subtlety for which Americans are not especially renowned. I didn't understand them until I was 40.
I flirted with having Francis Scott Key narrate my ill-fated book on Dred Scott v Sandford (he was Chief Justice Roger Taney's Brother-in-law and childhood friend). Alas Key died long before any of the interesting events. Key's ghost was a bit too much even for historical fiction.
But I retain a tie with Key and the lyrics are marvelous. Thanks to Penn Jillette, I can recite the second verse from memory. It is seriously magical:
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deepBut the tune is garden-level martial pablum with a difficult range. Sorry patriots. Ergo, a little (or even a lot) of individualization fails to offend me. I wish we'd follow the Constitution as written, but a lead sheet for the Star-Spangled Banner is a living document full of emanations and penumbras.
..."I just thought about the lyrics and what they really mean," said Gaga. They've been around a long time, so I thought about what they mean now, I just sang from my heart."
December 23, 2015
Merry Christmas, Humanity!
The deal involves rights to stream 224 songs from the original 13 studio albums released in the UK as well as "essential" collections including Past Masters.
UPDATE: Available now on iHeart Radio, among other places.
July 25, 2015
"Pissin' in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener" - Bumped
The title is a line from the new song by blog favorite Kacey Musgraves. I heard it for the first time today, on the radio. My thought was, "Damn, that is TEA Party Liberation Theology right there." We need to encourage her to record a duet with Snoop Dog. Play it in Baltimore. Chicago. Brooklyn.
"Pourin' salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter."
A-dang-men. The chorus is good too but I won't excerpt. You'll have to listen. (Like you don't want to listen anyway.) This video looks like a bootleg from a live show in Florida. And a damn fine bootleg too.
This music blogger was impressed too.
Studio version here.
UPDATE: The linked studio version has been yanked, but here is the official video instead. And what the heck, let's bump it too.
June 30, 2015
It is awesome. Philosophically friendly, melodic, just great. Five stars.
June 22, 2015
Rant + Review Corner
No, the Pope will not be mentioned.
Both are well worth your time and money. I watched them on successive nights and would recommend both in proximity. Because they're the same -- only they're not.
Wrecking Crew was made by Tommy Tedesco's son, Danny Tedesco. It's a little lower budget and a lot less "artsy." Tedesco is telling the story of his famous father that nobody has ever heard of, but whose music everyone has heard. It's a good story told well. Tedesco peré had a regular column in Guitar Player magazine with the same humor he exhibits on screen. So, I knew him.
Muscle Shoals has a little more budget, some big names, and much more artistic cinematography. Both movies have the gift of insanely good soundtracks, lovingly wrapped in the stories they tell. Muscle Shoals perhaps feels more like a movie and less like an informative seminar at your local library.
Yet, the artistic side leads it into some philosophical weeds. Behind the truly spectacular footage of the Tennessee river, we are told the story of the Yuchi Indian tribe who called the Tennessee River the Singing River because they believed a woman who lived in the river sang to them. Now that is a great story. And, were I contracted to tell the story of why a little backwater berg in Alabama and a crew of White Crackers who inhabited it would come to be a huge part of R&B music, I too would not have been able to resist "The Singing Lady."
Bono adds a little flavor, suggesting that rivers are always important to music: The Mersy in Liverpool, The Mississippi for blues, the Tennessee by Muscle Shoals... "Maybe music just needs the mud," says Bono, poetically behind his trademark sunglasses.
But they are all wrong! It is so much more prosaic -- but the economic explanation is somehow more beautiful. Music goes to rivers because people go to rivers. And people -- as these documentaries make clear -- make music.
The other beautiful part of the real, praxeological story, in the wake of have crimes in Charleston, is that much of the magic in Muscle Shoals was integration. Black artists came from the North, not really expecting to see so many white players. (The funniest part of the film is Wilson Pickett's describing the trip from airport to the studio. As he drove past cotton fields, he asked accusingly: "is that what I think it is?")
But the bands were integrated in both movies. Players don't care [full disclosure: the most talented group with which I was ever involved was an eight-piece disco band in 1980 and I was the only Person of Pallor]. And the lads in Muscle Shoals credited the diversity with creating a rich American gumbo of blues and country and bluegrass and R&B. I thought of Matt Ridley's "Ideas having sex:" beautiful music's having mixed race parents not unlike the lovely mixed-race exotic supermodels. I've long been a reverse-eugenicist.
More prosaic still was the Randian superhero that is Rick Hall. Born into poverty, rejected by his mother, he admits that his drive was fueled by bitterness. But he creates it. He builds the studio (Yes, Senator Warren...), he hires the players, he finds Percy Sledge singing his songs from the cotton fields to hospital patients, brings him in the studio, cuts "When a Man Loves a Woman" and calls Jerry Wexler of Atlantic and sells it to him over the phone.
Hall had much but lost much. Every record, he explains, was make-or-break. He had to make a #1 hit or the phone would stop ringing. So he drove the players, the artists, and himself -- and that produced a lot of quality -- even Keith Richards agreed.
I highly recommend both flicks. And you may choose the poetic or prosaic explanation: whichever you prefer. But there is a quiet beauty in celebrating human creation.
June 9, 2015
ThreeSources Entertainment News
It's either an astonishing wonder or no wonder at all. Willie Nelson is 82 now, Merle Haggard is 78, and in their new collaboration, "Django and Jimmie," released last week on Sony's Legacy Recordings, they have one of the strongest, most engaging country albums of 2015. With its fresh, revealing songs, striking harmonies and varying rhythms, it will no doubt be added to the long list of enduring recordings they have each been making since the early 1960s.
Interestingly (to me), I was not sure the first time through. I liked it, but felt that a lot of the tunes sounded "phoned in."
On subsequent plays, I changed my opinion sharply. What sounded at first like lack of investment was actually spontaneity -- which is now a felony in Nashville. But these tunes were recorded in Austin over a couple of days when Merle was in town. The tunes are not under-loved, they are simply not over-produced.
Five stars. Why when these two lads season a bit...
UPDATE: Dang, I am quite the hitmaker! Thanks for running out and buying it.
June 7, 2015
I wanna be like Ek
Because I think he's right:
"The old-world paradigms we used to have are no longer true. When I think about music in the future, I don’t make a distinction between what's radio, what used to be the music library, and so on," Ek told the Observer in a rare interview. "It's only going to be listening - and, as that goes forward, this old notion of these different industries or different competitors will collapse and merge together."
I like the idea of "Computer, play Kacey Musgraves." Or Dire Straits, or The Who, or Elvis. (Or one of these days, hopefully before I die, "Play The Beatles.")
I've fallen in love with a particular music service called "Rdio." It's got a subscription option but so far I'm listening to the free version, with occasional short commercials and songs from some artists (Jason Aldean and *ahem* Taylor Swift) limited to 30 seconds. I don't know if that changes with subscription or not. But it suggests songs based on whatever search you do, artist, song or genre, and lets different users set up their own "station" with personalized preferences.
No voice control yet but how long do you think that will be? Sooner than streaming the Beatles.
May 30, 2015
Now that weed is legal in Colorado, Washington, and probably more states very soon, prominent former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney says "he doesn't want to set a bad example for his children and grandchildren by using marijuana." Instead he prefers wine or "a nice margarita."
Hasn't he gotten the memo that marijuana is safer and better for you than booze? I would have expected a more enlightened decision from a long-time vegetarian advocate. Next he'll be saying he's Taxed Enough Already, or something stupid and white like that.
May 15, 2015
Requiescant In Pace
My Facebook feed is about 100% BB King this morning. See? My friends ain;t so bad.
April 27, 2015
Tactical Victory, Strategic Loss
The Beatles looked pretty clever for some time having not sold digital rights to their music too cheaply. Everybody else got devalued, but Apple Corps retained value by avoiding the digital market.
We have the Amazon Echo® which I dig muchly. I don't use a lot of "Alexa's" feature-set, but having a voice-activated music player in the living room is handy as can be. There are some challenges of asking for something she can understand and that is available in one's Amazon library or on Amazon Prime®. Cool, but not yet perfect, it leaves one hunting for requests never tried before.
As I was scanning physical media for Sunday's Review Corner, the lovely bride said "Amazon, play Beatles." I thought "No, that's not gonna work, those mp3s are all locked up in Sir Paul's underwear drawer or Michael Jackson's estate or Hillary's email server -- not someplace you're gonna find 'em."
The Echo says "Shuffling Music by the Re-Beatles, from Prime Music." And on comes a passable cover of While my Guitar Gently Weeps. Yet, passable is not The Beatles. I do not hold the Fab Four in the reverent esteem of many my age, but they have clearly earned a special place in music. And George Martin's production was so far ahead of its time, we may yet to have caught up.
And, it struck me that the iPhone generation may never encounter one of the biggest and most influential acts of all time. If you're not digital, you're dead to the millennials, right?
Even some fans might find themselves inuring to The ReBeatles. That would be an artistic loss.
March 24, 2015
Is that what David Crosby (age 73) thought he was when he clipped a jogger named Jose Jimenez with his Tesla at 50 miles per hour?
According to the CHP, Crosby was going the speed limit--55 mph--and he didn't see Jimenez off to his right because he was driving into the sun.
"I'm sorry officer, I didn't see the red light because I was driving west near sunset." Are you kidding me? What if George W. Bush had hit a jogger with a Spanish surname while driving his SUV? [My dollar is in the mail.]
A CHP spokesperson says that Jimenez was the one who was on the wrong side of the road, because California law requires pedestrians to be walking/running against traffic when they're outside of a residential or business zone (this was a rural road) and he should have been on the left; while the incident is still being investigated, they do not expect to be filing any charges against Crosby.
October 1, 2014
Jeffco Teacher Promotes Closing Young Minds
I need to get out more. This video dates to 2012, during the Romney-Obama campaign season, but Breitbart and I are just discovering it now. Why? Because it was, and apparently still is, on the Facebook page of a Jeffco 8th grade government studies teacher. Yee Haw! Where were the cool teachers when I was in 8th grade!
It's a very catchy tune with talented vocals but it does have me waxing nostalgic for the day when lyrics were unintelligible. And by the way, if one is "sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor" should she refrain from saying "You say you think we need to go to war well you're already in one, 'cause it's people like you that need to get slew..." and writing a chorus of "F*** you, F*** you, F*** you?"
And yet I do agree with Ms. Allen on one thing: It's not me, it's you.
HT- Friend Jen Raiffie for posting the vid.
September 18, 2014
That could be a thing! Telecaster Thursday! (Hat-tip Sugarchuck)
(Only trouble is, Jim Campilongo looks like Sen. Mark Udall. I may watch this again after November.)
July 1, 2014
Maybe I do Need Subsidies...
I laughed about "access" to guitar strings. But maybe my employer does need to get involved:
June 3, 2014
It was the third of June
...another sleepy, dusty, delta day...
Happy Billie Joe Day!
April 24, 2014
Shameless Promotion of Others
Blog friend sc's current project gets a great review in BluesBytes. (Scroll halfway or search for "Annie Mack")
Annie and the band close out Baptized in the Blues with another Gospel-tinged tune, "Revolution." "Can I get an amen...or am I preaching to the choir...we need a revolution...truth start a righteous fire." I've enjoyed Annie's disc immensely and am glad that my Minnesota buddies -- Gary, Spike and John Hammer -- brought her to my attention. Sad that I missed seeing a live performance from Annie in Memphis, but I'm hoping to correct that later on this summer. Annies website is www.anniemackblues.com and I'd head over there and grab yourself a copy of Annie's disc. We need a revolution in Annie's case, and buying her CD is the best way to start a righteous fire!
January 24, 2014
Shameless Promotion of Others
I hope I am not sharing too much, but I'm going to risk it.
Blog friend Sugarchuck is in Memphis competing at the 30th International Blues Challenge with Annie Mack. (If you have not purchased the new CD, you are a bad person, have no taste, and are probably a statist or a Charger fan or something worse). But that's not important.
From Facebook, I learn both that they have advanced to the semifinals and that sc is eating quite a bit of fried chicken and waffles on Beale Street. Plus, this cool picture form the "Women's Blues Showcase""
Break a leg, man!
January 9, 2014
Real Book Software: Awful, Awful, Awful!
I bought a product so startlingly bad I need to post a review, both for catharsis and to perhaps prevent another from buying it. I did find a forum where people have been complaining about this for a few years. Spread the word.
I saw a banner ad for Real Book Software. The Real Book is a popular and famous book of charts for Jazz songs. It is a play on the term "Fake Books" which provide rudimentary enough chords to let you "fake it." The Real Book had meatier arrangements and actual transcriptions of solos. It is pretty interesting story [Wikipedia].
The Real Book Software was a good idea: put the book on tour computer, allow search and sort of the charts by genre, composer, title, performer, yadda yadda. They even package mp3s of the tunes so you can listen, and -- big draw for me -- versions of each in Band-in-the-box, a popular software I use to print charts but it also plays the songs for you to play along.
The ads and docs looked funky; that should have been a warning. But it fit into a new educational direction of mine and I was intrigued enough to PayPal $127 (Oww!) Wish I had searched online before paying. If you find this, I strongly advise you to steer clear.
The worst thing about Real Book Software:
Second worst thing about Real Book Software:
A very bad thing about Real Book Software:
Please feel free to link and share. I see from the forum that they have been defrauding naive players like me for a few years. Knowledge might be power.
December 3, 2013
Blog friend SugarChuck is a prolific and in-demand sideman who excels at escaping the "entangling alliances" inherent in band membership. An exception was made to create a CD with Annie Mack. I've talked it up 'round these parts a little.
The work has grabbed some great reviews, but the important one in this space would be Living Blues Magazine. Spoiler Alert: They Loved it! (Scroll down a bit, they don't like <a> tags over there -- not authentic enough HTML for the blues purist.)
Vocalist Annie Mack is the best kind of "roots" artist--dedicated to the heritage she's embraced, but resolute in her refusal to be pigeonholed. The title tune on this, her debut CD, is full of shout-outs to blues tradition, but it's propelled by a boogity-shoe funk backing. The disc’s most straightforward gospel number, Call On Jesus, owes as much to classic-era, Latin-tinged R&B as it does to the gospel tradition; the wronged lover's lament Fool to Believe grafts a Love Light-like groove onto a proto-funk, New Orleans-tinged rhythmic pattern. Elsewhere, Mack delves into roadhouse rock, neo-Kimbrough trance boogie, country-tinged deep-soul balladry, and blues/rock/pop mélange in the contemporary mix-and-match mode. Her alto delivery is strong, and she seems to gain flexibility as she immerses herself more deeply in her material--any hint of rookie self-consciousness is erased when the spirit hits. Her band, meanwhile, summons high energy without succumbing to overkill, and they always remember to play ideas, not just notes, even at their most exuberant and hard-charging.
Perfect Stocking Stuffer...
November 7, 2013
Yet Another #CMA Clip!
I don't recall ever reading:
Looking extra pretty in a ruffly, lemon yellow party dress that showed off his killer legs, Grover Norquist...
David Boaz? Ron Paul? No. Yet, it works for Kacey Musgraves.
Her fierce libertarian anthem was apparently too much for the censors. But John Stuart Mill would have approved. In a ruffly. lemon party dress...
"Do you have that Obamacare?"
Though it might have been a big risk several months ago, with the growing dissatisfaction over Obamacare emerging just in time for the CMA Awards, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hit it out of the park with this year’s funny skit.
Back story here.
October 28, 2013
RIP Lou Reed
Like Elvis, I have to admit that I appreciate Lou Reed more as an icon than my being a big fan of his music. I heartily recommend The Andy Warhol Diaries -- and not on Kindle. It is an interesting look at some interesting lives and times.
For the Requiescat in Pace tour, Eric Alper posts 20 Best Lou Reed Quotes. I'll have to go with:
One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz.
I cannot not think of The Little Willies.
October 23, 2013
Annie Mack, Live at the Wicked Moose
That's blog friend Sugarchuck on guitar (the rather tasty solo starting at 2:19)
Bonus track: Baptized in the Blues
Buy the CD/Official Website (unlike ObamaCare, I was able to quickly log in and purchase the MP3s)
October 17, 2013
And Now, ThreeSources Blues Review
We oughtta have a regular blues review around here. Maybe I could talk SugarChuck into writing it...
Yet he doesn't do "Shameless Self Promotion" like his buddy jk. And wouldn't highlight this super review of a recent project in Blues Beat Magazine (scroll down halfway).
At the three-way intersection of gospel, soul and blues stands Minnesota native Annie Mack, who has been "Baptized in the Blues." Her exciting debut album is an uplifting, eclectic, all original ten-song testimony of how music -- and the Lord -- can change lives for the better. Mack's voice has the smoothness of cocoa butter tinged with cinnamon, warm and satisfying on both lead and harmony vocals. Accompanying her are producer Paul O’Sullivan on pedal-steel guitar, guitarists Tom Kochie and Charlie Lacy, Tim Scribner on upright and electric bass, and Miles Johnston on drums. Nine able studio guests add keyboards, horns, and background vocals. Every track is refreshing and original, showcasing Mack and her fellow artists' keen storytelling ability. This album is so great and so well done, it will propel this Minnesota girl to performing on national and international stages.
I bought the MP3s from www.anniemackblues.com a couple of days ago and have been digging it fiercely.
Five stars! Editor's Choice! Must Buy!!!
August 13, 2013
"Of Course We Know That!"
Better late than never, Paul David Hewson.
June 20, 2013
Giants Walked the Earth!
Happy Birthday, Chester!!!
Embedding disabled, but click to hear Chet Atkins play Autumn Leaves. Certifiably awesome!
June 2, 2013
Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies...
While the graduating class at Harvard has to endure junk scientist Oprah Winfrey, the graduating class at Berklee School of Music got:
UPDATE: Berklee 2, Harvard 0. Charles C W Cooke reviews Oprah's speech and finds it wanting.
What do you get if you cross a collection of witless Hallmark platitudes, a fairly strange and inordinately rich woman who has lived in a bubble for 30 or so years, and a congregation of people virtually begging to be told that they are wonderful?
May 17, 2013
Like B.B. King Knew Something...
Hat-tip James Taranto. But how he avoided his own "what would we do wothout experts?" riff is hard to fathom:
May 14, 2013 -- Consumers experiencing relationship problems are more likely to prefer aesthetic experiences that reflect their negative mood, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. -- Science News
April 26, 2013
Giants Walked the Earth
Requiescat in pace, Hoss.
April 21, 2013
Back to Mah Roots
A Music Review Corner.
I mentioned picking up the newest Eric Clapton album, Old Sock. I have dug it for a week. I doubt it will become a favorite, but it's pretty good. Looking at musicians I have followed for 40 years, all those who did not die in a plane crash, motorcycle, or asphyxiate of their own vomit, have kept a certain style even as they explored different idioms.
The reason I tripped on the Clapton release was that Amazon emailed me about a new Willie Nelson disc: Let's Face the Music and Dance. Willie was also a huge influence on me as a singer and songwriter (thankfully, less as pharmacist or tax accountant).
I never thought too much of his super-simple guitar playing except that he had a distinctive, recognizable, and melodic style. Players are always drawn to flashier instrumentalists. But I am taking it all back.
Willie has put out about 90,471 albums. "Red Headed Stranger" captivated me as a young man with three chord country tunes and sparse arrangements. Learning he wrote more sophisticated tunes like "Crazy" initially surprised me but it should not. The last few decades have included schooners full of benefit, duet, special project and recollection works.
On "Let's Face..." he gets into the American Songbook that I love. But he also seems to say "Screw it, I'm Willie Nelson, and I want to do a guitar record." His playing is still distinctive, recognizable, and melodic. You'd have to been breathing in the studio after he and Snoop Dogg recorded their duet (on the "Heroes" album) to call it flashy.
But you cannot dismiss it as unsophisticated. I'm looking closely at it and am enthralled. He's a troubadour who happens to be a pretty damn good guitar player. I think I have a new old hero.
April 11, 2013
Music Review Corner
So, jk , what did you think of that first-Clapton-album-you've-bought-in-twenty-five-years?
I dug it. I don't think it will displace any of my beloved jazz faves, but it is enjoyable. Jim Fusilli writes at the WSJ that my adolescent guitar hero may be planning his last tour. The article includes a review of the new album:
Last month, Mr. Clapton released "Old Sock" (Bushbranch), an album of light reggae, mellow blues and easygoing standards like "All of Me" (featuring Paul McCartney on upright bass and vocal), Lead Belly's "Goodnight Irene" and the Gershwins' "Love Is Here to Stay." Steve Winwood plays organ and Mr. Clapton nylon string guitar on Gary Moore's "Still Got the Blues (for You)," and Taj Mahal sits in on a reggae version of "Further On Down the Road," written by Mr. Mahal and Jesse Ed Davis. Clapton fans who want his blistering guitar work will have to revisit his back catalog, but his playing on "Old Sock," rich with tasty little asides, is impeccable.
This link should be good for seven days, irrespective of subscription status.
April 4, 2013
Paid to accept media.
I'm a cloud guy. But I am a cheapskate first. I just bought Eric Clapton's Old Sock on Amazon. I disturbed the nuns at school by intoning "Clapton is God!" when I was a young man, but recently I have become so full of my snooty jazz that I have turned my back on my hero. As he has seen fit to include a bit of snooty jazz, I felt rapprochement in order.
I buy most of my music on the Amazon Cloud Player these days, and could have here for $10.99. But for $9.99, they will send me a CD -- and AutoRip™ it so that it is included in my digital collection. Yup -- they're giving me a dollar to take a CD off them.
UPDATE: Amazon is the coolest company in the whole world. They have retroactively added every CD I ever bought from them -- for which they have licensing -- to my "Cloud Player."
February 13, 2013
I know I'm late to the party, as these good people have already broken up, but I remain charmed by their musical purity and distinctive sound. The Civil Wars:
The price to be on the cutting edge of music appreciation is to listen to a lot of bad stuff. I outsource that filtering to others.
January 11, 2013
How About a Little Music, Scarecrow?
I know I am riding at the back of this train, but in case somebody on the internet is even less trendy than I am...
I tripped across a couple "The Civil Wars" YouTube videos six months ago and liked what I saw and heard. Amazon had their "Barton Hollow" Album on MP3 for $5 (Still today) and I picked it up right before Christmas and got distracted.
I dusted off the ones and zeros yesterday and am pretty enthralled. I am a sucker for "purity" in music, and their sparse, acoustic instrumentation jumps out against the hyper-production. At the same time, their dramatic harmonies and extreme vocal range belie the simplicity.
On their web page, one can view VH-1 Unplugged clips if you don't want to pony up half a sawbuck. It almost seems unfair to have them "unplugged" though. They should be forced to use distorted electric guitars, synthesizers and autotune. Only fair.
[Embed removed for not playing nice!]
December 13, 2012
Susanna Hoffs, Very Live
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
I realized it was time for something wonderful, to remind us (me) of all that is good, true and beautiful.
The picture quality of this may not be of the best, but it matters not. It is an expression of something timeless and never to be minimized, or forgotten:
November 19, 2012
Marco, NWA and Me
I'm pretty sure that my post "Straight Outta Rand" was not quite in line with the Three Sources style book; I am not even sure how many of the brethern and sistern had any idea of the parody's original reference.
However, check it:
GQ: Your three favorite rap songs?
November 7, 2012
Cake Song for the Day!
Was struck strongly by the applicablility of these lyrics. Ah, does music have the power to heal!
I'm not feeling alright today
And the grave-digger puts on the forceps
I just want to play on my pan-pipes
Sheep go to heaven
I dont wanna go to sunset strip
And the grave-digger puts on the forceps
I just want to play on my pan-pipes
Sheep go to heaven
November 6, 2012
Keep the Change
We speculated on tracks for tonight -- here is one for today: sweet, funky acoustic groove with guaranteed ThreeSources-friendly lyrics:
October 23, 2012
Theme Song for Obama's Last Days
I was thinking about a proper theme song for Election Night, and it came to me! I know these guys have been a huge success for over 35 years and Brian Johnson did a fine job, but for me the only Real Thing was the few dazzling years when Bon Scott brought his inimitable writing and style.
Play it on Nov. 6 and raise a glass to the man. "Skål", brother!
October 2, 2012
And Now, at Long Last: The Greatest Song Ever: "Ode An Die Freude"
I apologize for the lack of posting over the last few weeks. I have been keeping up with the doings here and making the occasional comment, but have had little original to say, and thus said little.
But now, at last and certainly none too soon:
The Greatest Song of All Time!
"Ode An Die Freude" (Fourth Movement, Symphony No. 9), Ludwig von Beethoven
(Lyrics originally a poem written by Friedrich Schiller)
For those whose German is not quite perfect, here are the full English lyrics:
Joy, bright spark of divinity, Daughter of Elysium, Fire-inspired we tread Thy sanctuary.
I could hear it a thousand times, and it would still cause the tears to spring.
And having said all that words can express, let us be reminded that there are things only the notes can say. For now, we will say no more,
September 27, 2012
How about a little guitar?
Tommy Emmanuel is playing a very little guitar. (I'll be here all week.)
Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to a Frank Vignola video of Tico-Tico ("No Stairway!"). And it is great. But, a fella gets clicking after a YouTube, and this one got the embed:
UPDATE: And some chatter praises Frank's great humor. I have seen him several times at Summit Jazz concerts in Denver and can attest. I also recommend the two Frank and Joe Show Albums: 33 1/3 and 66 2/3
September 18, 2012
Ehrmigahd! This so deeply fit this week's vibe I could not wait to post.
Hat-tip: Radio Deluxe on Facebook. That is guitar deity John Pizzarelli and his lovely bride, Jessica Molaskey. They have a syndicated radio show blog friend sc turned me on to. You can listen online to old episodes. And, for this crew, I'd recommend "Sexy Songs."
September 17, 2012
Julie London - "Fly Me to the Moon"
A bit of heaven, made real here on earth:
I do believe that if I found out the universe was ending in one minute, forty-four seconds I'd spend it watching that.
September 6, 2012
The Almost Five Best Songs of All Time
I love politics, but for just a moment let us explore the good, the true and the beautiful.
As a prelude to the "big reveal" of the Greatest Song of All Time, here are a number of great songs that didn't make it, with comments:
"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon and David Lindell. Warren Zevon was a brilliant genius, and this song combines his flair for the unusual with a bang-up finish. To say the least.
"When the Whip Comes Down" by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Just as Rand couldn't in a thoroughly rational way explain her liking for Mickey Spillane, I can't rationally say why this is my favorite Stones song of all. But it is, punkish and highly amusing.
" Summer Wind" music by Heinz Meier and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The fact that I didn't get a Johnny Mercer song in the Top 5 shows a lack of proper planning. Note: The Michael Bublé version of this song is not good. He sounds way too happy, given the lyrics. I have always loved the linked version by Sinatra. I kill it at karaoke bars.
"Take Five" by Paul Desmond (as performed by the Dave Bruebeck Quartet). It has no lyrics, but it speaks!
"The Soft Parade" by Jim Morrison. A tour de force encompassing life, death and all points in between. I think.
"Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan. Look, I love a number of Dylan songs but I gotta admit, Jimi Hendrix played this song in a way that will live on as long as human beings still have ears, and minds:
September 4, 2012
Fauxchohantas Campaign Theme Song
JUST POSTED BY THE ELIZABETH WARREN (D) CAMPAIGN - THEME SONG FOR THE STRETCH DRIVE:
I am a real Cherokee Faker
They took my pre-tend native tongue
I used the whole Indian schmeer
But maybe someday when they see
The original (which I once saw performed in Reno, Nevada. These guys were a hoot!):
August 30, 2012
This is an art & culture blog too! Michelle Branch posts a free cover of the Stones' "Play with Fire."
She should do a whole album of Rolling Stones tunes -- she has an intrinsic affinity for the Jagger stuff.
August 27, 2012
Dudes get paid by the note
Why not a little music if the convention is postponed? Here, Joscho Stephan and Tommy Emmanuel run down the "Rondo alla turca." If you don't have seven minutes, don't worry -- they get the job done in 1:52.
Hat-tip: blog friend Sugarchuck.
August 23, 2012
Great Covers of History: "Raspberry Beret"
I don't have a thing in politics or philosophy I would like to talk about today, therefore:
Basically R.E.M with Warren Zevon on vocals...and it really rocks.
The secret history of the album:
Buck, Mills and Berry later joined Zevon as his back-up band while recording Zevon's solo album Sentimental Hygiene (1987). During an all-night (and supposedly drunken) session in the midst of recording Zevon's album, the four recorded ten cover songs, mostly blues standards. Although originally not intended for publication, these recordings were finally released by Giant Records on the album Hindu Love Gods (1990), with the artist credit going to Hindu Love Gods. The song that received the most attention was a rock version of Prince's 1985 hit "Raspberry Beret", which reached No. 23 on the Modern Rock charts
August 21, 2012
Welcome to the Jungle (As It Was Meant to Be)
I liked this song in the original. As with some other songs (e.g. Hendrix, "Like a Rolling Stone") I didn't fully understand it until I heard someone's else's version.
August 13, 2012
Greatest Songs Countdown...Number 2: Stardust
Music by Hoagy Carmichael. Lyrics by Mitchell Parrish.
Many think that this is the greatest song ever. I recall that back in the days of Web 0.1 there was a page titled simply "The Greatest Song Ever" that had a lot of facts and history. I can't locate it now, but it made the case well. Nearly everyone who is anyone has recorded it, of course; just a few well-known versions being by Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson.
The fact that the song can be interpreted in so many wonderful way points to its universal quality, but the lyrics are a vital aspect of its greatness. It was originally an instrumental but the lyrics add a haunting sadness that completes a package of genius. So I feel the versions with the full lyrics are the best. Coltrane's is amazingly expressive, though.
Here are some wonderful interpretations to get started. Harry Connick, Jr. finds the right balance of sadness over his loss, and joy that it ever was:
The Hoagies, Live at the Coffeehouse (more happy):
Coltrane: genius. Period (also, a bass solo, bravo!):
Next: Number 1! Will you be shocked, amazed, or outraged? Tune in soon for another exciting adventure...
August 10, 2012
Happy Birthday Hoss!
Leo Fender would have been 103 today!
August 5, 2012
Haven't been real keen on the flash mob concept. But this might change my mind:
August 4, 2012
Blast from the past
Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a link to a photo of a fixture of our youth (diagram that, babies!)
The "Voxmobile" was owned by the extremely colorful owner of Strings & Things Music on Colfax Avenue. Colfax -- like the Speaker/VP for which it was named -- has a colorful history. The longest commercial road in the USA, much of it houses red-light districts, head shops, seedy night clubs, the State Capitol - you get the idea. The Zanza Bar, featured in "Every Which Way but Loose" is on Colfax. I had a house gig on Colfax three blocks from my famous apartment. Even where it runs through a nice Denver neighborhood, Colfax is somehow seedy.
"Bill," I cannot remember another name, was a Colfax Entrepreneur right out of Central Casting. The History Channel show "Pawn Stars" reminds me a lot of both Bill and Strings & Things. We hung out there, I bought a few things, and one night we encountered him drunk on the street and ran for our lives from threats of violence.
But Bill owned this car and would drive it in parades or just park it out front to attract attention. He said it had appeared in a Beatles movie, but I have not been able to confirm that. And a great lie from this colorful character is somehow better than a true story.
August 2, 2012
"Baby, Please Don't Go" - The Amboy Dukes
Just for fun; not one of the Five Best Songs but a good one, and there is such joie de vivre in Ted Nugent's guitar work and the vocals. Nugent was 18 years old when this was cut. Wow.
July 31, 2012
Statistical Proof That Pop Music Growing Worse
Special to Brother jk: As I noted below, my favorite period of American music ended circa 1962. Now comes a post from the brilliant statistician and blogger William J. Briggs with (insert hyperbole warning) unimpeachable analysis that shows how objective is my good taste.
New proof (which wasn't really need) that popular music is, as has long been claimed, been growing worse has arrived thanks to the diligent work of Joan Serrà and her colleagues in the Nature: Scientific Reports paper, "Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music." From the abstract:
July 28, 2012
Greatest Songs Countdown, Number 3: "Toxicity", System of a Down
Writing credit goes to Shavo Odadjian (bass) and Daron Malakian (vocals).
I knew nothing of this group before I heard this song and saw the video at a friend's house about 10 years ago. The apotheosis of metal - soft to hard, sweet to screaming, and with a beautiful melodic structure to the chorus that is almost operatic.
These choices for "greatest" are obviously subjective but this one is Top Five in the impact it had on me when I first heard it.
July 2, 2012
Greatest Songs Countdown: Number 4
Following on to the initial Greatest Songs entry, we present the fourth greatest song ever (IOHO) written:
"All the Things You Are" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. As Wikipedia notes:
The modulations in this song are very unusual for a pop song of the period, and present challenges to a singer or improviser, including a semitone modulation that ends each A section (these modulations start with measure 6 in the A and A2 sections and measure 9 of the A3 section), and a striking use of enharmonic substitution at the turnaround of the B section (last two measures of the B Section), where the G# melody note over a E major chord turns into an A-flat over the F minor 7th of measure 1 of section A3. The result is a tune that in the space of every chorus manages to include at least one chord built on every note of the Western 12-tone scale - a fact that was celebrated in jazz pianist Alex von Schlippenbach's serialist reimagining of it on his album Twelve Tone Tales.
That's just beautiful.
Here's a very early version in a different style (Artie Shaw with Helen Forrest on vocals).
June 29, 2012
As part of the "get to know you" process here, I will post five of the songs I believe are the "greatest" ever. Of course, this is a highly personal thing; even Ayn Rand concluded that what music one loved could not be determined objectively. And I haven't heard every song ever written, either. Those caveats aside, on with the show. (Note: I am nominating the song, not a performance. But I'll always go with the writer as performer where applicable).
At Number 5 on the Greatest Song Charts:
"Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Kris Kristofferson
May 17, 2012
Requiescat in Pace
Don't know that I'll get maudlin and mawkish, but I tell no lie when I admit to always digging this tune:
Goodnight, Disco Queen!
UPDATE: Marty Walsh gets the guitar credit and I assume that includes that rather splendiferous solo.
May 14, 2012
Lost Another Hoss
Donald "Duck" Dunn, RIP at 70. Incredible Stax session player, forever known for his appearances in the Blues Brothers franchise.
May 12, 2012
Blog friend sc suggests an embed for Saturday:
If you're putting up Willie videos you've got to post this one! Any chance to salute Leon Rhodes has to be taken.
UPDATE: Young Glenn Campbell
April 19, 2012
UPDATE Ia: A link is not sufficient:
April 9, 2012
I love Sophie Milman. Back in Moscow, the Russian-Israeli-Canadian "closed the show with this Russian classic, 'Molitva' then I cried on-stage for the first time in my life."
March 23, 2012
May Have to Start Watching "Idol"
As a snob and as an American, it is my right to disparage American Idol, those who watch, those who appear, those who buy its sponsors' products, you get the idea.
I concede that many talented people have been on the show, yet the incentive model rewards things that are not always musical. This young lady, Ms. Kelly Clarkson, knocked me out with her Star Spangled Banner at Game Three of the World Series in Texas two years back.
Dan McLaughlin, @baseballcrank, provides a link to this and claims "This pretty much blows away the Beatles original." In lieu of virtual coffeehouse, I present for your approval:
I say she nailed it.
March 8, 2012
Meanwhile, In Music News...
If I can do my favorite Frank Zappa quote from memory: "Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."
And yet. Monkees Michael Nesmith is sophisticated and engaging in a great Rolling Stone interview about Davy Jones.
It's clear the producers cast each of you for different reasons. Why do you think they selected Davy? What did he bring to the group that was unique?
I met Nesmith when I was in Florida (1980) at what I swear was a club he owned. I did a little sleuthing and cannot find any documentation that that was the case. Huh, it's one of my better stories.
But I did meet him and he was kind and gracious. I'm touched by his intelligence, warmth and sincerity in the interview.
Everyone was accomplished -- the notion I was the only musician is one of those rumors that got started and wont stop -- but it was not true. Peter was a more accomplished player than I by an order of magnitude, Micky and Davy played and sang and danced and understood music.
Unexpectedly good. Hat-tip: my dear moonbat-facebook-friend Dave.
Now, in financial news
(Reuters) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corp, whose guitars have been used by music legends Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, filed with U.S. regulators on Thursday to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering.
Players worshipped "pre-CBS" Fenders when I was a lad (quality in the mid 70s was suspect -- this was not all snobbery). Wonder if "private Fenders" will command a premium. (I did not say there was no snobbery.)
Maybe I should buy that strat...
January 20, 2012
Etta James, Requiescat in pace, girl!
January 15, 2012
Recently tried this and was happily surprised; I started with Xmas songs after the ComCast holiday music channel got repetitive. Very close to Xmas I found ComCast had revamped its play list with selections that were turning Xmas carols into something that was once again interesting. Let's be honest 80% of the Xmas music we hear - even rousing remakes with 21st century effects - are songs from the 50's and 60's.
Right after Xmas I tried Pandora with a fun selection from my past sure to evoke an eclectic response: King Crimson. I found their selections quite good - the really strident stuff from Tarkus just showed they really had the genre down - if their matching groups was strange (Genesis is like The Police?). The Bio's were cool, but the "Buy it" links not so good. Wow, Beck sure is one interesting guy, and I hadn't quite seriously considered Zeppelin's R&B influence before.
Now how much extra spam and Malware is on my computer is an open question. A little distressing was how the dominant pop-up ad was aimed at meeting age-appropriate women... but later put that down to the site noting I'd chosen a group who was dominant in the late 60's and early 70's. Sheesh, date 50+ women; I can barely handle two!
back to regularly scheduled political prosthelytizing....
January 13, 2012
With apologies to Three Dog Night.
Tebow's comin' Tebow's comin' (Tebow's a-comin') Well you better hide your heart, your loving heart Tebow's a-comin' and the cards say... a broken heart
Walk but you'll never get away No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache I walked to Apollo by the bay Everywhere I go though, Tebow's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away) Tebow's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away) Tebow's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked but...) Get down on your knees (she walked but she never got away)
December 29, 2011
One of My Giants!
The good folks at @Epiphone and @GibsonGuitarsPR salute The Band's Rick Danko.
Danko was under-appreciated. In a band of fairly good singers like Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, too few noticed the all-time vocal chops he put on so many of those great tunes. I was quite taken by his voice and impish humor in "The Last Waltz" (which I saw about 100 times the summer it came out in a pique of adolescent angst, but that's another story...)
I saw him live with Paul Butterfield at the old DU arena; I bought the solo album he is working on in one scene of "Last Waltz;" and I'd stop to hear the little background vocs he added to Clapton's "No Reason to Cry" album.
I lifted this video from the Epiphone page. If you don't want the (odd) bass lessons, skip to 1:50 for a sweet little blues jam.
In peace, brother Rick, in Peace.
Or this one.
December 24, 2011
December 23, 2011
I had this in mind all day, and dear blog brother KA's holiday cheer in an unrelated comment made it a must. Please join in the merriment with your comments. Merry Christmas to all.
October 27, 2011
Giants. Earth. Walking.
I'll live and die a jazz snob. But John Prine songs light me like a match. And what a format: a short blast of text from the author and a YouTube of a performance. Nice.
Loved the description of "Illegal Smile:"
I have to confess, the song was not about smokin' dope. It was more about how, ever since I was a child, I had this view of the world where I can find myself smiling at stuff nobody else was smiling at. But it was such a good anthem for dope smokers that I didn't want to stop every time I played it and make a disclaimer.
October 26, 2011
TEA Party Anthem
It's a natural fit even though the songwriter, Krista's husband Michael Branch, says he wrote it before the TEA Party ever started.
Its new claim to fame is as the official song of the Herman Cain Presidential Campaign.
I think I've also seen what would make a good "Occupy" Anthem somewhere. If I find that I'll post it too.
UPDATE: Not what I was originally thinking of, but better: The Occupy Anthem
October 17, 2011
Not Bad for a Sunday
Unloaded some hay, baled and stacked a little more, trimmed hooves for Sampson (2250 lbs. of heavy horse), re-graded the new road down to the arena, caught a few minutes of football here and there and wrapped it all up with a Roger Daltrey concert in Broomfield with dagny.
Roger was friendly and prolific, singing the entire Tommy set before another hour or so of Who favs plus a medley of Johnny Cash hits. The band used two guitarists - Simon Townsend and session man Frank Simes, whom I had never heard of but was quite talented and covered the elder Townsend riffs authentically.
UPDATE: Westword has one of the most thorough reviews I've read, including those from St. Louis, New Jersey and somewhere in Canada. Aside from writing that 'Baba O'Reily' and 'Teenage Wasteland' are distinct and seperate songs, Goldstein's review pretty much agrees with the opinion of these two characters.
August 30, 2011
Major Garrett @MajoratNJ says he is "scandalously late to the party," but he beat me:
August 22, 2011
Photo of the Century
I had the honor of sharing the area of Downtown Boulder with one of my heroes this weekend. I played a friend's wedding and reception at an art gallery on Spruce while BB King had a show a block over on Pearl Street. I suggested to one of the waitresses that he was welcome to sit in if he happened to show up.
His tour busses were parked in front as he was staying at the Hotel Boulderado across the street. A mutual friend of the groom and mine saw the blues legend as he left the early set up. He suggested that his 4th grade son say hi.
BB King was gracious with his time and gave the young man a couple of guitar picks. How cool is that?
September 28, 2010
But he is "not a human being." [There will be no excerpt. Link is provided advisedly.]
Can't say I disagree with him not being human.
Hat tip: Bing
July 30, 2010
Going Cold Turkey
The Refugee has noted that Coffeehousin' is conspicuous by its absense this week. Guess he'll just have to dig into the archives for a "Best of..." fix.
December 17, 2008
The Lost Christmas Eve
The Refugee has always been a sucker for a good Christmas album and decided to take a flyer with the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Grabbing the easiest thing on the shelf, he got their newest album, "The Lost Christmas Eve." He was not prepared for the heavy metal nature of some of the cuts. "This sounds like Christmas-meets-Tommy," he muttered upon listening to the first two tracks. Upon further investigation, he learned that it is indeed a rock opera, proving that The Refugee has not lost his keen eye for the obvious.
After getting his head around the idea that it is not a traditional Christmas album, the Broadway-style format kind of grew on him. He gives the album a 4 1/2 creshes out of a possible 5 and recommends it to ThreeSources looking for something a bit different. He cautions against cueing it up right next to The Carpenters, however.
April 29, 2007
I really really dislike Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. His solo stuff even more.
I don't mind sixties psychedelic rock (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lemon Pipers, Donovan, etc) but the Syd Barrett creeps me out.
Everytime it shows up in iTunes' Party Shuffle or on the iPod I have to skip it.
December 25, 2006
The pompadoured dynamo whose classic singles include "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" died Monday of heart failure, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. He was 73.
"People already know his history, but I would like for them to know he was a man who preached love from the stage," said friend Charles Bobbit, who was with Brown at the hospital. "His thing was 'I never saw a person that I didn't love.' He was a true humanitarian who loved his country."
December 15, 2006
(not to make light of tragedy)
December 12, 2006
Happy Birthday, Francis Albert
For the longest time (50 years actually), Philly area DJ Sid Mark would host "Fridays with Frank" and "Sundays with Sinatra" on various Philly radio stations. I remember driving home from church with my parents listening to it, but it wasn't until I started delivering pizzas that I willingly tuned in.
Awesome. Hearing his voice takes me back to those days in the 40s, 50s and 60s (that i missed) when things were "classy" and men wore hats. Not to mention the whole Rat Pack scene. Despite Frank's personal shortcomings, his sound hearkens back to simpler times. Kind of like hearing Glenn Miller. It evokes a specific period of time.
By the time I got listening to him, Mr Sinatra was advanced in age, and I don't think was on the road, if at all. I still remember the day I heard he died. WWDB, the radio station was playing Sid Mark's show at the time, switched to all-Sinatra that day. Sid Mark's broadcast was memorable, as he relived his own experiences with the legend. It was a sad day.
If you're interested, the Sounds of Sinatra is Sid Mark's current show, and it's syndicated around the country. Highly recommended.
Me? I'm listening to my iPod's Frank Sinatra playlists.
Happy Birthday, Frank.
Posted by AlexC at 1:24 PM