Category Archives: Music

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Day I Get Home

Fantastic Landscape (Volcano Erupting) by David Alfaro Siquerios.

Our visit to Virginia was a quickie. One of the highlights came on the return trip when we met longtime First Draft readers Lex and Carroll Alexander for lunch. We rendezvoused at Stamey’s in Greensboro, NC and ate the food of their people: barbecue. The meal included perhaps the best peach cobbler I’ve ever had. A good time was had by all but I’m afraid Carroll and I did most of the talking. She has family roots in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and I was eager to untangle them. Nosy might be a better word, but it’s always fun to learn someone has Momus/Comus/Proteus old line krewe types in the family. You never know what happens when you give someone’s family tree a shake. All sorts of oddities are likely to fall out.

On a weird note, I got into a twitter slagging match last week with a Gret Stet legislator’s wife. My crime was criticizing her hubby’s voting record. She was not amused and he contacted me by DM. “Perfection” is a terrible burden and they don’t carry it well. #sarcasm. I wound up inviting them to a “block party” so the fight would end. I’m not sure why they think fighting with citizens is a good move but they do.  I’m not the first person to have this experience and won’t be the last. Weird, weird, weird.

This week’s theme song wedged itself in my head on our trip home. The title is a minor misnomer  as we got home last Sunday. The very Beatlesque The Day I Get Home was written by Difford and Tilbrook for 1991’s Play album. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a swell live performance.

Now that we’ve trekked home, it’s time to jump to the break without crash landing. Knock on wood or some such superstitious shit.

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Friday Catblogging: Tongue In The Mail

I actually got this picture of Paul Drake via text from our catsitter, Christy of Petit Pet Care fame:

The post title refers to the opening line of a classic Crowded House song, which became the name of the Crowded House fan email list in which I was an active participant when it was active. Here’s the tune:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Bootzilla

I’m about to break a rule and perhaps even set a new precedent for this feature. Bootzilla was the first single from Bootsy Collins and the Rubber Band’s 1978 debut album  Bootsy? Player of the Year. The album cover is somewhat pedestrian but the single cover is Bootsylicious, which is why I’m featuring it.

The album cover is the featured image of the video below. Cool shades, meh album cover. Get ready for the tale of “the world’s only rhinestone rock star doll.”

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life On The Road

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Dr. A and I are on the road today after a whirlwind trip to Virginia for our nephew Ryan’s high school graduation. His graduation ceremony was a bit *too* exciting as there was a threatening phone call that led to the hall being cleared. It turned out to be a crank call, but in 2018 one has to take these things seriously. So much for my plan to embarrass the nephew. So it goes.

This post is a place holder but I do have a theme song: Life On The Road from the 1977 Kinks album, Sleepwalker. It’s the opening track of that record and it rocks like crazy:

The closing track of the album has the word life in the title as well. It’s the story of a guy who tries to commit suicide on an impulse but decides to live instead. A subject that’s both timely and timeless.

How about one more Kinks tune for the road.

That’s it for this week’s weak edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. I wrote this before hitting the road so I’m using a two-year old picture of the nephews doing what they call the Twin Towers. Kids today.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw

The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw is one of the best album titles ever. Pigboy Crabshaw was the nickname/alter ego of Elvin Bishop. Why anyone would want to be called Pigboy is beyond me, but I’m not from rural America like Elvin. I’m a confirmed city slicker.

In addition to the cool art design by William S Harvey, this is a helluva album musically. The Butterfield Blues Band moved from a guitar based blues ensemble to a horn heavy R&B combo after the departure of Michael Bloomfield to form Electric Flag. A very young David Sanborn plays alto sax on the album.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube,

SMV: Farewell To The World 20th Anniversary Concert

Crowded House week continues at First Draft. In 1996, Crowded House said farewell to the world by playing a show outside the Sydney Opera House. Since they regrouped in 2006, they decided to celebrate the earlier celebration on its 20th anniversary. How celebratory of them. Pop open some bubbly and enjoy.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Saturday Sun

Cafetiere et Carafe by Jean Dubuffet.

It feels like August outside as I write this with the ceiling fan whirring up above my head. It’s time to dispense with the weather report lest I sound whinier than I am. And I’m pretty damn whiny even though, unlike Della and Paul, I don’t have a fur coat to contend with. Paul Drake deals with his by shedding copiously. Della Street rages against the elements in her own way. She is one mouthy cat, y’all.

I may have cats on my mind but the rest of the city is obsessed with rats in a French Quarter eatery. There’s a viral video and everything. Oh wait, there’s always a viral video in 2018. As someone who worked in the Quarter for many years, the thought of rats near the Big Muddy is not shocking. I’m not planning to go to that restaurant but even good places with clean kitchens have the odd rat. Repeat after me: to live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough. She-doo-be.

The new Mayor is “being intentional” by launching a PR campaign dubbing New Orleans the City of Yes. In the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, include me out, unless it involves the veteran prog rock band. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “being intentional” means. So it goes.

When I started this regular feature in 2015, I used songs about Saturday as theme songs for the first few weeks. Saturday Sun is one I somehow missed but I’ve had Neil Finn on my mind and in my ear of late. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the promo video and a live performance on the BBC.

Now that we’ve basked in the Saturday Sun, it’s time to put on some sun screen and jump to the break.

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Burning Down The (White) House

Donald Trump, amateur historian, has struck again:

President Donald Trump reportedly justified the tariffs he placed on Canadian steel and aluminum by asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a phone call: “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?”

CNN reported on the exchange, citing sources familiar with the call. The British burned down the White House in the War of 1812, when Canada was a British colony. CNN reported the President may have been joking, but the tariffs, justified on national security grounds by the Trump administration, have left Canadians furious.

“To the degree one can ever take what is said as a joke,” one source “on the call” told CNN, when asked if Trump meant the comment as a joke. “The impact on Canada and ultimately on workers in the U.S. won’t be a laughing matter.”

I guess we can be grateful that Trumpy didn’t go on about Dolly Madison pastries while tossing zingers at Trudeau the Younger in pursuit of his stupid trade war. He probably doesn’t know that James Madison was president in 1812 and that Dolly was a legend in her own right. The Insult Comedian will inevitably claim that he gave Madison his period nickname, Little Jemmy.

Only in the Trump era would the words Canada and trade war be found in the same sentence. Canada is the best damn neighbor in the world and Justin Trudeau is the most amiable of world leaders. Oy, just oy.

Since Trump makes all educated Americans feel like Charlie Brown, it’s time to pass the zingers:

Now that we’ve had an afternoon snack with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, and Linus, it’s time to make like the Canadians:

Wait. Talking Heads aren’t Canadian? Who knew? Certainly not president* Trump.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Reach Out

I hadn’t planned to do three consecutive Motown album covers in this space but that’s how it worked out. The cover is by painter James Meese who is best known for his pulp fiction paperback covers.

As you can see, Tamla/Motown often used back covers as ads for their other releases:

Finally, here’s the title track from this 1967 album:

Trumpy Bear?

I thought of Henry Adams when I learned of the Trumpy Bear this morning on a friend’s Facebook feed. The grandson of our most brilliant president and great-grandson of Paul Giamatti famously said:  “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin.”

I wonder what Adams would have made of the Current Occupant who has become the second Oval One to be transformed into a plush toy:

The fact that it was Teddy Roosevelt supports the Adamic theory of devolution. Life appears to not only imitate The Sopranos but the band Devo who posed the eternal question: “are we not men?” In 2018, the answer is not Devo, but Trumpy Bear.

I felt obliged to check Snopes to see if Trumpy Bear really exists. To my chagrin, I learned that it does. Oy, just oy.

Imagine giving Trumpy Bear to your favorite toddler. They’d be scarred for life even if they dig the secret compartment containing Old Glory. It reminds me of a Chucky doll and I hate Chucky. He makes me wanna upchucky as does Trumpy.

I suspect you won’t be shocked to learn that Trumpy Bear originates in Texas, home to Energy Secretary and syrup hugger Rick Perry and the wingnuttiest wingnuts in Wingnuttia. If I were an actual journalist I’d do more research but I’m a pundit, so fuck it. Just read the Snopes entry.

The commercial for the product sounds like a vintage SNL parody ad:

I wonder if the Insult Comedian gets a cut? He likes to wet his beak, after all.

The Trumpy Bear is the Trump butt-plug in reverse. It’s for fans and people who like to traumatize friends and family of all ages. It could, however, be posed in various obscene ways but I’m unwilling to shell out $39.90 plus shipping and handling. That’s right, I’m not from Texas.

I have another concern about this product: why isn’t Trumpy Bear orange? A brown Trumpy Bear strikes me as unrealistic but the hair *does* resemble a dead nutria pelt.

Since I played Elvis yesterday, I have a raging earworm. Sorry for not being more original. As far as I know, there’s no rock song about Henry Adams, so here we go:

I just want to be your Trumpy Bear. Did I say that? Is Joy Reid’s hacker after me now?

Saturday Odds & Sods: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

The Memory by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a long, hot pre-summer so far, which has me feeling languid and ennui laden. We went to an anniversary/hurricane season opening day party yesterday at Chez Homan. Long time readers might recall Michael as my blog nemesis. The feud is over and I won.

I’m still suffering withdrawal symptoms from the end of The Americans. A bit of Moscow summer weather sounds rather appealing at this point. Of course, they make you drink vodka so I’ll pass. I guess that makes me as stubborn as a Moscow Mule…

It’s too hot to be wordy so I’ll keep this snappy. I know, famous last words and all that shit.

This week’s theme song was written by the brilliant Motown songwriting team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966. It was originally recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips but Marvin Gaye’s rendition was the bigger radio hit. It’s a foolproof song, which has been recorded many times over the years. We’re featuring Gladys, Marvin, and CCR today.

Now that we’ve shared some juicy gossip. lets find some shade and jump to the break.

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Malaka Of The Week: Jesse Duplantis

In the 1980’s I paid attention to televangelists because their antics were so entertaining. From Jim and Tammy Bakker to the Gret Stet’s own Jimmy Swaggart, they were larger than life as were their scandals. The so-called prosperity preachers will inevitably get into trouble and that’s how Jesse Duplantis came on my radar screen. I’d never heard of him even though his ministry was founded in Destrehan, Louisiana which is a mere 30 miles from Adrastos World HQ. Apparently, I am a slacker in the house of the lord. I should pay more attention to billboards on the interstate.

Duplantis has a problem. He wants to spread the prosperity gospel worldwide but he can’t do it flying commercially. He needs a fourth private jet. And that is why Jesse Duplantis is malaka of the week.

Malaka D is trying to raise money to add to his private airline:

If Jesus was to descend from heaven and physically set foot on 21st century earth, prosperity gospel televangelist Jesse Duplantis told his followers, the Redeemer would probably pass on riding on the back of a donkey: “He’d be on an airplane preaching the Gospel all over the world.”

And Duplantis believes Jesus wouldn’t exactly settle for 30 inches of legroom or getting patted down by TSA.

Why would He choose anything less than the Falcon 7X, a private jet that nears the sound barrier but also has noise-limiting acoustic technology, a bluetooth-enabled entertainment center and an optional in-flight shower?

Duplantis, saying he needs roughly $54 million to help him efficiently spread the gospel to as many people as possible, has asked the Lord – and hundreds of thousands of hopefully deep-pocketed followers across the world – for just such a plane.

<SNIP>

During his request for a new plane, Duplantis said he realized some people would remain skeptical.

He said there was no obligation, and there was only one surefire way to determine what, exactly God wanted them to do: Prayer.

“So pray about becoming a partner toward it, if you like to and if you don’t, you don’t have to, but I wish you would,” he said. “Because let me tell you something about it, it’s going to touch people. It’s going to reach people. It’s going to save lives one soul at a time . . .

“If you pray about it, I believe God will speak to you.”

The quote that stands out, of course, is the whole Jesus wouldn’t ride a donkey thing. I’m not a believer but I seem to recall Jesus being big on helping, not grifting, the poor. I suspect he’d take the bus, ride the subway, or drive a junker to get around. They’re the modern equivalents of riding a donkey. The only jackass in this story is the prosperity preacher. And that is why Jesse Duplantis is malaka of the week.

Contemplating Malaka D’s plane mania has given me some aviation related earworms.

The Americans Thread: Brothers In Arms

I expected a series finale curve ball from Americans honchos Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields and we got one. It was a curveball that Minnesota Twins super fan Glenn Haskard would have appreciated since his boy Bert Blyleven had the best hook in baseball history. I knew a curveball was coming but I wasn’t prepared for this particular break.

Even the finale title START was a curveball. It was named for the next generation disarmament pact that was finalized during Bush 42’s administration. But it sounds more like a series premiere. It’s The Americans way.

I “studied” for the finale by watching big chunks of seasons 3 and four in preparation. I’m not sure if I aced it, but I’m hoping to give Henry a run for his money grade-wise. Please grade me on a curve or is that curveball? You decide.

After several relatively silent episodes, music was prominent in the series finale. I’ll get to the use of U2’s With or Without You after the break. The dirge-like Brothers In Arms was brilliantly used in the episode and since it’s one of my favorite Dire Straits songs, I decided to make it the post title. It will also be burned on my mind as the theme song of Philip and Stan’s doomed friendship.

Let’s play it before the spoiler break:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Marvin Gaye Super Hits

This Marvin Gaye compilation was released in 1970 by a record company hungry for product. Marvin shrugged it off and went back to work on his greatest album What’s Going On.

I’m uncertain as to what Marvin thought of Carl Owens’ cover art but who wouldn’t want to be depicted as a super hero of soul?

I rarely post a YouTube playlist in this space BUT this one is so good that I’m breaking my own rule. Book me, Danno.

 

Sunday Morning Video: TCB

TCB is a 1968 teevee special produced by Motown in association with the guys who made Laugh In, George Schlatter and Ed Friendly. TCB was a then popular acronym standing for Taking Care of Business.

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Mess Of Blues

The Star by Benny Andrews.

There’s a system forming in the Gulf, which has led to the inevitable widespread panic on social media. And I’m not talking about the jam band either. It’s a bit early for this but when did the weather care what I thought? I do wish people would stop Chicken Little-ing. That never makes anything better.  Ya heard?

Dr. A and I celebrated our anniversary at one of our favorite local eateries, Gabrielle Restaurant. It’s a reboot of the beloved restaurant owned and operated by Greg and Mary Sonnier before Katrina. They revived it some 12 years after the original Mystery Street location flooded. The food is fabulous and the new space on Orleans Avenue is warm and inviting. Grace and I know Mary and her charming daughter (some would say clone) Gabie aka the girl for whom the joint is named. Put it at the top of your list the next time you’re looking for a great meal and fabulous service in New Orleans. Greg is one of the best chefs in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and that’s saying something. That concludes this brief commercial announcement. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

This week’s theme song was written in 1960 by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman for Elvis Presley. It was the b-side of It’s Now Or Never but it also charted at number 32 in the US and number 2 in the UK. It was recorded at the same time as Elvis’ post-army comeback LP Elvis Is Back but was not included on the original album, a common practice in those days: you wanted the kids to buy both the 33 and 45. Colonel Parker knew how to shake down the suckers, y’all.

We have two versions of A Mess of Blues for your listening pleasure: the Elvis original and a 1995 cover from the great John Hiatt.

Now that we’ve messed around with the blues, let’s jump to the break.

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Crossfire Hurricane: Deep State, Deep Doo Doo

I pinch myself almost every day that a minority of the voters (with help from Russian intelligence) elected an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head to the highest office in the land. We’re bombarded with this fucking moron’s nonsense and stupidity on a daily basis. One of the things I find most disconcerting is Trump’s continuing reliance on bizarre conspiracy theories when, in theory, he should be the best informed person in the country. While it’s true that most of the conspiracy theories are self-serving, the dumb fucker believes them.

Things have gotten even weirder since the failing New York Times published its big story about the FBI counter-intelligence operation Crossfire Hurricane. Against all evidence. Team Trump insists it was an Obama administration operation aimed at undermining their campaign and/or overthrowing Trump in a Deep State coup. I guess that’s why it was secret until last week. #sarcasm. Instead, it was the least intrusive way to investigate some serious allegations. Of course, we know that the Trumpers are denizens of the Derp State, so why should anyone be surprised by this meshuga crapola.

I am mildly thrilled that the Feebs used the opening line of the Rolling Stones classic Jumpin’ Jack Flash as the code name for the investigation. That would never have happened in the Hoover era when rock and roll was considered subversive, especially the Stones who were bad boys then, plutocrats now. Jumpin’ Jack Flash it’s still a gas, gas, gas.

Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman has great sources in the alternate universe known, to me at least, as Trumpistan. He has a wild piece today at The Hive about the latest conspiracy theories and even got our old pal Roger Stone to go on the record:

According to people familiar with Trump’s thinking, his team is attempting to build the case that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion. The theory goes that the F.B.I. later used these contacts with the Russians to delegitimize his presidency. Trump’s advisers say the intelligence community believed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, but in case she didn’t, they concocted this elaborate plot to remove Trump from office. “Just when you think it can’t get stranger, it does,” a Trump adviser told me. Stone claims the anti-Trump conspiracy includes senior intelligence officials from the Barack Obama administration. “The guy who will end up burning in all this is [former C.I.A. director] John Brennan,” Stone told me. “If I were him I’d break the capsule and swallow it now. That psychopath is going down.”

Brennan is a psychopath now? It takes one to know one, Rog. I’ll see you on the Dark Stone of the Moon, dude. The lunatic is now on the sinkhole laden White House grass. It’s time to revive this meme from the October 20, 2016 post referred to above:

I’m curious as to how the CIA director was pulling the strings at the FBI. The Feebs have always zealously protected their independence up to and including the Comey era. You don’t have to be Mark (Deep Throat) Felt to figure that one out. The only reality in the Derp State is what helps Trump save his worthless ass from prosecutors.

I’m back to pinching myself. What disturbs me is that there are people out there who believe that the so-called Deep State is why our country in trouble when it’s really the conspiracy theorist in the chief who put the derp in deep, which is why we’re all in deep doo doo. Hopefully, we won’t sink before the November election, which is when we’ll have a chance to elect a Congress that will do its job and rein in these crazies. But it will take years for the country to regain sanity after losing its mind on 11/8/2016.

The last word goes to the Stones and two of my favorite covers of Jumpin’ Jack Flash. It’s still a gas, gas, gas.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Let The Sunshine In

Are you ready for an art nouveau Motown cover? That’s the best description of this 1969 cover for the Supremes 16th studio album. I wasn’t able to learn who designed and executed it, which is a pity since it’s pretty darn swell.

Here’s the title track:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: One Week

Asheville by Willem de Kooning

I’ve mentioned the celestial switch that heralds summer heat in New Orleans. It switched on this week. Yowza. We’ve had record heat almost every day, followed by torrential rain yesterday.  Yowza. We’ve even had the odd afternoon brown-out as the utility company struggles to keep up with demand or so they say. Entergy doesn’t have a lot of credibility after they astroturfed a meeting at which the city council voted on a new power plant for the company. In short, they padded the room with paid actors. They blamed a sub-contractor but nobody’s buying it.

In other local news, two of my friends, Will Samuels, and blog pun consultant, James Karst, had parts on the season finale of NCIS: New Orleans. In honor of their appearance on this fakakta show, we have pictures.

Will is the gent in the shades. He usually wears Hawaiian shirts so I almost didn’t recognize him.

They actually let Karst hold a prop gun. I gotta say he looks like a proper Feeb, skinny tie and all. He’s even in a scene with series regular CCH Pounder best known to me as Claudette on The Shield.

This week’s theme song, One Week, was a monster hit for Barenaked Ladies  in 1998. We have two versions for your consideration. The original video followed by a clip wherein the band reunited with former co-lead singer, Steven Page earlier this year. BNL performed a medley of One Week and If I Had A Million Dollars.

It’s time to count this week’s receipts while we jump to the break. They’re considerably less than a million dollars.

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The Americans Thread: Only Human

There are only two episodes remaining in the final season of The Americans. The episodes keep getting more and more intense. The Summit was the best installment thus far. It contained a major plot development that surprised even me and I’m watching closely. We’ll get to that after the spoiler break.

It’s odd that the show runners haven’t used any Todd Rundgren, with or without Utopia, songs over the course of the series. (I googled it and couldn’t find any without going down an epic rabbit hole. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.) It’s time to rectify that with what amounts to a theme song for this recap.

I’ll explain Only Human‘s relevance after the spoiler break; even if the post is a day late, I know not everyone was watched The Summit yet. Here’s a hint: Gorbachev is the chap in the fedora, the better to hide the splotch on his head.

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