Category Archives: Music

Saturday Odds & Sods: Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

I survived jury duty. I even got a diploma of sorts. I’m uncertain if it’s for good behavior; more like bored behavior. I was called upstairs for voir dire on the last day. I tweeted about it after graduation:

Canny is Leon Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish District Attorney. Here’s what I said about him in the Bayou Brief in 2017:

He’s a notoriously hardline, tough on crime District Attorney with the demeanor of an irritable undertaker and the strange uncharm of a grim Dickensian authority figure such as Mr. Murdstone. I had dealings with Canny when he was a criminal court judge and I was lawyering. He was arrogant, biased, rude, and dismissive. His success in electoral politics has always been a mystery to me but some people confuse assholery with strength. The Current Occupant of the White House is the best example I can think of. At least Canny has better hair.

Well, they asked for full disclosure…

People have been asking me if I planned to write at length about the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. The answer is no. Why? Too many people focus on things other than the music and mud. Too many get bogged down in generational politics; one of the dullest subjects on the planet. It’s dull because it’s cliche laden: not all Baby Boomers sold out, not all Gen-Xers are slackers, and not all Millennials are twitter obsessed airheads. More importantly, not all members of the greatest generation were all that great. I often thought that my late father’s motto could have been, “We won the war so we don’t have to listen.” That concludes my rant about generational stereotypes.

This week’s theme song was written in 1933 by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. It was featured in the 1934 movie Moulin Rouge and sung by blond bombshell Constance Bennett. Ooh la la.

We have three versions of this torchy torch song for your listening pleasure: Constance Bennett,Tony Bennett, and Diana Krall. Ooh la la.

Constance and Tony are not related. His real name is, of course, Anthony Benedetto.

It’s time for a trip to Disambiguation City with a song written for the 2004 American Idiot album by the boys in Green Day. Same title, different song. Ooh la la.

Now that I’ve shattered your dreams, let’s jump to the break. Ooh la la.

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Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Wrecking Crew

Dr. A and I saw Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood last weekend. We both loved it. I thought it was his best movie since Jackie Brown.

Anyway, Sharon Tate is a character in the movie and went to the cinema to watch her own movie, The Wrecking Crew. Here’s a side-by-side image of Donald Hamilton’s book and the poster for the Dean Martin movie.

It’s trailer time:

The Wrecking Crew became the nickname of a group of elite LA studio musicians. They were celebrated in a documentary of that title in 2015:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Denny McLain

I went down a YouTube rabbit hole and watched a pretty good documentary about Denny McLain. McLain was the last pitcher to win 30 games and won 2 Cy Young Awards. He was also a egenerate gambler and wannabe bookie. His pitching career flamed out by the age of 28. He also played a mean organ:

If you’re feeling like a lounge lizard, here’s the whole damn album:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Meet On The Ledge

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner.

It’s the final day of one of the greatest musical festivals in the world: Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. Dr. A and I attended the event’s 40th anniversary in 2007. We actually took a tour, which gave us insider access including a chance to hang out with the super-nice members of Fairport Convention: Dave Pegg, Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie, and Gerry Conway. Nancy Covey’s Festival Tours organizes tours for people who don’t like tours. It was the trip of a lifetime and we formed many friendships that still endure. End of travelogue.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson in 1968 for Fairport’s What We Did On Our Holidays album. Meet On The Ledge is a song about death that is somehow life-affirming. It’s often played at funerals and is typically the last song played at every Fairport Convention show. At Cropredy, a cast of thousands joins the band onstage for an epic sing-along.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the Fairport original with Sandy Denny on lead vocals; a solo acoustic version by Richard Thompson, and Fairport and friends closing Cropredy in 2017 with Simon Nicol and Iain Matthews on lead vocals

Now that we’ve met on the ledge and seen all of our friends, let’s jump to the break.

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Under My Thumbs Up

We all know that the Insult Comedian was raised by wolves. He whines endlessly about his own suffering but is incapable of even synthetic empathy. He had a helluva time at the hospital in El Paso bragging about the size of his rally 6 months ago. Then there’s this:

None of the adult victims of the Trump-inspired terrorist attack would meet with him so an orphaned baby was brought back to the hospital to pose with Trumpberius and his Slovenian Julia the Elder. Missing from the scene are his Caligula (Don Jr.) and Nero (Jared). Life once again imitates I, Claudius. The Trumps are certainly fiddling while America burns.

It’s all smiles and thumbs up from the Trumps. Worst photo-op ever.

The last word goes to the Who:

Surprised you, didn’t I? The Who covered Under My Thumb in protest when the Rolling Stones were busted in 1967.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Salome

There ain’t no femme more fatale than Salome. I posted Aubrey Beardsley’s take last Saturday. Let’s get operatic with a trio of covers for recordings of the Richard Strauss opera, Salome, whose libretto is a German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play. The aformentioned Beardsley illustration was done for the book of the play but not for the opera. The mind reels.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Washable Ink

Salome With The Head Of John The Baptist by Aubrey Beardsley.

My first day of jury duty was uneventful. We waited to be called for voir dire but the call never came and we were out of there by 11 AM. They’re trying fewer cases at Criminal District Court since the DA’s office stopped prosecuting possession of small amounts of weed. An odd but effective move by our old school tough-on-crime DA. Ironies abound.

This week’s theme song was written by a very young John Hiatt for his 1979 album Slug Line. It was so long ago that he had a full head of hair as well as a unibrow.

We have two versions of Washable Ink for your listening pleasure: the Hiatt original and a cover by the Neville Brothers.

Let’s check if this spilled ink is really washable. Color me skeptical: black, red, or blue.

Do they still call newspaper reporters ink-stained wretches? Probably not but it was swell slang.

Time to ink up and jump to the break. I’m not sure what ink up means in this context, but I’m always talking shit. Y’all should know that by now.

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A Salute To Jerry Garcia

Today would have been Jerry Garcia’s 77th birthday. I don’t believe in astrology. I do, however, get a kick out of sharing a sign with Jerry. Us Leos have to stick together, dead or alive.

The only fitting salute to Jerry is to post his music. We’ll do the Spotify playlist thing with 20 of Jerry’s best tunes; 19 of which have lyrics by Robert Hunter:

I Can’t Stand The Rain

I’m a slacker pundit. I’ve opted out of watching this week’s cattle call debates. I have better things to do with my time than watch no-hoper John Delaney engage in a shout fest with Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t Delaney know that nobody outshouts Bernie?

I guess I’m sorry that I missed Marianne Williamson say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I can watch the clips. I actually apologized to my readers in advance of the first round and it applies to tonight as well:

Repeat after me: debates don’t matter, especially early ones. Kamala Harris had her moment, then it receded because it’s simply too early to matter. Besides, if debates really mattered, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton would have been elected Oval Ones. When it comes to debates, I’m a mattering nabob of negativism. Holy shit, I just paraphrased Spiro Agnew and William Safire.

In hyper-local news, I start jury duty tomorrow. It’s been a long time. The last time was during September 2001. That’s right: I was in the jury lounge at Tulane Avenue when the twin towers toppled. The pace at Criminal District Court slowed to a crawl. I recall participating in only one voir dire that month. I’m hoping this August will be slow as well but for less dramatic reasons.

The rains keep coming in New Orleans. It’s gotten to the point that street flooding is a commonplace event. It used to happen every so often but now it’s a monthly, even weekly event thereby proving that climate change is a hoax. #sarcasm.

Dr. A and I are officially afraid of the rain. Our car perished in a flash flood when she was on her way to work a few weeks ago. It was totaled by the insurance company and we bought a new used car with the money. I guess one could call it a re-owned vehicle or some such shit.

The big buzz in Gret Stet state politics is a teevee ad by a hitherto obscure Republican candidate who is always described by the Gret Stet MSM as a “major donor” so I’ll follow suit.

Major Donor Eddie Rispone has pledged his troth to the Insult Comedian:

It’s amazing what one can do with sound FX:  Major Donor Rispone’s head is so firmly lodged up the Trumpian rump that it should sound muffled. Instead, it’s as clear as an Acadian bell.

I must confess that I’m disappointed that Major Donor Rispone did not holler “lock her up” or” send them back.” But hope springs eternal since his campaign has bought $5 million worth of teevee time.

The other Republican challenger to the Other Governor Edwards (there’s only one Edwin) is Doctor/Congressman Ralph Abraham. He’s a weasel and a dull one to boot. Lamar White Jr. has devoted considerable energy to exposing Doc Abraham as a phony at the Bayou Brief.

Before continuing, a musical interlude featuring the Original Abraham who, now that I think of it, was something of an amateur surgeon:

A shirtless, tattooed Albino rock star is the stuff of GOP nightmares. Holy Culture War, Batman.

The one-two punch of Major Donor Rispone and Doc Abraham has had the result of adding to the Other Governor Edwards’ support among pro-choice Democrats. I declared myself a clothespin Edwards voter two months ago; as bad as he is on abortion rights, he’s much better than the competition on everything else. If Major Donor Rispone weren’t against gay marriage, he’d propose to Trumpberius. It seems to be true love.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. The last word goes to Ann Peebles, Tina Turner, and Paul Rodgers:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Brother’s Keeper

Art Neville’s memorial service was yesterday, hence this week’s selection. Like most Neville Brothers studio albums Brother’s Keeper is a mixed bag. They were always at their best live but it has many highlights including Brother Jake and last week’s Odds & Sods theme song, River Of Life.

The cover art is brilliant. It’s by Alison Saar an African American artist from Los Angeles who is primarily a sculptor.

The back cover features a photograph by Larry Williams.

Here’s the whole damn album in the YouTube playlist format.

Saturday Odds & Sods: River Of Life

Elegy For Moss Land by Clarence John Laughlin.

It’s been a noisy week at Adrastos World HQ. The utility company is doing some work on our block: they’ve dug holes and marked off spaces for new gas mains and meters. Here’s hoping they finish soon.

I’ve had the Neville Brothers on my mind since Art’s passing. But he did not write River Of Life; one of the most underrated songs in the Neville Brothers canon. It was written by Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson, and Brian Stoltz for the band’s 1990 album, Brother’s Keeper.

Here are two versions of this week’s theme song. I dare you not to get up and rock:

Now that we’ve flowed with the river of life, let’s swim to the break. No drowning, please.

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Art Neville, R.I.P.

This is another tough one for me. The man we in New Orleans call Poppa Funk, Art Neville has died at the age of 81.

I was lucky enough to know Art; not well, he was more of a neighborhood acquaintance. We’re both proud residents of the 13th Ward in Uptown New Orleans. Our conversations mostly took place with him on his porch and me on the sidewalk. I wasn’t a stalker: Art lived a few blocks up Valence Street from Adrastos World HQ. Plus, I know one of his sons and several of his nieces and nephews. Repeat after me: New Orleans is the world’s largest small town. Condolences to everyone in the Neville family.

When I was neighborhood leader, I used to walk the neighborhood a lot. The first time I saw Art, I almost didn’t stop to chat. As a hardcore New Orleanian, I try to hide my inner fan boy. Fortunately, Art was a warm and friendly man who was always glad to talk when he wasn’t on the road with the Neville Brothers or the Meters.

Most of our conversations were relatively brief and fairly long ago, alas. We talked about neighborhood stuff, the weather, food, the Saints, and music; always music. I wasn’t even sure if he knew my name, but I knew his. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of reflected glory, 13th Ward style.

We had two particularly memorable conversations:

I told him that my first date with Dr. A ended up at Tipitina’s where we saw the Neville Brothers. Art smiled and said: “So, we helped you get the girl? That’s great, man.”

One day we talked about the late San Francisco concert promoter/music mogul, Bill Graham. Near the end of his life, Graham was on a largely successful mission to boost Art and his brothers and bring their music to the world. In fact, the first time I saw the Meters was when they opened for the Rolling Stones at a Bill Graham Presents show at the Oakland Coliseum.

I told Art about playing basketball (badly) against Graham at Winterland before a Grateful Dead concert. Graham had sharp elbows and an even sharper tongue. The game was on the honor system, so I called a foul on Bill when he poked me with an elbow. He protested: “The fuck you say.”

Even then, I was a smart ass: “You gonna throw me out of the arena?”

He smirked and said: “What kind of asshole you take me for? Your punishment is a fucking no-call. Ya dig, shit-head?”

After telling Art this story, he nodded and said, “Bill threw some sharp elbows for us too. Most creative cusser I ever met.”

I hadn’t seen Art for many years when I heard the sad but not unexpected news. I wish I had gotten to know him better but as John Lennon put it, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

I suspect my encounters with Art Neville were infinitely more memorable to me than to him. He was an unpretentious music legend and a good listener. The perfect audience, the perfect neighbor.

Finally, a quote from Keith Spera’s tribute to Art in the Picvocate:

“It was peaceful,” said Kent Sorrell, Neville’s longtime manager. “He passed away at home with his adoring wife Lorraine by his side. He toured the world how many times, but he always came home to Valence Street.”

And that’s where we met. He will be missed by everyone who loved his music, especially those of us in his neighborhood, the 13th Ward. He always came home to Valence Street.

Here’s some music, Poppa Funk style:

Sunday Morning Video: Johnny Clegg & Savuka Live In Paris

It’s time for another tribute to the late, great Johnny Clegg with this 1990 show at the Zenith Paris.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Moon Rocks

This Image Should Have Been On The Cover Of Life Magazine by Alan Bean.

History was made 50 years ago today when Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon. It was controversial among some at the time for being a waste of money and has become the subject of wackadoo conspiracy theories. I watched the moon landing unfold and I thought it was magnificent; even better than Star Trek or 2001. The truth is not only stranger than fiction, it can be much better. I still think the heyday of the space program is way cool or perhaps even wicked awesome.

This week’s featured image is a painting by the late Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean. It’s based on a picture taken by Buzz Aldrin of Neil Armstrong; hence the epic title. I thought it was high time to give it, uh, new Life.

There are a wide variety of moon songs to choose from. For this week’s theme song, I went with one that’s lunar landing specific. Moon Rocks was written by David Bryne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth for Talking Heads monster hit 1983 album, Speaking In Tongues.

Now that we’ve done a bit of space walking, let’s cut the tether and float to the break.

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Johnny Clegg, R.I.P.

Johnny Clegg and Nelson Mandela in 1997.

This news felt like a gut punch. The great South African singer-songwriter and anti-Apartheid activist, Johnny Clegg has died at the age of 66.

Dr. A and I have many of Clegg’s albums with both Juluka and Savuka. We saw him perform live on several occasions. Most memorably at Tipitina’s when he played New Orleans in support of his Heat, Dust and Dreams album. We spoke to him at the stage door. I don’t recall the contents of the conversation but I recall the warmth and kindness exuded by the artist. It’s a pity that it was pre-camera phone so we don’t have a picture with us to remember him by. But we have his music.

The best tribute to any musician is the music itself. Here are a few old favorites:

Finally, a song that Johnny Clegg wrote in tribute to his fallen friend and band mate, Dudu Zulu:

I hope his crossing is a smooth one.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Happy Trails

Gary Duncan, a founding member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, died at the age of 72 a few weeks ago. The San Francisco based Quicksilver were one of the original jam bands. Their  influence has grown in the last twenty years. Quicksilver’s 1969 live album Happy Trails was one of the jammiest jam band albums of all.

The cover was something of an oddity at the time. It looks more like the cover of a book by Zane Grey or Holly Martins instead of an album by a psychedelic rock band. That’s why it’s so cool. The back cover is swell as well.

Here’s the whole damn album:

I Come To Bury Barry, Not Praise Him 2

Barry was a non-event in New Orleans. We did not have a “big blow” like the storm in Key Largo, which is my favorite hurricane season movie. Hence the featured image.

Barry was such a nothing burger for us that we didn’t even watch Key Largo. When it came time to view a classic film, we went with Sunset Boulevard. Unlike our past cats, PD had never seen it. It was time to correct that oversight.

Speaking of Paul Drake, here’s some bonus catblogging:

What Barry was in New Orleans was boring. There were some major rain bands to our west and east but they bypassed us. We were lucky but anyone who follows the Euro forecasting Model had an inkling of what Barry would be like in the Crescent City. We had much more rain last Wednesday.

The only entertaining thing about Barry was the national media coverage. Any time a storm *may* hit New Orleans, they’re like a dog with a bone and fixate on us. It was the story of a lifetime for many in the MSM and they’re eager to repeat it. We are not.

My friends Kevin Allman and Lamar White Jr. both wrote pieces scolding the MSM. Thanks, y’all. My phone and social media feeds blew up on Friday and Saturday with people thinking we’d die if we didn’t evacuate. I informed them that we were bored instead of scared.

After Friday’s post, my contribution to the online dialogue was this tweet:

As to the second point, WDSU has a weatherperson who is famous for freaking out whenever there’s a storm in the Gulf. She’s obsessed with people having an ax handy just in case they’re stuck in the attic and have to chop their way out. Pondering her past antics led to another Shecky tweet:

It’s back to what passes for normal in New Orleans. I guess it’s time to catch up on the national news, which I skimmed over the weekend. To distract attention from the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Trump was a racist asshole again. The MSM falls for it every time.

The last word goes to Roxy Music:

Yeah, I know, Neil Young wrote the song:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Other Side Of Summer

o-GUSTON-900

City Limits by Philip Guston.

I wrote the opening, now second, paragraph below before posting yesterday. I’m too stressed and/or lazy to change it. So it goes:

It’s been the week from hell in New Orleans. Our car flooded during Wednesday’s deluge and there’s a tropical system nearby. I’m writing this on Thursday: our internet is wonky so I want to have something in place in case it and/or the power goes out. I refuse to be buried by Barry.

I don’t have the full-blown Odds & Sods spirit BUT since I’d assembled a post,  I figured I’d put it out there for y’all to enjoy. I know our Saturday readership is devoted so I don’t want to let you down. Instead of our usual three acts, we have a first act followed by what would usually be our third act of regular features. Highly irregular but what can ya do?

Elvis Costello wrote The Other Side Of Summer for his 1991 album, Mighty Like A Rose. I used it the other day in the post about my Bayou Brief newspaper war piece. This time we have two versions: the video and EC live.

Now that we’ve seen the other side of summer for what it is, let’s jump to the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: If You Can’t Stand The Heat

I whinged about the heatwave on Monday. I use the Britism whinged (whined to us Yanks) because that post led to this search: “album covers heat.” It turned up a 1978 album by the English rock band, Status Quo. I had no idea that they’d stuck around into the 21st Century, but they were always more popular in the UK than stateside.

The cover photo for If You Can’t Stand The Heat was taken by John Shaw whose work adorns 49 album covers including records by Adrastos favorites Wings and Jethro Tull:

I wonder if they thought about Harry Truman when they shot this cover. I did when I found it.

Here are the two singles from the album:

Summertime Blues

I usually bitch and moan about the heat on Saturdays. There’s an exception to every rule: the heat has been inescapable and oppressive the last few days. It’s been as hot as I can ever recall since I moved to New Orleans in the Eighties. Our air dish keeps the house nice and cool when it’s 90 but struggles in the heat of the day when it’s over 95. We’re forced to huddle in cooler/smaller enclaves such as the study and guest room when it’s this hot. Cower might be a better word than huddle. It’s too damn hot, y’all.

The heat has got me down but so has the news. It’s the summer of child abuse stories. Notorious super-perv Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested by the feds for assorted disgusting malefactions including child trafficking. He supposedly has bipartisan buddies: the feds should follow the facts and disregard who ends up in the bulls-eye. Let the chips fall, y’all.

A worse example of child abuse is the ongoing babies in cages scandal perpetrated by the Trump regime. The reason it’s worse is that cruelty is the point of this despicable exercise. The regime claims that it’s not that bad, that it’s all fake news, but it’s said with a wink by liars.

I’m not much on soccer but the victory of the American women in the World Cup was uplifting as was this chant:

One could call it beautiful noise for the beautiful game.

The last word goes to Eddie Cochran and the Who: