Category Archives: Music

Saturday Odds & Sods: Promised Land

Marbotikin Dulda by Frank Stella.

We seem to have hit peak pollen this week in New Orleans. Achoo. As a result, I awaken each day with watery eyes and a runny nose. Achoo. It’s most unpleasant as is my daily sinus headache. The good news is that we’re supposed to have some rain to wash away the sticky yellow stuff. The bad news is that it won’t happen until later today when we have plans to attend a festival not far from Adrastos World HQ. Oh well, that’s what umbrellas are for.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or watching teevee with the Insult Comedian, you know that Chuck Berry died at the age of 90.  This week’s theme song, Promised Land, is my favorite Chuck Berry tune. I was introduced to it at the first Grateful Dead show I ever attended. It was a helluva opening number.

I have three versions for your entertainment: Berry’s original, the Band’s rollicking piano driven take from Moondog Matinee, and the Dead live in the Nutmeg State. It’s time to jet to the promised land, y’all.

I remain mystified as to why Chuck wanted to get out of Louisiana and go to Houston town. There’s no accounting for taste. Let’s ponder that as I insert the break, but not where the moon don’t shine.

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Friday Catblogging: Jeepers Creepers

Writing about Neil Gorsuch’s propensity to say gosh and golly yesterday made me think of Johnny Mercer’s slangy lyrics as applied to Della Street’s devil eyes:

Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?
Gosh all, git up, how’d they get so lit up?
Gosh all, git up, how’d they get that size?
Golly gee, when you turn those heaters on
Woe is me, got to put my cheaters on
Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Oh, those weepers, how they hypnotize.
Where’d ya get those eyes?

Heere’s Della:

Here’s the man himself singing Jeepers Creepers by golly:

The Americans Thread: Bugging Out

Hunger was the main theme of the third episode of The Americans. We heard Tuan the Vietnamese commie kid’s story about eating “garbage off the streets” back home and saw a flashback to Philip’s time as a hungry Russian lad. I was half-way worried that this bloke would knock on my door:

It could be worse. Simon Le Bon Bon might be there with Duran Duran:

That’s the last wolf song for now. I promise, promise.

I almost needed a snack after watching the episode, but resisted because I was afraid that Aussie Midges had invaded my fridge. Oh yeah, The Midges is the buggy title of this pestiferous episode.  As far as I know, they have nothing to do with Patricia Hitchcock’s character in Strangers On A Train

I’m still trying to avoid spoilers so I’ll send you to the break with the song they played as Philip and Elizabeth packed a corpse into a rental car. (It’s not the first time they’ve done that, so how can it be a spoiler?) I’d hate to be the guy who rented that ride after them. It Hertz just thinking about it.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Satan Is Real

The first time I saw the cover of Satan Is Real, I was convinced it was a parody cover. It is not. It’s the real thing. For good or ill, the cover was actually the idea of the Louvin Brothers:

The fiery setting pictured on the cover of this album was conceived and built by the Louvin Brothers themselves, using chiefly rocks, scrap rubber, and lots of imagination. The scene became a little too realistic, though, when Ira and Charlie were very nearly burned while actually directing the photography for this dramatic cover photo.

That gives a whole new meaning to the old song, There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.

I mentioned parody covers, here are a couple of pretty good ones:

Despite the corny/creepy cover Satan Is Real is widely regarded as one of the Louvin Brothers best records. The whole album itself is not on YouTube, but here are two tracks:

Sunday Morning Video: The Smithereens Live At Infinity Hall

Here’s a 2011 show courtesy of Connecticut Public Broadcasting:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Disturbance At The Heron House

Elijah and the Ravens by Ralph Chessé, 1945.

Winter played a fleeting return engagement in New Orleans this week. Unlike the Mid-March blizzard in the Northeast, it wasn’t anything to write home about but we ran the heater and shivered a bit. I’m not a fan of the new practice of naming winter storms even if the first one is named after a famous theatrical character, STELLA. Unless, that is, it’s named for the Hunter-Garcia ballad Stella Blue. The mere thought of a blizzard makes me blue so that could be it.

It may have been chilly of late but Spring allergy season is upon us with a vengeance. I have a mild case of red-eye but I’m used to that. A worse pestilence is this year’s flea crop. We haven’t had a hard freeze for several years so the nasty little buggers are dining on Oscar and Della Street. All we can do is treat the house, medicate the cats, and hope for the best. The idea of putting a flea collar on Della is particularly unappealing. She’s been known to draw blood so I’ll pass. Chomp.

This week’s theme song comes from R.E.M.’s classic 1987 Document album; more on the album anon. It’s my favorite record in their catalog and Disturbance At The Heron House is the kat’s meow. The lyrics were inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which is another reason I like it so much.

Here are two versions. The original studio track and one from R.E.M.’s appearance on MTV Unplugged. The second video has Radio Song as lagniappe.

The “followers of chaos out of control” indeed. In fact, they can follow me to the other side after the break. I hope it’s sufficiently chaotic.

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Friday Guest Catblogging: Can’t Let Go

This week Carnival withdrawal and catblogging collide in a repeat appearance by my friends Holly and Paul’s feline Boris. Holly is a member of the Krewe of Nyx who are known for their decorated purses. Quite naturally, Holly made a purse honoring Boris:

I’m not sure if Boris approves. At least she didn’t cough up a hairball on it:

Since I used a Roxy Music tune for the title, I am obligated to post it regardless of whether Boris approves:

UPDATE: Boris celebrates her return to First Draft. I’m glad she doesn’t drink vodka.

The Americans Thread: Trouble In Paigeland

Americans Pests

You know things are bad when the man whose best friend is a KGB illegal notices there’s something wrong with a teenage girl. Of course, Stan Beeman is alternately clueless and perceptive about life in general. He’s right: there *is* trouble in Paigeland. I have an alternative theory as to why: I blame that dreadful brown geometric wallpaper in her bedroom. It looks as if Piet Mondrian  projectile vomited on the wall. No wonder Paige is sleeping in the closet at the beginning of this aptly titled episode. Pests abound this week but we’ll get to that after my feeble attempt to make this thread spoiler proof.

Before the break, let’s get in a 1984 mood by paying a brief visit to Heartbeat City:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Rocket Cottage

I’m not sure if I love or hate the cover of Steeleye Span’s 1976 album Rocket Cottage. The folk rock veterans were aiming at mainstream commercial success with this record but it didn’t happen. The cover qualifies as either geek chic or ridiculous, my opinion changes with each viewing. It’s certainly memorable.

The back cover is more cottagey and less rockety:

Musically, Rocket Cottage is a mixed bag but it’s quite listenable:

Sunday Morning Video: Oasis Live In 2000

I wrote about Oasis: Supersonic yesterday. Here are those zany, madcap boys playing a hometown gig in Manchester.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Top Of The Pops

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

It’s time for the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade later today. This year’s route is so long that it should be renamed the Uptown/Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day. We’re fleeing to our friends Greg and Christy’s annual shindig, which puts the bang in shebang or some such shit. And I know the parade isn’t happening on the day itself. This is New Orleans, we do things our own way. Y’all should know that by now. There will, however, be drinking involved. We’re not that bloody different: walk me out in the Tullamore morning dew…

The big local story is that the Fifth Circuit has lifted an injunction against removing the white surpremacist monuments. They’ll be gone pecans soon enough. The erstwhile Gret Stet Fuhrer has been relatively silent this time around. He’s too busy fluffing Trump on Twitter to get worked up about it. For now. I guess that makes him a fluffer nutter. I hereby apologize to others out there who love marshmallow fluff, which recently celebrated a somewhat sticky centennial.

This week’s theme songs qualify as benign earworms. My mind keeps drifting back in their direction, which is why I’m taking you to the top, top, Top of the Pops.

We’re going in reverse chronological order with the 1991 Smithereens tune first. The video was filmed in Atlantic City. I looked for Chalky White but didn’t see him.

This week we’re back in same title, different song territory with the Kinks who were the band that most influenced the Reens. I’ve always preferred this loose live version of Top of the Pops to the more buttoned down studio track:

Now that I’ve rocked your world, it’s time to insert the break. This post grew like Cat’s Claw vines on an abandoned shotgun double so one is in order. See you on the other side.

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The Americans Thread: Summer Of ’84

Americans S5 E1

I’ve thought about recapping FX’s brilliant spy series The Americans for several years. I have finally taken the plunge with Season 5, which finds Philip and Elizabeth digging a hole. Literally.

I posted the picture above even though it comes from Season 4 because I *adore* Frank Langella as KGB spy daddy Gabriel. Langella brings a feline presence to the proceedings with his silky, smooth voice, nondescript sweaters, and wise eyes. If they decide to kill Gabriel off, I plan to go on a hunger strike. No wheat for me, y’all.

In preparation for last night, I watched the first four seasons on Amazon Prime so I’m primed with information, especially if they serve prime rib. I’m just ribbing you: there’s no food in the shops in Moscow when KGB hunk Oleg returns home in the premiere. His new mission is to root out corruption, which his boss  informs him is the wish of then Soviet Leader Constantine Chernenko. I had a good laugh at that: Chernenko was as crooked as a snake and his sole qualification to be Soviet leader was that he was Breznhev’s drinking buddy. Vodka is some evil shit. Zazdarovje.

For those of you who DVR’d the season premiere, I’m going undercover for the rest of the post. The only thing spoiled in this post is Dylan Baker’s body. I just lied like a spy. I’m merely inserting a break but first some contemporaneous music:

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Message From The Country

The Move is best remembered for the hit song Do Ya and for morphing into the Electric Light Orchestra who morphed into ELO. They had several hit songs…

The Move was a two-headed monster in 1971 when Message From The Country was released. I guess I should replace the word monster with leader: Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. ELO was the former’s idea but his head was chopped off and ELO became Lynne’s livin’ thing as the song title goes.

Message From The Country was The Move’s fourth and final album. It had different covers in the UK and US. The UK cover art was by co-leader Roy Wood and is the cover that has appeared on subsequent reissues so let’s begin there.

The US cover makes it look as if the band is lost in a suburban corporate wasteland. I couldn’t find any reason as to why it was changed from the Roy Wood original. Perhaps it was a pro-Lynne plot. So it goes.

Let’s stop talking about the damn record and play it. This is the 2005 CD re-release with 8 additional tracks. It’s a terrific record with a couple of songs that sound like a proto-Traveling Wilburys, not a bad thing at all.

Sunday Morning Video: Cheap Trick Play The Beatles

ct-live

It’s no secret that my colleague Athenae does not share my enthusiasm for the Beatles. But Illinois based rockers Cheap Trick are Beatlemaniacs. This week’s SMV brings together some of CT’s best Beatles covers. We begin with a song from Revolver:

Are you ready to roll up for the mystery tour?

Next up an all-star hair band live version of Get Back:

I’ve got a good reason for posting this version of Day Tripper:

It’s hippie dippy anthem time:

I rarely post audience videos but this one has good sound and no inane chit-chat. Besides, it’s *the* medley from Abbey Road. Say no more.

Cheap Trick has performed Sgt. Pepper in its entirety more than a few times since the LP’s 40th anniversary. We’ll close with a selection of tunes from that Beatles classic. Hmm, I wonder if Rick Nielsen is really Billy Shears?

The only way to finish this epic post is with the ultimate John Lennon song:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Gumbo

I love Carnival but I’m always glad when it’s over. This year, I still cannot quite let go given the shit storm the country is facing right now. That’s why I’m giving Dr. John a second bite at the ACAW apple with his 1972 album Gumbo. It remains one of Mac’s best records. The packaging is one reason why.

We begin with the front cover. It was actually taken in the other LA, which is something of an oddity given that the album is all New Orleans covers. So it goes.

gumbo-1

The back cover is swell as well:

Gumbo back

Finally, here’s the whole darn album. It starts off with a bang with the Mardi Gras Indian anthem Iko Iko:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Carnival Game

Krewe of Spank 2017

Krewe of Spank 2017. Photograph by Ride Hamilton.

I naively thought I would be able to write a full-blown Saturday post this week. (Sounds like a contagious disease, doesn’t it?) What the hell was I thinking? We had one of our largest and best Muses open houses Thursday night. The two don’t always go together but this year they did. A good time was had by all, but the cleanup was extensive.

Oscar is still mad at me as of this writing. He and Della are all like: what the hell were you humans thinking? Beats the hell out of me. The worst is over for the kitties, subsequent gatherings will be smaller. That’s life on the parade route.

Despite the buzz in my ears and the fuzz over my eyes (if such a thing is possible) I have a theme song. It’s a song about Carnival from some Midwestern blokes. Here’s a Cheap Trick twofer, live and studio:

Carnival is always a great release from the real world. I, for one, really needed it this year. My Twitter feed is full of CPAC chatter. I hope Trump’s presence there will finally convince the alt-left irrendentists that his gestures to them are as meaningless as everything else that comes out of his big fat bazoo.

That’s it for now. I’ll repent for spending this week in the Carnival bubble the next time around. I’ll give the last word to a very young Cheap Trick.

ct-meme

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Time Peace

I usually don’t use greatest hits/best of covers for this feature. Why? They’re rarely very distinctive. Time Peace is an exception to that rule. This 1968 album from the Rascals has nifty pop art packaging and I love pop art. It pops and it’s art. Pop art.

Let’s start with the front cover:

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The gatefold continues the toon ambience of the piece or is that peace?

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With the exception of their radio hits, the Rascals are largely forgotten today. It’s a pity: they were a terrific Italo-American soul-rock band whose Hammond B3 dominated sound has always floated my boat. Time Peace is only available on YouTube in the playlist format. It’s well worth the hassle:

SMV: Dr. John Live At The Newport Jazz Festival

It’s Carnival, so it’s Dr. John time:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Forecast (Calls For Pain)

Rockwell

The Problem We All Face by Norman Rockwell.

We’re back on the weather roller coaster in New Orleans. One day it’s unseasonably warm, the next it’s colder than average. It’s almost as crazy as the Current Occupant of the White House. Did you see that insane press conference by the least racist and anti-Semitic person ever? In response to the crazy, I tweeted this:

I hope all the Busters and Steiners are happy right now. They insisted that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They were wrong. She’s sane.

Did y’all see the cartoon that was based on the Norman Rockwell painting that’s this week’s featured image? Here it is on the Tweeter Tube. I refuse to upload it:

That’s right, folks, Cartoonist Glenn (Not The Real) McCoy compared billionaire dilettante Betsy DeVos to NOLA’s own Ruby Bridges That’s preposterous and typical of the whiny titty babies on the Right in 2017.

Btw, BuzzFeed: You got something wrong.

On Sunday, the Belleville News-Democrat published this cartoon by Glenn McCoy. It appears to equate Betsy DeVos, Trump’s controversial pick for secretary of education, with Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white school in the South.

Ruby Bridges *was* the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. She was not the first overall: that honor belonged to the Little Rock Nine in 1957. The last I heard New Orleans was in the South. Y’all should spend less time cutting and pasting tweets and more time on research.

This week’s theme song fits both my mood and the temper of the times. The Forecast (Calls For Pain) comes from Robert Cray’s brilliant 1990 album Midnight Stroll:

It’s time to take a midnight stroll to the break. The forecast is for more mirth than pain on the other side.

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Thanks, Y’all

I’d like to thank everyone who donated to VAYLA’s New Orleans East Tornado Relief fund. They’ve exceeded their original goal and have raised nearly $20K.

Here’s another chance to give:

What would a post like this be without some musical gratitude?

Stanton Moore is a New Orleans musician so I decided to let the exclamation point slide.