Category Archives: Music

Saturday Odds & Sods: Begin The Beguine

Masks by Emil Nolde.

It’s been a long week in New Orleans. The collapsed Hard Rock Hotel sits there like a dagger pointed at our municipal throat. That’s led to concerns about damage to the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre across the street and other historic buildings.

There’s also been some serious conclusion jumping and finger pointing. It reminds me that *all* Americans love to jail people, liberals and conservatives just want to jail different people. TFC. What’s that spell? This Fucking City.  I’ve created a Fish Cheer for 21st Century New Orleans.

In addition to my acronymic exploits, I have a new catchphrase via the Insult Comedian: “They have a lot of sand over there; a lot of sand.” Believe me.

Cole Porter wrote this week’s theme song in 1935 whilst taking a Pacific cruise. It debuted in the Broadway musical, Jubilee.

We have two versions of Begin The Beguine for your listening pleasure: Artie Shaw and his orchestra, and Sheryl Crow from the 2004 Porter bio-pic, De-Lovely.

A quick note about bio-pics. Cary Grant played Cole Porter as a manly heterosexual in the 1946 movie, Night and Day. In 2004, Kevin Kline played Porter as what he was: a gay man in  a “lavender cover-up” marriage with a woman. There was no sex in the first movie, way too much in the second. Neither movie did a good job depicting Porter as a genius songwriter. That’s why we remember Cole, not who he slept with.

Let’s jump to the break whistling, You’re The Top. That’s bound to guarantee a smooth landing unless we land on the Tower of Pisa. In that case, we’ll just have to lean into it…

Continue reading

Dwight & Me

People who don’t read First Draft are always surprised that I like country music. I am emphatically a city boy, one might even call me urban or urbane. The second U-word is a value judgment so I’ll pass on that.

I don’t like all forms of country music but I like the real deal for the songwriting and singing. That’s why I like Dwight Yoakam who I saw live for the first time last night.

I’m notoriously stingy when it comes to concert ticket prices so I hadn’t planned to attend. I’d entered a contest but did not win freebies. On the day of the show, I received an email from the Fillmore informing me that two free tickets awaited at will-call. I was so skeptical that I called the box office for confirmation. Apparently, they were papering the hall because it wasn’t sold-out but it was my lucky day.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area attending Bill Graham Presents shows, the name Fillmore is tinged with magic. I was too young to go to the Fillmore West but more or less grew up at Winterland, its successor concert hall.

I loved the venue. It would be a great place for a certain carnival krewe to hold its ball: hint, hint, hint. The Fillmore is spacious, well-ventilated, and attractive despite being attached to Harrah’s Casino. We did not gamble before or after. I didn’t want to press my luck.

I had high expectations but they were exceeded. Dwight Yoakam’s set was great. Dwight and his crack band played for two hours at a breakneck pace barely stopping for a second. It’s probably why Dwight’s sidemen are all younger than the star. They’re great musicians and rocked like crazy. It goes without saying that Dwight is one of the greatest singers to have ever walked the planet, with or without cowboy boots.

It was a night for doppelgangers. Dr. A spotted a guy who resembled Gret Stet goober candidate Eddie Rispone. Mercifully, it was not him. A guy who was a dead ringer for our pal the Bear Jieux danced with Dr. A as the band played Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down. Initially, she thought it was him but it was not: the doppelganger was equally hairy but too short.

You’re probably wondering about the post title, Dwight & Me. We had tickets to see him in Biloxi in September of 2005. The show was hurricaned out and we were in exile in Dallas in any event. It was a long time coming but I finally saw Dwight Yoakam. It was well-worth the wait.

I wrote about last night because I needed a respite from all crazy in the news. A post called Talking Turkey can wait until Monday. That crisis will still be there.

The last word goes to (who else?) Dwight Yoakam with his set closer and encore:

Bayou Brief: The Ghosts Of Saturday Night

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief is online. It focuses on the remarkable events of Saturday October 12, 2019 including the Gret Stet Governor and Jefferson Parish President races, the Bad Shepherd’s comeback, the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, and the latest boil water advisory in New Orleans.  It was the opposite of this Macca song:

I use several tunes by Tom Waits to make my point such as it is. He’s the only guy who can give LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron a run for the money in the gravelly voice sweepstakes. Now that’s a contest I’d like to see.

I also add TFC to the world’s acronymic lexicon:

Every time something goes haywire in New Orleans, I mutter to myself TFC: This Fucking City. I love New Orleans but sometimes this town dances on my last nerve. Saturday October 12, 2019 was such a day.

This post just got even more meta: I quoted myself in a post plugging my writing elsewhere.

Speaking of meta, the last word goes to Tom Waits with a song that was the last word of the 13th Ward Rambler column that used another one of his songs as a title. Confused? Me too. I’ll shut up and let Tom Waits growl-sing at you:

Repeat after me: This Fucking City.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Words Don’t Fit The Picture

Sometimes I select an album cover because it’s odd. Hence this 1972 Willie Nelson album with a photograph by Jimmy Moore.

Here’s the title track:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Something’s Gotta Give

Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio di Chirico.

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As I stated in my last Bayou Brief column, I plan to affix a clothespin and vote for Governor John Bel Edwards. Here’s hoping that we don’t have a run-off with more visits from the Trumps and Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. They’ve held events in small-ish venues but there have still been empty seats. A good slogan for Pence’s next event would be: Empty Seats For An Empty Suit.

We’re having our first cool front of the year. Fall hasn’t exactly fallen but we’ll take what we can get. The only seasons you can depend on in New Orleans are summer and carnival. I forgot football season: LSU and Florida are squaring off tonight in Red Stick. Here’s hoping the Tigers feast on Gator.

I have a new motto: Surreal times call for Surrealist art. This week’s featured image is by the Italian Surrealist, Giorgio di Chirico who was originally a Futurist. That gives me an excuse to quote Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto: “Oh, maternal ditch.”

If you expect me to explain that quote, you’re out of luck. I’m feeling cryptic like a proper Surrealist if there is such a thing. There were more than a few improper Surrealists if you catch my drift.

The title of this week’s theme song aptly describes our current national situation: Something’s Gotta Give. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1955 for the Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Fred Astaire from the movie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lets make like Daddy Long Legs and crawl to the break.

Continue reading

Friday Night Music: I Want You To Want Me

I haven’t done a stand alone music post for quite some time. It’s time to change that.

I Want You To Want Me was written in 1977 by Rick Nielsen for Cheap Trick’s In Color album but is best known for the version on Live At The Buddokan. It was one of the songs that Ashley Morris requested be played at his funeral so it has extra resonance for his family and friends.

We have two versions of I Want You To Want Me for your listening pleasure: Cheap Trick live and a cover by Dwight Yoakam, country singer and Cheap Trick fan:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ginger Baker’s Air Force

Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80.  You’re probably wondering why this isn’t an R.I.P. post. Here’s why:

If you don’t believe me, check out the 2012 documentary Beware of Mr. Baker.

Here’s Martin Sharp’s front gatefold  for Baker’s 1970 aerial extravaganza:

Here’s whole damn album via the YouTube:

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Win Again

The Sources of Country Music by Thomas Hart Benton.

It was the hottest September in recorded history here in New Orleans. It’s still fucking hot: we had record highs the first four days of October. I complained about it in the Bayou Brief the other day so I thought I should here as well. We’re allegedly getting some relief next week but I’ll believe it when I see it.

We went to an event at the fancy new-ish Picvocate/Gambit HQ to see local pundits and Adrastos friends Clancy Dubos and Stephanie Grace. I considered heckling but Dr. A wouldn’t hear of it. They talked local and statewide elections. I’m still having a hard time deciding who to support for State Rep since there are 4444 candidates running in our district.

They only took questions via Twitter so I was unable to do my Eddie Rispone impression on the live stream: “Hi, I’m Eddie Rispone. I’m a conservative outsider and Trump supporter.” It’s their loss, y’all.

For the non-Louisianans out there here’s one of Rispone’s ads:

Moderator and Paul Drake fan Kevin Allman moved the questions to the Tweeter Tube because he did not want to have long-winded questions. A wise choice since I was in the audience. To placate me, he asked one of my tweeted questions and Clancy dropped my name so I guess I’ll survive.

Here’s the video of the live stream:

This week’s theme song was written by Hank Williams in 1952. We have two versions of You Win Again for your listening pleasure.: Hank’s original followed by the Grateful Dead. I discovered this and many other classic country song because of them. Thanks, Jerry

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City and meet up with singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her You Win Again was written and recorded in 1990:

Guess what? There’s also a 1987 Bee Gees song with the same title:

Now that we’re three-time winners, let’s jump to the break again and again and again.

Continue reading

Text Me Text Me, Why Don’t You Arrest Me?

You’ve surely noticed my new Fog Of Scandal meme image; if not, you need an eye exam. It’s the flags of Ukraine and Russia side-by-side. It strikes me as fitting since the Ukrainian and Russian scandals have converged and become a two-headed monster. Holy Polycephaly, Batman.

The release of the Volker texts has shifted the Ukraine-Russia scandal into hyperdrive. The contents of the texts are, at times, inadvertently hilarious. As if to prove they’re bad actors, they’re over-reliant on Satan’s punctuation: the exclamation point. Ain’t nothing more sinister than an overabundance of them.

The MSM is focusing on the Biden aspect of the scandal and that’s important. BUT I agree with Josh Marshall who posted this earlier this morning:

It’s hard to keep track of the gross abuse of power. But here’s the critical thing to keep an eye on through this. We know about election interference of targeting the Biden’s. What was even clearer in those texts is demand that Ukraine “get to the bottom of” collusion between the DNC and Ukraine in the 2016 election. That is code for the conspiracy theory that Russia was framed for the DNC hack and actually didn’t interfere in the 2016 election at all. The “real collusion” was between Ukraine and the Democrats. The big aim here – right in front of our faces, right in the texts and transcripts – is to clear Russia of the crime.

One of the theories expounded in Crazy Rudy’s Daffy Dossier is that the DNC hack was done by Seth Rich. He was the young DNC employee who was murdered in a street crime, but many wingnuts claim that he was killed on the orders of the Email Lady. That’s right, it’s a rehashing of the Vince Foster conspiracy theory. It’s equally baseless and Rich’s family has been tormented in the same manner as the Foster family. It’s even worse now because of bots and social media trolls.

The Volker testimony shows why Porky Pig Pompeo does not want to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry. He’s got a lot to hide. It’s time to place him in the impeachment queue along with the Insult Comedian and Barr.

The post title is a paraphrase of a Robert Hunter lyric from Bertha, which is one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs. They get the last word:

One more version since I gave the late Robert Hunter a shout-out. Jerry butchers/forgets some of the lyrics. The audience helps:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Robert Hunter, R.I.P.

The Grateful Dead’s primary lyricist Robert Hunter died last week at the age of 78. He wrote all of the band’s lyrics until Bob Weir teamed up with John Perry Barlow.

Hunter refused to reveal what his lyrics meant; preferring to leave it up to the listeners imagination. In any event, his lyrics were ellipitical and even elusively allusive. They were perfect for the Grateful Dead:

“Well I ain’t often right but I’ve never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way it does in the song
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right”

Hunter also had a long and interesting solo career. Here are the covers of his first two solo records:

Here’s Hunter’s second solo album in its entirety:

One of my favorite Garcia-Hunter songs is Ripple:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Long Black Veil

The Bird, The Cage & The Forest by Max Ernst.

This is the first time since the infancy of this feature that I’ve used the same featured image two weeks in a row. It captures my mood.

We’re attending a memorial service this morning for Gligamesh Homan who died in a horrible accident last week. He was the son of some old friends and was in his freshman year at LSU. I’ll have more about Gil in our second act. Suffice it to say that there’s an open  wound in my circle of friends right now.

I’m not feeling very expansive today so I’m going to keep this week’s outing relatively brief.

This week’s theme song was written in 1959 by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin for Lefty Frizzell. It’s become a staple of the country music repertoire and has been recorded countless times.

We have three versions of Long Black Veil for your listening pleasure: Lefty Frizzell, Gillian Welch, and the Chieftains with Mick Jagger on lead vocals.

Try not to trip over your long black veil as we jump to the break.

Continue reading

Neil Young: Let’s Impeach The President

Friend of First Draft, Monkeyfister, suggested I post this song. Instead of monkeying around, I decided to comply.

In this instance, Neil is talking about George W. Bush but it’s still timely:

Young hit the road in 2006 with his partners in crime Crosby, Stills & Nash. For some reason there were audience members who did not know that CSNY were pinko peaceniks:

 

 

Whistleblowin’ In The Wind

It strikes me as a good time to quote John Fogerty quoting Yogi Berra, “it’s like deja vu all over again.” Fogerty was referring to the Iraq War. I’m referring to Kremlingate: The Sequel aka Donald & Rudy’s Excellent Ukrainian Adventure. Duuuuuuude.

I grew up during the Cold War; like Vladimir Putin, I didn’t expect the Soviet Union to disintegrate so rapidly. Unlike Putin, I don’t have any nostalgia for the USSR. Putin is a KGB man at heart who pines for the glory days of the Soviet Union and wants to reassemble its lost empire. This irredentist stance led to the invasion of the Crimea and the pollution of the American political system by Putin and his little buddy Donald Trump. Every ventriloquist needs a dummy.

We returned to the scene of the Crimea this week with the release of the damning phone call memorandum and whistleblower report. This blew up in the Trump regime’s face leading to a formal impeachment inquiry focusing on the latest and most understandable scandal.

One reason Donald & Rudy’s Excellent Ukrainian Adventure is more understandable than Kremlingate is the brevity of the whistleblower’s charges as opposed to the 448-page Mueller Report. Additionally, this was not perpetrated in the shadows by underlings such as Page and Papadopoulous. It involves the actions of POTUS* and his current fixer, the artist formerly known as America’s Mayor. You know, this bozo:

Team Trump’s defense is different as well. Instead of “no collusion, no collusion” their current line is the less adamant, “we did it, so what?” They appear to believe that it’s no big whoop because he’s the president* and the Nixon-Barr doctrine applies:

Team Trump’s game plan is “same as it ever was, same as it ever was” ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK. The Insult Comedian trotted out another old favorite yesterday: witness intimidation. He made not so veiled threats about stringing up the whistleblower and others in the White House who helped him reveal this staggering abuse of power.

This is some serious shit, y’all. The staffers who enabled this scandal by “overclassifying” Trump’s call with the hapless Ukrainian president may face criminal liability. They’ve apparently done the same thing with other calls. What other White House Horrors are they hiding?

The term White House Horrors brings us full circle to Watergate. It was coined by Nixon AG/campaign manager/convicted felon John Mitchell. Another popular term in the Watergate lexicon was smoking gun. We interrupt this paragraph with a pertinent (impertinent?) musical interlude:

The so-called smoking gun tape was not released until August 5, 1974. We already have the Ukraine scandal’s smoking gun embedded in the whistleblower’s complaint.

We end the post, as we started, with a quote. In this instance, it’s a paraphrase of Bob Dylan: the answer, my friend, is whistleblowin’ in the wind.

The last word goes to a musical odd couple (trio?) Sam Cooke and Flatt & Scruggs:

 

Friday Catblogging: The Carpet Crawler

It’s not really carpet, it’s a rug. It’s Paul Drake current favorite spot. You’ll see why I call it a carpet after the picture.

A double-barreled last word goes to Genesis:

 

The Honey Drippers: Impeach The President

I’d forgotten about this 1973 funk ditty until it was posted on my old friend Loki’s FB feed. Thanks, George.

FYI, this is NOT Robert Plant’s Honeydrippers. They’re two guys from Jamaica, Queens who Fred Trump would have never rented to.

It’s still timely after all these years:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Roger and Out/Dang Me

Dr. A and I have been watching, and enjoying, Ken Burns’ County Music. One of the better stories in the film involves Roger Miller and how he decided to give up recording and focus on songwriting. But he gave it one more shot. Hence, the original title of this 1964 album: Roger and Out. It became a hit and was released with a new title: Dang Me.

Here’s the whole consarn album:

Not Everything Sucks: Springsteen At 70

Athenae and I disagree about the Beatles but we’re in complete agreement about Bruce Springsteen. The Boss turned 70 today but Bruce don’t crack. He looks and, more importantly, sounds great.

It’s time for me to tell my Springsteen fan origin story. I hate hype so I was put off when this happened:

After the media hypefest abated, I heard and liked some of Bruce’s music but didn’t buy any of his albums. In retrospect, that strikes me as odd, especially since I wasn’t fond of either of the dominant musical trends of that era: punk and disco.

In December of 1978, my old friend Russell Cole called and told me he had an extra ticket to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at our favorite venue: San Francisco’s Winterland. The ticket was a mere $7.00 but I’ve always liked free stuff so I accepted with alacrity. Besides, Russ was good company and he drove. Win-win. Thanks for inviting me, man. I’m still grateful after all these years.

I had no idea that I was about to have a life-changing musical experience and learn how to chant BRUUUUUUUUCE. This concert on December 15, 1978 is the stuff of legend and I was lucky enough to be there. I don’t even mind admitting to my dotage. Hey, I still get around without a cane or walker and have more hair than Russ; not much but more.

From the opening chords of Badlands, I was hooked. It made me a Springsteen fan for life much like the kid in the recent movie Blinded By The Light. I guess I should grade it now: 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+ It’s a reminder of how much fun movies can be and how important music is.

The set was broadcast on Jive 95: KSAN-FM and is widely considered one of the greatest rock concerts of all-time. Here’s the set list in all its glory:

First Set:

  1. Badlands
  2. Streets of Fire
  3. Spirit in the Night
  4. Darkness on the Edge of Town
  5. Factory
  6. The Promised Land
  7. Prove It All Night
  8. Racing in the Street
  9. Thunder Road
  10. Jungleland

Second Set:

  1. The Ties That Bind
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  3. The Fever
  4. Fire
  5. Candy’s Room
  6. Because the Night
  7. Point Blank
  8. Mona / Preacher’s Daughter / She’s The One / I Get Mad
  9. Backstreets
  10. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)

Encore:

  1. Born to Run
  2. Detroit Medley
  3. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  4. Raise Your Hand   
  5. Quarter to Three

The show was widely bootlegged. I had it on cassette at some point but lost it in one of my cross-country moves. Thanks to the internet I can give the Boss the last word. Happy Birthday, Bruce. Thanks for all the pleasure you’ve given the world over the years.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

The Bird, The Cage & The Forest by Max Ernst.

I went on about Max Ernst at the Bayou Brief  so I decided to post another Ernst image here at First Draft. It’s surrealism at its finest. I don’t see a literal bird but that’s one of the things that makes it surreal. It’s weird, man.

I originally planned to put the bite on y’all for our annual fundraiser but I don’t have to. We met our goal so the tin cup rattling stops here and now. Thanks to everyone who donated. Our readers not only rock, they rule.

This week’s theme song was written by Neil Young in 1969 and was the title track of his second solo album. It’s old but still fresh; sort of like me.

We have three versions of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere for your listening pleasure: Neil’s original followed by covers from Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, and Dar Williams.

While we’re in Nowhereville, here’s a song that you may have heard. If not, climb out from under that rock:

Now that we’ve submerged, let’s splash to the break. Do submarines splash? Beats the hell outta me.  I’m claustrophobic so I’ll never be a submariner like our old pal Jude who was the Prince Namor of First Draft.

Continue reading

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ric Ocasek, R.I.P.

Ric Ocasek recorded 7 solo albums: I have half of them. They’re overlooked and underrated but they’re good. He is obviously better known as the quirky front man of the new wave supergroup The Cars.

Ric Ocasek died the other day at the age of 75 according to most sources. His passing is not in dispute but his age is: I’ve seen it listed at 70 as well. I suspect that he’d be fine with that. Ric Ocasek was always in on the joke. His ironic detachment is what made The Cars’ video catalog so special: he knew that what he was doing was ridiculous. Rock and Roll is supposed to be fun. The Cars were always fun.

Here are covers from solo albums released in 1991 and 1997:

Now that I’ve posted two solo album covers, I’m going to mess with you and post some videos by The Cars in no particular order. Like Ric Ocasek, I’m always in on the joke:

At long last a solo video from the Fireball Zone album:

Finally, if you like this feature, please throw a few bucks our way. Click on this link to donate to our annual fundraiser.

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Dark Star

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

Dr. A and I went to the batshit crazy Saints season opener against the Houston Texans. The game had everything: bad calls, great plays, and a crazy ending. Most importantly, the Saints won with a 58 yard field goal by Will Lutz. It was his career long. The crowd was stunned in a good way. My personal streak of the Saints always winning when I sit in our friend Fred’s end zone seats was imperiled but it’s intact. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in 1968. The music of Dark Star is often credited to the entire band, which seems only fair as it’s the ultimate jam band song.

We have two versions of the Dead’s Dark Star for your listening pleasure. First, the single version, which clocks in at a modest 2:44. It’s followed by a more typical second set medley that commences with Dark Star. It comes from the 12/31/78 closing of Winterland show that my younger self attended.

It’s time for a visit to Dismbiguation City with a swell song written by Stephen Stills and recorded by Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1977.

Now that we’ve bathed in the glow of the Dark Star, let’s jump to the break before the Dead go into The Other One. “Coming, coming, coming around.”

Continue reading