Category Archives: Music

Saturday Odds & Sods: Handle With Care

Saturday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s been a busy week. so I’ll keep this introduction brief. And I mean it this time.

This week’s theme song was originally supposed to be a George Harrison single, but it turned up on the Traveling Wilburys first album in 1988. The song is credited to the band, but the primary writer was George. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have four versions of Handle With Care for your listening pleasure: the Wilburys original, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Stephen Stills & Judy Collins.

If you can handle it, let’s jump to the break but with care. Always with care.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins

Watching Trump’s lawyers lie with the Chief Justice seated behind them makes me want a cocktail. That’s where this 1965 album comes in.

Let’s have a drink with the Iceman:

Here’s the album via the YouTube playlist format. Bottoms up:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Save It For Later

Rain, Steam and Speed by JMW Turner.

The weird weather continues in New Orleans. I’ve compared it to a yo-yo or a rollercoaster in the past. This week’s analogy is a pendulum only with fog. Fog is the only constant. January skies are on the gloomy side: gray, overcast, and depressing. If only it were overcast in August when it’s blazing hot. So it goes.

We’re in throes of preparing for Krewe du Vieux.  It’s early this year: February 8th, a mere 3 weeks away. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s Bayou Brief piece, Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member.

This week’s theme song was written by Dave Wakeling for the Beat’s 1982 album, Special Beat Service. It, in fact, has a beat and you can dance to it. Uh oh, I’ve morphed into Dick Clark in my dotage. What’s next? A gig hosting a game show?

We have two versions of Save It For Later for your listening pleasure. The original studio version by the English Beat (the Beat to me) and a live version by Pete Townshend.

Before jumping to the break, another song with save in the title:

All that saving made me feel like Mariano Rivera. OMG, a Yankee reference. I’m going to hell but on the way, let’s jump to the break.

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Friday Night Music: Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Are you are ready to rock? I would hope so. We have three versions of the Queen classic for your listening pleasure this evening. If you think that’s overkill, you’re a buzz kill.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Seconds Of Pleaure

I featured Rockpile, the short lived power pop super group, a few weeks ago in the Saturday post. Seconds Of Pleasure is the only album released under that name and it’s a good un.

The playful cover of the original release was done by virtuoso graphic designer Barney Bubbles. Here’s the complete original package beginning with the front and back covers, concluding with the gatefold:

In the mood for some lagniappe? The cover of a 2004 re-release features a picture of the band looking grim.

Finally, the whole damn album in the You Tube playlist format:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: From Another World

I’m feeling terse this morning. It’s time for some Space Age Pop circa 1956:

Here’s the whole damn Sid Bass album:

Saturday Odds & Sods: So It Goes

Spellbound set design by Salvador Dali.

Carnival and Paul Drake’s gotcha day loom. We adopted the dear boy on Twelfth Night in 2018. I guess that means we must consume King Cake on Monday. Poor us.

I said all I have to say about the latest mess in Mesopotamia yesterday. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s an Archduke Ferdinand moment but it’s some serious shit,

This week’s theme song was written in 1976 by Nick Lowe for his kinda sorta solo album Jesus Of Cool, which was released in America as Pure Pop For Now People. I said kinda sorta solo album because it featured Nick’s band Rockpile on all the tracks. More about them later.

We have two versions of So It Goes for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a live medley with Heart In The City.

Both Nick Lowe and I picked up the phrase “so it goes” from Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.

Before jumping to the break another Rockpile tune. This time the guys are backing up Nick’s then wife Carlene Carter:

Now that we’ve got all that crying out of our systems, let’s dry our eyes and jump to the break.

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This Will Be Our Year?

I don’t have a hangover but something about New Year’s Day makes one move as slowly as a dial-up internet connection . We had an early supper with some friends, then hung out at home as the fireworks and the odd gun shot went off. My neighborhood was positively sulphuric, which did not amuse Paul Drake. He’s not terrified of loud noises but isn’t crazy about them either. Who can blame him?

I’ve been in the mood for old movies of late. We saw Shadow of a Doubt the other day, which is best described as Hitchcock Americana. It’s a great movie because of its likable villain: Joseph Cotten as Uncle Charlie.

Last night’s viewing featured an unlikable, sociopathic villain: Robert Mitchum as Max Cady in the original Cape Fear. I’m still unclear as to why Martin Scorsese decided to re-make it in 1991. DeNiro and Nolte were unable to match, let alone surpass, Mitchum and Peck. It always amuses me to see Peck turn into a vigilante to rid his life of his hulking stalker. A bonus is the presence of Maybe Cousin Telly Savalas as a shamus with hair no less.

I almost compared Max Cady to the Impeached Insult Comedian who is a combination national nightmare and stalker. Cady, however, is a smart bastard and Trump is as dumb as dirt and twice as ignorant. We need a few more Gregory Pecks to rise against him and expel him from office. He has a death grip on the GOP similar to this headlock at the end of Cape Fear:

Everyone should remember that Trump wants us rattled and fearful. He feeds off the fear like Stephen King’s evil clown in It. That’s why I call him President* Pennwyise. Fuck him.

2019 was a terrible year for some of my friends. I’ve written about the Homans at the Bayou Brief. My friend Kyle of Little Buddy fame lost both his parents in rapid succession last year. It was a rough ride but he posted some hopeful song lyrics today, which inspired the post title albeit with a question mark:

“You don’t have to worry. All your worried days are gone. This will be our year. Took a long time to come.”

The song in question comes from the Zombies classic 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle. They get the last word:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: New Year With Guy Lombardo

I’m on the record as hating New Years Eve. It’s over as is the Decayed Decade. But it’s Wednesday so I made a seasonal selection. I still, however, refuse to wear a silly party hat. They look ridiculous on my size 8 head.

Before there was Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, and drunk Don Lemon, there was Guy Lombardo. Hell, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve started as counter programming to Lombardo and his big band.

Here’s Lombardo’s final NYE performance:

Happy New Year from New Orleans. Hopefully, it will be a better year for all of us than 2019.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Christmas With Louis

These covers are for 78’s or 45’s but they’re pure Louis Armstrong. Louis, Dr. A, Paul Drake, and I wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever else floats your boat.

This 1997 compilation cover didn’t make the cut but it has the essential holiday tunes from Louis as well some songs by his friends:

Still We Sing

History is still singing.

We hear a lot these days about who even cares about books or movies or comics or celebrities anymore, like the world is on fire, right? How can we possibly make room for art? For beauty, joy, laughter?

Well, listen to that, and rethink your despair.

It’s so easy to discount that which keeps us alive. Songs and stories don’t feed us; pace Woody but your machine didn’t kill any fascists. It might have prevented some from being made, though, that’s not nothing, and when all you have left is your voice, you sing.

People sang in bondage for centuries. Prisoners write and paint behind bars. On the Berlin Wall, teenagers drew pictures. Can’t stop the signal; there is no hole so deep from which a melody cannot emerge, reaching upward, singing in the only language humanity has ever had, the only song we’ve ever sung: Here we are.

Here we still are. People are heroic, people are incredible. Jail us, starve us, beat us, kill us, tell us every day we are nothing and no one, take away our homes and hearths, take away our names. Still we sing.

Still, we sing.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Swinging On A Star

Tchoupitoulas Christmas House photograph by Dr A.

We’ve been on a weather yo-yo all month. There have been several days where the drop in temperature was so drastic that the high was at midnight. It’s not Wisconsin cold but it’s damp and humid, which exaggerates how chilly it feels. It’s fucking cold, y’all.

New Orleans is an old city with an aging infrastructure. It seems to have rebelled this week: we’ve had collapses, explosions, water main ruptures, and a literal shit storm. The citizenry are getting cranky and blaming the current Mayor for decades of neglect. It’s unfair but she makes it worse by speaking in jargon. Mayor Cantrell actually said that she was “leaning in and being intentional” to help solve our infrastructure woes. It would help if we understood what the hell she means.

This week’s theme song was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke in 1944 for the Bing Crosby movie, Going My Way. It was one of the biggest hits of the year and won Oscars for best picture, actor, and supporting actor. Der Bingle was the show biz king that year.

We have three versions of Swinging On A Star for your listening pleasure: Bing Crosby, his frenemy, Frank Sinatra, and an R&B version by Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva.

I’m a bit dizzy from swinging on that star so let’s pause before jumping to the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: More Weird Christmas Albums

The holidays are full of ritual and repetition so I thought I should show some holiday spirit, The world is full of weird Christmas album covers; it’s my duty to share them with you. Did I  just say duty? I meant pleasure.

To prove that I’m committed to the ritualistic nature of this post, I’m sticking with the side-by-side cover format from last week.

Let’s party like it’s 1976:

Let’s get even more retro with these album covers:

Finally, let’s celebrate the recent trade deal with our neighbors to the north and south:

That last cover makes me want to put on a fake mustache and party like Pancho Villa.

Seoul Man

Every once in a while, people proclaim that the president* is NOT stupid and that there’s some grand scheme to what he does. Here’s a reminder that Donald Trump is an idiot:

Donald Trump called for the population of Seoul to be moved during an Oval Office meeting when tensions between the US and North Korea were at their height, according to a new book about the president’s relations with the US military.

In Trump and his Generals: The Cost of Chaos, the national security and counter-terrorism expert Peter Bergen also gives new details of Trump’s demands that the families of US service members in South Korea be evacuated, which the North Korean regime would have interpreted as a clear move towards war. In both cases, Trump’s impetuous diktats were ignored by his top officials.

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According to Bergen, Trump was also shown a satellite image of the Korean peninsula at night, showing the lights of China and South Korea and the blackness of North Korea in between. Trump initially mistook the void for an ocean. When he was shown the bright lights of Seoul just 30 miles south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, the president asked: “Why is Seoul so close to the North Korean border?”

Trump had been repeatedly told that US freedom of action against North Korea was constrained by the fact that the regime’s artillery could demolish the South Korean capital in retaliation for any attack, inflicting mass casualties on its population of 25 million.

“They have to move,” Trump said, according to Bergen, who adds that his officials were initially unsure if the president was joking. But Trump then repeated the line. “They have to move!”

I guess President* Pennywise has never seen MASH. Seoul got overrun once a season in the teevee series. That would  have schooled him on the location of Seoul, Korea. Pass the soju. I need some.

The last word goes to Sam & Dave and the Blues Brothers:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hold On

Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso.

The Odds & Sods spirit is evanescent. I don’t have it this week for a variety of reasons. Nothing serious but enough to make my week harder than need be. As I said in my Thanksgiving post, the holidays are hard for me. This too will pass.

I do, however, have a theme song despite my Saturday post ennui. Hold On was written by Trevor Rabin before he joined Yes. Jon Anderson and Chris Squire helped finish the song and received credit as co-writers. Some of the lyrics are pure Jon.

We have a companion song, Sam & Dave’s hit version of the Hayes/Porter tune:

That’s it for this terse version of Saturday Odds & Sods. The last word goes to the Marx Brothers. It may not be seasonal but it’s suitably silly on a day when comic relief is in order.

Sound Of Lies

“The sound of lies rings funny against the truth.”

Gary Louris, 1997.

When it’s cold, I think of the Jayhawks. They’re based in St. Paul, Minnesota and it doesn’t get much colder than that, y’all. It’s a cold, damp and dreary day in New Orleans but it’s comforting to know it’s colder elsewhere. Cold comfort but comfort, nonetheless.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. It’s a frequent phenomenon with my writing. I like to start in one place zigzag about and end up where I started. It’s probably why I like the first segment of Rachel Maddow’s show so much. She does the same thing but at a higher level. I’m just a punster with a small megaphone.

I’ve had Sound Of Lies in my head for several days, but I was inspired to write by a tweet from Matthew Miller who is a Democratic lawyer/MSNBC contributor who was Eric Holder’s spokesman.

The Big Lie is here to stay. Dealing with it seems to baffle the MSM who have a hard time calling a lie a lie. They are getting better at doing so, but the learning curve is particularly steep for the New York Times. It’s not called the Gray Lady for nothing. It’s always been a prim and proper paper. Gray Ladies prefer politer terms for the sort of bald-faced lying that’s in vogue in 2019.

I’m not naive. Politicians, even those I admire, have always lied; sometimes in a good cause, other times to save face. Politicians are human beings and people lie. I was a young political junkie when I heard Jimmy Carter claim that he would never tell a lie if elected president. It was simultaneously implausible and impossible. It helped sow the seeds of his defeat in 1980.

The difference between everyday lies and those told by Trump and his ilk is the degree and extent of their falsehoods. I realize President* Pennywise isn’t much of a reader but even he should know that parable of the boy who cried wolf. Like that boy, Trump has lied so relentlessly that it’s impossible to believe anything he says. Even some MAGA cultists admit that he lies but they don’t care. And I don’t care about them. Wooing them is one lost cause I’m unwilling to take on.

The only weapon against lies is the truth. It’s one reason I’m a bit of a scold when I see people on my side exaggerating and straying from the facts. I’ve stopped doing it on social media because it’s not worth the endless wrangling. A lie is a lie is a lie even if it’s told in a supposedly good cause,

Repeat after me: “The sound of lies rings funny against the truth.”

The last word goes to the Jayhawks:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Weird Christmas Albums

Merry Schiffmas. It’s time for some zany, kooky, and downright weird seasonal album covers. The abundance of kitsch is one of the things I like about Christmas.

Our first combination could be called Hung and the Hampster, which sounds like one of the worst bands ever assembled. It’s whatever the opposite of a super-band is called. A stupor band?

Our second pairing features young men doing weird stuff.

Finally, two artists you’ve actually heard of. It’s something of a cheat because they’re single covers but how could I pass on AC/DC and the Kinks?

Are you ready to rock?

Saturday Odds & Sods: Suspicious Minds

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain.

It’s Pearl Harbor Day. This Saturday might live in infamy for another reason: we’re attending a top-secret event in an undisclosed location this evening. I can’t tell you what it is but if you’re a member of a certain benign but bawdy organization, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you may be feeling thoroughly befuddled. So it goes.

Speaking of bombs, the 2019 British general election is heading into the homestretch. I haven’t written about it because it’s so depressing. The two big parties have terrible leaders neither of whom is fit to be Prime Minister but Corbyn is the lesser of two evils. Bozza the Bozo who currently holds the job has bad hair and an even worse slogan: “Get Brexit Done.” The pro-European Union Liberal Democrats shot themselves in the foot by declaring they could win the election when they currently have 20 seats. They’re still limping away from that absurd declaration. Making matters worse is that the Tories deserve to lose and there’s a good chance that they’ll win.

This week’s theme song was written and recorded by Mark James in 1968. His version bombed but Elvis Presley’s did not. It became the King’s’ biggest hit of the Sixties.

We have multiple versions of Suspicious Minds for your listening pleasure: Mark James, Elvis, Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter, and a reggae version by the Heptones.

Now that you’re suspicious, let’s clear the air by jumping to the break.

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Friday Night Music: Little Sister

It’s time for some musical foreshadowing. Tomorrow’s Odd & Sods theme song is a tune that Elvis Presley made famous as is Little Sister. It was written in 1961 by the killer songwriting team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

We have three rocking versions for your listening pleasure: Elvis, Ry Cooder, and Dwight Yoakam. You’ll be hearing from Dwight again tomorrow as well:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: From Here To Eternally

This week we have dogeared  images via Discogs of a 1979 Spinners album. And what’s not to love about an album title that’s a pun on From Here To Eternity?

The front and back covers are hardcore sci-fi images by prolific illustrator Stephen Marchesi. That giant snake is stuff of nightmares.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format: