Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gone But Nowhere Near Forgotten...



Hard to believe David Bowie passed away a year ago.

In my line of work, I meet all kinds of people. Once every two or three months, I'll have someone in their twenties get into the cab, and a Bowie tune will happen to be playing on the radio. They might know the song. In one case, it was "Modern Love." The young man I was driving at the time said he knew that one and maybe three others by Bowie. I said something like "I remember when 'Modern Love' was released, I'm that old." And I rattled off a bunch of other Bowie songs I liked. Can't remember which ones they were, but "Blackstar" definitely wasn't one of them. I like it, but I figured if the guy was going to do some exploring into Bowie's career, rattling off some of his more accessible tunes was a good way to start. "Blackstar" isn't for everyone.

All the same, the album Blackstar has been nominated for five Grammy awards. It's a fine final album. Much too often, an artist runs out of ideas and turns to a more formulaic approach to songwriting. Not David Bowie. He kept right on experimenting til the end...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Two Things With Donald Trump...

One, I wish him luck. For eighteen months, he was a loose cannon; yesterday in his victory speech, he was suddenly all things to everyone, let's reach across the aisle, come together, and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I gotta hand it to him -- he can make himself believe anything that comes out of his mouth as much as he can make others believe that stuff. I'm impressed. Not even politicians can do that anymore.

 But two, I also wish him sense. And I'm a typical liberal -- deep down, I'm willing to believe anything twice, even when I've seen this movie before and know full damn well what to expect. I wish Trump luck because I'm sick and tired of this Two Americas bullshit. I wish him sense because this Two Americas bullshit is here to stay, he's gonna be our next president because of it, and I don't want him to make this thing any more toxic than it already is.

 Expect the worst, hope for the best. That's all I have to offer...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Almost Forgot About This One...



A year or so ago, I was watching the documentary Genghis Blues. It's about a blind American musician, Paul Pena, who discovered the distinctive and unusual art of Tuvan throat singing (in which the performer generates a root note while singing one or more notes above it simultaneously) while playing around with a ham radio. Pena taught himself how to sing that way, and eventually wound up in the land of Tuva, a place so distant that it bills itself as the geographical center of Asia, to meet and perform with other throat singers.

Pena had a strong rhythm and blues background, and at one point in the film, he sings in the Tuvan style while playing the blues on guitar. That alone makes Genghis Blues worth watching, but I also found out from this film that Pena wrote and recorded the classic rock tune "Jet Airliner" in 1973, about four years before the Steve Miller Band covered it and walked away with a top ten hit. The SMB version is good, but I think Pena's original is better. A little slower in tempo and a whole lot funkier. It's really hard to listen to this song and not want to dance.

Enjoy...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

She Shoots Colors All Around Like A Sunset Going Down...











I was driving the cab during the wee hours a week or so ago, listening to a Boston-area station known as The River. There is no DJ on The River after midnight, just song after unannounced song with the obligatory five minutes of crass commercials every hour. Occasionally, it surprises me with a song I haven't heard in decades, and it did so that night with "She's A Rainbow." It's funny how I can't remember what I had for supper two nights ago, but I can remember most of the words to a tune I haven't heard in, I dunno, twenty-five years.



That, and I've softened up my take on the Stones considerably. I used to like a handful of their songs, while thinking they were probably the most overrated band in rock 'n roll history. That's totally untrue. I've become something of an amateur musicologist in the last few years, checking out the artists that influenced many of my favorite musicians and their contemporaries. I like a trainload of Stones tunes now that I didn't before -- and the ones I did like then, I like a whole lot more now.



Enjoy...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Have A Song...










"Bullet," from Renaissance's 1969 debut album. Just because.



Enjoy...


Friday, September 23, 2016

For The Record...

I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. I've known this for at least a year.

She could die of a seizure in office. I could die of anything while casting my ballot.

I'm not scared of a Trump presidency. I'm more alarmed over a religious Right clown like Mike Pence being one heartbeat away from the Oval Office. We tried that faith-based baby formula last decade. Didn't work.

To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, I may not know much, but I know the difference between Chicken Little and chicken shit. I don't care for either, but if I have to choose one or the other, I think Chicken Little will eventually calm down. As for chicken shit? I'm done, goodbye.

(Author's note: It's hard to blog using a cell phone. The post looked lousy. It looks better now...)