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Monday, January 31, 2005

Site of the Week- WEEN!

Dean, Gene, Stu and the crew throwing down May 3 2003 in New Orleans! (Click on picture!) The site of the week is a treasure trove of assorted Ween including two shows at the 9:30 Club- my first too- and the original 12 Golden Country Greats demos (with their tribute to Jerry Garcia "So long jerry" subsequently and wisely kept off the album): check it at!

Mass. and 18th Street...Washington DC this time of year can be very beautiful if snow arrives..and it can feel really good...this Sunday afternoon was particularly gorgeous after the snow stopped falling and the sun came out...these are a few pictures i took on my way around Dupont Circle-Adams must click on them to obtain the full Ansel Adams effect


Q Street & Connecticutt

Dupont Circle (view up Connecticutt North)
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

We endorse Howard Dean for Democratic National Committee Chair!

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Hi, I'm Richard B. Cheney but you can call me DICK. I'm the Vice President of the United States (some say President) and I show my respect for the more than a million jews murdered here at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp by representing my country wearing a parka and hiking boots to a formal commemoration service."

"Hello, My name is Paul Giamatti and I was the lead in the movie 'Sideways'.. you may have heard of the movie..the Academy nominated it for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.... People say I carried the movie yet I was robbed of my Oscar Nomination!"

Thursday, January 27, 2005

New comedy album from Bob Pollard of Guided By Voices.. limited edition: go to to order...features classics such as "hopeless, pathetic alcoholics" and "cocker, meatloaf and daltrey"!

Today the world commemorates 60 years since the liberation of the German concentration camp Auschwitz where during World War II over a million jews were killed. Auschwitz is in Poland and I always wonder if some of my Grandfather's family from Poland - my family - was murdered there. In any case, the human family was murdered there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Wake Up America! (edited 1-26-05 7:01 pm)

I am angry and I am alienated from American society right now. Our ill fated adventure in Iraq is going from bad to worse and we promote the architect of the policy, Condolezza Rice, to Secretary of State?! We retain the services of the prime implementer, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and rid ourselves of a voice of reason and moderation, now former Secretary of State Colin Powell. How does this make sense? Are we trying to encourage tunnel vision in our effort not to improve things? Meanwhile society remains asleep with what can best be described as an aw-shucks attitude of "well the people voted for is the way things got to be even though it ain't gonna work and we gotta support our Commander in Chief." The media largely continues to report the Pentagon party line and dissenters are deemed unpatriotic while their marches and rallies, as on inaguration day, are confined to parks blocks away from the event, or unbelievably as during the Democratic National Convention, to a metal cage. Subsequently, of course, the media reports the protesters as a few isolated troublemakers (see Boston Globe January 21, 2005) All this while the President stakes the future of his administration and our country on a quest for universal freedom! Rather Orwellian, no?

We hold these truths to be self evident that the war in Irak is an unjust and illegal one with tens of thousands of dead iraquis already (100,000+ according to an independent study released late 2004) and many continuing to die (a majority are noncombatants) and thousands of americans (35 today give or take a few grieving mothers) die in the name of a lie- that Iraq posed a threat to our national security and possessed chemical and biological weapons it might use to arm terrorists. We hold the US responsible, and by extension its citizens including myself. The US invaded Iraq unilateraly and destroyed the existing order; in our haste to "debathify" -rid Iraq of structures formerly associated with Saddam Hussein's Bathist regime- we dissolved their security forces. Now we attempt to hastily create new Iraqui security forces while we scapegoat them for the problems in Iraq conveniently overlooking that thousands have died! You cannot make this stuff up! The so called terrorist attacks are the result of a struggle for liberation by a Sunni minority that perceives its freedom at stake -they believe the Shiites will win power for the first time in decades and opress them in retaliation for Saddam Hussein's regime. The interests of the Iraqui Sunni, at times, intersect with those of America's foes (Al Qaeda) but to categorize all Sunnis rising up against the American occupation as terrorists is a self serving tall tale. The only way out of this quagmire is a negotiated peace with those opposed to our occupation and the elections as currently structured. The US ought to seriously consider encouraging autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni areas while bringing to the table a plan for a phased and coordinated withdrawal of American forces from Iraq (yes, an exit strategy). The attacks in Iraq are encouraged by our unwanted presence. This coming April will mark two years since our entry into Baghdad. It is time for us to go. The mechanism of a properly sequenced withdrawal can be worked out with the input of the Iraquis, the United Nations and other concerned parties. If we refuse to go we will eventually be run out but the needless suffering and useless expenditure will be magnified.

It is incorrect to describe Iraq's upcoming elections as free and fair because of the existing level of violence. If the United States held elections and important segments of the population were too scared to vote because a bomb might go off in front of their polling station would one characterize the elections as free and fair? If Iraquis living outside their country fear violence and register to vote in low numbers what does that say about the level of fear in large areas of Iraq.

The Iraq fiasco, combined with the Bush Administration's fiscal policy of "spend don't tax" (i.e., the "Argentina Model") may be taking a toll on Americans' standard of living. Can it be a coincidence that we are experiencing record deficits when the costs of the Iraq war by next year will have totalled US$ 300 billion? Yesterday we learned to expect a deficit of US$ 427 billion for the coming fiscal year largely the product of wartime expenditures and their close relatives pork belly politics and profiteering. Short term deficits might be justifiable during a Great Depression as a means of stimulating demand but these current deficits lack such a rationale. Meanwhile, European and Asian economies are able to allocate an increasingly larger share of government expenditures relative to ours to education and thereby bolster their competitiveness.

In addition, who can guarantee that our creditors will continue to finance our deficits by purchasing our Treasury Bills (US Bonds)? Our creditor nations such as China and Japan may begin to require higher interest rates in exchange for lending us money to, in effect, finance this war. Are we prepared to assume the consequences further increases in interest rates would involve as they work their way through the economy leading to higher inflation rates? The first casualty will be the real estate market but what about the impact on investment and jobs? Are we not concerned that confidence in our economy both internationally, as evidenced by the falling dollar, and at home (Wall Street) seems to be eroding? Ignoring the mounting evidence/problems is folly. Other stories we read in the newspaper tell us the National Guard is looking to offer active-duty soldiers US$ 15,000 bonuses to join the guard in an attempt to bolster its thinning ranks. Wars are expensive we would be better served by remembering George Washington's statement upon leaving office that we avoid unecessary entanglements abroad.

It is at the very least deserving of consideration to what if any degree we are in Iraq in order to benefit our trusted regional ally Israel. Vice President Cheney last week went as far as suggest the United States may have to take action in Iran in order to ensure we avoid Israel taking unilateral action. American foreign policy ought to be predicated on American interests and we have to consider the distinct possibility that our mainstream media is failing to draw a sharp distinction between Israeli and American interests. Let us remember the words of another former President, General Eisenhower, who upon leaving office cautioned against the US falling prey to a military industrial complex which would require ever increasing funds for military expenditures.

As Americans we should insist that our Government reflect the common sense values that have made our country great. We are not an imperialist nation and no Government of ours should utilize the deaths of thousands of Americans at the hands of terrorists to justify imperialist power grabs, all the while couched in lofty and beautiful political rhetoric about freedom for the Iraqui people. A globalized world with globalized threats does not obviate our inherent distaste for imperialism. If we want to encourage freedom we ought to end our purchase of oil from one of the more repressive regimes in the world (Saudi Arabia) and limit our foreign aid to others (Egypt). We ought to take a more proactive role in seeking to end the slaughter of innocent human beings in Darfur lest we find ourselves at the movies in ten years watching "Hotel Darfur". Above all we must act in as impartial a matter as possible, always taking into account our own interests, to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a manner that helps stabilize the region and end the plight of the Palestinian people and its use by terrorists to gain new recruits, funding, and converts.

Site of the Week!

the above link is hosting some hendrix live in a hotel room playing some songs solo (with electric guitar slightly amplified)...circa 1968.... on gipsy eyes jimi keeps playing even though you can hear the phone going on...

thanks to nathan for the link

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A dark celebration: "Of war and peace the truth just twists.."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Return of the Purple One- Site of the Week

I missed some great shows last year but none more so than Prince's tour for Musicology...Prince's Tour last year grossed him the ungodly sum of over $90 million and sold out arenas across the country! He came to the MCI center and I slept on it.... I have a knack for doing that with shows at bigger venues.. In any case, thanks to a kind soul in France I'm celebrating my birthday groovin' to Prince's show from June 18, 2004 in his home town of Minneapolis. The band is smoking and includes Candy Dulfer AND Maceo Parker on saxes... They run through a ton of classics and even introduce some unusual teases (was that just Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" I heard?). Anyways, check it out for yourselves (the 2004ever icons):

Monday, January 17, 2005

Grant Green's "Nigeria" (January 13, 1962)

Blue Note records under the ownership and management of Alfred Lion -from 1939 until the mid 1960s- built up one of the most impressive catalogs in jazz history. Only the catalogs of Columbia Records and Clef/Verve are in the same ballpark but the former made a living raiding “minor” labels for already developed talent while the latter’s 60s output suffers from Norman Granz’s absence. Generally, Alfred released the better stuff and he, by all accounts (i.e., his former wife in Sharon Greene's piddling bio of Grant Green), really dug jazz guitarist Grant Green. It shows: dozens of Grant Green sessions were recorded and released by Alfred Lion and Green became the de facto Blue Note in house guitarist playing on dozens of high caliber sessions. Yet the "Nigeria" sessions recorded nearly 43 years ago on January 13, 1962 at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey remained unreleased until long after Alfred Lion had passed on. I guess there was so much great stuff being recorded by Blue Note at this time that some noteworthy performances were bound to slip through the cracks.

Grant Green made his name playing guitar in Saint Louis and then joined Lou Donaldson's band in 1960. What differentiates Grant Green from other guitarists is that he plays note by note and never plays chords. Apparently he was so blown away, like many people, by Charlie Parker -or so goes the story- that he decided to play like him on guitar. In the liner notes which accompanied “Nigeria” Ben Sidran summarizes Grant’s playing: “Some compared his hollow-bodied guitar style to that of the earliest pioneer, Charlie Christian. One also hears touches of that other great popularizer, Les Paul. For while Grant was not a radical player, he excelled at the basics and the subtleties: he could swing like crazy and he played the prettiest phrases. Grant Green made esoteric music easy for the average listener to get to, just as jazz singers have done for years. Grant Green was a popularizer and a singer on his instrument.”

Lou Donaldson brought him to New York in late 1960 and introduced him to Blue Note Records and the rest as they say is history. In early 1962 the “Nigeria” session was organized with Grant Green, the session leader, on guitar, Sonny Clark on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Art Blakey on drums. What a dream lineup! This was to be Grant Green and Art Blakey’s only recording session together and I doubt they ever played together again. Blakey and Blue Note soon ended their relationship. Although Blue Note had enough of his recordings in the “can” to keep putting them out over the years. In fact, Blakey's last sessions for Blue Note were only days later on January 20th on an unreleased Ike Quebec recording (also featuring Sonny Clark) and January 24 for the unorthodox “African Beat." Around this time Blakey decided to concentrate his own sessions as leader and end his work as a hired hand.

Sonny Clark, unlike Blakey, is not the household name he ought to be. To my ears he is one of the more impressive jazz piano players. Now I have not heard as much jazz as many but one early record Sonny distinguishes himself on is Serge Chaloff's wonderful "Blue Serge." In any case by the time Sonny Clark played on the “Nigeria” session he had a number of impressive dates under his belt including sessions as leader for “Dial S for Sonny”, “Sonny’s Crib” (with Coltrane and Byrd!- this session is Coltrane’s Blue Note debut with “Blue Train” still to come two weeks later), “Cool Struttin’”, and had just recorded “Leapin’ and Lopin” two months prior. A year to the day after this recording session and at the ridiculous age of 31 Sonny Clark passed away from a heroin overdose. What a loss! All Music Guide sums him up as having ”...developed an intricate and hard-swinging harmonic sensibility that was full of nuance and detail. Regarded as the quintessential hard bop pianist, Clark never got his due before he passed away in 1963 at the age of 31, despite the fact that it can be argued that he never played a bad recording date either as a sideman or as a leader.” And Wikipedia has this to say: “Sonny Clark is known for his unique touch, sense of melody and complex hard-swinging style.” I would add elegance to any description of his playing.

So what we have here ladies and gentleman is three absolutely first rate top shelf hard bop musicians getting together for an afternoon or evening jam session on a few choice standards. Sam Jones the bassist is no slouch either having previously played on Cannonball Adderley’s “Somethin’ Else.” Grant Green and Sonny Clark would play together on other sessions (“Gooden’s Corner”, “Oleo” and “Born to be Blue”) which have now been collected on a two CD set (along with “Nigeria”) and released under Grant Green’s name as “The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark.” All these sessions are recommended but “Nigeria” is the one with the added stick to stir the pot: Art Blakey!

The highlight of “Nigeria” is “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” The tune swings and lopes along beautifully- that is it cooks- and features some wonderful playing by both Grant and Sonny while Art Blakey, in his inimitable style, in addition to some rock solid drums, gets in on the action with “YYYYYAHHHHHH!”’s, “WWOOOAAAAHH!”’s, “HO HO HO HO!”, “UUUUUMMHHH!” and even “WOO HOO!” Towards the end of the song, when Blakey can take it no longer, given what he has witnessed and been part of, he cuts loose with some sweet licks of his own that must have shook the roof of the Van Gelder Studio. Ben Sidran writes: “..the endlessly good groove that is the star of the cut. Interspersed with Blakey’s press rolls, this fat-back groove- like those Art played on innumerable Jimmy Smith jam session dates- gets Grant all the way up on his toes. His tone is singing six different ways to Christmas, until he finally gets Blakey singing, for it is the drummer you hear shouting ‘whoa!’ and grunting in response to Grant’s precise preaching. By the time Sonny’s solo arrives, Blakey is putting as much vocal into the overhead mikes as the cymbal. Clark seems to goad him on, and finally, when he has taken his ninth chorus and seems ready to turn it back to Grant, Blakey won’t let him go. You can hear Art laughing and shouting to Sonny, ‘No, go ahead, go ahead.’ And go ahead he does, until Blakey finally turns him loose with an escalating series of strokes. As the song fades behind that Latin feel, I’m ready to do it all over.”

In sum, this is a wonderful hall of fame session that unfortunately remains semi-buried as part of an obscure two disc package of Grant Green Quartets with Sonny Clark. This is goosebump causing music and well worth checking out!

Grant Green's Nigeria recorded January 13, 1962 and orignially released in 1980 as Blue Note LT-1032

Current Listening: Sire SASD-7521- The Flamin' Groovies from 1976... American rock band goes to England and decides to rechannel 1964 Beatles.. so goes conventional wisdom but its not all beatles.. they do "She Said Yeah" which of course the Stones originally covered.. there's also a version of "misery" and also a song the Beatles would have been likely to jam around on.. Chuck Berry's "Don't you lie to Me".. this lp features the original "You tore me down" subsequently on Yo La Tengo's Fakebook... in addition Dave Edmunds produces and at least on "let the boy rock and roll" i could swear its his subsequent band Rockpile playing! Highly recommended stuff..oh and i almost forgot..this album includes one of the all time power pop anthems in "Shake Some Action"!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Wesley Clark

Meeting Wesley Clark!

On Wed. we attended a reception which counted with the presence of former Presidential candidate General Wesley Clark....This was organized by my friend Howard Park...

now I placed my poker chips behind Howard Dean.. but I have respect for Wesley Clark... if Dean could not win I probably would have wanted Clark....anyways to sum up his brief remarks (he had lost his voice):

1. Democrats need to focus on policies to improve the jobs picture.. right now we don't have an answer on how to keep jobs from going overseas.
2. Republicans are defining all the issues by claiming the language.. thats why we speak of "partial birth abortion" or "tax relief"....

in other words we have a problem with policy and with communication.. whats interesting about the second point is that its identical to the point made by lingust Lakoff in his recent book "Don't Think of an elephant"...check out the brief review from which i reproduce here:

In the first of his three debates with George W. Bush, 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry argued against the war in Iraq not by directly condemning it but by citing the various ways in which airport and commercial shipping security had been jeopardized due to the war's sizable price tag. In so doing, he re-framed the war issue to his advantage while avoiding discussing it in the global terrorism terms favored by President Bush. One possible reason for this tactic could have been that Kerry familiarized himself with the influential linguist George Lakoff, who argues in Don't Think of an Elephant that much of the success the Republican Party can be attributed to a persistent ability to control the language of key issues and thus position themselves in favorable terms to voters. While Democrats may have valid arguments, Lakoff points out they are destined to lose when they and the news media accept such nomenclature as "pro-life," "tax relief," and "family values," since to argue against such inherently positive terminology necessarily casts the arguer in a negative light. Lakoff offers recommendations for how the progressive movement can regain semantic equity by repositioning their arguments, such as countering the conservative call for "Strong Defense" with a call for "A Stronger America" (curiously, one of the key slogans of the Kerry camp). Since the book was published during the height of the presidential campaign, Lakoff was unable to provide an analytical perspective on that race. He does, however, apply the notion of rhetorical framing devices to the 2003 California recall election in an insightful analysis of the Schwarzenegger victory. Don't Think of an Elephant is a bit rambling, overexplaining some concepts while leaving others underexplored, but it provides a compelling linguistic analysis of political campaigning. --John Moe

anyhow I think Wesley Clark, and Howard Dean (who wrote the foreword for the Lakoff book reviewed above), and I and many others are beginning to understand that the democrats are losing because of inability to connect/communicate with the american people...

going back to Wesley Clark: he seemed like the nicest guy, worked the room very well (good strong hand shake), was a bit shorter than i expected, and I hope he remains involved.. he made a point of saying he was going back to the private sector but was not ruling anything out for 2008! i also enjoyed hearing him refer to republican positions on issues as "right wing horse shit"...

My last post got me thinking

how strong a year was 1971, in terms of music, compared to other years (based on information at

it looks like, based on my back of the envelope calculation that there are only a few stronger years: 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1977 come to mind...

and whats interesting is that the results on back up what i've always thought.. 1994 was a tremendous year for music.. i lived it.. i remember it and its true.. 1994 WAS the year.. it looks like it was a better year than any going back to 1979! time will tell if the music from 1994 holds up as well over time as the music from other years..

in fact one could argue there have been three golden spells for music: Golden Period I- Classic Rock: 1968-1972, Golden Period II- Punk 1977-1979, and Golden Period III- Alternative 1994.... and 1994 seems to have been a bit of an anomaly although 1995 was strong too... since 1995 however things have been rough...and i think the music coming out supports that...

at some point i'm going to do a more in dept statistical analysis of this to see if this is really true...

More proof it was all better on the year i was born!

i thought i'd post a list of the most critically acclaimed rock albums from 1971.. i'm listening to one right now.. "master of reality"...this list comes from the wonderful site amazing how much great music was coming out... 1971 looks like a really strong year (if this list doesn't make you cry about what passes for rock music nowadays nothing will)...i have yet to hear three of this albums though they have been on my list for a while: Tago Mago, Teenage Head and Maggot Brain.. I can live without hearing that Beach Boys:

1. Marvin Gaye "What's Going On"
2. Led Zeppelin "IV"
3. Joni Mitchell "Blue"
4. The Who "Who's Next"
5. The Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers"
6. Sly and the Family Stone "There's A Riot Goin' On"
7. David Bowie "Hunky Dory"
8. Carole King "Tapestry"
9. John Lennon "Imagine"
10. Allman Brothers Band "Live at Fillmore East"
11. Rod Stewart "Every Picture Tells A Story"
12. T Rex "Electric Warrior"
13. The Doors "LA Woman"
14. Janis Joplin "Pearl"
15. Can "Tago Mago"
16. Leonard Cohen "Songs of Love and Hate"
17. Beach Boys "Surf's Up"
18. Funkadelic "Maggot Brain"
19. Jethro Tull "Aqua Lung"
20. John Prine "John Prine"
21. Yes "Fragile"
22. Serge Gainsbourg "Histoire de Melody Nelson"
23. Neu! "Neu!"
24. Bob Marley and the Wailers "Soul Revolution/African Herbsman"
27. Flamin' Groovies "Teenage Head"
28. Black Sabbath "Master of Reality"
29. Van Morrison "Tupelo Honey"
32. Faces "A Nod is as good as a wink"
34. Kinks "Muswell Hillbillies"
36. Pink Floyd "Meddle"
44. BB King "Live in Cook County Jail"
46. Curtis Mayfield "Curtis Live"
47. Al Green "Al Green Gets Next to You"
50. Isaac Hayes "Shaft"

Flashback by Guest Poster Rich Bindell: A Post 9-11 Letter to Washington Post TV Critic Tom Shales

Hello Mr. Shales… you fellow American, you! (That includes Canada as well as countries in Latin America) I am writing in response to your review of Saturday Night Live’s first broadcast following September 11th. I should explain that the following comments are completely unrelated to my overall opinion of SNL’s ability to make me laugh over the years. If nothing else, this show has always been a postitive example of free speech in art. No matter how good or bad the quality may be, and it can be pretty bad at times, the right to critique our own society and those who govern our world must be preserved. If you can make us laugh, bravo! If you can make us laugh consistently while keeping the subject matter current for over 25 years, well that takes talent and perseverance. But can you do it at a time when our nation is experiencing grief, fear, anger, and anxiety simultaneously?

With that in mind, I question a few of the comments in your review. My first complaint is easy enough to address. You claim that SNL stole one of your jokes directly from an unrelated article you wrote for another publication. As you put it in your review, “The term Taliban was so unfamiliar, I wrote, that people may have confused it with a line from Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat Song: “Come Mr. Taliban, tally me banana.” Don’t you think other people make that connection themselves?

Now to the purpose of the letter. I must defend one of America’s greatest songwriters, Mr. Paul Simon. You described his performance of The Boxer on the first SNL show following September 11th as “inappropriate to the occasion, especially with its references to ‘the whores on Seventh Avenue’ and ‘going home where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me.’" Have you listened to the entire song? This song’s message about receiving a sucker-punch from reality but getting back up to face it in order to move on couldn’t be more fitting given what’s happened. Furthermore, New Yorkers pride themselves on most things about their city. Good or bad, it’s New York. It’s reality. New York represents both the best and worst of our modern American society. I find it hard to believe that the parallels reflected in these lyrics would offend people if they really understood the song. Beware of criticizing a song unless you understand its message or you may end up like Ronald Reagan (or is it George Bush) wanting to recognize Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA as a flag waving jingoistic song while failing to understand its stinging critique of the Vietnam War and the treatment of our own veterans here at home. By focusing on one or two lines from The Boxer and taking them out of context you pretty much proved Paul Simon’s point that “a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.”

You also wrote, “The worst thing was that all those members of the fire and police departments, and the mayor, had to stand by silently and stony-faced while Simon sang on.” Did you consider that it’s possible that the guests of honor requested that he play The Boxer? It’s one if his most popular songs and a great American anthem. Heck, even Bob Dylan recorded a studio version of it only a few months after Simon and Garfunkel released it and how often does that happen? Perhaps the honored guests understood how delicately Paul could pay tribute to the blue-collar members of New York’s workforce. Police and fire departments often draw quick criticism from the public until they are needed. Then, they respond without question and without recognition because they are needed and it’s their job to help us. They save our lives every day, and yet they are blue-collar workers. Well, the New York City Police and Fire Departments got a big punch in the face when they lost hundreds of lives on September 11th, and now they must keep moving. They must help New York clean up the debris, identify its family members, and get back to normal despite their own emotions and personal suffering. “In the clearing stands the boxer, and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminder of every glove that laid him down all cut until he cried out in his anger and his shame, I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.”

Paul Simon is a staple on Saturday Night Live. He has been a musical guest on numerous occasions including wonderful performances with George Harrison. He is also a distinguished member of SNL’s glorious Five Timers Club having hosted the show over, yes you guessed it, five times! Paul Simon is a New Yorker who, except on screen in Annie Hall where he lampooned the New Yorker gone California, has always remained a New Yorker. He has almost become a symbol for New York. Who does not remember seeing a picture of him wearing a New York cap or doesn’t know someone who has seen one of his free concerts in Central Park? Who could have been a better choice to help the show ease itself and ease our way back into the mundane realities of television and what better song to play from his impressive songbook than The Boxer?

How do we get back to normal? We have been told to return to our jobs. If you are in the entertainment business you entertain. The cast and crew of SNL took their turn at getting back to normal and entertaining. Yet you seem to expect some sort of sensitive, whitewashed, edited version of comedy. Should we look at previous images of the New York City skyline, with the twin towers, and remember how magnificent they were or go back and blot out all scenes featuring them in previous movies and programs? Just because we need to laugh, it doesn’t mean that we forget our pain. Laughter can heal. But, it cannot do that if it is censored. We have to face the roots of our grief before we can move on.

If people are expecting television to help heal them emotionally, then perhaps they are looking in the wrong place. Grief is very personal, whereas television is not. We should look to our families, friends, neighbors, teachers, clergy, etc. for intelligent discussions about this national tragedy. My biggest worry is that if we look to television for the answers then we may forget the wise words of a boxer that over 30 years ago warned us that “after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same, after changes we are more or less the same.”

Paul Simon aka "Mr. New York" at the Joe Dimaggio Memorial at Yankee Stadium in 2000.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

HFS is now "Always Partying"!!!

Stop the world I'm getting off!!

WHFS 99.1 the local DC/MD/VA radio station that made a name for itself in the 80s playing modern and college rock bands like the Cure/REM/Depeche Mode and rode the alternative music revolution ushered by bands like Jane's Addiction, Sonic Youth and the Replacements and furthered by the Nirvana explosion of 1991 has gone LATINO!!!!!!!..

i think this is further evidence for my rock is dead theory i've been preaching for the past few years and lately with increasing vehemence.. not that there is not rock music and not that there is not good rock music... more that NO ONE CARES!.. thats why there is no room for a station built around playing radiohead and modest mouse.. cause there simply aren't enough radiohead and modest mouse fans who want to listen to rock all days... it does not mean radiohead is not good.... but not enough people care...and there aren't enough weezer or death cab for cutie fans either... rock music is now a marginal subculture...

frankly, HFS had gone increasingly south since the early 90s as they began to play more and more formulaic material.. i believe they were bought by clearchannel or one of those "evil" media empire conglomerates that sends the same list of songs to be played to the "djs", or more like list readers and cd inserters, at the stations they control (in addition to making sure nothing too crazy is aired...)....i never got to hear the HFS that made a name for itself in the 80s with diverse and original playlists...the HFS of last week may have played the Offspring but they had no use for Nick Cave

ultimately, there is no need for slitting one's wrists.. anyone who wants to listen to great radio has millions of options through the internet... with internet technology anyone can pretty much create their own radio station anyways... but still it says something when a modern or alternative rock stalwart like HFS that helped define the scene (hey they even had the HFS Festival going on every year at RFK stadium) changes its identity..

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Whats the deal anyways......

can someone explain the ipod/itunes phenomenon to me?
i think i'm missing something here cause (society is)/(i am) getting progressively (i)crazy..i'm definetly beginning to feel a disconnect with my environment on this ipod thing... i've had an archos mp3 player for 2 years now. and while i like listening to songs with headphones and having what is essentially a walkman with a lot of capacity its the music thats important to me and the medium changing ain't going to- change- that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Site of the Week! Hands down

Joy o joy! what a great discovery! check out

for a fabulous site full of great vintage bossa nova/samba/balanco album covers from 1960s brazilian music.. it includes a very nice variety of downloads from some of the albums and promises more.....

Monday, January 10, 2005

Martin Luther King Day is January 17th this year!

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land. . .I still believe that we shall overcome.” --Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1965

Coltrane's Live at Birdland (with his incredibly fiery visceral quartet which included Elvin Jones bashing the drums, Mcoy Tyner tickling the ivories and Jimmy Garrison plucking the strings) is a seminal live jazz album... it includes a wondrous version of Mongo Santamaria's Afro Blue..curiously enough it credits Coltrane for the tune...wonder if that mistake was corrected... this is of course the original Impulse Stereo A-50 LP cover. Highly recommended stuff!

Coltrane covers Mongo cover Herbie covers..

Cuban born master conga player Mongo Santamaria was a member of Tito Puente's band (and Perez Prado too!) in the 1950s... when he went solo one of the first songs he cut was called Afro Blue!.(more on that above)...This LP cover is from a 1964 Columbia Records effort which included his own new version of a song he had originally covered for his first hit two years All Music Guide tells it "Santamaria's breakthrough into the mass market may have come as a result of a bad night at a Cuban nightclub in the Bronx in 1962. As the story goes, only three people showed up in the audience, so the musicians held a bull session in which the substitute pianist for the gig, Herbie Hancock, demonstrated his new blues tune, "Watermelon Man." Everyone gradually joined in, the number became a part of Mongo's repertoire, and when producer Orrin Keepnews heard it, he rushed the band into a studio and recorded a single that leaped to the number ten slot on the pop charts in 1963."

(See below!)- This has GOT to be one of the funkiest grooviest album covers of all time.. Jimmy Smith's "Home Cookin'"..Blue Note (original btw) 4050 recorded 1959 released the following year....The picture is by Frank Wolff.. ring any bells? (it should thats my alias around these parts!)... He took this picture "in front of what is, to many musicians, the 'soul station' in the neighborhood of Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Kate's Home Cooking is located on 126th Street, not far from the Apollo's backstage entrance. Performers such as Ruth Brown, Cozy Cole, Count Basie, Fats Domino, James Moody, Art Blakey and Horace Silver make it their prandial headquarters during the course of a week when they are playing the big A....Home Cookin' is a dedication to Kate." (from the original liner notes by Ira Glitter).

Here's a true rarity; the back cover photo of former legendary funk band Sugarland's original demo has them standing outside Ben's Chilli Bowl here in Washington DC!..on the left Rich Bindell! This pictures reminds me of one of the ultimate classic album covers of all time (see above) not to mention some good times!...


No thats not Kevin Spacey from "Beyond the Deep Blue Sea".. thats the real mcoy: Bobby Darin... his breakthrough single, "Mack the Knife" (Grammy Winner Best Record 1959), was on the album "That's All" (ATCO 33-104)..... but "This is Darin" (ATCO 33-115), recorded just a few months later in early 1960, swings harder in my opinion.. it includes an attempt to replicate the "Mack" magic with "Clementine".. pictured here is the original English flipback (thats what you call those shoddy English covers)...

Even more current listening from Contemporary Records: Shelly Manne, noted drummer, who played on "Way Out West"- C3530- with Rollins, recorded March 7,1957 received top billing on his own classic "Modern Jazz Performances of Songs from My Fair Lady- C3527- with Andre Previn on piano and Leroy Vinnegar on bass recorded on August 17, 1956... this album was a hit and ushered in a new boom in jazzified renditions of popular fare...Andre Previn shines on this..

More current listening: Sonny Rollins "Way Out West" on Contemporary you are not seeing double.. the one on the left is the original- C3530- (slightly more vivid colors?) before the advent of stereo (1957) and the one on the right I believe is the second pressing now distinguished as mono- M3530... Rollins on sax accompanied only by bass and drums! of the alltime great jazz records and the cover's about as cool as it gets!

Current listening- one of the touchtones of Brazilian music: Chico Buarque de Hollanda's 1966 debut album featuring a whole host of classics including "A Banda", "A Rita", "Ole Ola", and my favorite "Pedro Pedreiro"...highly recommended!

Friday, January 07, 2005

quote of the week

Gaza soap factory worker Manar an-Najar told Reuters Wednesday (speaking on ads featuring richard gere that have been running in palestine. ads urge palestinians to vote.)

"We don't need the Americans' intervention. We know who to elect. Not like them -- they elected a moron."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

the year in review- music

2004... the year the rock died...or i died....i definetly transitioned more into jazz, brazilian music and other genres...i couldn't tell you what my top 10 records of the year were because i'm not sure i could even come up with 10..... the new record that really knocked my socks off was the loretta lynn one (van lear rose)...which at times sounds like loretta with the white stripes.. no surprise given jack white's production/guitar slinging.... i have a particular soft spot for the track "portland, oregon" where loretta and jack crow about getting "another pitcher to go..."...concert wise i saw some great shows this year and my favorite show was Jorge Ben at the birchmere...i never thought i'd get an opportunity to see this guy much less in such an intimate venue...the fact that the show was in the bandstand and a ton of brazillians showed up to dance away made it so much fun... meeting jorge ben, getting him to sign my record and receiving a hug iced it as one of the more special nights i can remember..another show that will forever be etched in my mind will be joao gilberto...we travelled up to new york city and caught his show at carnegie hall which in it of itself was an experience (how many of the greats conquered this place at one point or another? from duke ellington to benny goodman to billie holiday to miles davis..)...joao, in his 70s, one of the key forces, together with jobim, behind the rise of the bossa nova or samba cancao in the late 50s plays about two shows a year... you do the math!.. in any case there we were as joao walked out on to the stage armed with just a guitar...after solving some sound issues joao played all the classics including the song that forever changed the american music scene: "girl from ipanema" was truly precious to be in his presence.... that very summer we saw a third legend who i always feel fails to get a fair shake from the critics and fashionistas.... tom jones.. when i mention jones' i invariably draw a laugh here or a joke there but the guy can perform and if you don't believe me check out his "live in las vegas" lp from 1969.. as always he was backed by a very professional tight band and he ran through some real classics including prince's "kiss" which i think he now owns, the song that launched him into stardom "its not unusual" and many others....we had a blast on the wolftrap lawn with our picnic and bottle of wine...its interesting to note that no lesser a figure than elvis the king presley would attend jones' vegas shows to see how its done (wether elvis' "vegas" resurgence owes something to tom jones is beyond my knowledge but certainly deserves a look).... on the rock side of things my second my morning jacket show was not as good as the first.. and the final dc guided by voices side while bittersweet and meaningful (i caught them at the black cat about 10 years ago when they were starting to tour and have checked them out ever since).. but on this nite bob pollard and gang, in my opinion, seemed weighed down by rhythm guitarist nate farley's absolutely pathetic spectacle and a few too many flat jokes from pollard who should have focused a bit more on the rawk...of course, all was not lost.. hearing classic GBV cuts particularly from alien lanes and bee thousand was fun as always.... franz ferdinand put in one of the better rock shows i caught this year....with a sound marrying new romantic elements (duran duran) with post punk (joy division) and a little of roxy music they put on a very very tight fun rock show... we can't wait to see the dvd they were filming that night...when i think of what i like about dc i have to mention ben andrews who the blues the way they are meant to be played, tuesday after tuesday, at madams organ on 18th street... the pixies, yes i finally got to see them, put on the strongest rock show i caught this year....i wrote some words about it a month ago so feel free to look in the archives for my write up....sloan put on a fun show at the black cat but i can't in all honesty say that it has turned out to have been all that memorable...another brazilian artist, cibelle, performed at iota's over in arlington and i enjoyed her show but not the crowing about brazil having beaten argentina to take the copa america futbol championship....lastly, aside from jorge ben my other favorite show this year was the vote for change concert finale held at the mci center.. aside from what the show meant.. what we were trying to do.. why we were there.. there were great turns from john mellencamp (wonderful pink houses), bonnie raitt (lady oozes class through the slide guitar and has the commanding presence of an elephant in a one bedroom manhattan apartment), james taylor, dave matthews, REM, pearl jam and JOHN FOGERTY (it was a treat to see him happy performing HIS song- thats right no publishing house and no lawyer can take it away- "fortunate son".. it was really wonderful to finally get to catch bruce the boss springsteen.. thats what he was at this show. THE BOSS..ovviously badlands, born to run (with house lights coming on as song starts roaring), the star spangled banner, born in the USA were all incredible.. but the perofrmance that really captivated me was, i've subsequently learned the name of the song, "mary's place" which is a song off of his "the rising" album.. but lo and behold i found out recently its actually a sam cooke song.... now i love sam cooke and am not surprised bruce does too as his music is so positive.. anways bruce played a very extended jam of this song with a little ministering to the undecided voters watching on sundance channel..i can see why people follow this guy like the prophet and next time he's in town i'll be there.... bruce, we gave it all we had but it wasn't enough this time around..see you in 2008!

i'm sure i'm forgetting a lot but i thought i'd put some remembrances down.. this year i'm looking forward particularly to trying to catch two jazz greats.. sonny rollins (kennedy center) and herbie hancock (warner)...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Kiddie Records!

Kiddie records has had the great idea to put up one childrens record per week for the entire year.. right now disney's robin hood from the 1940s is up..what they do is encode the old 78rpm records into mp3 files....

Sunday, January 02, 2005

new years post!

happy new year everyone..

we have now hit the midpoint of the ooooooooo's....hard to believe.. if i am honest i must say this decade has been, so far, completely marked by the events of september 11th... 140,000 or 410,000 thousand dead from a tsunami won't change that..(by the way: what an opportunity wasted by Bush to show the world that america IS a kind nation).. they are not americans (although more americans may have died in the tsunami than on september 11th.)... bush's election this past november cements this as a decade of fear, cynicism, jingoism, limited civil liberties, knee jerk reactions and useless war (with its useless but always present progeny: death and destruction).... too bad for the iraqui's that will die (33 today.. but they are not americans.. and at least they were DIE)....too bad for the rest of the world that will have to find new ways to contain the rumsfeld and rice's (with their useless offspring wolf-the-half-witz no matter he was dean of johns hopkins SAIS.. boy am i glad i went to georgetown instead by the way!) yes, i have digressed, but sad that this decade will inevitably be the decade of, as green day so well encapsulated in their grammy nominated record "american idiot", the AMERICAN IDIOT... not much to be done other than get involved in our communities and in trying to come up with some option for 2008 to remove these scared insecure little tykes from power before they destroy us...these clowns and of course their useless children---------------...........the MEDIA.....which will dutifully report the party line as passed on to them by the pentagon.... all you need to do is check the words of the reporters that cover the defense department beat to know what isn't true but what we must believe is true for things to make enough sense for us to continue to ignore things...and, of course, remember to always always support the commander in chief no matter what......anything else would be unamerican of you....

it would be nice to see somebody suggest the obvious for irak.. a division of irak into sunni/shiite/kurd nations...

i for one will continue to support howard dean... no matter how many cable channels distort his speeeches or opinions..he stood up in march BEFORE the war and called it what it has turned out to be: sheer idiocy... he's correctly defined the current fiscal policies of this administration (lower taxes-spend on a useless blackhole called war) as what they are- the Argentina Plan - and we know what that gets you...or at least i know what it means for 10 million argentines that hope to find enough garbage to eat tonight... he stated whats obvious even to a child: that the US must be more even handed in its approach to the long festering palestinian- israeli conflict..of course the media quickly called this insane..don't they always by the way? and on and on and on

"ball of confusion.. thats what the world is today.. hey hey.. when the only person talking about love today is a preacher.."

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