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Monday, February 28, 2005

Congratulations to Jorge Drexler on winning the Academy Award for best song in a motion picture!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oscar Scandal!

rant to follow.. why is jorge drexler not allowed to sing his oscar nominated song? he wrote it and sang it for the "motorcycle diaries" movie! why do we have to hear santana and antonio banderas doing his song in a nonsennsical "smooth" style??? this is truly a joke..

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ella Fitzgerald resource!

here is a link with a chronology and discography for Ella Fitzgerald.. the chronology informs us, among other things, on the recording date and original 78rpm release for each title...Ella's first LP release, "Souvenir Album" was made up of the following early sides:

"Baby Won't You Please Come Home"-Decca 3186- February 15, 1940
"Cabin in the Sky"- Decca 3490- November 8, 1940
"Lonesomest Gal"- Decca 3666- November 8, 1940
"The One I Love"- Decca 3608- January 8, 1941
"I Must Have That Man"- Decca 18530- July 31, 1941
"I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me"- Decca 18421- July 31, 1941
"I Got It Bad"- Decca 3968- July 31, 1941
"I Can't Help Loving That Man"- Decca 18421- July 31, 1941

Our continuing series on early 10 inch LP records continues with Ella Fitzgerald's first LP record: 1949's "Souvenir Album"- Decca DL 5084.

Ella Fitzgerald: America's First Lady of Song

The first thing that jumps out at me when I look at Ella's first LP (Decca DL 5084) from 1949 is that this is one of few pictures I have seen of Ella where she looks relatively young (and keep in mind I'm no Ella expert/fanatic). Now my personal taste has always been more for Billie Holiday- then again I believe Billie to be the greatest American singer ever- but I give Ella big props and I'm willing to be big about it and admit that Ella makes for much better listening around the holidays! Actually I'm willing to admit much more...

I would classify this record as being early Ella. Her first sides with the Chick Webb Orchestra in the late 1930s were immediately followed by these Decca recordings as a solo artist. Decca, for this "Souvenir Album", selected some very early Ella sides from 1940-1941 originally released as 78 rpm discs. Billie Holiday had recorded two of these only two-three years prior to Ella: "Can't help loving dat man" (1937), and "Can't Believe that You're in love with me" (1938). The repertoire on this Ella LP is pretty conventional but then again we are talking 1940!

The liner notes inform us that Ella was born in Newport News, Virginia and her parents were extremely poor. Ella was sent to a New York orphanage which she left at 16. The great swing band leader Chick Webb saw her singing shortly after, took her in and together with his wife adopted her, and taught her how to sing and the ropes of the business. For two years Ella toured with the Chick Webb Orchestra and did not sing one note in public. Eventually however Chick Webb felt she'd learned and she began to sing with the band and record and even write songs. The rest is history.

When I think of Ella I think of her ability to transmit joy. This may relate to the fact that I can hear/visualize her happiness in singing. Also, I think of her incredible scat-laced improvised live version of "Mack the Knife" on the classic LP "Ella in Berlin." Basically she forgets the words to the song and improvises on the spot without losing a beat. Here are the lyrics to this unique performance that never fails to make me smile:

{spoken} thank you. we’d like to do something for you now.
We haven’t heard a girl sing it. and since it’s so popular,
We’d like to try and do it for you.
We hope we remember all the words.{}

Oh, the shark has pearly teeth, dear
And he shows them, pearly white
Just a jack knife has macheath, dear
And he keeps it out of sight

Oh, the shark bites with his teeth, dear
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves though, wears macheath dear
So there’s not, not a trace of red

On a sunday, sunday morning
Lies a body, oozin’ life
Someone’s sneaking ’round the corner
Tell me could it be, could it be, could it be
Mack the knife?

Oh, what’s the next chorus?
To this song, now
This is the one, now
I don’t know
But it was a swinging tune
And it’s a hit tune
So we tried to do mack the knife

Ah, louis miller
Oh, something about cash
Yeah, miller, he was spending that trash
And macheath dear, he spends like a sailor
Tell me, tell me, tell me
Could that boy do, something rash

Oh bobby darin, and louis armstrong
They made a record, oh but they did
And now ella, ella, and her fellas
We’re making a wreck, what a wreck
Of mack the knife

{louis armstrong imitation}
Oh snookie taudry, bah bah bah nop do bo de do
Bah bah bah nop do bo de do
Just a jack knife has macheath, dear
And do bo bo bah bah bah nop do bo de do {}

So, you’ve heard it
Yes, we’ve swung it
And we tried to
Yes, we sung it

You won’t recognize it
It’s a surprise hit
This tune, called mack the knife

And so we leave you, in berlin town
Yes, we’ve swung old mack
We’ve swung old mack in town
For the darin fans,
And for the louis armstrong fans, too
We told you look out, look out, look out
Old macheath’s back in town

After her Decca period in the 40s/early 50s she would move to Norman Granz's record labels (Clef/Verve) and he would fashion her into a singer of songbooks by the great American tin pan alley tunesmiths (Arlen, Gerswin, Cole Porter, Ellington, etc.)

One thing I particularly enjoy about having an original LP when it is from 1949-1950 is picturing the artists pleasure in seeing their own first LP. I know Billie Holiday is said to have taken great pride when her first LPs came out. If one compares the sound quality difference between a 78 and an LP I think its safe to say the difference in fidelity is greater than that between an LP and a CD.

Although I prefer Billie Holiday's material part of me thinks that it is Ella who is a more representative first lady for american song. To me Ella is all business and no nonesense; a consummate professional. There is no baggage of bad men, drugs, booze, jail.. its just her delight in performing the wonderful canon of american song... there is no early fade out.. no terrible sad lurid diana ross movie... in fact most people know little about her other than her great performances and that ain't so bad in my book!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Allan Songer on Original Blue Notes

Its little secret I got it bad for original Blue Note records... Interestingly I found this post today at the Vinyl Asylum bulletin board (see links on side bar) by an Allan Songer.. it really sheds some light on the whole issue of what is an original pressing of a blue note...therefore i'm reproducing this for posterity as i have yet to see such a detailed and well-explained analysis...and believe me i've looked:

First--you can't tell the vintage of the pressing by the label alone or even if it has "deep-grooves."
First-- ALL "original" (not FIRST, but original pre-Liberty) pressings have the little "ear" mark in the dead wax. It looks like a cursive "P" becuase that is what it is! It's "P" for Plastylite, the pressing plant that pressed ALL original Blue Notes.

The deep groove is present on first pressings of every Blue Note LP fom the beginning through Blue Note 4058. Starting with Blue Note 4059, Plastylite BOUGHT NEW EQUIPMENT that did NOT press in the deep grooves! 4059 (Kenny Drew, "Undercurrent") is an anomoly because EVERY KNOWN COPY has the deep groove on one side only--that means Plastylite used the newer equipment for one side only! This is also a VERY rare title that most likely went through only ONE pressing!

Starting with 4060 ALL "first" pressings have NO deep groove! If you find a copy of any number AFTER 4059 that has a deep groove in one or both sides, it's a SECOND pressing--the new equpiment was ALWAYS used for the first run! This has NO EFFECT on value however!

If you find a title EARLIER than 4059 with only one or NO deep groove, but still has the "ear," this is a later pressing!

The "Lexington" labels were used up through BN 1543, Kenny Burrell vol. 2--even LATE pressings of many of these titles still used the left over Lexington lables--you have to look for the deep-grooves AND the edge of the record itself! ALL OF THE LEXINGTON TITLES HAVE FLAT EDGES IF THEY ARE TRULY FIRST PRESSINGS!

Starting with 1544 Blue Note introduced the "47 W. 63rd New York 23" label which was used on MOST titles from 1544 through 1577--some titles have this on ONE side only (like 1568 and 1577). Because Blue Note DID NOT release their titles in the order they were cataloged, MANY titles prior to 1577 have the LATER "47 W. 63rd NYC" labels (BN 1560 for example).

The "47 W. 63rd NYC" was used up through Blue Note 4017 (Horace Silver "Finger Poppin'"). Starting with 4018, an "INC" was added and a "R" resigesterd trademark at the bottom. That means, if you find any record with a number from 4017 on back that HAS the "Inc" and the "R" it is a SECOND PRESSING even if it is Deep-Groove on both sides!

The last title with the "47 W. 63rd" labels was BN4080, Hank Mobley's "Workout" and this one has these lables only on ONE SIDE! Again, there are titles with numbers EARLIER than 4080 that have the later "New York, USA" labels because they were released out of order.

Starting with 4081, every single original Blue Note has the "New York, USA labels" right up to the FINAL original release, Don Cherry's "Complete Communion" (BN 4226). The label was sold to Liberty and EVERY SINGLE RECORD WITH A CATALOG NUMBER HIGHER THAN 4226 is a "Liberty" pressing! Again, there are EARLIER titles that were released AFTER the sale to Liberty as well (Andrew Hill's "Andrew!" being a good example-- BN 4203).

Liberty contiuned to use the left-over "New York, USA" labels for a few months--that's why you see the "New York" labels on titles as high as "The Jody Grind" from Horace Silver!

If you find ANY record with an early catalog number WITHOUT the little "ear" it is a LIBERTY pressing no matter WHAT the label or jacket says! I have seen LIBERTY pressings that had "New York 23" and even "Lexington" labels! Liberty USED UP OLD STOCK including jacket slicks and labels!!!

There is a HUGE difference in both value and sonics between an ORIGNAL pressing of a record like Jackie McLean's "Swing Swang Swingin'" and a Liberty with the original labels! An original will fetch about $700 in NM condition while the "Liberty" vesion might only bring $150 in the same condition!

Hope this ramble helps a bit.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Super Bowl London Style link

here is a link to a story that was just published on popmatters which sorta summarizes my feelings about this past super bowl.. my own story is in the archives (day after super bowl)

"Shotgun Golf With Bill Murray"

and here is the link for Hunter S. Thompson's actual last story...published on on february 16.. its a somewhat amusing story about a phone conversation with bill murray over some loony idea involving golf and shotguns!..

Hunter S Thompson's post 9-11 ESPN Column

a lot of people don't realize that hunter s thompson had a regular column on these past few years.. here is the link for his september 18, 2001 column...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Contributing blogger Howard Park: A Day with Hunter S. Thompson

A Day With Hunter S. Thompson

In early April of 1984 I was the coolest guy in Madison, Wisconsin for a day. I was the designated driver for the legendary Hunter S. Thompson. Cool was cool, but not quite as cool as I had imagined.

Thompson came to Madison to be around for a visit by his old buddy from the McGovern Campaign, Colorado Senator Gary Hart who was locked in a fierce battle for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. I met Thompson at Madison's compact airport along with his Friend, another McGovern Campaign veteran, then State Banking Commissioner Bill Dixon, a six pack of cold beer and Dixon's convertible.

This was a reward. I had been working tirelessly for Hart all over the country. My credit card was beyond maxed out. I was a Gonzo campaigner. Thompson was a legend to me and everyone I knew -- virtually every early twentysomething University of Wisconsin male student seemed to idolize Thompson. He epitomized sex, drugs and rock n' roll. He was also a damm good writer. Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail - 1972 are still scattered in dorm rooms and fraternity houses everywhere. I had religiously read all of his books and his now infrequent Rolling Stone columns.

In the flesh Thompson was a minor letdown. I never saw him without a dorky looking floppy hat, like that worn by Bob Denver on the Gilligan's Island TV show. Perhaps he was vain about his balding head. The hat also let him move about without being recognized very often. He chain smoked cigarettes and drank like a sailor on leave. The Hunter S. Thompson of myth supposedly did LSD, pot, cocaine, uppers and downers like a kid eating Halloween candy. Maybe, but not with me. I never saw him take anything stronger than sprain. He was outfitted with more stuff than a more regular person would take on an African safari. He had what seemed like a ton of baggage, including a heavy, bulky word processor that I lugged all over town during the next day. He never touched it. I've never, ever seen anyone who brought as much stuff for a one day visit.

Most disappointing for me was the fact that he was sort of hard to talk with. He just did not converse like most people. Thompson might totally ignore something I said while responding nonsensically to something else. Occasionally he seemed to twitch oddly. Hunter also never spoke in anything that resembled a sentence. He was friendly enough and we got along fine as I drove him around Madison over that evening and the next day. We shared our views about Richard Nixon. Thompson's hated of Nixon was one of the coolest parts of his persona. I had the impression that if I had said something nice about Nixon the he would have gotten out of the car on a random Madison street corner. Fortunately, my disdain for Nixon was well developed. I had been warned not to bring up the Doonesbury comic strip, then the most popular comic strip in the country and the genesis of much of the Thompson legend. He hated the comic strip.

The purpose of the visit was for Thompson to cover a big Gary Hart rally at Wisconsin's majestic state capitol a few days before our state's presidential primary (Hart won). My job was to get Hunter where he needed to go without distracting the national media or the crowd from the candidate. I failed, although it seemed a lot worse that it really was at the time.

I was driving Thompson about midway in a Hart motorcade of eight vehicles. Behind me was most of the national press corps who were covering Hart. In any campaign, the media are the VIP's. The advance man who had choreographed the event had emphatically instructed me to stick with the motorcade at all times until we reached a designated parking lot. It was vitally important that the media be in a certain exact location at a certain time.

As we approached the Capitol Building, with little or no warning, Hunter S. Thompson screamed at me "GET OVER THERE, THEY ARE COMING TO GET US, TURN NOW!!" and he grabbed the wheel from me. I had no idea what he was talking about or what was happening, but I turned as he was imploring me, and he said something like "GOOD BOY, I HOPE WE ARE SAFE NOW" as he bounded out the door to cover the rally. Everyone was confused including the 50 or so reporters on various vehicles behind me. We were now parked in the wrong space, perhaps that reserved for TV transmission trucks. It was a logistical mess in the midst of a huge crowd of over 10,000.

The only person who was not confused was the advance man who screamed "I"M GOING TO KILL YOU, YOU HAVE RUNIED EVERYTHING" as he raised his hand with only his middle finger showing into my face. Fearing for my safety from yet another lunatic I quickly scurried over to Hunter, perhaps my one last friend on the scene. The rally was great. After it was over I drove Thompson and his six huge duffel bags back to the airport and helped load the cargo on to the campaign press plane. For weeks after I eagerly awaited the arrival of each new issue of Rolling Stone hoping that he would write something about Hart and that smart, very cool campaign worker who schlepped him around that historic (in my dreams) day in Madison. No dice. To my eternal disappointment he never wrote a thing about that day or much at all about the Hart Campaign, despite the fact that I had carried around his word processor like a Sherpa in Nepal.

Years later, at a book signing in Washington, DC, where he appeared as always smoking a cigarette with a huge tumbler of iced, single malt scotch. During my allotted 15 seconds with him in the long line I asked Hunter what had caused him to divert the motorcade that day. I explained the context. I'm not sure he remembered anything and he responded with some sort of nonsense like, "Oh yes, we had to get away from them"...whatever.

I'll miss Hunter S. Thompson, the campaign trail will never be the same.

Howard Park

Hunter S. Thompson- Rest in Peace

a writer with some bite

some great hunter s thompson quotes from his last story!

"Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush -- Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain -- all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it."

"Which has always been the case. Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous 'trickle-down' theory of U.S. economic policy. If the Rich get Richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow 'trickle down' to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to preindustrial America, when only white male property owners could vote."

"The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. Election Day -- especially a presidential election -- is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to it."

"George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it."

"Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today, compared to a golem like George Bush. Indeed. Where is Richard Nixon now that we finally need him?

If Nixon were running for president today, he would be seen as a 'liberal' candidate, and he would probably win. He was a crook and a bungler, but what the hell? Nixon was a barrel of laughs compared to this gang of thugs from the Halliburton petroleum organization who are running the White House today -- and who will be running it this time next year, if we (the once-proud, once-loved and widely respected 'American people') don't rise up like wounded warriors and whack those lying petroleum pimps out of the White House on November 2nd.

Nixon hated running for president during football season, but he did it anyway. Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him.

You bet. Richard Nixon would be my Man. He was a crook and a creep and a gin-sot, but on some nights, when he would get hammered and wander around in the streets, he was fun to hang out with. He would wear a silk sweat suit and pull a stocking down over his face so nobody could recognize him. Then we would get in a cab and cruise down to the Watergate Hotel, just for laughs."

"I watch three or four frantic network-news bulletins about Iraq every day, and it is all just fraudulent Pentagon propaganda, the absolute opposite of what it says: u.s. transfers sovereignty to iraqi interim "government." Hot damn! Iraq is finally Free, and just in time for the election! It is a deliberate cowardly lie. We are no more giving power back to the Iraqi people than we are about to stop killing them.

Your neighbor's grandchildren will be fighting this stupid, greed-crazed Bush-family "war" against the whole Islamic world for the rest of their lives, if John Kerry is not elected to be the new President of the United States in November.

The question this year is not whether President Bush is acting more and more like the head of a fascist government but if the American people want it that way. That is what this election is all about. We are down to nut-cutting time, and millions of people are angry. They want a Regime Change."

His last published story

Hunter S. Thompson's final story was in the October 20, 2004 Rolling Stone..check it here..

he was off base, like many of us, on the election outcome.. but his thoughts on american politics always struck a chord with me..

the great gonzo journalist is gone...

Hunter S. Thompson is gone

he killed himself...more to follow on this........

Friday, February 18, 2005

A sign posted on a fence erected to protect La Casa Rosada (see in the background), Argentina's White House, the day after riots led to the end of the De La Rua presidency. It sums up the general disgust with the Argentine Government: "Goodbye Supreme Court Justices, Goodbye (International) Monetary Fund, Goodbye Pensions of Privilege."

The economic recession of Argentina eventually led to a popular revolt that brought down the President. Pictured here are the headlines of Argentina's major dailies the day after the riots leading to the resignation of President De La Rua at the end of 2001: "The Worse end: De La Rua is gone but he left 26 dead..", "De La Rua Resigned", and "De La Rua left but the riots don't stop." Argentina is now getting back on its feet.....but careful before jumping to conclusions.

Argentina's Inexorable Habit of Dissapointing

Argentina's economy has grown at nearly 9% for the past two years with additional growth forecast for this year... Meanwhile, the Government's "canje" or trade forced upon bond holders (holders of argentine govt debt) with the rather unseemly ultimatum "we've defaulted and if you want anything back accept getting a lot less" has largely met with reluctant acceptance on the part of bondholders...Argentina-watchers are tempted to declare a victory for the Government in its armwrestling with creditors.. even the Wall Street Journal which has made a habit these past few years of berating Argentina is turning a gentler eye on argentina as of late.

however the inescapable fact remains: argentina a country that in the 1920s was one of the ten largest economies in the world barely scrapes the top 100... poverty pervades argentina...although declining with respect to its peak in 2001-2002 i estimate half of argentina's population is poor... analyzing argentina's economic "development" we observe it is nothing but underdevelopment since the end of World War I.. there are peaks and troughs but overall argentina's economy has been on a fairly consistent downward spiral for about 85 years!.. a little economic growth now and then offsets large contractions much as the current growh compensates for some of the huge contraction the economy experienced during the 2001 devaluation (where in dollar terms the economy shrunk something insane like 200%).. but the triumphalism both by some argentine officials and in the foreign media is irresponsible..

the foreign media in particular fails to comprehend argentina and is largely made up of the same "journalists" that during the Menem administration's heyday in the 1990s applauded a by all accounts corrupt government that indebted the country heedlessly with IMF/United States and international financial sector complicity; in essence the same governtment that failed to take the necessary steps to preserve the wellbeing of its people.. the foreign press at the time,led by the usual free-capitalist loving stalwarts the Economist and Wall Street Journal, raved and gushed about Argentina until it was far too late.. they failed to raise timely warning bells about the country's huge indebtedness and unemployment which soared from 10% to nearly 20%!.. when Argentina inevitably collapsed the foreign press was quick to point fingers anywhere but inwards... my point, and i'm sad to make it, is be very cautious and don't believe the hype...

none of this is to imply that Argentina cannot get its house in order and build a more solid economy for the benefit of all its people... the potential for solid economic gains exists.. however, given the lack of acumen displayed by most of its political class and the entrenched corruption permeating the society one must be extremely cautious....certain attitudes and practices, cultural and social, anathemic to the development of capitalism are now engrained within argentine society... furthermore, the weakness and lack of autonomy inherent in its democratic institutions (for example the judiciary) act as drags on progress...even the harsh events of 2001-2002, unbelievably, have not shaken society's ill foundations.. these foundations, in existence for about 100 years, must be changed before stable progress can become a reality for Argentina..

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The return of Andres "el salmon" Calamaro

A feature on Andres Calamaro will follow...for now its great to know he's healthy and back performing in Argentina..

these pictures are for my friend Mariano Parra.. wherever he may be and whatever he's doing I have a strong feeling he was at this show...

I got the great news late last night. Andres Calamaro, noted argentine singer songwriter, performed his first live show in Argentina in nearly 6 years at the Cosquin Festival (Argentina's Coachella or Bonnaroo) this past weekend. He's put on weight but after the battles one imagines he's waged that no surprise..

Now this jersey I can wear! Aimar of course proved during the 2002 World Cup that he should have been Argentina's starting 10... (by the way if anybody knows how i can crop out the wood floor let me know!)

World Cup Fever- Part 2 (A look back at 2002)

I need to push ahead with my thoughts on what happened to Argentina during the 2002 World Cup; there are other things I want to get to.

On Part 1 of World Cup Fever I mentioned Bielsa failed to notice or react to Veron’s dropoff in form. The same error in reverse was perhaps more costly. Bielsa failed to notice two players whose form had improved greatly the year preceding the World Cup who would have been key additions to the squad. In the case of Pablo Aimar of spanish club Valenica, Aimar's popularity with argentines owing to his days at River Plate forced Bielsa's hand. Aimar was reluctantly included on the World Cup squad. When things against England were not going well or as we say in Argentina "cuando las papas estaban en el fuego" (when the potatoes were on the fire) in the second half and Veron was in the midst of his dramatic collapse before 1 billion people the coach then turned to Aimar for some creative spark in midfield. Aimar of course is a more offensive midfielder; more of a 10 whereas Veron is almost a cross between a 10 and a 5 (actually he may just be a 5 but Bielsa had him playing as a 10). In any case, Aimar destabilized but was unable to tie up the game. In the following crucial tie against Sweden Aimar started and again played very well but things just did not break for this point, after the England fiasco, the squad was in a near mutiny...Aimar should have started all three initial round games and should have come into the World Cup as an integral part of the starting squad.. his form in Spain led his club Valencia to challenge for or even win (I forget) the La Liga Spanish league title (if they did not win that year they won the title immediately following the world cup) and challenge for some European cup or even win it (was it the Champions? UEFA? I forget)….. You CANNOT fail to use players like Aimar who bring creativity to the pitch.. creativity to a squad starved for it.. a team that had been having problems scoring…More on this later but stylewise Aimar is the classic Argentine player..and for most argentines he was the only player that really played well in 2002... even in the anguish of 2002 i marched to my local sports store on the avenida santa fe and purchased his jersey..

But I had mentioned two players.. the other was Solari another midfielder from Real Madrid who had began to display great form with Real particularly in the highest form of European club play: the Champions league…. Although not always a starter Solari had been coming off the bench at times and integrating perfectly with Zidane and other monsters playing at the time for Real (Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Raul, etc). If Solari could play so well at such a high level of club play there is no doubt in my mind that he was a natural to make the squad… and perhaps he could have replaced one of the players that Bielsa refused to consider removing even as their form dipped for Veron was not the only one who did not perform during the 2002 World Cup.. Kily Gonzalez, another midfielder comes to mind and to my mind Solari should have taken his spot.. Even Simeone, my favorite all time player, had seen his form dip and Solari would have been a better choice... coaches have to make tough choices but bielsa always made the easy choice..

Coach Bielsa failed to react to changes in the form of key players preferring to go with the players that had been with him since the beginning of his cycle(the "historicos")..this was a mistake…in some cases it led him to take “older” players more prone to injury such as Sensini (or Simeone) who did not make it past the first game….or Chamot who had already failed Argentina (my personal scapegoat for the losses in the 1994 [watch the romania game and TELL ME just TELL ME he was not responsible for at least 2 of romania's goals] and 1998 World Cups [Owen schooled him during England-Argentina II, Holland second goal he leaves Ayala to singlehandedly confront Bergkamp]- he is that horrible defender who goes up to attack and then when the counterattack comes is to be found with his back to the opponents goal far from the ball- no solidarity)… Then to make matters worse he succumbed to pressure from Argentines to take Caniggia along merely because Caniggia had scored a few goals in the forsaken Scottish league.. Caniggia was past his prime and worse yet prone to injury...(think about it: cani and bati had helped argentina win the 1991 Copa America...this was 11 years later and the two same strikers are on the squad?!)`Cani ended up being injured of course during the cup and only was able to play in the third game were once again displaying his "maturity" he promptly got himself red carded....a waste of a spot on the squad..

When you add the miscues of taking Chamot, Sensini, Caniggia, Kily Gonzalez and not giving a proper role to Crespo, Aimar, and Solari (and I would add Gallardo who watched the cup from the bench but should have been preferred over Ortega) you begin to see something very wrong going on..river plate fans might be tempted to conclude bielsa had it in for their squad as all four of these players had come through river..

However, the problem with the squad was not just one of players.. Bielsa committed the gravest error that a national coach can commit… he had argentina play like a European club instead of having it play like Argentina…. national teams have an identity that comes from the country itself… the English play like English with their long balls and speed.. Brazilians by and by like Brazilians, the Germans are always the Germans..never quitting.. always storming back with sheer will....the italians are the stingiest team around and rely on a lone single quick witted play to put them over the top.....and have been for decades.. the french have style and sophistication..from Tigana/Platini to Zidane/Henry.. and on and on and on….as coach you have to be true to your country’s style… if you commit the ultimate treason of forcing your team to play with someone else’s style don’t be surprised if when meeting other teams whose national identity is that very style they beat you…
to be continued….

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Congratulation to Jen Garske and Jeff King!!!!!!!

OK, now what I want to know is why this woman would want to have anything to do with this clown! :)...kidding.. A big congratulations to Jen Garske and Jeff King on their engagement and impending nuptials! The world exclaims "About time..." and the champagne flows..

The "Hank Williams Sings" record featured "I Saw the Light", "Mansion on the Hill" and "Lost Highway." It was Hank's first LP and just gets better with age. Its also, by my research, one of only two Hank LPs released prior to his unfortunate death on January 1, 1953 (the other being "Moanin' the Blues"). With the Long Playing record just beginning to take hold in the marketplace- Columbia Records was the first to issue them beginning in 1949- his work like that of a lot of musicians of the time was still primarily available on 78 rpm discs. 10 inch records were available for a limited time- before the 12 inch LP consolidated its grip on the market- and are highly collectible. The first 10 inch LPs, such as this one, were compilations of songs previously released on 78s.

There is nothing like a good old record rotating on the turntable... Here is my "Hank Williams Sings" MGM 10 inch from 1952.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The very ill fated Juan Sebastian Veron Manchester United Jersey.

World Cup Fever!

I’ve got World Cup Fever!!!!… Last night I started thinking about the World Cup to come in 2006…..getting all- you know- excited------it may have been my subconscious operating; the first batch of tickets for Germany 2006 went on sale last week…. I may finally be able to begin the healing process vis a vis Argentina’s 2002 World Cup debacle..I don’t know if it is possible to ever fully put something like that behind…but the mere fact I’m writing about it shows I’m healthier than in a long time!… Argentina came into the World Cup 2002 as clear favorites (along with France) and bowed out in the first round including a humiliating 1-0 defeat at the hands of arch nemesis England…To give you an idea of the triumphalism that permeated Argentine society you could not go far before the Cup started without seeing graffiti reading “Argentina Campeon del Mundo 2002”…the country was in the throes of what I think qualifies as a great depression.. unemployment was at 25%...including underemployment the figure got closer to 40%...the entire country, including me, was consumed by the silly idea that even though we were a disaster in just about everything of any importance whatsoever all would be made good again/somehow justified by Argentina winning the World Cup…we would show the world: yes we may not be able to pay off our debts but we can win the World Cup! The rest as they say is history. .the team crashed and burned… Some of the seeds were planted at least six months earlier when I awoke, much like the entire country, to watch the World Cup draw at some ungodly hour like 5 am only to see Argentina included in the same group as England, Nigeria and Sweden... (our reward for our stellar qualifying campaign- THANKS FOR NOTHING FIFA!) at that point I knew things were going to be rough….the pressure on the players to win the entire thing could not have helped… nothing short of winning would be enough…. the country needed and demanded it…for some reason the Stallone movie “Victory” runs through my head…life is not the movies…but it’s a hard lesson to learn..

Argentina came into the World Cup having seemingly obliterated the competition in the qualifying phase which for the South America region consists of home and away games against all other teams…in other words something like 22 games over two years…. In any case, looking superficially at the numbers it sure seemed like Argentina was kicking major booty.. It sure seemed like Argentina should win the world cup but the numbers hid, as they often do, some disquieting realities….

first: dominating your region, when your region is typified by a certain style of play, does not mean you will dominate the world…. Argentina may have been the best South American side during qualifying but how good is South American soccer? Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador and Argentina's 2002 World Cup performances make me conclude: NOT THAT GOOD..… only Brazil (more on these pesky rats later) played well and of course .. as much as it pains me to admit.. won…seemingly out of nowhere… so… Argentina dominated a group with low level? Affirmative..that is my conclusion..we may have beat everyone during qualifying but in reality we beat nobodies….

second: argentina may have been very good at playing against “south American” style teams.. but this did little to prepare for an opening round with two northern European foes and an African team….in fact when you win 20 or so games playing in one style it reinforces the idea that if you keep playing that way you will win..furthermore, and no one in argentina wanted to admit this, while the team was “winning” many of the victories were a lot closer than they appeared to be.. in other words the reality that we barely won some matches or won while displaying poor form became lost.. I can’t remember the entire qualifying process. But I remember a game in Bolivia where argentina was down 3-1 and tied it 3-3 with two miraculous goals very late in the second half.. or a game against brazil in argentina where brazil was outclassing us and we tied it 1-1 towards the end on another miracle goal.. the signs were there that even the argentine pre world cup dominance was not all it was cracked up to be…but of course when luck is breaking your way you don’t think its luck but rather skill and great coaching!..

third: argentina head coach bielsa decided everything was going great and locked himself into a scheme regarding both strategy and players..since argentina was easily crusing through qualifying and the local press, international press and population were completely enamored of the team he decided there was no need to change or evolve… and that meant he took his eye off the ball….because had he been looking he would have seen one clear thing: his number one guy- the team engine- VERON was choking…. The pressure on this man who had carried the team during the first half of qualifying and stormed into Manchester United (hey even I bought his Man U jersey) with some phenomenal playing had built and built and somehow his game began to suffer.. his playing in Man U became lackluster..i think the brits would say his “form” suffered..but of course Veron was the guy that was supposed to carry the team.. and Bielsa failed to anticipate- his job- that Veron has lost his form….Veron was a non factor in the world cup….his passing was particularly ineffectual.. he lost his confidence and has never recovered…he went from Man U to Chelsea and then was I think lent or traded back to an Italian club where he is currently trying to find his way…. My point is: when you have the team built around a scheme that depends on one player for its creativity/spark and that guy loses it your team is going to suffer… But Bielsa’s failure to adjust- a 4 year cycle between Cups is a long time and players' level of play can come and go- cost Argentina dearly and more than just Veron as i will elaborate further... in all fairness however its not unusual for coaches to get locked in..

four: other Bielsa decisions come to mind.. one resembles the decision regarding Veron: Batistuta… now Bielsa knew Bati from the days he managed Newells (Bati’s came through Newells lower divisions) and they obviously have a tight relationship but why Bielsa insisted on having Bati be the starting center forward and refused to consider having two center forwards is something I will never understand.. when Crespo was on the bench.. Crespo before the 2002 world cup was a younger and more importantly hungrier player…. Bati was already on the downhill slalom of his career…. But Bati had scored over 35 goals for the Argentine side and most Argentines wanted him to get the starting nod.. still, it was a mistake and we saw this during the three games…the only goal Bati scored came off of his ear!!!!!!!! ..although more on this later since when a striker ain't striking its prudent to look at the midfield (eh, Veron?)... A miracle goal against Nigeria…. Which lulled Argentina into a false sense of overconfidence before the critical game.. the one that fittingly decided it all…..against England…Worse yet: Bielsa insisted that the players had to fit his system of 1 center forward and one wing forward instead of seeing that he had two great center forwards (cause even on the downhill slide Bati was still something to reckon with; its just that if he could have only one the choice should have been Crespo) and adapting the system to fit that reality..

I will continue but my fingers are cramping up.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day Song- Nick Cave's "Into My Arms"

it is little secret that nick cave is one of the more important poets currently working in the rock'n'roll biz...and i mean the "working" part as mr. cave labours over his craft like a mapmaker... he has vision, ambition and puts in the hours each morning... his "boatman's call" album from 1997 thematically akin to dylan's "blood on the tracks" is chock full of ruminations on the o so tricky aspects of love..."into my arms" is particularly poignant but the whole enchilada amazes:

Into My Arms

I don't believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I don't believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that's true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

Valentine's Day Massacre of 2005- No longer necessary to register to leave comments!

i had the wondrous idea of installing a feature called haloscan allowing readers to post comments without need of registering with blogspot.. i know from personal experience what a pain it is to sign up and then have to remember another password and username... anyhow, its a brilliant idea except i must have missed the haloscan warning that registering with them would eliminate all prior comments!!!!!!!! sheesh luis...

this haloscan thiggiemagig also includes the trackback feature... i'd prefer to disable it as it seems kind of obstrusive but so far i have not had luck in learning if it is possible to disable..

but at least now it will be easy to leave comments!......

now let me get back to my regularly scheduled smooching!!!!!!!

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.


Don't Miss This One!!!!!!!

One of my favorite bands Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles, now based in New York City, are coming to town bringing their latin groove funk fun! The party is Friday March 18 at the Black Cat.

Sunday, February 13, 2005



Saturday, February 12, 2005

The passing of the torch! Outgoing DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe and incoming Chairman Howard Dean in Washington DC on Saturday.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Way I See It- Dean as DNC Chairman

Margaret Carlson, called Dean a "lifelong centrist," and added, "He was head of the National Governors Association. He was a fiscal conservative. He was against the war, and he was portrayed as being left-wing, which he just is not. Then the right-wing media kind of portrayed him as an extremist, and then the mainstream media took the scream tape and turned him into kind of a nut. But I think he's transcended that since he's begun this. And even during the rest of the campaign, he was helpful, shrewd. He's been cheerful. He's not as down as the rest of the Democrats. And he can give a speech. He can talk. I think he is a great choice."

A little historical perspective on the Pazz & Jop

Snagged from Acclaimed Music Forum:

The number of points and the number of ballots are presented on their website for all lists since 1997. Calculating the number of points divided by the number of ballots gives the following top 10 from 1997-2004:

1. OutKast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)
2. Bob Dylan - Love and Theft (2001)
3. OutKast - Stankonia (2000)
4. Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
5. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of ... (1998)
6. Bob Dylan - Time out of Mind (1997)
7. Kanye West - The College Dropout (2004)
8. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
9. Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
10. The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)

My thoughts:

Difficult to argue with five of these records: Elephant, OK Computer, Time Out of Mind, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Love and Theft; great works of art people will always appreciate. I don't foresee 99 used copies of these records available at Amazon starting at $2.34. OK Computer has aged particularly well.

Of the other five I am unable to listen to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill end to end while Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is good but contrary to popular opinion Summer Teeth is Wilco's best. I am skeptical of the value of Stankonia, Speakerboxx / Love Below, and The College Dropout . They lack long term staying power. Outkast in particular is hype. I'd be surprised if anybody is listening to these three records in ten years.

Village Voice Pazz & Jop 2004 Poll Results!

The past few years I've been reading the Pazz and Jop poll assembled by Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau...Pazz and Jop basically functioned as my Grammy Awards! I'd wait until it came out and if I had "missed" a few well placed records go out and snag them; probably at the underground music store in New York City a block from Tower on Broadway. During 2004 I heard few new albums and doubt I'm going to run out the door though a few lower ranked albums peak my interest (#99 Rio Baile Funk/Favela Booty Beats). If there ever can be such a thing the list represents the American music critic concensus. Time will tell if these records hold up or eventually make their way to landfills across America. Glad to see Loretta Lynn at number 3; Van Lear Rose was my favorite and confirms that even while on "sabbathical" Jack White who produced it is the man in modern rock and roll. Nice to see Green Day back up there for having some ambition. Another ambitious feller, Nick Cave, is appropriately on the list if a bit too low. Per usual Wilco is far too high and what are the Libertines doing here? And- gasp- U2 in the top 10? However, overall this is a good representative list. One further nitpicking note: For the first time, I notice a reissue on the list of "new albums." Though I know Faces' Five Guys Walk Into a Bar.. deserves accolades, and its a box set I will acquire it ought not be here (see my brief blurb on Faces of February 2). I'm going to read some of the essays and find out what Christgau has to say about 2004. There's also a singles list and I acclaim with a hearty hear hear Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out as Single of the Year. Below the first 40 albums on the Pazz and Jop.

1. Kanye West The College Dropout
2. Brian Wilson Smile
3. Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose
4. Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand
5. Green Day American Idiot
6. Arcade Fire Funeral
7. Streets A Grand Don't Come For Free
8. U2 How to dismantle an atomic bond
9. Modest Mouse Good News
10. Danger Mouse The Grey Album
11. Madvillain Madvillainy
12. TV On the Radio Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
13. Wilco A Ghost is Born
14. Riko Riley More Adventurous
14. Nellie McKay Get Away From Me
16. Drive By Truckers The Dirty South
17. Fiery Furnaces Blueberry Boat
18. Bjork Medulla
19. Interpol Antics
20. Joanna Newsom The Milk Eyed Mender
21. Animal Collective Sung Tongs
22. Eliott Smith From a Basement on the Hill
23. MIA/Diplo Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1
24. Dizzee Rascal Showtime
25. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Abbatoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus
26. Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters
27. Killers Hot Fuss
28. Davendra Banhart Rejoicing in the Hands
29. Tom Waits Real Gone
30. The Libertines Libertines
31. Hold Steady Almost Killed Me
32. Ghostface The Pretty Toney Album
33. PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
34. Yossou N'Dour Egypt
35. Usher Confessions
36. Morrissey You Are the Quarry
37. Sonic Youth Sonic Nurse
38. Black Keys Rubber Factory
39. Big & Rich Horse of a Different Color
40. A.C. Newman Slow Wonder

Thursday, February 10, 2005

47west63rd MILESTONE!!!!!!!!!!!

yes faithful readers... all that blogging is paying off!... word is spreading and the cult is building.... the comments may be on the sparse side but later today we will welcome our 1000th visitor!!!!!!!!!...

can a sponsorship deal with nike and heineken be far behind?!?

Jimmy Smith now featured artist at RADIOLANDIA

check it at

Howard Dean Victory Party!

Last night Tiffiny and I attended the Howard Dean/Democracy for America gathering at the Capitol City Brewery here in Washington DC which overlooks the Capitol... We showed up 40 minutes early to find hundreds of people in line.... The mood was one of happiness and to some degree pride in our man Howard Dean being about to become Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In the end over 1200 people showed up and Dean spoke twice: once inside (where we were lucky enough to get in) and once outside to those gathered on the balcony.

We were ecstatic that Dean is set to assume this important position as titular head of the party's steering committee for the next few years...God knows the party needs some backbone... He made clear he is going to keep on being himself.... he's going to keep yelling!!!!!!!! For us, who believed so much in the Doctor only to see his presidential bid go up in flames (Dean would have beat Bush!) there was vindication in the air last night... the anti-establishment forces are taking over the establishment! Dean secured this position because of the hard work and commitment of the progressive grass roots which he energized like no other candidate (Kerry who? first people voted for him in the primary cause the media said a vietnam vet could defeat bush [boy did that ever prove to be wrong, eh?], then democrats rallied around him because he won the primaries but he couldn't light a fire in hell if his life depended on it)..

The event last night was somewhat odd because it almost felt like a campaign stop and I think that is unusual in a presumptive DNC Chair but then again Howard Dean ain't your average John and its time the Democratic Party shake things up...Last night was our night.......

Time to go home and get to work rebuilding the party!

Howard Dean presses the flesh...

Dean delivers again!

Check out the cutie with Dean in the background!

Howard Dean introduces a special guest: Senator Jeffords!

Twas a good night (check out all that beer)


They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

THIS was Jimmy Smith! (This is the original deep groove Blue Note LP recorded nearly 48 years ago on February 12, 1957)

The All Music Guide on Jimmy Smith

Though he never received any exaggerated title, Jimmy Smith certainly ruled the Hammond organ in the '50s and '60s. He revolutionized the instrument, showing it could be creatively used in a jazz context and popularized in the process. His Blue Note sessions from 1956 to 1963 were extremely influential and are highly recommended. Smith turned the organ into almost an ensemble itself. He provided walking bass lines with his feet, left hand chordal accompaniment, solo lines in the right, and a booming, funky presence that punctuated every song, particularly the up-tempo cuts. Smith turned the fusion of R&B, blues, and gospel influences with bebop references and devices into a jubilant, attractive sound that many others immediately absorbed before following in his footsteps. Smith initially learned piano both from his parents and on his own. He attended the Hamilton School of Music in 1948, and Ornstein School of Music in 1949 and 1950 in Philadelphia. Smith began playing the Hammond in 1951, and soon earned a great reputation that followed him to New York, where he debuted at the Café Bohemia. A Birdland date and 1957 Newport Jazz Festival appearance launched Smith's career. He toured extensively through the '60s and '70s. His Blue Note recordings included superb collaborations with Kenny Burrell, Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, Tina Brooks, Jackie McLean, Ike Quebec, and Stanley Turrentine, among others. He also did several trio recordings, some which were a little bogged down by the excess length of some selections. Smith scored more hit albums on Verve from 1963 to 1972, many of them featuring big bands and using fine arrangements from Oliver Nelson. These included the excellent Walk on the Wild Side. But Verve went to the well once too often for crossover dollars, loading down Smith's late-'60s album with hack rock covers. His '70s output was quite spotty, though Smith didn't stop touring, visiting Israel and Europe in 1974 and 1975. He and his wife opened a club in Los Angeles in the mid-'70s. Smith resumed touring in the early '80s, returning to New York in 1982 and 1983. He re-signed with Blue Note in 1985, and has done more representative dates for them and Milestone in the '90s. After a five-year layoff, Smith returned in early 2001 with the blues projects Fourmost Return and Dot Com Blues.

Pictures from Argentina-Germany

Argentina's man of the match. Hernan "Bati Who?" Crespo

riquelme reasserts himself in the Argentine midfield... Argentina's hopes in 2006 right now rest on his shoulders..

Zannetti (left) fights for the ball with unidentified teuton. That or they are doing the hokey pokey..

Soccer "Friendly"

Argentina and Germany played yesterday in Germany. Both teams are reorganizing under new coaches.. Germany under Klinsmann and Argentina under Pekerman (yes, that is his name i ain't making this stuff up).. Anyways I did not see the game as I live in a soccer-forsaken country but apparently the game was a great one with Germany leading the way with two first half goals... then Argentina reasserted itself and took over and drew 2-2 with two goals by forward Hernan Crespo who had been given up for dead last year but now is scoring goals like they are going out of style.. This team also featured Riquelme in midfield and seems to have worked allright... Encouraging news for both teams!

I know Argentina has let everyone down in the past few World Cups but hope springs eternal and I'm hopeful they can make a more impressive showing in the 2006 World Cup...Germany, as host, and with their World Cup track record has to be the favorite going in.

The funky master of the hammond Jimmy Smith (Kenny Burrell in background)

The master of the jazz organ- Jimmy Smith- has died.

man, and i was just listening to "Prayer Meetin'" , his Blue Note lp collaboration with Stanley Turrentine, last night and the night before.. well he is gone...

a special 47west63rd tribute will follow...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


check out the inagural radio transmission featuring Sumo (see story below) at:

you must double click on songs to listen

Luca Prodan

Luca Prodan- Brother You are Missed.

These musings were prompted by a statement made by a musician friend of mine whose band “Nayas” cover Sumo’s “Heroin.” Check out Sumo on my first radioblog entry at

Sumo was a band from Argentina that lasted from 1981 until the death of its lead singer/songwriter/force Luca Prodan on December 22, 1987. Sumo and Luca were one and the same. Upon Lucas' passing the remaining band members wisely dissolved Sumo. Some of the band continued as “Las Pelotas” – the balls- while others went on as “Divididos”- divided- an allusion to Sumo’s album “Divididos por la Felicidad”. Both bands can't hold a candle to Sumo on days when Luca had his worse hangover.

I don’t think there’s even been anyone quiet like Luca Prodan. He was completely unique. Perhaps that is why I found my friend’s comment that Luca ripped off Lou Reed’s “Heroin” odd.. Feel free to listen to Luca’s version at my radioblog (link above).

To this day Luca’s life remains shrouded in contradictions. The story goes like this: he was born around 1954 in Italy to an Italian father and Turkish mother, was of Scottish descent, went to a private school in England, moved to italy where he was arrested for failing to do his military service, returned to London for the punk explosion/music of the late 70s, got addicted to heroin, saw a picture of peaceful Cordoba an Argentine friend whom he’d gone to private school with sent him and decided he either got out of London or died. Altough his original idea was to become involved in agriculture he gravitated back to the music and in 1981 set up a band and moved to the more happening capital; Buenos Aires. He felt that Argentina was “behind the times" when it came to rock music and had not absorbed the punk and post punk revolutions; local bands were still largely focused on classic and prog rock. Luca introduced Argentines, in my opinion, to punk and all the strains of darker rock that come via the Velvet Underground. In effect all modern “alternative” rock in Argentina comes by way of Sumo. What is remarkable is how well he accomplished the synthesis of cultures and music in creating a variant of a modern rock and roll relevant to argentines…He really opened up argentine rock and single-handedly modernized it. Bands such as Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Soda Stereo would probably never have come about where it not for Sumo.

After slowly conquering the local club scene the old fashioned way Sumo cut their three important records; “Dividos Por La Felicidad”, “Llegando Los Monos” and “After Chabon.” Sumo’s music is a hybrid mix of punk, rock and reggae with songs dominated by Luca’s presence and charisma, sung in English or Spanish and featuring atypical instrumentation such as the saxophone. Sumo were an unorthodox band from the scottish romp "Cruachan" (loosely borrowing from Jack and the Bean Stalk) to the aforementioned "Heroin" which segues in and out of a woman's shampoo commercial (wellapon)!. Amazingly, Luca learnt argentine Spanish in a few months and sounds more Argentine than the tango! Luca's rarest attribute is that he is bilingual and multicultural. He sings songs in spanish or english and sometimes even moves effortlessly from one language to another, and even from one way of looking at your world to another, and does it convincingly. Thematically Sumo songs are mainly Luca’s impressions about the same things all rock'n'roll is about: sex, drugs, rock, growing up “Your daddy says I’m no good no good”, more drugs in his case, and the sometimes vapid society he saw around him (encapsulated perfectly in “La Rubia Tarada” aka “The Idiot Blonde”) all channeled through his sardonic punk lens. Make no mistake about it Luca was above all else punk:

Oigo "dame" y "quiero" y "no te metas"
"Te gustó el nuevo Bertolucci?".
La rubia tarada, bronceada, aburrida,
me dice "Por qué te pelaste?"
Y yo "Por el asco que dá tu sociedad.
Por el pelo de hoy ¿cuánto gastaste?"

I hear “give me” and “I want” and “don’t get involved”
“Did you like the new Bertolucci?”
The idiot blonde: tanned, bored,
Tells me “Why did you shave your head?”
And I: “Cause of how sick your society makes me feel.
For today’s hair how much did you spend?”

Like most punks in the 1970s be it the Clash, the Ruts or whoever, Luca took a lot from reggae and many of his more succesfull songs are reggae tunes (Kaya, 1989, Que Me Pisen). Check out Regtest:

Algunos lo llaman el reggae cordobes (some call it the Cordoba reggae)
Play I some music
I hope I don't come on too strong
You can't refuse it
But you know you might be wrong
You could call it reggae
You couldn't call i t rock and roll
Come on, get ready
'cos there's a big ball going to roll
You'd better get up brother, up brother,
Up brother yeah!
Don't you go too far!
'cos then you'll come down brother,
Down brother, down brother, down yeah!
Like a shooting star.
I had a dream oh yeah, in 1973
I dreamt a spaceship, come down to deliver me
Well it was big and white
And it had come a long long way
A black star liner?
You know, I could not say
But it took me up brother, up brother
up brother, up brother, yeah
You know, it took me far!
Then it brought me down brother, down brother
Down brother, down brother, down yeah!
Like a shooting star.

Above all he was an expressive and intense singer who commanded your attention.. when he sang something you listened and believed it.. the fact that this largely foreign "punk" with an English schooling was able to break out within a very conservative uptight society just coming out of a military dictatorship in 1982 still dominated by prog rock and that had gone to war with England -precipitating a short term ban on rock in english on the radio- tells you something about the man!…He was on a par with the greats of rock and roll yet he is largely unknown outside Argentina. Its heartbreaking that Luca was unable to conquer his personal demons heroin and later to a greater effect gin. On the previously mentioned "La Rubia Tarada" after being sickened by the shallowness of the society, the poseur clubs, the wannabe punks, etc he ends with what I think makes a fitting epitaph for this man of the world who somehow ended up in Argentina and whose remains lie there in the Cemetery Chacarita:

Me voy, rumbo a la puerta
y después al boliche de la esquina
a tomar una ginebra con gente despierta.
Esta si que es Argentiiiinaaaaaaaaaa!

I'm outta here, on the way to the door
and then to the bar on the corner
to drink myself some gin with people who are alive.
This really is (i.e. could only be) Argentiiiinaaaaaaaaaaa! (emphasis on sarcasm)

But he lives on, for example, at Bossa on Saturday night's (Bossa is located at 2463 18th Street and Nayas usually begin their sets about 11).

Some Luca Prodan links-

If you are looking to buy some Sumo you can't beat the "Obras Cumbres" ("Great Works") 2 disc compilation available on Amazon:

Luca Prodan film:

Origins of Sumo (great story in Spanish)- [origines de Sumo]:

Sumo web page (pagina web):

Another Sumo web page (pagina web):

And another Sumo web page (pagina web):

Monday, February 07, 2005

Rant......the Dud Bowl!

i just wasn't made for these "super" bowls...

first of all i'd like to thank my hosts last night!.. they kept me well fed and the drinks were copious.. the TIVO was a nice touch...and thanks so much for the cds..i've been wanting to listen to some shuggie otis for a while.

but last night might be the last "american football" game i ever watch...since the mid 80s when i actually caught the bug while in the bay area where the san francisco 49ers were putting together a dynasty the game has lost its allure for me and its rare that i watch anything other than the super bowl..sure i follow the regular an article here or there in order to be well prepped for the ocassional bar talk..but i am increasingly reluctant.... here are my super bowl super pet peeves:

#1: who wants to put themselves through more than an hour of commercials? i mean the game itself has got to be pretty boring if people watch the game for the commercials!.. and i don't thrive in watching people trying to sell me really really bad beer...i need lots of brew to get through the dud bowl but i need good beer!

#2: the game itself is ridiculous.. each team has over 50 players.. many of whom weigh over 320 pounds! now i've heard the arguments that these are incredible species of athletes but pardon my incredulity .. they must be incredible athletes for PEOPLE WHO WEIGH OVER 320 POUNDS!....these human refrigerators with more padding than a couch run around trying to hit each other down... more ungainly and unseemly and less athletic moves than an offensive line and defensive line going at each other is hard to envision...the spectacle looks like really bad sex.. its as if you take 50 sumo wrestlers divided them by two and have them take a synchronized go at each other!

#3: this game takes way too long!.... i mean a typical game is close to four takes 4 hours to get through four 15 minute quarters...for every minute you are watching something happening there are three minutes where there ain't nothin' goin' on!!!! now the much maligned baseball (which i prefer) takes far less time and does not feature the incessant stop-starts that are a hallmark of pansyball. heck half time at the superbowl lasts 45 minutes!..which brings me to point 4

#4: when my favorite aspect is watching the half time show thats saying something... at least last night Paul McCartney sounded and looked GREAT!.... what a sweet set list too: drive my car into get back into live and let die into hey jude....which brings me to point 5

#5: the crass commercialism behind the super bowl makes me want to yak... last night as paul mccartney led the crowd into the "nananan" chorus of hey jude we saw the thousans of fans in the stands watching the game at the stadium (those "lucky" enough to have hundreds of dollars to spare for a ticket) being used by the corporate powers that be to hold up signs creating a massive billboard reading na-na-na and featuring the pepsi logo colors.. pardon me but thats just sick!...which brings me to the most twisted nightmarish thing i saw last night

#6: now i know our country is in a very (stupid) important war it CHOSE to be in and had no need to be in.. but do we really need to mix in the military motif with our crass commercialism and the dud bowl itself? this super bowl is the modern day equivalent of the roman circus with none of the fun!.. at least at the circus you got to see lions chowing down on hapless helpless humans....... but i digress.. is it necessary to include a tribute to the world war II fighters in a super bowl?.. would not arlington national cemetery be a more appropriate forum for this?.. and then for the television to switch to our military all around the world with a "see how great we are we got camp 'victory' in irak, we got camp yadadya in afghanistan and these soldiers here..... we are the EMPIRE!!!!!!!!!!! woo hoo!!!!!!! rah rah! lets play ball".. is just sad... i am afraid tis the mark of an insecure nation made up of uneducated people.... the traditional blue angels overflight and anthem should have more than sufficed to fulfill the jingoistic quota....

#7 and i may be beginning to be guilty of this- which is why i will not watch it again- but to a far less degree than many people i've see at recent super bowl parties: if you don't like american football...if you don't know anything about football.. if you prefer watching commercials to the game itself... if you won't stand for people talking during commercials but feel a need to jibber jabber like mork during the game itself and the half time show while the beatle performs.. STAY THE F*&^ HOME! you don't HAVE TO watch the game!.. if all you want is to share a few beers and you don't have any interest in the game do something else...

hence my conclusion.. its going to take a heck and i mean HECK of a party to get me to subject myself to this crap again....that my fellow americans continue to thumb their nose at the beautiful game (the real FOOTBALL lemmings! what you call sock-her) while masochistically torturing themselves with this pansy variant of rugby and crass commercialism remains one of the great mysteries of my time...

Juan Roman Riquelme: the big question: can he lead Argentina to a World Cup title? He's certainly showing signs of it at Spanish club side Villareal which has climbed to fifth in La Liga, won six games in a row and not lost since November 28, 2004! Roman who led Boca Juniors to many titles and was considered Maradona's heir there has been the favorite of Argentines for years and finally is showing signs of adapting to European soccer after troubles with Barcelona. He can score goals but above all he can play as a traditional creative playmaking "10" with precise piercing passing.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

We are number one baby!!!!!!!!!

The new International Federation of Football History and Statistics are out and my team: Boca Juniors is the World's top club! That's right baby!!!!

Club World Ranking
Clasificación Mundial de los Clubes
Classement Mondial des Clubs
Top 350
(1st February 2004 - 31st January 2005)

1. (2.) CA Boca Juniors Buenos Aires Argentina/4 270,0
2. (3.) Manchester United FC England/4 269,0
3. (8.) AS de Monaco France/4 253,0
4. (1.) Valencia CF España/4 250,0
(7.) Santos FC Brasil/4 250,0
6. (5.) Arsenal FC London England/4 249,0
7. (16.) Club Brugge KV Belgique/3 242,0
8. (13.) Chelsea FC London England/4 238,0
9. (12.) São Paulo FC Brasil/4 234,0
10. (6.) FC Juventus Torino Italia/4 232,0
(10.) Newcastle United FC England/4 232,0
12. (17.) Villarreal CF España/4 231,0
13. (4.) Real Madrid CF España/4 227,0
14. (15.) SV Werder Bremen Deutschland/4 225,0
15. (10.) Milan AC Italia/4 224,0
16. (19.) FC Internazionale Milano Italia/4 222,0
(9.) FC do Porto Portugal/3 222,0
18. (21.) Sport Lisboa e Benfica Portugal/3 219,0
19. (18.) Glasgow Celtic FC Scotland/3 217,0
20. (19.) Olympique Lyonnais France/4 216,0
21. (22.) CA River Plate Buenos Aires Argentina/4 208,0
22. (14.) FC Barcelona España/4 206,0
23. (24.) CD Once Caldas Manizales Colombia/3 203,5
24. (27.) PSV Eindhoven Nederland/3 202,0
25. (25.) AD São Caetano Brasil/4 196,0

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ian Fleming's "From Russia With Love"... A 1964 printing once the movie had come out...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The essence of rock and roll in 171 words or less

Stay With Me (Ron Wood-Rod Stewart)

In the mornin' don't say you love me,
'cause i'll only kick you out of the door
I know your name is rita 'cause your perfume's smellin' sweeter
Since when i saw you down on the floor.


Won't need to much persuadin'
I don't mean to sound degradin',
But with a face like that you got nothin' to laugh about.
Red lips, hair and fingernails,
I hear you're a mean old jezebel
Lets go up stairs and read my tarot cards

Come on!

Stay with me, stay with me

For tonight you'd better stay with me
Stay with me, stay with me
For tonight you'd better stay with me

Oh yeah!

So, in the mornin', please don't say you love me
'cause you know i'll only kick you out the door
Yeah, i'll pay your cab fare home, you can even use my best cologne,
Just don't be here in the mornin' when i wake up

Come on honey!

Stay with me, stay with me
Cause tonight you're gonna stay with me
Sit down, get up, get out.

Hey what's your name again?

Get out!


Get yourself home!

Now crankin': File Under Chuck Berry-AC DC- Memphis- Stones- Rock and Roll

Faces 1971 LP "A nod is as good as a a blind horse"- Warner Brothers BSK 2574. This is the better Faces album. What to say about it? Faces was the early 1970s band which included Rod Stewart, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian Mclagan and Kenney Jones. At the time Rod Stewart was just breaking out as a solo star and his partnership with Ron Wood put to wax a great number of tunes including the "Every Picture Tells A Story" LP and a number of cuts on various Faces LPs....Rod was a great old school r&b rock and roll styled singer before he went on to other things.. Good harmless fun rock and roll... to me Faces built on the bad old boy fun side of the Rolling Stones and took it a bit further... The Stones noticed and eventually would recruit Faces guitarist Ron Wood to replace Mick Taylor..Ron Wood really does share a lot in style and substance with Keith Richards.... "A nod is as good as a wink" includes one of the best rock and roll songs of all time and the lone Faces hit: "Stay With Me" (the current crop of bands running rock into the ground could learn a lot from the lyrics reproduced above)...If you ever wondered, and you may well not have, where the Black Crowes got their sound look no further.. Ron Wood/Keith Richards' guitar slashing tone, to me, is one of the great sounds in rock.... Like AC DC, whom they remind me of, the Chuck Berry influence is front and center here (album even features a cover of "Memphis")..

Ron Wood and Keith Richards putting forth their best Chuck Berry mug

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