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Thursday, March 31, 2005

world cup soccer qualyfying in full swing

these past few days most nations played two games and qualifying is now past the half way mark... i don't follow it as closely as i could but spain is looking vulnerable right now.. france tied with israel!.. england is heading straight to the cup....

in the case of the US the loss to mexico over the weekend was a bummer but the US side turned it all around by beating guatemala yesterday 2-0... this victory is huge as the US side is battling with guatemala for one of the spots in the concacaf...

when it comes to south america...: argentina beat bolivia 2-0 in the high altitude locale of la paz... argentina had not won here since 1973 when it won with the so called "ghost team".. a team of local many somewhat unknown argentine players who were sent to la paz for one month to get used to the altitude.. i don't remember for sure but if i am right that victory was instrumental in getting argentina into the 1974 world cup... argentina had not qualified for 70.. since 74 argentina has been in every cup and i think some credit goes to those largely unknown men.. in any case, on this occassion argentina coach pekerman tried a new strategy.. he selected all local players and flew in to la paz an hour or two before the game!... this was an attempt to limit the effects of the altitude.. if you've ever been in a place like la paz or say quito ecuador trust me. you begin to feel like shit after a day....lethargic.... in any case, the gambit worked and argentina picked up a very valuable 3 points.. by all accounts playing far better than the locals.. then for the game against colombia in buenos aires last night pekerman picked almost all foreign based players! in other words he used two different teams for the two matches! the largely foreign based team eked out a rather paltry 1-0 win over colombia... i suppose the important thing is that with these two victories argentina is pretty much in the world cup... one more victory, i think, is all we need out of the final 5 group matches... brazil meanwhile was held to a 1-1 draw against uruguay in montevideo.. its interesting that brazil has never managed to beat uruguay in uruguay!...i think the level of play in south america is very weak which is why argentina can't take any comfort from leading the group by four points.... it looks like the south american nations that will make the world cup will be once again: argentina, brazil, uruguay, paraguay and perhaps ecuador.. just as in the last world cup...

incidentally pekerman's strategy with argentina right now seems to be to try out new players. this is alienating some of the veterans that during the bielsa coached period had a fixed place in the roster ... i say tough shit... thats what this qualifying phase should be about: testing out new players, tactics, strategies, sneakers.. whatever....

in addition, i think its clear that argentina's results so far are confirming the problem that has faced argentina during the past decade or so: an inability to play creatively enough to facilitate goalscoring.. argentina's defense is rock solid game after game but the team has trouble scoring....what can i say? we need a new maradona!..

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Chuck Berry's first LP: Chess LP-1426 "After School Session with Chuck Berry" from 1957.

Chuck Berry

yesterday i got in the mail my original copy of chuck's first lp "After school session!...

if anyone can take more of the credit for rock'n'roll its chuck berry.... more than little richard..yes, more than elvis....its impossible to say that if chuck had not come along there would be no rock'n'roll..but its hard to envision it having turned out quite the way it did... his influence on the british invasion is incalculable and it took the british invasion to restart rock'n'roll in the US after the tragic events of the late 1950s which threatened to kill rock'n'roll: little richard retiring from music to become a minister, chuck berry's career inevitably stalling as he went to jail, jerry lee lewis fading into ignominy after running off with his young cousin, elvis going to the army and coming back as a movie star with hardly a trace of his rock'n'roll self, and of course the day the music died when a plane crash took buddy holly (and big bopper and i think richie valens went too)...all these events plus an almost visceral reaction by society against the rebellion that rock'n'roll was believed to represent came close to extinguishing its flame before it even began!...but in the early 1960s the beatles and stones tapped into the music of the fathers of rock.. none more so than chuck and with that conquered america.. the beatles on the ed sullivan show wasn't about the beatles.. it was the triumph of rock'n'roll.....

no lesser man than john lennon said that rock'n'roll might as well have been called "chuck berry music"; lennon's "here comes old flat top" lyric from "come together" is taken from "you can't catch me".. lennon never disputed this fact and settled out of court with the owner of the publishing who unfortunately was not berry.. and the beatles were performing berry songs at least as early as may 1960 years before they had received a record contract.. the rolling stones meanwhile, even more so than the beatles, made a career of covering and recycling chuck berry riffs; the stones version of "little queenie" from the live lp "get yer ya-ya's out" is sex supreme!.....a young bruce springsteen in "hail hail rock and roll" tells a story - with the biggest grin i have ever seen- how one night him and some others got a call to come to a club (apparently this show was in college park, maryland) and back up chuck who played with pick up bands so as to maximize his take..of course bruce had never met chuck berry..probably never even seen a chuck berry show.... chuck was quite late and when he showed up a nervous bruce- excited, scared and above all overwhelmed at the idea of backing berry- asks "what are we going to play?".. chuck berry answers: "son , we're going to play some chuck berry songs"....i think there's a lot in those words: chuck berry very simply was saying they were going to play some rock'n'roll... bands like ac dc have chuck berry running through their blood...

its not just that the guitar licks chuck invented are the essence of rock'n'roll..yes, for example that lick from "johnny b goode"... its more than that... he gave rock'n'roll its attitude and language and vocabulary..its culture... he wrote songs about rock'n'roll... about being a teenager listening to rock'n'roll..about going to a rock'n'roll show...and above all about fun and about being excited about being alive... all this was new when chuck berry was writing about it in the mid 1950s.. there was no rock'n roll scene at the time.... chuck gave the emerging genre- soon to displace and eclipse jazz in popularity- its identity..look at some of the lyrics from "sweet little rock and roller" :

Should've seen her eyes when the band began to play
And the famous singers sang and barred away
When the stars performed, she screamed and yelled "Hooray!"

Ten thousand eyes were watching them leave the floor
Five thousand tongues were screaming "More! More!"
About 1500 waitin' outside the door

or "school days":

Soon as three o'clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get out of your seat

Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and 'round the bend
Right to the juke joint you go in

*Drop the coin right into the slot
You gotta hear something that's really hot

With the one you love you're makin' romance
All day long you been
Wantin' to dance
Feelin' the music from head to toe
'Round and 'round and 'round you go


Hail, hail rock'n'roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock'n'roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold
Rock rock rock'n'roll
The feelin' is there body and soul

chuck berry helped link rock'n'roll to youth culture in the 1950s..lines like the "hail hail rock'n'roll deliver me from the days of old" (quoted above) explicitly make clear the distinction chuck is forcing between rock'n'roll/youth and everything that came before it.. in an increasingly developed economy teenagers- for the first time a generation with part time jobs and more importantly disposable income- became the driving force for the ascendancy of rock'n'roll which eventually became synonymous with american culture....he did this by mutating essentially rockabilly blues riffs and adding a whole world- largely of his creation- of lyrics about youth culture (cars for example: see "no money down") to come up with rock'n'roll....

joe perry - aerosmith's guitarist- wrote a nice piece about chuck berry in a special issue of rolling stone released last year focusing on the 50 greatest rock'n'roll artists... its not important who came in first or second.. but i think joe perry while clearly not a writer largely hits the nail on the head when he tries to convey what it is that chuck berry means... i recommend this article which can be found at the link here

and lest it seem like i am speaking about a dead man let me make clear.. chuck berry is still rock'n'rollin it up... he usually plays once a month at the duck room at blueberry hill in st louis...go check him out.. i know i is here

he is of course, and so appropriately, the first inductee into the rock and roll hall of fame...a few years ago he received the kennedy center lifetime achievement award- the highest honor this country bestows for contributions to american culture- of which he is highly highly deserving.. he is a national treasure.

who is whitey?

dear diary

i am having issues with the picasa photohosting program (and now the blogger program.. this is my 3rd attempt to post this).. its refusing to send my picture of chuck berry, little richard, and bo diddley with some unidentified white dude...i'd like to know who this white dude is...

but it has been a few days since my last post.. far too long... i won't bore you with the details as to why..

friday night i went to hr57 here in dc to check out the live jazz.. never drink five beers before quaffing two bottles of wine...its not smart politics... the antonio parker quintet was playing.... this version of the quintet was a bit more strident than the one i saw last time but had the added plus of having a madman named benito (soon to be local legend) on the keys... his piano styling can be compared to sonny (aka santino) beating the shit out of his sister's husband in the godfather.... some guest musicians resembling the peanuts gang appeared midway during the antonio parker quintet set and played some comparatively soothing easier on the ears material incluiding a nice version- with vocals- of "night and day".. i think its in sinatra's "the song is you" bio by will fridewald that i read that this really is the consummate frankie baby song.... anyways, i think we all had a good time at hr57 and i look forward to hitting it again in about a month..

saturday night, predictably (see above), i was not in my peak party form... after the mandatory stop at asylum - as of late home of the blaring poseur metal (late period motley crue, billy idol) whats up wid dat anyways? what happened to the days of the rage against the machine "they do what they told you" or what have you?- and some very enjoyable beers.. as i was telling a friend.. i just enjoy beer more when i don't have to leave my shirt behind....and after visiting the sopranoesque reef where a friend was celebrating life...and after heading to the saloon on U..we eventually made it to our destination where the funk soul brother check it out now was scheduled to spin... unfortunately for me five hours sleep the two previous nights meant i ran out of gas a little past the halfway point....the show was pretty enjoyable although dj shiny pants tells me fatboy was missing cues left and right... perhaps even resorting to blaming equipment failure for some sloppy work on the tables... i don't wouldn't surprise me.. still he brought his oversized personality to the 930 club .. and that more than made up of for everything but the unusually large contingent of buffoons in the crowd.. you know the type... the fratfuck as i like to call them.. those that like to get wasted and then get agressive....shoving people.. one guy dumped a full beer on a friend of mine..and i'm almost sure he did it intentionally...i nearly got into two fights and had to tell at least three people to get the fuck out of my face and that has got to tell you something about the crowd....too much red bull i don't know....for a while i thought i was dancing next to jenna bush but it turned out- fortunately for the woman in question- that i was wrong.. as for the music fatboy did mix in some of his own songs (per mark meyerson's review of his san francisco show earlier this year) including right here right now and the "fatboy slim is fucking in heaven" bit which he kept using.. i think fatboy's music was far less breakbeat or big beat or whatever it is that is the sound that was once associated with him.. to me it sounded like there were elements of progressive house which i love but don't generally associate with him.... it was nice to see him in the middle of the club so that we could get a good view of him in action (including yelling about one of his turntables being down- he was freaking)....i think the constant asking the crowd to clap and yell is a bit passee.. never go for that shit but whatever.. what you going to do.... all in all a good show save for the lunkheads present and also i do wish i had managed to pick myself up for the last quarter but i refused to resort to the red bull....oh he was playing the same videos over and over again on a big screen and that too was rather blah.. if you only have five videos just play those and be done with it..almost forgot to say i had seen him in argentina a few years back and was more impressed by this show... but that may have had something to do with the venue..

Thursday, March 24, 2005

and another belle and sebastian uber-opus-master work

and these are the lyrics of "my wandering days are over" from their first lp "tigermilk".. another song that just hits me real deep... i love the use of the characters of belle and sebastian in some of their early songs.. this is a device they eliminated by the time "if you're feeling sinister" came out... the name belle and sebastian by the way comes from a french children's book series i believe..i know this song so well..its in my skin.. that i can assure you the last line of these lyrics taken from the belle and sebastian official site is wrong.. it should read "you said you were in hell"!..

My Wandering Days Are Over - Lyrics

You know my wandering days are over
Does that mean that I'm getting boring?
You tell me
I'm tired of listening to myself now
I'm tired of fixing things for Michael and the rest of them

You know my bip-bopping days are over
I hung my boots up and then retired from the disco floor
Now the centre of my so called being is
The space between your bed and wardrobe with the louvre doors

I said "My celibate days are over"
You put me straight on the finer points of my speech rehearsed
In the mirror of my steamy bathroom
Where the lino tells a sorry story in a monologue

Six months on, the winter's gone
The disenchanted pony
Left the town with the circus boy
The circus boy got lonely
It's summer, and it's sister song's
Been written for the lonely
The circus boy is feeling melancholy

It's got to be fate that's doing it
A spooky witch in a sexy dress has been bugging me
With the story of the way it should be
With the story of Sebastian and Belle the singer

I said "My one man band is over"
I hit the drum for the final time and I walked away
I sew you in Japanese restaurant
You were doing it for business men on the piano, Belle
You said it was a living Hell
You said that it was Hell

the lyrics to string bean jean...warning may induce goosebumpage

courtesy of belle and sebastian (i know they are finicky about their rights..)...this is an absolutely gorgeous song which encapsulates all the best of this fine band...its original and only release to date is on the "dog on wheels" cd single ep...look for it on the upcoming 2 cd compilation..

String Bean Jean - Lyrics

I got my fingers dirty at the school of rock
Yeah I got my fingers dirty so I took a walk
I went up to the country park and hung around till after dark
Till the girls got home
Till the girls got home

Did I tell you 'bout the one I know, she's on the rag
She spent the summer day inside her sleeping bag
Yeah she spent the summer day inside until it's time to work
And she works all night
Cause the girl's all right

The girls have got a house that's like a caravan
And it's like your holidays whenever you go round
And we always have a laugh and then we all get in the bath
To save on the leccy bill
Me & Jo & Phil'

I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys around the way
I had to catch a bus
I had to leave them in the morning
I left the keys down in the caf'
I had to go to work

And when Jo was short of cash I had to give her some
But I didn't really mind cause I was fit for once
So she paid the leccy bill and got the shopping and she still had
Some for the cinema
So we all went out

She asked me "Do I need to lose a bit of weight?"
And I told her "Don't be stupid 'cause you're looking great"
And I call her String Bean Jean because the label on her jeans says
Seven to eight years old - well that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old - that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old - that's pretty small
Seven to eight years old

stuart murdoch of belle and sebastian

Belle and Sebastian

News of a two cd compilation of singles and b-sides otherwise largely unavailable made me think once again about this strange band.... around 1997 i started reading about belle and sebastian left and right.. a buzz began to build and they made some end of year best of lists.. based on this info i went out and bought "if you're feeling sinister" and was bowled over...if you've heard the album you know what i'm talking about and if you haven't i don't really know what to say!..great catchy melodic pop/folk songs with incisive highly introspective lyrics.. the anti- ac/dc band if there ever was one.. stuart murdoch's lyrics are highly personal and honest and not the work of an alpha male... belle and sebastian, lyrically, had something in common with morrissey and nick drake...(at the time i was looking for these types of penetrating lyrics whereas now feel this twee/fey introspection is killing rock and roll.. i will admit to a contradiction i have yet to resolve.. it does not invalidate this post but raises questions...)

when i went and hunted down their three cd singles - each with three b-sides- i found them to be just as good if not better!... "string bean jean" in particular to this day remains one of my favorite songs and gives me goosebumps... i've always been a sucker for b-sides and respected bands that put out quality b sides (the smiths and the cure come to mind)... a fourth cd single to be released a year later contained "this is just a modern rock song" which also tore me apart but pretty much every early song (cd 1 of this upcoming 2 cd compilation) stands out...

then i had to get my hands on the at this point out of print (the 1000 original lp copies were commanding incredible prices on ebay) "tigermilk".. their first album and reason for the genesis of the band.. apparently the university of glasgow or some scottish institution of higher learning had a contest and stuart murdoch put some people together and submitted tigermilk as an art project...well i found someone through the internet who happened to have the tape and we did an exchange.. she happened to work at dc city paper right next to where i lived at the is that for coincidence?... well, tigermilk is every bit as good as "if you're not feeling sinister" .. and features another of my favorite songs of all time "my wandering days are over" but they are all pretty much aces.... by this point i was catatonic!.. i mean here was a band that had released about 30 songs and every single one hit the mark!... every single one had something to offer!....and they did it all with class...withan independent streatk...even the sleeves or covers had a clear consistent belle and sebastian imprint/identity.. they reminded me 100% of the smiths..their way of doing things was very similar..

in addition, a very nice thing was going on.. i was in my late 20s.. having fun as pretty much seemed everyone else.....anyone i would turn on to belle and sebastian would end up loving them too and they would turn on people who in turn..yah you guessed it..i'll stop.... for some reason belle was able to tap into some zeitgeist or something during the late 1990s that really led it to become a shared enjoyable touchstone for most of my circle...all this added a feeling of community to the whole thing.. its hard to describe it but trust me it was there.. we would have a party and end up playing and singing "get me away from here i'm dying" at 2 happened...we had a lot of fun back then..

if this was a movie... we would be at about the midpoint..hooping it up...but some ominous signs- foreshadowing- would be appearing..perhaps an exchange of heated words between stuart murdoch and some other far inferior band member?. the fun ride would be over... the audience would get a sense that problems were ahead (curiously enough some of the band's problems eventually were reflected in my circle).... but things would still be going allright so we'd repress our doubts

however, when "boy with the arab strap" was released, and i know some if not most people will disagree with me.. some people hold this to be their masterwork and fair enough...its a very very good album (a four out of five star album..nothing shabby)...but i was a bit dissapointed- for the first time by belle (other than their reluctance to tour)- some of the lesser talents in the band were being allowed to sing and write songs...i'm thinking of stuart something or other and i can't remember the name of some other band member- stevie jackson there it is- and isobel campbell who i know some of my friends absolutely idolized.. but i found her singing generally insipid... she's just not a great singer.. she's a whisperer!..of course its very cool to have a chick in the band.. no disputing that...anyways songs like "seymour stein" really drag the album (plus its a silly thing to write a song about: so they rebuffed sire boss seymour stein's overtures to sign the band.. so what?)... and although most of the album is stellar - to my eyes- they were no longer batting 100%.... when you have a few songs in an album that are crap it dooms the whole thing...the aura of invincibility around this band.. the "they can do no wrong" was melting away..

and this is the point in the movie where things start going down the drain.. if you've seen oliver stone's film the doors you know what i'm talking bout... this is the point where we start seeing scenes with a ranting bleary eyed fat drunk jim morrison....

the next album "fold your hands child you look like a peasant" featured even more contributions from other band members!..this album, save for a song here or there ("i fought in a war" is vintage VINTAGE belle), was abysmal.. . to my eyes belle went from the stuart murdoch project to a collective.. the collective served to limit stuart murdoch.. they never recovered even with isobel leaving and stuart taking charge again (now he's ripping off cliff richards songs..for fuck's sake)... its been sad following them the past few years.. i used to run to the store to buy whatever they put out... they could do no wrong.. nowadays when i see a new belle single i don't even buy it.. so has my faith been shaken with some real lame singles like "legal man" and "stuart david"....

if i was making the movie the ending would go back to the magical period and relive it.. maybe as the credits were rolling...

for the 1996-1999 period i believe belle was the most wonderful magical thing going!.. and i am forever grateful to them... when you taste the glory..when you feel that ecstasy you just assume it can go on forever... this compilation of course will highlight exactly what i'm talking about.. the first cd is gold.. it does not get any better.. the second disc is largely crap...however if stuart murdoch wanted to take the band in a different direction that was his prerogative...i always prefer an artist to be true to his vision than mine... thank you stuart murdoch from the bottom of my musical heart for all the great tunes....they came in very handy..

below the story from the NME and for the official belle and sebastian bio go here

BELLE & SEBASTIAN are to release a double album of every track from every EP and single released during their time with JEEPSTER.

‘Push Barman To Open Old Wounds’ is released on May 23 and compiles the songs as they were released in chronological order.

The tracklisting runs:

‘Dog On Wheels’
‘The State I Am In’
‘String Bean Jean’
‘Belle & Sebastian’
‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’
‘You Made Me Forget My Dreams’
‘A Century Of Elvis’
‘Photo Jenny’
‘A Century of Fakers’
‘Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie’
‘Put The Book Back On the Shelf’
‘This Is Just A Modern Rock Song’
‘I Know Where The Summer Goes’
‘The Gate’
‘Slow Graffiti’
‘Legal Man’
‘Judy Is A Dickslap’
‘Winter Wooskie’
‘Jonathan David’
‘Take Your Carriage Clock And Shove It’
‘The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner’
‘I’m Waking Up To Us’
‘I Love My Car’
‘Marx And Engels’

this would be pretty cool!

the return of stevie wonder

he's got a new single titled "so what the fuss" (features prince on guitar).. its the first single from an upcoming new album... it ain't "superstition"- then again few things are- but its got more potential than anything stevie's come up with in over 20 years.....and its always welcome to hear his voice..

check it out at his site with media player here

i'm going to keep my eye out for a stevie wonder tour.. i think that would be a great show..

Tom Delay contacts God to ascertain his purpose.

Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay: "One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo to elevate the visibility of what's going on in America,"


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

1...2...3........and we are DONE with the new LP!

White Stripes finish new album!

boy the white stripes are one of the few modern bands i really respect.. to go in the studio and finish an album in 2 weeks- in this day and age of overdubs and retakes- is impressive...the album is apparently expected out this summer!

for the full story look here

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"Rummie" south of the border..

(US Secretary of Defense was in Argentina earlier this morning for a meeting with his Argentine counterpart Jose Pampuro as part of his regional tour.)

Rumsfeld emphasized the "common challenges facing the United States and Argentina."

Both Pampuro and Rumsfeld confirmed they spoke about radars the defense department is trying to peddle, regional security, UN peace missions and joint military exercises.

Rumsfeld stated that "the relationship continues to strengthen. There is a long standing friendship between both countries which also bases itself on common challenges." Journalists were not allowed questions.

The meeting lasting a little more than an hour focused on analyzing the threats to hemispheric security, recently shaken by the Bolivian crisis, and the purchase of arms and military weaponry by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

In addition, and strictly on the bilateral front, the resumption of joint military exercises was discussed as was the plan for radarization of Argentina.

With respect to joint exercuses, Pampuro remarked that the exercies are "absolutely necessary training exercises. We anlyzed the agenda and studied different options for moving forward, always respecting the laws of each country."

Apparently Argentina, in the past, rejected awarding complete immunity to US troops, arguing for the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, of which it is a signatory but the US does not recognize. (This has been holding up carrying out joint exercises in Argentina.)

Another of the subjects touched upon was the situation of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Rumsfeld recognized the actions of Argentine troops involved as part of the peacekeeping force: "Argentina is having a vital role in the UN operations in Haiti. We saw photographs depicting the floods that have affected Haiti and it was impressive how the Argentine troops, after losing their own belongings, were able to alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people."

This is the first visit of the Pentagon chief who in a few hours will continue his tour to Brazil and Guatemala.

In any case, in spite of the mutual praises, there was no definition on one of the more touchy subjects: if Argentina will accept or not to immediately mondernize three 3D radars (capable of detecting three vectors: object, hight, velocity, and special to detect illegal flights) of the US company Northrop Grumman.

The Argentine defense deparment insists its fundamental to carry out a "ultra-transparent" bidding process and clearly define if the modernization is such.

(this is a translation I have made of a report on Argentina's clarin newspaper web site- argentine newspaper to be found here)

"Who's your daddy?".... US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld earlier today in Buenos Aires, Argentina shakes hands with his argentine counterpart Jose Pampuro.

Monday, March 21, 2005

media fails once again

segments of the media once again do not know how to do their job!.. today on yahoo there are pictures of people outside schiavo's hospital or wherever she is who want the feeding tube stuck back in and they are described in the captions as "supporters of terry schiavo".. what does that make her husband? a killer? not a supporter at least!

you'd think with all the intelligence in this country- the most powerful on earth- that the media wouldn't stoop to consistently framing the issue!.. and one can't even be sure if they are not framing the issue out of sheer ignorance for what must be the basic tenets of journalism.. anyone with two brain cells know they way to refer to these people is "people who believe terry schiavo should not be allowed to die" and not as her "supporters"...because obviously if they are branded her "supporters" then the public opinion will swing in favor of their ideology and against the husband who after all claims she told him she would not want to remain in a vegetative state...wouldn't he therefore be her "supporter"?

James Brown earlier today in Buenos Aires, Argentina at a press conference promoting his upcoming show at the Luna Park this wednesday. Its his third time in Argentina.. props to the man for spreading the good vibes.. the godfather of soul is promising a funky show...

time to see bob dylan again!!!!!!!!

ok its been something like 2 years since i last saw bob and i've got the bug...for a while i was a bit bored... but now he's got a new band- although still anchored by incomparable bassist tony garnier- and apparently new sound (less rock more country) and he's playing some real interesting set lists with some emphasis on two criminally underrated/underappreciated albums he never plays from which i love: "new morning" and "john wesley harding"....the post motorcycle accident/post basement tapes 1968-1970 dylan period is chock full of winners...

here's a review by someone that just caught his show in reno to spark your interest..

Tom Waits 20 most cherished albums..

some great stuff.. some stuff i got to get.. and some stuff i'm not sure what to think of.. here

welcome spring! come on in

not so welcome allergies!

i must hit the gym and take some sun lest i appear to be a pale thin man.. though i read on t-shirts that "pale is the new tan"...thats how i get all my best news!...

baseball is right around the corner...

word on the street is that howard park's story of meeting hunter s thompson during gary hart's presidential campaign in wisconsin in 84 (published here a few weeks ago) is set to run in an edited form in a rolling stone hunter s thompson special....

robert crumb lp covers

here's a site with all his covers..

i never realized "the roots of the grateful dead" cover was by crumb...

of course he's probably best known for janis joplin's "cheap thrills"

i think it would be real cool to have his yazoo blues reissues lp covers...unfortunately so do a lot of people... and paying $50 for a 70s reissue is a bit too insane in the membrane for moi

Saturday, March 19, 2005

arianna huffington hits it out of the park (and she ain't on no roids)

i love this woman... in this age of intellectual midgets and media whores she stands out.. check it here

Friday, March 18, 2005

now playing: Cuba's "Estrellas de Areito"

George F. Kennan moves on

kennan, primary architect of the theory of containment, has passed away at the young age of 101...some say he is the most important american diplomat of the past half century for, i suppose, coming up with the idea that we should contain the spread of communism without resorting to war...our ideology (values) would trump theirs...

a very influential man no doubt...

for the yahoo story see here

for a very interesting interview of kennan please go here

as always wikipedia online encyclopedia has the goods too

and here is the article that changed the course of american foreign policy, established kennan's legacy, and led to this post in the first place..

Noted cartoonist Robert Crumb, a renown collector of blues recordings, has drawn some interesting LP covers including this one from 1973. His lp covers are highly collectable.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

testimony on capitol hill today regarding steroids in mlb-live blogging!

i write these words as i'm listening to the players testifying... schilling (who sounds like a future-unfortunately republican-politician), sosa (who conveniently uses translators when it suits him), mcgwire (who broke down crying about the children affected adversely by steroids), palmeiro (who like so many cuban americans makes a point of speaking about the american dream about every other sentence), and canseco who lies lies lies... now he's saying he made a mistake using steroids...well in his book he never says this.. far from it.. in his book he goes so far as to strongly suggest those that do not use steroids in baseball are idiots..

it was interesting to hear schilling call canseco a liar to his face..

when asked by representative stephen lynch about - democrat from massachusetts YAH!!!!!!- the differences between his book and what he is testifying (thank you lynch!) canseco said it took him two years to write book and he's changed his opinion since then.. basically he's disowning his book that just came out and he's been hawking everywhere.. this guy is shameless!

as representative linda sanchez really puts it best when she basically says she's dissapointed in the players: mcgwire refuses to answer any questions and none of the other players have ever seen anyone or heard of anyone who uses steroids...if we are to believe sosa, palmeiro and schilling there is no problem with steroids in baseball and major league baseball should be allowed to self-regulate itself...come on!

the face of major league baseball at today's congressional "steroids" hearings!.it ain't a pretty one!.....commisioner selig (left) and major league baseball president bob dupuy...

Dexter Gordon's "Doin' Allright"...Blue Note 4077.... the comeback album after longrunning problems with drugs.. the attempt to reposition him couldn't be any clearer from the Francis Wolff photograph of a healthy looking happy Dexter outdoors to the lp's title...this is just a wonderful lp..highly recommended...and you may recognize the picture's site: central park (notice that building behind Dexter which is still there today)..the line up includes the wonderful horace parlan on piano and freddie hubbard on trumpet..

more on larry cohn and blue notes from jazz collector site 2004

It was bound to happen. Our very first newsletter this past Monday and we made an error. It involved three Blue Note records: Donald Byrd, The Cat Walk, Blue Note 4075; Dexter Gordon, Doin' Allright, Blue Note 4077; and Dexter Gordon, Dexter Calling, Blue Note 4083. They sold for very high prices and we expressed surprise because they were NY USA labels and, we thought, not originals. It turns out that they were originals.

One of our readers, Larry Cohn, pointed out that these three records came out after the switch from the 47 West 63rd label to the New York USA label. He said Doin' Allright does exist with the West 63rd label, but it was used during a transitional period when the final West 63rd labels were being phased out. There's no evidence that the West 63rd pressings preceded the New York USA pressings, he said.

My question is this: Where is the repository of this information and how do we know what is accurate? Cohn said he's been doing research on Blue Note for 10 years and he's found the published information to be relatively unreliable and misleading. Great.

wolff: interestingly i have doin' allright on 47west 63rd but its got a bit of a skip.. oh well...maybe someday my turntable will play it through...correction mine is a new york label pressing

larry songer on blue notes again

interesting.. i am copying from vinyl asylum board:

"According to Larry Cohn the most common "original" Blue Notes (that is, pressed BEFORE the sale to Liberty in 1966) are:
1. Somethin' Else---approx. 45,000 pressed
2. Blue Train --- aprrox. 40,000 pressed
3. The Sidewinder --- approx 30,000 pressed
4. Song for my Father-- approx. 25,000 pressed

Not too tough to find a nice "original" of BN1595--if you aren't looking for a true "first" pressing nice ones trade hands all the time for less than $100!"

A Reader's Letter to the Washington Post

In reporting on Sen. Harry M. Reid's criticism of Alan Greenspan [front page, March 5], Dana Milbank and Nell Henderson engage in a common reportorial ploy- framing the issue. Their first sentence: "Questioning the wisdom of Alan Greenspan in political Washington is akin to challenging the integrity of the pope in Rome, so figures in both parties agreed yesterday that the top Senate Democrat's description of the Federal Reserve Board chairman as a 'political hack' was a blunder."

This diverts attention from the reasoning implicit in Reid's action - what was he criticizing and why. It steers the reader toward the concept that Reid was wrong to criticize Greenspan and away from the possibility that the criticism may have been warranted. And saying that "figures in both parties" agreed the criticism was a blunder, while failing to provide even one supporting quote from a Democratic figure, makes their framework more suspect and tarnishes an otherwise fine report.

- Rogelio F. Arteaga
El Paso

a banana country in 48 words

about two weeks ago i cut out this blurb from the Washington Post.. It sums up the weakness of latin american democracy... without solid independent institutions i doubt much real political and economic development can ever take place in these's what the blurb said:

"QUITO, Ecuador- Lawmakers opposed to President Lucio Gutierrez failed to revoke his government's firing of the Supreme Court in December. The vote in Ecuador's 100-member unicameral Congress fell three short of the 51 needed to reverse Gutierrez's decision to reconstitute the court with judges friendly to the president."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

everyone gets taken sometime!... george clooney- seen here smiling- bought a beach overlooking the Como Lake in northern Italy hoping to annex it to his adjacent home.. unfortunately for clooney he fell for an ingenious scam: he was sold a public beach!

breaking news- confirmed- US tells world to take flying leap

this is insane... talk about doing something that rankles just about everyone.. the other developed nations (G7) are going to perceive the appointment of paul wolfowitz as head of the world bank as the US saying it can basically nominate anyone it wants to be world bank head ...without even at least seeking some minor concensus.. meanwhile the developing world- the world bank's CLIENTS- are going to view this negatively since they are deeply opposed- almost to a man- to the war on irak of which wolfowitz was a primary architect/proponent....

but wolfowitz once again proves he is the ultimate washington insider and lands the most plum gig in town... head of the world bank....this administration sure does seem to like to reward those that fail....condie rice as secretary of state and now this..

when i heard wolfowitz's name mentioned in relation to this at the beginning i had to wonder.. then other names emerged and the media seemed to be reporting that wolfie would not be nominated for the gig given the controversy that might ensue..

let the controversy begin..

(of course on one level one could say that this just continues bush's game of gaining more and more control for his team of insiders... the problem is that the world bank is a global insitution responding to global issues and clients... for the US to so blatantly politicize the not- if you will- even attempt to pretend to observe a minimum of decorum..thats bound to create problems)

for the story go here

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

current reading

i was reading jose canseco's book Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big that just came out.. details on the book can be found here at amazon

as a baseball fan i can't help but have something to say about canseco's book and its description of a pervasive almost rampant culture of use of steroids and human growth hormone within major leage baseball.. the book has caused a national furor most likely because its the first expose of major league basball (on this issue)..perhaps because canseco is quite candid and descriptive.. perhaps because canseco has always been a media figure.. canseco has hawked his book on radio and television (including a 60 minutes story the day before its publication) and its become a national bestseller...

originally when i read the book i thought steroids would be just a small part of the book but it is primarily about steroid use... everything sort of revolves around the dreaded 'roids...

its been comic to see one after another of the parade of players implicated in the book by canseco coming out with responses to distance themselves from canseco: "I knew him only when i was 13" or "i barely talked to him while we were teammates" or "i haven't talked to him in years..".. or "he was never my friend"....rather unbecoming...

there is little doubt canseco ain't a likable guy.. that he's kind of an egomaniac.... that he thinks he's always the fall guy...etc..but after having read his account i'm sad to say, regarless of some of the media's attempt to discredit the story by killing the messenger, i believe him... i believe the story of a rather sorry disreputable figure: jose doubt there are loose ends, some falsehoods, etc...and i am made uncomfortable by canseco's glorification and justification for the use of steroids but i do think he makes a convincing case that there was a lot of steroid use or "juicing" beginning in and about 1986 and rapidly expanding in the late 1990s...its a real shame but the reality seems to be that almost without doubt mark mcgwire, barry bonds and pretty much almost any ballplayer who reached 50 home runs in a season was juicing...brady anderson for example with his season with more than 50 home runs which came out of nowhere and never came close to being repeating...sosa...giambi (both brothers it turns out-today we read that jeremy has joined jason in admitting to juicing).. and perhaps many others..rolen comes to mind..just looking at his physique two years ago i remember remarking how he looked just like mac (mcgwire)! well he probably picked it up from mac who learned some of the tricks from jose..i don't know rolen used or uses steroids but i now have to wonder... mcgwire, as canseco alleges, probably did pass on lessons concerning steroid use to jason giambi....

the thrust of a lot of the media coverage and it seems many baseball fans is "shame on canseco".."what a bastard! to expose his own baseball brothers".. in this war cultured america its not surprising that some seek to extend the "band of brothers" ethos to the baseball field but i don't think the analogy is a good one...its easy to blame cansesco for raining on the parade.. we all enjoy the longball.. and we all delighted in mcgwire's 70 home runs.. even until bonds' recent admission he unwittingly (!) used steroids i was excited by his pursuit of hank aaron's record.. part of me wanted to believe and reasoned that players were more fit.. that stadiums might be smaller.. even that the ball might be juiced a bit... but it seems that even if these facts were all true they would not be as large a part of the explanation for the surge in offensive productivity by major league baseball players as steroids... i understand that many don't want to tarnish the reputation of the game but i say let us focus our blame on the steroid users (and that does of course include canseco too)...

canseco's take is basically that steroids can make an average ballplayer into a great one by adding power/speed through increased muscle twitch/fibers and also by increasing confidence..canseco believes some raw talent is necessary but that steroids can make a good player into a great one and a great one into a barry bonds...he writes that in his case the steroids really did help him go from a skinny kid drafted in the 15th round to major league baseball rookie of the year in something like 2-3 years...he describes his transition from a skinny kid to a muscle man...

i'm not going to spend time writing about canseco's description of his sex life, love for cars, sense of bitterness about a game that did a lot for him (if it was not for basecall jose you would be parking cars in south beach), bragging, etc.. let me be frank: canseco comes off as a first class a-hole..even going to the pathetic extreme of ripping on ben grieves as an incredibly pathetic ballplayer that would have benefitted greatly from jose's tutelage on steroids..jose has his head so far up his ass that he thinks ben grieves is the idiot while the cheater is the smart one... but that is jose's take..he sees nothing at all wrong with use of steroids and in fact sees it as a perfectly normal function of the capitalist system and science... in canseco's world how could you not use steroids if for example as he alleges is his case you had made a promise to your mom on her deathbed to become the best athlete in the world (to use your dead mom as a justification is beyond the pale!) or to hook up for life your starving family in the dominican republic (he speculates on wether this is what motivated tejada to use steroids- in this instance- one of the weaker in the book he makes clear he has no evidence tejada juices)...

but.. again..however shady and slimy canseco may be i think that if we concentrate on what he is saying about steroid use in baseball and look at whats been going on with the BALCO trial in san francisco (which directly touches on bonds and giambi and others..)..i think its tough to doubt much of canseco's account...moreover, if we simply look at the game of baseball its tough to dispute that the change in player physiques has been remarkable in the past 20 years....that home runs for a while were flying(and they are back on the way down which is even further proof that players were juicing .. of course home runs will go down now that players are more worried about being caught!..just watch)...the question is how do we move forward with baseball.. canseco seems to feel that players should be allowed to use steroids and human growth hormone.. i'm not sure this is acceptable.. a player should not have to use drugs to be competitive.. canseco, by the way, also argues that steroid use increases your ability to overcome injuries and increases your longevity....when you look at a guy like ken griffey who does not use steroids and you compare him with bonds who does seem a bit unfair that one guy is trying desperately to bounce back from injury after injury while the other guy is hitting moonshot after moonshoot...

one last point: it would be interesting to know, for me, when major league baseball decided that steroid use or human growth hormone use was against the bylaws of the game....perhaps steroids used for years were not against the bylaws of baseball? in that case there is technically no violation... i also believe that while its nice to believe as gammons seems to write in his latest column that all is fine with baseball now that there is active testing of players going on i have no assurances that players are not still utilizing steroids/human growth hormone and somehow masking their presence on tests.. it would be highly naive to believe that because players are not caught they are not using....

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bird and Diz MG C-512 10 inch LP- one of David Stone Martin's coolest record covers!

the back cover of Charlie Parker's "Bird and Diz" 10 inch LP on Clef MG C-512. Click on picture to enlarge and read Clef/Verve founder Norman Granz's notes.

Fifty years since you're gone.....

......and you're still making people happy!! any fair measure you're either the greatest most influential jazz saxophone player of all time or one of the top three!....

here is a link for a yahoo article on charlie parker

time to get out at the charlie parker 10 inch.......

spiffy bird

blow cat blow

bird gets the worm!

looking good!

it was fifty years ago that Charlie Parker passed on....Bird i hope you're making people happy up there like you are down here!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Eduardo Mateo: pending debt (deuda pendiente)

about a year and a half ago maybe two now i went in to the kultura's bookstore on connecticutt avenue here in washington dc... why? they've usually got two boxes full of records.. now, they are usually the same records.. overpriced and overscratched...and they will be there next year too!.. who's going to buy them? but on this day i found an interesting record which read on the cover "mateo solo bien se lame" and had been pressed in argentina (i don't know this for a fact but i believe kultura's is run by argentines or uruguayans.. the books i sometimes find.. the used CDs from argentine artists, the high prices all lead me to this conclusion)...i picked it up and tried to remember "mateo mateo mateo".. well i could not remember much.. i think all i remembered was he was supposed to have been somebody interesting....bought the record for the best $8 i ever spent and came home.. put it on the turntable and got blown a-WAY....ah the joy of discovery...i felt like christopher columbus when he discovered something.. thought it was india.. but really did not know...what i heard instantly reminded me - and i'm not saying it to join the nick drake bandwagon (latest evidence see "garden state" movie)... i've loved nick drake's music for about ten years now- anyhow.. what i heard reminded me in some ways of nick drake.. the fragility of the vocal delivery. the plaintive lyrics...the to my ears unheard of guitar chords/tunings/style... but all combining together to produce the real mcoy - the package deal- the whole enchilada of life affirming art....and most importantly in an inclusive need to listen to it 80 times or read 80 highfaluttin critics telling you its good.. you get it sum, a record that instantly became one of my spanish of course.. and seemingly a product of the river plate (after all the record was pressed in argentina)

and then the questions began.. the recriminations flew... wait a minute.. what's going on here? how come i don't even know who this genius is? is he from argentina? is he from mars? where is this guy? why have i not heard of this guy? i spent 18 months in argentina recently.. how come i never came across anything by him on my countless trips to the parque rivadavia to joyously shop for the wax that keeps me breathing and moving? no.. i just could not believe i had never heard of this guy.. i was delighted to discover something so fresh so good so new from what i proudly determined must be my family's original country...

drum the internet spock....first stop the trusty all music guide ...nothing!...i went in to cds must be everywhere i said .... nothing zilcho nil nada.... google me up scotty.... a few very brief mentions on a page here or there..the internet letting me down? i don't believe it!.. i pressed on.. and what i found out was that the man - whose first name i learned was EDUARDO- was and is largely unknown- he is from uruguay and some people credit him with being the father of modern uruguayan music (yes, that music for which drexler won his oscar last week).... i learned he was born in 1940 and played in some early uruguayan rock bands in the 60s..then apparently travelled to brazil.. was influenced by some samba ..came back to uruguay where he fused some brazilian influence with the uruguayan national music candombe to create his hybrid and this is his , i understand, contribution.... eventually makes it across the river to argentina to record the lp Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame which means "mateo solo" "bien se lame".. in other words its just mateo performing everything.. "bien se lame" means to my understanding "good we lick"... i'm just not sure if its a play on words which should be read as "solo bien se lame" in which case its "alone well i lick"... don't shoot me i'm just trying to make sense of this.. anyways apparently he never sold many records and lived most of his life in absolute poverty..recorded very sporadically and died in 1990 without much recognition..and oh... apparently he was somewhat loony tunes.. but then again you have to be...

subsequently his music has been rereleased in some uruguayan compilations which i don't know where one would find.. even argentina's equivalent of say tower records at musimundo has no mention of any of his recordings.. perhaps the compilations released in the 90s sold out or perhaps they are still available in uruguay..all i have is this record...i never see anything by him come up on ebay though i check frequently..

i 'm going to try and gather some information on this man and post it..and soon i hope to add "solo bien se lame" to my audioblog (got to figure out how to convert records to easy task)

and the side B label picture which came out a bit clearer.. should have probably scanned it..

and the side A record label

given its historical significance I am reproducing the information located on the back cover of the "Solo Bien Se Lame" lp.. notice the pictures of a relatively young energized Mateo at what must surely have been the recording always please click on picture to enlarge it

the record that started "Mateo Madness" for me: Eduardo Mateo's "Solo Bien Se Lame" from 1972 on what I believe is the original release which took place in Argentina. This is LP TROVA XT 80046 licensed from De La Planta which subsequently released it in Mateo's home country Uruguay.

Eduardo Mateo- the great uruguayan singer songwriter (1940-1990)

if you've got a cool mil and a half to spare...

consider buying the driggs collection of jazz photography! this would make a great investment.. this cat's amassed something like 80,000 jazz photos dating back to 1898!!!! (including 1000 of satchmo alone!).... go here for the story

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The brilliant songwriting performing team behind "Britta" (l to r: eduardo, enrique, bryan, rich)

"Britta" - a song written by my friends

Britta: By Eduardo Llanes, Enrique Llanes, Bryan Bender, Rich Bindell

Britta... Britta...
Britta... (Britta, Britta, Britta, Britta)
Brita... Brita...
Like the pitcher (Like the pitcher, pitcher, pitcher, pitcher)

Please go down on me
Play me some Tiger Lily

Britta... Britta...
Britta... (Britta, Britta, Britta, Britta)
Britta... Britta...
Like the pitcher (Like the pitcher, pitcher, pitcher, pitcher)

Please, don't be afraid of me
Here's a note done in calligraphy

Britta... Britta...
Britta... (Britta, Britta, Britta, Britta)
Britta... Britta...
Like the pitcher (Like the pitcher, pitcher, pitcher, pitcher)

You don't have to call security
Please, don't call security
Why'd you have to call security
Look out now, here comes security


recently i've opened up a gmail email account...

if you'd like an invite to open your own gmail account leave me an email address in the comments so that google cand send you the invite..

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

BrittahHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Britta Phillips now the "former" bassist from Luna)

Luna leaving the stage for the last time....

Site of the Week- Luna's Last Waltz

go here for a blog dedicated to luna's last shows in new york city about a week ago... some great pictures!... you can even check out original bassist justin's telegram to the band!...

during the late 1990s luna made some of my favorite music & played it live everywhere all the time.... its cliche to say they married the velvet underground with television while adding some off-kilter lyrics but there's nothing wrong with taking two of the greatest bands in the history of alternative rock and melding their sound in a unique way... part of me feels they never got the recognition and acclaim they deserved but another part of me is glad; it gave me the opportunity to see them live countless times in the small clubs bands should play.....

i can't end without mentioning that in the middle of argentina's great depression in 2002 luna was one of the only american rock acts (along with stephen malkmus, chili peppers and catpower) to pay buenos aires a visit...i will forever be greatful for that night...

it goes without saying that if you have not heard luna's 1995 penthouse album then i don't know what!

Monday, March 07, 2005


Stevie Wonder rap on innervisions...

if you've ever heard Stevie's Innervisions lp you've noticed this funny rap at the beginning of "Don't You Worry About A Thing"... its something like stevie trying to impress a female..its not transcribed in the lyrics included with the record.. its hard to make out all the dialogue but it goes sorta like this:

ey ey!!
comprende esta- hijo de puta-------(unintelligible spanish screaming jive noises in background; funnily enough the spanish is clearly recorded by stevie pretending to be latino)
stevie: you understand that
girl: no!
stevie: well i can't understand how you can't understand
i've been to paris beirut you know irak iran eurasia you know i speak very very...uhm.. fluent spanish
todo esta bien chevere!
you understand that?
girl: bien chevere
stevie: bien che-VE-REE!
mama i gotta shake and move you a little!

(song starts)

("todo esta bien chevere" means "everything's real cool" and is a common phrase in venezuela and northern latin america)

if i was an italian i'd be thinking: "with friends like these americans who need enemies?"

Sunday, March 06, 2005

George Carlin

George Carlin flees rehab and hits dc!!!!!!!!!!

last night i got a chance to see george carlin performing his stand up routine at the warner theatre..

i'm not a george carlin expert or even huge fan but will share a few impressions.

the man is amazingly fit for a 67 year old! he moves around the stage like a tiger...i mean i hope when i'm his age i can do what he did last night!

he started off with a great monologue/rap about himself.. this rap was brilliant use of rhythm, rhyme, language and alliteration; my favorite part of the for it on his upcoming hbo special (will be his 13th.. he first had an hbo special in 1977!) or check it in his latest book released last year..

he joked that he's in good shape after having checked himself into rehab and going the past 58 days putting eggs into his body..

he had a few monologue themes.. the first of which was about how he's sure- he'd " it all"- an "all suicide channel" would be a huge success in america...and then went into an in depth monologue on the pyramid of hopeless losers from which the cast of such a show would be drawn (at the bottom the homeless, then the imprisoned, the condemned, the depressed, the terminally ill, etc...).it dovetailed well with his incredibly sarcastic/sardonic observations about the US and the american people.. a country which has turned into a"giant mall..made of litle malls joined together broken up by gas stations and convenience stores"....he described the american people as being 40 pounds overweight and shopping shopping and eating and eating and eating...he also spoke about what he sees as "dumbness" of the american people and tied this in with the ruling elites that own the media and corporations wanting people to be just smart enough to pull the levers at work but just dumb enough not to think critically about what is going on, while, for example, the elite goes for their social security money....

i found carlin's gags about farts and sex rather tired compared to his more political material....

he ended with an entertaining monologue concerning entropy wherein a little problem in Los Angeles eventually led to the destruction of planet earth..... it was another high point....

although some of his material is a bit too negative for me -which is saying a lot- overall i was impressed with george carlin and he lived up to his reputation..particularly on the opening spiel..

Friday, March 04, 2005

Great Ray Charles Quote

"I have to tell you man. In listening to sound, I guess what I'm after is the closest thing that I can get to reality. Now, I know it's not going to be reality, cause the thing gotta go through wires and gotta go through filters and this and that. I understand all that. But what I really like is to get as close to the natural sound of the instruments as possible. That's why I like analog as opposed to digital. Because I don't give a shit what anybody tells you man, I know what you guys are going to tell me...'Oh yeah, but it's clean Ray!' Well it's clean but it don't got no balls!!!" - 1999 interview with Ray Charles by Michael Hobson of Classic Records

this is as good as james brown gets...

Album of the Week: Love Power Peace

there is a james brown concert finally released on cd in 1992: "love power peace" recorded in 1971 at the olympia in france..basically this was meant to be a 3 lp live set but was scrapped for reasons i'll tell ya in a sec.. keep reading.. totally worth checking out.. its -as they say- the joint...

james brown had a band in the late 60s which had fred wesley and maceo and a bunch of awesome guys that had taken him through his funk phase.. anyways in late 69 or something they leave him flat cause they were sick and tired of being underpaid and probably underappreciated.. he hires a new band of young kids which is basically bootsy , his brother and the rest of their band and that night they are on stage backing him up.. plus bobby byrd of course who becomes james' foil. . you know the guy who plays piano/keys and sings "get on UP!" and yells "james brown! james BRROOWNN!!!"..they start out kinda bad but get into and i mean they were like 20! anyways by early 71 they are touring europe but with the added bonus of fred wesley and one or two other guys from his 60s outfit coming back... so its hot.. its a few choice cats from his late 60s band plus the young cats from bootsy's did not last... they get back to the US and bootsy and guys split (some go on to pfunk)..cause they were underpaid and underappreciated.. anyways this is the only live recording of all these cats together and once bootsy and gang split and james brown signed to polydor the project to release the concert was shelved..a pity.... bobby byrd also leaves james brown soon after and james brown does not replace him meaning that funky keyboard sound is gone (which became the basis for house music i think) is gone.. which is sad cause its like one of my favorite things..anyways talk about someone not getting the credit: BOBBY BYRD.. he practically makes sex machine.. (you know eric b and rakim sample of i know you got soul..thats bobby byrd too)...

so this cd "Love Power Peace" is the only live document not only of the original JB's (Bootsy and band) but also the only document, except for a very few studio tracks, of Bootsy's band, Fred Wesley and some of his cats, James Brown of course, and Bobby Byrd.. all together...when you think of it its a pity Maceo isn't on it..

the live album mixes some incredibly funky tunes on some blistering versions with some nice slower more early 60s material.. the show starts with what i think is bobby byrd giving some sick "buahhhha hah ha" laugh... then bobby byrd who is of course the emcee gives the intro "..and now the star of the show.. let the brother out! JAMES BROWN!" and the french go nuts..(which brings up a point: one thing thats nice on this is that james has at least two foils: bobby byrd and fred wesley) james comes out with "you gotta hit me" and the rest is just goosebumping.. starts with a great "brother rapp" ...its not too long before james is yelling "take me to the bridge!!".....which seamlessly goes into james yelling "ain't it funky now, allright"..with those wonderful horns.. but particularly commendable on this record is the guitar this case i think its the "lead guitar", bootsy's brother, phelps catfish (all these cats had nicknames!) who shreds the guitar in a way that you have not heard with james yelping and yelling him on with "do it DO IT COME ON NOW! hit it.......auuuuuuuuughhh.....come on now........aaarrrrrrrrrrghh..hit it!"...its HOT...of course everything is anchored by that fatback groove bootsy's laying..then we get wesley's trombone.. everyone is just in top notch here and i think this is hands down the best live james brown recording in large part because he had the ideal personnel here......."fred wesley give him a big round of applause ladies and gentlemen...fred wesley..........some organ..some organ ...some organ...some organ....".....and JAMES BROWN comes in with some funkier than an organ is got a right to be keys...."ain't it funky now..come on now..."....

i need a rest!..

then they go into a particularly moving "georgia on my mind"...james has been on the road in europe for a while and its somewhat poignant to hear him sing this in paris..with his improvised "maybe because i'm from augusta georgia..".not to mention i had not heard him doing this one before...

from there the tempo rises to the stratosphere again..lets just say you got to hear it! the shredding guitar work on "sex machine", this time i think its the rhythm guitarist "cheese" martin, again, makes this version unique..

if they didn't tell me the guy on the right was our friend -Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah- and the guy on the left our enemy -Syrian President Bashar Assad- I just would not believe it....Picture from Assad's arrival in Riyadh earlier today for consultations.

Anyone but Schumacher!!!!!!!! (Michael pictured here with the new Ferrari model)


Formula 1 is back with the Australian Grand Prix kicking off the season this weekend!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Total Rinus Michels links

a great page on the 1974 world cup (scroll half way down for four picture sequence of dutch player schooling argentina's goalie- IT's BAD!)

a very very brief interview with rinus

more on 74 world cup-comnprehensive look at dutch side

a more general look at 1974 world cup

rinus michels' book

a summary of some soccer tactics advocated by rinus in his book team building

a feature on the 1988 eurocup

a feature on ajax under rinus with the great 1970 squad

more on dutch total football with a few great rinus michels quotes

more on rinus approach on how to prepare for important national team games

rinus book.. you can preview the first few pages of his book..this link is too messed up though for me to copy!..

It's Mr. Michels to you sonny boy..

Rinus Michels

Rinus Michels, the coach of netherlands' national soccer side during its "clockwork orange" total football heyday of the 1970s (and 1988 eurocup), has passed away...

michels was very important to developing netherlands' identity on the pitch...he created the total football approach which led to increasing fluidity on the soccer field with players acting like interchangeable addition, it was attacking players, during holland's 70s heyday, seemed to surge and surge forward...

if you want to see total soccer in action get your hands on the argentina-netherlands match from the 1974 world cup.... argentina never knew what hit them and got spanked 6-0 with the dutch running circles around says a lot that a supporter of argentina can admit how much fun this game is to watch!....

rinus' tactical innovations increasingly became the standard.. the man could coach and when he came back to coach holland in the 1988 eurocup led them to their single international title (and soccer lovers all over the world breathed a sigh of relief)..

the soccer loving world will forever appreciate that although a disciplinarian michels' tactical innovations served to free the player from the rigid boring strategy that limited his use of his skill..they allowed the player to play anywhere on the pitch but in an organized manner. his approach made soccer more beautiful and entertaining to watch.... and beauty in soccer has been in increasing short supply..

when menotti argentina's coach during the 1978 world cup decided to distribute players' jersey numbers alphabetically with 1 for last names starting with a and so on this in part must have been a recognition of the concept of total football michels pioneered.. no longer would the number 2 be for the left back or 3 for center back or 4 for right back and on and on...argentina avenged the 1974 spanking with a 3-1 victory in the final but it must be recognized that holland was without both michels and cruyff

some say winning is all that counts but when i think of the 1974 dutch side i do not think that is true.. they may have lost the final to the germans but everyone agrees the dutch were the bigger delight.. likewise france's 1984 eurocup side with platini, tigana and the rest may have never won a world cup but are remembered fondly by soccer lovers....

anyhow, i could not let this go without a few words... for a more standard bio and description of his tactical innovations please go here

or go here for wikipedia's entry on him with links

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Is that Simon Lebon I see?? No don't be silly thats his doppelganger David Sylvain! (photograph by the way is by anton corbijn who would go on to bigger things with depeche mode and U2 [joshua tree cover for example])

Japan's "Oil On Canvas" live double lp from 1983

Big in Japan

its always interesting when you discover where a band got their sound..where they borrowed from...and make no mistake everyone takes from somewhere..the question is do you take to create or because you are unable or unwilling to fashion your own identity..its always a fine line...i recently acquired, on a whim, a live double lp by a band i'd heard about but never listened to: japan..the leader of this band was david sylvain and the band also includes mick karn... anyhow... japan is apparently the band duran duran ripped off...the similarities are too great... david sylvain's vocals sound much like simon lebon (yes, that pseudo croon you know you've heard).. then you've got guitar, keyboards and sax very much in what would become the duran duran vein...even thematically the bands are similar: japan's 1980 "gentleman take polaroids" could be viewed as a precursor to "girls on film"...while stylistically or fashion wise as all music guide writes about that LP's back cover photo: "looking cool in glossy, elegant nightwear, the quintet had a clear impact on Duran Duran, to the point where Nick Rhodes obviously was trying to be Sylvian in appearance"....

anyways, apparently japan were the first "new romantic" band arriving on the english scene around 1977!...its hard to imagine them in the time of the sex pistols but such apparently was the case although they evolved from glam rock roots to scene makers by 1980.....they get little mention or credit but constitute one of the first post-punk bands...their relatively low modern day profile may owe itself to the fact that they were one of those bands that broke out everywhere except the US and when that happens you know history ain't going to be too kind to you! the way in the interests of full disclosure this double live lp -pictured above- "oil on canvas" was recorded in 1982 on japan's last live tour and served as their final release

japan, as befits a band with such a name, were very succesfull in...... yes..... japan.... and i remember them a bit from when i lived in ........japan...curiously enough.. the new romantic movement of the early 1980s was particularly big in japan and duran duranmania there huge...what am i getting at? japan even created the market for duran duran to break out in... however, lets not blame japan, band or country, for "wild boys"...

japan of course borrowed quite a bit from roxy music...but thats another story for another day...

for a history of japan click here

auspicious start! (notice yahoo boxscore still referring to Washington as "MTL")


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
NY METS 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3
WASHINGTON 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 1 x 5 FINAL


Spring Fever!!!!!!!!!

today at 1:05 pm the Washington Nationals will play the New York Mets in their first spring training game as DC's baseball team!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

El Rey de los Timbales!!!!!!!!

Tito Puente on Tico!

Tito Puente's 10 inch LP "Mambos by Punte" Volume 4 on Tico 114 was released in 1952. It is one of his first LPs preceded only by three earlier entries in the series released around the same time and featuring the same artwork with different colors. What I particularly love about this record is the cover!!!! We are so used to seeing pictures of the elder statesman of latin music with his bushy white hair that its refreshing to see a picture of a young Tito Puente; born in 1923 he must have been approximately 28 years old when this picture was taken.

Ed Morales writes in The Latin Beat that "Puente's arrangements synchronized the percussion and brass charts, something that made the music a kind of maddening, heart-racing blast of musical chaos." According to Morales his break was around 1942 when "..back in New York, he landed a regular gig with Machito and his Afro-Cubans, which solidified his grounding in ambitious, orchestral treatments of mambo and Latin big band jazz. Contemporary percussionist Bobby Sanabria credits Puente with being the first Latin drummer to "kick" big band figures with a combination of drums, timbales, and cymbals. His prominence in the orchestra was soon rewarded when Marchito placed him at the front of the stage to feature his unique talents."

Following World War II Tito Puente formed his own band recording early sides, such as the ones featured on this LP, for the original nuyorican record label Tico records (like Celia Cruz and Tito's prime early competitor- the other Tito- Tito Rodriguez). He stayed with Tico during the mambo's successor latin rhythm craze the cha-cha. Around 1955 Tito Puente moved to RCA records where he recorded an important series of LP's (Dance Mania) and gained the marketing muscle that propelled him into the living rooms of mainstream white america.

Although my copy's cover is in great shape, the record, like many 10 inch records typically pressed on thinner slabs of vinyl has suffered a bit. Per the title, the record is made up of latin music of the time and mambos with sometimes hackneyed lyrics of the "How good it is to dance the mambo" variety...Puente's band was always known for the tremendous percussionists it employed such as Mongo Santamaria, Patato Valdes, Willie Bobo, Johnny Pacheco and Ray Barreto most or all of whom went on to great acclaim with their own outfits. The vocals are primarily by cuban-born Vincentico Valdes one of the more renown early mambo singers. "Jumbalato" is sung by the De Castro Sisters who remind me of the Andrews sisters! "Quiere Me y Veras" ("Love Me and You Will See") seems like a traditional latin love song (bolero). Tico 114 includes the tongue in cheek "Mari Juana" whose lyrics I have attempted to translate:

I don’t like Mari Juana
Because last night she hit me
It looks like she didn’t like
A heavy party
Jumped like a frog
From one side to another side
I’m a satisfied man
Frankly, I say.

I don’t like Mari Juana cause last night she hit me

Looks like she didn’t like

Ay ay with Mari Juana I don’t go
Looks like she didn’t like the heavy partying
I don’t go I don’t go with Juana

Jumped like a frog but..

Peter Gammons on Steroids!

espn analyst peter gammons, the number one authority on baseball, has some interesting words on the steroids in major league baseball controversy.. i've been reading him since the early's his take per his latest espn column:

"When players (or anyone) rail on Jose Canseco for trying to make a buck off the steroids issue, they should be dismissed because what in the world were the guys who used steroids trying to do? Make money. Not to pick on Jason Giambi, but since he has admitted to steroid use, that $128 million kind of tells us that it worked for him, eh?"

amen brother..thanks for stating the obvious...

"When it comes to the debates about eras, yes, this one will be called "The Steroids Era," but it is an era when kids began lifting at 12 and home runs and power pitching became in vogue. All of the top 22 strikeouts-per-nine-inning seasons have occurred in the last 20 years. Asterisk? There has to be one next to Cy Young's 511 because it was the dead ball era. And one next to Jimmie Foxx because he played in the lively ball era. And, OK, one next to Babe Ruth because he played in the segregated era."

"The one conclusion we can draw now is that this era has reminded us just how great Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Frank Robinson really were. All three had to fight through segregation, hatred and double standards to get to the major leagues. They played in an era when pitching so dominated the sport that they lowered the mound by five inches, not to mention the fact that so many of the National League stadiums were cookie cutters that were not home-run friendly, like so many of the post-Camden Yard ballparks.

So while history and guilt is debated, determined and judged, all of us who had the good fortune to watch Hank, Willie and Frank play now appreciate just how great they really were. They have their places among the 10 best who ever played, and, like Junior Griffey, no one will ever doubt them."

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