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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

deep throat uncovered!

huge.. he's unmasked himself..get story here!

the great LP hunt!

earlier this week my friend tim "captain" lara and i were talking about how much fun it can be to go to flea markets.. "the thrill of it all". . you just never know what you are going to find...99% of the time there's nothing but then there's that time you find a little treasure or 50 cent copy of something you wanted to hear..... anyways, this is particularly true when it comes to scouring around for LPs...i would add thrift stores and even used record shops to the list....

probably the greatest LP find of all time is detailed in this article..

as the article explains in greater detail someone checking out flea markets in manhattan- i've seen them many times and ocassionally looked around on visits to new york city (did i miss this?)- found an acetate of the velvet underground's first recording session..the only one in existence and arguably the rarest and most valuable record around as the original session master tapes were destroyed.. the velvet underground went on to rerecord the songs for their classic first album "velvet undergound and nico".. but this session was thought lost.....he bought it for 75 cents!

Friday, May 27, 2005

this white man can jump!

My Man Manu!

great little article on argentine basketball sensation emanuel "manu" ginobili who plays for the san antonio spurs... i've been talking this guy up for years now and the US media is coming around big time..

ginobili of course led argentina to the men's basketball gold medal in last year's olympics (including a victory over the United States)...

the san antonio spurs also count with perennial all star tim duncan.. but i think ginobili is one of the more entertaining players in the league...he can do it all... and he is in a large part responsible for their success so far in this year's NBA playoffs..

check it here

Traffic at 47west63rd hit new highs this week...why? a link from bob dylan news site expecting rain sent about 600 visitors over the past day... welcome boboholics!..

more on manchester united

gabrielle marcotti's current soccer column (he is a "yahoo sports" writer who covers the soccer beat) is a more cogent and informed analysis of the manchester united situation than my meandering ill informed blurb a few weeks ago.. however, in essense my conclusion that man u fans ought to direct their fury at their board members who elected to take the club public in 1991 is borne out... by doing this they opened up to glazer's takeover.. and if it had not been him it would have been someone else..

the column can be found here

Jose Acasuso celebrates his five set victory over Andy Roddick in the French Open

Andy Roddick: The Gentleman of Roland Garros

i wrote a little blurb a few weeks ago about how andy roddick has turned into a real gentleman after having began his career as a bit of a showboat...this was in reference to him having ceded a point late in the match by overruling a line judge (roddick said the line judge would have ended up overruling himself but) and ended up losing the match to a large degree cause of it...

yesterday andy roddick was up two sets to none against argentine tennis player jose acasuso at the french open in roland garros... acasuso came back and won the last three sets.. as he won the game he fell to the ground on his side of the net and started uncontrollably celebrating the biggest victory of his career by far (acasuso, ranked 63 in the world had just defeated the number 2 player in the world!)... how did roddick react to an admittedly difficult situation? he hopped the net and walked up to acasuso and congratulated him.. later, outside the locker room he repeated the congratulations telling acasuso he would now root for him for the rest of the tournament... as acasuso commented andy has become: "...of the top ranked players, the biggest gentleman on and off the court.. a rare combination"...

andy roddick used to represent arrogance but now he represents the best of the United States.. now he's making friends everywhere... i hope he turns around his recent results and wins some tournaments...

here's the story as reported in argentina in clarin newspaper in a story aptly titled "the gentleman of roland garros"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

so how is it?

the new sleater kinney lp "the woods" of course!

i hear its the vienesse schnitzel!

definetly the 2005 release i'm most excited about........

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Poster from a Bob Dylan concert I attended at George Mason University's Patriot Center (and the sound was great Patriot Center naysayers!) November 22, 2002. And yes they played a smoking "Brown Sugar".

almost forgot but i got 38 minutes to get it in: HAPPY 64th BIRTHDAY BOB DYLAN!!!!!!!!!

thats it.. from my humble locale listening to my mono copy of bringing it all back home i'd like to wish bob dylan a very happy 64th birthday!.. may your song always be sung!

"20 years of schooling and they put you on the day shift"

Memphis Slim and Bob Dylan?

when listening to the highly recommended martin scorsese presents the blues five cd box set i heard a song called "mother earth" by memphis slim (aka peter cahtman) from 1950 and immediately thought of dylan's "gotta serve somebody"..the lyrics made my electric lightbulb go off but the tempo is also the same...check out the lyrics of "mother earth" and you tell me (i've done my best to transcribe the lyrics which unbelievably are nowhere on the internet!):

You may not have me all the time
You may never go my way
Mother earth is laying for you
Cause that death you got to pay
Don’t care how great you are
Don’t care what you were
When it all is up you got to go back to Mother Earth

You may own a half a city
Even diamonds and pearls
You may buy that plane baby
And fly all over this world
Don’t care how great you are
Don’t care what you were
When it all is up you got to go back to Mother Earth

You may play (unclear word) horses
You may own a racetrack
You may have enough money baby to buy anything you like
Don’t care how great you are
Don’t care what you were
When it all is up you got to go back to Mother Earth

now check out dylan's "gotta serve somebody"

You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage,
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage,
You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk,
You may be the head of some big TV network,
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame,
You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a construction worker working on a home,
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome,
You might own guns and you might even own tanks,
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side,
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair,
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy,
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy,
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray,
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

now my research on the web revealed that dylan's inspiration is thought to have been a woody guthrie song..

and i reproduce matthew zukerman's analysis as on the expecting rain site found here

31 Original song: Little Black Train (Woody Guthrie) Dylan song: Gotta Serve Somebody (April 1979)
After Dylan's first major work, "Song to Woody," there has been remarkably little direct influence from Guthrie's songs on Dylan's own compositions. Apart from "Danville Girl," which provided the title and not much else for "New Danville Girl," (Note 13) "Little Black Train" may be the only one to show a clear connection.
You may be a bar-room gambler And cheat your way through life But you can't cheat that little black train Or beat this final ride Get ready for your savior And fix your business right You've gotta ride that little black train To make your final ride
Little Black Train

You may be an ambassador to England or France, You may like to gamble, you might like to dance, You may be the heavyweight champion of the world, You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You're gonna have to serve somebody, Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
Gotta Serve Somebody

The train imagery of Guthrie's song does not appear in Dylan's, but the album on which "Gotta Serve Somebody" appears is called Slow Train Coming, and the train serves the same metaphorical purpose as in Guthrie's song.

now i definetly think he may have picked up something from woody guthrie but i do think memphis slim also has to be considered source material..but you tell me..

bob dylan and fats domino

i've become convinced that dylan sorta borrows from the great tradition of american song.. today i heard a fats domino song called "tired of crying" from the early 50s..the key line/money line/punch line in the fats song:

As I cried for you, now it's your turn to cry for me

meanwhie dylan's "cry a while" from 2001's "love and theft" lp has the following key lyric:

Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn to cry awhile

the rest of the song is quite different- although the tempo is quite similar- but i believe dylan borrows lines from here and there and then combines them...

May 21 marked the 50th anniversary of Chuck Berry's first recording session: Our tribute spotlighting his influence continues

even jimi hendrix was known to play a good old fashioned chuck berry song once in a while.. his posthumous live lp release - the first of dozens- "hendrix in the west"- reprise MS 2049 - included berry's "johnny b. goode"... my favorite performance on this album, however, has to be his smoking blues tune "red house"...

the only live beatles album was released as a cash in in 1977. ..its "the beatles at the hollywood bowl" and features performances from their 1964 and 1965 concerts at the hollywood bowl in los angeles... the original pressing of this- of which there must be millions- features embossed reproductions of tickets on the front cover.. interestingly enough the cost of seeing the beatles in 1964 was $4 and went up 20% to a whoping $5 the next year...the sound quality is pretty poor for a commercial release..its tough for the beatles to perform over the thousands of screaming girls... george harrison in particular fares poorly trying to reprise his interpretation of chuck berry's "roll over betthoven"...lennon per usual on his covers kicks it on little richard's "dizzy miss lizzie"....obviously the beatles must have had their doubts about this lp once it came out as its never been reissued on compact disc..

another capitol LP "created" by the record company for the US was "Beatles'65"- T 2228- which featured a few songs from the english lp "beatles for sale" and some singles and b-sides etc... this one included another great cover of a chuck berry song: john lennon's smashing take on "rock and roll music"...john lennon could really blow these covers of rock and roll classics out of the water!... he's the same guy who said rock'n'roll might as well have been called "chuck berry music"...his words not mine!

i've written before about how chuck berry was a big influence on the rolling stones and the same can be said, although to a lesser extent, wth respect to the beatles...the beatles "second album"- capitol T 2080 mono pictured here- is often pointed too as being their most rock and roll all US released beatles albums up until "rubber soul" this one is a hodge podge of singles/b sides/and tracks culled from the original beatles albums from england..somehow this one works real well as a good old fashioned rock and roll record (how would you have liked to be the capitol records US executive entrusted with putting these albums together!?)...its got some great rock and soul covers such as "long tall sally", "please mister postman", "you really got a hold on me", "devil in her heart", "money" and of course Chuck Berry's "roll over betthoven" on which george harrison handles vocals..this one came out in the age of the CD capitol decided to only release albums in their original UK format.. therefore albums such as this are only available on vinyl.. the flaming groovies of course had an album cover that was a knockoff of this one and the rolling stones "rolling stones now" from 1965 was a darker variant on this too...its also interesting how the cover refers to the music as "electrifying big-beat".. big-beat for a while was a synonym for rock and roll.

Dave Edmunds was one of few people paying attention when Chuck Berry released "Rockit"..... On Rockpile's 1980 release "Seconds of Pleasure",one of my favorite pure pop rock out bliss albums, together with bandmates Nick Lowe, Billy Bremmer and Terry Willliams, and in a gutsy move, they covered Chuck Berry's "Oh What a Thrill" from the previous year's "Rockit"...but they covered it in old school chuck berry fashion..just a good old rock'n'roll song... like much of the album its pretty sweet.. many people who hear this cover go searching for the original and find it hard to believe its on rockit as they expect it to have been written in the 1950s.... the whole "seconds of pleasure" album is just phenomenal full of wonderful rock covers and originals...truly one of the underrated albums of all time or perhaps rather i should say: an album more people should listen to.... i believe if memory serves that i first heard this album at washington dc's chief ike's mambo room in the mid 1990s over dollar black labels while shooting pool..

Chuck Berry's final studio album "Rockit"- ATCO SD 38-118 was released in 1979. This is a record that Chuck Berry took charge on putting together a small band with longtime bassist Jim Marsala, piano player Johnny Johnson, also on bass Bob Wray (unsure of who is on what song), and Kenneth Buttrey on drums. Buttrey I believe is a big time session drummer who has played on countless recordings including Bob Dylan's "John Wesley Harding"... Unfortunately, although some of the songs are great the production is just terrible on this... i can stand Chuck's double tracked vocals fine but the synthesized drum sound was a terrible idea and really plays havoc with my ears!..its an album that if Chuck had been paying attention at all- had noticed at all- the punk revolution that had just happened - and if he had recorded it raw without polish, if he had gone back to the way he cut songs in the early days, would have proved a succesfull comeback things stand it stiffed.. nevertheless, some of the songs hold up..I suppose after this experience Chuck just got discouraged with recording as he hasn't any in 26 years! come on chuck! give it another shot!

Denmark's Keneth Carlsen earlier today in his French Open match at Roland Garros against Guillermo Coria of Argentina. Needless to say he lost his cool and the match.. I think this is one of the scariest faces I have yet to see...

Phil Spector in court yesterday. He is accused of murder. What o what has happened to you Phil?

Washington Nationals Progress Report

the season is, unbelievably, more than a quarter gone...

major league baseball is playing with fire... dc has never been a good baseball town (when you have lost two teams you are not a good baseball town) so to have a new team arrive and have most games not be on tv for the majority of dc area residents is dangerous.. i'm not sure why but to watch nationals games you pretty much need direct tv.. even hard core fans willing to traipse to a bar regularly find their bar does not have direct tv.... until the end of the season the only games nats fans will be able to watch are on weekends.... for example, the current nats series against the reds is not on the tube (it is on direct tv but who has that?).... i think to really get into a team you have to have the possibility of watching the games on a daily basis.. otherwise you don't really develop much of a relationship.. when the nats take off on a road game series to toronto and cincinatti and you can't see any of the games on tv and are limited to little coverage in the papers it makes it that much more difficult to get into the team once they get back home....

overall the general manager terry bowden made some good decisions in the off season and one very bad one... bowden by all accounts likes to gamble on players that have fallen out of favor elsewhere... he sees this as the only way to make things happen given the limited budget he has to work with.... this off season he got vinny castilla , jose guillen, esteban loaiza and christian guzman.... the first three have so far done quite well..there is some concern about castilla's health.... meanwhile shortstop guzman signed to a long term multi million contratct is batting 197 and in my opinion needs a stint in the minors to figure out how to hit again.... i'm very worried about him as the nationals are stuck with him and owe him i believe about 20 million dollars! he just seems like a really weak hitter...

the nats are really suffering from injuries which make the 24-21 record all the more impressive... currently jose vidro- perhaps their best player is out...wilkerson is out.. castilla is out... guillen just got back from an injury.. their best pitcher livan the rock hernandez has been having some injury issues.. its amazing the team is doing as well as it is! on the flipside first baseman nick johnson who has a history of underachieving due to injuries has remained healthy and is putting up some real nice numbers... the upshot is that due to injuries but perhaps even were this not so the nationals need one more bat with some clout in the lineup.. they need more pop.... against the toronto they got shutout two games in a row.....

currently the nats are in third place or so in the nl east... the florida marlins and atlanta braves are trying to pull away and definetly look like the more solid teams... the phillies look the weakest i'm happy to say... meanwhile the mets are playing 500 ball.. win one lose one.. for the nats to challenge for a wildcard they need one more bat in the lineup....i don't know that they have anybody they can trade to make this happen...they don't have money to spend either.. money will only come when a new owner is selected and the rapacious major league baseball suits that control the fate of the nats are in no hurry to sell the team.. their goal is to take as long as they need to in order to secure the best sale price... if nats fans in the meanwhile can't see games on tv or if the team can't really make the necessary decisions to remain competitive is of little interest to them.... major league baseball, lets face it, is a mafia and congress needs to take away their special excemption on taxes...

overall, however, despite my gripes about major league baseball and the tv fiasco, i have to say i've been very happy with the nationals..they are a gutsy team and have been performing well.. some might say overachieving even....given the limitations to be a few games out of first in the most competitive division in baseball at this point in the season is quite an achievement.. on the other hand, and not to bore you, the nats could take this division with a little more firepower and i think major league baseball is shortsighted not to loosen the purse strings a bit.. after all a winning team would get the town behind it far easier and attendance would increase... this would all serve to entice potential investors to perhaps bit on the higher end...

Monday, May 23, 2005

steve jones on pop matters!

there's an interesting interview of sex pistols guitarist steve jones on the pop matters site.. check it here

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Guillermo Barros Schelotto of Boca Juniors helps win yet another "clasico" by scoring the game's first goal.

Boca Juniors 2- River Plate 1

Friday, May 20, 2005

ok i'm obviously so rocking out to this lp right now!!!!..the volume is getting dangerously high.... i began to feel remorse about not putting up a picture of the equally hilarious back cover of the lp so here it is!...for the un-who-tiated thats keith "animal" moon on the left applying acne fighting cream medac and john entwistle proudly demonstrating the benefits of charles atlas bodybuilding! Entwistle by the way died at the Hard Rock hotel in Las Vegas with cocaine and brandy in his blood and hookers in his bed!!! there's a great quote about this by who frontman roger daltrey but i can't find it.. and let me tell you i am GOOD at internet searches!

speaking of entwistle one of the more amazing things i've enrique llanes' old pad was a dvd of the who live where you had the option of turning out all the other sound and just hearing (and watching) john entwistle on bass.. its just amazing.. i think its the live at the isle of wight dvd and i urge anyone who wants to be wowed to check it out...entwistle or ox as i like to call him was an amazing bassist and in this footage he is just jamMING!..... thunderous percussive bass playing.. with keith moon in the band they arguably made up one of the more amazing rhythm section in rock music history...

The Who's 1967 The Who Sell Out LP on Decca DL 74950

this is such a cool ambitious project!.. petra haden -apparently at minuteman mike watt's suggestion and as part of rehabilitation from a brutal hit and run accident that sent her into a coma (and she was uninsured to thats harsh..)- recorded an acapella version of the who's the who sell out 1967 essence she recorded all the instruments with her voice on a four track recording machine. its out now on bar none.. i haven't listened to it but am keeping an eye out for a reasonably priced copy...i absolutely love the cover art too...i read in the new york times a few weeks ago (a sunday paper) that no less than pete townsend loves the record..i can't say enough about people who take chances...way to go petra! (her dad by the way is none other than charles haden who played bass on some great ornette coleman sessions) can find petra haden sings: the who sell out at amazon here

Frank Sinatra Friday!

Now this is the stuff!!!!!!! Frank Sinatra's "Songs for Young Lovers" released as a 10 inch LP in 1953 on Capitol Records H488... As the cover states Sinatra was "Accompanied by NELSON RIDDLE".. there's so much to say about this LP and i will try to sum up:

1. this is sinatra's comeback album.. he'd broken through or was about to with his oscar winning role in the film "from here to eternity".. but musically ever since the late 1940s and leaving columbia records he'd been going nowhere fast..

2. nelson riddle's arrangements marked a new high in american music production.. they were so good that from then on riddle became THE marquee producer...when people speak of the frank sinatra albums that riddle arranged they usually call them the "sinatra-riddle" recordings..he gets a lot of credit...his unconventional use of instruments such as the celeste...his jazzy/swinging charts... the supremely talented soloists many of whom came from a succesfull background in the jazz world (ben webster on sax, etc.)... all this came together to breathe new life into the great standards of the age... his arrangements are far livelier than sinatra's alex stordahl 1940s arrangements on columbia..for example, check out the introductory solo on "they can't take that away from me"..

3. of course sinatra's voice had really grown in stature by the time of this recording..he'd become a better more mature singer! I like to think some of this had to do with repeatedly catching billie holiday performances..but who knows.. bilie was probably a small part of it as we know he considered her the finest singer and repeatedly recorded versions of songs she had performed.. on some of the slower material he still could sound a bit hokey reminding one of his 1940s recordings (such as "little girl blue" on this record) but on others such as "my funny valentine" or "i get a kick out of you" his voice is just reaching new heights..particularly amusing is his delivery of the couplet "some they may go for cocaine..i'm sure that if i took even one sniff it would bore me to riff..thickly too"..

4. this lp begins sinatra's fruitful association with capitol records which i believed helped establish capitol records as a player in the music business.. before capitol had the beatles in the 60s they were fortunate to count with frank who sold millions upon millions of records prior to breaking off to head his own record label "reprise"...

5. before this lp most lp's were just hodge podge reissues of 78rpm recordings without much of a concept or unifying theme.. when we buy an album we are used to the album having some sort of identity that binds it together but this was an idea that began to take root around this time...the concept: "songs for young lovers" of course!... the lp's advantages in presenting music in a certain manner began to be realized with this lp..artists and record labels got used to the idea that an artist could go in to the studio to record a unified cogent work- which could be marketed as such- rather than a few scattered sides....

unfortunately its tough slog to get these early 10 inch lps in good shape.. i've got two and they ain't mint i'll tell you!

by the way.. in the early days of the compact disc age this 8 song lp was combined with its follow up the more up tempo "swing easy" which is also brilliant... i think that cd which really is what got me into frank sinatra in the first place about 11 years ago was just stellar..jam packed chock full with 16 sinatra classics!...

still. i'm always, if you haven't noticed by now, partial to the earliest release... like to get to the source if at all possible!..

Frank Sinatra's "Get Happy" 10 inch LP on Columbia CL-2521.. this is from the mid 1950s and was a reissue/repackaging job of Frank's 1940s Columbia recordings- one of many- to cash in on Sinatra's comeback in 1953 with an Oscar and his incredibly popular and critically acclaimed recordings with Nelson Riddle for Capitol this point Columbia had reissued a ton of Sinatra and this record has the signs of dredging the barrel.. evidently they had no picture of Frank left to use because he'd long left the label so they came up with this wonderful cartoon by someone identified on the cover as norkin..songwise it includes such dross as "the huckle buck" and "bim bam baby" and even throws in a christmas song "let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!".. i do love the cartoon.. but this 10 inch is not where i would start if i was looking to collect frank sinatra on vinyl...

Frank Sinatra and the Godfather

there's a new book about frank... by anthony summers and robbyn swan: "sinatra- the life"... they're on NPR's dianne rehm show this morning promoting it... its listed on amazon here

i've always found the character of the singer- al martino- in the godfather movie interesting.... always having heard the rumours that he was based around frank sinatra.. you know the guy.. the guy who shows up and cried in front of the godfather cause he wants a part in a new movie and the producer won't give him.. the godfather slaps him and makes fun of him "boo hoo hoo" and tells him to behave like a man... then the godfather goes on to tell his consegliere tom hayden to make the movie producer an offer he can't know what happens- i got two words for you: horse's head

whats interesting is that according to summers/swan it really is true that:
1. sinatra got out of his contract with tommy dorsey when the mafia pressured dorsey to let him go (confirmed by dorsey in two separate interviews) {in the movie michael tells his girlfriend played by diane keaton the story about how his father had gotten martino out of a bad contract by making an offer they couldn't refuse- the first idea diane gets about the type of family michael is from])
2. sinatra got his comeback role in from here to eternity (maggio) when the mafia told the producer harry cohn that frank had to have the part.. they didn't "make him an offer he couldn't refuse" but rather a west coast mafia guy- johnny rosseli or rosseti walked in to his friend harry cohn's office brandishing a gun and said "thats just the way its got to be"..according to robbyn/summers this is confirmed by harry cohn's wife namely that it was not ava gardner that got him the part for which he would win the oscar and reignite his career..

what robbyn/swan make clear however is that it should not be surprising that sinatra had ties with the mafia as at that point an time in entertainment there were big bonds between the mafia and the venues where these entertainers sang.. basically if you wanted to work you were bound to have some ties.. however, they at the same time make clear that sinatra had close close ties..closer than norm.. laundered money for the mafia etc..

the links between the mafia and the music business was explored by william knoedelseder in Stiffed: A true story of MCA, the music business and the mafia.. by the way i think i hear the author speak in college and it was scary listening to him... you almost just wanted NEEDED NOT to believe it was true.. the book is here at amazon

but back to frank sinatra

sinatra's family came from the same town (same street!) in sicily, italy as the founder of the american mafia lucky lucciano!

so two of the pivotal events in sinatra's career apparently involved the mob and are fairly accurately depicted in the godfather..

now, some people don't approve of this type of look at a person's history (there's an idea around that once someone dies we should only have nice things to say about them) but i don't see anything wrong with it... i can appreciate sinatra the singer- the greatest popular american singer ever- and separate him from the man.. by the way if you want to read the best account of sinatra the singer its by will friedewald and its called "sinatra: the song is you"... curiously enough will friedewalk has reviewed the book by robbyn/swan and panned it and compalained that he feels violated by how much they took and borrowed from his own book.... i think that just speaks to how good his book is as a look at sinatra the singer...but the robbyn/swan book takes a look at aspects of his life unrelated to his singing..

Thursday, May 19, 2005

the story behind glazer's take over of manchester united

can be found here

my thoughts on 300 game winners

are apparently not very original.. i must have read it somewhere...... john donovan of sports illustrated wrote about it 11 months ago here

still.interesting .. i may have seen the last 300 game winner!

May 15- Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs at National Taxation Without Representation Field

as we left the ballpark this past sunday we spotted the overworked groundscrew still trying to figure out how to make a pitching mound!... i would not be surprised if they're still there!..although the head groundskeeper for major league baseball arrived yesterday to chime in..

is that Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson I spot doing the celebratory hokey pokey at the game's conclusion?

here's a photograph of Nationals ballpark Taxation Without Representation was a great day for baseball and an entertaining game.. the Nationals came back twice to win it 5-4 over the Chicago Cubs!.. i was a bit surprised by some ill mannered annoying fans rooting for the visitors particularly considering how cool i found cubs fans to be when i visited wrigley field..but these were probably outcasts. . they got their comeuppance...the cubs second baseman made the Nats victory happen with two errors on back to back plays!.. never seen that before!

visiting pitchers (pictured is Maddux) enjoy whining about the state of the mound at Nationals Stadium Taxation Without Representation Field! we see the groundscrew -for the 100th time this season- trying to fix the problem.. in all fairness Nationals pitchers have been complaining about the mound too...

this is a great shot of Greg Maddux in his windup at the point he is just about to throw the ball... Maddux is of course the last 300 game winning pitcher (he was at 308 as of this game and we kept him there!) and may be- this is my pet theory- the last 300 game winner for a long time if not all time.. Mussina, Randy Johnson, Glavine could make a run for it but i don't think its going to happen. anyways it was a complete pleasure to see future hall of famer greg maddux on the mind

and the game began with the Washington Nationals starter Zach Patterson giving up two early runs.. the Nats kept falling behind and clawing their way back.. this is a nice picture if i may say so myself..if you zoom in picture by double clicking it you should see the ball thats just been hit, Nats pitcher reacting, and the runners in motion..sometimes i think i should work as a photographer for sports illustrated

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Frank Sinatra's "She Shot Me Down" from 1981 (Reprise FS-2305) is his last LP of newly recorded studio material (no, i am not going to count the studio wizardry concocted "Duets"). It is surprisingly good. The album cover is one of my favorites.. it transmits a sense of the album: an album of so called "saloon songs"...songs about having been left .. a guy at a bar thinking about what went wrong...i remember first seeing this album cover at washington dc italian restaurant bucca di beppo..

the lp includes his version of "bang bang (my baby shot me down" the sonny bono penned song frank's daughter nancy performed over a decade earlier with a great lee hazelwood surf guitar (the song featured in kill bill)...the song titles give a sense of the album: "good thing going", "hey look no crying", "thanks for the memory" (featuring one of the silliest couplets ever heard: "how we used to jog even in a fog / that barbecue in malibu away from all the smog" and the ridiculous "tonight the way things look i need a book by sigmund freud, how brainy"), "monday morning quaterback", "i loved her" and the closing medley "the gal that got away/it never entered my mind" the latter of course performed by Sinatra decades earlier- in 1955- for his first LP of sad songs "in the wee small hours" but in my opinion but not necessarily better than this version where he elongates the line "uneaaasyyyy in my eaaaasyyyy chair"..mmmhh.. many people would be tempted to write this album off but its got something to offer the listener willing to turn down the lights, pour a glass of wine and share in the melancholy..

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Paul Krugman's latest New York Times op-ed piece "Staying What Course?"

i think krugman gets it entirely right on the reality in iraq...

check out his latest op-ed piece published in yesterdays nyt here

sadly, soon the new york times will begin charging a subscriber fee to read the op-ed columns on the internet ...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Argentina: Events leading to breakdown/crisis in late 2001. Part I in series

Part I

It proved difficult for the international community to place in proper context the events that took place in Argentina at the end of 2001 and in 2002. The international press found it difficult to present/voiceover images of looting, rioting, and protests with the world’s attention focused on the war on terrorism. International news organizations concentrated their resources on events in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, and the United States. Few news organizations possess newsgathering and analytical capability on the ground in Argentina. Argentines did not simply wake up in mid December 2001 and riot because of unhappiness with their miserable lot in life. The reasons behind the events are complex. The following attempts to explain the events that unfolded in late 2001. Events in Argentina are not of an isolated nature and present important lessons for the world.


Argentina is a country almost one third the size of the United States. It achieved independence from Spain in 1816. After about a half century of squabbling between and within various provinces Argentina adopted a Federal constitution based on the U.S. model and began to focus on improving its lot in life. Fortunately it counted with substantial agricultural and cattle resources, whose placement in international markets for good prices financed investment in infrastructure, imports of manufactures and development. By the late 1800s immigrants were flocking to Argentina and the country was undergoing rapid development so that by the 1920s Argentina was one of the ten wealthier nations in the world.[1] The advent of the great depression led to the bottom falling out of the agricultural and cattle markets and Argentina’s terms of trade began a fairly consistent decline. Since 1930, with brief respites, Argentina’s economy has been in constant decline. When compared to the United States, Argentina, which in 1916 counted with about 70% of the U.S. per capita income now has about 10% (GNI Atlas Method World Bank 2003). For most of the 20th century governments focused on redistributing the shrinking wealth instead of providing the necessary framework for growth (enlarging pie). Peron’s ascent in the 1940’s led to the adoption of import substitution schemes and semi isolationist policies. The problems were compounded between 1955-1983 by various incompetent military regimes punctuated by weak democratic regimes shadowed by the exiled Peron and powerful military. The return of democracy in 1983 while owing much to the debacle of the Malvinas-Falklands conflict with Great Britain also responded to the military’s abysmal economic track record, which left the nation with astronomical inflation and a sizable foreign debt.

Argentines were generally optimistic in 1983 that having rid themselves of the military (for the first time nobody could contemplate a return to military rule) the decline could be reversed. The general concensus was that Argentina possessed untapped resources, an educated population, and a lack of ethnic or social strife. With judicious and consistent government Argentines envisioned if not a wealthy country at least a middle tier nation. Spain’s accomplishments in the post-Franco period and the era of Felipe Gonzalez as Prime Minister would soon be viewed as the model. Unfortunately, the first democratic government of the Union Civica Radical President Raul Alfonsin proved unable to meet the challenge and acquiesced to leaving office six months early on the heels of the worst hyperinflation and food riots in Argentine history.[2]

The next President, the Peronist Carlos Saul Memem, pulled a “Nixon in China” move and although elected on a traditional peronist plank of nationalization, salary hikes, and increased government services implemented important structural reforms to convert a largely state owned and dominated economy into a free market economy. In this manner Menem undid much of Peron’s legacy. Menem also served to delegitimize the nascent democracy by running on one platform and governing with another.

Menem also closely aligned Argentina with the United States.[3] Menem oversaw a complete globalization of the economy with unregulated capital flows and a very large presence of foreign multinationals that set up for business in Argentina and purchase large numbers of local businesses. In 1991, and still attempting to eliminate the scourge of inflation, the economy minister, Domingo Cavallo, implemented a so called “convertibility” regime that had reaching implications. In order to tame inflation which was viewed as the bigger threat to the Argentine economy he fixed or “pegged” the argentine peso to the dollar at a 1 to 1 rate. The “Convertibility Law” established that the Central Bank would have to hold a dollar in reserve for each peso in circulation. Therefore the Central Bank could grow the money supply in so far as dollar inflows permited and the Peso would never lose its value. In this manner Argentina would break the cycle of currency devaluation led inflation. The scheme worked and it stuck. Argentine inflation between 1991 and 2001 was on the order of 0% and the currency as predicated by law maintained its value. In fact Argentina’s inflation rate proved to be lower than that of the United States. The simplicity of the law meant that it became political dogma that the Convertibility Law must be maintained; this lack of flexibility and a rather simplistic understanding of the convertibility scheme would sow the seeds of a painful demise.

One problem proved to be the maintenance of the dollars in reserve. The Government was unable or unwilling to eliminate its budget deficit (including provincial governments) and therefore more dollars were required. During the 1991-1995 period capital inflows more than made up for any trade and budget deficits as inflows from privatization revenues and investments by the new owners of privatized companies flowed in to the economy. However, as with most “neat” ideas there were some catches. For example, the one to one rate meant that Argentina’s currency began to value itself against other world currencies artificially or in relation to how the dollar valued itself to other currencies. Obviously this held little relation to economic fundamentals responding to the realities of the argentine economy. Imports became cheaper in Argentina and Argentine exports became more expensive abroad. Initially the impact was small and it was felt that by exerting pressure on Argentine companies to become more competitive and productive the scheme would lead to more investment in capital which would allow Argentine companies to provide an increasing share of goods and services demanded domestically. This in turn would lead to higher export revenues and therefore a trade surplus with which to finance the need for dollars.

The 1995 Tequila crisis followed by the Asian crisis followed by the Russian Crisis followed by the devaluation of the Brazilian real (Brazil is Argentina’s largest trading partner within the Mercosur liberalized trade bloc) resulted in a lack of capital inflows combined with increasing inflows of imports. Since the Government was unable or unwilling to control its budget deficit this meant it somehow needed to obtain the dollars necessary to maintain the 1 to 1 scheme. The Government’s solution was to borrow money (unlike the 1980s this time the convertibility law banned printing pesos without dollar backing). Some critics maintain that the borrowing increased because President Menem wished to pacify the provinces in order to amend the constitution in order to seek reelection. In any case by the mid 1990s Argentina was resorting to international capital markets to finance its budget deficit. By 1997 after the aforementioned external shocks had taken their toll Argentina’s economy entered a recession.

Social Crisis

Although the numbers that were being bandied about the corridors of the World Bank and IMF and reported in the liberal economic press (i.e., Wall Street Journal, the Economist, etc.) pointed to large rates of economic growth, and I have no reason to doubt these figures, the fact of the matter was that income inequality, poverty, unemployment and economic marginalization were all increasing in the Argentina of the 1990s. The international consensus about Argentina in the mid 1990s was that it was an example for the rest of the world to follow. In fact, Argentina became the poster child for neoliberal market reforms and globalization. For example, I participated in coordinating and leading a group of Pakistani government officials on a World Bank sponsored study tour of Argentina in late 1997. The idea at this time was that Argentina had made most of the right moves. The international community recognized that there remained a bit of corruption but that this would be ironed out. The fact that most Argentines were getting poorer was not the important thing; what was important was that the pie was growing! As far as borrowing, Argentina’s access to and use of capital markets was looked upon positively. After all, the argument went, that’s what development is about: obtaining capital and investing it in order to develop the economy. As the economy continued to grow it would easily repay these loans. It remains strange to me that few remembered that in the early 1980s Argentina had come close to defaulting on its international debt commitments or that Argentina has consistently proved to be a boom and bust economy. And the banks were happy lending to Argentina as the economy was growing and it was seen as a low risk proposition (actually lending to countries is always a low risk proposition given that countries cannot declare bankruptcy- so called “moral hazard” issue [i.e., banks often lend to countries when they should not]).

Somewhere in the mid 1990s companies in Argentina began to find it difficult in the face of an overvalued currency to compete with foreign (particularly Brazilian products which enjoyed lower or inexistent tariff barriers and benefited from the devaluation of the Brazilian real) products and began to unload workers. Also, foreign companies now controlling a large segment of the economy laid off large numbers of workers while some Argentine companies relocated to Brazil. The layoffs were understandable given the substantial overstaffing that afflicted many argentine companies. The government meanwhile absorbed some of the layoffs into the public sector. However, formal unemployment in the 1990s grew from the low teens to twenty percent by 2001.

[1] As difficult as it may seem to believe now in the 1920’s the French coined the phrase “…riche comme un argentin.” (Rich as an argentine)
[2] The first indication of the emerging social crisis resulting from increased income inequality.
[3] Argentine Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella characterized the new bond between the two nations as “relaciones carnales” (carnal relations).

seymour hersh's "the price of power: kissinger in the nixon white house"

when i read the price of power i become even more skeptical about what the bush administration wackjobs are doing in irak and elsewhere.. i become more distrusting... i begin to think things like newsweek is retracting not because what they said was not true but rather due to political pressure in the face of increasing rioting in afghanistan...... now i know seymour hersh has never been a republican favorite...he was the person by the way that did some great reporting on the abu ghraib prison scandal in irak and sorta blew the door off the hinges on that one (and he also wrote about the american massacre at my lai).. but seymour hersh is a well reputed journalist who worked for the new york times and won pulitzer prizes... he's no loony... well i'm in the midst of his book the price of power, published in 1983, and its depressing reading how nixon and kissinger came up with a system to centralize foreign policy decisionmaking in the white house and cut out anyone else including the departments of state and defense... when i read the passage on the bombing of cambodia i began to think that if that could have happened- and there is no disagreement that it did- then there is no guarantee whatsoever that anything i'm hearing now is true at all.. in essence everything we are told about the war in irak could be a lie...check out this snippet describing the bombing of Cambodia- a country by the way friendly to the United States- which began in 1969 and were unknown about til 1973..its chilling:

Despite the brave talk about standing up to the New York Times, Nixon and Kissinger were obsessed, of course, about Congress and the media. The B-52 bombings, whose early justification had been the need to respond immediately to the North Vietnamese challenge, were delayed long enough for Colonel Sitton to perfect a reporting procedure that would insure secrecy. And in the meantime Nixon ordered a top-secret cable sent to Ambassador Bunker in Saigon, explaining that all discussions of B-52 bombings of Cambodia had been suspended. Such a cable, despite its classification, would routinely be read and filed by dozens of senior officers and military clerks. At the same time he had a backchannel message sent directly to General Creighton W. Abrams, commander of the American forces in Vietnam, telling him to ignore the message to Bunker and continue planning for the B-52 missions.

Sitton went back to the drawing board and soon devised a plan that seemed foolproof. Sixty B-52 aircraft would be sent on the mission. Twelve of them would drop their bombs on legitimate targets inside South Vietnam; the others would be bombing Cambodia.
Sitton's process was to become known as the dual reporting system. The B-52 pilots would be briefed en masse before their mission on targets that were in South Vietnam- that is, the cover targets. After the normal briefing, some crews would be taken aside and told that shortly before their bombing run they would receive special instructions from a ground radar station inside South Vietnam. The radar sites, using sophisticated computers, would in effect take over the flying of the B-52s for the final moments, guiding them to their real targets over Cambodia and computing the precise moment to drop the bombs. After the mission, all the pilots and crews would return to their home base and debrief the missions as if they had been over South Vietnam. Their successes and failures would then be routinely reported in the Pentagon's secret command and control system as having been in South Vietnam.
The small contingent of officers and men who worked inside the four ground radar sites in South Vietnam were to be provided with top-secret target instructions for the Cambodian bombings by special courier flights from Saigon that arrived a few hours before each mission. The men on the ground knew Cambodia was being bombed, but none of them reported that fact until the Watergate investigations of 1973.

quote from pages 61 and 62 of Seymour Hersh's "The Price of Power"

Friday, May 13, 2005

kasabian/mad action at the 9:30 Club

last night i met a friend of mine who had passes to a 9:30 Club show....the headliner was a british band -KASABIAN- thats been getting a fair amount of press (at NME for example) back home and beginning a tour (their first me thinks) of the US..... it must be hard on these young bands to come to the US -after becoming flavor of the month/cats miau back home where they play festivals or what have you for 50,000 people- and here play small half empty clubs even with $10 ticket prices ... often it seems that the bands come to the US to be able to say back home that they came and did america... if you're in a rock'n'roll band i suppose you got to do it no matter how painful... for every british band that breaks in the US- radiohead comes to mind- there seem to be 50 that never make it.. and lets not go into how stressful touring america is for a lot of these bands made up of youngsters.. the sex pistols and stone roses both cracked under the pressure... some bands like supergrass seem content to come to the US every two years and play clubs knowing full well they will never make it past that level....

kasabian, a band made up of a couple of kids that has received some good press back home, is trying to make it to the next level... whats a new english rock band sound like these day? i got one word for you: OASIS... the oasis influence is front and center... from the lead singer's liam gallagher dance moves to the haircuts to pretty much everything.... kasabian - for all the comparisons with stone roses or manchester scene- really came off as a type of oasis.. curiously enough they were 20 times better than i remembered oasis... the music sounded like a heavier variant of oasis...more racous/punky.. the lead singer sounded a lot like liam to me ..this may have something to do with the accent...

an interesting difference between british bands and american bands i noticed is that bands like kasabian just can't shut up.. between each song the lead singer would yell out "thank you washinGTON DCCCCCCCCC!" ... or "god bless you washinGTTOOON DCCC!"...... american bands, meanwhile, seem to specialize in ignoring their audience... (there is a long tradition of this in rock passed down from bob dylan who at times played with his back to the audience- of course he may have got this "move" from its inventor: miles "the grouch" davis)...

kasabian's drummer was a maniac. he really went off on one song.. he was the most convincing aspect of the band.....he pounded the skins like his life depended on it... the bassist seemed solid enough and exchanged roles with a third guitarist who on the last track played what to me sounded like some cranking fuzz bass...i have to say i don't get why they needed three times the singer and lead guitarist and second guitarist would all play guitar.. didn't work for me.. at times they used synthesizers to create some textures on the songs... at times i thought i heard synths no one was playing.. not sure what that was about but anyways i guess that i had heard kasabian tried to marry rock with synths and i saw a little of this but not too much... (this is by the way the very thing new order and joy division- i think- sorta invented in the early 80s)......

its a bit disturbing how british rockers all seem to look the same and i almost get the feeling sometimes that with these british bands they seem to be created by record label executives looking to bring together models.. i mean too many of these guys for example seem remarkably most bands starting out and coming from britain they only played for an hour ten minutes.... seems to be accepted there that if you've got only one album thats all you play pretty much.... not sure why a band would not want to stretch out and play a 90 minute show.. this show was done at 11:15 so...

a special thanks to the members of the opening band "mad action" whom we hung out with backstage and chatted with over a few beers.....this is a band from philadelphia thats going to be opening up for kasabian during their two month tour.... check out their web site here..

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Patrick Buchanan's new column

is raising hackles everywhere but i think its quite thought provoking..

check it here

The Beatles sixth american LP on Capitol "Beatles VI" included two Larry Williams songs: "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" (changed from "Dizzy Miss Lizzy") and "Bad Boy". Both songs were recorded on the same day 40 years ago: May 10, 1965. This is a picture of my lp copy. The Beatles look like dorks on this cover by the way...obviously they were playing into the stereotypical image of the clean cut Beatles.. they would soon tire of being marketed this way...just how fake this marketing of the beatles was- primarily in order for them to sell records particularly in a still very conservative america- is revealed in any decent Beatles bio (check out philip norman's "Shout!" for example): the beatles spent their key formative time in 1960 and 1961 learning how to play rock and roll in seedy clubs in hamburg, germany frequented by prostitutes and norman writes: "...Hamburg, more than London or even Paris, was a city of breathtaking wickedness. British soldiers stationed in West Germany brought back tales of entertainments purveyed by the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's legendary cabaret district- of women wrestling in mud, and sex displays involving pythons, donkeys and other animal associates.".....this, not just hamburg but the reeperbahn, is where the beatles made it.. before going to hamburg - a city they conquered- they were by all accounts terrible and could barely play their hamburg their garb was black leather not dress shirts and ties! they consumed amphetamines managing to sleep a few hours a night in a squalid room between five or six shows a night honing their skills playing from the rock and roll songbook: songs like carl perkins "honey don't" or chuck berry's "too much monkey business".. this part of the beatles story has largely been expunged from the official record.. its of course far more sordid, interesting and believable than the white bread myth...

Larry Williams' big time lp: "Here's Larry Williams" on Specialty Record SP-2109...definetly an early rock'n'roll classic..tough to track down.. this ain't a picture of my copy unfortunately..

Bad Boy by Larry Williams (covered by Beatles)

this is such a quintessential rock'n'roll song lyrically..

A bad little kid moved into my neighborhood
He won't do nothing right just sitting down and looks so good
He don't want to go to school and learn to read and write
Just sits around the house and plays the rock and roll music all night
Well, he put some tacks on teachers chair
Puts chewing gum in little girl's hair
Hey, junior, behave yourself

Buys every rock and roll book on the magazine stand
Every dime that he get is lost to the jukebox man
Well he worries his teacher till at night she's ready to poop
From rocking and a-rolling spinning in a hula hoop
Well this rock and roll has got to stop
Junior's head is hard as rock
Now, junior, behave yourself

Going tell your mama you better do what she said
Get to the barber shop and get that hair cut off your head
Threw the canary and you fed it to the neighbors cat
You gave the cocker spaniel a bath in mother's laundramat
Well, mama's head has got to stop
Junior's head is hard as rock
Now, junior, behave yourself

and the master a-side "Dizzy Miss Lizzy"...also covered by the Beatles and released in the US on "Beatles VI" in 1965...this song like its flipside has the trademark New Orleans rock and roll sound Specialty label founder Rupe loved so much (call it the Fats Domino/Bartholomew sound) and which formed the basis for lots of early rock and roll classics including Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" which Fats played on, and Little Richard's classic early rock and roll sides (on which I believe Bartholomew played)... Larry Williams was Specialty's "replacement" for Little Richard who in 1957 had quit rock and roll to be come a minister after a plane scare...the original 45 had a record sleeve but silly me not knowing this purchased the single without sleeve at Eastern Market this weekend..anyways, not every day you see a single that both sides were subsequently covered by the Beatles!

and how does john lennon acquit himself? marvelous.. the beatles version of "dizzy miss lizzy" is far more amped up and racuous than the original with a more blistering guitar've heard it a million times anyhow!..john lennon really did have a unique vocal on the beatles records with that almost growl singing..

"Slow Down" by Larry Williams on Specialty 45 626 from early 1958. This was the B-side to "Dizzy Miss Lizzy".. The Beatles, and particularly John Lennon, was such a big fan of Larry Williams that the Beatles ended up covering both sides of the single and also covered Larry Williams' "Bad Boy"...In fact their LP "Beatles VI" has both "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Bad Boy" on it!

voinovich update

apparently i'm not up on my civics

voinovich is against bolton but will allow the vote to go to the senate floor.. he recommends voting against the nomination..i'm not sure if this means he votes against nomination at committe level but votes neither yes or no on letting it go to senate floor OR what.

i think his statement was pretty damning... i would be surprised if this nomination is approved on the senate floor...

check the ap story here

Voinovich shocker!

unless i heard something wrong on c-span i think republican senator george voinovich from ohio will be voting against the nomination of bolton for UN ambassador...this is a shocker.. you could hear a pin drop after he was done speaking.. everyone expected him to come back with "but i will support the president regardless of these reservations" but he stuck to his "he's not the best man for the job" guns... very ballsy...

unless i'm missing something this means a tied vote in the senate foreign relations committee which means no confirmation and the nomination would go to the floor of the senate where the democrats may choose to fillibuster...

Malcolm Glazer on his way to owning Manchester United

for all the talk of how it would never happen its going to happen.,. american glazer, known as the owner of the tampa bay bucs of the nfl, just bought a 28% stake in man u owned by two irish ... with this huge purchase he now counts with 57% of the shares... its going to be very hard for anyone to stop him.. i have to say i'm not sure what the huge problem man u fans have with glazer is... he's a shareholder and has a right just like anyone else to acquire as many shares as he wants.. if he gets the most shares- under any nation's corporate law- he has the right to become chief executive officer (or appoint one) and run the affairs.... the british man u fans seem opposed to him merely because he is american... tough luck!..

if i remember correctly man u was a public club until the early 90s when its shares were placed on the london stock exchange.. in other words, like most clubs in the world (and unlike the US) the club belonged to the members who i guess paid a monthly dues to be members.. in the early 90s i think the club management decided they could raise money (and make money for themselves too of course i 'm sure) by placing shares on the stock exchange.... the members got shares too i guess.. but the problem with this is that of course you essentially privatized the club and the members lost pull and left themselves open to someone coming in and buying a controlling stake.. until glazer things worked well as there were some minority owners like these irish with 28% and then glazer started off last year with something like 15%... but if you live by the sword or the market then you leave yourself open for this to happen.. it seems innane that the club management that was so happy recommending stocks be sold in the early 90s now is unhappy because someone playing by the rules is buying control and of course is going to run out the management that has opposed him the whole way... the management i'm sure was counting on a continued situation with many minority shareholders in which case they- the managers- could remain in control... well, they calculated wrong... at least this is the way i think the situation is for all the talk about an american buying the club etc..

the ap article here

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

the rolling stones are everywhere in argentina- here at a soccer game by Ferrocarril Oeste otherwise known as Ferro (a "B" league or second division team currently)


rolling stones to play argentina! (los rolling vienen a la argentina!)

(mick jagger quote below translated from the argentine newspaper clarin article out today and found here)

argentine fans are the most rabid hard core stones followers in the world.. i've seen it and i believe it...there's a whole type of rock music down there referred to as "stone" (the band "los ratones paranoicos" has been a favorite of mine.. and there are "los intoxicados" i.e., the intoxicated..a great stonesy name if there ever was one) while the band is affectionately called "los rolling"..but it goes beyond the music.. there's a sort of rolling stones attitude thats been created combining the anti-authoritarian/establishment attitude of the early rolling stones - the satanic majesties if you will- with the local culture which has always been very anti any type of order..... when you go to a soccer game and see people in the crowd with the rolling stone tongue shirts its not just about music but about a way of approaching life.. a culture.....

thats why it hurt so much down (and angered many) there that in the middle of the incredibly painful economic crisis of 2001-2002 in may 2002- with 30% unemployment etc- when the stones announced their forty licks tour, after having played any number of sell outs in argentina during their previous tours during argentina's good times (i.e., late 1990s).. well, that the stones said they would not play argentina and keith in his trademarked humour joked - and i can't find a transcript of his actual comments anywhere but these things you remember- that the "only way we could play argentina would be as a charity case!"... it really hurt down there and was extremely insensitive and rude...basically it was a low blow..

well, now things in argentina have improved and most predictably the rolling stones plan to play there early 2006 as part of their world tour!... knowing how much it will mean to people down there- even the ones that won't be able to make the shows for lack of money- i'm glad they're playing and that the more diplomatic (and smarter "money man") mick jagger had the good sense to answer the "argentina" question at yesterday's press conference and confirm they'll be coming down while adding:

"in argentina is the most enthusiastic public and the most sexy in the world. and on top of that they like soccer."

i think by enthusiastic he meant passionate and i agree with that 100%.. for all their failings argentines are as passionate as they come...

according to the argentine promoter daniel grinbank they would be playing river plate stadium..

average ticket on stones tour for arenas to be $110

and thats not counting the best seats!..

for billboard story including keith richards claim the new album "kicks some ass" yah KEEF!!!!!

go here

still.. having said all that.. the MCI center will probably be one of if not the best value on this tour!

Speak of the Devil!

and i was just rockin' to "get yer ya ya's out"...

the rolling stones have just announced a fall tour of the US... they are coming to the MCI Center in washington DC on October 3.. i think this is a great venue for them and will be one of the best places to catch them at on this tour.. in many other stops on their tour they will be playing bigger outdoor stadiums where sound tends to be inferior...... last time - the only time- i saw them was at the jack kent cooke stadium and i was in the nosebleeds a mile away from the band.. it took two seconds for the sound to get to me and there was echo.. in sum it sucked....though the band seemed to put on a good show and i was particularly happy to see keith richards.... i would like to go see them at MCI as my past experience with that venue has been good.. the sound is quite good there....and with the big tv screens even if you're not close to the band you pretty much feel in it... but i (1) worry that the ticket prices will be really expensive for this and (2) also of course sell out in 10 seconds as a bunch of scalpers get their hands on the tickets (3) i'm generally against these big concerts.. they're ridiculously expensive... they require you to fork over the money five months ahead of time! and then you have to be at a show with a bunch of meatheads from the manassas (suburbia)...we'll see.... in any case tickets go on sale may 14th... its important to keep in mind one can't be sure the rolling stones will be able to continue touring at the high level they've been doing so....if you haven't seen them i'd recommend getting to a show.. they still put on a good one....the stones are promising a good new album...but seeing how their last ones have been i'm skeptical.however, you never know..there is no reason they shouldn't be able to come out with a good one.. in any case, if you're seeing the stones its to hear the classics..

the tour information from pollstar can be found here

We're BACK!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

huffington post

arianna's huffington new progressive/liberal blog opened for business yesterday..lots of interesting bloggers etc here

good article in today's boston globe

peter canellos, the boston globe's washington dc bureau chief, makes some good points in "military culture rooted in geography"... the increasing concentration of military bases in the southern and southwestern United States exacerbates the red state/blue state split on attitudes regarding the US military...our military is increasingly in bright red "republican" states and moving away from the northeast with a new round of base closings predicted for the northeast..the story here

Monday, May 09, 2005

Diego Maradona before and after his gastic bypass operation.. he's starting to look like a different man..hopefully he is a different man!

Alexandra Zavis from the Associated Press: I say BALONEY!

the high quality "journalism" we observe these days... you see a headline proudly screaming "US Attack in Irak Kills 100 insurgents" but upon reading the article's first sentence find out its all based on mysterious "reportedly" without any attribution! The Pentagon feeds journalists willing to participate in the ongoing irak scam hooey. How timely!! lets see... seven american soldiers died in one day on saturday.. that made the news..hmmm. bombs going off in Iraq left and right..thats no good....hmmm.. so what can the US government do to counter the bad news: BINGO! we will say we killed 100 militants! whoopee! our people at the AP will report it and then every American paper utilizing AP feeds for their stories (they don't exactly have people covering the story on the Iraq-Syria border now do they?) will have it as their cover story in Tuesday's morning papers!


By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer
5 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Hundreds of American troops backed by helicopter gunships and warplanes swept into remote desert villages near the Syrian border Monday, hunting for followers of Iraq's most wanted terrorist and reportedly killing as many as 100 militants since the weekend operation began.

for the AP story or fable go here

Chuck Berry Tribute Month continues with The Animals eponymous first LP - MGM E-4264- released in August 1964. My copy's matrices feature the engraved "8 - 11 - 64", which must be the date of pressing or stampers manufacture, and the name "Tony Romeo". Who dat?

The Animals, the "other" great British Invasion blues based band, were heavily influenced by Chuck Berry. Their first long player features two Chuck Berry covers: Memphis and Around and Around and a cover of another track by Ray Charles, Talkin' 'Bout You , which I believe Chuck Berry had cut in a more rocked up version and "generously" claimed as his own. The All Music Guide incorrectly states the Animals covered the Chuck Berry version but the LP label credits "Charles" and the Animals besides being huge Chuck Berry fans were also mega Ray Charles fanatics and one listen to the song and you know its Ray Charles. The back liner notes have Eric Burdon citing Chuck Berry as one of his favorite composers and claiming that opening for Berry on his 1964 England tour had been their "biggest break in career" while four of five band members point to working with Chuck Berry on the tour as their "most thriling experience." The Animals, yes, of House of the Rising Sun and Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood fame, owed a lot to Chuck Berry and weren't shy about admitting it!

more on new order at coachella: they played "transmission"!

May 04, 2005 - 8:52:59 PM

(Billboard) New Order dusts off pieces of its past at Coachella fest Advertisement
By Greg Kot
Tribune music critic

INDIO, Calif. -- "We're going to do it. We're going to play some Joy Division songs," singer-guitarist Bernard Sumner revealed a few days before New Order helped close the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday.

"It's been 25 years since Ian [Curtis] died and we want to do something in his honor," he said. New Order had avoided playing songs by Joy Division for two decades, in part because it was a tragedy--the suicide of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis--that forced Sumner and the band's other surviving members, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris, to carry on as New Order.

But as the 25th anniversary of Curtis' death on May 18, 1980, approaches, his old bandmates decided it was time last weekend to acknowledge their past. The performance was a prelude to the legendary band's first Chicago concert in more than a decade--on Tuesday at the Aragon.

Morris' tom drums thundered on "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and the voices of Hook and Sumner rose to a fevered pitch as they commanded, "Dance, dance, dance to the radio" on a spectacular "Transmission."
These Joy Division staples were received like lost national anthems by an audience of more than 40,000--and why not?

The influence of New Order and Joy Division has never been more apparent, their merger of rock guitars, icy keyboard textures and electronic dance music a template for countless bands who played the two-day festival, including the Bravery, Kasabian, and Sunday headliner Nine Inch Nails. In its sixth year, Coachella has reaffirmed its claim to be North America's most prestigious rock concert, a legitimate answer to massive European festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading.

But on Sunday, New Order sounded less engaged performing its own material. And the momentum sagged when it played several songs in a row from its latest album, "Waiting for the Sirens' Call." But Hook's indelible bass riff on "Blue Monday" brought the set to a close in high style.

Bauhaus to hit Washington DC- 2 shows to be announced!

reading the coachella review has wet my appetite!..

i missed bauhaus last time they came around the 930 club.. i hope not to do so this time!..

shows are september 6 and 7 at the 9:30 and have yet to be announced...

go here for the scoopage

Kristie Macris reports from Coachella on POPMATTERS Site

for full article go here

The highlight of Sunday was New Order. As they opened the set with "Atmosphere" (yeah, that's a Joy Division song if I ever heard one), I dialed Phoenix so our missing sixth gun would not be forgotten. As he listened from hundreds of miles away, I danced and danced, and so did about four other people in the crowd of thousands.

They played their hits. They played new songs, which were well received by the three people who had heard the album, but probably most amazing they played "Love Will Tear Us Apart". Again, the goth girl in me cried a single black tear from my grey stone heart, which immediately fell on my orange shirt.

After New Order, nothing could compare. British Sea Power was boring. Trying to dance to the MC-laden Roni Size set did not quell the feverish dancing fool inside of me. The Blood Brothers were great, but I wanted to scream myself. Instead I sat down, exhausted and broken after two days of music and friends.

wolff: I can definetly understand where she is coming from on New Order. .seeing them perform "atmosphere" and "love will tear us apart" (and i read somewhere else that they did two other joy division tracks) would have been killer.. frankly, just seeing new order period!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Photographer Tunick hit Bruges, Belgium today!

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Rolling Stones kickin' live album (London NPS-5) recorded in 1969 and released in 1970. my personal favorite live album, besides the hilarious picture of drummer charlie watts on the cover, the lp's ten cuts include two racous chuck berry covers: "Carol" and "Little Queenie." I've seen many pressings of this LP over the years. My latest is on noticeably heavier vinyl than the usual ones you see floating around and has "9-23-70" engraved in the A side matrix and "9-10-70" on the B side matrix. The dates the early "stampers" for the LP pressings were made? US album release was September 26, 1970 so its definetly close..will have to keep an eye out...

Continuing with the Chuck Berry jive: its interesting that Chuck Berry was an opening act for the Rolling Stones on their 1969 US fall tour (Ike and Tina Turner were too..)..the anchorage press has a stellar piece on johnnie "johnny b goode" johnson, chuck berry's pianist on his great sides and some argue co-writer, on their site this week and i urge you to check it includes the following with reference to the subject at hand (please go here for the entire article):

A few years after Richards heard “Maybellene,” his band, the Rolling Stones, launched their recording career with a cover of Chuck Berry's “Come On.” It took the Stones years to work off the influence and darken their palette, building on Berry's sound. When at last they were bona fide stars, they sought Berry out and he snubbed them. Of course, this just made them respect Berry more. The Stones finally hired him to open on their 1969 U.S. tour, when the Stones were at the peak of their popularity and Berry was washed up - but Berry could only be purchased on his terms: He demanded his $3,000 fee in cash each night before he'd go on. When he did take the stage, it was with a young band that could scarcely keep up. Where, Richards wondered, was that goddamn piano player?

if you want to find out about johnnie johnson and some more about chuck berry read the anchorage press piece! its a good one!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Chuck Berry Month continues! Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones

thats right!!.. May is Chuck Berry month around here!..

the rolling stones biggest influence was, is and always will be CHUCK BERRY...

you can hear the berry roll in the keith richards guitar riffs driving the stones....however, its not as if chuck berry is the only influence.. on early records such as their third lp "Rolling Stones, Now!", released in early 1965, there are Chuck Berry covers but there are also songs by Otis Redding (Pain in my heart), Willie Dixon (Little red rooster), Bo Diddley (Mona) and others.. the stones' early albums were primarily made up of covers of american (was there any other?) blues and r&b... the rolling stones began trying to sound black.. if you ever listen to don covay on his early atlantic records sides you can see where mick's style comes the all music guide writes about Don Covay:

his first single for the label, 1964's "Mercy Mercy," was cut with a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix on guitar, and went on to crack the Billboard Top 40 after Atlantic picked it up for distribution. The song remains an R&B classic, and earned even greater notoriety a year later when the Rolling Stones recorded their own rendition for the Out of Our Heads LP; even upon cursory listens, it's impossible not to hear the massive impact of Covay's brash style and bluesy phrasing on Mick Jagger's own frontman persona.

by the way we are so used to putting together mick jagger's white face and skinny ass with his songs that he's managed the rare feat of transcending how black he truly sounds...but the stones weren't just a half assed cover band; when otis redding covered "satisfaction" i think he was demonstrating the R E S P E C T went both ways....

the rolling stones took from the different sources of black music they could lay their hands on.. originally primarily a blues band but as the years passed the stones began to absorb more rock less roll and some country blues..some say brian jones, the dominant influence in the early years, was responsible for pushing them towards blues but this sounds contrived... the band was always based on the blues.. you dont get more blues than the cover of robert johnson's "love in vain" on let it bleed and that came about AFTER brian jones had left the building.. by the time the 60s close the rolling stones had expanded their sonic palette from that of a monochromatic blues band to one adeptly handling all types of american roots music (a process that continued with "exile on main street" possibly the greatest american rock'n'roll album of all time)..of course ultimately all their music was blues based; all american music comes from the famous blue note (even jazz)...once brian jones drowned the rolling stones began to write their own songs borrowing, pilfering and synthesizing from everywhere and everything...

but back to chuck berry.. the reason this rolling stones record- a great record some consider the first great rolling stones lp- comes to mind as we celebrate chuck berry month is primarily because of two songs..the first a cover of chuck berry's "you can't catch me" (yes, the song that includes the line about "here comes old flat top" borrowed a few years later by lennon) included as part of the lp.. chuck berry originally recorded this as a single in 1956 and it was subsequently included as part of Chess Records first LP (Chess 1425) a soundtrack to a movie titled "Rock rock rock" (one of the first rock movies and sountracks by the way)... this is a movie that by all accounts had some influence on the stones particularly in a scene featuring chuck berry..

there is an excellent site on the al gore information super highway focusing on the influences on the rolling stones and while the writer expressly does not consent to his material being lifted - in honor of the rolling stones spirit of hanky panky- i'm going to lift a little..its good so worth quoting... please visit ian mcpherson's site which features some killer material including great stories about chuck berry punching out keith richards is the site and here is the disclaimer on the material quoted below: Written by Ian Gordon McPherson, 2000. Like all files on Time Is On Our Side, it is the exclusive intellectual property of Ian McPherson and cannot be duplicated, in any form, without his authorization.

If ever there was a legitimate challenger to the throne of Elvis Presley as the king of rock and roll, it would have to be Chuck Berry. By translating boogie-woogie piano patterns to electric guitar, Berry invented a highly distinctive and electrifying guitar style all his own which in some ways has become the standard for rock and roll guitar and music as such. He was not only a fine guitar player, but a tremendous songwriter, mixing melodic hooks, distinctive rhythm patterns and socially significant lyrics that have made many people call him rock's first great poet.

Chuck Berry has been influential to almost every rock artist, from the Beatles on, but perhaps no one else as much as the Stones. More so even than Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry is without a doubt the single most influential performer on the Stones' music. The archetypal, distinctive Stones sound that we recognize in their fast-paced numbers - whether it's Miss Amanda Jones or Respectable or Fight or All Down the Line or You Got Me Rocking - is all based on an adaptation and evolution of Chuck Berry's boogie-woogie-meets-rock-and-roll patterns. Ian Stewart's piano style definitely fit well with this style (it has often been said, by Keith notably, that Chuck forged his style by adapting his pianist Johnnie Johnson's boogie-woogie patterns to guitar, and Johnson was trained on the same boogie-woogie music that Stu was), and, most particularly, it was at the center of Keith's own, equally distinctive guitar playing and style, fueling most of the riffs of the Stones' tremendous catalogue. Keith as a teen was open to many influences - blues, country music, early Elvis, other rock and roll artists - but his main passion and idol was first and foremost Chuck Berry. It was Keith who helped convince Brian that Chuck Berry was equally R&B as Elmore James, for example, was, and gave a crucial dimension, a base if you will, to the Stones' sound and future development. Bill Wyman, who came from a more straight rock and roll background than the other Stones, was also a Berry fanatic.

Chuck Berry songs themselves formed an important part of the Stones' set lists and recorded material (Come on, Around and Around, Talkin' Bout You, etc.), and the Stones have continued to add songs of his in their sets in later years (Let It Rock, Little Queenie, etc.). In addition to the many Chuck Berry songs they covered, they have performed or recorded a number of jump and swing classics that were based on Berry's rocked-up covers of them, including Amos Milburn'sDown the Road Apiece, Jay McShann's Confessin' the Blues and Bobby Troup'sRoute 66.

the other song on the "Rolling stones now" lp which made me think of including this album in my ongoing chuck berry tribute is "Down the road apiece", mentioned above by Ian, from Chess LP 1448 "Rockin' at the hops" released in 1960....some swear its Chuck Berry playing the guitar on the stones cover!..i know one thing for sure..its smoking and sure sounds like chuck berry.. supposedly the rolling stones met chuck berry during the recording of this song at Chess Recording Studios in Chicago...other rock mythology tell of chuck berry being impressed by keith richards playing on this..i prefer the story about chuck berry punching out keith richards!..

either way albums such as "rolling stones now" helped put chuck berry back on the rock and roll map in 1964 and 1965....he'd seen his career cut short by jail time in the early 1960s but in 1964 he released what is generally considered his last great album (the "comeback album") "st louis to liverpool" (Chess 1488) whose title alludes to the beatles covering his songs, numerous british bands like the rolling stones playing his music left and right, and most importantly the attention that was being paid to chuck berry in england in the early 1960s while the US public focused on white bread corny rollers.... ultimately the rolling stones more so than the beatles became the principal british invasion exponent of chuck berry a sense you could really make the case they still are although over the intervening decades they have been joined by any number of other artists...

to butress the case that chuck berry was the father to the rolling stones, regardless of their being named after a muddy waters song, here follows an impressive list of chuck berry songs covered by the rolling stones over the years:

Back in the USA
Beautiful Delilah
Johnnie B. Goode
No Money Down
Sweet Little Sixteen
Roll Over Beethoven
I'm Talking About You
Down the Road Apiece
Our Little Rendezvous
Come on
Jaguar & Thunderbird
Bye Bye Johnny
Route 66
Around and Around
Don't You Lie to Me
Little Queenie

"The Rolling Stones, Now!" London Mono LL 3420

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