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Monday, December 25, 2006


James Brown has passed on..

truly one of the greats....

the world, as usually happens when one of these human beings who shapes our shared experience moves on, seems smaller

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frank Sinatra!!!!!!

Old Blue Eyes/The Chairman of the Board (did anyone have more nicknames than Frank?) would have been 91 today...

As I get wiser my appreciation for Frank grows by leaps and bounds.... no one recorded more solid LPs.. no one...and the care he took with each album, with help from an elite team to be sure, from song selection, to the musicians, and the album cover art is obvious... his magnificent capitol output must number about 20 LPs!!!!!!... i've been collecting frank sinatra for a while now and i still don't have all his masterworks!... for example today i picked up sinatra-basie (their first collaboration) and its even better than i had hoped for with all the expectations that go with an album attached to those two heavyweights...

anyways... Frank..wherever you are thanks for the tunes!

its always thrilling for me to find one or two songs on each of his albums that i associate with billie holiday (and he probably did too..) .. "nice work if you can get it" is playing right now... nice indeed.. frank with basie and cohorts putting his stamp on a song billie holiday owned...

one of my earliest memories of music around the house, asides from all the classical music my dad would play, is a frank sinatra reprise greatest hits lp that my dad used to spin....and if i remember correctly he'd play "strangers in the night" a lot more than any other song (made easy by the fact that it was probably the first song on a side).. that would make sense given strangers in the night was sinatra's number one around the time my parents first lived in the United States.... i guess my parents were like a lot of people in listening only to the greatest hits but it doesn't say much about their musical adventurousness!...with all those great Frank Sinatra lps!

is frank rhyming with "asbestos" on "i won't dance"?

Monday, October 23, 2006

now spinning

Grant Green's final studio album for Blue Note...Visions from 1972....
this session is normally slighted and trivialized because the repertoire on it is pretty schmaltzy adult contemporary-ish stuff.... the carpenters "we've only just begun"; chicago's "does anyone really know what time it is", and the jackson 5's "never can say goodbye"..that kind of stuff.. but to me grant green never played a truly bad date.. i just enjoy his style of guitar no matter what he's tackling .. and he's pretty sharp on this set... .i like the cover too.....he looks cool as cool .... this session has yet to be released on cd which is pretty amazing when you think of how every other session, including many that had been unreleased in his lifetime, have made it to cd.. anyways i picked this up at dc's newest and finest record store cellar records on 14th street next to saint ex.. i paid $8.99....unfortunately its got some surface noise and the cover is pretty beat up with large seam splits but what'chagonna do? i never been able to lay off that grant green... even on the schmaltz he sounds real funky to me...i take note this record belonged to a mrs. joan b williams who lived at 2700 9th st s.e. or so the sticker on the cover tells me.. she had good taste! my favorite track is probably cantaloupe woman which is funkier than the rest of the album.. i also take note that funky drummer idris muhammad is on this....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy 80th birthday Chuck Berry! you're THE man!

(reproduced from email i sent a few friends)

clink a glass for chuck berry!... he turns 80 this wednesday!!!!!!!...

obviously i love the man very much (with all his many many kinks foibles and pecadillos) and i think wednesday should be a national holiday..i really do....the ideal day would be preceded by chuck berry throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the cardinals mets championship series baseball game tuesday night in st louis..obviously there would be a 10 minute standing ovation.. then on his birthday wednesday during prime time a simulcast would broadcast from blueberry hill (bar chuck still plays once a month) in st. louis as the rolling stones, ac dc, bruce, bob and just about everyone else sang him happy birthday...chuck would take a few bows...the president of the United States would call and thank chuck for his invaluable contributions to the nation (he could apologize for some of the ridiculous shit that went down over the years but lets say a call is enough)... .chuck would say a few words (knowing chuck he'd probably spoil it all by saying "show me the money!" or proceed to rip angus young a new one for not playing his song correctly or punch out keith richards yet again but thats life)... then chuck would get the party started with a few guitar riffs.......preferably his first song would be maybellene which would then be justifiably proclaimed the first rock and roll song....his backing band would be bruce and the e street band reprising something they did in the early to mid 70s when they backed him in a show at cole field house just down the road in college park (bruce's telling of this event is the hands down highlight of the movie hail hail rock'n'roll and one of my favorites rock n roll stories.....see it if you havent)..

as things stand i'll give a few of my original chuck berry lps (chess black label) a spin, and top if off with some rolling stones and ac dc before heading over to the irish times to cheer on his hometown st louis cardinals against the new york mets. join me if you feel like or celebrate in your own special way...above all spread the word.. chuck's alive and lets celebrate him while he's here and not via some hollywood biopic when he's gone..

from all music guide:

Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers. Quite simply, without him, there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones , Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, nor a myriad others. There would be no standard "Chuck Berry guitar intro," the instrument's clarion call to get the joint rockin' in any setting. The clippety-clop rhythms of rockabilly would not have been mainstreamed into the now standard 4/4 rock & roll beat. There would be no obsessive wordplay by modern-day tunesmiths; in fact, the whole history (and artistic level) of rock & roll songwriting would have been much poorer without him. Like Brian Wilson said, he wrote "all of the great songs and came up with all the rock'n'roll beats." Those who do not claim him as a seminal influence or profess a liking for his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock's development as well as his place as the music's first great creator. Elvis may have fueled rock & roll's imagery, but Chuck Berry was its heartbeat and original mindset.

By Bill McClellan
This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Oct. 9, 2006

We got a new statue last month. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark have now set up shop down by the Eads Bridge. It's a very nice statue, but when I look at it, I can't help but mutter, "Roll over Meriwether and tell William Clark the news."

Chuck Berry turns 80 next week. Where's his statue?

He is probably the most famous St. Louisan of all time. Oh sure, lots of people know Stan Musial, but his fame is pretty much limited to countries in which people play baseball. A friend of mine was in Croatia recently. People were drinking and dancing, and she did the duck walk. "Chuck Berry!" somebody said. Everybody nodded. Most of these people did not speak English. They probably knew nothing about baseball. I say this not to denigrate Stan Musial - I'm happy he has a statue and I wish it were a better likeness - but to point out that Berry's fame is international. Actually, it's intergalactic. In 1977, a recording of Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" was placed aboard the Voyager space probe and fired out into the cosmos. Johnny B. Goode forever.

There is something else about Berry that merits a mention. He lives here. He raised his kids here, and they still live here.

"I could not imagine my parents or my sisters living anywhere else in the country," said Charles Berry Jr. "My father went to Sumner High School and knows the city like the back of his hand. He has roots here so well in the ground I don't think he could leave. He's seen most of North America, South America, Asia and Europe. They all have a great deal to offer, but there's nothing like St. Louis when you've grown up here."

Think of all the famous people who grew up here and then left, lured away by brighter lights or better weather. From Tennessee Williams to Yogi Berra to Dick Gephardt. Then there are the people who've made a mark here but have never wanted to live here. Tony LaRussa and Mark McGwire come to mind. But Chuck Berry, who could live anywhere, chose to stay here.

It isn't as if St. Louis has always embraced him, either. Quite the contrary. He was born in California in 1926 and came here as a young child. This was very much a southern city back then, especially in its racial attitudes. Berry sang in the Sunday school choir at Antioch Baptist Church, but he was not always a compliant young man. He was rebellious. He got in trouble. He went to prison.

His early musical career was also an upstream effort, very much against the current of the times. He was a crossover when crossing over was not allowed. In those days, he was never far from trouble, and if some of the trouble was rooted in the times, some of it was surely his own doing.

But he persevered. He hit it big when he was 30 with "Maybellene."

Eventually, he became an icon. For his 60th birthday, rock and roll stars such as Keith Richards and Eric Clapton came to St. Louis for a concert-movie called "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll."

But the most amazing thing about Berry is that he still plays a monthly gig at Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop. It has to be one of the coolest things in the country. Imagine going over to a friend's basement to hear the founding father of rock 'n' roll. It's a family affair, too. Berry's son and one of his daughters, Ingrid, are part of the band. While Ingrid is a full-time musician, Charles Berry Jr. is a computer guy who owns an IT consulting firm.

These shows at Blueberry Hill attract a wide audience. There were two BBC crews at last month's show. Also, Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet and professor at Princeton. Mostly, though, it's just regular St. Louisans who come out because it's a good thing to do. Which is probably why hundreds of St. Louisans showed up at the riverfront when Lewis and Clark returned. It's always appropriate to salute people who have accomplished much.

Which is why when I look at the new statue, I think, "Roll over Meriwether, and tell William Clark the news."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"there's nothing else but me..."

playing this morning: jesus and the mary chain's 1985 debut psycho candy... what a great album! let me name the reasons... ok maybe not.. but this album is a classic that somehow remains a cult....the shoegazer movement really begins here, the pixies sound got a lot from this... this album embodies the best of music: melody, cool, experimental... what you get here are narcissistic songs about growing up combined with ramones/beachboys melodies refracted via velvet underground white noise all underpinned by that dark echo and the bunnymen vibe..... looking at the pictures of the reid brothers they in fact look like ian mcullough more than say robert smith.... bobby gillespie who would go on to more fame when he started up the primal scream after i guess deciding he would never be more than a second banana to the reid brothers' egos..well bobby plays the drums on this.... what to say bout the lp sonics? having i believe only heard this on cd til now - and i have not heard the recent rhino reissue (hard to believe this album was out of print domestically..we're talking the best album of 1985 and one of the touchstones of college rock)- i have to say the lp is dirtier , fuzzier yes grungier.... ultimately however i have to say a word about the songs.. there are some feedback showcases here but they are surrounded by some classic pop songs that the supremes or better yet ronnettes could have sung.. the feedback guitar wall has often been compared with the phil spector wall of sound and perhaps there is some truth to that.... the album's first track "just like honey" was featured to great effect by sofia coppola in "lost in translations" pivotal closing gave me goosebumps when i saw it.. not usually a big fan of using music to arouse emotion.. let the actors do the acting i say... but in this case coppola's use really hit a home run... anyways, this jesus and the mary chain album never gets old for me.. more like when i dig it out i'm always shocked as to how fresh and alive it sounds.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Meet Ginger Bernichon!

Our newest household member Ginger came to us a few months ago and has adjusted just fine to life in the household.. admittedly sparks did fly with her new brother ari but things are settling down.... Ginger loves to hang out in the bathroom and is known to give the ocassional friendly head-butt..she also insists on taking her strolls in the corridors of the apartment building...she's a 3-4 year old good looking shorthair (these cats are known for having strong personalities and ginger is no exception) which is not surprising given her pedigree (her brother who lives in southwest dc is a well known model in the area).. ginger seems to particularly enjoy hanging out on her boogiemat and the recently purchased scratchmat...but the clawing of the purple couch and taking down of the curtain must stop!

now playing: wes

Wes Montgomery's "The Incredible Jazz Guitar" on Riverside lp 12-320... not a huge fan of wes... i tend to prefer grant green....tend to? who am i kidding.. i much prefer grant green..its not even close..but i always wanted to give this record a listen and now that i found a really banged up lp for $1 i can.. the cover (pictured) was in pretty good shape.. but the record has its problems..still....its not an easy or cheap record to come by....

Congratulations to Muhammad Yunnus!

Finally a Nobel Peace Prize winner that is fully deserving of the honor! I am very excited about the win by Yunnus and the Grameen Bank microcredit institution he set up.. I hope this recognition of the power and effectiveness of microcredit as a poverty fighting tool will mean the World Bank devotes increasing resources to microcredit!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bush and Bin Laden

this interview of bill clinton by wallace is fascinating stuff.. find it here:
there's a video of the interview too...

My conclusion has to be that President George W. Bush has little interest in finding Osama Bin Laden. Otherwise his actions make no sense. Primarily of course the diversion of resources from Afghanistan to Irak. We know Bin Laden is not in Irak. My conclusion crystallized during the President's last press conference (a week or two ago) when he was asked if the United States would send troops/forces/whatever (can't remember exact word) to Pakistan if the United States knew Bin Laden was hiding there. Bush responded that we couuld not because Pakistan was a sovereign country. This answer was particularly striking because only minutes earlier the President had criticized the United Nations for not sending troops to Darfur even if the Sudanese government, presumably sovereign, objected.

Why do I think this was an important answer by Bush? Becuase I believe he said what he truly believed without giving it too much thought to what he was actually saying. It is not shocking that he said what is perfectly obvious. After all it has been five years since September 11 and have we made any progress in finding Bin Laden??..By all accounts the trailer is colder than a witches tit. By all accounts we find ourselves further than ever from finding him!!!!!! It is obvious that very quickly after the War in Afghanistan the President began a campaign with single minded focus and tenacity of tying Saddam Hussein to evil while downplaying Osama. At times we have even observed the President, unwittingly, give his hand away when he has mistakenly referred to Osama Bin Laden as Saddam Hussein. Lets face it people: the focus since late 2002 has been Irak. Therefore, what is shocking is not what he said but that he said it at all!!!!!

A few days ago the President was asked about this matter again and this time he replied that of course the US would send forces into Pakistan to get Bin Laden if it counted with intelligence that he was in Pakistan. I believe this was a lie. I believe his advisors said to him after the press conference "Mr. President, whether true or not that is simply NOT the correct answer. Next time say that we willl go in and for God's sake man say it like you mean it!"

I don't get the sense the press has reported too much on this story. I remind the reader that this amounts to what the President says on finding the man that we are told is responsible for killing thousands of americans, the man responsible for turning the world upside down, evil incarnate, etc. Well , what he says about that is hardly news. The AP coverage of the press conference had his incredible revelation somewhat buried in the middle of the story. It did, however, point out the Sudan statement without spelling out the obvious inconsistency.

If i was the editor of a newspaper I would have thought the President's confession would be the cover story!

But its not a cover story. Its not really a story at all is it? The story is that Venezuela's President Chavez called Bush the devil or the story is about what specifically amounts to torture (something I think is incredibly obvious! we all know what would be torture if were being tortured, don't we?)...something like that..we are apparently condemned to debate what is torture and what is interrogation for the next fifty years..what a patently absurd waste of time! we know perfectly well that if the US decides to torture it will torture..end of story..the national security interest of the United States, as determined by whoever is president and his appointees and their employees, will not play second fiddle to some arbitrary definition of what constitutes interrogation and what constitutes torture and whats permissible under the geneva convention and what is not... does anyone seriously believe that? yet the press continues to report on this story and bush seems content to let the story has to wonder whats going on there but its not what i wish to focus on here..

i learn that bush met with Pakistan's leader Pervez Musharaff today (a man who became leader via a military coup)..our "friend" pervez apparently recently negotiated some sort of deal where he leaves the tribes in the northern border of his country alone... of course one can assume this is where bin laden would be hiding..the nature of the deal is not entirely clear.. some say its basically a deal by musharraf not to mess with bin laden/taliban in his country..musharaff claims its the opposite.. and bush said today one of his classic phrases "i looked into his eyes and i believed him.." or some such..( a variation on his statement about putin back in 2001 in a pre-september 11 world if you recall.. putin of whom he said "i looked into this man's eyes and saw a man america could do business with.." or some such...the same putin who recently railed about america being "..the wolf.." etc.. the same putin who by all accounts is quite the autocrat etc..the same putin who does not seem to be america's friend... but i digress......

of course bush is going to say that about musharaff.. after all he's perfectly content with the way things are.. if bush really wanted to find bin laden and by all accounts bin laden is somewhere near the pakistani/afghani border..well if he really wanted to find him wouldn't he say something like "its been five years..we are not happy he has not been found.. we expect more results from our pakistani allies..we would like to take a more agressive role in the hunt for this cold blooded killer"...????? but if he did not want to find him.. if he did not care then i think bush would say just what he said which amounts to "the pakistanis are people we can trust.. musharraf is doing what he can..... thank you"...

i mean by all accounts the US is neglecting afghanistan vis a vis irak... by all accounts the US displaced an enemy of bin laden's.. yes saddam hussein.. one hopes the american people begin to wonder about what is going on.. but with a complicit US press it seems difficult.... recently a richard cohen piece in the washington post (september 12) .. a piece aptly titled "Bin Laden Won" made some very asute observations about how the US was doing exactly what was most convenient for Bin Laden.. i don't think the piece got too much play.... the bushies have been very succesful- unbelievably so- in turning bin laden into yesterday's news and tying him to bill clinton... as if when they arrived the problem already existed and they are not responsible for september 11 happening under their watch and they are not responsible for their failure to find him and punish him....

if i did not see it i would not believe it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

check out this three panel inner gatefold fold out from Dr John's In the Right Place album! the album paintings are by James Flournoy Holmes.. reminds me a bit of one of those Japanese screens... The Meters are supernatural on this album! its really a meters album with dr john as vocalist... the meters were Leo "Breeze" Nocentelli on lead guitar, Arthur "Red" Neville on organ, George "Freak Man" Porter on bass and Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste on drums... Porter and Modeliste are just everything a rhythm section should be.. Modeliste, who although I was a bit familiar with from his stuff with the Meters did not realize was sooo good, shines on this LP

This album from Dr John "In the Right Place" on Atco 7019 is a downright masterpiece. I was more familiar with Dr. John's Gumbo but this one is GREAT! A five star album and my album of the month....

Now playing! Lately I just love the Allen Toussaint/Meters sound and if you're into that you have to check out Dr. John's "in the right place" from 1973 (my most played/grooved to/enjoyed album these past few weeks) and its so called Part 2 "Desitively Bonnaroo" (from which Bonnaroo Festival got its name).. this stuff is fabulous and highlights that very special funky meters sound.. the drummer for the Meters , Modeliste, is to my mind the perfect drummer.. and the bassist is in the pocket all the time...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

warming up to the new vegas lounge

heading to the new vegas lounge for the first time in like years...

wonder if they still have the uptown blues band or whatever they're called..

warming up with james brown "sex machine"..previously listened to clarence carter's "patches" atlantic lp from 1970 can tell by 70 soul was a bit played out...

by 72 you had the o'jays "blackstabber" (with love train) setting the pace.... thats pre-disco (gamble and huff) for those of you not familiar.. so you see a big evolution from aretha in say 68 to the philly soul sound (which bowie used as his main influence for young americans lp in 75)

black music is so dynamic..

too bad i lost the tread with modern hip hop...

but james that mutha could blow the place down!

Moxilla here i come baby!

switched from internet explorer to moxilla firefox and lo and behold its faster cruising around the internet..shockingly so..

not sure why but so far so good..

i've been unhappy with internet explorer for a while what with all its updates and security flaws etc.....explorer seems like a disastrous outdated program but as its the standards people continue to use it....

so spread the new gospel: MOXILLA!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

the point passed long ago..

where i could handle discussing politics say at a party.... not sure when it happened exactly..probably in early 2004 when howard dean was villified by the press.... but lately it seems that i have to put up with too much .. i mean last friday someone went off on michael moore and i lost it..tonight someone was actually arguing, brace yourself, that bush has done very well to wean the US from its oil dependence... i, again, lost it.... whats worse is say one has had a few drinks and the inhibitions are lowered.. next thing you know i hear this type of innane banter and i just can't help but get angry... not sure what the solution is but jumping down people's throats probably isn't it...

few people in the rest of the world would posit that michael moore weakened the democrats efforts to reclaim the presidency in 2004 or focus on wether fahrenheit 911 is 100% accurate when we are governed by a presidency of daily mistruths and falsehoods..or that bush is a pro-environment pro-conservation president when his record speaks for itself.... but here in the US thats the sort of thing you have to put up with whether from a bourgeois member of the leisure class who subscribes to the theory that the irak war is necessary to keep the troops sharp so as to rule over the "empire".. or someone who works at the dept of health and human services and must, truth be told, be a political appointee...

Monday, August 21, 2006

now playing

flamin groovies "flamingo"...

thanks enrique for the vote of confidence in these guys.... the lp sounds fabulous... i love the frenetic tempo.. definetly a chuck berry vibe runs through it.. the first side is wonderful.. they do hit a misstep on "childhood's end", "jailbait" and "she's falling apart" though...a big misstep which keeps the album from being the classic it could have been... however, never knock a band who covers little richards "i hear you knockin'"!

the art of being a good host at parties

surely the trick must be to "get things done" so smoothly and efortlessly that it goes unnoticed ....certainly, in an ideal world, no one would notice the host was gone for long spells of time.. this is a hard task to achieve, however, when the party is on the roof deck and your apartment on the sixth floor....

mental note: next year move key apt items to roof deck.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Chloe moves on

picture is obviously of chloe trying to get to the bathroom...

chloe passed away yesterday at around 5:30 pm... we are really broken up over here.. she had a ton of personality! we will really miss her but her suffering is over...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

been listening to AC DC a lot... why more bands don't play their mix of raw back to the roots rock'n'roll i cannot understand..this album is just fabulous.. kick ass fun raunchy... "let there be rock" from 1977.... the title tracks tells the story of rock and even pays tribute to chuck berry..these guys had it going on!!!! and what can you say about the better known album tracks such as bad boy boogie, problem child, hell ain't a bad place to be, and whole LOTTA rosie! classics... how modern rock could get so messed up as it is currently is beyond me.. what a boring tripe compared to Bon Scott AC DC.. where is the fun in modern music i ask you?

Monday, April 10, 2006

mmmmmmmmmmhh..yum yum

these converse chuck taylor's ...

i just got are so comfy... YAHHHHHHHH!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

last night in buenos aires andres calamaro hoists the gardel prize (argentine grammy) he won for best album for his el regreso live album!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

look its baseball!

yup.. MLB is back..not optimistic about the washington nationals and their chances this year....letting loaiza go was crazy.... you don't let great starters like that go.....on top of that getting soriano was by all accounts a mistake.. a troublemaker whose power hitting won't work at RFK..... then on top of that injuries such as to ayala during the world baseball classic..nagging injuries to guillen and a few others players and it would be a miracle if they do make those 72 wins that vegas is projecting..

unless new ownership finally comes on board and invests some money to earn the local fans good graces..

and to boot we still can't even watch the nats games on tv in dc due to some squabble or some such between comcast and angelos.. i don't even really understand how that could not have been resolved yet... seems all parties would benefit from a settlement... at worse there should be a binding forced settlement or the rights to the games should be abdicated to a third party who will show the games...

Eric Lewis at HR57

caught an eric lewis performance at hr 57 this saturday night..boy that guy can play the piano.... absolutely fabulous.... can't wait to catch him again..highly recommended jazz gig.. he's got a web site at ... aparently he knows antonio parker.. i would think them recording together would be absolutely smoking....wonder if they have done it or thought about it?

now playing: emotional rescue..1980 album by the stones..some great stuff here...not sure why this album got so panned upon release.... dance pt 1 is a great tune as are let me go and send it to me....and thats just on the first side..."emotional rescue" and "she's so cold" were the main singles and still get airplay live... "dance" is a great groover..i have two copies of this including the original which came with a huge and i mean huge foldout (like 16 panels) poster of these heatseeking photos.."where the boys go" features some new wave style female backing vocals..hilarious stuff... "down in the hole" even reminds me of dylan with its "will all your money buy you forgiveness.." liness..

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

now playing

Rolling Stones- Charlotte 1972: the tapes don't lie

mick taylor is just phenomenal on the concerts from 1972 and 1973 that i have voraciously been digging into these past few days....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

last nights listening list

rolling stones live boston fenway park 2005 dvd
ac dc live at atlantic studios
faces live at bbc
johnny thunders live at lyceum
black crowes southern harmony musical companion

Monday, March 27, 2006

501 jeans

just got myself a pair of 501s!..yah! no more of that loose fit crap!.. judging by the gap/hechts/filenes basement loose fits account for 95%+ of jean sales...

Friday, March 10, 2006

On the turntable this week: Chris Connor's Chris Craft album on Atlantic 1290 (original black label)... i was not familiar with Chris Connor.. i guess its cool jazz vocals..she sings sorta like Chet Baker.. that kind of detached no vocal pyrotechnics but can hit the spot jazz singing... anyways this came out about 1958.. includes moonlight in vermont, be a clown, on the first warm day, lover man etc...highly recommended for evenings

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Buck Stops Here on Muse by Buck Hill

Buck Hill at HR57

caught saxophonist Buck Hill's latest gig at HR 57 this past friday.... feel very lucky to have found out about the gig (only $10) at all.. HR57 does not advertise as much as say Blues Alley... anyways his handling of both tenor and soprano sax was masterly... unbelievable he's 79 years old! and worked as a DC postman for decades.. he's from the area... check out this link for more info..

what to say bout his playing? i'm not that good at describing jazz.... but he was extremely lyrical in his playing... more towards the lester young side of things than the charlie parker side of things.. the man sang through his saxopohone on a number of classic standards..lately thats my favorite kind of jazz...

picked up two of his cds from the man himself..its always funny to have the artist himself tell you "yah..this one is pretty good.." of them is called the buck stops here and was recorded in 1993 by none other than rudy van gelder at van gelder studio in englewood hills (yah.. where pretty much ever legendary prestige and blue note session went down in the 50s and 60s!!!! talk about history).... anyways it features barry harris on piano and johnny coles in one of his last appearances on flugelhorn.. so buck hill with two guys that recorded here and there on blue note in the 60s!....

i must confess i was a bit dissapointed in the sparse crowd (at least for set 1) and also the crow in general many of whom- the young uns particularly- seemed more interested in taking pictures of themselves..but what are you gonna do.. they are not the ones to really come down on i suppose..its those that sit at home listening to their jazz cds or lps who don't make it out to support live jazz.... but small complaint... great show...

i have to make a point of becoming a member of hr57 and going more often...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is a Milton Glaser Dylan Poster which was included with copies of Dylan's first greatest hits album.. considered "psychedelic" i guess it reflects the fact the hits lp came out in 67.... its pretty hard to find perfect copies of this poster nowadays....basically whenever you see a dylan greatest hits album you got to check and see... i finally found this one the other day! perfectly folded as the day it rolled off the printing press...$2

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

now playing; rolling stones goats head soup from 1973... all good things have to end and with this so did the rolling stones incredible win streak between 1968-1972 which encompassed four perfect studio lps and perhaps the greatest live album ever (get yer ya yas out)...its a good album but cannot reach those previous heights... i still can't crop so i included some pix from the liner .. the more interesting one is the top one..thats jimmy miller who produced all the truly great stones albums.... he even played the cowbell on honky tonk and the drums on you can't always get what you want (bet you did not know that).... i've always avoided this album... a girl i knew a long time ago caterina alvarez gave me a copy of her old cassette tape once.. i avoided it even more thanks to that.. but now that i got my own lp copy why not listen to it? the original first pressing lp supposedly has some lyrics on starfucker that were edited out.. i notice the edit on this one... the rolling stones dumped jimmy miller after this supposedly cause of his heroin addiction (the stones dumping someone cause of drugs?)... jimmy miller resurfaced in the early 90s producing a few tracks for primal scream. i always loved the scream's moving on up which sounds like a dead ringer for let it bleed era stones..

with all the programs i download my old photoeditor seems to have dissapeared so am unable to crop this one right now... goshdarnit.. anyways .. bobby womack's "understanding" from 1972.. is a fantastic underrated lp that seems to escape most people's radar (including mine)... if you like marvin gaye's lets get it on/al green/sly stone you got to check this out.. womack also wrote "its all over now" which the rolling stones covered...this lp has the great funk of i can understand it and simple man.. a cool cvoer of sweet caroline... woman's gotta have it (cornershop got their lp title from this i guess).. my favorite track on this is simple man... great stuff...this lp came out on united artists as UAS 5577

Monday, March 06, 2006

keith richards interview 2002 (RS)..right on the money!

How do you deal with criticism about the Stones being too old to rock & roll? Do you get pissed off? Does it hurt?

People want to pull the rug out from under you, because they're bald and fat and can't move for shit. It's pure physical envy -- that we shouldn't be here. "How dare they defy logic?"
If I didn't think it would work, I would be the first to say, "Forget it." But we're fighting people's misconceptions about what rock & roll is supposed to be. You're supposed to do it when you're twenty, twenty-five -- as if you're a tennis player and you have three hip surgeries and you're done. We play rock & roll because it's what turned us on. Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf -- the idea of retiring was ludicrous to them. You keep going -- and why not?

rolling stones mariner baltimore feb 1

There ain’t much I remember about the Rolling Stones show in Baltimore on February 1, 2006. So I won’t be able to write much about the music at the show itself!… or even how they looked really!… fortunately you or more importantly I can check the its only rock’n’roll site for some pictures, a setlist, and impressions from fans who obviously minded their p’s and q’s a bit better in the run up to the show at:

It was only recently that I decided I really wanted to see the Rolling Stones live again… as I’ve explained before my boondock seats at Jack Kent Cooke renamed FedEx for the Bridges to Babylon had really disconcerted me about big shows… basically I was as far away as possible from stage and it was freezin’ ya da ya da.. but for some reason after not reacting before when the Stones played MCI center here in DC I experiences non buyer’s remorse… I guess I just like some of the music the Stones make so much I can’t help myself.. they are one of if not the only acts I guess I just don’t care about having to go out of my way to see.. having to spend gobs of money..etc…. the way I guess I look at it they are one of the few acts that still plays what I call rock’n’roll… there’s a lot of rock bands and there’s a lot of alternative bands but there are few that play that chuck berry music…

The run up to the show was as good as it gets.. and I take some solace there…a week before the show I went to Mr. Smith’s office were I was treated to hundreds of great pictures –close up unbelievable shots- of Stones shows from the current tour mainly Charlottesville. He even has a sound recording of the show and when you synchronize the sound and vision and add a bit of panama red and YOU WERE THERE!.... just incredible shots of for example Mick strumming Sweet Virginia yes in Virginia… Charlie Watts playing the kit with an edited set list to reflect the bomb scare etc….I was dazzled and woke up February 1 about as excited as you can get.. no doubt too excited… Off to Mr. Park’s… more industrial strength flava enhancer….get in a jaguar crank up december’s children and we’re off.. if that ain’t right I ain’t never been wrong…the excitement heightened in the car.. would they play this tune or that… was my ticket on the keith Richards side (yes!!!!!!!)…. A few words ticketwise… we landed to the right slightly behind stage… not bad view .. in the smallest location of US tour..13000 Mariner..first show in Baltimore since a show at same venue in 69.. part of which showed up on get yer ya yas out my favorite live album of all time (love in vain, maybe instrumental track for street fightin man)…. In any case, there’s some history going on here mr. jones…and though 13,000 ain’t exactly a club show it was a vast improvement from fedexdisgrace field

We land in Baltimore early enough to find a local bar where we grab some local brews…. Conversation is flowing.. good times..good vibes… I put down three in the space of an hour and fraction…off to the show… in like flint… unfortunately way too early! I don’t think even the opening band had gone on… whats a man to do…a beer here and there.. run into mike kozemchak boy the world is small…the electricity was palpable…. The opening act.. some country rock act closed out with a nice version of stay with me which supposedly ex faces axeman ron wood had requested…more like signed off on no doubt…. I don’t know.. big shows…big masses of people can suck..they normally ain’t my cup of tea.. but in this case I was in the best mood and the excitement at mariner was special.. there was no doubt among the crowd that we were lucky.. we knew we were 13,000 that had 13,000 crazy stories about how we happened to end up there.. and for all the talk of corporate control over the stones shows I didn’t feel that… sure some people were no doubt connected but there was a positive energy about getting to see the boys from the rolling stones multiplied by 13,000 and you could feel it.. its these times when big shows (not stadium but arena) can give you something you can never get from the subdued I got my hands in my pocket club crowds…. I did a far better job of explaining this last week to rich bindle..but this will have to do for here..…I remember talking to someone before the show..someone who’d seen a few shows on the tour..whom I can’t remember why I was talking to… beer lines too long..oh there’s some red WINE… mistake?… and we’re back to our seats.. the stones go on and its just unbelieavable..

And that’s the thing.. I think I was just blown away by the moment… for someone like me who loves music and the stones this much the intensity of seeing them.. the weight of the moment is so great…. I suppose if I’d seen them a few times this weight my dissipate but as things stand and combined with some brews... but I’ll tell you what I do remember about the show…keith looked like the midnight slasher prowling stage left…. Charlie Watts, the other guy I had a great view off (probably the best) looked like the master timekeeper he is… light blue shirt (he was situated a bit far behind the band)… keith mugged with ron wood repeatedly…. The true glimmer twins I say…. Movements were exaggerated as is wont to happen at these shows… all down the line from exile was played early to my joy and I felt someone tap my shoulder and behind me was the guy I’d been talking to about wanting to hear it….high five!...the rest of the set list was incredibly tight with classic after classic.......mick was mick prancing and preening per excellence….“oh you didn’t have to get me a beer”… The set list was incredible.. really for someone who has not seen that many shows you could not have asked for better.. they underplayed from the new album (which I like) and added a song or two they hardly play… wild horses which fits perfectly in baltimore…”what happened to the couple sitting next to me?”....i was heard repeating long into the night “man, they put on a great show!” and the mandatory self delusional “man they knew they had not played there since 69.. you can tell it was extra special!”.. the truth is the rolling stones are playing as good as ever every night (in particular mick who sounds as good as ever.. don’t believe me? Go check it out.. and charlie watts.. the guitars are a bit rougher than usual but it works... the new bassist darryl jones acquits himself admirably but i don't think he gets in the mix too much) and if you’re telling yourself it costs too much or you don’t like arena shows or worse that they’re too old to rock you… masochism ain’t all its cracked up to be, jackie!…

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the warhorses last night...

a few fans at the rolling stones show in buenos aires last night (river plate stadium)....the first stones tour in argentina in 8 years...

back on the tracks

lots to write.. lots of pictures to post.... take it slow though... ease back on in to the blogging routine..

ever since about a week before the baltimore show i've been pretty obsessed with the rolling stones..its a great time to be into them... super bowl, show in rio for 2 million people, buenos aires last night and coming thursday again.... lots of great recordings of shows from current tour.. and they still got it.... i dare even the biggest skeptic to listen to a concert recording from the bigger bang tour and tell me they don't sound just as good as they've done always...

i'm listening to the copacabana show in rio which i managed to download.. my first succesfull bitorrent download.. and its great.....soundboard.... what a great souvenir from the bigger bang tour..

and i need a souvenir... i'll explain later...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

unfortunately this record sums up how i'm feeling....and no not some docs... all may not be well..not sure yet... but not doing much with the blog these bear with me...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

rolling stones first live album got live i you want it.. pretty poor quality recording... too much loud screaming! the difference between this and get yer ya yas out which came out only a few years later is huge..(pardon glare from shrink on my german reissue)

and this was the set list...

i did not remember they played little queenie...and let it bleed....i do remember it was freezing and we had the worse seats in the stadium... we were so far away it took three seconds for the sound to get to us! did not enjoy this one which is why i am very excited to see them again under far different circumstances... indoors in a relatively small arena

Date: October 23rd, 1997 Venue: Washington D.C., JACK KENT COOKE STADIUM


It's Only Rock'n Roll
Let's Spend The Night Together
Flip the Switch
Gimme Shelter
Sister Morphine
Anybody Seen My Baby
Out Of Control
Star Star
Miss You
All About You
I Wanna Hold You
Little Queenie
Let It Bleed
You Got Me Rocking
Sympathy For The Devil
Tumbling Dice
Honky Tonk Women
Start Me Up
Jumping Jack Flash
Brown Sugar *encore*

last rolling stones show i caught..october 1997- here's a review...

Rolling Stones - satisfaction guaranteed

When Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards opened Thursdaynight's show with a game of "Name That Tune," it only took five notes for the 55,000 fans to collectively scream"Satisfaction."The Rolling Stones, stopping by Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in support of theirTop 20 album "Bridges to Babylon," revisited their '60s and '70s hits in a 140-minute, 22-songextravaganza that quickly thawed out a frozencrowd.Gutsy opening act Sheryl Crow did her best to warm up the crowd, bravingtemperatures that threatened to sink to 40 degrees. The fans, however, didn't come to life until Mr. Richard'sopening riff. Mick Jagger took the stage in a black leather trench coat and looking fit -and nowhere near his 54 years. After belting out the group's 1965 anthem , he followed with karaoke standards"It's Only Rock and Roll" and "Let's Spend the Night Together."Mr. Richards, sporting a spotted faux-fur, full-length coat, looked likeCruella DeVil, complete with a pair of henchmen: chain-smoking guitarist Ron Wood and sweatered drummer CharlieWatts. Rounding out the crew was burly bassist Darryl Jones.The group's original fans, well represented in the crowd, seemed eager topass the musical torch to the next generation. "It's pretty cool to be here with Mom and Dad," said JustinSchweiger, 8, of Cheverly. "We like to listen to Stones' music together."Throughout the show, band members interacted with the crowd - prancing downthe runways on either side of the stage - and one another. Mr. Richards and Mr. Wood played dueling riffs allevening and regularly visited Mr. Watts.Three selections from the "Bridges to Babylon" album were mixed in with theclassics "Flip the Switch," "Anybody Seen My Baby" and, the best offering, "Out of Control."For the "Babylon" tour, the stage was a Byzantine fantasy complete withmassive torches and a cast of Macy's parade-sized statues, including two inflatable golden goddesses.Hung from the center was an enormous circular screen that used every videotrick in the book, from grainy live footage to Web-site interaction. Mr. Wood even had a camera attached to hisguitar, Letterman-like, which gave the audience a new perspective during "Tumbling Dice."But the highlight of the evening came midway through the show, when thestage came to life and belched out a bridge that allowed the band to saunter to the center of the arena.Reminiscent of the band's "Gimme Shelter" documentary days, the crowdsurrounded the band as it whipped through the R&B-rooted "Let It Bleed," "You Got Me Rocking" and ChuckBerry's "Little Queenie." This gimmick lent the show intimacy, hard to come by in a cavernous arena.Lisa Fisher, one of three back-up singers, provided an over-the-top visualand vocal performance during numbers such as the Vietnam-era "Gimme Shelter" and "Miss You," which is from the1978 "Some Girls" album. She actually upstaged Mr. Jagger during portions of the show.Capping the show was a fireworks display complementing a scorching versionof "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the single mini-encore of "Brown Sugar."It was an evening of excess and energy. Maybe the next time the boys comethrough town, the temperature will be closer to their ages.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Breaking news: Going to see the Rolling Stones February 1 Baltimore Mariner Arena!

(reproduced from email sent to friend who found me a ticket to the show)

i thought i remembered something interesting about the rolling stones and baltimore..

my favorite live album of all time is the 1970 rolling stones release "get yer ya yas out" (yeah the one with the great cover with charlie watts and a donkey)... stellar probably helps that 2 of the 10 songs are chuck berry covers..wonderful versions of "carol" and of course "little queenie"..... mick taylor was on the guitar starting that year and lasted until ron wood replaced him around 74.. in any case.. the dueling guitars of keith and mick taylor were the best...if you listen to get yer yayas out mick taylor's guitar comes in on one speaker and keith's on the other..and its like they are both guitar solo and rhythmn players.. really embodies keith richards view on guitars which is there should be no division between lead and rhythm... of course they play with contrasting styles....keith is a far "dirtier" player.. to this day mick taylor, who now makes a living playing bars, is remembered very fondly by rolling stones fans and how could he not having played on let it bleed, get yer ya yas out, sticky fingers and exile on main street.. whooooaaahhh nelly!..

well get yer ya yas out was always advertised as having been recorded over two days in late november 1969 at madison square garden... and most of it was...but..but...and here is were it gets interesting..

love in vain definetly was recorded in baltimore and at the same venue (mariner which used to be called civic center or civic arena)...the stones played this venue in 65, 66 , 69 and are of course scheduled to play it wednesday!.. they have not been back to baltimore since 1969! as you can see baltimore mayor o'malley is getting down to whats important!

though the mick jagger "thank you" before stray cat blues was recorded in the garden the actual song music is from baltimore with an overdubbed vocal... (overdubbing was a common accepted practice then...probably because recording technology was so primitive which meant overdubbing invariably was necessary....regardless of the ocassional overdub and the splicing of mick jaggers comments throoughout, such as his classic line "you wouldn't want me to drop my trousers now would you...", get yer ya yas out is the best official live recording of the stones

and on the 2000 remaster of get yer yas out street fightin man which closes the record is credited on the back cover as "probably baltimore" is still not known if this is the case (see below)

1969 was the last time the stones played baltimore of course and that was the same tour they played altamont which as you probably know is generally agreed to represent the end of the "60s" (hells angels concert security stabs fan while rolling stones play show..)..altamont happened december 6, 1969 or 10 days after the last baltimore show...

so some history there fyi

i attach below the best summary of what i'm talking about from


A Summary of Sources and Overdubs on "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!"
Opening words - Sam Cutler: MSG 11/27/69, 11/28/69 1st, and ?
- Opening words - Jagger: "watch it", overdubbed.
1. Jumpin' Jack Flash: Music MSG 11/27/69, vocal overdubbed.
- Spoken Words: MSG 11/27/69, edited.
2. Carol: MSG 11/28/69 1st, Mick Taylor's guitar piece is possibly overdubbed.
- Spoken Words: "Thank You" from MSG 11/27/69.
3. Stray Cat Blues: Music Baltimore 11/26/69, vocals overdubbed. Two musical "markers" were identified. Missing Turnaround Verse #4 ("It's no hangin' mat-tar..."). A lessor possibility: 11/28/69 1st. This is noted due to the "Champaign Variation", which is a close approximation to "Ya-Ya's" lyrics, and therefore a possibility in a live '69 performance.
Spoken Words: Possibly MSG 11/28/69 2nd.
4. Love In Vain: Baltimore 11/26/69, no overdubs.
Spoken Words: MSG 11/28/69 2nd, edited.
5. Midnight Rambler: MSG 11/28/69 2nd, no overdubs.
Spoken Words (Background): - MSG 11/28/69 2nd.
6. Sympathy for the Devil: MSG 11/28/69 1st. Verse #4 is edited out.
Spoken Words: 11/28/69 1st or 2nd possibly before Satisfaction.
7. Live With Me: Music MSG 11/28/69 2nd, vocals overdubbed.
Spoken Words: MSG 11/28/69 1st "Aw New York City..." also in the "Gimme Shelter" movie before Jumpin' Jack Flash.
8. Little Queenie: Music MSG 11/28/69 1st, vocals overdubbed.
Spoken Words: MSG 11/28/69 1st or 2nd. "Well all rights..." also in the "Gimme Shelter" movie after Jumpin' Jack Flash.
9. Honky Tonk Women: Music MSG 11/27/69, vocals overdubbed. Missing the "New York Verse", which would have been Verse #3 in a "Paris Verse" version of the song. Also missing the added chorus that would have separated the two verses.
Spoken Words: Overdubbed (Note the "electronic noise" that is present). A lessor possibility: 11/28/69 1st or 2nd, or Baltimore 11/26/69.
10. Street Fighting Man: Music MSG 11/28/69 1st, vocals overdubbed. A lessor possibility: Music Baltimore 11/26/69, vocals overdubbed.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Nedra Pickler: the worst "journalist" in America

this personage is a living disgrace to the journalism profession....why doesn't the Associated Press (AP) fire her?....i've had my eye on her since her pity inspiring coverage during the democratic presidential primary (iowa caucus)... her latest story buffs up the idea that bush is a "fun guy" when all he is doing is dissembling and failing to answer the questions that we the american people deserve to have answered when he deigns to hold one of his two or three annual press that what nedra pickler was hired by the AP to do? analyze the president's laughable attempt at stand-up??!?

Bush Uses Humor to Deflect the Heat

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press WriterThu Jan 26, 4:15 PM ET

President Bush's first news conference of the year was just a camera strap away from becoming hazardous to reporters.

As the president began his opening statement, a camera that the news service AFP had hung from the ceiling dropped and nearly fell on the heads below. It was caught by its strap, and Bush stopped and looked at it dangling precariously.

"Are you wearing your helmets?" he joked to reporters sitting in the White House briefing room.
Bush was full of quips during the 45-minute news conference, poking fun at the media and deflecting some of the heat when questioning got intense.

Yes, Bush acknowledged, he had his picture taken with admitted criminal Jack Abramoff.
"Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that I'm a friend with him or know him very well," he said. "I've had my picture taken with you at holiday parties."

Another reporter pointed out that allegations of Abramoff's influence went beyond the photographs to questions of why he met with the president's top aides. The White House has refused to disclose just how often or why Abramoff was there, and Bush wasn't about to, either. He returned to jokes about the pictures.

"I mean, people, it's part of the job of the president to shake hands with people and smile," he said. He said he'd turn over records about Abramoff's meetings at the White House only to federal prosecutors if they suspected something inappropriate.

When a radio reporter asked the president again to never mind the photographs, just talk about lobbyists' influence on the White House, Bush interrupted: "Easy for a radio guy to say."

this is too good to ignore even if its from the sludge report!


Thu Jan 26 2006 15:42:32 2006

President Bush today again avoided taking a question from White House doyenne Helen Thomas during his 45-minute press conference, even though he took questions from every reporter around her front-row, center seat.

"He's a coward," Thomas said afterward. "He's supposed to be this macho guy. He'll take on Osama bin Laden, but he won't take me on."

Thomas, who worked as the UPI White House reporter for 57 years and is now a columnist, raised her hand every time the president was concluding an answer to a reporter's question, but he never called on her.

She had a few questions in mind, though. "I wanted to ask about Iraq: 'You said you didn't go in for oil or for Israel or for WMDs. so why did you go in?' "

She also had another question at the ready, just in case, this one about the president's contention that a 28-year-old wiretapping law known as FISA is out of date, which prompted him to order the National Security Agency to conduct a secret electronic surveillance program that Democrats contend is illegal. "You keep saying it's a 1978 law, but the Constitution 200 years old. Is that out of date, too?"

Afterward, Thomas sat sullenly in her chair in the White House press work area, huddled in her leopard-print winter coat. But as she left, she made a prediction: "He came on to my turf. I'll bet the next press conference will be in Room 450 of the EEOB," a theater-style room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where she would not be in the front row.Developing...
i can't believe nalbandian lost... what a jip! :(

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Argentina's David Nalbandian hits a pretty acrobatic shot in his Australian Open quaterfinal match against France's Santoro.... on to the semi's for Nalbandian!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jerry Lee Lewis Last night at Strathmore, Bethesda

taken from

First characteristics of last night's show in North Bethesda, Maryland

Edmund sent in the following report. Thanks Edmund!

The band did:
1) Slippin' And Slidin'
2) Lonely Weekends
3) Johnny B. Goode
4) [Some blues song but I forgot the name]

Jerry came out and did the following:

1) Roll Over Beethoven
2) Over The Rainbow
3) Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
4) Georgia On My Mind (made some nice comments about Ray, saying how he enjoyed his movie)
5) Before The NIght Is Over
6) Mexicali Rose
7) You Win Again
8) Crazy Arms (by request)
9) Chantilly Lace
10 Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
11) Great Balls Of Fire ((extented piano solo, like movie soundtrack. Was great.)

Sorry, I don't remember the direct order in which he did the songs. He did say before he did Before The Night Is Over that his album was being released this month. He added that he has heard this month after month, but they promised him it's coming out this month.Jerry was in perfect form, although he walked out very slowy and left slowy, and you could hear his age when he spoke. However, when he played the piano and sang he was in perfect form. I couldn't believe how great he sounded. I give this show 5 stars all the way. I wasn't disappointed, if there was ever a disappointment it was only in the fact I wanted him to play all night long. The whole show counting his band's number lasted 75 minutes, so I don't htink anyone got cheated. And Jerry was out there most of the time! so I would say Jerry's was between 45 - 60 min's long, so I thought he did well.

Wolff addition:

the unidentified song by the band was "Big Boss Man"! and the band's "johnny b goode" was more like a chuck berry medley which included "sweet little rock'n'roller"
Also jerry lee lewis played "Sweet Little Sixteen" after "roll over betthoven"

and he played "trouble in mind"

back cover of "she still comes around" lp features this classic shot of the killer...

Jerry Lee Lewis album "she still comes around (to love what's left of me"... great cover shot! this lp was probably considered the high point of his reinvented career as a country musician in the late 1960s...

Jerry Lee Lewis album from the very early 70s...

Jerry Lee Lewis takes a bow at the conclusion of last night's concert.. notice where the stool ended up..when he kicked it back at the end of the show the crowd hoped he was about to go wild on the piano....alas those days are long gone but it still managed to take you back...(as always click on picture to get it as big as possible!)

Jerry Lee Lewis last night at the Strathmore immediately after sitting down at the piano..second from the right side of picture is Kenny Lovelace who has backed Jerry Lee for 39 years and according to bassist (far right) "..deserves a medal" ..probably for putting up with the Killer who had a reputation for being a difficult guy.....(as always click on picture to get it as big as possible)

ticket to last night's show..thats right.. JERRY LEE LEWIS at the Strathmore Center in Bethesda.....not cheap but absolutely worth it.... he's still got the piano chops though he can't climb on top of the piano and maul it as he was wont to do fifty years ago when he was recording for Sam Phillip's Sun Records in the time he was a member of the so called "Million Dollar Quartet" with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.. he's the lone survivor any case he started the show with a fitting Chuck Berry cover - "Roll Over Betthoven"- which somehow seemed to fit Jerry Lee Lewis more than Chuck.. immediately I got gooesebumps as his pianoplaying included those fancy piano rolls and the put one hand over the other and the have the right hand all the way to the right end of piano and the left hand all the way to the left and make tap those keys from on high moves..all moves burned in anyone's mind from those highlight films of jerry lee lewis pretty much inventing the rockabilly/rock and roll piano just about 50 years ago....some other songs he played including chantilly lace, you win again (he talked almost embarassed about how this was a hank williams song but "we had a pretty good version"), crazy arms (seemingly responding to a shout out from audience.. after finishing the performance he guffawed about forgetting the last verse and having to end it early), spoono wine or some such.... georgia on my mind which he said a cousin had taught him and he auditioned for a tv show when he was 10..this again made him laugh and add "how about that".....he kept joking about his sprite which he drank from after most songs..ocasionally taking a swig and saying "mercy!!!!!!" before going into his next song.. he closed the show with just great versions of "whole lotta shaking on" and then with a preface of "if you liked that one you'll love this one" played "great balls of fire".. all in all fabulous.. sure he was a bit stiff getting to and from the piano but once sitting there and playing/singing he sounded great.. indeed he sounded far better singing than when he talked to the really felt amazing to see one of the first legends of rock'n'roll in person....i'm still pinching myself!

Friday, January 20, 2006

spinning tonight in memory of the great wilson pickett..his second LP on atlantic mono 8129....1966's The Exciting Wilson Pickett

Play Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cuba is " be allowed" by the US Dept of Treasury to participate in the World Baseball Classic (the real World Series) .. this event is going to be great.. i can't wait...;_ylt=Alsbgiiy4hpVJfsz5j_TfDURvLYF?slug=ap-classic-cuba&prov=ap&type=lgns

Thursday, January 19, 2006

oh man not wilson pickett

oh man.. the wicked pickett's gone... bummerino

Harry Belafonte's "Calypso" LP on RCA LPM-1248.. by all accounts the first million selling LP... includes a number of tracks written by Lord Burgess which became classics... "Day O" of course!.....this LP was released in 1956.... my copy based on the RCA matrix lettering system seems to be from 1957....nearly 50 years old. its interesting to note that Elvis Presley's first LP came out almost at the same time as LPM 1254..."Calypso" is a fabulous beach record.. nothing like it in the world....

Harry Belafonte

boy, harry belafonte is really letting the bush administration have it.... i largely it is possible to NOT view US actions in irak as constituting anything other than state terror?

is our government and are we the governed not responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of iraquis that meant us no harm? bush himself has admitted to a lowball estimate of 30,000 dead iraquis (other analysts put the painful number at 100,000+)... most of them their killing any less reprehensible or immoral than the death of americans on september 11th? when we drop a bomb, based on our "intelligence", purportedly targetting a terrorist or insurgent and an entire family of innocent iraqui civilians is killed why is that not terror? because we say we are freeing them from a brutal dictator?

sorry if i cannot endorse the proposition that the end justifies the means... what end?.. who are we to determine the ends and means for another people in their own land? is this not something the american people ought to think about? we read on a daily basis that an american or two or three died in irak.. an american soldier of WAR that is...but what of the 13 year old CIVILIAN girl that died because of US bomb falling on her house? what do you tell her father? "she died for a good end"? or "she died for your freedom"? or "she died to protect americans from terrorism"?...... its discomforting to think about stuff like this -i just can't help it- and when one does its easy to come off sounding a little bitter or kooky as belafonte -a renown humanitarian (see his UNICEF page at: is wont to do...but he's no senile old man..he's being a HUMAN being.... he knows exactly what he's talking about and its a shame more people don't..

here is harry belafonte's money quote from his speech delivered at duke university on MLK day:

"Killing is our easiest tool. When you look at the president who has led us into a dishonorable war that has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, many our own sons and daughters, I ask myself what Dr. King would have asked...
"It is an act that has driven fear and terror into the hearts of the American people. What is the essential difference in quality of our humanity for those who would do the cruel and tragic deed of flying an airplane into a building and killing 3,000 innocent Americans and those who would lie and lead the nation into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands?
"Excuse me, fellow citizens, if the line for me becomes a little blurred."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

I was having a good sleep in my car.
In the parking lot of the Showboat Casino Hotel.
I said I remember you, you drove like a PTA mother.
You brought me draft beer in a plastic cup.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.

Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me.
And to you.
Happy birthday to me.
Happy birthday to me.
And to you.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.
I'm feeling thankful for the small things today.

I said I remember you, I crashed your wedding.
With some orange crepe paper and some Halloween candy.
Sometimes I wish I were Catholic--I don't know why.
I guess I'm happy to see your face at a time like this

Happy birthday baby, to me.
Happy birthday baby, to me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy 300th Ben Franklin!

thats right.. benjamin franklin was born 300 years ago today!.. its nice to remember a man who had it going on in all the senses of the word!...

for more info check out wikipedia's entry at:

Monday, January 16, 2006

Al Gore speaks and 47west63rd was there!

thats right! former vice president al gore (and by all common sense should be President now) delivered an address earlier today at DAR Constitution Hall .. the event was sponsored by the American Constitutional Society and focused on the ongoing threat to our constitution under the Bush administration..thats right "threat to our constitution" aka WAY OF LIFE..... Al Gore delivered an impassioned spirited address.. i agree with its sentiments wholeheartedly and urge americans to read the speech and take the actions they are able to take in order to help restore the values that make the United States of America the nation it is... let me be clear: our constitution is under threat.. consequently we are all under threat...(on a personal note: i was thrilled to be in attendance.. al! you have my full support whatever you decide to do!)

by Al GoreRemarks as prepared Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger. In spite of our differences over ideology and politics, we are in strong agreement that the American values we hold most dear have been placed at serious risk by the unprecedented claims of the Administration to a truly breathtaking expansion of executive power. As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses. It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored. So, many of us have come here to Constitution Hall to sound an alarm and call upon our fellow citizens to put aside partisan differences and join with us in demanding that our Constitution be defended and preserved. It is appropriate that we make this appeal on the day our nation has set aside to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who challenged America to breathe new life into our oldest values by extending its promise to all our people. On this particular Martin Luther King Day, it is especially important to recall that for the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped-one of hundreds of thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government during this period. The FBI privately called King the "most dangerous and effective negro leader in the country" and vowed to "take him off his pedestal." The government even attempted to destroy his marriage and blackmail him into committing suicide. This campaign continued until Dr. King's murder. The discovery that the FBI conducted a long-running and extensive campaign of secret electronic surveillance designed to infiltrate the inner workings of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and to learn the most intimate details of Dr. King's life, helped to convince Congress to enact restrictions on wiretapping. The result was the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted expressly to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance would be presented to an impartial judge to verify that there is a sufficient cause for the surveillance. I voted for that law during my first term in Congress and for almost thirty years the system has proven a workable and valued means of according a level of protection for private citizens, while permitting foreign surveillance to continue. Yet, just one month ago, Americans awoke to the shocking news that in spite of this long settled law, the Executive Branch has been secretly spying on large numbers of Americans for the last four years and eavesdropping on "large volumes of telephone calls, e-mail messages, and other Internet traffic inside the United States." The New York Times reported that the President decided to launch this massive eavesdropping program "without search warrants or any new laws that would permit such domestic intelligence collection." During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President went out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place. But surprisingly, the President's soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but also declared that he has no intention of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end. At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently. A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men." An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king." Vigilant adherence to the rule of law strengthens our democracy and strengthens America. It ensures that those who govern us operate within our constitutional structure, which means that our democratic institutions play their indispensable role in shaping policy and determining the direction of our nation. It means that the people of this nation ultimately determine its course and not executive officials operating in secret without constraint. The rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power. A commitment to openness, truthfulness and accountability also helps our country avoid many serious mistakes. Recently, for example, we learned from recently classified declassified documents that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the tragic Vietnam war, was actually based on false information. We now know that the decision by Congress to authorize the Iraq War, 38 years later, was also based on false information. America would have been better off knowing the truth and avoiding both of these colossal mistakes in our history. Following the rule of law makes us safer, not more vulnerable. The President and I agree on one thing. The threat from terrorism is all too real. There is simply no question that we continue to face new challenges in the wake of the attack on September 11th and that we must be ever-vigilant in protecting our citizens from harm. Where we disagree is that we have to break the law or sacrifice our system of government to protect Americans from terrorism. In fact, doing so makes us weaker and more vulnerable. Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws. The President's men have minced words about America's laws. The Attorney General openly conceded that the "kind of surveillance" we now know they have been conducting requires a court order unless authorized by statute. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act self-evidently does not authorize what the NSA has been doing, and no one inside or outside the Administration claims that it does. Incredibly, the Administration claims instead that the surveillance was implicitly authorized when Congress voted to use force against those who attacked us on September 11th. This argument just does not hold any water. Without getting into the legal intricacies, it faces a number of embarrassing facts. First, another admission by the Attorney General: he concedes that the Administration knew that the NSA project was prohibited by existing law and that they consulted with some members of Congress about changing the statute. Gonzalez says that they were told this probably would not be possible. So how can they now argue that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force somehow implicitly authorized it all along? Second, when the Authorization was being debated, the Administration did in fact seek to have language inserted in it that would have authorized them to use military force domestically - and the Congress did not agree. Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Jim McGovern, among others, made statements during the Authorization debate clearly restating that that Authorization did not operate domestically. When President Bush failed to convince Congress to give him all the power he wanted when they passed the AUMF, he secretly assumed that power anyway, as if congressional authorization was a useless bother. But as Justice Frankfurter once wrote: "To find authority so explicitly withheld is not merely to disregard in a particular instance the clear will of Congress. It is to disrespect the whole legislative process and the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress." This is precisely the "disrespect" for the law that the Supreme Court struck down in the steel seizure case. It is this same disrespect for America's Constitution which has now brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution. And the disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to millions of Americans in both political parties. For example, the President has also declared that he has a heretofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen that he alone determines to be a threat to our nation, and that, notwithstanding his American citizenship, the person imprisoned has no right to talk with a lawyer-even to argue that the President or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person. The President claims that he can imprison American citizens indefinitely for the rest of their lives without an arrest warrant, without notifying them about what charges have been filed against them, and without informing their families that they have been imprisoned. At the same time, the Executive Branch has claimed a previously unrecognized authority to mistreat prisoners in its custody in ways that plainly constitute torture in a pattern that has now been documented in U.S. facilities located in several countries around the world. Over 100 of these captives have reportedly died while being tortured by Executive Branch interrogators and many more have been broken and humiliated. In the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, investigators who documented the pattern of torture estimated that more than 90 percent of the victims were innocent of any charges. This shameful exercise of power overturns a set of principles that our nation has observed since General Washington first enunciated them during our Revolutionary War and has been observed by every president since then - until now. These practices violate the Geneva Conventions and the International Convention Against Torture, not to mention our own laws against torture. The President has also claimed that he has the authority to kidnap individuals in foreign countries and deliver them for imprisonment and interrogation on our behalf by autocratic regimes in nations that are infamous for the cruelty of their techniques for torture. Some of our traditional allies have been shocked by these new practices on the part of our nation. The British Ambassador to Uzbekistan - one of those nations with the worst reputations for torture in its prisons - registered a complaint to his home office about the senselessness and cruelty of the new U.S. practice: "This material is useless - we are selling our souls for dross. It is in fact positively harmful." Can it be true that any president really has such powers under our Constitution? If the answer is "yes" then under the theory by which these acts are committed, are there any acts that can on their face be prohibited? If the President has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do? The Dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, said after analyzing the Executive Branch's claims of these previously unrecognized powers: "If the President has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution." The fact that our normal safeguards have thus far failed to contain this unprecedented expansion of executive power is deeply troubling. This failure is due in part to the fact that the Executive Branch has followed a determined strategy of obfuscating, delaying, withholding information, appearing to yield but then refusing to do so and dissembling in order to frustrate the efforts of the legislative and judicial branches to restore our constitutional balance. For example, after appearing to support legislation sponsored by John McCain to stop the continuation of torture, the President declared in the act of signing the bill that he reserved the right not to comply with it. Similarly, the Executive Branch claimed that it could unilaterally imprison American citizens without giving them access to review by any tribunal. The Supreme Court disagreed, but the President engaged in legal maneuvers designed to prevent the Court from providing meaningful content to the rights of its citizens. A conservative jurist on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the Executive Branch's handling of one such case seemed to involve the sudden abandonment of principle "at substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts." As a result of its unprecedented claim of new unilateral power, the Executive Branch has now put our constitutional design at grave risk. The stakes for America's representative democracy are far higher than has been generally recognized. These claims must be rejected and a healthy balance of power restored to our Republic. Otherwise, the fundamental nature of our democracy may well undergo a radical transformation. For more than two centuries, America's freedoms have been preserved in part by our founders' wise decision to separate the aggregate power of our government into three co-equal branches, each of which serves to check and balance the power of the other two. On more than a few occasions, the dynamic interaction among all three branches has resulted in collisions and temporary impasses that create what are invariably labeled "constitutional crises." These crises have often been dangerous and uncertain times for our Republic. But in each such case so far, we have found a resolution of the crisis by renewing our common agreement to live under the rule of law. The principle alternative to democracy throughout history has been the consolidation of virtually all state power in the hands of a single strongman or small group who together exercise that power without the informed consent of the governed. It was in revolt against just such a regime, after all, that America was founded. When Lincoln declared at the time of our greatest crisis that the ultimate question being decided in the Civil War was "whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure," he was not only saving our union but also was recognizing the fact that democracies are rare in history. And when they fail, as did Athens and the Roman Republic upon whose designs our founders drew heavily, what emerges in their place is another strongman regime. There have of course been other periods of American history when the Executive Branch claimed new powers that were later seen as excessive and mistaken. Our second president, John Adams, passed the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts and sought to silence and imprison critics and political opponents. When his successor, Thomas Jefferson, eliminated the abuses he said: "[The essential principles of our Government] form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation... [S]hould we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety." Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Some of the worst abuses prior to those of the current administration were committed by President Wilson during and after WWI with the notorious Red Scare and Palmer Raids. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII marked a low point for the respect of individual rights at the hands of the executive. And, during the Vietnam War, the notorious COINTELPRO program was part and parcel of the abuses experienced by Dr. King and thousands of others. But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret. There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself. For one thing, we have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority." A second reason to believe we may be experiencing something new is that we are told by the Administration that the war footing upon which he has tried to place the country is going to "last for the rest of our lives." So we are told that the conditions of national threat that have been used by other Presidents to justify arrogations of power will persist in near perpetuity. Third, we need to be aware of the advances in eavesdropping and surveillance technologies with their capacity to sweep up and analyze enormous quantities of information and to mine it for intelligence. This adds significant vulnerability to the privacy and freedom of enormous numbers of innocent people at the same time as the potential power of those technologies. These techologies have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound. Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not. But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government. There is a final reason to worry that we may be experiencing something more than just another cycle of overreach and regret. This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential authority is exactly what our Constitution intended. This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which is more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary or checked by Congress. President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, domestic and foreign. When added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine. This effort to rework America's carefully balanced constitutional design into a lopsided structure dominated by an all powerful Executive Branch with a subservient Congress and judiciary is-ironically-accompanied by an effort by the same administration to rework America's foreign policy from one that is based primarily on U.S. moral authority into one that is based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world. The common denominator seems to be based on an instinct to intimidate and control. This same pattern has characterized the effort to silence dissenting views within the Executive Branch, to censor information that may be inconsistent with its stated ideological goals, and to demand conformity from all Executive Branch employees. For example, CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House assertion that Osama bin Laden was linked to Saddam Hussein found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases. Ironically, that is exactly what happened to FBI officials in the 1960s who disagreed with J. Edgar Hoover's view that Dr. King was closely connected to Communists. The head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division said that his effort to tell the truth about King's innocence of the charge resulted in he and his colleagues becoming isolated and pressured. "It was evident that we had to change our ways or we would all be out on the street.... The men and I discussed how to get out of trouble. To be in trouble with Mr. Hoover was a serious matter. These men were trying to buy homes, mortgages on homes, children in school. They lived in fear of getting transferred, losing money on their homes, as they usually did. ... so they wanted another memorandum written to get us out of the trouble that we were in." The Constitution's framers understood this dilemma as well, as Alexander Hamilton put it, "a power over a man's support is a power over his will." (Federalist No. 73) Soon, there was no more difference of opinion within the FBI. The false accusation became the unanimous view. In exactly the same way, George Tenet's CIA eventually joined in endorsing a manifestly false view that there was a linkage between al Qaeda and the government of Iraq. In the words of George Orwell: "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield." Whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. In the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes. Dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded. Last week, for example, Vice President Cheney attempted to defend the Administration's eavesdropping on American citizens by saying that if it had conducted this program prior to 9/11, they would have found out the names of some of the hijackers. Tragically, he apparently still doesn't know that the Administration did in fact have the names of at least 2 of the hijackers well before 9/11 and had available to them information that could have easily led to the identification of most of the other hijackers. And yet, because of incompetence in the handling of this information, it was never used to protect the American people. It is often the case that an Executive Branch beguiled by the pursuit of unchecked power responds to its own mistakes by reflexively proposing that it be given still more power. Often, the request itself it used to mask accountability for mistakes in the use of power it already has. Moreover, if the pattern of practice begun by this Administration is not challenged, it may well become a permanent part of the American system. Many conservatives have pointed out that granting unchecked power to this President means that the next President will have unchecked power as well. And the next President may be someone whose values and belief you do not trust. And this is why Republicans as well as Democrats should be concerned with what this President has done. If this President's attempt to dramatically expand executive power goes unquestioned, our constitutional design of checks and balances will be lost. And the next President or some future President will be able, in the name of national security, to restrict our liberties in a way the framers never would have thought possible. The same instinct to expand its power and to establish dominance characterizes the relationship between this Administration and the courts and the Congress. In a properly functioning system, the Judicial Branch would serve as the constitutional umpire to ensure that the branches of government observed their proper spheres of authority, observed civil liberties and adhered to the rule of law. Unfortunately, the unilateral executive has tried hard to thwart the ability of the judiciary to call balls and strikes by keeping controversies out of its hands - notably those challenging its ability to detain individuals without legal process -- by appointing judges who will be deferential to its exercise of power and by its support of assaults on the independence of the third branch. The President's decision to ignore FISA was a direct assault on the power of the judges who sit on that court. Congress established the FISA court precisely to be a check on executive power to wiretap. Yet, to ensure that the court could not function as a check on executive power, the President simply did not take matters to it and did not let the court know that it was being bypassed. The President's judicial appointments are clearly designed to ensure that the courts will not serve as an effective check on executive power. As we have all learned, Judge Alito is a longtime supporter of a powerful executive - a supporter of the so-called unitary executive, which is more properly called the unilateral executive. Whether you support his confirmation or not - and I do not - we must all agree that he will not vote as an effective check on the expansion of executive power. Likewise, Chief Justice Roberts has made plain his deference to the expansion of executive power through his support of judicial deference to executive agency rulemaking. And the Administration has supported the assault on judicial independence that has been conducted largely in Congress. That assault includes a threat by the Republican majority in the Senate to permanently change the rules to eliminate the right of the minority to engage in extended debate of the President's judicial nominees. The assault has extended to legislative efforts to curtail the jurisdiction of courts in matters ranging from habeas corpus to the pledge of allegiance. In short, the Administration has demonstrated its contempt for the judicial role and sought to evade judicial review of its actions at every turn. But the most serious damage has been done to the legislative branch. The sharp decline of congressional power and autonomy in recent years has been almost as shocking as the efforts by the Executive Branch to attain a massive expansion of its power. I was elected to Congress in 1976 and served eight years in the house, 8 years in the Senate and presided over the Senate for 8 years as Vice President. As a young man, I saw the Congress first hand as the son of a Senator. My father was elected to Congress in 1938, 10 years before I was born, and left the Senate in 1971. The Congress we have today is unrecognizable compared to the one in which my father served. There are many distinguished Senators and Congressmen serving today. I am honored that some of them are here in this hall. But the legislative branch of government under its current leadership now operates as if it is entirely subservient to the Executive Branch. Moreover, too many Members of the House and Senate now feel compelled to spend a majority of their time not in thoughtful debate of the issues, but raising money to purchase 30 second TV commercials. There have now been two or three generations of congressmen who don't really know what an oversight hearing is. In the 70's and 80's, the oversight hearings in which my colleagues and I participated held the feet of the Executive Branch to the fire - no matter which party was in power. Yet oversight is almost unknown in the Congress today. The role of authorization committees has declined into insignificance. The 13 annual appropriation bills are hardly ever actually passed anymore. Everything is lumped into a single giant measure that is not even available for Members of Congress to read before they vote on it. Members of the minority party are now routinely excluded from conference committees, and amendments are routinely not allowed during floor consideration of legislation. In the United States Senate, which used to pride itself on being the "greatest deliberative body in the world," meaningful debate is now a rarity. Even on the eve of the fateful vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, Senator Robert Byrd famously asked: "Why is this chamber empty?" In the House of Representatives, the number who face a genuinely competitive election contest every two years is typically less than a dozen out of 435. And too many incumbents have come to believe that the key to continued access to the money for re-election is to stay on the good side of those who have the money to give; and, in the case of the majority party, the whole process is largely controlled by the incumbent president and his political organization. So the willingness of Congress to challenge the Administration is further limited when the same party controls both Congress and the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch, time and again, has co-opted Congress' role, and often Congress has been a willing accomplice in the surrender of its own power. Look for example at the Congressional role in "overseeing" this massive four year eavesdropping campaign that on its face seemed so clearly to violate the Bill of Rights. The President says he informed Congress, but what he really means is that he talked with the chairman and ranking member of the House and Senate intelligence committees and the top leaders of the House and Senate. This small group, in turn, claimed that they were not given the full facts, though at least one of the intelligence committee leaders handwrote a letter of concern to VP Cheney and placed a copy in his own safe. Though I sympathize with the awkward position in which these men and women were placed, I cannot disagree with the Liberty Coalition when it says that Democrats as well as Republicans in the Congress must share the blame for not taking action to protest and seek to prevent what they consider a grossly unconstitutional program. Moreover, in the Congress as a whole-both House and Senate-the enhanced role of money in the re-election process, coupled with the sharply diminished role for reasoned deliberation and debate, has produced an atmosphere conducive to pervasive institutionalized corruption. The Abramoff scandal is but the tip of a giant iceberg that threatens the integrity of the entire legislative branch of government. It is the pitiful state of our legislative branch which primarily explains the failure of our vaunted checks and balances to prevent the dangerous overreach by our Executive Branch which now threatens a radical transformation of the American system. I call upon Democratic and Republican members of Congress today to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution. Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of government you're supposed to be. But there is yet another Constitutional player whose pulse must be taken and whose role must be examined in order to understand the dangerous imbalance that has emerged with the efforts by the Executive Branch to dominate our constitutional system. We the people are-collectively-still the key to the survival of America's democracy. We-as Lincoln put it, "[e]ven we here"-must examine our own role as citizens in allowing and not preventing the shocking decay and degradation of our democracy. Thomas Jefferson said: "An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will." The revolutionary departure on which the idea of America was based was the audacious belief that people can govern themselves and responsibly exercise the ultimate authority in self-government. This insight proceeded inevitably from the bedrock principle articulated by the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke: "All just power is derived from the consent of the governed." The intricate and carefully balanced constitutional system that is now in such danger was created with the full and widespread participation of the population as a whole. The Federalist Papers were, back in the day, widely-read newspaper essays, and they represented only one of twenty-four series of essays that crowded the vibrant marketplace of ideas in which farmers and shopkeepers recapitulated the debates that played out so fruitfully in Philadelphia. Indeed, when the Convention had done its best, it was the people - in their various States - that refused to confirm the result until, at their insistence, the Bill of Rights was made integral to the document sent forward for ratification. And it is "We the people" who must now find once again the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution. And here there is cause for both concern and great hope. The age of printed pamphlets and political essays has long since been replaced by television - a distracting and absorbing medium which sees determined to entertain and sell more than it informs and educates. Lincoln's memorable call during the Civil War is applicable in a new way to our dilemma today: "We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." Forty years have passed since the majority of Americans adopted television as their principal source of information. Its dominance has become so extensive that virtually all significant political communication now takes place within the confines of flickering 30-second television advertisements. And the political economy supported by these short but expensive television ads is as different from the vibrant politics of America's first century as those politics were different from the feudalism which thrived on the ignorance of the masses of people in the Dark Ages. The constricted role of ideas in the American political system today has encouraged efforts by the Executive Branch to control the flow of information as a means of controlling the outcome of important decisions that still lie in the hands of the people. The Administration vigorously asserts its power to maintain the secrecy of its operations. After all, the other branches can't check an abuse of power if they don't know it is happening. For example, when the Administration was attempting to persuade Congress to enact the Medicare prescription drug benefit, many in the House and Senate raised concerns about the cost and design of the program. But, rather than engaging in open debate on the basis of factual data, the Administration withheld facts and prevented the Congress from hearing testimony that it sought from the principal administration expert who had compiled information showing in advance of the vote that indeed the true cost estimates were far higher than the numbers given to Congress by the President. Deprived of that information, and believing the false numbers given to it instead, the Congress approved the program. Tragically, the entire initiative is now collapsing- all over the country- with the Administration making an appeal just this weekend to major insurance companies to volunteer to bail it out. To take another example, scientific warnings about the catastrophic consequences of unchecked global warming were censored by a political appointee in the White House who had no scientific training. And today one of the leading scientific experts on global warming in NASA has been ordered not to talk to members of the press and to keep a careful log of everyone he meets with so that the Executive Branch can monitor and control his discussions of global warming. One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, "Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America." Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women." The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk. Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights. Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously? It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same. We have a duty as Americans to defend our citizens' right not only to life but also to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is therefore vital in our current circumstances that immediate steps be taken to safeguard our Constitution against the present danger posed by the intrusive overreaching on the part of the Executive Branch and the President's apparent belief that he need not live under the rule of law. I endorse the words of Bob Barr, when he said, "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will." A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President. We have had a fresh demonstration of how an independent investigation by a special counsel with integrity can rebuild confidence in our system of justice. Patrick Fitzgerald has, by all accounts, shown neither fear nor favor in pursuing allegations that the Executive Branch has violated other laws. Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President. Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security. Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads. Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed. Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens. Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy. It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates. The future of our democracy depends on it. I mentioned that along with cause for concern, there is reason for hope. As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age in which the vitality of our democracy will be re-established and will flourish more vibrantly than ever. Indeed I can feel it in this hall. As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."

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