Tuesday, December 06, 2011

iPod Log 6

I haven't done one of these for a couple of years. These are the pieces of music I heard on my morning walk from my apartment to Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and back, yesterday morning. I've included photos of what I was seeing while listening to each piece. Where I've been able to find them, I've included links to video clips in the text.

Jimmy Cliff, "The Harder They Come." The title song from Cliff's 1972 movie makes a teriffic starter for my morning jaunt, and sustains me through 35 push-ups.
Siegel-Schwall Band, "Leavin'." Siegel-Schwall was one of the many electric blues bands formed in the late 1960s. There's no video of "Leavin'", but here's Corky Siegel doing solo harp and vocal at the Ladder House, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on February 20, 2009.
Tom Rush, "Statesboro Blues." Tom Rush is one of my favorites of the generation of folkies that came to prominence in the middle 1960s. On one of his early albums he does an excellent cover of Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues". There's no video of Rush doing this song, but there is of him singing his own "No Regrets".
Bessie Smith, "Gimme a Pigfoot."
At the break of day,
You can hear old Hannah say,
Gimme a pigfoot, and a bottle of beer...
Bessie Smith is regarded perhaps second only to Robert Johnson as an influence on the development of the blues as a musical style. There's no video of "Gimme a Pigfoot," but here she is doing "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."
Scott Joplin, "Sunflower Slow Drag", by the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble, Gunther Schuller, conductor. My iPod reaches back further in the history of American popular music for an orchestral arrangement of a Scott Joplin rag. Here's a piano roll version of the same tune.
George Gershwin, "Piano Concerto in F, Movement III", by Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone. This comes from the album Virtuosi (Concord 2105-2), on which Burton (vibes) and Ozone (piano) do pieces ranging from Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) to Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) to Gershwin (1898-1937) to Jorge Cardoso (b. 1945), and an original piece by Ozone. There's no video of them doing Gershwin, but here's their take on Scarlatti's Sonata in E (K20). Here's the Gershwin with full orchestra and piano (NHK Symphony, Marek Janowski conducting; Peter Jablonski, piano).
The Dovells, "You Can't Sit Down." You may have noticed that my iPod has, so far, followed a more or less sensible progression, from reggae to late '60s electric blues to mid-60s acoustic folkie blues to 1920s jazzy blues to ragtime to jazz influenced classical music. Now we have an abrupt shift to mid-'60s Philly R&B. I first heard this song when I was with the Robinson High debate team at a tournament at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Some of my teammates and I were having burgers and milkshakes at the student union cafe, which had a jukebox and dance floor, when the song came on. A couple who looked like they stepped out of a Norman Rockwell illustration of typical American youth--he with a perfectly coiffed ducktail and pegged khakis, she with a tartan skirt and saddle Oxfords with bobby sox--took the floor and danced very energetically, twirling vigorously, and he once lifting her by the waist and swinging her overhead. This song is notable for its perhaps earliest uses of "hippie" and "hip hop" in american pop culture parlance.
Terry Allen, "Truckload of Art."
Yes, an important art work was thrown burning to the ground,
Tragically landing in the weeds,
And the smoke could be seen for miles around,
But nobody knows what it means.
From '60s Philly R&B we go to 1979 Texas tongue-in-cheek country. Hear it here. Apologies to Kei Andersen, Mark Crawford, Mike Sorgatz, and any other artist friends who may be offended by this.
Fleetwood Mac, "One Together." This is a cut (of which, unfortunately, there's no video) from Kiln House, one of my favorite albums despite its less than enthusiastic critical reception. One Rolling Stone writer characterized it as "Buddy Holly obsessed"; in my opinion, to paraphrase Yellowman, Buddy Holly is a nice obsession.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Reyes to Marlins

Huffington Post
I can't say I was surprised. Like so many things concerning the Mets, I have mixed feelings about this. He's a great player when he's not on the DL, though sometimes inclined to surprising lapses in judgment, both on defense and on the basepaths. Since he's staying in the NL East, I'll get lots of chances to test the curse of the ex-Met theory.