Saturday, July 27, 2013

J.J. Cale, 1938-2013

J.J. Cale, the Oklahoma native singer and songwriter whose work was performed by Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among many others, died today at 74. In the clip above, he performs "Call Me the Breeze," a song recorded by Skynyrd. He's accompanied on this version by Clapton.

Cale's "Tulsa Sound" (not his term) was an amalgam of blues, country, and rockabilly. It was a precursor to what is today called "alt country," "Americana," or "roots" music. He may have been an influence on the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and others in taking rock back toward its country music partial ancestry.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Richard Wagner, Götterdämmerung, Seigfried's Funeral March

Today is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The clip above, thanks to mitjanus, is of Siegfried's Funeral March from Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), the fourth and climactic opera in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, or as it's usually called in English, the "Ring Cycle." (Was it an influence on Tolkien? The author of The Lord of the Rings denied it, but as Alex Ross in The New Yorker argued, it almost certainly was.)

The performance is by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Klaus Tennstedt. The Sturm und Drang is momentarily broken at 5:50 when Tennstedt drops his baton.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bing and the Duke: "St. Louis Blues."

In 1932, Bing Crosby recorded this with Duke Ellington and his orchestra. An early example of Irish soul music, anticipating The Commitments?

Thanks to old Lion's Head friend Mike Pearl for the link, and nicoley133 for the clip.