Archive | May, 2011

RIOT!

31 May

Here in NY we’ve been having the most delicious summer weather.  I mean early summer, so no humidity and no smelly street garbage.  I can’t swear to it, but I’d bet that even Chinatown doesn’t have its summer stench yet.

In weather as lovely as this, it’s hard to imagine that shortly it will be riot season.  You know, where it gets so hot and tempers flare so much and the possibility of riots skyrockets.  Riots happen more often in summer.  It’s true, trust me.

The Violators, a mostly forgotten but incredible British punk band, has a great song about the UK riots of ’81 called, not surprisingly, “Summer of ’81.”  The beginning of the track gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.   I know I should wait till it gets more rioty out (August?) to post this, but I’ve always had an impatient streak.

And you should be glad I do.  It gives you two more months to enjoy it.

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Remembrance

30 May

Happy Memorial Day!

I just heard a report on the radio saying that 80% of Americans don’t know what Memorial Day commemorates. I froze.  Did I forget?  I assumed surely that they meant something specific – a certain battle or event.  I waited.  No, they just meant that people didn’t know it was to acknowledge and thank people who serve(d) in the military and remember those who died serving.

For real?  People don’t know this?

Honestly, how is it that people never learned that?  I realize that a lot of us probably don’t have a direct current connection with those in the military, but I’m still flabbergasted.  I love hot dogs (well, Not Dogs) and the beach and big sales as much as the next person, but I never thought that was the real purpose of the holiday.

I know those reading this know better.  But I bet even you are a little rusty on the entire history.  Here’s a pretty comprehensive write-up.  Study up.  I may test you later.

War is a popular subject matter for songs of course.  Here is one of my favorites:  The Pogues version of “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.”  Shane McGowan is at his absolute best on this track.  Stellar.  But of course he is.  I would only ever give you the best.

Feel free to resume your holiday BBQ now.

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Dolphins, Dead and Otherwise

29 May

Today a dolphin came ashore and died.  I can’t help but think this is some cosmic answer to the question that Tim Buckley raised in his song “Dolphins.”  He sings “sometimes I wonder, do you ever think of me?”  There isn’t a more emphatic “NO!” than a dead dolphin, is there?

Of course it’s probably narcissistic to imagine that a dead dolphin was sent to deliver a message to me, but if you read my other blog, you already know I am huge into signs.  It’s not like I hide it or anything.

Of course it could be a sign of something more ominous than indifference.  Last week a dead whale washed up.  This week, a dead dolphin.  And for the third day in a row, we’ve experienced a sonic boom that literally has shaken every house here.  I’m usually not much of a conspiracy theorist, but it’s not hard to think these events may be related.

In any case, the poor dead dolphin put “Dolphins” in my head and anytime Tim Buckley is in my head is a good thing.  I’ve been resisting delving into the Buckley family because Jeff was a friend, but I guess that reluctance is silly.  Certainly Tim’s amazingness needs to be acknowledged and “Dolphins” is one of my favorites.  It was written by the insanely talented Fred Neil, who is best known for writing  “Everybody’s Talkin’.”  Yes, the  Harry Nilsson/Midnight Cowboy song.

It’s kind of mind-boggling to realize that TIm Buckley recorded nine studio albums before he died – at age 28.

Download “Dolphins” here.  Meanwhile I’m going to continue to try to interpret my dead dolphin, and whatever portent that might be.

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Happy Accident

28 May

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Gil Scott-Heron died yesterday.  As you may remember, I love him.  I’ve been listening to him pretty much non-stop all morning and then all of a sudden, by mistake,  I hit the wrong button and Joe Jackson’s “I’m The Man” blared out of the speakers.

And so the Joe Jackson segment of May 28th commenced.  I realize you wouldn’t normally connect Gil Scott-Heron and Joe Jackson, but that’s the way things happen here in Margauxville.

Joe Jackson is one of those artists that I always appreciate and love but for some reason hardly ever actually listen to.  Yet every time I do, I wonder why there isn’t a mandatory Joe Jackson hour in every single one of my days.

There is, however, a mandated 4 minutes for him in your day, starting as soon as you download the song.  Go on, do it.

He’s the man.

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Cruel Sun

27 May

Happy start of the Memorial Day holiday!  Well for some people.  Not for me.  I’m sure I’ll still be working till well after the sun sets.  This is why today’s song is the fabulous Sparklehorse’s “Cruel Sun.”  It’s cruel for me since I can see the glorious day from the window, so close and yet so far.

This song is just one great track from the album “Good Morning Spider” which came out after Mr. Sparklehorse,  Mark Linkous, overdosed, nearly died, and then had to spend 6 months in a wheelchair recuperating.  Maybe his reasons for writing “Cruel Sun” were a little more important than mine are for posting it.   To further the sad story, years later, he committed suicide – by shooting himself in the heart.  Ouch.

When you put my dreaming of the outdoors in any sort of context with his story, it’s obviously mighty trite.  However,  I do solemnly promise that if I’m able to get outside soon, I will be thankful and appreciate everything.  I didn’t post yesterday’s song for no reason.

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You May Not Drive a Great Big Cadillac

26 May

Here’s a super important message:  Be Thankful for What You Got.

Of course you know me well enough by now to realize that mistake of grammar would never be mine.  I’ll blame/credit William DeVaughn.  But rest assured that I’m very thankful for that particular grammatical error.  His song oozes positivity with a ridiculous level of cool.   Perfect for an evening like this.

Easy, breezy, William DeVaughn.  I especially love the part of the song that goes like this:

Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, Woo hoo

I’ve had this song on my mind recently because the last few days have reminded me how thankful I am that I have such amazing friends.  You know who you are.  You, you, you, you, you and you.  But not you…surprisingly.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll!

25 May

I could write a weekly post on The Mekons and never get to all the songs that mean so much to me.  But if pressed to name the single album by them that I’d snatch if a fire broke out, I’d have to say “Rock ‘n’ Roll.”  (By the way, just to be safe, I have to un-jinx anything and say that I never, ever want a fire to break out.)  “Rock ‘n’ Roll” is so full of authentic rock ‘n’ roll attitude.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll” is their EIGHTH album, too.  Craziness!  And I think there have been 9 or 10 since then!  It’s really a musical feat for a band to keep up their power for so long.

Here’s one of of the reasons I would save “Rock ‘n’ Roll” if a fire broke out (which it won’t, ever):  “Memphis, Egypt.”  Don’t forget…rock ‘n’  roll is best played  LOUD.

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