Yep, that's what I'm going to try and do this New Year's Eve - pretend its 1999 again with a future still looking bright, I say we just skip over the last ten years. By now, as it closes, most wags have weighed in on how this has been the worst decade ever. I'd started it fully enmeshed in what was then the brave glorious new world of the Internet. I loved working with customers because I was selling the biggest dream going - the World Wide Web, a place of riches unknown awaiting. All major cities were going to be fiber optic by 2002, or so we were told. After the new millennium was ushered in, on my first day back to work, I'd received notice and was told the ISP I worked for was going out of business. A few weeks later, I was lucky enough (or so I'd thought) to get a job with a networking company. They closed three months later, it took months to get my last paychecks. After that, their competitor hired me - they closed doors two months later. Soon after, I was interviewed for the San Diego Union Tribune, here's most of it:
Betrayed believers Downturn in tech world leaves out-of-work dot-commers seeking a new life in the old economy By Kim Peterson UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER September 24, 2001
San Diego County is supposed to be a bright light in the bleak U.S. economy, with steady job growth and a low unemployment rate.
When people lose jobs here, they usually find new employment quickly, experts say.
But try telling that to Dean Humphries, who can explain the workings of a T1 Internet line but repeatedly hears that his resume has "red flags."
Or to Lisa Pautler, who went from making $70,000 a year at a dot-com company to applying for temp work.
Or to Rebecca Schlesinger, who can create online magazines but now teaches tennis lessons part-time to make money.
They are among the betrayed believers -- the foot soldiers of the online revolution who were so confident in the dot-com industry that they staked their careers on its success.
Now, as the tech downturn continues, they have enough pink slips and dashed hopes to know that the cause they embraced was not going to bring them riches -- or even keep them employed.
Economists use the term "structural unemployment" to describe an industry-specific spike in unemployment that isn't seen in the general business climate, said Alan Gin, a University of San Diego economist. It usually happens when older, dying industries are replaced with new ones that require different skills.
The Internet is certainly not old or dying, but the dot-com philosophy of conducting commerce strictly online has certainly gone out of favor, he said. Revenue dropped, companies folded and workers are suddenly unemployed.
"Since all of this is happening all at once, it's difficult for them to find new jobs now," Gin said.
In San Diego County, where the unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, someone who has lost a job can usually find a new one, he said.
Yet it's different with dot-coms. While there is no specific data on local unemployment within the sector, Gin said, job cutbacks in this area have been severe nationwide as companies have gone out of business.
Now, as former dot-commers begin rebuilding their lives, they face a new battle: After months of hunting in San Diego County, a region where jobs are supposed to be plentiful, their calls are not being returned and their prospects are dim.
Take a look at the want ads these days and work is there -- for accountants, dental hygienists and receptionists -- but Internet-related positions are almost nonexistent.
"It's like the Internet died," said Humphries, who has spent all his savings and is burning through his "never-to-be-touched" money.
He was laid off from an Internet service provider in January and, four months later, from a company that installed computer networks in factories.
Potential employers spurned his resume, using phrases like "little red flag" to describe his job-hopping. He has tried to explain it away with a phrase of his own -- "it's a modern-day economy" -- but that doesn't work.
His unemployment is running out, but he dreads requesting a benefits extension.
"That's going to be hard to deal with," he said, "Hearing someone say, 'I don't understand. You've had four months to find a job and you can't find a job?'"
So now he's applying to places that have no interest in his Internet expertise, places like the bar at the Bahia Catamaran resort in Mission Beach. As bad as his situation may be, there's something else that worries Humphries: What if the economy gets worse?
"That's the scary factor in all of this," he said. "That's the kind of thing that wakes you up at four in the morning with a bit of a cold sweat."
The economy did get worse. I've never really economically recovered; I don't see that changing anytime soon. It's a life of hard budgeting - rarely eating out, cooking all my meals, cutting coupons, little money for entertainment. With all this depressing life, one could imagine my excitement when Barrack Obama ran for President of the United States. He seemed to address people like me when talking about how there needs to be jobs - one thing that really caught my attention was when a reporter asked about health-care, he answered that millions of Americans can't even afford one dollar for co-pays, that there needs to be coverage for those without money.
Well, shame on me. Like many of you, I've been fooled by politicians, long ago realizing they are comprised from the start, they'll say whatever they need to be elected. But this time I let down my guard in hope it was going to be different, that Barrack was a man of the people. President Obama now says he never campaigned on what is called the Public Option - if one re-listens to what he said, he used weasel words. He's playing semantics, which is one game I'll never join. I'm sure he's still a better President than the rest of the candidates that ran, but it doesn't matter - he lost me. Instead of taking the reigns of this country with bold leadership and the hard changes that need to be done, he's spending his term running for the next election, doing his best to pander those that will never accept him and ignoring those that helped get him elected.
After World War II, no civilization in recorded history had the high standard of living the United States experienced. We peaked at the beginning of this decade and now the long, slow decline has begun. I consider this a crossroad period - through chaos comes opportunity and I'd thought with Obama's rhetoric he'd understood that, I'd thought he had what it took to lead the country through this turbulent time.
I'm not saying that society is going to freefall and collapse, but things have changed and it's never going to be the same. Happy New Year's peeps - the struggle lives on, here's hoping it's a little less tomorrow than it is today.
Though I'd been uploading music to the Internet since the beginning of the decade, my first real mix was a collection of Christmas songs posted back in 2005. These last four years have been an interesting trip; through music blogging I've made the acquaintance and friendship of endless talented musicians, writers, artists and knowledgeable music lovers, many that taught me a thing or two. Usually, my yearly Christmas post looks back at the accomplishments of the past twelve months, there's no danger of that occurring this time 'round. It's been a somber and sobering year for most that read this, surviving this one is an achievement - I'll leave all that for my year-end post, I rather keep this as pleasant as possible. Thanks for being here, though things could be better, I'm going into 2010 feeling upbeat - hopefully, you are as well. Without further ado, on to the music...
Happily, Rage Against The Machine are still up to their old tricks - they're on a Facebook/Twitter campaign to get their song, Killing In The Name, to the Christmas Number One spot on the UK Singles Chart. As Wikipedia mentions, the slot has been dominated for four consecutive years by winners from the popular UK teevee show The X Factor, created and hosted by Simon Cowell. Even Paul McCartney has jumped in, declaring his support for RATM despite recently performing with Joe McElderry, currently second in Xmas#1. All this led to the latest controversy:
BBC bosses were forced to apologise today after rockers Rage Against The Machine unleashed a barrage of F-words on Radio Five Live's breakfast show.
The controversial US band, who are locked in a battle for Christmas Number One with X Factor winner Joe McElderry, shocked presenters Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty after performing the explicit version of the single Killing in The Name.
Speaking to host Campbell, the band had earlier discussed the internet campaign to get them to the top of the charts as a protest against "manufactured music".
The presenters then introduced the band expecting the "clean" version of the song to be performed.
But Campbell and Fogarty frantically faded out at the climax of the song as singer Zack de la Rocha repeated the lyrics "F*** you I won't do what you tell me".
As the sound of the band was drowned out, Fogarty was heard to say: "Get rid of it."
She then said: "Sorry, we needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned into something we were not expecting.
"Well, we were expecting it but we asked them not to do it and they did it anyway. So buy Joe's records instead."
A BBC spokesman said a handful of listeners had complained about the broadcast.
He added: "Five live Breakfast featured a live broadcast of the song Killing In the Name by Rage Against the Machine. We had spoken to the band repeatedly beforehand and they had agreed not to swear.
"When they did we faded the band out and said sorry immediately. We apologise again to anyone who was offended."
The band, who had taken the opportunity to criticise X Factor mogul Simon Cowell, played their song live down the phone line from Los Angeles.
They are currently the subject of a Facebook campaign to get their 1992 hit to the festive top spot ahead of 18-year-old Joe's version of The Climb.
Speaking about the race, de la Rocha attacked Cowell, saying: "Simon is an interesting character. He seems to have profited greatly off humiliating people on live television and has a unique position of capturing the attention of people on television, but also the airwaves. We see this [campaign] as a necessary break of that control."
Meanwhile guitarist Tom Morello explained why the band had decided to back the fan-led campaign. He said: "People are tired of being spoon fed one schmaltzy ballad after another.
"They want to take back their own charts. We're honoured they've chosen our song to be the rebel anthem to topple The X Factor monopoly.
"People aren't buying Killing In The Name to protest a record coming out on a major company. We wrote Killing In The Name in a small industrial slum in Los Angeles.
"The X Factor song is written by a cabal of overpaid songwriters to shove the schmaltzy business down your throats. So there is two very different choices.
"The thing the listeners need to know is, it's a really close race and its a real liberating musical revolution and we're honoured to be a part of it."
Killing In The Name recently became the bookies favourite to bag the Christmas Number One slot.
Cowell has slammed the campaign, calling it "stupid", "cynical" and "very Scrooge".
DJ Chris Evans has also been forced to say sorry for offending listeners after George Michael used the F-word on his drive-time show yesterday.
Asked by a fan whether he would ever appear on BBC show Top Gear, in a feature in which celebrities race round a track, he replied: "Other than the fact I'd be afraid of coming last on that f****** score board."
It's heartening to find RATM still doesn't go gentle into that good night.
The Christmas elves are feverishly working away, putting together the very finest holiday music for your listening pleasure - hopefully, that will be up shortly. I'll also be waxing philosophically on the merciful end of perhaps the worst decade in American history - you won't want to miss any of it!
Another year, another Thanksgiving - time to recharge with family, food, stories, good times. Though the last twelve months haven't been easy for many, I'm in the holiday mood - as the year closes, things have started looking up, so by all signs, I won't be eating dog food while living in my car after all, the wolves have been kept at bay for yet another day, thanks for everyone's concern! Other than that, I'm thankful my other web projects have taken off well, not happy the Web Sheriff (no links for that loser) had a post yanked down on behalf of his client, I'll restore it down the road, sans the Van Morrison tune. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, World Wide Web netizens, even if the majority of you don't celebrate it - enjoy this year's mix! And no, I haven't any idea what the deal is on all those over-sized, anthropomorphized balloons of animals, I'm pretty sure no American does either, which is the true beauty of it.
I still have themes on deck, but this tune has drilled deep into my head for some major earwormage - maybe posting it will serve as a cathartic act of sorts. Jane Says is an evocative track, for many it strongly recalls another time and place, like all great songs do. Enjoy.
I had an OMG moment after I looked at last week's stats, I'm pretty amazed how many peeps stopped by. It's nice to know after laying off for so long that anyone would still be interested, it's extremely heartening - thanks to all of you! It's sure a lot easier updating knowing it's appreciated.
Welcome to November, the month that starts the holiday cycle that ends with New Years Day in January. It can be the most hectic and stressful part of the year, no better time for good tunes to keep things running smooth - here's seven songs to help that along.
Oakland-based Tony! Toni! Toné! landed at number 7 on US Billboard charts with If I Had No Loot, off of 1993's Sons of Soul. The album was produced by the band and eventually led to leader Raphael Saadiq's career as a topflight R&B producer, where he had hits with D'Angelo, Total and The Roots. The group recently reformed without him, the result of an Alicia Keys collaboration that charted in the top ten. The groovin' guitar riff comes courtesy of Eddie Floyd's Knock On Wood, which gives If I Had No Loot that driving Stax Records sound that causes it to be such a fun listen.
With Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young breaking up and his band Crazy Horse signing their own record deal, Neil Young teamed up with Jack Nitzsche, added some choice session musicians and came out with Harvest, the best-selling album of 1972. Heart of Gold was the only number 1 hit in his career, the Folk/Country flavor the result a back injury that caused Young to switch to acoustic guitar, which could be easily played sitting down rather than standing with an electric.
The Clash's love of Dub is apparent in Straight To Hell, a song with a theme of alienation and rejection. The first verse deals with racism suffered by immigrants in Northern England's steel mills, the second's about abandoned Amerasian children fathered by GIs during the Viet Nam War and the third references Puerto Rican immigrants driven out of New York's Alphabet City. Strong music with a powerful message is a heady combination, The Clash possessed both in droves.
This is one of those songs that halfway through, you stop and ask who it is. Manu Chao sings in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, English, which he mixes with Salsa, Reggae, Ska, Rock and Punk - The Clash are one of his biggest influences. His parents emigrated from Spain to Paris trying to escape Francisco Franco's dictatorship, after Manu's birth, they moved to the suburbs of Boulogne-Billancourt and Sèvres. Chao started his musical career with Hot Pants, a French Rockabilly band that disbanded in 1985. Afterward, he formed Mano Negra with his brother and a cousin. They toured mostly in Europe and South America, breaking up in 1995, which led to the beginning of Manu's solo career. Keep up with the latest at his MySpace page.
This tune inevitably gets a "you should really see the video, it's truly bizarre...", so I made sure to include it. Like Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun is the name of a sculpture found in Seattle's Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill, which can be seen here. Though it spent seven weeks at number 1 on Billboard's Rock Chart, they broke up in 1997.
Steve Miller's dad was a doctor, Jazz enthusiast and amateur recording engineer. Young Steve would watch him record Bluesmen like T-Bone Walker - his godfather was Les Paul, guitarist and father of modern recording. With that sort of pedigree, success seemed a sure-shot. After dropping out of college six credit hours short of a degree, Miller moved to Chicago and started the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band. In 1967, he bought a used Volkswagen Bus and headed to San Francisco, just in time for the Summer of Love. He formed The Steve Miller Band and during the next year, they released their first album, Children of the Future. In succession, he scored radio play with Livin' in the USA, Space Cowboy and Quicksilver Girl - Miller was playing authenic raw Blues mixed with a healthy dollop of Psychedelia. In 1973, his platinum-selling album, The Joker, changed all that. Extremely radio-friendly, Miller departed from his roots and went commerical with great success. The next few years, he had all sorts of hits, but none topped The Joker. His last release was 1993's Wide River, Miller gave up producing records altogether since.
One thing for sure - 2009 has been the scariest year in recent memory. Halloween just might be the sort of cathartic therapy needed, maybe a horror movie or three to chase away some of those Great Depression II willies. Perhaps these thirteen scary songs will do the trick as well - throw caution to the wind and be all ears, with these tunes full of frightful fears.
A Sunday Seven - why not? Some tunes to enjoy the day by, the one I feel is best suited for music listening.
After the success of Purple Rain, record industry weasels flocked to Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, hoping to find musicians and songwriters who could deliver that funky Roland TR-808-based sound the Purple One garnered hits with. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were at the right place at the right time - they had just been fired from The Time, a band Prince had put together. They quickly delivered, producing and writing songs for the SOS Band, the Human League and Cherrelle, who scored a top ten R&B hit with I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On. Palmer had asked Jam & Lewis for a song, they gave him the Cherrelle tune (I've included the video below), which he interpreted very nicely. It’s from the Riptide album, where it was overshadowed by the supermegamonster hit, Addicted to Love.
Blanchmange were one of the plethora of Synthpop bands on the 80s music scene. The duo of vocalist Neil Arthur and keyboardist Stephen Luscombe landed the #7 spot on the UK singles chart with the exotic-sounding Living On The Ceiling. However, their success was short lived and they split up in 1987. They recently reformed - you can read all about it at their MySpace page.
The Human League are yet another 80s Synthpop band, they hit big with Don't You Want Me, which sold over 1,400,000 copies sold worldwide. They had much record company pressure to recreate those sales, to their credit they tried branching out with more of a R&B sound. Fascination channels a Motown groove, albeit through an ARP Odyssey.
During the 60s, Small Faces vocalist, Steve Marriott, was pretty much considered the best singer of the UK rock scene. If his manager had been able to overcome contractual disagreements with a then-forming Led Zeppelin and their management, they would have chosen him instead of Robert Plant as their singer. Too bad, it's scary to think how good they would've been.
In 1982, for all intent and purpose, the Jackson 5 were pretty much done. Though they had another album and world tour in 1984, it was the year Michael unleashed the Moonwalk on Motown’s 25th anniversary television special, which sent his solo career in motion. The writing was on the wall for his siblings - branch out, diversify or spend the rest of your life giving interviews of what it was like to work with Michael. Unfortunately, it was the latter for all but Janet (Marlon Jackson stocks shelves at a Vons supermarket in San Diego), but it wasn’t from a lack of effort. Props to Jermaine for stretching out that year and bringing in Devo to help him record this track. It’s not a bad tune at all and it’s worth the price of admission alone to hear Devo grunt out a white bread version of the Soul music call, "Good god" during the bridge. Check it out - Jermaine gets devolved!
I've attended literally thousands of music shows and the best live performance I've ever witnessed was by The Average White Band. They came on stage and just killed it from the first note to the very last, the crowd was floating from the music. I've never heard a tighter group, and I've attended James Brown shows during his heyday, they were just amazing. Pick Up The Pieces reached the #1 spot on the US charts in 1975, despite their popularity, the group disbanded in 1982. Afterward, Paul McCartney was smart enough to grab guitarist/vocalist Hamish Stuart and drummer Steve Ferrone spent time with Duran Duran before joining Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
I'm aware of the conspicuousness of my absence, I've actually had peeps in my real life start grabbing me by the shoulders asking why I'm not updating, it's hard not feeling I've let them and everyone else down. I prefer to save the details, but like many of you out there, the economy is still kicking me hard in the ass. It brings about a certain malaise that causes one to have the attention span of a gnat. I have tons of stuff in my head, getting it out is another story.
Though everyone has their own reasons, I've noticed a lot of my favorite blogs have either called it quits or mothballed operations, most notably Locust St. Chris made mention of not having it in himself anymore to continue, I certainly can relate. Getting this thing out regularly is a job in itself - hosting bills through the roof, the never-ending leeching services that suck gigs of bandwidth I pay for, lazy peeps cut and pasting my unaccredited words that I've spent hour upon hour researching and writing onto their own blogs. The only way for this to work is not thinking about that crap and remind myself why I do this - for fun. In my world, there's nothing better than listening, sharing and discussing good music.
I plan on continuing, but I can't make any promises how often I end up updating other than I wish it was a few times a week instead of once a month. Stick with me - rest assured I'll continue, if for no other reason than having the chance, within minutes, of registering my disgust throughout the world via the Internet. Besides porn, that's one thing it's good for, 'eh?
Front 242 were an early leader of Electronica and Industrial music, one of the first bands that used looped samples of soundbites. Welcome To Paradise is chock full of them, using a fiery sermon delivered by televangelist Reverend Ferrell Griswold, the centerpiece being, "NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE!" Back in the day, this was a huge hit in dance clubs, it always packed the floor.
About two months ago, I came across the Diplo and Switch project, Major Lazer, first through the totally insane video of Pon De Floor (nws) and then listening to the rest of their fine full-length album, Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do. They're on tour now and I've heard the live show kills, so make sure to check 'em out if they come to your town.
The Rolling Stones covered this on Exile On Main Street, but the original just can’t be beat - Slim Harpo drives it through like a freight train barreling down the track. ZZ Top later used the riff for La Grange, there's no denying Slim's a master of Boggie Woggie.
One of the things I try to keep quiet about is my embarrassing love of mid-period Deep Purple. Jon Lord's swirling Hammond B3 mixed in with the nibble guitar work of Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice's pounding drums expanded the Heavy Metal genre out of the Stone Age. The vocals didn't matter much, just as long as this year's lead singer could screech on key. Hush is from early Purple, when they thought they were a Pop band and recorded commercial tunes aimed at the teenybopper market. This one came up because I recently caught an advertisement for some crummy movie using a remake, it served to remind what a good job Deep Purple did with this Joe South song.
I was lucky enough to catch Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers during their first national tour, back when they were laughably marketed as a Punk band, then New Wave. During 2005, a friend carted me along to one of their shows and I was pleasantly surprised to hear how the group had nicely matured since those days. Outside of The Blasters, one of the few authentic American Rock bands still cranking it out. I picked this tune cause it pretty well sums up life of late.
If his twin engine Beechcraft airplane hadn't plunged into the frigid waters of Wisconsin's Lake Monona in Madison on December 10th, 1967, Otis Redding would have celebrated his 68th birthday last September 9th. His body was recovered from the lake bed the day after the crash, he was just 26 years old when he died.
This isn't meant to be a detailed overview of Otis' career, more of a note to remind what an amazing musician he was, though his life had enough twists and turns to make for an engrossing biography. He was Joe Frazier to Marvin Gaye's Muhammad Ali - while Marvin could precisely take a song apart like Ali an opponent, Otis would bowl one over with the shear strength of his voice, much the bulldog Frazier was in the ring.
In 1962, while a member of Chitlin' Circuit regulars, Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers (where he did double-duty as a driver), Redding used left over studio time to record These Arms of Mine, which climbed to #20 on the national R&B charts. His church choir days evident, it was the first of a series of 6/8 time Gospel-tinged ballads his record company released, setting the tone for his early career.
After a few successful tours of Europe, Otis finally moved from just another circuit soul shouter to superstar in the eyes (and ears) of the American public after his riveting appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where he brought the house down.
Ironically, Redding finally landed that number one hit he spent a career chasing, (Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay, one month after the plane crash. Below you'll find his first recording, a few choice songs with some live cuts from the Whiskey a Go Go and Monterey albums, along with an alternative take of Dock Of The Bay - a bit more sparse, changed vocal phrasings, along with a different whistle on the fade out. I hope you enjoy the tunes as much as I do, to these ears they sound as fresh as the first time around.
Though it's still summer in the Northern Hemisphere, we're heading for the homestretch as colleges and university students return, Back To School sales start and vacations end. Here are some tunes that have no particular relevance to the season, outside of helping set the mood for some last minute fun in the sun. Hope it's been a good one so far for one and all.
There's no better time to take the pulse of a country than on the anniversary of its birth. My hopes were sky-high when Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth President of the United States. The country had just endured eight years of a wartime President that took more vacation time than any other to date. The American people apparently were upset as I was - for the first time in years, there was a majority of Democrats voted into the House and Senate, which meant smooth sailing for our newly elected Democratic President.
Americans were well aware of the serious problems that awaited President Obama. Two wars, a Wall St. collapse that jump-started a worldwide economic meltdown and a healthcare system that only served those that could afford it, among other niceties. Barack had my vote after I heard him respond to a question about copay costs, he made mention of all those that couldn't afford any payments, that his healthcare plan would make room for those with no money. He talked about shutting down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and allowing those held without charge to have their due process.
Eight months later, President Obama has kept his promise to start closing Gitmo, but now is considering whether to issue an executive order to indefinitely imprison a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees. This is not acceptable - the law is applicable to one and all. President Obama stated he would govern by consensus, that despite a Democratic majority, he wasn't going to force bills down the throats of Republicans. Now, there's a problem with that, since the Republicans haven't offered to be part of any solutions, they're still walking in lockstep and doing nothing but obstructing anything that's been proposed. With insurance industry lobby money behind them, they're against any "socializing" of America's health care system. It's to the point that Obama is now offering to take the public option off the healthcare table.
Change we can believe in? You haven't done nothin' and with a majority at your back, no less. Mr. President, we don't need a consensus, We The People need help. July Fourth is the two hundred and thirty-third anniversary of the birth of the Union. We Americans have made it through the best and worst of times, we'll make it through this somehow. Happy Independence Day, peeps. Here's hoping things get better and soon.
Here we are, on Father's Day and I was trying to find a father-appropriate song that I can relate to. My dad wasn't ever around much, left our family for good when I was ten, so it’s not quite a sentimental day. Nonetheless, as I often remind my mom, he’s half of me, however good or bad that may be. In the Shel Silverstein composition, A Boy Named Sue, the protagonist has a future of brawling awaiting him because of an absent father whose only contribution to his entire life was naming him Sue, a feminine forename, which led to endless taunting from bullies and the ensuing battles that followed. After years of searching for his dad, they finally cross paths and commence with the mother of all fights. If you've not heard this one before, I won't ruin the ending - give it a listen.
Before my father left, the only advice he gave me was never get a tattoo, which was based on his experience of having to alter his own ill-named one, and to stay away from cigarettes, since he wasn't able to stop smoking them until his illness. Nowadays, he lives in Manhattan, suffering from leukemia and on his tenth year of recovery from laryngeal cancer, which caused him to have a laryngectomy. The doctors gave him one year to live, so he's in overtime right now. Our bond can best be explained by one of Facebook's relationship status notifiers - it’s complicated, but I still love him. Have a great day, dad.
I've had a few items sitting around that for one reason or another didn't fit into any sort of theme. Because of that, I'm bringing back "odds & sods" so some worthwhile tunes get airing.
A lot of people were wondering who Less Than Zero was written about, especially after the line, "Calling Mr. Oswald with the swastika tattoo." Xenophobic Americans assumed it was Lee Harvey Oswald, the man labeled John Kennedy's assassin, in fact it was about Oswald Mosley, an extreme right-wing British politician, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists.
While playing the Warner Theatre in Washington DC, February 28, 1978, Costello gave a special US performance of Less Than Zero that has been called "The Dallas Version." Below are some of the lyrics Elvis sang that night:
Janet takes her clothes off in succession, while her husband rides a bumper in the President's procession. She`s sees him on the screen as she looks up from giving head. When he's had enough of that her lover throws her on the bed to teach her she`s alive and suddenly he`s dead.
Calling Mister Oswald, calling anyone at the scene, If you were taking home movies there`s a chance you might have seen him. They've got a thousand variations, every witness in a file. Janet puts on some coffee and she comes back with a smile. She says, "I hear that South America is coming into style."
A pistol was still smoking, a man lay on the floor. Mister Oswald thought he had an understanding with the law. She`s got rubies on her fingers, Janet turns and looks away. Her mind upon a basement out of the USA. She says, "Let`s talk about the future now we've put the past away."
Before, the show was available solely through bootlegs, this one comes from the recent My Aim Is True reissue.
Back in 1968, David Bowie was struggling to find an audience, lack of album sales for his first record caused his label Deram to drop him. New Musical Express wrote, "A listener strictly accustomed to David Bowie in his assorted '70s guises would probably find this debut album either shocking or else simply quaint."
His manager at the time, Kenneth Pitt, shopped around a rough demo tape that led to a one-album deal with Mercury Records. That's where this early version of Space Oddity is culled from. The familiar version was re-recorded the next year to take advantage of the publicity driven by the Apollo 11 moon landing. I usually prefer barebone demo performances of popular songs, I get a better feel for the tune this way, as with the case of Space Oddity. For fans of the Stylophone, no worries, it's still there in the mix.
Mick Jones of The Clash once sang, "I wasn't born so much as I fell out", which is a notion I can get with, since my family isn't very emotionally demonstrative. That's not as bad as it sounds, since we all love each other, so I was surprised when out of the blue, my mom started letting me know that she cared for me. I was pretty perplexed and answered with eyes arched as she was waited for a response that wasn't soon forthcoming. After a few more tries, there was an explanation that she'd read in my blog how one should tell someone that you care about them. It was one of those "D'oh" moments in life, caught in a web of my own weaving.
So, on that note, it's a good time as any to mention how thankful I am on this Mother's Day to have a mom that passed down the love of music of all sorts to her son. My earliest memories involve hearing the hits of the day playing on the radio that sat by the crib, I can remember the first time I'd heard songs that would soon become part of the fabric of my life. All this eventually led to me being mom's go-to guy for the telephone version of Name That Tune, I get to sit idly by as she hums an assortment of notes that bear no resemblance to any musical scale I've heard before. Though I express exasperation, I don't mind, as mom and I get to share a moment together bonding over music.
Here's to mom and all the mothers out there reading this - enjoy your day! Oh, before I forget... that was The Spinners backing Elton John on Mama Can't Buy You Love - mom, you still owe me twenty bucks. No, I'm not letting this one go, square that bet, pronto!
"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." - Rajneesh
"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." - Mark Twain
"Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together." - Pearl S. Buck
"Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own." - Aristotle
"The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents." - John J. Plomp
"For the hand that rocks the cradle - is the hand that rules the world." - William Ross Wallace
The Beastie Boys just remastered Check Your Head, so it seems natural to revisit one of the better tracks off it. They played instruments for the first time on this album, along with a new sound that laid the blueprint for things to come.
After making his bones with angsty music, Conor Oberst is smoothing it out with his latest collection, the just released Outer South. More upbeat and Pop-filled than his earlier work, you'll either love his new, more accessible sound or hate the SOB sellout. Listen and decide for yourself.
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Nikorette
Is it about a stunt motorcyclist or a close friend destroying a relationship? Only Thom Yorke knows...
In 1962, the foundation of the War was laid when The Creators formed in Long Beach, California. Six years later, after recording singles with Love saxophonist Jay Contreli, they backed then-LA Ram Deacon Jones' foray into the music business and changed their name to Nightshift. While playing the Rag Doll club in North Hollywood, the band was approached by record producer Jerry Goldstein and former Animals lead singer, Eric Burdon, to back the vocalist in his latest project, War. They recorded Eric Burdon Declares "War", spawning Spill the Wine, which later found new life on the soundtrack of Boogie Nights. After another studio recording, world tours and live album, Burdon and the group went separate ways. Most bands disappear after losing their front person, instead, War turned into a hit machine, with a string of top-ten singles and numerous gold records. No doubt influenced by their massive success, their later recordings got a bit commerical, which took the luster of their earlier earthy output. Slippin’ Into Darkness, from their second album, All Day Music, finds the band in fine Funk form.
When Rick James wasn't busy smacking Charlie Murphy around, he was cranking out nonpareil gut-bucket Funk, like today's selection, taken from the 1981 12" vinyl release. This one gets the party started right and quickly.
Copenhagen's Laid Back is one of those marvelous one-hit wonders that turned out a classic song and then disappeared. Prince liked it so much he cloned it with Erotic City - I wonder if His Royal Badness ever gave them proper credit?
Recently, discussion turned to what was the first song you'd downloaded from the Net. In my case, it was this gem from Cake concerning the ancient radiation of faintly glimmering radio stations haunting dismembered constellations. When it comes to lyricism, I likes my imagery.
Crazy times, brothers and sisters. When I was wee lad, I'd ask my grandparents about the Great Depression. They'd answer the realization of having lived through one didn't come until years later, after it had been tagged with that label. All they knew - employment was scarce and money tight, sorta sounds a bit like right now. Here's hoping everyone is holding up okay, it's jarring to hear of so many job losses piling up. How about some music to put our minds on more pleasant thoughts?
David Byrne is on record saying this song was written about a girl he knew in high school that used to take LSD while behind the field of a Yoo-Hoo factory. I love the line, "Missing enough to feel alright: and she was" - there's a good sense of freedom there.
Superfantasticfridayfivebonus: This video finds the Talking Heads absolutely playing their asses off in a groove that would give Sly and The Family Stone a run for their money. I feel they're at their best in this rip snarling performance.
Here's Duke Ellington and band during the Cotton Club era, a time when they played with exceptional fire. Ellington composed The Mooche to show off Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton's pioneering use of the plunger mute on trombones - it gave off a "wah-wah" sound, about four decades before Jimi Hendrix came on the scene.
Always on the lookout for new bands, Foals came to my attention via tumblr molodoichelovek. They formed in Oxford, England, in 2005 and describe themselves sounding as infinite substance trepanning. With that type of account, it's probably best you listen for yourself.
Mark Oliver Everett - AKA A Man Called E, Mr. E, or simply E. Whatever name you use, he's the person behind the Eels. You may know his father Hugh Everett III, was a quantum physicist and at the age of nineteen, Mark discovered him lying dead in bed. His sister Elizabeth, a schizophrenic, committed suicide in 1996 and two years later, his mother died of lung cancer. His rough life caused E to examine his feelings through music, where he tackles themes of mortality, mental illness, loneliness, unrequited love and dark humor. In today's selection we get twenty miles of hard road, thirty-three years of tough luck, forty-four skulls buried in the ground, crawling down through the muck.
I don't have to say much about Stevie Wonder other than to enjoy one of the better cuts from his Songs In The Key Of Life album. Of late, I just can't stop playing it, which is why it's on the Friday Five.
A couple of notes - the best way to keep up with the goings on here is through your newsreader, here's the feed: snuhthing/anything rss. While I'm at it, I've been spending a lot of time over at my tumblr, where I post all sorts of interesting images, videos, links and music. I have to admit being surprised how something that started out as a lark has taken off in such a big way. If you enjoy snuhthing/anything, you should like this as well. The feed: snuh.tumblr rss.
Now that I have all of that out of the way, what's up with everyone - what's your weekend plans?
Yeah, it's a repost, but it's just right for April Fools Day.
"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right." - Mark Twain
"Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence." - Will Henry
"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools." - Ernest Hemingway
"A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will."- Spanish Proverb
"That's the penalty we have to pay for our acts of foolishness - someone else always suffers for them." - Alfred Sutro
"I have great faith in fools - my friends call it self-confidence" - Edgar Allan Poe
"Old fools are babes again." - William Shakespeare
"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever." - Chinese Proverb
"Any fool can write a novel, but it takes real genius to sell it." - J. G. Ballard
"Fools gain greater advantages through their weakness than intelligent men through their strength. We watch a great man struggling against fate and we do not lift a finger to help him. But we patronize a grocer who is headed for bankruptcy." - Honore de Balzac
"You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time." - Abraham Lincoln.
"You can fool too many of the people too much of the time." - James Thurber
"Every fool finds a greater one to admire them." - Bioleau
"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap." - Cynthia Heimel