Antonino D’Ambrosio – “The Bitter Tears of Johnny Cash” (2009)

September 15, 2010 at 10:44 am (Johnny Cash, Music, Reviews & Articles)

A Nov. 9, 2009 article from Salon about Johnny Cash’s feud with the music industry over the album Bitter Tears…

The untold story of Johnny Cash, protest singer and Native American activist, and his feud with the music industry.

In July 1972, musician Johnny Cash sat opposite President Richard Nixon in the White House’s Blue Room. As a horde of media huddled a few feet away, the country music superstar had come to discuss prison reform with the self-anointed leader of America’s “silent majority.” “Johnny, would you be willing to play a few songs for us,” Nixon asked Cash. “I like Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie From Muskogee’ and Guy Drake’s ‘Welfare Cadillac.'” The architect of the GOP’s Southern strategy was asking for two famous expressions of white working-class resentment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nicholas Taylor – “The Velvet Underground in New York, New York in the Velvet Underground” (2002)

September 14, 2010 at 10:37 am (Music, Reviews & Articles)

A Feb. 7, 2002 article on The Velvet Underground and their relationship to NYC, from the PopMatters website…

If you want to write the story of the Velvet Underground, you have to begin far beyond any of the physical things that actually happened. You first have to look at New York City, the mother which spawned them, which gave them its inner fire, creating an umbilical attachment of emotion to a monstrous hulk of urban sprawl. You have to walk its streets, ride its subways, see it bustling and alive in the day, cold and haunted at night. And you have to love it, embrace and recognize its strange power, for there, if anywhere, will you find the roots
—Lenny Kaye

Deep in the recesses of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, lies an unpublished, typewritten essay on popular music written in 1966 by Lou Reed, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Velvet Underground. He discusses the differences between the rock music produced on the East Coast versus the West Coast, how Read the rest of this entry »

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Lizzy Davies – “French Filmmaker Claude Chabrol Dies” (2010)

September 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm (Cinema, French New Wave, Reviews & Articles)

From yesterday’s issue of The Guardian comes news that acclaimed French New Wave director Claude Chabrol has passed away at the age of 80. May he rest in peace…

The world of French cinema is in mourning for one of its greatest and most prolific directors, Claude Chabrol, who died today aged 80.

One of the founding fathers of the New Wave of French film, Chabrol was best known for his masterful suspense thrillers, subversive female roles and stinging critiques of the bourgeoisie. His first work, Le Beau Serge, was released in 1958 and he made more than 80 films, his last – a murder mystery starring Gérard Depardieu Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom Buckley – “Hill Street Blues” (1981)

September 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm (Reviews & Articles)

A Jan. 17, 1981 New York Times review of the very first episode of one of the most Emmy-awarded shows in TV history. Obviously Mr. Buckley didn’t think much of the show, based on the first episode, but in all fairness, it does take most shows awhile to find their groove. I wonder what he thought of the show as it progressed…? Anyhow, I still believe this was the best cop show in history, and paved the way for later shows like NYPD Blue

”Ten-thirteen” is the police-radio code for ”assist patrolman.” Too bad there isn’t a signal for ”assist writers,” because Hill Street Blues needs help badly. The first of five related instalments of this limited-run police series was seen on Thursday on NBCTV. The second will be shown by the network tonight.

The writer-producer team of Steve Bochco and Michael Kozoll has tried to present the men of the Hill Street station house in an unidentified Read the rest of this entry »

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Bob Dylan – “Shot of Love” (1981)

September 12, 2010 at 9:14 am (Bob Dylan, Music, Reviews & Articles)

The late Paul Nelson’s Oct. 15, 1981 Rolling Stone review of this mostly-forgotten (except for “Every Grain of Sand”), much-maligned final album in the “born again” trilogy. To say Nelson hates this album is an understatement. You can picture him making a copy of “Every Grain of Sand” (the one song he likes), and then smashing the album to bits moments later…

 

When I first heard it, Shot of Love sounded like Bob Dylan’s most interesting record in a long time. Interesting, not good. Though many of the songs seemed wretchedly written, the artist’s churning mixture of ultimate love (God’s) and ultimate hate (Dylan’s), positiveness and paranoia, missilery and martyrdom, struck me as perhaps deliberate–as if he were laying out all the contradictions in a line, creating a fractured but understandable self-portrait for us to put together. To know him is to love him, as they say, and it’s pretty difficult to do either these days. With “Every Grain of Sand,” Dylan actually opened the door a little, ushered the listener in with some uncharacteristically warm and inviting harmonica playing, and offered a remarkably unwarlike account of why he became a Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Sept. 11, 2010)

September 11, 2010 at 9:59 am (Life & Politics)

9 years later…

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Lou Reed – “Playing Music Is Not Like Athletics”

September 11, 2010 at 9:50 am (Poetry & Literature)

Playing music is not like athletics:
One may improve with age.
The untrained mind with natural talents
reflects the part and never the whole
it is too narrow to perceive itself.
Its goals erase themselves.

May I have your ear, that
curlicued receptor of sound? Read the rest of this entry »

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Jack Hamilton – “How ‘Exile on Main St.’ Killed the Rolling Stones” (2010)

September 10, 2010 at 7:50 am (Music, Reviews & Articles, The Rolling Stones)

This May 25, 2010 article comes from The Atlantic. I don’t believe, myself, that The Stones “died” after this album, though I do believe it was their crowning achievement…

“Rocks Off,” the first track of the Rolling Stones’s Exile on Main Street, opens with a scratchy Keith Richards Telecaster riff punctuated by a single Charlie Watts snare hit. Mick Jagger lasciviously intones an “oh yeah,” pitched perfectly between earnestness and irony. This sequence lasts all of five seconds, but you’d be hard-pressed to find five seconds that better articulate the brilliance of the Rolling Stones, much in the way that Exile, the band’s 1972 shambling sprawl of a double-album that has recently enjoyed a re-ssue, perfectly captures a too-brief period during which Rolling Stones Read the rest of this entry »

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Keith Olbermann – “There Is No ‘Ground Zero Mosque'” (2010)

September 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm (Life & Politics, Reviews & Articles)

I’m no more a fan of Keith Olbermann than I am of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, but I think Mr. Olbermann’s article on this controversial “mosque” (which isn’t) should be read. This comes from MSNBC.com, Aug. 16, 2010. What’s your opinion on all of this?…

 

“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.” 

Pastor Martin Niemoller’s words are well known but their context is not well understood. Niemoller was not speaking abstractly. He witnessed persecution, he acquiesced to it, he ultimately fell victim to it. He had been a German World War 1 hero, then a conservative who welcomed the fall of German democracy and the rise of Hitler and had few qualms the beginning of the holocaust until he himself was arrested for supporting it insufficiently. Read the rest of this entry »

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Blair Jackson – “Todd Rundgren: Happy to Be Home Again” (2009)

September 9, 2010 at 10:16 am (Music, Reviews & Articles, Todd Rundgren)

Taken from Mix magazine, Feb. 1, 2009 — the return of Todd…

When Todd Rundgren makes a solo album, he makes a solo album. The multifaceted singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer/engineer/tech pioneer first got the urge to do it alone all the way back in 1972, on three of the four sides of his breakthrough Something/Anything? set. Since then, he’s recorded albums in every conceivable way — with bands, without bands, layering instruments one at a time, live in the studio with no overdubs, live onstage; you name it. He’s cut note-for-note replicas of famous pop songs; laid down convoluted guitar-dominated prog-rock tracks; made an album entirely out of treated vocals; hit the charts with catchy, radio-friendly ballads; recorded interactive albums; and even made one with bossa-nova Read the rest of this entry »

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