Brandi Carlile and Tune-Yards

It was about 3 a.m. that I learned of the existence of Brandi Carlile.

I hadn’t yet heard her segment on The Howard Stern Show. I knew it had aired because many Stern “fans” in my social media stream were bitching about it. Bitchy group, Stern fans. So I was having some trouble getting to sleepyland, and often when this happens, I put on the Stern show. They were playing the last half of her appearance in the studio. I was disappointed not to get to hear the entire segment, but I did get to hear Carlile and her “twins” perform her song “The Joke.”

This is a tremendous performer, and she has written a truly touching song. Her story of how she came to pen the song was even moreso: She met a son of her friend’s, and he was at that age, about 13, where he just didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin, and she noticed he had a habit of tugging on his big white t-shirt, as if he was hiding in it. And she felt herself wanting to call him to offer reassurances about life and how it would improve.

She wrote a song instead.

Here’s NPR’s take on it, and it includes a live performance of “The Joke.” But, hey, a warning: Don’t listen to it if you’re not feeling like having your chin and lip quiver a little.

Then, if you’re like me, you’ll wash that down with a little Tune-Yards.

What do you mean, who? I haven’t gushed all over you yet about Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner?

The article referenced (in the Financial Times, of all places) immediately compares Tune-Yards to Talking Heads, which is an apt comparison.

But. To really dig the Yard-Tunes, you must see the live performance. It’s really something. Got an hour 20 to kill?

How about a half hour?

Junior Walker

I heard a song on WRUR last night called “Sweet Soul” by Junior Walker and the All Stars. I made a note of the song and listened to it several times today. This guy finds an upper register of a tenor saxophone that should not exist. Dude is freakin’ brilliant. I was so happy to have discovered this new musician that I have never heard before.

Except that I have heard him before.

I grew up listening to Junior Walker.

And, if you’re anywhere around my age, so did you.

No Beatles? No Zeppelin? WTF?

From Facedbook, as nominated for the challenge by my friend Cliff: 10 all time favorite albums, in no particular order. Albums that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate people each day to do the same.

The list:

Day One: Through the Past, Darkly by The Rolling Stones
Day Two: Class Clown by George Carlin
Day Three: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy
Day Four: Chicago II
Day Five: Saturday Night Fever – The Original Movie Sound Track
Day Six: 1999 by Prince and the Revolution
Day Seven: Diver Down by Van Halen
Day Eight: We’re Only In It For the Money by The Mothers of Invention
Day Nine: The Scofflaws by The Scofflaws
Day Ten: Cup of Fish by The TwistOffs

That was fun.

Happy ElisReginaBirthday

Many years ago, I was doing some research into the song “Waters of March,” a song which, as performed by Jane Monheit, just haunts me. And I came upon this.

This discovery was one of those life-changing moments. Because after I viewed it, I had to know who that woman is.

Who she was was Elis Regina. Here’s here becoming famous:

Anyway, I bought this album, and it’s become one of my favorite things. I would put this record next to Led Zeppelin IV, Only In It For The Money, Innervisions, SOTT, and The Man Who Sold the World. It is glorious.

I often cite this as one of her finest performances, which it is:

Also, and I just found this, here’s one of her singing in English. That’s weird.

Elis Regina died in 1982 at 36. Same old story, too much booze, cocaine, and something called temazepam. It was like when Elvis died: “More than 15,000 people, among friends, relatives and fans, held her wake at Teatro Bandeirantes, in São Paulo, with large groups of fans singing her songs. More than 100,000 people followed her funeral procession throughout São Paulo. She was buried in Cemitério do Morumbi.[9]”

Anyways, kids, while yinz are donning green and slurping beers, I will be thinking about Elis Regina on her birthday. Give her music a try. Your life will improve.

Hey, here’s some other good music. Courtesy of alicublog.

Sound Your Funky Horn

From the Wiki:

Junkanoo is a street parade with music, dance, and costumes of Akan origin in many towns across the Bahamas every Boxing Day (December 26) and New Year’s Day (January 1), the same as “Kakamotobi” or the Fancy Dress Festival. The largest Junkanoo parade happens in the capital Nassau, New Providence. There are also Junkanoo parades in Miami in June and Key West in October, where local black American populations have their roots in The Bahamas. In addition to being a culture dance for the Garifuna people,[1][2] this type of dancing is also performed in The Bahamas on Independence day and other historical holidays.
Dances are choreographed to the beat of goatskin drums and cowbells.

Here’s kind of what that looks like.

In popular culture, junkanoo has been portrayed or featured in the James Bond film Thunderball, and also in one episode of Miami Vice, and in Top Chef: All Stars, season 8.

What’s interesting about this? At least, to me?

Well, in 1973, a record store employee in Hialeah, Florida named Harry Wayne Kasey started a band.

He called it KC & The Sunshine Junkanoo Band.

Do a little dance. Make a little love. Get down tonight. Get down tonight.

The Dance Electric

I like the Purple Rain Deluxe release. It collects many b-sides, extended mixes, and other oddities in one place. But, sadly, I think it is a missed opportunity.

The set contains three compact discs and on DVD of a March 1985 performance at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. CD #1 is the original soundtrack album. CDs #2 and #3 contain extended mixes and B-sides.

But they’re completely unproduced. No attempt was made to craft this material into a coherent album. I think CD #2 should be the original soundtrack with the extended mixes included and that CD #3 could be a produced, coherent album on its own.

And, why still are some of the most prominent songs from the film not included? “Sex Shooter” isn’t a Faulkner novel, but it is the only song we hear performed TWICE in the film. And even this expanded collection pretends that The Time doesn’t exist in the Kid’s universe. Meanwhile, Dez Dickerson’s “Modernaire” has essentially fallen off the planet. You can’t buy it, you can’t beg for it. It may be the most out of print music recording to have ever existed.

Here’s my mix:

    Disc One
  1. Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)
  2. Take Me With U
  3. The Beautiful Ones
  4. Computer Blue (Hallway Speech Version) / Darling Nikki (Aaron’s Edit)
  5. When Doves Cry
  6. I Would Die 4U
  7. Baby I’m a Star
  8. Purple Rain

    Disk Two
  1. Our Destiny / Roadhouse Garden
  2. Wonderful Ass
  3. Father’s Song
  4. Velvet Kitty Cat
  5. The Dance Electric (André Cymone)
  6. Katrina’s Paper Dolls
  7. Jungle Love (The Time)
  8. Erotic City (Extended)
  9. God (Love Theme from Purple Rain)
  10. Sex Shooter (Apollonia 6)
  11. 17 Days
  12. Electric Intercourse
  13. The Bird (The Time)
  14. Love and Sex

A few notes. On Disc One, I actually edited the Hallway Speech version to run into Darling Nikki as it does on the album. This way, you get the extended mix but the cohesion present on the album. This was astonishingly easy to do in Audacity. Or maybe I just got lucky.

My original mix of Disc Two started with the “extended version” of “I Would Die 4U.” I figured we’d start with an extension from the soundtrack and then lead to the new mix. But I couldn’t. It’s so bad. I have a problem with Eddie M’s improv skills. Always have. I’m like I improvised better than that when I was 16. Dude. Take some composition classes. Take some theory. Toot toot toot tee toot is not good solo. Sheila deserved a better sax player. Sorry, Eddie.

By the way, do not go on Amazon or eMusic or whatever looking for “Sex Shooter.” I had to order the vinyl from eBay and record the song from there (this is sad because I previously owned the album and got rid of it prior to the day that Prince stopped refusing to die). Worth it. Completely worth it.

I left off several other songs, too, including “We Can Fuck,” largely because I identify this song with the later masterpiece Graffiti Bridge (with the more finished “We Can Funk” featuring George Clinton). Also left behind, “Possessed,” which sounds like bad demo, and “Another Lonely Christmas,” which is not horrible but just feels irrelevant.

And, I’m sorry, but Andre’s version of “The Dance Electric” is just better. It’s more abbreviated. And he actually released it. Made a video for it, even. And why in the wide wide world of sports doesn’t this “deluxe edition” contain “Jungle Love,” “The Bird,” and “Sex Shooter?”

And, as noted, man, Dez Dickerson is the Rodney Dangerfield of this thing and of the world of recorded music generally. Not that “Modernaire” was Mozart, but it was * in the movie. * And this is the * deluxe * edition. Allegedly.

So that’s my mix of CD2 of Purple Rain. I don’t know what to call it. I’m thinking That’s Not Lake Minnetonka or Songs From The Dumpster. AAAFNRAA

2018 Nominees

Anyone who knows me well knows what I’m on about today regarding the Rock Hall nominees, announced today.

1) Still no Mothers?

2) Sister Rosetta AND The Meters! Cool!

Your 2018 nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Kate Bush
  • The Cars
  • Depeche Mode
  • Dire Straits
  • Eurythmics
  • J. Geils Band
  • Judas Priest
  • LL Cool J
  • MC5
  • The Meters
  • Moody Blues
  • Radiohead
  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
  • Nina Simone
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  • Link Wray
  • The Zombies

Tom Petty

When Tom Petty started being heard, it seemed clear that the old guard was behind us and the new kids had taken over.

Clapton, Beatles, Stones, all the old guys, it seemed, they stayed behind, fueled by their own gravitas and maintained their own club. Prince, Madonna, MJ, those guys, they maintained their own sphere. It was a reasonable doctrine, two hemispheres easily discerned. And the doors were closed.

Tom Petty somehow began later but dug his feet in with those old guys and eventually grabbed a big fistful of that gravitas for himself and became just as ubiquitous and therefore sometimes regrettably forgettable as a Keith Richards guitar riff. I don’t know if it’s because he was a Wilbury or because he was Tom Fucking Petty. But he wasn’t one of these new kids. Tom Petty was always right at home with the classics even though he was an MTV fixture. More a contemporary to Stevie Nicks than to Tiffany. More a generous talent than most who ever performed.

We got lucky when Tom Petty found us. What a voice, what a story teller, what a time.

Salad Shooter

Some time a long long time ago, I apparently said to my long-time best buddy Geoffrey that I thought “Doolittle” by The Pixies was a good musical effort and he might want to check it out. What he thought I said was that he should become a mouth-foaming Pixies fan and should learn ever word and inflection of every lyric and scream and burping yelp Black Francis ever uttered.

So sometime at the start of this year, I mentioned to my buddy that The Pixies would be playing in Buffalo. Before I knew it, he was gonna fly up here and we were gonna go to the show.

So that was this weekend. What a cool time.

It was in jeopardy as about Tuesday I realized I had contracted the yech. Sore throat, snot, croupy voice, sinus aches. Weirdly, lots of sneezing, which I usually do not encounter with the yech. So there went two additional days of PTO. Glad I took them, though. Two days of mostly sleeping can do a lot, and I did not want to be feeble for said weekend.

Still wasn’t at my best Friday when I went to pick up fellow bandito. And it was raining. After a quick stop at home base, I determined that a run to Quimby’s was in order. Then a run to Record Archive. Followed by beers at Victoire. Despite the rain and my fatigue, I managed to show my good friend some of the best of our fair city. Then there were birthday celebrations at Farm Gonfalon. Etcetera. Blah.

Sunday morning we shuffled on off to Buffalo.

The Wyndham Garden is highly recommended, though for some reason, when you ask the staff “where is a good place to go have lunch and watch football,” the first word out of their mouth is not “Tully’s.” Duh.

That was a nice football day. Charlotte won. Buffalo won. Tully’s fed us and filled us with beer. Thank you, Megan.

After some recuperation time, we headed out for the show. When we arrived, the openers were on. And, frankly, I think Sunflower Bean is quite a discovery.

Is this an ’80s throwback? Sort of. These kids are great live, though. If you get to see Sunflower Bean, do.

And The Pixies? Sublime, of course. By which I mean they were good, not that they played ska-core music.