Glen Campbell, RIP

Featured image Glen Campbell died yesterday in Nashville at the age of 81 of complications from the Alzheimer’s disease with which he had been struggling for the past six years. Obituaries in the New York Times and the Washington Post do a good job covering the full scope of his life and career. The length and breadth of Campbell’s career are remarkable. He excelled as an instrumentalist on guitar sufficiently to make »

At the Grateful Dead meet-up

Featured image Taking a break from the news, I attended the so-called Grateful Dead Meet-Up at our local suburban multiplex last night. The Meet-Up featured a showing of the Dead’s previously unreleased July 12, 1989 concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The film preview and setlist are posted here. I think it was the best attended film playing at the theater last night. That’s a guess. The audience for the show »

Light My Fire at 50

Featured image If you are still cruising for news, you probably know that Mooch has been fired and are up to speed on the Awan scandal. If you are looking for something completely different, you have come to the right place. Fifty years ago today, the Doors’ “Light My Fire” topped the rock and roll charts. It was the Doors’ first and biggest hit, and one of the classics of that, or »

Tony the Moocher

Featured image A popular meme that went around immediately after the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci channeled the question from the old Queen hit: Can he do the Fandango? The answer is a plain No: Scaramucci is neither Bohemian nor rhapsodic. Since our new communications director goes by “The Mooch,” perhaps the better pop culture comparison is the classic Cab Calloway tune, “Minnie the Moocher.” So with apologies to Cab Calloway, here’s the »

Let’s fall in love with Lee Wiley

Featured image Scott handles the music beat around here. Having little to offer on the subject, I rarely weigh in. On Saturday, however, I had the pleasure of listening to about an hour of music by Lee Wiley, a jazz singer prominent in the 1940s with whom I was familiar only by name. Her singing blew me away. She gave the lyrics their full due but added a layer of quiet sensuality »

Color Him Father

Featured image I wrote this on Father’s Day a few years ago. It is a post that struck a chord with at least a few readers. I am taking the liberty of reposting it today in honor of the day. My father was a thoughtful man in his own way. In the last years of his life he recited for me the things for which he was most grateful. In retrospect I »


Featured image It’s been over two years since I last tortured Power Line’s readership with one of my preposterous excursions in to the greatness of 1970s progressive rock—and especially Gentle Giant, one of the most obscure acts from that period—but the publication of Dave Weigel’s new book on progressive rock, The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock, gives me an excuse to inflict new punishment. In particular, »

Gregg Allman, RIP

Featured image Gregg Allman died yesterday at the age of 69. I was a big fan of the original Allman Brothers Band. “Whipping Post” isn’t my favorite Allman Brothers song, but I think it best exemplifies Gregg Allman as a blues singer. Below are (1) a studio recording of “Whipping Post” and (2) a performance of it at the Fillmore East in 1970. »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 76. It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there. We’re going to celebrate him as long we’re both still around to enjoy the occasion. He is a remarkable artist, self-invented, deep in the American grain. A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image We made it to the Xcel Center this past Thursday night in St. Paul to see Daryl Hall and John Oates in concert. The Xcel Center is the home of the Minnesota Wild; it’s not built for music. The show did not disappoint, however, and the crowd filled the arena. The crowd packed all three balconies to the rafters. We were seated on the main floor. I milled around after »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image On Monday, the day after I wrote about the appearance of Daryl Hall and John Oates this coming Thursday in St. Paul, I ran into a senior officer of one of the prominent local bar associations. For my purposes here, I will identify him as Mr. K. Mr. K. asked me if I still write for “that blog.” I acknowledged I did. He doesn’t read it, he said, but Mrs. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Daryl Hall and John Oates are about to hit the road on tour with Tears for Fears (about whom I know nothing). The tour is making an early stop in St. Paul at the Xcel Center on May 11. I’ve had a late in life conversion to the gospel according to Hall & Oates since picking up on Hall’s Live from Daryl’s House series. Just for the fun of it, »

How high the moon?

Featured image Today we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song. She was a remarkable artist. Each period of her long career is rewarding, though she deepened her art as she got older. She excelled in a wide variety of material and in every musical setting. There is an emotional reserve or detachment in her singing, but there is also joy and an irrepressible »

Dave Carroll was unavailable for comment

Featured image Dave Carroll memorialized his experience as a musician traveling on United nearly a decade ago. He complained in song that United had destroyed his valuable Taylor guitar (video below). The Wikipedia entry on Carroll’s videos has already been updated (footnotes omitted): “On April 9, 2017, #unitedbreaksguitars trended on Twitter. This was following the release of a video that showed United Airlines physically forcing a passenger off a plane in order »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Emmylou Harris celebrates her seventieth birthday today — the big 7-0. We haven’t celebrated her birthday for several years. Today in the world of Cosmic American Music attention must be paid. I’m a latecomer to Emmylou’s artistry, having discovered her indirectly through my love for the music of the 1960’s group the Byrds. The Byrds famously brought brilliant Beatles-inspired vocal harmonies and jangly 12-string electric guitar to the music of »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul, as Steely Dan reminded the “sweet young thing” in “Hey Nineteen” — turned 75 yesterday. The metaphor of royal lineage is not entirely amiss in her case. Her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, was the renowned Detroit preacher whose New Bethel Baptist Church provided the original venue for Aretha and her sisters, Erma and Carolyn. She became a child star as a gospel »

Spring can really hang you up the most

Featured image In the interest of anger management therapy on a day that calls for it, I’m taking the liberty of reposting this tribute to a great song with an unusual story behind it: There are a few torch songs that lament the coming of Spring. This time of year, if you’re tuned to one of the right stations, you may well find yourself listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s memorable rendition of “Spring »