Music

Not dark yet, part 2

Featured image WUMB’s Saturday morning radio show Highway 61 Revisited devoted its four hours yesterday to a celebration of Mr. Bob’s birthday today. Host Albert O played songs written by Dylan nonstop. Given the limits imposed by applicable law, he filled out the show with cover versions. It was an illuminating exercise. The variety of artists to have covered Dylan is wide. The Band, Solomon Burke, the Byrds, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns 74. 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 is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, Dylan’s alma mater. A Dylan »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Blues giant B.B. King died this past week at the age of 89. Tim Weiner covers his life and works in a good New York Times obituary. King lit out from Mississippi for Memphis in 1947 to undertake the career of a professional musician. In Memphis he connected with Sonny Boy Williamson (one of two) and landed a job at WDIA in which he hustled the patent cure-all Pep-ti-kon. “If »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I flipped over singer Suzy Bogguss when I saw her perform with her band at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis in 2011. I wrote about the show here. Suzy played many of her hits and previewed her then unreleased recording of traditional American music. She has a moving voice and a perfect feel for great material, including the traditional music she brought back to life on »

Jorma returns

Featured image Jorma Kaukonen was the lead guitarist of the Jefferson Airplane. Together with bassist Jack Casady, he split off from the Airplane to form Hot Tuna and pursue other interests, originally in acoustic blues. Their first album, recorded live in Berkeley, has been reissued in a deluxe two-disc format and sounds better than ever. The heart of the album consists of traditional blues songs with updated arrangements of numbers by Rev. »

Higher Ed Bubblegum?

Featured image Glenn Reynolds (among others) likes to write about the “higher education bubble.”  But maybe we’ve all missed higher education bubblegum?  With all of the difficulties law schools are having right now with declining enrollment (applications off overall by more than 50 percent from 10 years ago), it is good to know that at least Touro Law School has it’s priorities straight: Billy Joel and the Law: A Touro Law Conference »

Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens, and feminism

Featured image The Camille Paglia interview in which she recalls being denounced by feminists for taking too soft a line on the Rolling Stones song “Under My Thumb,” coupled with Steve’s reporting on “sexual paranoia in academe,” reminded me of an article by the feminist rock music critic Ellen Willis that appeared in the New Yorker more than 40 years ago. The late Ms. Willis, whose voice I miss, argued that “Under »

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Featured image 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 Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” The song is a buried treasure on Ella’s 1961 quartet-backed jazz set Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! (I love the Amazon review that rates it »

Free Country

Featured image Steve Dobrogosz is a Power Line reader, an American expatriate living in Sweden and a composer of multifarious talents. His new recording is Free Country, a 70-minute collection of improvisations inspired by country music. I’ve listened to it several times through and can only say I love it. In addition to the country/blues inspiration, I hear melodic invention throughout. The late, great rock pianist Nicky Hopkins used to do something »

Taylor Swift is stalkin’ him

Featured image Ray Stevens has been creating novelty hits since I was a child; his recording career dates back to 1957. I haven’t heard about Stevens for a long time and didn’t know his creative juices are still flowing. I was therefore delighted to discover when we received a message from Stevens’s Nashville publicist yesterday that in his newly released video (below), Stevens “claims the world’s biggest superstar, Taylor Swift, is watching »

The circle game

Featured image Tom Rush made his name in the sixties folk revival; he is a peer of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Eric Andersen, and Judy Collins. Today he turns 74. I’ve loved his music for a long time and want to take the occasion to celebrate his birthday with previously posted notes from my 2011 interview with him. I hope readers who may have missed the interview might find the notes of »

Up from Sha Na Na

Featured image We had a prominent speaker with an unusual backstory as the scholar in residence at the Temple of Aaron in St. Paul over the weekend. Dr. Alan Cooper is a Biblical scholar who is both learned and distinguished. As his professional bio has it: “Alan Cooper is the Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies and provost of The Jewish Theological Seminary. He joined the faculty in 1997 as professor of »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Live From Daryl’s House originated online but is now carried by the Palladia cable channel. The show features Daryl Hall and his highly proficient band playing with various musical guests. The whole series, now running to more than 80 episodes, is archived online here. I love the series and thought some readers might find it of interest. For an excellent sample of what it has to offer, including the show’s »

Trying to get to you

Featured image Elvis fans are celebrating the eightieth anniversary of his birth today. As usual, even in the absence of round number anniversaries, it’s Elvis all over the world. The celebrations take in the expected spots such as Elvis’s birthplace in Tupelo (where the North Mississippi Symphony Concert is holding an Elvis-themed show) and Elvis’s Graceland home in Memphis. Commemorative events will also take place in Hollywood, at the Elvis Fest in »

Joe Cocker, RIP

Featured image Two English rock singers channeled the voice of Ray Charles, each in his own unmistakable style. The first was Stevie Winwood, who has been at it since he was about 15 and is still going strong. The second was Joe Cocker; Cocker died today at the age of 70, well before his time. The New York Times has posted an obituary here. In its preliminary notice on Cocker’s death the »

Last call: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Featured image Way back when in the vinyl era, Rolling Stone gave the album A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (1963) five stars in its rock and roll record guides and singled out Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” as one of the highlights. Rolling Stone still rates it the greatest Christmas album of all time. There is no arguing about taste, and my knowledge of the genre is »

Prog Rock Digression for a Lazy Saturday

Featured image Okay, this is one of those posts you need to skip unless you’re a real 1970s obscure prog rock geek like me. No, seriously, I mean it.  Skip this post. You’ll thank me later. If you ignore this advice, you’ll soon know why. Don’t complain I didn’t warn you. I’ve gone as far as having our tech department block this post from Scott’s IP address, because he’ll be horrified. One »