Music

Never been to Spain, Kamala Harris edition

Featured image If our cyborg president malfunctions, the ludicrous Kamala Harris will try to step into its very small shoes. What a lightweight leftist hack she is. She can’t even handle a friendly interviewer without embarrassing herself (video below). HARRIS: "We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border."Harris: "We’ve been to the border."Harris: "We’ve been to the border."HOLT: "You haven’t been to the border."Harris: "I… and I haven’t »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan’s celebrates his 80th birthday tomorrow. When he snagged the Nobel Prize for Literature a few years ago, I pulled out all the stops by posting a big set of my favorite covers of his songs. I don’t have any stops left to pull, but I’m adding a few covers this morning in honor of his milestone birthday tomorrow. In my estimation Dylan is first and foremost a songwriter. »

Not dark yet

Featured image Tomorrow is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 80. 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 »

Van the Man Rebels

Featured image I have listened to Van Morrison on and off since his Gloria days with Them. In case you have lost track, he is still recording at age 75. And his most recent production–a 28-song compilation titled “Latest Record Project, Vol. 1”–has ignited a controversy. First the music, then the controversy. What struck me listening to the album, which I am still working my way through, is how good Van sounds. »

A Giant Proclamation

Featured image My post here the other night on the restored and upgraded footage of Genesis in Paris in 1973 prompted my long-suffering pal Jody Bottom to tweet out: Well guess what—I do have something else to pop up: a fine tribute collaboration of Gentle Giant’s “Proclamation.” There may never have been a more purely proggy band than Gentle Giant, and they were (are) a challenge to listen to at times. Actually »

Genesis in Paris

Featured image It’s been a long while since I inflicted my adolescent interest in progressive rock on Power Line readers, mostly because I know it is a rarified taste that only appeals to a minority of similarly idiosyncratic people like me. That’s why I post these in the middle of the night instead of prime time. In any case, there hasn’t been much “new” lately about this by now very old genre. »

Classical music under assault in academia

Featured image Oxford University reportedly is under pressure to stop, or at least curtail, the teaching of sheet music, musical notation, and even the classical music that was scored upon it. The rationale is that all of this is “too colonial,” and that Beethoven, Mozart, and music in general are “complicit in white supremacy.” It’s not just students and BLM groups that are pushing this insanity. In fact, professors seem to be »

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

Featured image I’m taking the liberty of reposting this tribute to a great song with an unusual story behind it as a break from the news of the day. Since I first wrote this 15 years ago, YouTube has become a rich musical resource that allows me to fill out the story. Stretching from Ella Fitzgerald to Fran Landesman to T.S. Eliot and Geoffrey Chaucer, this is the bare-bones version of the »

A word from Julie Lawson

Featured image Following my last installment of Sunday Morning Coming Down earlier this week, I was tickled to receive a message from the widow of Persuasions lead singer Jerry Lawson. Her name is Julie Hurwitz Lawson. Mrs. Lawson wrote (and I am publishing it here with her permission): Dear Scott, I read your personal playlist and was so tickled that you included The Persuasions. Their lead singer, producer and arranger for 40 »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Eating lunch at Vellee’s in the skyway during a break in the Chauvin trial last week, I heard a good cover version of the Crowded House hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” I loved that song for its craft and uplifting spirit when it hit the charts in 1987 and later went to see Neil Finn (the group’s primary songwriter) when he performed solo one Monday night at the old Guthrie »

La-la means I love you

Featured image Written by William Hart and Thom Bell, produced by Thom Bell and Stan Watson, “La-La (Means I Love You)” is a classic of Philly soul, vintage 1968, and a memorable hit for the Delfonics. What a beautiful pop song. I don’t think they make ’em like this anymore. Hart sang the shimmering falsetto lead on the hit single. Laura Nyro responded deeply to the song. As she did with so »

Sunday morning coming down

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. Tomorrow he turns 80. I’ve loved his music for a long time, Incorporating notes from my 2011 interview with him, I want to take the occasion to celebrate his birthday. I hope readers who may have missed the interview or who may have joined us since »

Remembering Gerry Marsden

Featured image Gerry Marsden died on January 3. He was the leader of “Gerry and the Pacemakers,” a prominent British band of the early to mid-1960s. I wrote at some length about Marsden in this post, called “Remembering Liverpool’s other British invasion band.” Marden’s obituaries have called Gerry and the Pacemakers the Beatles’ greatest early rivals. I don’t know whether Marsden’s band ever truly rivaled the Beatles, but the two groups were »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Watching the HBO documentary “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (trailer below) turned me into a belated Bee Gees fan. Twin brothers Robin and Maurice are prematurely deceased, Robin at age 62 and Maurice at age 53. Youngest brother Andy (a solo artist, not a member of the Bee Gees) died way too soon as well, of an addiction-related ailment at age 30. Only oldest brother Barry Gibb, age »

Sunday morning coming down

Putting an exclamation point on the year from hell, I want to note the death of the musician Tony Rice on Christmas day. Tony was a musician’s musician. Alison Krauss testified in some detail to his impact on her last month before he died (I quote her toward the bottom of this post). She is representative of a couple generations of our best musicians. Rice struggled with health issues that »

Home for Christmas

Featured image With Christmas coming up on Friday this week, I hesitated to post these videos in a Sunday Morning Coming Down post yesterday so far in advance of the holiday. On second thought, the time has come today. I want to revisit a few of the secular pop songs that seize on Christmas in one way or another for their own artistic purposes. I’ve added one new selection to last year’s »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I’ve learned a lot listening to John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey on Radio Deluxe over the past several years. The weekly show is carried locally on KBEM FM in the Twin Cities and other such stations around the country. Both John and Jessica are great musicians in their own right. We’ve seen John perform with his trio at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis several times. Some day we’ll do »