Music

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan’s celebrates his 81st birthday on Tuesday. 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 birthday this week. In my estimation Dylan is first and foremost a »

Friday Morning Coming Down

Featured image It was some time in the 9th grade when I heard my first Genesis song, “Firth of Fifth” (from Selling England by the Pound) either on KROQ or KMET, one of the two legendary “alternative rock” stations in LA back in the glory days of radio. (Aside: the day KMET abruptly changed format to some kind of smooth rock format in 1986 ranks next to the breakup of The Beatles »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I saw singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester perform on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota more than 25 years years ago and he bowled me over. There couldn’t have been more than a hundred people in the audience. Accompanying himself on guitar, he turned in a beautiful performance that concluded with “Yankee Lady.” Although Winchester had famously evaded the draft by decamping to Canada in 1967, returning only after »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image In this abbreviated edition of Sunday Morning Coming Down we pay tribute to Mother’s Day. It hadn’t even occurred to me to do so until listening to this week’s Radio Deluxe show last night. In honor of Mother’s Day the hosts played their mothers’ favorite songs. Host John Pizzarelli played “The More I See You” by Dick Haymes in the version below with the introductory verse because that’s the one »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image We went to see Robbie Fulks perform with his bluegrassy quartet at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis this past Thursday evening. We sat at table 150, right in front of Fulks. I snapped the photo from our table while he was bathed in blue lights (sorry about that). We loved the show. You may well ask, however, who is Robbie Fulks? He is a brilliant songwriter and entertaining performer. His »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I am warming up for our annual Bobfest in honor of Dylan’s birthday next month. As long as it’s not dark yet, we will continue to celebrate him. These notes on David Bromberg are something of a placeholder in advance of May 24. There is of course a Dylan connection with Bromberg. Dylan is one of the many great artists with whom Bromberg has played and recorded over the years. »

David Bromberg remembers Paul Siebel

Featured image We went to see David Bromberg and his excellent band perform at the Dakota last night. The place was packed for Bromberg’s terrific show (and he’s back again tonight). I last saw him at the Dakota almost exactly three years ago with the same band. I don’t think he played a single number from that memorable show. After the opening number of his two-hour set last night Bromberg announced that »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Emmylou Harris turned 75 yesterday. In the world of the Cosmic American Music, celebration is in order. Skipping over great swaths of her career, I thought I might take the occasion to draw on previously posted notes to revisit her story along with a few of the videos that reflect her artistry. As always, we are at best only munching like giraffes on the top of the trees. I was »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Vice President Harris’s meditation on “the passage of time” got me thinking. Has she been listening to too much Al Stewart? Then I started writing down a list of songs that came to mind with a temporal theme somewhere in the mix. Perhaps we can take Harris’s rotten lemon and turn it into lemonade with selections from my list. My only object here, as always, is to take a pause »

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 »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Merle Haggard died nearly six years ago at the age of 79 — to be exact, on his seventy-ninth birthday. Haggard is finally the subject of a full-scale biography — The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard, by Marc Eliot. Mark Pulliam reviewed it last week at Law and Liberty in the excellent column “Our redneck poet.” He “expand[s] upon Eliot’s respectful (but not hagiographic) treatment of »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I wrote this installment three years ago in 2019 when I was covering the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamaed Noor (thus the reference to “returning home from court”). I had forgotten about it until I heard John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molasksey playing a number from the classic 1963 Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane album on their February 12 “Hearts and Icicles” edition of Radio Deluxe. This post elicited an email »

Emergency! Call the democracy doctor

Featured image Canada’s Parliament has commenced the debate on Prime Minister Trudeau’s declaration of emergency under Canada’s Emergencies Act. The debate will continue until a confirmation vote is held next Monday under the terms the Act. The National Post is live blogging the thing here. Canada is now under martial law and looks like it will remain so. The first post on today’s debate — the National Post titles it “Freeland: It »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I thought we might nod to Valentine’s Day with my notes about “La-La Means I Love You” a day early this year. This isn’t Monday morning material. Written by William Hart and Thom Bell, produced by Thom Bell and Stan Watson, “La-La” is a classic of Philly soul, vintage 1968, and was a memorable hit for the Delfonics. What a beautiful pop song. I don’t think they make ’em like »

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. He turns 81 on Tuesday. He’s still performing. He’s still writing. He’s still touring. 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 with a slightly expanded and revised »

Imagine Communism

Featured image The Babylon Bee made this video that parodies one of popular music’s more detestable songs. This version is much better: “Imagine Communism.” Via InstaPundit. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Yesterday I started in on A Terry Teachout Reader over lunch. The Reader begins with his 1995 New York Times review of Dawn Powell’s Diaries cum tribute to Powell’s novels in just under 1,500 words. It is a marvel of concision and appreciation. It ends with his moving 1996 Commentary essay “Mourning Nancy LaMott” (retitled “My Friend Nancy”). “I loved her with all my heart,” he confesses in the introduction. »