Sunday morning coming down

Featured image This past Sunday we went to see the great Stax artist William Bell perform at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis. Bell is 78 years old. He returned to the scene in triumph with his 2016 recording This Is Where I Live, winner of that year’s Grammy for Best Americana. Not blues, not rhythm and blues, not soul — Americana, as Bell proudly mentioned a couple of times during »

Respect, and respects

Featured image Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul, as Steely Dan reminded the “sweet young thing” in “Hey Nineteen” — has died. Jon Pareles reviews the record in his excellent New York Times obituary. I cannot take her measure but we can pause to remember and pay our respects. The metaphor of royal lineage was not entirely amiss in Aretha’s case. Her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin, was the renowned Detroit »

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 highly esteemed July 7, 1989, concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia (setlist here). I think it was the best attended film playing at the theater last night. That’s a guess. The audience for the show had the highest median age in the »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Boz Scaggs came through town again last week to perform on Tuesday evening at Minneapolis’s State Theater. Sitting in front row seats as guests of our friends Tom and Randy Edelstein, I snapped the nearby photo. Where we sat the sound was perfect. I could not believe how great Boz sounded. He must be carefully tending to his vocal instrument. At the age of 74, he has never sounded better. »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Before leaving for Santa Fe we caught Jesse Colin Young playing at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis on June 26. I have no higher purpose here than to share an enthusiasm and post a few songs that might bring interested readers some small pleasure. You may have heard of Jesse Colin Young as the founding member of the Youngbloods or as a solo artist. He founded the Youngbloods in »

Rhyming Albuquerque

Featured image This morning I’m flying to Albuquerque on my way to St. John’s College in Santa Fe to study Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man next week. I posted “A note on Invisible Man“ earlier this week. I hope to deepen my understanding of this compelling and still timely novel. My trip this morning prompts a musical question. Have you ever heard “Albuquerque” rhymed in a song? Trying to write this out now, »

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 »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image This is an entirely personal note on Shawn Colvin’s residence concluding last night at the Dakota Jazz Club. I did not intend to return to the subject after my post last week. These comments are prompted by the fact that I can’t find any reviews of Shawn’s shows in Minneapolis online this time around. This is for the record! The Star Tribune’s Jon Bream overlooked Shawn this week in favor »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Shawn Colvin settles in for four nights at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis this coming Wednesday. I’m attending in support of my anger management therapy; I bought tickets for all four nights. If you’re within shouting distance of the Twin Cities you might want to pay us a visit. Shawn is a singer/songwriter/interpreter who achieved stardom with the Grammy-winning pop hit “Sunny Came Home” on A Few »

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Featured image I’m sure many of our faithful readers are fans of the geniuses behind “Bad Lip Reading” on YouTube, but Garren Lazar does them one better by applying their technique to . . . Peanuts cartoons! Behold, Peanuts crossed with progressive rock—a nice interlude for a three-day weekend. Enjoy: There are several more like this on Garren Lazar’s YouTube page: Peanuts signing Heart’s “Barracuda,” the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” and even »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Albert O spins the tunes on WUMB’s four-hour Saturday morning show featuring music of the ’60’s and 70’s. The show takes its name from Bob Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited — that’s the name of the show. Dylan is the show’s tutelary spirit. Albert observes Dylan’s birthday each year by devoting the show to Dylan’s songs, mostly as performed by others. The show can’t help but prompt one to reflect »

Thoughts from the ammo line [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Ammo Grrrll revisits the soundtrack of her road trip and gets real about those PROMISES, PROMISES! She writes: Regular readers know that I recently made a long road trip. But, it really doesn’t matter if I’m only driving two miles to the Walmart — basically, I cannot drive without music. My eclectic driving soundtracks range from Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto to Broadway show tunes to Toby Keith’s sensitive love ballad, »

Not dark yet, cont’d

Featured image Bob Dylan is first and foremost a songwriter. He somehow absorbed the folk, rock, country and blues traditions as a precocious young man and then recapitulated them in his own voice many times over while adding a twist of modernist poetry to the mix. On his birthday, I want to take the liberty of reposting some notable cover versions of great songs you may not have heard before, at least »

Not dark yet

Featured image Today is the birthday of Minnesota native son Bob Dylan; he turns the ripe old age of 77. 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 I have wanted for a while to note a thematic thread in a few of my favorite Beatles’ songs, but the songs were not available on YouTube in their original versions. For the moment that has changed. I want to seize the day to offer my note on these early Beatles’ songs written by John Lennon. I have only this weak excuse. These songs have always resonated with me. My »

Love Me, I’m a Liberal—Trump Version

Featured image We’ve taken note before of the endless ways Phil Ochs’s classic tune from the 1960s, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” can be adapted to changing times (such as my Harvey Weinstein version from a few months ago). Power Line reader Michael Kochin points us to a new version adapting the idea for the time of Trump from someone going as LessThree. Worth a quick view: »

The Latest Battle In the Statue Wars: Stephen Foster

Featured image A famous statue of Stephen Foster, often referred to as the father of American music, has stood in Pittsburgh for more than 100 years. (Foster was a native of Pennsylvania.) It was sculpted by Italian emigre Giuseppe Moretti: Today Moretti’s statue of Foster was carted away by Pittsburgh authorities: A 118-year-old statue of the “Oh! Susanna” songwriter was removed from a Pittsburgh park Thursday after criticism that the work is »