Music

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. »

Meat Loaf on a Weber, and Vice Versa

Featured image I’m not a fan of meat loaf—the baked dish—or Meat Loaf, the musician who passed away today. Still, I am always sorry to hear of the passing of any artist who attracted a mass following. I am, however, a huge fan of Weber grills, and regard the Weber kettle one of the great products of modern science, worthy of the Nobel Prize in physics. The green egg and other designs »

When Elvis met Nixon

Featured image Yesterday I focused on Elvis’s recorded work while nodding to Peter Guralnick’s two-volume biography of Elvis — Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love — to tell the life. Guralnick has made himself the essential Elvis historian. Guralnick of course recounts the true story of the day in December 1970 when Elvis met Nixon in the White House. The story of the visit provides insight into Elvis’s patriotism as well »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image I grew up in the ’60s loving the Beatles. It took me a long time to hear the music of Elvis Presley with ears attuned to its riches, but Elvis was the man, even for the Beatles themselves. Yesterday was his birthday. I thought we might note the occasion with a look back that draws on the availability of his work on YouTube. In addition to hitting a few highlights, »

Slipping into Christmas: Albert O’s playlist

Featured image WUMB’s Albert O hosts the station’s weekly venture into the music of the ’60’s and ’70’s called Highway 61 Revisited. He usually organizes the show around the birthdays of the artists, but for Halloween and Christmas he devotes the show to songs that fit — four hours’ worth. He seems to have a great archive and store of knowledge on which to draw. Listening to this year’s edition of the »

Slipping into Christmas

Featured image With Christmas coming today at week’s end, I hesitated to post these videos in a Sunday Morning Coming Down post so far in advance of the holiday. Having done this annually over the past few years, I think 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. Here they »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Former Monkee Michael Nesmith died last week at the age of 78. Variety has a good obituary by Chris Morris as well as Morris’s sidebar based on an interview with manager Andrew Sandoval. Nesmith’s death prompted John’s tribute to the Monkees. John linked to Andy Greene’s Rolling Stone obituary. John’s appreciation of the group made me pause to think about Nesmith’s long career in music. Taking advantage of John’s appreciation »

Remembering the Monkees

Featured image I am old enough to actually remember the Monkees. They were somewhat notorious: some middle-aged businessmen thought it would be a good idea to form a band that would be sort of like the Beatles, and they held a tryout competition to select the members of the band. Everything was greased for the winners, including, as I recall, not just a recording contract but a television show. The Monkees were »

A Prog Rock Footnote

Featured image It never fails that any item about prog rock (like my short podcast on Friday) will bring out the haters, as well as fans, like this fellow over on Ricochet: Mr. Hageman is clearly a great American! Meanwhile, I think I’ve got a way to maximize the reader hate: I’m doing to do a video of a European soccer match overlaid with a prog rock musical soundtrack. Another commenter over »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image St. Paul native Dave Frishberg died on November 17. The New York Times obituary by Barry Singer covers his career and captures the Frishberg phenomenon. I learned things I didn’t know from Singer’s obituary and recommend it to readers who may be interested. By my lights, however, it doesn’t quite do justice to the insanely witty mind Frishberg put on display in the lyrics he wrote for his own or »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image Jesse Colin Young turns 80 tomorrow. You may have heard of him as the founding member of the Youngbloods or as a solo artist. I love his work. It has meant a lot to me for a long time. I want to salute him briefly and post a few videos for fun this morning. Jesse struggled over many years with a devastating case of Lyme Disease that went undiagnosed until »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image A week ago last night we went to see Peter Rowan before a nearly full house at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis. I had seen Peter in town once before, some 20 years ago, accompanying himself as the warm-up act for the Nashville Bluegrass Band (I think) at the Cedar Cultural Center. Although I enjoyed him on that occasion, he blew us away at the Dakota. Backed by Los Texmaniacs, »

Sunday morning coming down

Featured image If you listen to the right radio stations at this time of the year, you will hear a few songs associated with Halloween. On WUMB’s Highway 61 Revisited show yesterday, host Albert O devoted the entire four hours to songs fitting the day. He played oldies ranging from the traditional “Long Black Veil” (Johnny Cash’s cover) to Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” (covers by Vanilla Fudge as well as Al »

Blood On His Hands

Featured image John Ondrasik (Five For Fighting) released a song yesterday titled “Blood On My Hands.” It expresses his dismay at the consequences of Joe Biden’s inept withdrawal from Afghanistan. John has a long history of patriotism and of supporting American troops in many ways, including many performances overseas. This song expresses those values. Ondrasik wrote about it: Like all Americans, I was stunned and horrified at the images of falling bodies »

Tonight’s Cancellation

Featured image The NFL season starts tonight, as Paul noted a little while ago. So whoever sings the National Anthem at tonight’s game between the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys will have a wonderful stage. I don’t know who will sing the Anthem, but unfortunately it won’t be Victory Boyd. I had never heard of Miss Boyd until an hour or so ago, but she is a »