Heigh Ho Heigh Ho

Labor Day 2017

(C) Walt Disney Company
no infringement intended

And so another summer comes to an end. Around here, the weather gods have jumped early into autumn (58 degrees when I awoke) even as Houston starts to rebuild from a hurricane. September can be puzzling in a continent-spanning country. Continue reading

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Another Year Over

The Year in Music: A Titular PlaylistLP

Earlier this year I started using song lyrics to title my posts. The first time was a fluke. But since I drive people crazy with lyrics I kept it up as a challenge to myself.

I’ve taken some time off to repair and enjoy my family. So the writing has diminished but the listening never does. So here’s a year-end present for you: a play list (on Spotify and Continue reading

Rocket Man

It's always best to begin at the beginning. Sun Ra and co in 1955.

It’s always best to begin at the beginning.
Sun Ra and co in 1955.

What did rebels do before Elvis? And what happened to them once he arrived? Some, I think, reconnected with their home planet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The place to start is Birmingham, Alabama in the second decade of the 20th century. In the year that Europe began its descent into madness, the Blount family welcomed their Continue reading

Brothers (in Arms)

In some arenas, brotherhood works.

In some arenas, brotherhood works.

I find it hard to concentrate these days. I’m unable to finish even the simplest book. And the meaty stuff is stacking up ever higher. All signs of drawing too close to the borders of darkland, which is understandable but undesirable.

So I turn for solace, as ever, to music. And what prompts me to attempt writing today is a post from back in May on Every Record Tells a Story. That piece brought to my attention an incident I didn’t know about: a dust-up between Dave Davies and Mick Avory Continue reading

Hey, Baby, It’s the Fourth of July: A Six Pack and Playlist

Flag stampDespite myself, I am terribly sentimental about the Fourth of July. Without disrespecting anyplace else, it’s a singular privilege to live in this grand, glorious mess of a nation which is still, as far as I know, the only one built on an idea.

There are two things that make at least this American proud. One is the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics when after watching nation after homogeneous nation march by the US contingent rolls in, a fabulous mosaic of all the types of people who are just like the rest of us (only faster or stronger or more coordinated, it is the Olympics after all). The other is in the music this Continue reading

Back off Boogaloo

boogalooBoogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music
Arthur Kempton

Music is my obsession. I revere scholarship. You would think a combination of the two would prove intriguing. But that would require the involvement of a scholar. Sadly, this lengthy tome lacks it.

Kempton states his thesis  in his subtitle: American popular music  is based on forms developed by Black Americans. That’s hardly startling. We have heard it before, particularly from a certain rock critic. What’s unique about Kempton’s arguably workaday thesis is how he chooses to defend it.

Typically this story is told as slightly offset parallel tracks: rhythm and blues becomes rock-‘n’-roll by way of Sun Studio is one common telling. You Continue reading