Time to Sit Back and Unwind: A Six Pack and Playlist

Memorial Day 2017

Rituals are important, they remind us of what is not trivial. So while there will be plenty of sales and BBQs this weekend there will also be parades and moments of remembrance. That’s appropriate given why we have Memorial Day in the first place.

Unofficially, it’s also the start of summer. Last year I kicked off the season with a baker’s half-dozen of 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