Late night song of the week

Ray Charles, “Mess Around” (1953)
Crazy week here, hard drive meltdowns, computer to the indifferent shop, and offline for two long days. I realized, for better or worse, that online is basically where I live nowadays so I really felt lost there for awhile. But I can always put on something from The Birth of Soul and feel something like I have approximated coming home again. Maybe it’s like that for you too? Don’t miss the iconic moment here when Ray Charles drives the wedge of silence between the words “pit” and “barbecue” in the first line, and somehow launches the whole thing to high levels of excitement.

One more: “It Should’ve Been Me”
More stuff at Can’t Explain.

Early Morning Open Thread

Made me laugh all seven times I played it. PronunciationManual is a parody of pronunciationbook, apparently. Timothy Olyphant is wonderful too.

Musicwise, I’m liking The Young Professionals, from dancepop:

through trancey banginess:

all the way to this:

Plus cute Jewish boys. What’s not to like?

Just a final reminder, the latest jobs thread is here.

ETA: “Darkness“.

Song of the week

As always, from Can’t Explain.


Kid Creole & the Coconuts, “Dear Addy” (1981)
I like just about all the Kid Creole & the Coconuts stuff, particularly through the ’80s悠 saw them live in 1986 and they were way, way better than I had any right to expect. Probably Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places is my favorite album, with its whacked-out concept about a sea voyage whose songs borrow rhythms and various stylings from all the ports in which the traveler stops, including elements of Broadway, calypso, cha cha, disco, funk, Latin, reggae, rock, and more, all served up in bite-size pop songs. “Dear Addy” is the the album closer, a very lovely ballad about sailing the world ’round only to find that the one waiting for you at home is the one you love and want. Or you hope she’s waiting for you anyway, the source of the song’s bracing tension.

First foreign place: “Going Places”
More stuff at Can’t Explain.

I Fired Dat Staff So I Could Hire Distaff

So — I have this great FDR/Eric Cantor post cooking, and another on some highly wonkish political science offering insight into the next election on the basis of analysis of 2008’s dinner dance, and much more good stuff besides, but…

….I’m sitting here contemplating (that’s a nice word) bourbon (descending steadily on the $/dram scale as I work through the evening) in response to the third-of-four-quadrants close encounter with my oral surgeon today.  Gingivitis! Dont’ try this at home kids!

(Wincing yet?  Good.  Misery loves company.)

So no actually useful blogging from this quarter.  Sorry.

Besides, there’s nothing on but crazy folk that some kind person should take back inside to the nice padded room.  Feed them their gruel with blunted spoons and no one will get hurt.  No Mitt — you can’t whack Rick with your Social Security Bear.

But, hey.  All this gives me an excuse to extend  the discussion from the other night, when I tagged Freddie Mercury as one of the top candidates for the title best male rock and roll vocalist ever.

Someone subsequently said, in essence, what about the women?

Well, what about them?

Linda Ronstadt appeared in the thread as the leading candidate, and while I concur that she’s a fabulous artist, I can’t bring myself to see her quite as a rock avatar.  If you extend to jazz there are some fabulous candidates, from Billie Holiday to Cassandra Wilson and so many more…or perhaps really Billie Holiday and you can probably stop there.  You want to go to blues and you get some more…for example I defy you to say Koko Taylor isn’t on your list.  And then there’s Aretha.

You want diva-tude? Well in the last thread we had Annie Lennox mentioned, and to keep the Freddie vibe going just one more minute, you can always listen to this remarkable duet…and you can’t tell me she doesn’t have the stage presence and the voice. (And that dress!)  The great country voices….and, and, and — you get it.  No one answer, lots of great music whilst we argue.

But talkin’ rock and roll, plain and simple?  I don’t know; I haven’t got a slam dunk candidate.  Janis Joplin would have been the obvious one in my youth, were it not for Grace Slick before she wandered off into I don’t know what (and actually, listening again, Janis still wins)…and so  on.

So why not start a thread on this, and for an actual living, music making wonder who’s injecting herself into the debate, how about that Grace Potter?  I saw some comment on one youtube or another that called her the daughter Janis never knew she had, and that’s not far off.

Here she is with Joe Satriani and others, purely owning Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.”

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So have at it:  open (musical) thread with which to wash all those Republicans out of your hair.

Image:  Jan Steen, The Dentist1651

I still see the rays of light every time

I figured we could use a shiny, happy thread to bring people together after the tragic events of the past few days. Not long ago in the comments, I discovered that many of you, like me, enjoy musical movies. What’s your favorite musical scene from a musical movie? I’m using musical movie a bit loosely, so “Fabulous Baker Boys”, that Johnny Cash movie, etc. counts, but you can’t go with a music-backed scene from a movie that isn’t in any sense a musical. That means no Joe Pesci shooting up houses over the Devo cover of “Satisfaction”, no lingering shots of dead bodies in meat lockers while “Layla” plays in the background, no Jack tormenting DiCaprio to “Let It Loose”.

I’m going to start with Michelle Pfeiffer taking the gum out of her mouth to sing “More Than You Know” in the “Fabulous Baker Boys”. Not the greatest movie, but I love Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer, and I saw it at a time in my life when brooding and self-absorption were very important to me. I still watch this scene about once a month for no reason.

And then the great “Make ‘Em Laugh” from “Singin’ In The Rain”. One of my favorite movies, the first time I ever saw it on the big screen was at the Red Vic in San Francisco. My friend and I were supposed to see some serious movie about non-English-speaking people killing each other or starving that had come highly recommended by whoever the early ’90s Bay Area equivalent of Manhola Dhargis/A.O. Scott was (Mick LaSalle, if memory serves). We walked by the Red Vic and both stopped when we saw “Singin’ In The Rain”. It took a minute for either of us to admit we’d rather see it than sit through Oscar porn, but we finally did.

What are your favorites? Bonus points for anyone who mentions Les Parapluies de Cherbourg here.