Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Billy Eckstine "Jelly, Jelly"

 Billy Eckstine is not usually thought of as a blues singer, but as this clip shows he was a powerful, urbane blues singer.  Mr. B is credited with leading the first be-bop big band and recognized as the the first romantic black male in popular music.

Quincy Jones quoted in Billboard: "I looked up to Mr. B as an idol. I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, pattern my whole life as a musician and as a complete person in the image of dignity that he projected... As a black man, Eckstine was not immune to the prejudice that characterized the 1950s". Quincy Jones is quoted in The Pleasures of Jazz as saying of Eckstine: “If he’d been white, the sky would have been the limit. As it was, he didn’t have his own radio or TV show, much less a movie career. He had to fight the system, so things never quite fell into place.”"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Could the NDP win the Canadian election?

The social democratic New Democratic Party has played an important role in Canadian politics, forming provincial governments and often shaping the national debate. NDP leader  Tommy Douglas has been named the greatest Canadian in a nationally televised contest organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004.  Canada's national health system is largely due to the influence of the NDP and its predecessor, the  Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.

But prior to this year neither the NDP nor the CCF have ever been a serious contender for national power. 

With a national Canadian election coming up soon (May 2), it looks like the NDP may make a breakthrough.

Kathleen Harris reports in the National Post

The NDP has steamrollered over the Liberal party to land in second place nationally behind the front-running Conservatives, results of a new poll suggest.
The survey of more than 3,000 Canadians finds 28% of decided voters now support the NDP, compared with 23.7% who plan to vote Liberal. The Conservatives hold less than a six-point lead, sitting with 33.7% support, with just one week to go before election day.

Pollster Frank Graves calls it an unprecedented turn and “astonishing shift” for the NDP, which has traditionally trailed the two other main federal parties. Leader Jack Layton’s popularity is climbing most dramatically in Quebec, but building momentum in all regions of the country, according to the poll’s results.

“We have seen almost from Day 1, a slow, steady and now a dramatic rise where the NDP has gone from 14 points in a pre-writ poll to 28 points,” Graves said. “That is a doubling — I’ve never seen anything close to that.”

Results of the poll — the first of the campaign to show the NDP running in second place — show the Green party with 7.2% support, the Bloc Quebecois at 6.2% and other parties with 1.2%.

While numbers could still change significantly in the final week of the campaign, Graves said current figures suggest the NDP could take a “breathtaking” 100 seats. With that count, the once-unthinkable scenario of a Layton-led coalition with the Liberals begins to emerge, he said.

Royal wedding

In case you're wondering, the only Royals I am watching are in Kansas City.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Junior Wells and Mike Bloomfield "Messin' with the KId"

Junior Wells,Mike Bloomfield,and Nick Gravenites from a tribute to Muddy Waters 1972.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Bessie Smith "St. Louis Blues"

Some interesting tidbits from wikipedia on this great tune by W. C. Handy

At the time of his death in 1958, Handy was earning royalties upwards of US$25,000 annually for the song. The original published sheet music is available online at the United States Library of Congress in a searchable database of African American music from Brown University.[4]

The form is unusual in that the verses are the now familiar standard twelve bar blues in common time with three lines of lyrics, the first two lines repeated, but it also has a 16-bar bridge written in the habanera rhythm, popularly called the "Spanish Tinge", and identified by Handy as tango[5] Handy's tango-like rhythm is notated as a dotted quarter note, followed by an eighth, and two quarter notes, with no slurs or ties, and is seen in the introduction as well as the sixteen-measure bridge.[6]

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Mike Finnegan, PBB "Part-time Love"

Here's Mike Finnegan on the Hammond B-3 and vocals from a Phantom Blues Band gig. Great stuff. Finnegan has deep Wichita and Kansas roots with the "Serfs," Jerry Hahn Brotherhood, and Finnegan and Wood.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Blues on a Saturday: Ray Charles "Hit the Road, Jack"

It's about time that BOS featured something by Ray Charles. "Hit the Road, Jack" is one of many great songs composed by Percy Mayfield. The song was named one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs.