Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blues on a Saturday: Robert Cray "Smokin' Gun"

I've heard Robert Cray live several times. Once in Washington DC when he was first rising on the scene and several years ago in Wichita after he had become an established star of the blues. He gave great performances both times. As a star, howoever, his security people wouldn't let amateur photographers close to the stage.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blues on a Saturday: Mose Allison Parchman Farm

Mose Allison was named a jazz master this week, so naturally I'm going to pick one of his great songs. Listen carefully all the way to the end. Mose stopped performing this live at some point. I've previously posted Allison songs here ("Your Mind is on Vacation" and here ("Ever Since the World Ended".

Monday, July 16, 2012

KItty Wells

It was reported today that Kitty Wells has died. Wells 1952 hit "It wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" was the first song by a female to top the country music charts. Wells paved the way for later generations of women in country music: Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and many others owe her a debt of gratitude.  Her wikipedia entry reports that she is the sixth best selling female artists in country music.

There were women stars in country music before Wells--Maybelle Carter, Rose Maddox, and Patsy Montana come to mind,  but Wells was at another level and duration.    I fear some obits may not get this right.

Well's defining song "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" is the greatest answer song in American popular music. It outsold Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life." For a while, Wells' song was banned by the Grand Ole Opry and radio stations. That fate doesn't seem to have befallen Thompson's disc.
 Here's "The Wild Side of Life" performed by Hank Thompson in a guitar shop, decades after the
western-swingish original
Both songs share a melody with Roy Acuff's 1939 "Great Speckled Bird" and the 1929 Carter Family's "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blues Eyes.

There are at least two other country songs written to this tune: Reno & Smiley's “I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap,” and Townes Van Zandt's “Heavenly Houseboat Blues.” Rock historian Nick Tosches say that the melody is an ancient British tune.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Obama Effect

Charles Dutton is one of our finest actors and he has now branched out to direct his first theatrical release "The Obama Effect."   It's debuting in AMC theaters across the country this weekend. There's not one near me, but if you have a chance to see it, I think it will be be  entertainment gamble worth taking.
Here's the description from the website

A serious health scare ignites John Thomas, an insurance salesman in his 50’s (played by writer/director Charles S. Dutton) to take a closer look at his life. Motivated by a misguided obsession with getting Barack Obama elected, John takes an overwhelming involvement in the Presidential campaign. While John becomes obsessed with the ideal of change that Obama represents for Americans, he has in turn neglected to create positive change in his own life, particularly with regard to his health and familial relationships.

Blues on a Saturday: Jimmy McGriff and Hank Crawford

Jimmy Mcgriff on organ and piano with Hank Crawford on alto sax, Bob Devos on guitar, and Jimmie Smith on drums. Performing the blues classic "Every Day I Have the Blues"

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Blues on a Saturday: Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins, and Roy Buchanon--Further on Down the Road

Andy Griffith's Great Performance

When Andy Griffith died this week, most commentators focused on his classic role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the CBS series Andy Griffith Show or his later role as the avuncular lawyer Matlock.  Less known is Griffith's performance as Lonesome Rhodes in the 1957 Elia Kazan movie A Face in the Crowd, which was selected in 2008 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

It's a great movie.  Interestingly, the trailer compares Griffith to Marlon Brando and James Dean.  

Monday, July 02, 2012

UN Take Over of Internet? :Congressman Mike Pompeo vs. New York Times

Mike Pompeo (R-KS4)

...there is an effort to manipulate the International Telecommunications Union—a treaty originally created in 1865 to address telegraph service—to provide the United Nations jurisdiction over the Internet.  The showdown over whether the UN will seize control will happen at the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai.
 Pompeo  boasts that he has written a House resolution opposing the UN takeover of the internet.

New York Times
Documents prepared for the December meeting, which leaked out last week — yes, on the Internet — show that there are no proposals to hand governance of the Net to the I.T.U. The union insists that it has no desire to play such a role. And even if some governments would like to give the agency increased regulatory powers, the United States and other like-minded countries could easily block them.