music clip of the day


Month: January, 2010

Sunday, 1/31/10

Blind Willie Johnson recorded this song in 1929.

Tonight it’s up for a Grammy.

Ashley Cleveland, “God Don’t Never Change” (God Don’t Never Change, nominee, Best Traditional Gospel Album)


Blind Willie Johnson, “God Don’t Never Change” (1929, New Orleans) (previously featured on 11/15/09)

Saturday, 1/30/10

It seems hard to believe, sometimes, that anyone escapes childhood with a shred of sanity.

I still remember, for instance, my mother dragging me to this movie. I was eight years old. Popcorn in hand, the lights dimming, I sat there in the gathering darkness, waiting. And waiting. Until, suddenly, I was transported to a cinematic Ft. Lauderdale, where, for the next 90 minutes, on sandy beaches under sunny skies, my playmates included Paula Prentiss and George Hamilton and Frank Gorshin and (who could ever forget) Connie Francis. 

Where The Boys Are (1960)



Title Song

Friday, 1/29/10

William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well:

Short words are better than long words.

Little Richard:

I’m gonna rip it up . . .

Little Richard, “Rip It Up,” live (TV broadcast), c. 1956

Thursday, 1/28/10

This guy—one of my all-time musical heroes (someone I’ve been listening to for over 30 years)—makes you move. He makes you feel. He makes you think. What more could you ask for?

Henry Threadgill, alto saxophone

With His Very Very Circus, live, New York, 1995


With his Society Situation Dance Band (featuring Craig Harris, trombone), live, Germany (Hamburg), 1988

Like a lot of live performances (especially ones where the musicians haven’t had many chances to play together [as no doubt was the case here]), this gets better as it goes along. At first, things are a bit tentative and raggedy. Then, at around 1:50, trombonist Craig Harris starts to find his way. By around 2:15, the horns and strings begin to sound more cohesive. By around 3:30, the drummers, having gotten more comfortable with the tempo and structure, start to push the groove harder. At around 8:00, with everything going full steam, Threadgill, feeling Harris feeling it, suddenly breaks things down, leaving just the ’bone and the electric guitar. And with that, the performance jumps out of its skin.


With Judith Sanchez Ruiz (dancer), live, New York, 2008



Music should go right through you, leave some of itself inside you, and take some of you with it when it leaves.—Henry Threadgill

Wednesday, 1/27/10

Let’s head back to Kingston for more ska.

The Maytals (before becoming “Toots & . . .”), “Treat Me Bad,” “She Will Never Let You Down,” live, Jamaica (Kingston [Sombrero Club]), 1962

Tuesday, 1/26/10

No matter what musical language he’s speaking, you’d swear it was his first.

Marc Ribot, guitar

With Los Cubanos Postizos, “Aurora en Pekin,” live, France, 2002


With Ceramic Dog, “Caravan,” live, Berlin, 2008


Solo, “Bouncing Around” (Django Reinhardt, c. 1937), live, New York, 2009

Monday, 1/25/10

Sax player in a ska band—easiest job in music?

The Blues Busters, “I Don’t Know,” live, Jamaica (Kingston [Sombrero Club]), 1962

Sunday, 1/24/10

Singing gospel, Al Green has sometimes sounded a little constrained (unlike, say, Sam Cooke, who never sounded freer). Not here.

Al Green, “Jesus Will Fix It,” live, New York (Apollo Theater), 1990

Saturday, 1/23/10

Who else sounds like Kate & Anna McGarrigle?

Who else makes such wonderfully eccentric career moves—like, for instance, putting out an album all in French?

Who else has not one but two children following in their musical footsteps (Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright)?

Kate McGarrigle (February 6, 1946-January 18, 2010)

Kate & Anna McGarrigle

“Ce Matin,” live, Chicago, 2004


“Talk To Me of Mendocino,” live, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1990


With Family & Friends (including Rufus and Martha Wainwright), live, Mariposa Folk Festival, Toronto, 1989


“Complainte Pour Ste. Catherine,” live, 1981


“Proserpina,” live, London, 12/9/09 (Kate’s last concert)

Friday, 1/22/10

Watching late night TV, you drift in and out of sleep.

In the morning, you recall a commercial you saw—or dreamed.

And you say to yourself, “Buddhist Country Classics?”

Jimmie Dale Gilmore (with Bill Frisell, guitar; Jerry Douglas, Dobro; Viktor Krauss, bass), “Just a Wave, Not the Water,” live (TV broadcast), 1997

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