music clip of the day


Month: September, 2013

Friday, September 20th


R.L. Burnside (1926-2005), “See My Jumper Hanging on the Line,” live, Independence, Miss., 1978



reading table

Harvest in progress
a crane stands
in the rice paddy

—Matsuo Basho (1644-1694; translated from Japanese by David Young)

Thursday, September 19th

What would a day without music sound like?

Wednesday, September 18th


Yesterday. Late afternoon, working on an old murder case. Happen upon this: windows open, letting in a breeze.

Mary Halvorson Quintet (MH, guitar, compositions; Jon Irabagon, alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; John Hebert, bass; Ches Smith, drums), “Love in Eight Colors,” “Hemorrhaging Smiles,” live, Washington, D.C., 2013



reading table

From now on
it’s all clear profit,
every sky.

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), on his fiftieth birthday (translated from Japanese by Robert Hass)

Tuesday, September 17th

last night*

Savages (Jehnny Beth, vocals; Gemma Thompson, guitar; Ayse Hassan, bass; Fay Milton, drums), live, England (Glastonbury Festival, Somerset), 2013

*I saw them at Metro, a club on Chicago’s north side, near Wrigley Field. The way drummer Fay Milton rode the beat, like a wave that kept surging, surging, surging, reminded me at times of Keith Moon. Is there any higher compliment?

Monday, September 16th

From Musical Scripture (3:7):

And when they heard the angels singing,
A hush came over them and they understood:
Heaven can be found anywhere—even Detroit.

The Temptations (David Ruffin [1941-1991], lead vocals), “My Girl” (S. Robinson & R. White), vocal track, 1965

Sunday, September 15th

back to church

Heavenly Gospel Singers, “Jesus Traveled On This Road Before”
Live, St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Canton, Miss., 1978



reading table: more of Seamus Heaney

Reading (New York), 2011


Funeral (Dublin), September 2, 2013

Saturday, September 14th

old school

Charlie Musselwhite (1944-; vocals, harmonica) with Big Walter Horton (1918-1981; vocals, harmonica), live, Chicago, 1981

Charlie’s playing is wonderful: it both swings and sings. And he’s got great presence. But listen to Walter, whom I had the chance to work with in the ’70s when I was with Alligator Records. He’s not onstage long; this was only months before his death. But there are moments, when Walter’s playing, where time seems to stop (16:11, 18:03, 18:22, 19:57, etc.).



reading table

You can fall a long way in sunlight.
You can fall a long way in the rain.

The ones who don’t take the old white horse
take the morning train.

—Robert Hass (1941-), “August Notebook: A Death” (excerpt)

Friday, September 13th

what’s new

Have you heard the new Julia Holter? This is honestly, seriously good. It may be the best album I’ve heard this year.

—my son Alex (now twenty-five), before playing me this track

Julia Holter, “World,” 2013

Thursday, September 12th


This is something I would never tire of hearing, not even if I were to live a thousand years.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, 2nd movement (fugue)
Henryk Szeryng (1918-1988), violin



musical thoughts

Music offers a respite from the mind’s incessant chatter.

Wednesday, September 11th

sounds of Chicago

Edward Wilkerson, tenor saxophone (with Kidd Jordan, tenor saxophone; Henry Grimes, bass, violin; Isaiah Spencer, drums, et al.), live, Chicago, 2010

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