music clip of the day


Tag: Whitney Houston

Sunday, September 8th


Cissy Houston (1933-, Whitney’s mother, Dionne Warwick’s aunt), “I Do, Don’t You,” live




random sights

other day, Oak Park, Ill.

Saturday, January 3rd

mother & daughter

Cissy & Whitney Houston, medley (“(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Ain’t No Way,” “You Send Me”), live (TV show), 1983



reading table

He spreads the paper flat and pushes down its dog-eared corners. The paper was once white, and now it is yellow, he thinks. Once flat, now creased. And there is the truth about life: once this, then that.

—Samantha Harvey, The Wilderness

Sunday, November 23rd

Back to church.

Whitney Houston (1963-2012), “God Will Take Care of You,” live (11:35-16:35), Evangelical Fellowship Church (Dr. Fred Jenkins Jr.), Pleasantville, N.J., 1998



art beat

Helen Levitt (1913-2009), New York, 1980


Tuesday, May 14th

There is, it appears, a new addition to the list of activities that threaten national security—channeling Whitney Houston, badly.

An American Airlines pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after a passenger refused to stop singing Whitney Houston’s hit song I Will Always Love You.

The solo performance began shortly into the flight from Los Angeles to New York and her crooning quickly became too much for passengers and staff on the domestic flight last Thursday.

The pilot was forced to change course halfway through the six hour flight and make an unscheduled stop at Kansas City so officers could escort the woman from the plane.

Daily Mail, 5/13/13



reading table

“Pastoral Harpsichord”
by Charles Simic

A house with a screened-in porch
On the road to nowhere.
The missus topless because of the heat,
A bag of Frito Banditos in her lap.
President Bush on TV
Watching her every bite.

Poor reception, that’s the one
Advantage we have here,
I said to the mutt lying at my feet
And sighing in sympathy.
On another channel the preacher
Came chaperoned by his ghost
When he shut his eyes full of tears
To pray for dollars.

“Bring me another beer,” I said to her ladyship,
And when she wouldn’t oblige,
I went out to make chamber music
Against the sunflowers in the yard.

Monday, 12/31/12

William Ferguson, “The Music They Made,” New York Times (12/27/12): Etta James, Dave Brubeck, Davy Jones, Levon Helm, Donna Summer, Chuck Brown, Ed Cassidy, Greg Ham, Jimmy Castor, Ravi Shankar, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Ronnie Montrose, Jon Lord, Michael Davis, Joe South, Chavela Vargas, Duck Dunn, Johnny Otis, Whitney Houston, Jimmy Ellis, Adam Yauch, Mickey Baker, Bill Doss, Ketty Wells, Bob Babbitt, Robin Gibb, Andy Williams, Terry Callier



musical thoughts

To love anything—music, literature, comedy, sports, whatever—is to be perpetually saying goodbye.


reading table

clamoring geese—
over there is the year
ending too?

—Kobayashi Issa, 1763-1827 (translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)


 found words


—Saturday morning, on a flight from Chicago to a family gathering in Lincoln, Nebraska, this was on the back of the seat in front of me


random thoughts

Some things are better left unexamined. Like, for instance, flying on a commercial airplane. If I thought much about it, I’d never do it.



WKCR-FM’s Bach Festival, mentioned the other day, concludes at midnight.

Sunday, 2/19/12

the first voice Whitney heard

Emily “Cissy” Houston (born Emily Drinkard), singer, 1933-

The Drinkard Singers (Cissy Houston, lead vocals), “Lift Him Up,” live (TV broadcast), c. early 1960s



Live (TV broadcast), 1970

“Be My Baby” (P. Spector, J. Barry & E. Greenwich)


“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” (B. Bacharach & H. David)


listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Pierre Fournier, cello (Archiv Production)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, Glenn Gould, piano (Sony)

• Johann Sebastian Bach, Partitas Nos. 3, 4, 6, Jeremy Denk, piano (Azica)

• Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonatas Nos. 14 (“Moonlight”), 8 (“Pathetique”), 23 (“Appassionata”), Rudolf Serkin, piano (CBS)

• Alfred Cortot, The Master Pianist (EMI)

• Claude Debussy, Pour Le Piano, Etudes Books 1 & 2, Gordon Fergus-Thompson, piano (Musical Heritage Society)

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide In Black (In the Red Records)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, John Tilbury, piano (London Hall)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi (piano), Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• Mary Halvorson Quintet, Saturn Sings (Firehouse)

• Slim Harpo, The Best of Slim Harpo (Hip-O)

• Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, Krzysztof Penderecki; Kim Kashkashian (viola), Stuttgarter Kammerorchester (Dennis Russell Davies, cond.), Lachrymae (ECM)

• Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings)

• Jimmie Lunceford, The Complete Jimmie Lunceford Decca Sessions (Mosaic)

• Guilliaume de Michaut, Motets, The Hilliard Ensemble (ECM)

• Paul Motian Trio (with Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell), Sound of Love (Winter & Winter)

• Mudd Up!, WFMU-FM (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)

• Pee Wee Russell, Swingin’ with Pee Wee (Prestige)

• Pharoah Sanders, Karma (GRP)

• Pharoah Sanders, Live (Evidence)

• Giacinto Scelsi, Natura Renovatur (ECM)

• Arnold Schoenberg, Piano Works, Peter Serkin, piano (Arcana)

• Sinner’s Crossroads, WFMU-FM (Kevin Nutt, gospel)

• Craig Taborn, Avenging Angel (ECM)

• Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin Plays the Music of Toru Takemitsu, Peter Serkin, piano (RCA/BMG)

• Anton Webern, Complete Music for String Quartet, Quartetto Italiano (Philips)

• Anton Webern, Works for String Quartet, Emerson Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Wild Flag, Wild Flag (Merge)

Sunday, 2/12/12


Whitney Houston, singer, August 9, 1963-February 11, 2012

What takes your breath away isn’t the way she pulls out all the stops—lots of singers do that. It’s how she pulls back (2:00-2:35, 3:00-3:20, etc.).

“A Quiet Place,” TV show (with mother Cissy Houston looking on), 1980s


As a girl she sang at her family’s church.

New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, New Jersey, 1970s

(First clip originally posted 7/25/10, second 1/18/12.)

Sunday, 1/8/12

Let’s head back to Newark, to the church we visited last Sunday, this time to hear one of Dionne’s cousins, back when she was a young girl.

Whitney Houston, New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, New Jersey, 1970s


what takes your breath away

It’s not the way she pulls out all the stops—lots of singers do that.

It’s how she pulls back (2:00-2:35, 3:00-3:20, etc.).

Whitney Houston, with mother Cissy Houston (Ann Drinkard Moss’s sister, Dionne Warwick’s aunt) nearby, “A Quiet Place,” TV broadcast

(Second clip originally posted 7/25/10.)

Monday, 3/14/11

Albert King

Fontella Bass

Art Ensemble of Chicago

Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Few musicians travel so widely—or so well.

Lester Bowie, trumpet, October 11, 1941-November 8, 1999

Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy (Steve Turre, trombone; Phillip Wilson, drums)
Live, Germany (Berlin), 1986


Vodpod videos no longer available.


#2 (Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You”)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lester and drummer Phillip Wilson were kindred spirits. Like Lester, the drummer came out of St. Louis. And like Lester, he roamed freely. Adventurous jazz (Art Ensemble of Chicago), funky soul (Stax Records sessions), hard-rocking blues (Paul Butterfield Blues Band): to each he brought the same hands, the same feet, the same ears.



Bill Cosby on Lester Bowie

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sunday, 7/25/10

what takes your breath away

It’s not the way she pulls out all the stops—lots of singers do that.

It’s how she pulls back (2:00-2:35, 3:00-3:20, etc.).

Whitney Houston (with mother Cissy Houston nearby), “A Quiet Place,” live (TV broadcast)

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