As charged by [livejournal.com profile] chickenfeet2003:

Reply and I’ll give you a letter. You have to find five songs that start with that letter and post them to your journal.

"Keep Me In Your Heart For A While," Warren Zevon
"Killing Floor," Howlin' Wolf
"King Of Rock," Run-D.M.C.
"Kirsten Is A Fuckmachine," Tiger Tunes
"Kung Fu," Curtis Mayfield

Five songs starting with the letter K. (Megaupload.com)
Speaking of spurious assumptions about sexual dichotomization, I find it interesting that at my gym, the windowless, ochre, musty free-weight room gets one of the local Classic Rock stations pumped into it, heavy '70s music. Generally everyone in there is male, and both younger and buffer than I am, which makes me embarrassed to go in there and have to set the pins on the floor so I can do my standing cable fly. The fitness center, which draws a more mixed crowd, is newly renovated, brighter, airier, and smells better. It contains all of the cardiovascular equipment and the stack machines. In the fitness center, we listen to CDs mostly of the peppy, poppy eighties. Just yesterday, they were playing, as they always seem to be, the greatest hits of Duran Duran. Which is fine, because I like "Hungry Like The Wolf." But then that CD finished and they put in a mix of what seemed to be Mtv's biggest songs: "Video Killed The Radio Star," "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and, wait for it, "Hungry Like The Wolf" again. So if anyone could send me an mp3 of "Hungry Like The Wolf" I'd appreciate it. If anyone ([livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster) could send me an mp3 of Carolyn Kelley singing "Hungry Like The Wolf," I'd be ecstatic. And, to indulge the heavy '70s side of my fitness regime, I'm also out here, hat in hand, asking for a copy of Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man." Thank you all very much.
In passing, [livejournal.com profile] hermionesviolin mentions Songs Inspired By Literature, by "Artists For Literacy." This reminds me that I had once thought that if I got nothing else out of the Lit Hum syllabus, at least it ought to be good for a mix tape. However, after Led Zeppelin's "Achilles' Last Stand," "Tales Of Brave Ulysses" by Cream, and Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex," the idea sort of petered out.

(As a preemptive strike in my defense, I'd like to point out that I merely used the site that came up first in my Google search on "lit hum syllabus.")
Justice League Unlimited just totally ripped off "Soul Purpose".

***
Rick James has died at age 56 of natural causes. Though one would assume with Rick James that it wasn't so much natural causes as a long, polyrhythmic concatenation of extraordinary causes.

I was thinking about Rick James a few days ago, even before I heard of his passing, as I was reflecting on "lost albums," those records which were made but never released. Certainly the lost album I most wish to hear is the album James made with his mid-sixties Toronto band The Mynah Birds. The Mynah Birds were, with Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, one of Berry Gordy's first salt-and-pepper signings in his attempt to find an interracial group that could, like Booker T. & the M.G.'s, bridge the gap between soul and rock markets. The group came down to Detroit and recorded an album, but the album was stored away after it was revealed that James, the group's lead singer, was at that point AWOL from the US Navy. Gordy always demanded that his artists maintain a certain image of wholesomeness, and he suggested to James that he go and serve his debt to society; there might be a place for him at Motown when he had fulfilled his other responisibilities. It took James twelve years to return to Motown; in the meantime, his bassist and guitarist, Bruce Palmer and Neil Young respectively, decamped for California where they hooked up with Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield. At least one person who has heard the album has called it "Holland-Dozier-Holland with twelve-string guitars." Others have said that you can't hear much of Young's guitar on it at all -- of course, I'd rather listen to the Funk Brothers anyday.

A different album has recently reappeared from the mists of memory: the album John Kerry made with his high school garage band The Electras (certainly one of the three or four greatest surf bands ever to come out of New Hampshire) will be hitting stores soon. From what I've heard of his bass playing, Kerry is competent if unremarkable; of course, he recorded the album in 1962, well before John Entwhistle and Larry Graham emerged with the idea that a rock bass player could be more than competent if unremarkable. Tom Feran (who ends his column with a pun unbefitting a former editor of The Harvard Lampoon) asked a local Cleveland DJ and a local garage band to review the album; their reaction could be summed up as "Kerry was a root note bassist - pretty simple, but that's what you're supposed to do with that style." Entertainment Weekly got The Hives to offer another review:
The bassist is a solid foundation, a good person. Maybe bass players don't have the strongest leadership qualities, but they are good at negotiating, they have a basic fairness, which is very important if you're gonna run a country.
All of which I'd be fine with at this point. But though I don't want to seem overly enthusiastic about Kerry, I do have to point out that occasionally the bass player turns out to be Bootsy Collins.

Bootsy's Rubber Band: "Psychoticbumpschool (Live)" (YouSendIt.com)
The JibJab/Woody Guthrie copyright battle deepens: the Electronic Freedom Foundation provides sonic evidence that Guthrie himself may have ripped off the Carter Family. Jesse Walker then points out that the Carter Family claimed ownership of a number of traditional folksongs.

I'm waiting for someone to rework "The Lemon Song," and for the Led Zeppelin legal team to go on record that they've never heard of Howlin' Wolf or Robert Johnson. And I'm reminded, for some reason, of the bit of Douglas Adams's where the editors of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy copy their entry for "The Universe" off the back of a cereal box and then send the book back through a time warp and successfully sue the cereal company for copyright infringement.
[livejournal.com profile] nzraya has a flight of fancy on her trip down memory lane:
A passing thought...

...and, I'm sure, a far from original one. But, having spent a fruitful morning going through an old videotape of MTV's 80s-retrospective programming in December 1989 (SO GLAD I taped that stuff, because half of what they put in as most characteristic of the '80s has gone well and truly down the memory hole now), I can't help but ponder, wistfully, the following question:

What if the December 8, 1980 assassination attempt against John Lennon had failed, and the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan had succeeded?
I love counterfactuals. Let's see . . . George H. W. Bush has nearly as much of a first term as John Tyler. Freed from the constraints of Vice Presidential subservience to Reagan, he reverts to his 1980 support of abortion rights and leads the most Arab-friendly administration since Eisenhower's. His retinue of Rockefeller Republicans and foreign-policy realists alienate the Christian Right, which makes overtures to the blue-collar Catholics who had formed the bulk of the "Reagan Democrats" and to socially-conservative African-American Baptists. Pat Robertson leads a new Christian crusade for social justice. A booming economy, buoyed by Bush's moderate fiscal responsibility, propels Bush to a commanding victory over the newly black-friendly George Wallace, but in 1988, his Vice President (Howard Baker) must face a vital young Democrat who is extremely hawkish, pro-Israel, and is second to none in his credentialing as a campaigner for values and decency. In the clash of the Tennessee titans, Al Gore prevails, becoming the youngest President in American history.

As the years wind down, the Republican party becomes more and more the party of the Northeast, Great Plains and Southwest, while the industrial Midwest and the South define the Democrats. In 2004 the country faces a great drama when the Democrats nominate the ticket of Clinton-Buchanan against the Republicans' favored Rodham-McCain.

Meanwhile, John Lennon's 1984 movie Remember Me To Harold Lloyd is considered the greatest film disaster of the decade. A pair of phoned-in duets with Lionel Richie do not help his critical standing. By 2004, Britain collectively smirks when he makes a guest appearance on the Sugababes' single "Imagine (There's Disco Heaven)," and critics everywhere admit that the recently deceased George Harrison was the true genius of the Beatles.
Yesterday's Observer Music Monthly attempted a list of the 100 greatest British rock albums which compounded the usual problems of album-centered rock criticism (black artists are penalized for working in single-oriented genres) with the usual problems of British rock (there aren't enough black artists to penalize). My argument that Are You Experienced, recorded in London with a band that was 66.7% English, should count as a British album (in fact as the best British album) fell on deaf ears, since I never actually expressed it to anyone. In any case, I figured that there would be four albums that, due as much to their history of critical acclaim as any inherent quality, had to fall into the top ten: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Exile On Main Street, Never Mind The Bollocks, and London Calling. London Calling placed third, Sgt. Pepper's sixth, and Exile eighth. Never Mind The Bollocks, on the other hand, was placed way down at number fourteen, below even Metal Box by Public Image Ltd.

This reminds me that there used to be a joke commonly made on ignorant young pop music fans in the seventies and even into the eighties: "You mean Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?" This jibe could be transferred into the eighties and nineties with "You mean John Lydon was in a band before PiL?" and into the nineties and today with "You mean Dave Grohl was in a band before Foo Fighters?" It seems to me that we need to prepare for the future, and the obvious thing is for Chuck D. to form an ambitious, poppy, somewhat sterile supergroup so we old-timers who remember It Takes A Nation Of Millions can rib the younguns.
Tuesday's mystery numbers are 6:07.

Today's playlist:

"Oliver's Army," Elvis Costello. Definite icon food here, though while I was first thinking of using it to further spread the "Spike represents British colonialism" meme, I'm now leaning towards either a Watchers' Council or an MI-5 image.

"B.O.B.," OutKast. Perhaps it's tainted by its association with a foreign policy that Big Boi has clearly repudiated, but it rocks, and "Don't pull the thang out, unless you plan to manage a large multinational coalition and are prepared for a long period of intensive and sometimes frustrating nation-building" just doesn't scan.

"Come In Out Of The Rain," Parliament.

"Just Like Me," Paul Revere & The Raiders.

"Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me?" Peter Brown. Basement studio one-man-band funk on the cusp of disco.

"Get The Party Started," Pink.

"My Name Is Prince," Prince. For a few months after this was released, it remained true.

"Lipstick," the Buzzcocks. Back during my post-season five Buffy-obsessive period, I had a vision of Dawn bouncing around Spike's crypt to this. Of course, she'd steal the CD.

"You And Your Folks/23rd Psalm," The Blind Boys of Alabama. The old Funkadelic song, intercut with an intonation of the Psalm. It's quite chilling, but would work better had not Funkadelic spent the early '70s interrupting their jams with mock-sermonettes about "Our Father, which art on Wall Street" and "The Good God Big Buck" (in context, a reference to capitalism -- I hadn't considered, until typing this, that there might be another interpretation).

"We Are Neighbors," the Chi-Lites.

"Senorita," Justin Timberlake. Pharrell gets the best lines.

"Grits Ain't Groceries," Little Milton. "If I don't love you, baby, grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man." Symbolic Logic c3451x must have made a deep impression, for I keep feeling the compulsion to deny the consequent. I rather doubt I could get grits in my local Stop 'n' Shop; calling eggs "poultry" would contradict my stance on stem-cell research; and there's at least one sub-Clive Cussler novel on the best seller list that claims that the Mona Lisa is a self-portrait. (That said, I do love you, baby!)

"Mama Said Knock You Out," LL Cool J. This journal's subtitle, at least for the next few days.
Comfort food is making me uncomfortable. I rationalized the economy of my P. F. Chang's trip with the idea that I could stretch out my order of Kung Pao Chicken and Spicy Eggplant over several meals, and then proceeded to eat the entire thing.

It is my understanding that there exist, along with comfort food, comfort magazines, so I bought a couple. I got the new WIRED, for reasons that may later become apparent, and, inspired by the example of [livejournal.com profile] hermionesviolin, the current Rolling Stone. This is the Rolling Stone which contains its list of the 500 "Greatest Albums Ever Made." Hmmm. It seems like just six years ago that they were prying my money from my fingers for their list of the 200 "Greatest Albums Ever Made." I'm not buying another issue until they come out with the 10,000 greatest. Take that, exponential progression!

Perhaps because I've had the earlier list as a subconscious influence since 1997, I own a higher percentage (54 out of 200, compared to 87 of 500) of what was then the "definitive library of the best albums ever made). My suspicion is that the earlier list was actually superior (and thus, my tastes are actually superior). It was chosen by a smaller panel with more of an eye towards history, and thus contains selections by Ruth Brown and LaVern Baker. On the other hand, the later list has a lot more jazz on it (a surprising amount of which I own -- not that I listen to it -- not that the panelists listen to it either). The earlier list also has the advantage of being arranged chronologically instead of in some supposed order of quality, which prevents us from being consumed with inanities such as "Hotel California is only number thirty-seven? Damn it, that's a top thirty-five album in my book!" It also provides the benefit of disguising the Beatles fetishization by slotting the copious amounts of their records into their proper slot -- the 1960s -- rather than into nearly half of the top ten.

Anyway, what follows is the list of the albums from the new list which I own. Most of these I have on CD, some I bought back when I was primarily a casette consumer and have not updated since I got my first CD player in 1990 (make of that what you will), and a couple I only have because I ripped my girlfriend's CDs onto my MP3 player. I have not included tapes I made of CDs my high school friends had, mostly as a discriminatory measure designed to keep Pink Floyd off the list. I was a bit confused with how to count some of the anthologies: for example, I do not actually own Sly & the Family Stone's Greatest Hits, but I own Anthology, which contains all of Greatest Hits plus tracks off of there's a riot goin' on and Fresh. However, I have not checked whether or not the anthologies of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Howlin' Wolf and others correspond to what I have in any way.

87/500 )

I suppose one could compare the above to the full list, then cross-reference with my preferences stated both in my user info and my response to [livejournal.com profile] shadowkat67's meme and come up with a reasonable approximation of an Amazon Wish List. And with the holidays just around the corner. Of course, on any list of the 500 things I need most, 413 albums have to come pretty low.
From [livejournal.com profile] shadowkat67, a meme.

1. Name 10 favorite actors you'd see in anything:(Of course, this list is suspect, because for all actors other than Cary Grant there pretty much exist a whole ton of movies I haven't/wouldn't see them in. Of course, I should point out that I am doing this meme more in the spirit of posting something rather than giving it the benefit of too much serious introspection.)

2. Name 10 favorite actresses you'd see in anything:
  • Katherine Hepburn 9 more )
(Of course, this list is suspect, because especially near the end where I get into the sexy brunettes I may not be listing based on actual talent.)

3. Name 10 TV shows you'd love to have the complete episodes on DVD:
  • Hill Street Blues 9 more )
(The amount of television I have watched seems to have affected my ability to count.)

4. Name 10 Films you'd love to have on DVD:5. Name 10 books that you love and are your favorites at this moment in time:
  • Crosstown Traffic, by Charles Shaar Murray 9 more )
8. Name 10 songs that you love to listen to and can think of off the top of your head that you'd want a CD compiled of:
  • "Que Sera, Sera," Sly and the Family Stone 9 more )
9. Name 10 Musical Artists whose music you love and would take with you if you could only pick ten:10. Name 10 favorite examples of Islamic architecture (this is not actually s'kat's suggestion):
I've been begatten, or begot, or something. Thanks, Masq! It only took a little grovelling . . . I grovel so well.

I'm not quite sure what this will turn out to be: it may turn out that LiveJournal is not the place for someone who deals with as much writer's block as I do. This may turn out more bloggish than LJ; most of my online reading is in the blogosphere rather than in LiveJournals. Someone once commented that blogs tend to be a male domain while LJ tends to be dominated by women. Of course, someone else tried to make a sociobiological point about this: men "hunt" links, while women "gather" together into communities. Of course, there are plenty of female bloggers (though I only have one bookmarked; my favorites folder is as disturbingly sexually segregated as my CD collection). There are probably lots of male LJers too -- I just don't know any. (In any case, I reject simplistic notions of sociobiology, such as the straw man [my straw is pretty sexually segregated too] I set up a few sentences above. Yes, I strongly oppose the caricatures of arguments I draw myself!)

I should talk about "Touched," being somewhat known as someone who talks about Buffy (the Rosicrucians cited me! take that Ded!), but I have yet to figure out the cut-tag, so no spoilers yet. All in all though, I was pretty underwhelmed. "Underwhelmed" has been my Buffy-theme since "Smashed." Over on ATPo there's a kerfluffle over whether Angel or Spike is Buffy's true love. (I'm considering reviving my saga of the Sha'i-Pir Wars.) At this point, the only relationship I really want to see Buffy indulge in is with a large bottle of Prozac.

After reading about it in The Major Lift, The Minor Fall, I had to go out and get the Oxford American Annual Southern Music Issue. I already have the Swamp Dogg (but you don't, and you should), but I didn't have Little Milton's version of "Grits Ain't Groceries," which rocks righteous! Plus, the Blind Boys of Alabama! Esther Phillips! R.L. Burnside! A bunch of people I've never heard of! A whole bunch of great blues, rockabilly, soul, gospel and hillbilly at that point where they all come together and genre (color?) doesn't mean a damn. The Marilyn Monroe/Jane Russell track from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes seems a bit out of place, but what do you want to bet [livejournal.com profile] rahael loves it?

In other music news, cjl demands that we all go buy the new reissue of Live At Leeds. I (for once in my life) am showing sales resistance. I've already bought the damn thing twice: first, in its original six-track configuration (which the AMG claims runs for 19:14 -- if they're correct it may be the shortest major album ever released); second, in its 1995 18-track configuration. I just don't see much reason to buy it a third time; I don't even like The Who that much anymore, and I think endlessly mutating permutations of Live at Leeds may be part of the reason.

Anyway, welcome to my nightmare. Hope you enjoy it!

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April 2009

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