Archive for the ‘Music that doesn’t suck’ Category

R.I.P., Paddy Moloney

October 13, 2021

Paddy Moloney, frontman and piper for the Chieftains, has gone west. He was 83.

Reports Mother Times, quoting Himself in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Our music is centuries old, but it is very much a living thing. We don’t use any flashing lights or smoke bombs or acrobats falling off the stage. We try to communicate a party feeling, and that’s something that everybody understands.”

I’m grieved to learn that Paddy has left the party to which he brought so much feeling. In his honor let us banish misfortune.

Something might be gaining on you

September 11, 2021

It’s been a long, long road.

While they continued to write and talk, we saw the wounded and the dying.Erich Maria Remarque, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

I didn’t have much to say on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and a decade further on down the road I feel even less inclined to hold forth on the topic. A bunch of people got dead, maimed, or insane; another bunch got rich, famous, and powerful; and the rest of us went shopping.

Did we learn anything from the attacks and what Charlie Pierce calls “our blind, feral response?” Doubtful. We check the rear view every 10 years or so, but that’s just reflexive, like glancing at a TV as you pass.

Anything good on? Nahhhhhhh. Same ol’, same ol’. Hey, who wants to go to the mall?

Your call is important to us

September 3, 2021

“Please continue to hold. And hold. Annnnnnd. …”

It’s my considered opinion that Texas (and the Supremes, and many other jurisdictions, institutions, and individuals) could benefit from the occasional kick up the hole.

That said, this tale about the Austin indie chamber-music group Montopolis and the Texas Workforce Commission Hold Music should remind us that hope remains. Even in Texas.

Satisfaction

August 25, 2021

You gotta love a guy who’d give Mick Jagger a puck in the gob.

I don’t know much about drumming, but I know what I like. And Charlie Watts had plenty of it. He was a kind of anti-Mick who just plunked down behind his minimalist kit and did his maximalist thing, without a lick of showboating.

But at least once he came unplugged. From Rolling Stone:

For all of his low-key skill behind the kit, Watts seemed well aware that he was an irreplaceable element of the Stones’ sound. As one famous story from the band’s heyday goes, Jagger once phoned Watts’ hotel room in the midst of an all-night party, asking, “Where’s my drummer?” Watts reportedly got up, shaved, dressed in a suit, put on a tie and freshly shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, saying, “Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer!”

Ho ho ho. When I read that I immediately wondered whether Roddy Doyle had poached the bit for his novella “The Commitments,” in which the full-of-himself singer Deco Cuffe tells an audience,  “I hope yis like me group.” Drummer Billy Mooney takes exception — “It’s not your fuckin’ group,” he says — and after another miscue in which Deco botches his bandmates’ introductions Billy flogs the frontman with a drumstick and subsequently quits The Commitments.

It’s left to Billy’s replacement, Mickah Wallace, to punch Deco’s lights out.

So fair play to Charlie Watts. Total pro. Stuck it out with the Rolling Stones for a half-century. And as far as I know, he only clocked Mick once.

R.I.P., Dusty Hill

July 28, 2021

One of the many ZZ Top albums I’ve worn out over the decades.

ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill has finally bottomed out.

According to the band’s website, Dusty shuffled off in his sleep at home in Houston. He was 72.

Dusty, Billy Gibbons, and Frank Beard helped keep me between the lines on many a long road trip over the years, pounding on the steering wheel and singing along. Now he’s up there jamming with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guy Clark and the rest of them hombres.

’Scuse me while I crank up some “La Grange,” y’all.

Willin’

July 18, 2021

Nope, not a church. It’s the chimney for the bedroom kiva fireplace.

The Lowell George song is pretty much all I know about Tucumcari. That, and that round two of The Visitation occurs today, as another smallish herd of Texicans gallops in from there to see Herself the Elder.

Their trip looks like a stroll through the daisies compared to what Herself’s sis will endure when she jets in from Maryland midweek. Holy hell. That itinerary is why I drive any distance under 3,000 miles that does not involve an ocean crossing. A UPS driver at Christmastime makes fewer stops. Plus there are fewer psychos to duct-tape to their seats en route.

Meanwhile, the news of the world remains an ongoing refutation of both Darwinism and theology. One envisions the Son having a Word with the Father while the Holy Ghost spitballs a new PR campaign:

“I got nailed up for these people? What were You thinking? I’m going to put You in a home while HG and I try to figure out how to turn this thing around.”

Good luck with that. Me, I’d think about starting over with a fresh crop of monkeys. But judging by the state of the place, maybe that’s already occurred to You.

Black Woodstock

July 5, 2021

You’re never too old to learn. Especially when you start from a base of ignorance.

I didn’t learn about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre until 2019, when it came to HBO in “Watchmen.”

And I didn’t hear about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival until 2021, when Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson carved a mountain of forgotten concert imagery into a Black Mount Rushmore, creating the documentary “Summer of Soul” for Hulu.

The Tulsa massacre was buried with its victims for reasons that should be all too obvious. And the Harlem Cultural Festival was strangled by the largely white Woodstock — until Thompson brought the late Hal Tulchin’s long-buried footage back to life.

In an interview with The New York Times, Thompson said:

For nearly 50 years, this just sat in a basement and no one cared. … History saw it fit that every last person that was on that [Woodstock] stage now winds up defining a generation. Why isn’t this held in the same light? Why was it that easy to dispose of us? Instead, the cultural zeitgeist that actually ended up being our guide as Black people was “Soul Train.”

We watched “Summer of Soul” last night, and man, what a blast from the past it was. So many cuts from the pivotal days of this whiteboy’s personal soundtrack.

David Ruffin, fresh from an acrimonious split with The Temptations. A young Gladys Knight and the Pips, very much on their way up. Sly & the Family Stone. B.B. King. Hugh Masakela. Stevie Wonder. The 5th Dimension. The Edwin Hawkins SIngers. And artists whose work I didn’t come to appreciate until later, like Max Roach, The Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson, and Nina Simone.

All of them on stage in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park, playing for a largely Black audience of 50,000 people at a pop, guesstimated at 300,000 over six shows. Admission: Free.

And to think all that sound and glory wound up in a basement tomb, waiting for someone to roll away the stone.

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan

May 24, 2021

The Master’s eighth studio album.

I backed into Bob Dylan, the way you might bump into an interesting character at someone else’s party.

“Mr. Tambourine Man?” The Byrds sang me that one. “Blowin’ in the Wind?” Peter, Paul and Mary. “All Along the Watchtower?” Heard it first from Jimi Hendrix. I don’t think I really got into the guy that Chazbo Pierce calls “The Master” until “John Wesley Harding” came out in 1967, shortly after my family moved from San Antone to Bibleburg.

My friends and I played the shit out of that one, and then I started rooting around through his back catalog.

I lost interest after Bob found the Lord, though I dug “Gotta Serve Somebody” and “Everything Is Broken.” These days I only have the old stuff — “Blonde On Blonde,” “Blood On the Tracks,” “Bringing it All Back Home,” “The Freewheeling Bob Dylan,” and “Highway 61 Revisited.” You’ll find more killer tracks on those five albums than most singer-songwriters could produce in five lifetimes.

As Thomas McGuane put it in “Nothing But Blue Skies”:

No one compares with this guy, thought Frank. I feel sorry for the young people of today with their stupid fucking tuneless horseshit; that may be a generational judgment but I seriously doubt it.

Extra-Credit Dylan:

• At Esquire, Charles P. Pierce discusses the old soul of The Master.

At The New York Times, Jason Zinoman calls Dylan our most underrated comic, arguing that he belongs “in the pantheon of great Jewish funnymen.”

Happy Mothers’ Day

May 9, 2021

Don’t freak out, man.

Live together or die alone

May 1, 2021