I know that Terry Allen isn't exactly one of the kingpins of Nashville, but to me this is a great country song from one of the incredibly numerous talents to emerge from Lubbock, Texas. That's the equally great Lucinda Williams (not from Lubbock) on harmony vocals:
Saturday, March 31, 2012
This is good: a cartoon based on the classic James Thurber story "The Unicorn in the Garden." The cartoons produced by the UPA Studios have a wonderfully modernistic design, quite different from what was being done at Warner Brothers, MGM, and the other studios in that period (late forties/early fifties). I really love the look of this one:
A noble sentiment from the great athlete and humanitarian Arthur Ashe (1943-1993):
"I know I could never forgive myself if I elected to live
without humane purpose, without trying to help the poor
and unfortunate, without recognizing that perhaps the
purest joy in life comes with trying to help others."
Friday, March 30, 2012
I came across a reference to this obscure song while researching something else for a book I'm writing. Much to my surprise, there was a clip on YouTube (can you find everything there?), so naturally I had to share. It's a prime slice of fifties rockabilly, but with an oddly demented vocal style:
Something to keep in mind, courtesy of the American statesman John Quincy Adams (1767-1848):
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be
our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our
passions, they cannot alter the state of facts
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Dave Van Ronk was one of the driving forces in the great folk scare (his term) of the 1950s and 1960s. He wrote a great memoir of that period called The Mayor of MacDougal Street, which I highly recommend. Here he is talking about one of his main influences and performing a true folk standard:
Today we share some wisdom from the famed Jewish physician and scholar Moshe ben Maimon, often referred to as Maimonides (c1137-1204):
"At times the truth shines so brilliantly that we perceive it as clear as day. Our nature and habit then draw a veil over our perception, and we return to a darkness almost as dense as before. We are like those who, though beholding frequent flashes of lightning, still find themselves in the thickest darkness of the night."
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) was the author of The Wizard of Oz, so I think it's safe to say he knew a little something about the subject of this quote:
"Imagination has brought mankind through the dark ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine, and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities."
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
For a year or so I used this song (actually a shorter version) as the regular closing number of my radio show. I can't imagine why the Wild Seeds never became big stars, as this is one of many great tunes that they put out in their heyday back in the '80s. Enjoy:
I really like this line from the British critic John Ruskin (1819-1900), which he wrote in reference to great painters:
"The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, — all in one."
Monday, March 26, 2012
Jim James (leader of My Morning Jacket) kind of stole the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan movie I'm Not There with his rendition of "Goin' to Acapulco" (with Calexico). Now he's done the same thing on the Buddy Holly tribute album Rave On with this sweet cover of "True Love Ways."
I fully agree with all parts of this statement from the poet Maya Angelou:
"Human beings are more alike than unalike,
and what is true anywhere is true everywhere,
yet I encourage travel to as many destinations
as possible for the sake of education as well
Sunday, March 25, 2012
This week, I feature another of the great New Yorker cartoonists-- Peter Arno, whose work appeared for decades in that magazine. Here are a few examples of his work.
"Well, if you ever need us again just give us a ring."
"I'm afraid as a kid star he's through"
"Now let me tell you about my troubles!"
"I hate to think of waking him. He didn't get in till all hours."
"In the interests of science, Miss Mellish, I'm going to make a rather strange request of you."
This comment by Mark Twain (1835-1910) is undoubtedly true-- I wonder how many conditions can replace the premise here, so that the rest remains true?
"The man who sets out to carry a cat by its tail
learns something that will always be useful and
which never will grow dim or doubtful."
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Actually, the surf wasn't all that wild the afternoon I stopped to take these pictures at what I think was Topanga State Beach in Malibu. Trying to capture the action of the waves and the surfers is a great photo exercise, and I think these turned out pretty good (with a little cropping and exposure adjustment).
I like the curl of the wave I captured in this one. I don't know what the debris is out beyond the surf-- it might just be seaweed. If it's not, then you have to admire (or scratch your head over) the surfers going out into the garbage.
Today I share an insightful allegory from the renowned Irish politician Edmund Burke (1729-1797):
"Because half-a-dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that of course they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little shrivelled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour."
Friday, March 23, 2012
As far as I'm concerned, Nina Simone is at the top of the list of female vocalists. She's great on ballads, politically charged songs, covering classic rock or jazz... really anything. Here's a bouncier number than she was typically known for, and she nails this one too...
Some good advice from the philosopher and educator John Dewey (1859-1952):
"Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so that we will be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed."
Thursday, March 22, 2012
A little something to think about from the British poet and adventurer Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel, 1788-1824):
"It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a luster obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment - but who can be sure that the imagination is not the torch-bearer?"
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I don't know what all the clutter embedded in this video is about, but just ignore it and listen to one of the Byrds greatest songs (though not a hit for some reason) as well as one of the best compositions by Gene Clark (who also handles lead vocals here):