Taylor Swift At Madison Square Garden August 27th, 2009: Fearless In Manhattan by Alix and Ali

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My friends Alix and Ali report from MSG: Dear Iman, Alix and Ali here. Taylor was simply fabulous. Once we got over the fact that we were dressed like all of the 12 years olds there with their mothers, we had an amazing time. Quick recap. She changed about 9 times. All cute sparkly dresses. She opened with You Belong With Me. When she sang Love Story it was the same performance from one of the awards shows with the castle and the quick change into a white dress on stage. She encored with Should’ve Said No and danced in …

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Soon…

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Top Of the Pops is no more but we are still gonna take a look at whats hot on the UK charts… soon

House Music Rules In The UK

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In the UK three decades ago soul music returned to the dance clubs from whence they came and today it is easy to forget how hugely popular that which we call mixes remains. I heard hardcore house on Radio One -the BBC’s national pop music radio station and wandering through HMV record store in Glasgow I saw rows upon rows on dance, club, dub, dj and house CDS. I recognized some names but not as many as you’d suspect. Some of the mixes will come from a single night club, some from a label, some from a posse of afilliated …

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Iggy Pop: Lust For Car Insurance

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Watching TV in the UK I was not surprised to see Iggy Pop dancing with his shirt off but I am amused to note he was hawking life insurance for Swiftcover Car Insurance. Their slogan: “Get A Life. Get Switchcovered”.Unfortunately, Switchcover are now under investigation for turning down actors, musicians and, er, Americans.Iggy gets paid anyway and after this years album of French Noir covers he’ll need the bread and the insurnce.

Miley Hannah Montana Stewart Cyrus and Reinvention In the USA

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The Miley Cyrus story is an American fable about reinvention. When the British first came to North America it was as a collection of skalliwags, thieves and lower class losers on the road to invent themselves as something else and as something grand. The American dream is the revrsal of the European dream, not of high birthplace but of high possibilities, not the rut of the working class but the movement of social mobility. 200 odd years later and the dream differs to entitlement of ability and is so socially inbred in can lead to hybrid and Miley Cyrus TV …

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Blood sucking in the UK

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A conversation with Hala (16), Kareema (12) and Miriam (8) tell me about music… IL: We had plans to see MJ together!!! How dya feel about his music? HED: still listen to him but not as much as before IL: How long ago were you a big fan? HED: When I was eight years old, his dance moves and moonwalk -that’s what intrigued me -just his dance. I was watching the “Motown 25”. Il: Now it’s all about Miley, right? HED: No… her music sounds all the same. Too poppy IL: MJ is obviously much better. So if not Miley …

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Leaving On A Jet Plane!!! I am in the UK for next ten days

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I am leaving to the UK for ten days today and will have limited ability to maintain my blog till I return Sepbember 2nd, 2009 but I will do my best to write any time I possibly can and will be back up and running before Labour Day. I’ve been doing this since April 23rd, 2009 and have been writing two to three full length posts a day as well as plenty of smaller ones -a ridiculous pace and inevitably with my own fair share of crap ones. Elsewhere David Adams, I would assume in disagreement with my negative take …

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The Playlist Monday August 24th, 2009: A Different Kind Of Tension

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Why Can’t I Touch It? – The Buzzcocks – One of the greatest bands of all times, I have been blasting this after noticing Pearl Jams version on their live album. Originally a b-side the lyric is a typically obtuse take on how life feels by the great Pete Shelly and, not unlike the 79 album A Different Kind Of Tension, it is tonal mood guitars and repetition of a minor riff as the verse? chorus? repeats and repeats. .Written by the band instead of the usual Shelley composition. Might I just mention I interviewed Shelly once and he was …

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Soon

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Juliet warned me. Hala warned me. Haylee and Emily warned me to… love Miley or die a fool, old man, they said. I will be entering no man’s land very soon and coming back to tell you all about Hannah Montana The Movie… no one here gets out alive….

Some Thoughts On Judee Sill’s Heart Food

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In the shadow of Mike Nessing’s memento mori I have been listening to Judee Sill’s Heart Food and one thing immediately comes to mind: this is an inversion of Ray Charles taking Gospel and making secular rhythm and blues, Sill’s was taking the singer-songwriter confessional and making Spirituals. Next is a disagreement I have in Mike’s opinion. Given the year it was released I don’t think “Heart Food” was hurt by its complex, unbelievably complex, still trying to figure out what on earth she was doing complex “The Donor,” songs or its highly polished for a struggling singer production with …

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Dirty Projectors Redux

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“Depression” off Dirty Projector’s 2007 Rise Above album was given a bare bones recording on daytrotter.com completely at odds with the choppy wave seasickness of the original. Mike Longstreth complains “there’s no girls who want to touch me, get away I don’t need your fucking sympathy” as Amber Coffman and Haley Dekel harmonize with eclectic disheaval . Awesome song and it’s free.

Kenny Laguna, Joan Jett and the other Runaways

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I loved The Runaways and had a king size crush on Cherry “bomb” Currie for the longest time though the one time I saw em live at CBGB’s they kinda suxd. Coupla years later I loved Joan Jett and rock and roll and interviewed Joanie for the cover of Creem and her manager Kenny Laguna was with her. Joan was charming and sweet and Kenny was loud and very, very funny and very, very tough.When it comes to JJ he is a cross between a mother bear with her cubs and a tarantula; her own personal Luca Brazi. As the …

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Almost Cut My Hair, Cut My Hair…

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Watching the Arthur Penn directed “Alice’s restaurant” starring Arlo Guthrie I was surprised I’d forgotten how dangerous it was to be a hippie in 1969. During one scene some not really red ncks at all, beat Arlo up and throw him throw a pizza shop’s glass window (Arlo rubs a pizza in one of the cowards faces, proof that love and peace will only get you so far) and the police jail him destroying private property just because he had long hair. In all my writing about Woodstock it was the x factor I’d failed to factor in. Being a …

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Iris DeMent at Highline Ballroom August 22nd, 2009: Songs Of Family and Faith

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The penultimate song of Iris Dement’s two hour concert at the Highline last night found the country singer-songwriter last night dedicating “My Life” to her daughter somewhere among the enraptured audience. The song was used at the end of the wonderful independent movie “Mr. Lonely” where a Michael Jackson impersonator, after falling in love with a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, goes to a private island for professional Chaplins and Clark Gables, watches the Monroe die, returns to Paris, and grief stricken looks at old picutres while “My Life” plays on the soundtrack. Well, of course it does. The Arkansan singer aches …

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The Roches Whisper In The Wind

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Is that a dulcimer I see before? Sure sounds like one and since the Roches best album Keep On Doing’s best song “On The ROad To Fairfax County” was written by Dacid Massengell -a folkie reprobate who knows his way round the instrument -listen his original for starters, just maybe the Roches third album, second with Eno’s buddy Robert Fripp producing, it would make sense. But I don’t think. This album is so minimal it’s possible they decided just about everything was getting in the way of Suzzy, Maggie and Terre’s harmonies. On “Fairfax County” a woman meets a Highway …

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WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE SHUT THE GUY UP

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Today in the New York Post Dan Aquilante had this to say about the Moody Blues Thursday at Radio City: “the rockers played a set that reminded the sold-out Music Hall why they’re one of the most important rock acts to come out of the UK.” Important? Compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer maybe. Why Aquilante has a job is beyond me, he has zero taste in music. The bloke is useless.

LAST THOUGHTS ON WOODSTOCK

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This is what happened to the States: some foreign policy wonk came up with the domino theory: if one country falls to communism the next one will follow. instead of telling the world truth: Communism is perfect for small poor agriculture based economy’s with lots of, er communes, and sucks for every body else. The States got stuck in a war not unwinnable just not worth winning and were using the baby boomers -the largest group of teens and twenties in its history to fight the war through conscription. And the baby boomers didn’t want to fight it. Simultaneously the …

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Elvis Costello’s Talk Show “Spectacle”: Almost Me, Almost You, Almost Good

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Elvis Costello was making a mistake. It was years and years ago on “Late Night” with Letter man and he was pushing his album Spike and he was talking about a central song on Spike, “God’s Comic”. “God was wishing he had he given the world to the monkeys,” Costello said, with an ingratiating lean forward he hadn’t owned five years before and a twinkle in his eyes, “Dave, Pete, Mickey and Mike” he gleamed. Harharhar. As jokes go not the best but as told me the new user friendly bloody awful and the reason is Costello can’t tell a …

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Erin Muir: Somebody’s daughter

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Erin Muir is a singer-songwriter who left the wilds of Minneapolis (and what appears to be a vibrant music scene) for the mundanity of L.A. but she is forgiven because she is a great songwriter. A sort of Gothic Princess but not like black makeup, like a brooding Daphne DuMarier which is a touch too chick flicky except the strings are insane on the title track of her invisble new album (at least i can’t buy it and I would) The Poet’s Lovely Daughter. Muir’s calling card is a dusky and deep voice and the sexually ambigious lyric is strange …

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Kraftwerk by Mike Nessing

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Fun, fun, fun at the Autobahn ‘till her daddy takes the T-bird away. Or how I finally discovered the passion behind Kraftwerk by Mike Nessing The music of Kraftwerk had always struck me as distant, cold and calculated. It isn’t that I’m not a fan. I’ve heard most of their stuff and believe it to be great, just on a different plane. Music that comes from the brain and not the heart. I was very, very wrong. It required me to re-think it a little, but this music is as emotional and as heartfelt as any love song or for …

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PARAMORE’S BLISS

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Four years since perpetual power punk Paramore emerged from Tennessee, two years since “Misery Business” broke em big ,one year since the darker “Decode” made it to the Twilight soundtrack and yesterday since their new single “Ignorance was released. I thought they were disappointing at Summerstage last year, lead singer gave a preening, egotistical performance with a dollop of punk sincerity for good measure. “Ignorance” is the Paramore sound grown up: crunchy guitar, mid-tempo hard rock, but the song doesn’t have the bounce (though it has the darkness) of earlier material. So here’s the question: will they be Lindsay Lohan …

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Divorcing In The 80s: You, me, and all that stuff we’re so scared of…”

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Art is life is life is art is love and all that stuff we’re so scared off. Richard and Linda Thompson released Shoot Out The Lights in 1982 and went on a tour supporting the critically acclaimed album. Linda ended the tour and left their marriage. The same year and two years before his divorce, Elvis Costello released Imperial Bedroom. Fresh off Born in The USA, Springsteen released Tunnel Of Love, a year later he was divorced. The three albums are about sexual relationships at the point of maximum stress. They aren’t post-divorce albums like Here My Dear -rather they …

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When Every Night Was A Saturday Night Fever With the Drifters

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Remember the Drifters? Sure you do: tin pan alley, highly arranged first r&b and then pop vocal band. First with Clyde McPhatter leading the way they were covering stuff like “Money Honey” and later with mainly Ben E. King they had a string of crossover hits. From 59 to 64, from “Dance With Me” to “On Broadway” and seemed all set for the nostalgia circuit when… they went to the UK and became a disco band.  Johnny Moore, who had been the lead singer since 64 signed with Bell records. Bell records were a hit single machine in the early 70s. …

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Loudon Wainwright III and Family at Highline Ballroom, September 15th, 2009

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Loudon Wainwright III and his children Rufus and Martha Wainwright as well as the BRILLIANT AWESOME UNSPEAKABLY WONDERFUL folk trio Roches (get the Robert Fripp produced Keep On Doing if you have never heard them) will be there. Always great to see the Roches anywhere but this must be Rufus’ first Stateside concert since his opera debuted in Manchester, England this June and should be very, very interesting. Don’t miss it!!! Tell III to play “Dead Skunk”

daytrotter -one way ticket yeah!!!

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The other week I wrote a post about Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps -a Minneapolis band. Marie Lynn introduced them and where did she find them? daytrotter.com. It was while listening to Titus Andronicus on daytrotter.com I discovered one of the best bands EVER Spider Bags. Blind Pilot, Mi Ami, Ida Maria… heard them all for the first time on daytrotter…  Daytrotter.com is an Illinois based website who bring in bands to record at FutureApple Tree Studio 1 and download four or five songs on their websites that people can download for free. Recorded in analog basically live you …

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New Music Week Of August 17th, 2009: Modern Sounds Of Electronica

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I.D.G.A.F – Breathe CarolinaElectronica duo from Denver come up with the goods on this addictive pop crossover mover EXCEPT who is gonna play a song whose chorus goes: “I don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck…” . Yeah, and bleeping won’t help. Maybe, re-record it, right? The two guys hit it with a cool sneer and it is really a place where Electronica can go and evolve outta the dancefloor and on to the charts. I got another song off the album as well, the title track, “Hello Facination” and it is really good. I’ve been writing about …

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Bob Harris And Me

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This is the most boring brush with greatness you WILL EVER READ!!! It came to mind because I was watching the Judee Sill youtube clip “The Kiss” and it came off an English BBC program from the 70s called “The Old Gray Whistle Test”. Old Gray was to hip music what “Top Of The Pops” was to chart watchers. The presenter was “Whispering” Bob Harris -a tall, laconic, quiet presense: bery father was a habadasher, graduate from cambridge, sorta bloke. “Old Grey” ruled TV rock till Tony Wilson came out with the hip young “Revolver” on Granada-TV. Wilson was the guy behind …

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“I WANT TO BE MILEY CYRUS LITTLE BROTHER”: JULIET LABABEDI’S PLAYLIST

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In a somewhat scathing review of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” back in April, I snickered “How much reassurance do young girls need?” Well, there is young and then there is young. My great niece Juliet Lababedi is going to be seven years old in a week and like all seven year old’s there isn’t enough reassurance and recommendation, and though my great-niece, is as self-possessed a young girl as you can imagine, if what she gets from a song like “the Climb” is a sense of life as a reachable goal, I applaud Ms. Cyrus on her achievement.    I never …

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WOODSTOCK CD 6: “The Sea Of Madness…”

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Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby Stills & Nash – It’s a shame Steve Stills is such an arrogant dick because some of the stuff he wrote with Buffalo Springfield and later with this band is pretty fucking awesome. This song is a real suite: it changes, the melody evolves with the song and the voices harmonizes gloriously. And this is a good version. I have a boot from their 2000 tour and I caught em at MSG and between the two I can tell you that despite their being some thirty years older in 2000 they were much better …

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Broken Scapular: Mike Nessing on Judee Sill

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Mike Nessing writes about the short, lustrously creative life of Judee Sill. Songs of faith, higher power, wisdom and love. Chord progressions and melodic structures that reach to the sky. So how is it that the architect of some of these most holy sounds could live such a tragic life? But that’s how it goes isn’t it? That’s the other side of the coin. For all her songs of aching beauty, Judee Sill couldn’t save herself. No man could save her either. Jesus is a tough act to follow. Could any one of us have been her “one star in …

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HERE IT IS…. HERE MY DEAR…

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What confuses people about Marvin Gaye is that, despite “What’s Going On” and despite “Let’s Get It On” and despite “Midnight Love” and ABSOLUTE despite “Here My Dear” Gaye was a singles artist. Even his masterpiece was filled with filler, every album except “Here, My Dear” and including “Midnight Love” had chunks you’ll never hear again. He, like all those early Motown cats, functioned it three minute sound bytes and even if on some of his live albums he funked out to ten minutes, he existed for the soul singer and triumphed so completely it overwhelms his albums. What album …

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A Progressive Points The Way: The Mike Nessing Playlist

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There are too types of serious rock fans in this world: the progressives and the anti-progressives. Mike Nessing is the former, I am the latter. But he makes a damn good case for the sharper ear having more fun. The thing is, if you can’t hear, if you don’t have the gift of analyzing complex music as you hear it you are not going to enjoy it. Nessing has such educated tastes in music I was expecting Sondheim’s “Passion” to show up any moment. This is completely apparent in his Frank Sinatra choice. To my mind Sinatra reached the zenith …

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The Playlist Sunday, August 12th, 2009: Answers

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Blowing In the Wind – Sam Cooke – From the 64 Live at the Copa album, quite as good as the Harlem Square in 63 and it proves Cooke didn’t really play the Jim Crow equal but different. The Copa was a big deal for Cooke but both albums show a pop pro wooing his audience and that’s about it. Even here. Even singing a great song for equality he is swinging it, the grunts are not the grunts of a James Brown. Cooke couldn’t help himself , he was made to seduce us. John, I’m Only Dancing – David …

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WOODSTOCK CD 5: “Not feeling so good myself”

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Don’t know about the half million young, dirty, hungry, drugged bastards stuck in the Flanders Field of 1969 but I am getting pretty sick being stuck in Woodstuck myself. Feeling Alright – Joe Cocker – I have no idea why Cocker dances like a poor kid with muscular dystrophy but I saw him a coupla years ago at the Beacon and he was still doing it. A sorta hard rock blues number that you already know of course because you remember Dave mason and Traffics original. Score: 7/10. Let’s Go Get Stone – Joe Cocker – Like praising Jesus in …

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The Best Years Of Our Lives

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I was emailing back and forth with Mike Nessing when he said “Too much music,man..not enough time. It’s a never ending struggle to hear it all..That’s one of the main reasons I dont listen to much new stuff, because I find myself going back to all the shit I missed.” Look at it this way: get a handle on Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, James brown and The Beatles, and you will have a handle on modern pop music and you can move forward because these days are better than those. My argument has always been, now not then …

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Woodsock CD 4: “Volunteers Of America”

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Work Me Lord – Janis Joplin – On this CD the difference between Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane is if you don’t know how great Joplin was you haven’t been paying attention and if you thought “Surrealist Pillow” was all JA had you will be in for a delightful surprise. That’s Big Brother And the Holding Company backing her and if Janis was high on smack you sure can’t hear it -the solo improv in the middle is a thing of great beauty. Score: 8/10 Ball and Chain – Janis Joplin – I don’t know want no trouble but here …

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Martha Wainwright and Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company at Central Park’s Summer Stage August 14th, 2009: Hips Don’t Lie

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About a year ago I was at the Highline for a Martha Wainwright concert and up close she was like a shock of legs and a hip thrust against her guitar. It was as though she sang with her hips. I thought of that concert during the highlight of her collaboration with English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and his dance company Morphoses, a pas de trois to Wainwright’s “Bleeding All Over You”. The feat, a former resident choreographer of the New York Ballet, and an offspring of the Wainwright family dysfunctional picnic matching parts that shouldn’t, was filled with potential disassters …

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Please Close the 3 Doors Down on Your Way Out

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One of the Cavemen throws a strike and pumps his arm until the pin changer comes down with the legend “So Easy Even A Caveman Can Do It”. In the background 3 Doors Down gowdawful “Let Me Be Myself” -so egotistical, so smug, so horrid. It is a very funny ad but it begs the questions, why are the band (besides the obvious reason) allowing the song to illustrate the grafting, weakkneed, bullshit commercial. Geico is joking, and we have ears we know 3DD are terrible and can laugh at the Caveman’s unreal sense of self, I guess 3DD know …

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WOODSTOCK CD 3: “SHAKE YOUR BOOGIE”

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Going Up the Country – Canned Heat – I don’t like blues boogie but I liked this on the original Woodstock album and I like it here because Alan Wilson sons of bitches of songs and Bon Hite was a truly original vocalist. Score: 8/10 Woodstock Boogie – Canned Heat – I sware if this was, say ten minutes instead of half an hour in length I’d love it to to death but for fucks sake, how self-indulgent can you get. Nothing here deserves spending this much time on and I certainly won’t EXCEPT in the ongoing fore/background debate it …

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His Own Private Idaho: The Saviors Ipod Reviewed

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I loved Brett Jensen’s take on Jesus and Jesus’ Ipod in an earlier post. If you can’t laugh at religion what can you do with it? A good question and one I faced when Marie Lynn refused to help me. “It is too seculative,” she said, before correcting herself, “I meant too Speculative”. Well, exactly. However, all discussions of an afterlife are speculative by definition. This is not a question of faith -something of which I have very little, it is a question of imagination. I have no kick against Christians (my sister Feriel who I love very much is Born …

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SOOOOOON

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Did you know Ray Price took over Hank William’s band after Hank died? Popular music sophisticate Michael Nessing did and we are going to be looking at his playlist… soon!

WOODSTOCK CD TWO: “How are you fuckers gonna end the war if you can’t sing any louder than than?”

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And closing up the first, very folkie night of Friday 15th, 1969, Joan Baez and the CD doesn’t include Joanie discussing her husband David Harris, a jailed conscientious objector. She speaks with pride how David had already organized a hunger strike before singing song one, CD 2   Joe Hill – Joan Baez – I saw Joan Baez play this song in the outdoor theatre in Baalbeck, built by the Romans, in Lebanon. The year? 1975. A terrific pro-worker anthemn from the thirties. Just for the heck of it, here’s the story of Joe Hill thanks Wikipedia: “Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel …

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PERSONAL JESUS: Brett Jensen on Jesus’ Personal Stash Of Songs

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I will be getting round to a somewhat more unctuous take on the Lord’s Ipod at some point soon using all of your suggestions. Till then please enjoy Brett Jensen vastly superior then what mine will be and highly irrevent take on Jesus’s Personal songs. I might add that Brett could’ve specified Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music” in the white noise category. So, what does Jesus listen to on his iPod? First off, Jesus has two very distinct sets of music. The music that “Dad” knows about all came from Wal-Mart, and would have had all the swears removed, if …

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