Monday, November 29, 2004
On eBay - bidding up to $1026
Today I talked for an hour to Kaohsiung, [politics Kaohsiung incident, expat humour and here] Taiwan. Very clear trouble free call on normal dial up phone. Cost me a 22c local call through Telstra plus about 60 cents off my phone card for the hour. I paid Telstra 22 cents for the call.
If I had used Telstra to make the call on the same dial up phone it would have cost me $58.20.
I still have about 15 hours worth of calls left on my Rabbit Talk card that cost me $10.
15 hours of talk with Telstra would have cost me $873.00
It does help to know what is around in the market.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
"... we hope to spark intellectual thought, family discussion, spiritual growth and a strong desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
Now an example of a review:
License to Chill Jimmy Buffett
Pro Social Content
Buffett wants to relax and enjoy life (“Trip Around the Sun” with Martina McBride). On “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere” he assures a special lady, “Tell me what you need/I will surely come through.” Sailboats are a metaphor for unfulfilled dreams the singer is ready to pursue (“Boats to Build” with Alan Jackson). Amid sober reflections, a man claims to have learned from his mistakes on “Scarlet Begonias.”
The irreverent “Coastal Confessions” finds a cocky, unrepentant man prattling to a priest about impure thoughts and marijuana use, saying, “Bless me father/Yes, I have sinned/Given the chance I’ll probably do it again.” Strangers have a fling that involves cruising bars and buying a thong (“Conky Tonkin” with Clint Black). With bad-boy aplomb, the spiritually confused Buffett calls himself a “Piece of Work” (a Toby Keith duet). Aided by Kenny Chesney on the title track, he misuses Jesus’ name, ogles half-naked women and calls his boss a jerk. Profanities mar several cuts. Beyond an s-word, “Simply Complicated” imagines receiving perverse news about family members.
It’s been 27 years since “Margaritaville,” and Buffett still lives for the weekends. A few positive moments aside, this CD finds him spiritually lost in a chronic midlife crisis full of bars, women and zero accountability.
“Bless me father/Yes, I have sinned/Given the chance I’ll probably do it again.”
"A few positive moments aside, this CD finds him spiritually lost in a chronic midlife crisis full of bars, women and zero accountability. "
I don't know which one to put on my gravestone.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
May I take a quote from the comments over at Surfdom. The quote is from irant whose site resides here.
"Nick is one of the few modern artists that really understand the blues. Instead of merely politely copying the form (a certain English guitarist gent comes to mind), Nick descends into the existential core of the blues and sucks the religous imagery and angst for all it is worth. He reminds me for more of the Delta giants of the '20s and '30s than the usual contemporary blues artist suspects."
I must put in a plug here for the DVD, God Is In The House. I notice that the website claims this is the first ever DVD by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. It was watching this DVD that was my Nick Cave tipping point. Up until then I had been a bit lukewarm. Now I'm a fan.
The DVD contains live footage from Le Transbordeur in Lyon, France, plus the John Hillcoat directed documentary No More Shall We Part - The Recording Sessions. Recorded at Abbey Road, the documentary has exclusive film of the band recording No More Shall We Part. Also featured on the DVD are the videos Hillcoat directed for the singles 'As I Sat Sadly By Her Side' and 'Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow', the latter features cameos from the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Jason Donovan plus the video for the Australian released single, 'Love Letter'.
The Lyon concert from 2001's No More Shall We Part tour features the Bad Seeds line up of Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Blixa Bargeld, Thomas Wydler, Martyn Casey, Conway Savage, Jim Sclavunos and Warren Ellis playing tracks from eight of their twelve studio albums.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
----Adolph Hitler Proclamation to the German nation at Berlin, February 1, 1933
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
It was the time of the preacher in the year of 01.
Now the preachin' is over and the lesson's begun.
I suspect most punters only came across this song as the theme to the TV series Edge of Darkness. I was reminded that it was a while since I listened to The Redheaded Stranger all the way through. Because this is the kind of album that has to be listened to from start to finish.
Around 1973 Willie had had success writing songs that were recorded by others, notably “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and “Hello Walls” for Faron Young but he hadn’t had a great deal of success on his own. Prior to 1970 he was a pretty standard looking country singer, rhinestones suits, short hair, playing pretty much to the usual straight country music circuit fans. He did by then have his loping, behind the beat, (and in front of, and on and all around the beat) jazz singing style and plinked strangely tuned guitar (influenced by Joseph Spence to my ears) in the style which wasn’t all that well understood by the record company types.
Willie’s house burnt down around 1970 and he took sometime off to recoup and relax. He emerged with his now trademark longer hair and jeans style and a yearning to get back to a simpler way of presenting his music. A sort of a country punk idea. He played to fans at the famous Armadillo Headquarters in Austin Texas an artistic, student, music town with a population of traditional country rednecks and hip students and people like Townes van Zandt and others.
He signed a contract for an album but didn't have more than a few songs to record. His wife suggested he do a theme album based around the Red Headed Stranger, a tale of a jilted preacher who goes on the lam after murdering his wife and her lover.
Nelson and the Family began recording Red Headed Stranger, and Nelson felt gratified by what he was hearing. "It was fun putting together what I had wanted it to be", he told Chet Flippo in 2000. "I had wanted it to be real sparse. I had in mind, I remember, some of my favorite records: Eddy Arnold with just his guitar; Ernest Tubb with just his guitar; so I wanted to have that kind of feel with maybe just some help along the way to keep it from getting too, you know, obnoxious. Or monotonous".”
Red Headed Stranger
"It was the time of the preacher, when the story began," sings Nelson on the record's opening track, "Time of the Preacher". The theme, performed by Nelson and a lone acoustic guitar, returns twice during the record, acting as narrator and a sort of Greek chorus. Nelson's first pass at the song sets up the story, hinting at the infidelities that have happened, and the violence they will cause, when he sings:
It was the time of the preacher, in the year of '01
Now the preachin' is over, and the lesson's begun
The record continues in this vein with the second track, "I Couldn't Believe It Was True", a finger-picked ballad that details the preacher's discovery of his wife's dalliances. Although the track is an Eddy Arnold cover, Nelson is able to deftly slip it into the context of the tale he is telling. His quivering voice conveys the anguish and acceptance the preacher is feeling, giving new weight and poignancy to the lyrics:
The shock was so great I am quivering yet
I'll try to forgive her but I cannot forget
My heart breaking loss is another man's gain
Her happiness I hope will always remain
Following this song, Nelson drops back into the role of narrator, reviving the "Time of the Preacher Theme", to illustrate the course of action the protagonist is now forced to take, singing:
But he could not forgive her
Though he tried and tried and tried
And the halls of his memories, still echo her lies
It was the time of the preacher, in the year of '01
Now the lesson is over, and the killing's begun
The deed is committed, and recounted in the next track, "Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger". The song is haunting and visceral, with Nelson's vocal delivery serving to bring life to the story he is telling. Listening to this song, it is no wonder he opted to make a feature film version of Red Headed Stranger ten years later. Indeed, the scope and grandeur of "Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger" is very cinematic. The same holds true for the album's centerpiece, "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain". Another cover song, this one also brilliantly dovetails with the record's narrative. A touching, nakedly honest song about love and regret, the lyrics take on new meaning as a part of the Red Headed Stranger saga:
When we kissed goodbye and parted
I knew we'd never meet again
Love is like a dying ember
And only memories remain
The remainder of the record tracks the preacher as he tries to run from both the law and his past. Nelson weaves brilliant originals and covers into a dusty tapestry of the old West that is as resonant as it is unforgettable. Standouts include "Denver", one of the songs penned during that fateful ski trip in Colorado. The song eloquently captures the paranoia felt by the lonely traveler:
And it's nobody's business where you're going or where you come from
And you're judged by the look in your eye
Red Headed Stranger's final four songs blend originals and covers to bring the tale of the preacher to a quiet close. Nelson's cover of Hank Cochran's "Can I Sleep in Your Arms" shows the hero clinging to the thin hope of newfound love:
Don't know why but the one I love left me
Left me lonely and cold and so weak
And I need someone's arms to hold me
'Till I'm strong enough to get back on my feet
This thread carries on through the closing moments of the record, the cover of Bill Callery's "Hands on the Wheel" and the bittersweet instrumental coda, "Bandera". In "Hands on the Wheel", Nelson turns the song's reflective lyrics into a mantra of affirmation for the preacher:
At a time when the world seems to be spinnin' hopelessly out of control,
There's deceivers, believers, and all in-betweener's that seem to have no place to go.
I look to the stars, tried all of the bars, and I've nearly gone up in smoke.
And now my hand's on the wheel of something that's real, and I feel like I'm going home.
It cost Willie only $20,000 to record, but it handed him the success he'd craved after years as a hit songwriter and modestly successful singer. By blending originals and vintage material, he created a timeless Western saga.
The remastered later released CD preserves the original sequence but also adds four bonus tracks. One, a brief snippet of Bach's "Minuet in G" from the 1986 Red Headed Stranger film, is inconsequential. Three more, from the 1975 sessions, are enjoyable covers of Hank Williams's "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You," Bob Wills's "A Maiden's Prayer," and Pee Wee King's "Bonaparte's Retreat,". These are pleasant enough but don't really add anything to the original.
This is the record that those who sneer at country music will either not get at all, in which case you should immediately class them as cloth eared idiots and cast them from your BBQ list, or it will hit them as a Road to Damascus experience and they will become that worst of all fanatics The Convert. To those who think Willie can't do great pop jazz hit them with his "Stardust" album. Better still get Stardust for yourself and file it alongside Sinatra's best and enjoy it. Forever.
The sparse short original, around 33 minutes I think, is a country music opera, a very serious work of art, and one of those life changing records you must have. Along with Neil Young "Tonights The Night", Bob's "Blood on The Tracks", Sinatra's "Wee Small Hours" and Van Morrison's live two album set "Its Too Late to Stop Now"
NB: Not all my own work. If you recognise some of the above from elsewhere you are most likely correct.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
In his book The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity, he sticks the boot into rap music, amongst other things, calling it “neo-Sambo … mugging or scowling” with “gold teeth, drop-down pants, and tasteless jewelry.” He bravely chastises producers and “artists” who peddle the same “bullying, hedonistic buffoons” D. W. Griffith portrayed in Birth of a Nation.
Read more in a review by Stefan Beck assistant editor of The New Criterion.
A sample of Crouch's writing from JazzTimes:
(He) ..accuses white critics of elevating white musicians "far beyond their abilities" to "make themselves feel more comfortable about . . . evaluating an art from which they feel substantially alienated." Crouch also claims that white writers, who were born in "middle-class china shops," ensure "the destruction of the Negro aesthetic" by advancing musicians who can't swing at the expense of those who can.....
Last year Crouch got fired as a writer from JazzTimes.
Read a bit more about it here in Village Voice.
The Voice called police and sacked Crouch about 10 years ago for snotting a fellow writer in a disagreement about rap music.
Scott Timberg of The Boston Phoenix reviews Crouch's book
THE ALL-AMERICAN SKIN GAME, OR THE DECOY OF RACE: THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT, 1990-1994.
A choice quote from Crouch: " Prince? He's a "Minneapolis vulgarian and borderline drag queen."
Crouch has also dissed latter day minor saint Spike Lee as: "a nappy-headed Napoleon"
More quotes from an interview:
CROUCH: What can Snoop Dogg do? He can't sing. He can't write. His ideas are so pedestrian. If there's an intellectual highway, there's also an intellectual subway. The only difference between an intellectual subway and the real subway is that the real subway actually goes faster than the cars on the street. In the intellectual subway, not only is it below ground, it actually moves far slower. So we're talking about somebody who's intellectually moving at the pace of a worm moving in very hard soil and somebody who's in a Lamborghini. That's the difference between Duke Ellington and Snoop Dogg.
Rap actually comes out of punk rock, not black music. It's not really connected to James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, the Supremes.
FXH Comment: Crouch is surely wrong here. It doesn't take much of an ear and brain to see that rap owes a lot to Mr James Brown.
Crouch on the death of Ray Charles.
A bit more about Crouch. Listen to Crouch talking about his view that the concept of authenticity is not easy for all Americans to grasp. He dissects the dilemma in his book The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity. The July 2004 Village Voice article by Ta-Nehisi Coates that I pinched my title from Crouching Stanley, Hidden Gangsta. There is a bunch of Crouch columns, not on jazz, at Salon
A more sympathetic view of Crouch is here in a Salon piece by sometime friend Amy Alexander
Friday, November 05, 2004
carol link over at the decidedly rural beezlebublog has posted pics of her earless polar bear cat with the euro sophisticated name of Yves plus Oedipus Rex.
karma kameleon of karma to burn promised to post pics of her rabbit.
Chris Sheil of Backpages doesn't like cats pics "I don't get the joke or don't like the custom, or both" but has been posting pics of his red kelpie.
Dirk Thruster is way too manly and all australian outback type to post cat pics but has posted a pic of his lizard that lives on the verandah and a romantic pic of a tractor.
Anthony at Spiceblog will most likely be cooking up a cat on a Korean charcoal BBQ with Star Anise and marmalade, sage and apple stuffing and drinking an obscure imported beer.
I anticipant darp will have a cat with shaved balls and a messed up bed hair look and tatts.
Ms Fits will probably just post another pic of her old dog Bob Ellis again.
Ken Parish from Troppo Armadillo will just plonk up a pic of an armadillo. Or perhaps a pic of C.L at the vets surgery.
Currency Lad will probably post a pic of George Bush's dog Or a photo of Ken Parish having surgery at the vets.
John Quiggin is simply too cool to have a cat or post a pic of one. He's a bright sort of guy who just might have a picture of Schrodinger's cat. Or at least an economic theory of the cat and the box.
Paul Watson will most likely have a rant about how baby boomers have denied young people jobs by posting cat pictures.
The cat all axy mob who by rights should have a cat masthead with that title will have an argument about the utility of posting cat pics.
Need more? Links to lots of animal blogs.
As cat pics surface I'll update:zoe at crazybrave has Mr Klaw (kool spelling and all)
Sedgwick has weighed in with cat mind reading.
ooooh feministe has more of the sink kitty Pablo today
I had thought that Yobbo would post a pic of a nude asian beauty instead of a cat. But no, ever the creative boy, he has posted a pic of an asian beauty (possibly nude) with a condom hat.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Although it was percolating for a while, it is not an entirely original idea. I must confess I had occasionally peeked over at feministe to look at her very cute cat, Pablo, sleeping in its (un) usual spot. Then David Tiley over at Barista posted the chart of status in blogging. [at the moment Mista Barista's comments aren't digitalising upwards].
Naturally cat pic posting is looked down upon by all. Then I happened upon a link to this New York Times story about big time bloggers in USA posting pics of their cats on Fridays.
Let the posting begin next Friday.
I’ve got a feeling, a bit of an inkling, that this will lead to world peace, warm fuzzy feelings, love between bloggers, resolution of the Gaza strip problems, a cure for Yassar, reform in the Australian Senate, Tony Abbott turning all warm and cuddly and a resurgence of sales of incense and crystals.
Footnote: There is no way, abso-bloody-lutely no way, that I will be the one to suggest to the Mrs Slocum of Oz blogging, Ms Fits, that she be the first to post pictures of her pussy on her blog. No way.