Monday, September 29, 2008

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan

What has to be one of the best and (at the time) oddest collaborations in modern music; Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.

In 1969 they went into the studio and worked on some material together. There is a great bootleg of these sessions entitled Nashville 1969 which I will upload here once I figure out the best way to do it.

Luckily, some video exists of this strange but wonderful parring from throughout the years. I hope you like these clips as much as I do!

The Johnny Cash Show (1969)

One Too Many Mornings (1969)

I Still Miss Someone (1966)

I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry (1966)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

NPR to Stream New Dylan

As if I needed one more reason to love National Public Radio, now I find out that they will be streaming the new Bob Dylan Bootleg Series release for the entire week leading up to the release date.

The stream starts this Tuesday at 12:00am. Oh happy day. Details here.

Oh, and while your there, make sure to listen to this hot concert by french guitarist Bireli Lagrene with the Lausanne Big Band from the recent Cully Jazz Fest in Switzerland. I don't follow modern jazz much, but this grabbed my attention and my ears immediately. Great stuff!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Lucinda Williams-"Little Honey"

2008 has turned into a great year for music and it seems to keep getting better.

Today, I'm sure loving my first listen of some tracks from the new Lucinda Williams disc called "Little Honey".

The highlight so far is a great prison/love duet with Elvis Costello called "Jailhouse Tears". The single "Real Love" is also sounding like an instant classic.

I may have been the only one in the world that loved Lucinda's last disc ("West"), but this one sounds sure to please the fans who fell in love with her through "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road". Plus, it's just always great to hear new Lucinda Williams!

Click here for a 5 song preview of the disc (which drops on October 14).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lord, Help us All.....

Potential future leader of the free world; Sarah Palin on foreign policy.

Have a Grateful Day....

American economic crisis?
Will the Presidential debates happen tonight?
Is our next Vice-President semi-retarded?
Fuck it all. When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around.

I'm sitting here listening to this blissful, monster show in Grateful Dead history. 35 years ago to the day. Wow! 35 years and this still sounds fresher than anything I can think of in 2008.

The highlights of this show are many and the sound quality is just superb. Check out the joyous "Tennessee Jed". The gorgeous "Looks Like Rain". A smokin' "China Cat>I know you Rider". And an epic 55 minutes of emotional highs and lows with "He's Gone-> Truckin'-> Eyes Of The World-> Weather Report Suite Prelude-> Weather Report Suite Part 1-> Let It Grow".

This is a Dead show for the ages and the perfect anecdote for the chaos that is American politics these days. Turn it up loud and enjoy!

Grateful Dead: Buffalo, NY
(September 26, 1973)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slacker Uprising

On the eve of the most important Presidential election of our time, liberal lightning-rod filmmaker Michael Moore is offering his latest work online for free.

Entitled "Slacker Uprising", the film is a documentary of Moore's 2004 tour of college campuses, which attempted to rally the youth of today to abort Bush out of office. Unfortunately, it didn't work (officially) but the movie looks great anyway.

You can sign up to download it here and check out the trailer below.

And don't forget to VOTE on 11/4/08!!!

Bob Dylan-More Tell Tale Signs & Tour....

On the Bob Dylan front, his Bobness has released another track from the upcoming Bootleg Series release (dropping early October). This of course makes me very happy. Especially since this is an acoustic version of one of my Top 10 Dylan songs, "Mississippi".

While this isn't neccessarily better than the version we all know and love on "Love and Theft", it's a real treat to hear a stripped down, acoustic Dylan song these days. It's something I wish he would do more of.

Click here to get the song.

Of course Bob is also STILL touring. This fall, he's hitting Canada and the wonderful Northern US. See you all in Milwaukee!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture of the Day

Sorry, but I couldn't resist. I have no idea if this is fake or not. Either way, it's perfect!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eddie Vedder's Chicago Cubs Song

With my beloved Chicago Cubs about to go into the playoffs, I am filled with excitement and dread. We all know the story about how the Cubs are cursed. Growing up in Chicago, I have had my heart broken so many times by them that I find it hard to believe this could really be the year.

Well, fellow born and raised Chicagoan Eddie Vedder apparently doesn't share my pessimism. At the request of Cubs legend Ernie Banks, Vedder wrote and recorded a hopeful Cubs tune called "All the Way" at a recent show at Chicago's Auditorium Theater. It's getting radio play in Chi-Town and apparently it will be available on the Pearl Jam website soon.

As someone who watched that Wrigley Field scoreboard many times as a kid, this song honestly brings tears to my eyes. It captures the hopes and dreams that true Cub fans have in their blood. Let's just hope 2008 is finally THE year!

You can hear the song here. Enjoy:

"All the Way" Lyrics:

Yeah, don’t let them say that it’s just a game.
Well, I’ve seen other teams and it is never the same.
When you go to Chicago, you’re blessed and you’re healed, The first time you walk into Wrigley Field.

Heroes with pinstripes and heroes in blue, Give us the chance to feel like heroes do.
Whether we’ll win and if we should lose, we know Someday we’ll go all the way.
Yeah, someday we’ll go all the way.

We are one with the Cubs, with the Cubs we’re in love.
Hold our heads tall as the underdogs.
We are not fairweather, but farweather fans.
Like brothers in arms, in the suites and the stands.
There’s magic in the Ivy and the old score board.
The same one I stared at as a kid keeping score.
In a world full of greed, we could never want more.
Someday we’ll go all the way.
Yeah, someday we’ll go all the way.

Here’s to the men and the legends we’ve known.
Giving us faith and giving us hope.
United we stand and united we’ll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all.
Yeah Ernie Banks said, “oh, let’s play two”.
I think he meant two hundred years.
Playing at Wrigley, our diamond, our jewel.
The home of our joy and our fears.
Keeping traditions, and wishes anew,
The place where our grandfathers’ fathers they grew.
The spiritual feeling if I ever knew.
And when the day comes for that last winning run, and I’m crying and covered with beer.
I look to the sky and know I was right today.
Someday we’ll go all the way.
Yeah, someday we’ll go all the way.

R.I.P. Norman Whitefield

The world has lost one of the greatest songwriters/producers of all time today. Norman Whitefield was found dead in his home is Los Angeles. He was 68 years old.

Who is Norman Whitefield you ask? He was a producer and songwriter best known for his work on the classic Motown label during the 60's. He also went on to write the classic disco hit, "Car Wash" which criminally earned him only his second-ever Grammy award.

He was also immortalized in this great lyric from Billy Bragg's "Levi Stubbs' Tears":

"Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Are here to make right everything that's wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you"

Here is a list of just SOME of the tunes this guy wrote or produced. Simply amazing....

1963: "Pride & Joy" - Marvin Gaye
1964: "Too Many Fish in the Sea" - The Marvelettes
1964: "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" - The Velvelettes
1964: "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" - The Temptations
1966: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - The Temptations
1966: "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" - The Temptations
1966: "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - The Temptations
1967: "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" - Gladys Knight & the Pips, also recorded by Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival
1967: "You're My Everything" - The Temptations
1967: "I Wish It Would Rain" - The Temptations
1968: "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" - The Temptations
1968: "The End of Our Road" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
1968: "Cloud Nine" - The Temptations
1968: "Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone" Diana Ross & The Supremes
1969: "Friendship Train" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
1969: "Runaway Child, Running Wild" - The Temptations
1969: "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" - Marvin Gaye
1969: "I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations
1970: "Psychedelic Shack" - The Temptations
1970: "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" - The Temptations
1970: "War" - Edwin Starr
1971: "Smiling Faces Sometimes" - The Undisputed Truth, originally recorded by The Temptations
1971: "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" - The Temptations
1972: "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations
1976: "Car Wash" - Rose Royce

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Gary Louis and Mark Olson!!

Finally we have some new music from the former Jayhawks masterminds. Although they have toured together in recent years, this marks the first studio material they have released together since 1995.

Produced by Black Crowe Chris Robinson, these songs have a nice spontaneous, laid-back, back porch vibe to them. I only hope the rest of the disc is as great as this 3 song preview.


Joe Strummer-The Future is Unwritten

Last night I watched one of the best music documentaries I've ever seen; "Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten."

I have been a longtime Clash fan but honestly did't know much about their history. After watching this amazing film, I am now convinced that Joe Strummer is one of the most important figures in rock and roll history.

The film tells the story by letting Strummer do a lot of the talking culled from interviews and his amazing "London Calling" radio show. Directed by the great Julien Temple, it also features an amazing array of folks talking positively and negatively about Joe; including former band mates, Bono, Flea, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, and old friends. It all adds up to a fascinating look at an amazing artist and person. At the end of the film, I felt like I had lost a dear friend even though I knew nothing about him when the movie began.

The film also uses an amazing soundtrack of Clash tracks along with some of Strummer favorite tunes by artists as varied as Nina Simone, Eddie Cochran, Tim Hardin, and Bob Dylan.

After spending 10 lost years following the breakup of The Clash, Strummer finally got his passion back for music before his untimely death in 2002. What I love most about the film is that it makes you realize how fleeting this life can be and that you need to embrace it every minute of the day. In that regard, Joe Strummer is one of the few music artists that I now hold up as a hero. His is a life to truly celebrate.

Watch the trailer for this fantastic film here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

With all that has been going on in the world lately, I did not give the recent passing of Pink Floyd's Richard Wright much thought until today. While I rarely listen to them anymore (thanks to classic-rock radio burnout), Pink Floyd provided one of the huge soundtracks to my youth.

It is really easy to take Pink Floyd for granted these days. But when you really step back and think about the type of music they were making at the time, it truly was groundbreaking stuff.

And Richard Wright was there for it all (until Roger Waters fired him during the making of The Wall). His keyboards were as intrigal to Floyd's sound as David Gilmore's guitar. He also wrote two of my favorite songs on their career masterpiece; Dark Side of the Moon. Below are live clips of those tracks.

Richard, thanks for all of the great music and say hi to Sid for me!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Big Z!

So I'm sitting home on a cloudy, rainy Sunday afternoon when my best-friend Al calls and asks if I want to drive to Milwaukee, WI to see my beloved Chicago Cubs play the Houston Astros. They were playing in Milwaukee because Hurricane Ike forced the games to be canceled in Houston.

So, living 90 minutes North of Milwaukee, my initial 38 year-old crabby-ass reaction was "nah". Too far. I have kids to watch. I have to work tomorrow. I'm tired. Blah, Blah, Blah. Only after my wife said, "Oh you should totally go" did I start to get excited.

I mean, The Cubs playing a game in Milwaukee? Kind of historic. I'd never been to Miller Park. Plus, I hadn't seen a Cubs game in well over 5 years not to mention that this looks like it might actually be "The Year" for them.

So I went. And if you don't follow sports; history was made in Milwaukee last night. Cubs picture Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter!! The Cubs first since 1972. Fucking amazing!! The fact that 23,500 Cubs fans descended upon Milwaukee made the atmosphere special. The no-hitter made it truly an unbelievable evening to be a part of. It was a night I will never forgot and one of those you tell your kids and Grandchildren about. Thanks Al!!!

Unfortunately, Major League Baseball has pulled any news coverage of the event from You Tube but here is the next best thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Barack Loves Wilco

Two great tastes that go great together...

Here is Jeff Tweedy with some close friends at an Obama benefit in Chicago. He just HAS to win in November. Please God? With sugar on top....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gimme Some Truth!

With less than two months to go in the American election for president, the lies are flying everywhere. My head is hurting. My psyche is cracking. It is a very tough time here these stays. As John Lennon wrote, "All I want is the Truth!".

Here is Pearl Jam's take on that classic song. For 3 minutes at least, I hope it helps you find some clarity in the midst of all the bullshit!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - 9/7/2008

Here is a smokin' recent show from Ryan Adams & The Cardinals. Hot off the heals from their opening stint with Oasis, the band sounds simply stadium ready! With a generous 26 song setlist including 5 new tunes, this is a must hear for Ryan fans.

Ryan Adams Live at Bank of America Pavilion, 9/7/2008

Set 1
01 Crowd
02 Off Broadway
03 Bartering Lines
04 Goodnight Rose
05 Cobwebs
06 Everybody Knows
07 Why Do They Leave
08 Magick
09 Two
10 Please Do Not Let Me Go
11 Come Pick Me Up
12 When The Stars Go Blue
13 Wonderwall
14 Fix It
15 Easy Plateau

Set 2
01 Crowd
02 Let It Ride
03 Games
04 Cold Roses
05 A Kiss Before I Go
06 Peaceful Valley
07 Dear John
08 Shakedown
09 Sinking Ship (1)
10 The Color of Pain (1)
11 Magnolia Mountain
12 Beautiful Sorta
13 I See Monsters

Monday, September 8, 2008

Angry Fans

While I would like to hurt Oasis and Robbie Williams due to their bad music; I wouldn't have gone the route these two fans did. Man, I've heard of audience participation but these clips are ridiculous!

Oasis: Toronto, 9/7/08

Robbie Williams: Leeds, 9/6/06

Sunday, September 7, 2008

PHISH Reunion!

Best wedding band ever? Last night the members of Phish played 3 songs at their "former" manager Brad Sand's wedding. I knew it was only a matter of time and I smell a Phish Tour in summer of '09! I'll have to break out the devil sticks and catch a show....

Julius from the wedding last night:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hell Has Frozen Over......

Fair warning; this blog may get political over the next two months. I have a fever and the cure is Barack Obama. Yes, I have a political man-crush on the guy. I find him amazingly inspirational and strongly feel he can help right the wrongs America has gotten into over the last 8 years.

I found another guy today who apparently has a Obama man-crush. Very Interesting.

Chatting with Obama
By Bill O'Reilly

Friday, September 5, 2008

Like him or not, you have to give Barack Obama credit for waging a smart, focused campaign. Destroying the Clinton machine was a major achievement and so was putting together a successful convention in Denver. Obama is now firmly a part of U.S. history, no matter what happens in the presidential election.

The problem some Americans continue to have with the Senator is that he is long on charisma but short on detail. This frightens some voters. Who the heck is this guy, anyway? So when Obama finally agreed to speak to me this week, specifics were on my mind.

First, the man. The Barack Obama I witnessed is self-confident, determined and driven. He was acutely aware of his surroundings from the moment he entered the room. He looks you in the eye and touches your shoulder. He understands how to connect one-on-one.

As far as philosophy goes, Senator Obama is convinced that the federal government should be in control of income distribution and, to some extent, should regulate the free marketplace. That is a classic liberal position, and Obama promotes it well.

The Senator also believes that poor Americans have a basic right to free health care and monetary supplements from the government with no strings attached. The American substance abuser, for example, would derive the same benefit as a hard working, laid off worker would. Again, classic liberalism. No judgments made regarding entitlements.

So, if Barack Obama does become president, there will definitely be change. His left-wing base will demand it, and he will come through. You can decide if that's change we should believe in, but keep in mind that the unintended consequences of government interference in the marketplace are impossible to predict. Free markets have a way of chafing under government imposition.

On the foreign policy front, Obama has convinced me that he is tough but cautious. He rose up quickly because he vehemently opposed the Iraq war. But now I see a man who understands the victory that has taken place in Iraq. I don't believe he wants to screw that up. I could be wrong.

After going mano-a-mano with Obama on television, I am also persuaded that he is a sincere guy—that he wants the best for all Americans. He's an ideologue, but not a blind one. He understands that his story is incredible, and, I have come to believe, he is grateful to the American system for allowing it happen.

It is true that we don't know whether Senator Obama has the ability to solve complex problems, but you can say that about all presidential contenders.

Like most politicians, Obama has used guile and good luck to accumulate his power. He can be ruthless, kind, unfair, and generous. In short, he's a real person trying to achieve an unreal position—that of the most powerful person in the world.

God help him.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Call Bullshit

I approached this week's Republican National Convention with an open mind. I wanted to watch it to try and figure out why the Democrats keep losing year after year. After 2 nights of torture for me, I can honestly say I still don't get it. I finished watching the Democratic convention last week feeling hopeful and good about our country and what it could accomplish. I finished watching last night feeling nothing but bitter and angry.

The Republican strategy seems to be to paint anyone who isn't for oil drilling in Alaska or war overseas as a baby-killing, anti-American, God-hating elitist fag. It just comes off so hateful to me. This hate speech was on display last night in spades between Rudy "9-11" Giuliani and apparent "Hockey-Mom" Sara Palin (what the hell is a Hockey-Mom anyway). The crowd and news media seemed to eat it all up with a spoon so maybe I'm the one who just doesn't get it. It plays into the worst of what Americans can be and I just pray it won't work this time around. I pray that we have learned from the last eight years and that we will come together to make this country good again. I don't have high hopes after last night.

Besides the hate speech, what would a Republican convention be without some outright lies and distortion. The following is an Associated Press article fact checking some of the comments made. I found it very informative and it is posted below without permission by anyone.

Fact check on Palin’s speech: Attacks, praise stretch truth
By Jim Kuhnhenn
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a “bridge to nowhere.”

PALIN: “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate.”

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: “She’s been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply ... She’s responsible for 20 percent of the nation’s energy supply. I’m entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain’s phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she’s no more “responsible” for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: “She’s the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under “federal status,” which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska’s national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor’s election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: “We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.”

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wilco/Fleet Foxes Cover Dylan

I love getting home from a nice long vacation in the North Woods and finding out one of my favorite bands has just covered Bob Dylan. That would be Wilco with special guests (who happen to have one of my my favorite discs of the year) Fleet Foxes singing Dylan's "I Shall Be Released". Dig Jeff Tweedy's amazing channeling of the late, great Richard Manual in verse 3!

This is the show closer from Bend, OR on 8/23/08.