Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Go away trick-or-treaters

I've got my hand over Martin's mouth so she doesn't bark at anyone coming by to trick-or-treat, as I don't want to get off the couch to hand out candy before Amy gets here. Feeling lazy here's my ceiling AND my Arsenal post for today. This is what the ceiling looks like from said couch as I'm watching Arsenal beat Sheffield United 3-0.




Happy Halloween! They've already blocked off the streets around here so you ruffians can show up tonight and make a lot of racket. Damn kids.

Today's selection might be known to some of you old-timers. I felt a vague sense of recognition when I heard it last week. It's Jesus Was A Crossmaker by Judee Sill. Ms. Sill is an interesting case for sure. She was a troubled rich kid from Oakland. After her parents split she drifted into bad relationships, drug use, prostitution, and incarceration, but she still had enough about her to get plugged into the emerging Laurel Canyon scene, so much so that she was David Geffen's first signing to Asylum Records in 1971. But after two albums she hadn't caught her break, and she drifted back into serious drug use and fell off the map. When she died in 1979 she hadn't been heard of in years.

I picked up her debut album (on Corbett's urging) and the first song to really stand out was Jesus Was A Crossmaker. For one thing, it's the only track on the album produced by Graham Nash. And boy is it produced. Judee's voice is tracked so many times it's hard to place exactly when she starts or finishes a word, if you catch what I mean. Add that to her weird phrasing (most people soften their 'r's when they sing. But hers are hard as a rock), the unorthodox religious imagery, the choral structure, and you've got yourself a very different piece of music, even if it's superficially just a singer-songwriter new age folk piece.

This past weekend, we played this tune about six times tooling around the back roads of Woodstock (trying to find Zena Road, trying to find a grocery store, etc). It worked.


Photo: Woodstock (2).


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paint the ceiling, part 3

I'm starting to figure out what we've gotten ourselves into with this ceiling, and it's putting me in a foul mood. Not really, but maybe it should. Today I finally got all of the paint removed from the ceiling, which means the hard part can start! We're left with a pretty dinged-up plaster ceiling over the concrete, which means I'll have to apply a skim coat. I obviously don't know how that's going to go, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be bad. The big question I have in my head is whether I'm going to have to do any sanding before I move on to the primer and the painting. Let's hope not, because XX hours holding a sander over one's head is not fun. So I'm pretty sure I will. (On the plus (?) side, our living room has never felt so large as it does at the moment!)


Monday, October 29, 2007


HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR YOU? by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

Just about Woodstock again, briefly. Our new theory is that while the house we stayed in wasn't Big Pink, it was where Robbie Robertson stopped to get a steam shower (or something) on the way to Big Pink. No matter, The Rivals set up a little studio and laid down a few fun tracks, and everybody got to participate in the fun, and when it finally stopped raining, it was a lovely weekend.

One thing I did was to make a few CDs of music I've picked up the last couple of weeks. This week I'll share three of the songs that went over best with the gang.

The first is from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Ms. Jones and co. have a brand new album out, called "100 Days, 100 Nights," which got me thinking about this music. My first instinct has always been proceed with caution. Her music has garnered a lot of praise the last few years, but I've suspected for the wrong reasons. "It sounds just like the 70s." "It's so awesomely retro!" Believe it or not, I'm suspicious of these nostalgia exercises in music (not to say hostile--I just think they rarely work as new or old music). But to be fair, everything I had heard from this group has been good, and so I finally broke down and ordered her last album, "Naturally."

How Long Do I Have To Wait For You? is from "Naturally," and I think everyone liked it. The remarkable thing about it to me is how busy the band is without over-filling the sound. There's plenty of space for Jones to do her thing.


Photo: Woodstock (1).


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back from Not-Big-Pink

So that wasn't Big Pink, but we still had a great time up in Woodstock this weekend. We got back a little bit ago, and I immediately sat down and watched our match with Liverpool. What can you say? We weren't great, and I guess you'd have to credit Liverpool for that. And they took advantage of our slow start and grabbed a goal. But Liverpool really are terrible aren't they. A point that should have been three.

...Also, good thing Benitez has a grudge against Crouch, he was so much better than Torres it's untrue. Maybe Torres wasn't fit, but that tells its own story.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Mini-Ceiling Update.

Just a quick one. I got a sander from Brian & Caryn yesterday so I can finish prepping for the real stuff. The super finally came up this morning and said it's a big job, but he wants me to wait a few days so he can check on moisture levels in the concrete. He said I need to put one coat of pink something-or-other then two coats of primer and then I can paint. I'm gonna have to talk to him again because I don't remember exactly what he said, I was still a little dazed!

We're heading up to Woodstock in a couple of hours, where we're supposed to be staying in Big Pink, but some of us are suspicious that it's not Big Pink at all. No matter, should be fun. It'll be the first time the Rivals have been together since the wedding. We're getting back late on Sunday so the Liverpool match will have to be tape-delayed. No spoilers on Sunday please!



MAIS UM ADEUS by Toquinho & Marilia.

Last night I got an email from my friend Jason in London at about 9:15 p.m., leading to an electronic scolding from me. Five hours ahead of us, he really should be in bed by then. Fast forward ahead a few hours, and the last thing I saw before I passed out was another email from Jason, this one at 9:15 a.m. London time. Work that one out, but what I'm trying to say is I'm a little struggling today, so my commentary on this song is brief. It's a very soothing song, and here's how Loronix describes the album: "Musica Nova is that kind of album that saves your whole day if you take it for a hearing in the morning as your first thing you do." If only that were true. Have a good weekend!


Photo: How long it takes (3).


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone (But You'll Lose to Beşiktaş)


Back when we were in Turkey, we went for a long walk through the city, getting lost a couple of times. At one point we went up a hill, and looked back down the hill, and realized that we'd just walked around a football stadium dug in right in the middle of the city, a stone's throw from the Bosphorus. It looked like a dump, but what a location!

That's where Liverpool went down to their second defeat of the season, both in the Champions League. I'm posting this selection from the Kop Choir (originally from a John Peel radio session) in honor of the Beşiktaş support, who were frighteningly loud on the TV.

Given the karmic laws, the European results mean that Liverpool will undoubtedly turn us over this weekend. But we'll just have to hope for the best.




Music blogs come in different shapes and sizes. Some people are plugged into the music industry and most of their content is generated largely by freebie new material that gets sent to them. Some have their hands on huge, massive LP collections, along with the specialized knowledge that comes from years of collecting.

Of the latter group is a blog called Loronix. It's a Brazilian group blog that posts just incredible volumes of music every single day. Most of it out of print not just here but in Brazil. It's completely overwhelming, and so impressive. They need, and I'm not surprised if there are in fact, a whole substructure of blogs that cherry pick the best material and reposts it in curatorial style.

That's what we're doing today and Friday here. This track opens Toquinho's second solo album, and it's characteristic of its easy beauty. Here's how Loronix describes it (enjoy the slightly awkward English):

What a nice surprise! Toquinho is strongly associated with Vinicius de Moraes on a partnership that started in 1970 and last for more than a decade. What amazes me most in this album is that Toquinho is alone here and probably doing whatever he wants on the set.

We can listen Toquinho vocals on 3 songs, Agua Negra de Lagoa, Zana e Dobrando a Esquina, Jorge Ben duets with Toquinho on the legendary song Que Maravilha and Carolina, Carol Bela. Paulinho Nogueira is also here on Bachianinha #1 playing guitar with Toquinho.

Toquinho guitar playing is powerful and can be heard out loud throughout the entire LP.

Photo: How long it takes (2).


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven

As soon as we hit four goals I had a feeling we'd end with seven. Seems like we have an affinity for seven goals over the years, against Everton, Boro, I think Pompey, (I should probably look these scores up but I won't). Hopefully it put a little fright into Liverpool but given their ability to spoil matches I'd be more than happy with a point (which would also let them maintain their "unbeaten" streak in the league). And even if we lose, what a run we've had to start this season! Nearly November, and only two points dropped, no goals conceded in Europe. Hats off to our kids!


Monday, October 22, 2007


CAROLINA CAROL BELA by Toquinho and Jorge Ben.

Let's ease into Monday shall we? I haven't posted anything from Brazil in awhile, and I feel bad for that. Yes, it's in a different language, but (to overgeneralize wildly) Brazilian music is some of the sweetest, most accessible music in the world.

Carolina Carol Bela is sweet and accessible indeed. Toquinho isn't exactly an obscure figure, but nothing compared to Jorge Ben, whom even us poor Okies have heard of! I have copies of the song on three different albums/compilations, and it's well enough known to have a big D&B single built around it, and a Youtube video! So I'm not giving you anything totally rare (that will come later in the week), but something you can listen to and enjoy any time.


Photo: How long it takes (1).


Sunday, October 21, 2007

CMJ Posts for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

I still can't get them on the group blog, but I can get them on my personal page. I'm pleased enough with them, so go visit ova heeya. Still playing Ghostland Observatory in my head, and was thinking of doing a best of CMJ next week, but I'm a little burned out with all the "new music" so we'll keep up with the old music here.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Barren Saturday

I'm down in the canyons of Wall Street this afternoon, putting my time in, and deciding when and where to go later on for the last day of CMJ. I was think of dropping by a couple of houses, and then seeing if I can get into Justice at the new Terminal 5. Amy and I (and Philip and Meredith (of Girl Robot fame) and John and lots of others) saw Ghostland Observatory at Webster Hall. I loved it. I have a write up ready (at least in my head!), but I can't post anything at the imeem site at the moment for reasons that are unclear to me. I did manage to put up some photos, and if the technical stuff sorts itself out, I'll have two nights of reports to file. I might just post them here, who knows. (You can at least see my photos here.)

In other news, Boring Liverpool were gifted a win at Everton, and Boring Bolton were gifted a loss at Arsenal. (Roll on next weekend, but I'll be watching on tape delay.) And Oklahoma is in the fourth quarter trying to beat the vaunted Iowa State Cyclones.


Friday, October 19, 2007



So speaking of yacht rock, guess who's playing B.B. King's tonight? If I didn't have CMJ duties...

A year or so ago this concept of Yacht Rock was sweeping the internet. This is basically just SoCal soft rock from the 70s, but it's all the congenial, gormless stuff that sounds good on a jukebox and that we love around here.

Stu sent us this track so we don't know much about it. Even though these guys are German, it's got the yacht rock sound down cold. Can't you just imagine a bunch of dudes in beards bobbing along with this tune if someone slipped it on at K&M Bar?


Photo: All kinds.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mr. Rogers at Iceland Airwaves 2007

You all know Stu. He'd be here covering CMJ himself, if he weren't in Iceland covering the Iceland Airwaves festival for the second year running. This year they've really gone mega, and Stu is the official video podcast presenter for the festival. You can see and hear him here. And if you're in Iceland this weekend, you can see and hear him in person--he's scored a Saturday night DJ set!


Family ties

My Tuesday CMJ post is up now. It ain't much, basically me seeing one band plus a random song or two from about four others, then bailing out and going home. Imeem's embedding music is still pretty cool, I'm wondering if I can use it on here...

...Family names noted without further comment.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More CMJ blogging

Here. I had a lot more to say about the music, especially the two Alabama bands, but I was really boring myself, so I left it out.



DALLAS by Poco.

Even though I hate the f*cking Eagles, man, they're permanently embedded in my DNA from years of exposure to classic rock radio, so I have to confess that one time I was stuck in an airport bar in Hawaii and played four of the songs from The Eagles Greatest Hits three times before my plane arrived. The only other album I knew in that jukebox was Was (Not Was) and that was not going to happen.

The Timothy B. Schmidt factor has pretty much scared me off of Poco, but when I heard that Steely Dan wrote a song for the group I had to check it out. You can totally hear the Dan's influence in Dallas melodically and structurally, but it's understandable why Becker and Fagen didn't keep it for themselves. Their poisonous relationships are strictly bi-coastal. I've been in Dallas and it ain't that nasty.


Photo: Highway relic.


Monday, October 15, 2007


MATTIE'S RAG by Gerry Rafferty.

Here's how this blogging lark goes: sometimes we look at the music and think we'll never pick anything worth posting, and sometimes there's a flipping embarrassment of riches. This week we're feeling blessed. I've got some amazing Peruvian pop music lined up; Amy is planning a J-pop week that will be awesome if we can secure the right mp3s; some killer Stones covers, some drinking songs, some Ottoman military marches, and on and on.

So we flipped a coin and decided to continue with the jukebox theme a little bit this week. As a man of many useless talents, I'm pretty good at picking radio hits from the 70s languishing on the jukeboxes of the dive bars of New York. Like Little River Band at the Village Idiot (RIP), .38 Special at Milady's, Jeannie C. Riley at Doc Holliday's, Cliff Richard at Muldoon's, and on and on. Oh, and Gerry Rafferty at Molly's.

Most people know a little Gerry Rafferty. Inevitably there's Stuck In The Middle With You, but also Baker Street, with the greatest sax in the universe. Most people don't know, though, that Baker Street is on a great, great album called "City To City." I spent about 4 years looking for it on somebody's recommendation, and finally found it in a dumpy CD reseller in Toronto.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that this song Mattie's Rag is on "City To City," and more people should here it, because it's catchy, Irishy, & worth a quarter in the bar if you ever find it.


Photo: I love the classics.


We've started CMJ blogging

Our first post on the CMJ Festival for imeem is up at that group blog. Here it is. I'd say it's nothing to write home about, which is plainly contradicted by this very blog post. Anyway, it's not in our contract to gush about imeem, but embedding a playlist in one of our posts is, and I have to say, it's a pretty cool feature. Basically I just typed whatever band came to mind, and bam, it calls up any song previously uploaded by anyone else. Amy says all the kids use imeem, so there were a lot of songs to choose from.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The MS Society 75.5 Mile Bike and Hike Tour

I'm a little poorly right now because my body can't understand why I woke up at 6 A.M. to ride all the way around Manhattan and through the Lincoln Tunnel and up the Palisades and across the George Washington Bridge and back home again. I tried to tell it that it was for a good cause but that's small consolation when it comes right down to it. Many well deserved congratulations to Amy, John, and Ned who completed the "60 mile" (actually 75.5 mile) tour!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Paint the ceiling, part 2

Our first installment in this series left open the possibility that I would chicken out of the whole project. No longer. In metaphorical terms, I have crossed the Rubicon. In literal terms, I have destroyed our living room. That's a lot of paint chips!


Friday, October 12, 2007


IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND by The Miles Davis Quintet.

So I ended up alluding to the kitschmensch-ness of the Radiohead downloading experience, when that was really going to be the focus of today's song. No one can deny the amusement park quality of Corner Bistro, and I submit that it is a big draw of having a meal there.

This is where you go when you knock off work in the mid afternoon and talk about how good the burgers are and how cheap the beer is, but you bask in everyone's tacit agreement that yes, it is good to knock off work early, burgers are good, and beer is cheap.

It Never Entered My Mind by The Miles Davis Quintet has pride of place in the Corner Bistro jukebox (literally--it's "0001"), and for me it is the perfect song for the place. Lean and sentimental. Just like Corner Bistro, part of its appeal is that you can come across a million different versions, some better, some worse, and so it has a resonant quality. That appeal to nostalgia. And, of course, just like a bistro burger, it helps that it's really good on its own terms.

Have a good weekend, and we'll be back with a special CMJ schedule next week!


Photo: Corner sign (3).


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Here comes CMJ07

Every year CMJ takes over NYC for a week.

This year, it's taking the blog over too. Here's the deal: I've gotten a press badge to take in as many shows as I can over the five nights next week, and I'll be blogging it over at imeem's CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival Group. I'll probably cross-post everything here too, so that will make up for my laziness in writing about concerts lately.

I just spent a few minutes unsuccessfully googling this, but I think my first CMJ experience was seeing Elliott Smith in 1998. This year I can see just about any band in the world (for real, the roster is pretty daunting), so I've been spending hours trying to narrow down the options. If you have any suggestions, don't hesitate to send them along.

I'd like to say thanks to imeem for hooking me up. I'm on there as the fairly ominous-sounding "H. L. I. T." It's pretty fun though. And, my very first friend is Justice! [their webmaster, says Amy the spoilsport.] Which gives me an excuse to post this great youtube of D.A.N.C.E. Check it out, and check back tomorrow for Friday's tune.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

I'm not going to do a review because a) I haven't finished listening to it, and b) I haven't yet read a decent one in about 18,000 blog posts etc., but I do have it...

I had already been planning to talk about kitsch on Friday, and I still will, but it strikes me as a very funny phenomenon that all of the Radiohead fans are all downloading this album at the same time and talking about how neat it is that they're all listening to it for the first time at the same time.

Update: Whoa, there's something in the air today, huh? I swear I hadn't seen this before I posted.



ROLLIN BACK by My Morning Jacket.

Going back to Monday's post, the Nick Drake record is displayed in the Corner Bistro jukebox as album "07." So every time I have a burger there I punch in "0709" to call up One Of These Things First.

The last couple of times, however, I haven't heard that song playing when I punch in 0709. Instead (and it's taken a bit of listening and guesswork to figure this out), it's been Rollin Back by My Morning Jacket. Somebody there has switched out albums without replacing the cover.

Previously I haven't been much of a fan of My Morning Jacket. Their reputation turned me off. As much as I love The Allman Brothers and the Southern Rock you hear on classic rock radio, I've always been wary of the progeny thereof. I've got an unshakeable conviction that it's all tuneless endless reactionary tedium. I'll not name names and trust you'll know who I'm talking about (or not know).

All the reviews I had read of My Morning Jacket had them pegged in that same group, so I ignored them for a long time. But a couple years ago I got a free copy of "Z." And I totally loved it. I was just blown away by how moving and listenable it was. And while I haven't become a fanboy yet, I'm really poised to go for that. Hearing Rollin Back (off MMJ's prior album, "It Still Moves") at Corner Bistro by accident a couple of times has me really excited for what comes next from them.


Photo: Corner sign (2).


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ready to ride?

Many of you have donated to the MS Society in support of our MS Bike Ride that is scheduled to go off this Sunday. And for that we thank you! We've even convinced John and Ned to come along with us. (We're still trying to raise $75 for Ned so he can come along.)

In case you've been wondering why I haven't reported on our training regimen (we're thinking of doing the 60 mile ride, after all), well, here it is: we are going to the Olive Garden on Saturday to load up on carbs. Wish us luck!


Monday, October 8, 2007



Thanks to Volkswagen almost everyone has heard of Nick Drake, but it wasn't always this way. On balance that's a good thing but I'm not sure I ever got a bigger thrill of discovery from any single artist . That was thanks to Corbett. I remember I got my own copy of "Way To Blue" at a Blockbuster Music on 23rd Street while I was up visiting my Grandpa (the same one who built the Myriad) the fall of 1995. What is it with these songs? Are they placid? Unsettling? You can't get to the bottom of them.

Of the three albums, "Bryter Layter" always struck me as the weakest. That's the purist in me talking. Even so, Corner Bistro has long had a copy of "Way To Blue" in its jukebox, and over the years I've listened to every track there, and in my opinion one song sounds the very best there: One Of These Things First. Here it is for you.


While I have your attention: Congratulations to our two teams for their wins this weekend, congratulations to Paul and Medina for their new baby girl, Anessa, and safe travels to Amy and the girls!


Photo: Corner sign (1).


Friday, October 5, 2007


TIME FADES AWAY by Neil Young.

Today's song is from the legendary album "Time Fades Away." I picked up this bootleg at Rocks In Your Head, the now-closed record store on Prince that I've discussed before. "Time Fades Away" is a live album culled mainly from Young's 1973 tour that has never been released on CD.

The title track is probably not my favorite track on the album, but it's probably the best advertisement for it (which is why I've posted it!). Don't Be Denied stands up with Neil's best work. The Bridge sounds like (and I think is) an outtake from "Harvest." Yonder Stands The Sinner is kind of a throwaway, but I like it. Love In Mind and Journey Through The Past have markedly better sound quality because they were recorded on an earlier tour; the latter tour was recorded on an early digital recording system, "Quad-8 CompuMix," that muddied the sound; the relatively poor sound quality as much as anything may explain why the album remains unreleased. It's certainly not bleaker than "On The Beach," which finally got released a couple of years ago. Is it better? This is a discussion Corbett and I started (between the two of us--you haven't missed anything) last week. I find "Time Fades Away" to be the more listenable of the two, but that may be because the passion and intensity are a little dissipated relative to "On The Beach."

One more reason for posting the title track. Both Time Fades Away and L.A. were recorded at the Myriad in Oklahoma City. I can't put my finger on how Neil Young ended up there, but I think the tour came through (in 1973) pretty soon after the Myriad opened (in 1971 or 1972?). This is interesting to me because my great-grandfather was the construction superintendent on the Myriad project (it may be one of the main reasons he moved his family to Oklahoma City in the late 60s? I don't know). Anyway, the Myriad was a big, big job, of course, and just like Neil's recording system, the construction used some advanced techniques that caused some trouble. The arena was to be supported by these massive pre-stressed concrete trusses, but when they went to raise the first truss, it failed, disintegrated, fell apart. (I can only imagine the look on my grandpa's face at that moment.) Lengthy litigation later revealed a bad batch of concrete to be the culprit, and the Myriad got built without further hitches. Time Fades Away is a bit of evidence that everything worked out in the end.


Photo: The Grove (November 2006).


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone (But You'll Lose To Marseille)


Today we're happy to introduce a new feature to the blog. It's called "You'll Never Walk Alone (But You'll Lose To __________)." The way it works is simple. Every time Liverpool lose a match, I will post one of my versions of You'll Never Walk Alone to try to cheer up all you Liverpool fans out there.

Today Liverpool lost to Marseille, so I'll start with just about my favorite version, Glen Campbell's. So don't feel too bad Scousers, but maybe you should think about saving Torres for the League Cup!



ON THE WAY HOME (Live from London, 1971) by Neil Young.

Short write-up today because I'm blogging on location with a demented mouse. I found this concert bootleg a year or two ago on the internet. It's from the same period as the Massey Hall concert you can buy at Starbucks. On The Way Home has long been a favorite--I put the official Buffalo Springfield recording at the front of a mix CD I made for Amy's birthday a while back (I'd post the link to that CD at this point, but again, I'm blogging on location and don't have my full repertoire.)


Photo: The Grove (April 2006).