Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’

June 2, 2014

Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’

Herb Jeffries, who sang with Duke Ellington and starred in early black westerns as the singing “Bronze Buckaroo,” died last week. He was believed to be 100 years old.

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Johnny Cash

May 8, 2014

Johnny Cash, interviewed by Barney Hoskyns, October 1996.  Animation by Patrick Smith of Blend Films for Blank on Blank (PBS Digital).

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Gabriel García Márquez, 1927 — 2014

April 19, 2014

Columbia writer Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez (“Gabo”) died this week. His books have “no word misplaced” and inspired countless readers, writers, and songwriters. That’s Colombian singer Shakira above with a song from the film version of El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera). Cuban singer Oscar Chavez (below) sings about Márquez’s fictional town of Macondo.

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Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith, 1921 — 2014

April 10, 2014

Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith, 1921 -- 2014

Musician and songwriter Arthur Smith died on April third.  He composed or collaborated on hundreds of songs but is best known for two, “Guitar Boogie” and “Feuding Banjos.”

More:

“Arthur Smith, guitarist who wrote ‘Guitar Boogie’ and ‘Duelin’ Banjos,’ dies at 93,” Terence McArdle, Washington Post

“Remembering the late great Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith,” David Menconi, Charlotte News & Observer

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Does Repetition Make It Music?

April 5, 2014

“In fact, repetition is so powerfully linked with musicality that its application can dramatically transform apparently non-musical materials into song,” writes Elizabeth Margulis.  Yusef Lateef (above) agrees.

More:

“One more time,” Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Aeon

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Happy Birthday, Marvin Gaye

April 2, 2014

Singer Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939. In his set at the the 1964 T.A.M.I Show (above) he performed four of his early hits: “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” “Pride and Joy,” “Can I Get a Witness,”and “Hitch Hike.” The dancers are goofy but the band, Jack Nitzsche‘s Wrecking Crew, includes Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell,  Glen Campbell, and Plas Johnson.

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Sevastapol

March 29, 2014

Sevastapol

To generations of American musicians “Sevastapol” hasn’t referred to a place in Crimea but to a guitar tuning, also called “Open D” (DADF#AD low to high). Liverpool-born Henry Worrall was teaching guitar at the Ohio Female College in 1855 when he wrote and published a piece commemorating the Siege of Sevastapol in the Crimean War. “Sebastopol: A descriptive fantaisie for the guitar,” specified Open D, and the sprightly march helped spread the tuning.

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Texas Town’s Request to Ted Nugent: Play ‘Far, Far Away’

March 26, 2014

Texas Town's Request to Ted Nugent: Play 'Far, Far Away'

The city of Longview Texas paid $16,250 to keep Ted Nugent from appearing at its municipal Fourth of July celebration. City leaders concluded that Mr. Nugent’s act was not the family-friendly entertainment they had in mind, but his agent claimed their preliminary talks constituted a verbal contract, so the town paid Mr. Nugent a “kill fee.” The 65-year-old rocker, once known for his guitar playing, now stays in the public eye through his racist comments, questionable lyrics, and gun-happy right-wing views.

More:

“Longview pays off rocker Ted Nugent to not perform,” Richard Yeakley, Longview News-Journal

“Rejection slip from Longview gig has Nugent hot as a firecracker,” Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star Telegram

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SxSW and The Indie Vibe

March 25, 2014

SxSW and The Indie Vibe

“As South By Southwest shuttered its 28th year Sunday, participants debated the growing corporate influence on the conference. Critics say SXSW has evolved past its core mission: to help new bands get discovered. Instead, they say, the media focus has shifted to already-established stars such as Jay Z, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, CeeLo Green, Rick Ross, Keith Urban and many more whose heavily promoted appearances are underwritten by international brands.

It’s poor vs. the 1 percent in miniature, and this change in vibe is relatively new. Even those who’ve found the spotlight before say it’s getting harder to break through.”

– “Has SXSW Sold-Out, Lost Sight of Its Mission?” Chris Talbott, Associated Press via Billboard

“It was, in a way, the income-inequality debate carried into the realm of attention: The tiny fraction of a percentage of performers who have made it big were grabbing even more exposure away from the struggling majority.”

“Big Money Upends a Festival,” Jon Pareles, New York Times

More:

“Cool Musicians And Bands Say SXSW Is Now A ‘Corporate Gang-Bang,'” Brandon Martinez, Business Insider

“Lady Gaga gives mixed message at SXSW about corporate interference,” Tim Jonze, The Guardian

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Image (“Washington Crossing Town Lake, after Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze)”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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‘Does Your Mama Know About Me?’

February 28, 2014

“Does Your Mama Know About Me?” written by Tom Baird and Tommy Chong, recorded in 1968 by Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers and also by the Supremes, who had brought the Canadian group to the attention of the Motown label. Tommy Chong, the Vancouvers’ guitarist, later teamed with Cheech Marin in the comedy act Cheech & Chong. Tom Baird had a full career as a composer, producer, and arranger.

Lyrics here.

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