Albums almost abandoned, and one that was

Emmylou, Joni, and Herbie

Hissing of Summer LawnsWhile listening to Herbie Hancock in early April, his birth month, I was reminded by two albums almost abandoned by their owners to me. Another one actually WAS given to me.

Around 1995, a choir friend was complaining about the new Emmylou Harris album, Wrecking Ball, that she’d just purchased. She was a huge Emmylou fan, but Wrecking Ball was not her cuppa.

It was produced by Daniel Lanois, who had produced or co-produced albums for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan, among others. Additionally, Lanois was also a solo artist; I’m quite fond of his Acadie album.

My choir buddy decided that maybe she’d get rid of Wrecking Ball. I said, “Give it to me!” But she decided to keep it. I wonder if she ever warmed up to it.

Emmylou, also born in April, shows up on so many of my albums. In addition to her solo stuff, she’s a background singer for Lyle Lovett, Neil Young, and so many more. She’s on albums with Mark Knopfler, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Linda Ronstadt, and of course the Trio albums with Dolly Parton and Linda, the complete set of which I bought in 2020.

Joni and Herbie

Back in 1975, Sue, the girlfriend of my friend Jon – who I’ve lost track of – picked up The Hissing of Summer Lawns, the new Joni Mitchell album. She did not know if she’d keep it because it was too different from what she had expected. I said, “Give it to me!” But she decided to keep it. I wonder if she ever warmed up to it.

The album is transitional to a more experimental sound (Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter et al.) I liked it. BTW, her birthday is in November.

My late friend Donna was kvetching about the 1996 Herbie Hancock album The New Standard. It was a jazz cover album of pop songs by Peter Gabriel, the Beatles, Babyface, Sade, Prince, and Simon and Garfunkel. She was a jazz fan, but she did not like this. She said, “Do you want this?” I said, “Heck, yeah.”

Hancock’s 1998 album, Gershwin’s World features Joni on vocals for two songs, The Man I Love and Summertime. His 2007 album River: The Joni Letters is a tribute album featuring cover songs written by Joni, with an eclectic group of singers
Connections

The songs

Though they are very different, because these three artists have been so eclectic, I think of them fondly in the same way.

From Wrecking Ball

Where Will I Be? with the songwriter, Daniel Lanois
Wrecking Ball, written by Neil Young
Orphan Girl, written by Gillian Welch

From The Hissing of Summer Lawns, the first three songs

In France They Kiss On Main Street, which could have fit on her previous studio album, Court and Spark
The Jungle Line, which would not
Edith and the Kingpin – I heard Rebecca Jade do a great cover of this recently

From The New Standard

New York Minute  – co-written and originally performed by Don Henley
You’ve Got It Bad Girl – co-written and originally performed by Stevie Wonder
All Apologies – written by Kurt Cobain, originally performed by Nirvana

September rambling: end the stigma

Musicians Across Five Continents

post-apocalyptic section
The Most Segregated City

Vlogbrothers: End the stigma

What happened to Jaye McBride could have happened to any of us

WAVE 3 News reporter kissed on live TV; here’s why it’s not cool – Sara Rivest is the daughter of Michael, a guy I know in Albany IRL

The differential privacy video the Census Bureau sponsored from MinutePhysics

Unmarried Partners More Diverse Than 20 Years Ago

Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies at 75

Longtime TV newsman Sander Vanocur dies at 91

Bill Schelly, R.I.P.

Amy Biancolli turns 56

The Surreal End of an American College

What Happens Right Before Your Best Employee Quits

Alan Zweig’s Vinyl documentary – a record collector’s expose

Baking Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card

The Guardian: 100 best films movies of the 21st century. 1) I’ve seen 26 of them, at least two of which I disliked; 2) the year 2000 is NOT in the 21st century

Save on Internet Safety guide

Chef Boyardee: The Sine Qua Non of Homemade Pizza

Alex Trebek saying “genre”

Epergne: It’s time this Kitschiest of Obscure Vintage Treasures had a Comeback

The Evolution of a Fractured Coin of the Rebellion

The Modern Jonah

Now I Know: Who is MP and Why Are His Initials on My Checks? and An Aria a Day Keeps the Cougars Away and The Aquarium That Turned a Blind Eye Toward Bullies and The Island That Floated To Safety and Why We Give 21-Gun Salutes

English

The Beauty of Being Bilingual

Merriam-Webster dictionary adds ‘they’ as a nonbinary pronoun – America’s oldest dictionary claps back at grammar snobs as it embraces a more inclusive definition

Public is or Public are: “British English tends to see either a plural or singular verb, pronoun or noun as acceptable, depending on the context in which the collective noun is used. American English, however, is considerably more rigid in sticking with the singular. Though they too may reconsider occasionally, based on context.”

Harry Potter and the Poorly Read Exorcist

Boss Tweet

New Yorker.20191007
He is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for

If This Isn’t Impeachable, Nothing Is and If Democrats put off impeachment until he does something worse, he’ll do something worse and His call to Zelensky was not out of the ordinary – for him and With the Gears of Impeachment Finally Grinding, the Hard Part Begins; also Lindsey Graham’s Impeachment Views in 1999 Vs. 2019

Iran Policy Is a Failure

Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market

The Race to Prepare for a Potential U.S. Exit From the World’s Mail System

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Legal Immigration

Travel ban really was a Muslim ban, data suggests

Comedian John Mulaney has the perfect analogy for what’s going on in our country today [explicit language]

MUSIC

What’s My Name – Ringo Starr

Playing for Change: The Weight – Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr, and Musicians Across Five Continents

Old Town Road -Courtney Hadwin

Overture: L’italiana in Algeri, or The Italian Girl in Algiers by Giacchino Rossini

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – Sleeping At Last

Happy Birthday, Hans Zimmer edition

Coverville 1278: The Leonard Cohen Cover Story V

Love’s Creeping Up on Me – United Image, a 1971 Stax song that sounds more like Motown to me, and is billed as Northern Soul

All Kinds of Kinds – Miranda Lambert

Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris Trio Documentary

The importance of choir: John Rutter (there are about 20 seconds of him in b&w before he actually begins to speak)

Real Arrogance Over False Humility: The Beautiful Honesty of Joni Mitchell

The First Time I Met Prince, by Sheila E

October rambling: Twilight Zone & the Confederacy

We are living in a kakistocracy

Hands up, don’t shoot (Nah, that never happened…)

The Twilight Zone and the Confederacy.

In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism

How the Nazis Used Jim Crow Laws as the Model for Their Race Laws

Trevor Noah: Race and Identity (NY Times interview)

No longer a convicted murderer, Carl Dukes faces life after 20 years in prison

A Fire Story -Brian Fies

Journalists’ lament

Heather Fazio’s exodus from the Times Union blogfarm

John Oliver: Why The Equifax Breach Is A Big, Scary Problem

The lie that poverty is a moral failing was buried a century ago. Now it’s back

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Labour will lead NZ Government

LIGO Detects Fierce Collision of Neutron Stars for the First Time

The day the sky turned red in the UK – but what caused rare phenomenon?

The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar

We are alienating each other with unrestrained callouts and unchecked self-righteousness

Chuck Miller: Crossing past my failures

Burger King ad: Bullying Jr.

Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?

Archaeology in Albany

How did people sleep in the Middle Ages

The shortest regularly scheduled airline route on earth

Swedish death cleaning is the morbid new way to de-clutter your life

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead

Where do mansplainers get their water?
From a well, actually.

How to Pronounce Paraskavidekatriaphobia

5 Zombie Walks to do for Halloween

Magazine of the Living Dead: The bloody rise and frightful fall of Fangoria – at FantaCo in 1980-1988, we sold a ton of back issues; #9 was considered rare

A brief history of Bat-marriage

The Great Catnip Caper Of 1909

Now I Know: Why Things are Tawdry and When Baseball Players Left it on the Field and The Special Sound a Mercedes-Benz Makes Before a Crash

Steve

THE MADNESS OF DJT

We are living in a kakistocracy

Taking Hostages and The chaos grows

The Self-Dealing Presidency

Rigged: How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump

Grief, compassion -advice ignored

George W. Bush: Bigotry in any form is blasphemy

Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘Stunned’ by John Kelly’s attack on Rep. Wilson and video of her 2015 speech at new FBI building

How Badly Is Neil Gorsuch Annoying the Other Supreme Court Justices?

MUSIC

We Will All Go Together When We Go – Tom Lehrer

Almost like Praying – Lin-Manuel Miranda and friends sing for Puerto Rico support

Since I Don’t Have You – Skyliners

What goes on – Beatles (Lennon vocal)

Coverville 1190: Indie Hodgepodge & Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute

K-Chuck Radio: But they’re not doing the Time Warp…

Hey Ya! – Walk off the Earth (Outkast Cover)

Up In A Puff Of Smoke – Polly Brown

You’re Still A Young Man -Tower Of Power (1972)

Go Go Shoes / Go Go Place- Lonnie Youngblood with Jimi Hendrix, May 1966.

Shocking Omissions: Joan Armatrading’s ‘Walk Under Ladders’

Female-female songwriting teams

Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius

Hallelujah! The Songs We Should Retire?

Why we really really really like repetition in music

Who first said, “Writing About Music is Like Dancing About Architecture”?

CAREER IN MUSIC IS DAMAGING TO MENTAL HEALTH

Music, February 1971: Tapestry

Producer Lou Adler wanted the listeners to visualize Carole King sitting at the piano just for them.

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

Carole King was in the music business for a lot of years. As a kid who used to read the liner notes, I discovered she was the King in (Gerry) Goffin-King songwriting duo. But in 1971, she invented the album business. Tapestry was recorded in January of that year. A&M house photographer Jim McCrary had tried various pictures around the house before adding the cat Telemachus into the shot.

Tapestry was released on February 10, 1971, the day after her 29th birthday. This is the first ad, from Billboard Magazine. I know that I didn’t purchase it until the summer; I bought the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers the same day. Some years later, I got it again, because I had worn out the grooves. Finally, I acquired it on CD.

Producer Lou Adler wanted to make an album with that demo quality. “He wanted the listeners to visualize Carole King sitting at the piano just for them.” It spent an astonishing 15 weeks at #1 on the US album charts, long after the singles had faded. “By the end of the year, it was still selling 150,000 copies a week in the United States alone.” It was the first “evergreen” album that wasn’t a movie soundtrack or the like.

Two other albums recorded in the same studio the same month were Joni Mitchell’s Blue, one of my favorite albums of all time, and the only Carpenters album I owned, their third. Liking Carpenters’ music was REALLY uncool in the day.

Jesus Christ Superstar was #1 for three weeks during this time. It was a hugely significant source of my understanding/debate about theology and religion, particularly with my friend Pat. It seemed she and I would debate its merits for hours. I knew this album like my daughter knows Hamilton. I always wanted to play Peter.

Pearl, the posthumous album by Janis Joplin, spent nine weeks at #1. I recall working at a factory in 1972 and singing Mercedes Benz, one of the few songs written by Janis. Someone asked me if it were a song by the Temptations; I found that extraordinarily amusing at the time.

Listen to:
Coverville 1159: The Carole King Cover Story II
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King with the Mitchell-Taylor Boy-and-Girl Choir
You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
Little Green – Joni Mitchell
Rainy Days and Mondays – Carpenters
Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin
Just My Imagination – the Temptations
What’s the Buzz/Strange Thing Mystifying – Jesus Christ Superstar

Music and communication

I do have affection for Chester A. Arthur.

cher-dyingMore Ask Roger Anything questions from Chris:

How do you explain to your daughter how to vet sources?

It must be from an example. Just recently, my daughter said, of a tabloid cover in the supermarket, “Cher isn’t really dying, is she?” We watch a couple of news networks, plus Comedy Central, not every day, but often enough, so she can clearly see that shows often offer different emphases.

In your opinion, is Wikipedia a reliable source?

Depends on the topic, and the compiler. There’s an old cliche about a newspaper providing perfect information for topics I know nothing about, but less so for things with which I am familiar. I recently linked to the Wikipedia for the band Blotto, and I noticed that it NEVER mentioned the band members’ actual names. This was a failing.

Some posts are frozen in amber, perfectly accurate as of November 2013, e.g., but not so much today. Whereas other posts are updated regularly to reflect new music released or films made. Deaths are often, but not always, caught.

I specifically remember that back in 2004 or 2005, I corrected a mention that the next Presidential election would be in 2007, when, of course, it was 2008.

Still, when I’m doing research for a topic about which I know nothing, Wikipedia can be very useful, ESPECIALLY the links to the various footnotes.

What’s one area of scientific research that you think we should be funding more (other than medicine and climate change)?

Well, climate change is huge and would include the potential for everything from island nations flooding to the future loss of the maple syrup industry from the continental United States. Once you’ve eliminated climate change and medicine, what I think you have left is space exploration. It has very often answered many questions for answers here on earth, including those two topics.
man-reading-newspaper
What’s been the most surprising world change in your lifetime?

Communication, for good and for ill. You make friends on Facebook with people around the world, you have fights with total strangers on Facebook, often about really stupid stuff. You text your friends, while you ignore those physically around you.

I’ve been the guy reading the newspaper, maybe only a dozen years ago, and someone, as often as not, would comment on a story, or maybe just quietly read over my shoulder. Or I’d read over someone else’s shoulder. Those electronic devices don’t seem to open one up to one’s immediate environment, even as one can learn about the most recent terrorism in Turkey.

The Internet allows for more information, but also misinformation, disinformation, satire, lies. We can see Arab Spring or police misconduct, but also LOL cats and Stare-down Sammy, which got 34 million views on Facebook, and was shown on the CBS morning news; I thought it was a waste of air time.

There have been conspiracy theories for a long time, but they can propagate far more freely these days. Even objective facts will be disputed, and as a person dealing with, ideally, objective information, this can be both frustrating and exhausting. (See also my answer about Google.)

I’ve actually had this conversation about an article someone read. (I’m a librarian; a variation of this happens a LOT.)

Her: Is it true?
Me: Where did the information come from?
Her: Facebook!
Me: But what was the ORIGINAL SOURCE of the information?
Her: I TOLD you, Facebook!

Who is your favorite president and why?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was rich and rather pompous and arrogant. His ailment thought to be polio at the time, but now believed to be Guillain-Barre syndrome, humbled him, and made him a champion for those less well off. And he had a great partner in Eleanor, with whom he seemed to have achieved an understanding regarding his infidelity.

He was imperfect, the Japanese internment being chief among his failures. But he initiated a lot of useful programs, some of which are around today, such as Social Security and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

I do, though, have affection for Chester A. Arthur, a product of the spoils system who became a reformer for civil service.

Tom the Mayor queried:

What is your Favorite Beatles song?

The last time I made a list, it was 3. Help 2 Got To Get You Into My Life 1 Tomorrow Never Knows. Re: TNK, I recently saw Paul, Ringo, and Georges Harrison and Martin discuss its intricacies. But Help! is something I can sing with my daughter.

What is your Favorite Aretha Franklin Song?

The last time I made a list, it was 4. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone 3. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman 2. Sweet Bitter Love (1966). 1. Respect
Of course, Respect is a great cover. Since You’ve Been Gone has always been a favorite because it stifled deejays. But Sweet Bitter Love was in a quartet (or more) of songs that I played when romance went south.

What is your Favorite Joni Mitchell song?

The last time I made a list, it was 2. A Case of You 1. River. River reminds me of my late friend Donna George. But the poetry of A Case of You touches me too.