The annual quiz: musical section

Rebecca Jade, Olivia Rodrigo, Jason Isbell, QoS

I usually do that annual quiz that Kelly foisted upon me years ago, on January 1. And I usually do music on Saturday. So I’ve decided to do the musical section today and the rest tomorrow and/or the next day.

What was your greatest musical discovery? 

When you have about 2000 albums, it’s entirely possible to rediscover music that you already own. This happens almost every week.

Then there is the music that I did not think that I wouldn’t buy, then purchased in 2021, such as:
Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies. Care of Cell 44
Stop Making Sense (1984 Film) – Talking Heads. Even though I saw the SPAC show of the tour, I never bought the soundtrack. And I STILL haven’t seen the film. Life During Wartime 
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You – Aretha Franklin. Drown In My Own Tears 
The Allen Toussaiant Collection. Southern Nights.
The Beatles (The White Album) [6 CD] Ob-La-Di, Ob-la-Da  (Esher Demo)
Rough and Rowdy Ways – Bob Dylan. I bought this in part because I missed this reference watching some quiz show. I Contain Multitudes 
folklore – Taylor Swift. My first Swifty album. Cardigan 
Good Souls Better Angels – Lucinda Williams. Good Souls 
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition conducted by Ormandy

I also recently bought
Love For Sale – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. I was so touched by the 60 Minutes interviewLove For Sale 
Georgia Blue – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Recorded because Georgia went blue in 2020. Honeysuckle Blue 

Of all of the artists my daughter likes, the only one that has actually stuck in the brain in 2021 was Olivia Rodrigo. Part of that is a function that she was the subject of a CBS Sunday Morning segment. It mentioned her participation in the White House’s push for the COVID vaccine.

What kept you sane?

Assuming facts not in evidence, listening to music. Since I wasn’t MAKING music for most of the year – choir finally started rehearsing in October- LISTENING became even more vital. That would include J. Eric Smith’s  Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists, which will spread into 2022; of course, Coverville; plus Kelly’s mostly semiweekly pieces.

And the niece. In 2021, I got to see the fabulous Rebecca Jade, remotely.
Homemade: Part 10 and Part 11 
Peter Sprague: Wichita Lineman and Are You Going With Me and Spring Ain’t Here and It’s For You and Farmers Trust 
Melody League Session with The Sully Band 
Music For The Soul
Jas Miller: Toes In The Sand 

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

Frankly, part of it is tied to Congress’s failure to pass an infrastructure bill earlier, which, given the vagaries of politics, threw away whatever advantage Biden had when the troubles – Afghanistan, e.g. inevitably took place. If it’d been up to me, the Democrats would have taken the bipartisan victory in May/June, and then work on the larger bill afterward.

The last verse of Slip Slidin’ Away:

God only knows
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip-slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip-slidin’ away

-Paul Simon

Rhymin’ Paul Simon turns 80

Simon covering Simon

paul simonPaul Simon turns 80, and I needed to find an angle. Ten years ago, on this date, I wrote about my favorite Paul Simon solo cuts. And ten years ago on November 5, on Art Garfunkel’s birthday, I noted my preferred Simon and Garfunkel tracks.

There are some artists whose music I tend to continue to buy because I’ve enjoyed their body of work. Not necessarily every album but most: Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen come to mind.

I continue to buy Paul Simon-related albums. Paul Simon Songbook is the 1965 album of solo Paul, most of which ended up on early S+G albums. It didn’t come out on CD until 2006.

Two Teenagers – The Singles 1957-1961. This includes many of the recordings of the duo BEFORE they were Simon and Garfunkel, both as a duo (Tom and Jerry, e.g.) and solo artists, (Jerry Landis, Artie Garr, et al.) Worthwhile.

In 2012 (I think), I sent my copy of Graceland (1986) to a friend of mine Who Had Never Heard It. Then I bought another copy with a few remixes of songs, though NOT the 12″ inch version of Boy In The Bubble, alas.

I got Stranger to Stranger in 2016, when it came out. It took a few plays for it to “take” in my ear, but I like it.

Do it again

The most interesting concept is 2018’s In The Blue Light , a “fresh perspectives on 10 of the artist’s favorite (though perhaps less-familiar) compositions drawn from the five-decade span of his illustrious solo career.” Four songs are from You’re The One (2000), but none are from Graceland.

“Jesse Hassenger of The A.V. Club gave the album a B- and wrote, ‘It would be easy to get bogged down in treating Blue Light as a compare/contrast exercise, but what’s most impressive about is the way that it sounds more or less of a piece as its own record.'”

Nevertheless, here are a couple of examples:

One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor from  There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973), In The Blue Light

Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy from  Still Crazy After All These Years (1975), In The Blue Light 

I love this arcane stuff

Jane Seymour turns 70

My wife had purchased a few bushels of apples over the late summer. She kept them in the basement, which tends to be cooler than the rest of the house. But by December, the last of the apples were looking wrinkled.

“They’re wisened,” I observed.  This led to a conversation about why the word has a short I rather than long I sound, though it has one S rather than two. Maybe because the long I sounds more like someone who is wise? I love arcane stuff like this, items that make me ponder.

Not a new decade

My friend David and I had a nice back-and-forth about whether the decade should start with 2021 since the century began with 2001. I favored the inconsistency. After all, September is the ninth month, not the seventh.

I think he was won over by how we define people. “An individual who has been alive for two full decades is referred to as being in their 20s for the next decade of their life, from age 20 to 29.” 

Census stuff

My Census buddy, also named David, and I exchange articles about the Census. Several of his finds I’ve used in various articles. I noted for him a Daily Kos report indicating that “the state-level population data from the 2020 census that is needed to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state receives is not expected to be released until April 30, four months after the original deadline.”

Likewise, “the more granular population data needed for states to actually draw new districts won’t be released until at least after July 30, which is also a delay of at least four months from the original March 31 deadline. Consequently, these delays will create major disruptions for the upcoming 2020 round of congressional and legislative redistricting.

“New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice released an in-depth report in 2020 looking at which states have deadlines that are in conflict with a potentially delayed data release schedule and what the impact of a delay may be.

“The most directly affected states are New Jersey and Virginia, which are the only two states that are set to hold legislative elections statewide in 2021 and would normally redraw all of their legislative districts this year.”

I remain a Census geek.

Music and art

My friend and FantaCo colleague Rocco tipped me off about the book Will Eisner: Champion of the Graphic Novel (2015). It has a graphic that would have been on a Kitchen Sink Chronicles if FantaCo had ever published it back in the 1980s.

I had just purchased The Beatles (The White Album) [6 CD + Blu-ray]. So I gave him the three-CD set I bought a couple of years ago but didn’t need anymore.

We got into an arcane conversation about the album Graceland by Paul Simon. I had purchased the 25th Anniversary Edition (2011) CD a few years back. It also featured the Under African Skies film on DVD. I gave my old copy of the Graceland CD to a blogger buddy who had never heard it.

But Rocco had NOT purchased it, and I knew why. It was because it did NOT include the 6-minute version of Boy in the Bubble. Rocco had purchased the 12″ from the Music Shack record store back when it came out. I tried to get a copy but it never arrived. Rocco lent me his 12″ and I recorded the song on a cassette. But we BOTH were disappointed that the song failed to show up on the anniversary edition.

NOT the third wife of Henry VIII

The performer  Jane Seymour turns 70 today. I often note people who reach three score and ten in this blog. Though I’ve seen her in few guest appearances, a miniseries or two, and some infomercials I’ve come across, I really only know her from one thing. And if you know her for only one thing, it’s probably the same show: Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I didn’t watch it regularly, but I didn’t turn it off when I happened across it.

Being for the benefit of…

Yes, THAT Paul Simon

I shall have gone to three benefit events in a two-week period in October. None of them, unsurprisingly, were in person. Two of the three I HAD attended in person LAST year. But that was so long ago.

Wizard’s Wardrobe

The Wizard’s Wardrobe is a program in Albany’s South End. “Children spend time with a special tutor just for them — to read, write, and explore the wonderful world of books.” It was started by two members of my church, Deb and Eric Fagans. They were inspired by the TED talk Once Upon a School.

The program grew out of the relationship our church had developed with the Giffen Elementary School in the South End of the city of Albany. Several of our members tutored at Giffen and held an annual Book and Author event there.

The benefit on Monday, October 5 featured Katherine Paterson, Newbery Medal-winning author of The Bridge to Terabithia. She read as did local authors Margaret Miki Conn, Lorraine Garnett, and Marion Roach Smith. The Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York performed The eyez in the wall, written and directed by Aaron Moore. The ASL Interpretation was provided by Marian Eaton. The Master of Ceremonies was Rex Smith, Editor of the Times Union newspaper.

There was a ZOOM afterparty following the presentation. I knew about half of the participants personally. One of the attendees was Gregory Maguire, a local author who’s done well. He wrote the book Wicked, upon which the musical was based. What’s the correct protocol for departing a gathering online?

Green The Senate, Save the Planet

Paul Simon hosted an event to support seven US Senate candidates on Thursday, October 8. The singer wrote, “In a year that has been incredibly challenging, often overwhelming, and too often heartbreaking, it is easy to become discouraged. But future generations are counting on us, and I urge you to channel your energy in these final days before Election Day to help secure a pro-environment majority in the Senate.”

Simon began the program by singing American Tune. Then there were videos, including from the sponsor Give Green and from former Presidential candidate and rich guy Tom Steyer. Some of the candidates gave brief video presentations.

Then Simon interviewed three of them: Steve Bullock (MT), Jamie Harrison (SC), and Theresa Greenfield (IA). Paul was an unsure questioner, seeking to ask certain things and at the same time wanting the candidates not to be hemmed in by his queries. Still, the candidates acquitted themselves well.

After another video, Paul sang The Boxer, Homeward Bound, Sound of Silence, and Here Comes the Sun. He was accompanied by a guy named Mark Stewart. He was wearing a mask, but I think he’s this guy.

Literary Legends@Home

The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library are having its annual Literary Legends Gala on Saturday, October 17 from 7 to 10 pm. Each year, the group “selects a new outstanding person of letters in our community, and invites the community to celebrate them with a cocktail reception in their honor.” Well, not in person THIS year.

The FFAPL is honoring the writer Elisa Albert. Past honorees have included William Kennedy, Paul Grondahl, Amy Biancolli, Gregory Maguire, Barbara Smith, Marion Roach Smith, Dr. Leonard Slade, Athena Lord, Frankie Bailey, Alice Green, Peter Golden, Lyn Lifshin, and Dan Wilcox. (The second time Gregory and Marion appear in this post.)

The gala is the primary fundraising effort of the FFAPL, which “provides critical financial support to the Albany Public Library in order to help the Library provide education, literacy, career development, cultural enrichment, and lifelong learning.” It can provide mini-grants for the library to offer programming that the APL cannot. One can buy tickets here.

BTW, on October 20 at 12:15 pm, there will be a ZOOM review of the book Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide by Richard Dawkins. The reviewer will be Carl Strock, a former columnist for the Daily Gazette, Schenectady. It is free but one must preregister here.

October rambling #2: Threat of Tribalism

UncleSamLadyLiberty.PinterestClimate change: The Media is Failing Us and Billionaires Are the Leading Cause

Triumph of the strongman has worrying echoes of the Thirties

Why America Didn’t See Fascism Coming

More Americans Supported Hitler Than You May Think

John Oliver Takes Down Saudi Dictatorship, In Detail

The Rule of the Uber-Rich Means Tyranny or Revolution

This Is What Living on Minimum Wage Looks Like

This is why the Founders banned emoluments

Here’s why he threatened to pull out of a 144-year-old postal treaty

‘It Doesn’t Matter What He Says We’ll Support It’: His Fans Profess Cult-Like Love

Vlogbrothers: The Rigged Election

Republican Voter Suppression Efforts Are Targeting Minorities, Journalist Says (nothing new)

Weekly Sift: 12 Things to Remember Before You Vote and Souls in Darkness

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Attorneys General (at 10:00)

Kavanaugh proves one of the nine justices is not like the others

Pregnancy discrimination’s toll: Women in strenuous jobs miscarried after employers denied requests for light duty

The Threat of Tribalism – The Constitution once united a diverse country under a banner of ideas, but partisanship has turned Americans against one another—and against the principles enshrined in our founding document

Melania, we have a Be Best emergency

Guy’s $650 World Series Ticket Stolen by Scammer Through Instagram Photo

How a Ragtag Group of Oregon Locals Took on the Biggest Chemical Companies in the World — and Won

The Most Googled Medical Symptoms by State

James Karen, R.I.P.

Eugene Peterson, author of ‘The Message’ and pastor to other pastors, dies at age 85

A nice remembrance of Neil Simon that was assembled upon his recent passing

Robert S Hoffman The big chill has broken our circle

The heart-busting story of Igor Vovkovinskiy, one of the tallest men in the world

Spectrum customer service

Julia Louis-Dreyfus receives Mark Twain Prize

Speeding up sitcoms

Jimmie Walker on the “Good Times” cast – TelevisionAcademy.com/Interviews

Back Machine stops in 1969

intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Nik Durga’s new blog, My Impression Now. “I’m coming back to blogging because it trains me to write more than a few pithy sentences”

A sin, Arthur! Blogging about blogging

More meta: Internet Wading: A bit of it

PostSecret Ted Talk

SEEN: Albany Public Library Foundation’s Literary Legends Gala 2018

Now I Know: The “Faithful Employee” Award Which Had the Opposite Effect and Until Death Does the Hangman Part and The Battle over The Collect Call and Why We Park on Driveways and Drive on Parkways and The Cell Phone Contract Killer

Dancing robot dog is too creepy

MUSIC

A Scary Time

‘Swamp Rock’ Master Tony Joe White Has Died At 75; Polk Salad Annie

Can’t Run But – Paul Simon, Saturday Night Live, 13 Oct 2018

Steel Here- Tisha Campbell-Martin (powerful backstory)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – the Beatles (Acoustic Version, Take 2)

English singer Kathy Kirby (1938-2011)

Hard Times Come Again No More – Mavis Staples

I Need To Be Loved – Keiko Togi, Carpenters

POP Chamber String Orchestra

Poke at The Pope – Donovan

I’ll Follow the Sun – The MonaLisa Twins

Coverville 1237: The Radiohead Cover Story IV and Coverville 1238: The Duran Duran Cover Story IV

The Wheels on the Bus – Mad Donna, and Leo Moracchiol

The oddly controversial cover: T Ko Ko Korina -Ahad Raza Mir & Momina Mustehsan

K-Chuck Radio: Seamless segues

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Sabrina Lentini

WatchMojo.com’s 10 Worst #1 Songs on the Billboard Hot 100; I own four of them

Music as Medicine

The Copyright of Spring