Pete Seeger: he surrounded hate and forced it to surrender

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2014 by fred6368

Excellent blog post by Gerry Cordon on the life of Pete Seeger

That's How The Light Gets In

Pete Seeger

‘He’s gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass.’

Four years ago, Pete Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday party with a sell-out concert at Madison Square Garden.  Characteristically, it was a fundraiser for a campaign to which he’d dedicated years of his life: cleaning up New York’s Hudson River.  That night, Bruce Springsteen introduced Seeger with these words:

He’s gonna look a lot like your granddad that wears flannel shirts and funny hats. He’s gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself.

And that’s the truth.  Pete Seeger, who died yesterday aged 94, opposed McCarthyism, and worked tirelessly on behalf of civil rights movement, making his first trip south at the invitation of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1956. One of the seminal political events in…

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Jazz Appreciation MOOC1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 21, 2014 by fred6368

January 2014

How did I get into Jazz? Well as Pete Waterman says lots of us post-war kids who got into music owe it to our Mums, who were perhaps rock n’roll fans before marrying but bought records and turn their kids onto them. In my case my Mum took me to the NAAFI in Herford during 1959 and bought, brrmm, brrmm – The Everly Brothers Til I Kissed You!;  

Yeah, not Jazz… But the UK had no music radio, and wouldn’t have until 1967 (check the movie The Boat that Rocked for more on this). What little music that gained ‘needle time’ on the radio was very mainstream, which, in the 50s, meant Mrs Mills, Russ Conway, Broadway musicals and operatic show tunes. My Dad liked Frank Sinatra since Songs for Swinging Lovers (?) and then, joy of joys, Frank Sinatra starred with Louis Armstrong and the family went off to see High Society – Well Did you Evah! 

High Society created a number of family catch-phrases such as “have you heard its in the stars, next July we collide with Mars.” Fortunately Louis Armstrong & Bing Crosby also took the opportunity to introduce us to Jazz as well Continue reading

Women in Music

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by fred6368

If I can’t dance I dont want to be part of your revolution

As the late great Emma Goldman once put it, and read her book Living My Life if you can; dance. So on the 100th International Women’s Day lets dance to some of the great Women in music; continuous playlist on YouTube here.  At the moment it is PJ Harvey who most neatly captures that dance/revolution, but recently albums by Rumer, sumptuously, and Laura Marling, challengingly (you have to sit up straight to listen to it) sit on the dance/revolution boundary. But it is Polly Harvey’s ironically sly chorus, “Gonna take my problem to the United Nations“, that gives me the laughing dance by proxy The Words That Maketh Murder;

But if you’d ask me to name, off the top of my head, who my favourite female musician is then I’d usually say Cassandra Wilson, who grew out of the remarkable M-Base Collective in New York, along with Meshell N’degecello, to become the best jazz singer of the past thirty years. I could just listen to her voice alone, but the way she interplays with her musicians always seems fresh. She has a remarkable way of interpreting songs, I particularly like the way she takes Last Train to Clarksville and returns it to its anti-Vietnam roots and Strange Fruit sinks deep into its raw emotions. She has just released a staggeringly alive album Silver Pony, which is her best since Belly of the Sun for me. But demonstrating her massive intimacy here is Redemption Song  Continue reading

2010 in review

Posted in Specials, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by fred6368

Radio YouTube Attractions in 2010

These are the most popular posts and my favourite albums in 2010.

Rumer Post November 2010; Live on Jools Dec 31st 2010 Aretha
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Rumer

Posted in New Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by fred6368

High on My Headphones (November 2010)

It’s a cold, cold, November and I need something warm and lubricious on my headphones, so what better than new vocal sensation Rumer, with her decidely autumnal Seasons of My Soul. (The YouTube playlist for this post is here) Don’t know much about her, except that she is Anglo-Pakistani, has worked with Bacharach and that intelligent lounge sensibility oozes out of the album. Perfect aural mollycoddlying for when you come in from the cold and want to be warmed through, or early on a lazy Sunday morning. Aretha;   Continue reading

Electric Eden

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by fred6368

Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music

This month I have mostly been reading Electric Eden, the marvellous book by Rob Young which looks at the Arcadian tradition in British music in the twentieth century, or folk rock to you and me. At the end of the nineteenth century the Victorians had made our world so safe for piano legs that in 1904 a German music critic actually wrote a book describing Britain as Das Land ohne Musik; the land without music. Yet, in the nineteenth century we had developed a marvellous Romantic poetic tradition which had come from a spiritual engagement with nature, even as the industrial revolution developed apace. Electric Eden looks at how this emerging cultural tradition infused and changed various musics in the twentieth century. In some ways the first example of this spiritual, or even pagan, development in music was Charles Parry’s arrangement of Blake’s Jerusalem.

This post will try to summarise the book with a selection of tracks reflecting its concerns and interests. Rob Young starts his book with the metaphor of Vashti Bunyan‘s one year road trip in a Romany caravan to join Donovan’s artistic commune in Scotland. He’s moved on by time she got there; like other putative musical collectives in 1969 commerce got in the way of his vision. So Vashti, along with her dog and husband, kept on her pilgrimage until she reached and settled in the Irish countryside. She was living out of time but engaging directly with nature in the countryside in a series of Just Another Diamond Day. Continue reading

World Music of Africa

Posted in Specials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by fred6368

A Personal History of African Music

I wasn’t planning to write this but I thought, after the World Cup had tried to celebrate the African dimension in football, I would comment on and play some African music, that I liked and influenced me, as a chronology (non-stop playlist on YouTube here). It is also Nelson Mandela Day today so as well as singing Nkosi Sikeleli Africa, here is a chance to say God Bless Nelson Mandela and enjoy some of the music from Africa. As Mendela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Currently I am a huge fan of West African music from Sub-Saharan Mali, Senegal and Nigeria, as well as North African Rai and Arabic music. However during the World Cup I discovered that Ghana has a vibrant and developing music scene around blingy hiplife and both Cameroon and the Cote d’Ivoire have great dance music, you can follow new developments at AfroPop online. I live in London and apart from Ginger Johnson’s African Drummers, who played on Sympathy For The Devil at the Rolling Stones Concert in the Park in 1969, the first out and out African band I saw were Osibisa; criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness. In our typical student house in London we used to play The Dawn off the first album to get us out of bed, but here is one of their minor UK hits from the YouTube Osibisa playlist by voycha; this is what they were like live. Music for Gong-Gong;   Continue reading