“The blues is the healer”, sang John Lee Hooker. Well, jazz witch Cassandra Wilson casts a healing spell in “Death Letter” – a powerful womanly take on Son House‘s raw blues classic. It’s about hearing that the man/woman you love is dead and being faced with the dead body and the funeral. Listen to that guitar growl at the beginning.
Continue reading Cassandra Wilson: Death Letter
Aimee Mann delivers deadpan songs with intelligent irony on “@#%&! Smilers”. She takes a dim view of our materialistic world: “You got a lot of money, but you can’t afford the freeway.” Bouncy, in a downbeat sort of way. Listen:
Continue reading Aimee Mann: Freeway
Oh, for a Friday night out listening to the blues sung with real class! Catherine Russell grew up in New York in a musical family (her father collaborated with Louis Armstrong, her mother is a singer, too) and has been a backup vocalist for big pop and jazz acts for years. But she’s got her second solo album out and it’s called “A Sentimental Streak”.
Continue reading Catherine Russell sings the blues
Lhasa de Sela (born 1972), better known as Lhasa, is a true nomad. She was born in Big Indian, New York, of a Mexican father of Panamanian-Polish-French-Spanish descent and an American mother of Lebanese-Scottish-Russian-Jewish descent. After being raised in Mexico and the United States, she spent several years in France – she loves Marseille – and now lives in Montreal, Canada. She sings in Spanish, French and English. Continue reading Lhasa de Sela, Travelling
Dear Senator Clinton,
Life goes on. We will have a Madam President one day. I certainly would have liked it to be Hillary Clinton. So here is the ultimate woman’s lament. Left behind, Queen Dido cries her heart out. Sing along and have a good, angry cry. Don’t just hop onto Senator Obama’s vice-presidential ticket as if you had won. You know that won’t work, not without properly acknowledging that you lost. Maybe you will be Vice-President, but not if you keep up this preposterous act. So, Senator, go over to the Onion and have a good laugh about it all and get back your sense of perspective. Because we need you, dear Senator, and we need you for the long run.
Listen to Dido’s glorious lament sung by two of the finest sopranos: Continue reading Purcell: Dido’s Lament
The “Originator” of rock ‘n’ roll is dead. Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008) was born in Mississippi, raised in Chicago, lived in Washington, D.C. for seven years (1959 to 1966) and was a key figure in that great movement that brought black roots into the mainstream. He created the driving, syncopated “Bo Diddley beat“.
Continue reading Bo Diddley: Bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp. Bomp-bomp
A highlight at Woodstock (1969) was the performance of “Judy Blue Eyes” by the choirboys themselves, penned by Steven Stills for beautiful Judy Collins – the classic break-up song. At the end of this live performance Stills admitted, “This is only the second time we’ve ever played in front of people, man. We’re scared shitless.” Of course, they weren’t exactly newbies: Nash had been a member of the Hollies, Crosby was a veteran of the Byrds, and Stills had been with Buffalo Springfield.
Continue reading Crosby, Stills, Nash: Suite Judy Blue Eyes