Remembering Lou Reed – New York Album

Remembering Lou Reed – New York Album

American singer-songwriter and punk pioneer Lou Reed died yesterday (2013-10-27) at the age of 71 from liver-related complications. Although he will be most remembered from his time with the highly influential Velvet Underground, it was Reed’s 1989 solo album New York that most influenced and amazed me. To me, Lou Reed’s New York album didn’t just sum up New York at the end of the ’80s – it summed up the entire decade. It blew me away the first time I heard it and remains a personal favorite. While I’ve simmered down over the years, I once had a seething hate-hate relationship with the 1980s and spent way too much energy criticizing that Wasteland of a decade.   And, yes, it was a Wasteland.   When you look at any artist – whatever the genre, whatever the discipline – whose work spanned more than one decade and included the 1980s, the best and most meaningful art was never produced in the ’80s (the only exception I’m aware of is U2’s Joshua Tree album).   No one ever peaked in the ’80s.   There’s a reason why Bruce Springsteen stopped singing Born in the USA a long time ago, why no one ever watches the 1987 Oscar-nominated film Children of a Lesser God, and why we’ve all pretty much forgotten that Bulgarian maniac artist Christo wrapping islands in pink plastic.   A Wasteland is the antithesis of a Renaissance and what we end up with if we fail to conjure, coax, and cultivate a Renaissance.   I’ve since made my peace with the 1980s and can pretty much listen to any music from the period (except Madonna, Michael Jackson, Van Halen, The Smiths, and especially The B-52s).   Still, it’s important to remain vigilant, children . . . because I’ve seen firsthand what happens when we don’t. 🙁   You can listen to Lou Reed’s New York album below:...

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No More Ideology

No More Ideology

The title of this post is “No More Ideology.” Right. Like that’s ever going to happen. America at its best – or at least at its most productive – requires an enemy. And when we don’t have one, we turn on each other. I remember at the height of the financial crisis and Great Recession, circa 2008-2009, I told a good friend that the United States was like a two-headed dog barking at itself. Except this time it was much worse because there was no longer any food in the bowl. I’m so tired of the warring minorities of ignorant bigots on the right and condescending snobs on the left demonizing each other and promoting a vision of fear and hate for the rest of us.   Ideology is Not Reality Ideology is not reality – it’s the reckless and dishonest decision to replace reality with a fantasy that gives us the illusion of superiority. But, of course, when enough individuals embrace an ideological mindset – no matter where on the political spectrum it originates – reality itself changes. It leads to a culture of extremes – increased polarization, decreased humanity, and nightmare results such as Nazi Germany, Stalin Russia, the American Civil War. So here’s my humble attempt to remind all of us that we are not our own worst enemy – unless we choose to make ourselves so.   U.S. Political Anti-Ideology Videos                                ...

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Bob Newhart – Sir Walter Raleigh Skit – 1968

Bob Newhart – Sir Walter Raleigh Skit – 1968

Bob Newhart has to be one of the greatest comedians of all time. He’s a genius at timing and delivering deadpan lines. In this skit from 1968, he imagines a phone conversation between the head of the West Indies Trading Company (played by himself) and Sir Walter Raleigh regarding the introduction of tobacco to Europe. Newhart’s trademark deadpan here gives way to a convincing hilarity – you almost expect him to wipe tears from his eyes, he’s laughing so hard at one point. Bob Newhart Performing Sir Walter Raleigh...

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Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark – Been Around a Long Time

Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark – Been Around a Long Time

I’ve highlighted Delbert McClinton in a previous post that includes three videos (Every Time I Roll the Dice, Lone Star Blues, and Read Me My Rights with Marcia Ball), but this January 2013 performance with Glen Clark as part of his Sandy Beaches Cruise “annual festival at sea” is a lot of fun to watch. I really like this song – I actually started hearing it on KOKE FM (Austin’s Country Alternative) a while back – and the video below is clearly the live performance that’s been getting played. And, yes, I’m aware that a probable reason why I enjoy this performance so much is that I’m getting to the point (age) where I can actually identify with it. It takes about a minute for the performance to begin and the camera to get settled in, but it’s worth the wait. Enjoy!   Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark Peforming “Been Around a Long Time” – January 2013...

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John Prine – Sessions at West 54th Concert

John Prine – Sessions at West 54th Concert

Today, October 10th, is John Prine’s birthday. I love John Prine – he’s impossible to categorize. His music is somehow entertaining, funny, and poignant all at the same time. Back in the late 1960s, he delivered mail during the day and performed in various open-mic clubs in Chicago in the evenings where he rubbed shoulders and performed with Steve Goodman and other Chicago folk musicians. He got his first record deal in 1971 after having reportedly been “discovered” by Kris Kristofferson. Below is the entire footage of his 2001 Sessions at West 54th performance. He’s joined by Iris Dement on five of the songs.   John Prine – Sessions at West 54th Video  ...

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