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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Josh Ritter – Other Voices in Dingle Ireland

Josh Ritter – Other Voices in Dingle Ireland

Josh Ritter is an amazing singer-songwriter who grew up in Moscow, Idaho. He now tours with The Royal City Band which consists of members Zack Hickman, Sam Kassirer, Austin Nevins, and Liam Hurley. As of this writing, Ritter has 7 studio albums and 4 live albums. He also published Bright’s Passage, a novel, in 2011. The video below was recorded all the way back in December 2002 at St. James Church in Dingle, Ireland as part of the Other Voices annual music festival. You can check out more of his music at Amazon. Enjoy!...

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Foster Brooks Roasts Don Rickles

Foster Brooks Roasts Don Rickles

Foster Brooks was a comedian at the height of his popularity in the 1960s and 1970s whose act consisted of “drunk” performances. He’s remembered most for his numerous appearances on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast program where he would often assume the identity of a fictional character from the roastee’s past. Like all great live performance comedians, Foster Brooks’ timing was impeccable, and I’m amazed at his ability to remain in character while others around him were laughing so hard that they had to wipe the tears from their eyes. He was a true master at what he did. Brooks died in 2001 at the age of 89. Here’s a fun appearance where Brooks is roasting fellow comedian Don Rickles.    ...

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Remembering Elmore Leonard

Remembering Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard, the prolific and respected crime novelist, died last week on August 20, 2013 at his home following complications from a recent stroke. He was 87. You can read his obituary in the Washington Post here. Known for his pitch-perfect dialogue, memorable characters, and great humor, Leonard authored nearly 50 books (including the novels Bandits, Get Shorty, Rum Punch, and Raylan). He began writing pulp westerns in the 1950s because, as he says, he enjoyed watching westerns at the time. He originally earned $90 for his short story 3:10 to Yuma, which was made into a film starring Russel Crowe and Christian Bale in 2007. Rum Punch was the basis for Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film Jackie Brown. Most recently, his short story Fire in the Hole was the inspiration for the FX hit series Justified starring Timothy Olyphant.   Elmore Leonard on Writing The two clips below are from a January 2012 interview and Q&A session Elmore Leonard conducted with The Center for Fiction. In the clips, Leonard discusses his writing philosophy (“If it’s not fun, why do it?”), his ear for dialogue, creative process, and long writing career, including his famous 10 Rules for Writing Fiction.        ...

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Bob Seger – Fire Inside

Bob Seger – Fire Inside

It’s always a good day when you hear a little Bob Seger. The heartland rocker’s first album – Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man – debuted in 1969. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. The official Fire Inside video below comes from Seger’s 1991 album by the same name. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it on the radio in Bozeman, Montana back in the early 1990s. Fire Inside is not only a great song, it’s also great poetry and astute psychology. Seger nails the frenetic desperation we sometimes find ourselves succumbing to as we search for the true fire inside anywhere but inside. When we search for the “fire inside” in the external realm, we end up “Where the cautious loners and emotional wrecks/Do an acting stretch as a way to hide the obvious/And the lights go down and they dance real close/And for one brief instant they pretend they’re safe and warm.” Damn – how’s that for honesty?   Bob Seger Performing Fire Inside     Bob Seger on CBS Sunday Morning 2007   I also found this clip from 2007 where CBS Sunday Morning featured Seger. He has some great comments about family, the creative process, and saying that he wanted his legacy to be that he told the truth....

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Rumi – Poet of the Heart

Rumi – Poet of the Heart

So there’s this cool 1998 documentary on Jelaluddin Rumi (embedded below from YouTube). Rumi: Poet Of The Heart explores the life, poetry, and vision of the great 13th century Sufi mystical poet and original “whirling dervish.” Rumi’s poetry is a vision of love and ecstasy and the longing for union with the divine, as relevant and compelling today as it was 700 years ago:       Only Breath Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next, did not descend from Adam or Eve or any origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being. – Translated by Coleman Barks   Rumi – Poet of the Heart is an impressive achievement, less a traditional documentary than an experience itself. It features contributions from Coleman Barks (listening to Barks reading Rumi’s poetry is a mystical experience in itself), Robert Bly, Huston Smith, Michael Meade, Deepak Chopra, and many others.          ...

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Sungha Jung Videos

Sungha Jung Videos

Sungha Jung is a teenage Korean guitarist phenom with three albums, a huge YouTube following, and a style that’s both soothing and electrifying at the same time. Most of the hundreds of his uploaded videos are covers – interpretations is a better word – of popular songs and scores, although he includes his own compositions on his albums. I first came across Sungha Jung accompanying Jason Mraz on a live performance of “I’m Yours” in South Korea. I think the video is a pretty appropriate and classy introduction to Jung if, like me, you weren’t aware of him before. I’ve embedded the video below along with a whole gallery of other videos below that. Enjoy! Sungha Jung and Jason Mraz Performing “I’m Yours” More Sungha Jung Guitar Videos YouTube responded to TubePress with an HTTP 410 - No longer available  ...

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Fight Back Against Bad Days – Bear Bryant

Fight Back Against Bad Days – Bear Bryant

One of the great lessons of trying to live under the Renaissance flag is the realization that life doesn’t always feel that way. Yes, life is magical and wonderful and marvelous and, according to the Yiddish proverb, “the greatest bargain” since we get all this for nothing. But some days, try as you might, that mystical feeling of oneness just isn’t there. Or worse, it all seems like a bad joke. Some days, your carefully constructed inner mansion (or inner Alexandria) suffers some kind of natural disaster or missile attack or salacious, high profile crime, and calls into question all your feel-good assumptions. When those days come – and they will – here’s a quote to keep in mind. It comes from the great college football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant: “There is not a person alive who isn’t going to have some awfully bad days in their lives. I tell my players that what I mean by fighting is when your house burns down, and your wife runs off with the drummer, and you’ve lost your job and all the odds are against you. What are you going to do? Most people just lay down and quit. Well, I want my people to fight back.” The hell with lemonade. Here’s to staying strong and fighting back when life pelts you with lemons (or rocks). Now it’s your turn – when did YOU fight back when life knocked you down? I’d love to hear the story....

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