97 words: an experiment

14 11 2013

So I am going to try something a little different: I’ve created a new blog in which every post is going to be exactly 97 words long, just because.

If you’re curious, you can go here: http://97words.wordpress.com/


“Transmission” by Joy Division

25 09 2013

If you’ve found this blog, I hope you have enjoyed the music links. I’m going to take a break from posting them for a bit – I’m not getting much chance to listen to new music, and I don’t have enough time or mental energy to write interesting things about the music I post about. I don’t want to waste your time or mine.

Here’s one last link, to a band that many people I know think was the best band in the world ever.

I’ll probably use this space to write about baseball or froth at the mouth about neo-conservative politicians or something. See you around. Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio.

“Biko” by Peter Gabriel

24 09 2013

While I’m thinking of songs about South Africa, here’s Peter Gabriel, from 1980:

I can honestly say that this song made me more aware of South Africa and apartheid than anything else I read or heard about. “And the eyes of the world are watching now.”

When I was younger, I believed that a race war in South Africa was inevitable. Nelson Mandela prevented that, pretty much all by himself. I don’t have heroes, as a rule, since most people contain good bits and bad bits. But Mandela is one of mine.

“Sun City” by Artists United Against Apartheid

23 09 2013

Here’s a song from 1985 that instantly transports me back to that time:

The video is very effective, though I got tired of that Fairlight synthesizer sound after about 2 minutes or so.

Artists United Against Apartheid was organized by Steve van Zandt, who used to hang around with Springsteen and all that. Wikipedia lists all the artists who performed there; any time you can get Darlene Love and Joey Ramone together, among others, it’s got to be pretty cool.

Wikipedia also has a list of artists who performed at Sun City during the apartheid years. Queen, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Laura Branigan are included in this list.

“Put A Straw Under Baby” by Brian Eno

22 09 2013

Here’s a soothing song from one of Brian Eno’s late 1970s albums (Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy):

This song features the Portsmouth Sinfonia doing the solo instrumental breaks. This group was formed by the Portsmouth School of Art, and featured either non-musicians or musicians playing a different instrument from their own. Orchestra members were required to show up for rehearsals and attempt to play their best. Eno himself played clarinet and produced their first two albums. According to Wikipedia, the musicians got a little better over time, which reduced the novelty value, and the orchestra last performed in 1979.

“For Your Precious Love” by Jerry Butler

21 09 2013

Here’s a classic love song from 1958.

Musically, I hear so much in this song. The high backing vocals remind me of a lot of early Jamaican hit singles of the 1960s. And Jerry “Iceman” Butler’s vocals are the ancestor of many of the great soul hits of the 60s.

By the way, besides being a singer, Butler is also a commissioner of the Cook County board in Illinois (the county that contains Chicago). He’s held that post since 1985, according to Wikipedia. That’s kind of cool.

“Pure Morning” by Placebo

20 09 2013

This song came up on my iPhone’s music list the other day. When listening to it, I tried to imagine someone dancing to it – I think you’d wind up doing some sort of shuffle, like a hypnotized zombie.

Placebo are from London, and this song reached the British charts in 1998. Wikipedia tells me that they have sold a total of 11 million albums, which is quite a lot.