Amoeblog

One Last Thing About August ...

Posted by Whitmore, August 29, 2009 02:14pm | Post a Comment

Now that August is basically over, here is my last chance to mention that it’s been National Catfish Month across this great, chowing-down, eater’s paradise of ours. Back in the late 1980s, the month of August was officially designated by mysterious entities as National Catfish Month. Today, seafood consumption in the United States exceeds 4.9 billion pounds annually and more catfish is now produced on a yearly basis in the United States than all other farmed fish combined. Personally, I’ll eat Catfish any way you serve it: blackened, broiled, grilled, poached or pan fried. At one time catfish was regarded as only a Southern staple. Times have changed. Diners nationwide have doubled their waistlines and their per capita consumption of Catfish since 1986, becoming the fourth most popular fish served in the United States.
 
Another thing, ninety-four percent of all Farm-Raised Catfish harvested in this country is from family-owned farms; many of these growers are second or third generation farmers. Today, the farm-raised Catfish industry employs more than 13,000 people and contributes more than $4 billion to the economy of states like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana.
 
Catfish is also a lean fish and is an excellent source of protein, low in saturated fat and is a moderate source of polyunsaturated (the good) fat and omega-3 fatty acids. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, moderate fish consumption -- one to two meals a week -- may cut the risk of sudden cardiac death in half.
 
Anyway, why am I writing about catfish? Sometimes between art and movies and music you have to eat, and it might as well be something that isn’t absolute crap. Here is a great recipe from The Catfish Institute. So, throw on some good music (personally I’d go more old-school, maybe some Clifton Chenier), open up the right bottle of beer, maybe an Abita Amber, and enjoy some Catfish with a spicy fireworks rub. Bon Appetit!
 
Catfish with Spicy Fireworks Rub
Serves 4, this recipe makes enough spice rub to keep in your pantry and use many more times throughout the grilling season. (Sidenote: You can store the fireworks rub in a dark cupboard, away from heat; it will keep for two to three months.)
 
¼ cup (50 mL) chili powder
¼ cup (50 mL) ground cumin
¼ cup (50 mL) ground coriander
2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) salt
1 tbsp (15 mL) red pepper flakes
2 tbsp (30 mL) freshly ground black pepper
4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish fillets, 6 to 8 oz (180 to 250 g) each
 
Preheat grill or broiler to high.
 
To make fireworks rub, mix spices in a bowl and spoon into a glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
 
Spray both sides of each catfish fillet lightly with vegetable oil.
 
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of fireworks rub (or adjust to your taste) on each lightly oiled catfish fillet. Grill or broil over high heat for 3 ½ to 4 minutes per side or until the fish begins to flake when tested with a fork in the thickest part.
 
By the way, here’s some Skip James, “Catfish Blues,” and the great Clifton Chenier.


Britpop band Oasis splits in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, August 28, 2009 07:25pm | Post a Comment

The Brothers Gallagher are at it again; but perhaps this time their long turbulent relationship may be finally over.
 
Reports from London state that guitarist Noel Gallagher has left Britpop pioneers Oasis for once and for all, saying he "simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer," and adding he is leaving the group "with some sadness and great relief."
 
Oasis was due to perform at the Rock-en-Seine Festival near Paris on Friday, August 28th, but a message flashed to the crowd shortly before the band was to take the stage saying as a result of an altercation within the band, the Oasis gig has been canceled. Many in the audience initially thought that the announcement was a joke. First reports from the backstage scene, of course by way of Twitter, said that "Liam smashed Noel’s guitar."
 
Gallagher's statement also sent "apologies to all the people who bought tickets" for the remaining shows on their European tour in France, Italy, and Germany saying group "does not exist anymore."
 
Speculation has been growing about the band’s future. Liam revealed just a couple of weeks ago that he and Noel were no longer on speaking terms and while on tour traveled separately, only seeing each other on stage.

Oasis had sold more than 50 million records worldwide. They have had eight #1 singles in the UK and have amassed fifteen NME Awards, five BRIT Awards, nine Q Awards and four MTV Europe Music Awards.

Ellie Greenwich 1940 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, August 28, 2009 11:20am | Post a Comment
Ellie Greenwich
Ellie Greenwich
, who penned dozens of classic songs in collaboration with producer Phil Spector and Jeff Barry for acts like The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Shangri-Las, Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, The Jelly Beans and The Dixie Cups -- the “girl group” sound, died this week of a heart attack in New York’s St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital; she had been admitted for pneumonia a few days earlier. She was 68.
 
In her 50-year career, Greenwich, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was awarded some 25 gold and platinum discs. BMI Publishing lists more than 200 songs Greenwich wrote or co-wrote, including such classics as “Leader Of The Pack,” “Chapel of Love,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “Be My Baby,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” “Look of Love,” “Then He Kissed Me,” “I Can Hear Music,” and "Hanky Panky.”
 
Born Eleanor Louise Greenwich on Oct. 23, 1940 in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was 11 when she began studying accordion before switching to piano. As a teen she started her own group called The Jivettes. She got her first break as a songwriter working for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had written dozens of classic 1950’s rock tunes. Her first chart success was "This Is It" with the Jay and the Americans, which she co-wrote with Doc Pomus and Tony Powers.

Greenwich became part of the mythical Brill Building stable of songwriters where she teamed up with her husband Jeff Barry. Other Brill writers included Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil plus the likes of Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond and Paul Simon.
 
Greenwich and Barry also recorded a few sides as The Raindrops; their biggest hit was “The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget.” In 1964 alone, the two song writers were responsible for some 17 different singles reaching the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However the following year, 1965, she and Barry divorced, and Greenwich suffered a nervous breakdown.
 
She went on to produce songs for artists like Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, The Definitive Rock Choral and Ella Fitzgerald, but she really hit her stride working with Neil Diamond, producing his early hits “Cherry Cherry,” “Solitary Man” and “Kentucky Woman.”  In 1968, Greenwich released her first solo album, Ellie Greenwich Composes, Produces and Sings, and included two charting singles, "Niki Hoeky" (a #1 hit in Japan) and "I Want You To Be My Baby."
 
In the 1980s she created a musical based on her life entitled Leader of the Pack, from the song co-written with her former husband Barry. The Broadway musical included many of her hits and told the story of her rise and fall. It scored several Tony and Grammy Award nominations.

This past week the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson was quoted by the L.A.Times, saying, “She was the greatest melody writer of all time.”

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James Luther Dickinson 1941 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, August 19, 2009 05:02pm | Post a Comment

The legendary Memphis musician, producer, and raconteur James Luther Dickinson died this past Saturday in a Memphis hospital after complications following triple bypass heart surgery; he was 67. Dickinson played with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder and The Rolling Stones and helped shape what would be called the Memphis Sound, a gritty blend of gospel, country and southern blues. Though never exactly a household name, Dickinson is one those great cult figures in musical history whose life and stories were bigger than the times themselves.
 
Jim Dickinson was born November 15, 1941 in Little Rock, Arkansas. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1949. He signed his first recording contract right out of high school with Rubin Cherry's Home of the Blues. Later Dickinson recorded for Sam Phillips' Sun label; he sang lead vocals on the last record ever released on Sun, "Cadillac Man" by The Jesters. Starting in about 1965 he began working as a session player in the Memphis studios, joining Charley Freeman, Tommy McClure, and Sammy Creason in the rhythm section that would become know as the Dixie Flyers. They went on to be the house band at Atlantic Records' Criteria Recording Studio in Miami, Florida in the early '70s, backing artists like Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ronnie James Luther Dickinson, Dixie FriedMilsap, Kris Kristofferson, Carmen McCrae and Maria Muldaur.
 
He played piano on the Rolling Stones' classic "Wild Horses" and even appeared in the documentary film of the Stones, Gimme Shelter. Dickinson also played piano on The Flamin' Groovies masterpiece Teenage Head. He went on to be Ry Cooder's sidekick; touring, playing keyboards and co-producing some of Cooder’s soundtracks such as Paris, Texas, The Long Riders, and Crossroads. Dickinson's career as a producer got kick started working with Big Star, the pioneering Memphis power pop band, producing one of the most influential albums from the 1970s, Third/Sister Lovers (NME magazine ranked it #1 as the most heartbreaking album ever recorded). His production work with Big Star led to other gigs, sometimes under the moniker East Memphis Slim. In the 1970’s and 80’s Dickinson produced the likes of The Replacements (Dickinson always said he learned more from them than they learned from him), Jason & the Scorchers, Green on Red, The Radiators, Mojo Nixon, Chris Stamey, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Mudhoney, Alex Chilton, Toots Hibbert (of the Maytals), The Texas Tornados, Steve Forbert, G. Love & Special Sauce, Joe "King" Carrasco, Flat Duo Jets, Tav Falco, and many others. As a session musician, he's worked with Los Lobos, Primal Scream, Poi Dog Pondering, Arlo Guthrie, Willy DeVille, Esther Phillips, Delaney and Bonnie, Petula Clark, Rocket From the Crypt, and Bob Dylan (Dylan acknowledged him as a “brother” while accepting the Grammy award for 1997’s Time Out of Mind, and once said, "If you've got Dickinson, you don't need anybody else.").
 
One of my all-time favorite records is Dickinson's first solo album, released in 1972 on Atlantic and entitled Dixie Fried. This soulful yet wonderfully cockeyed, twisted and loopy album has become a cult classic. He dubbed the genre “world boogie.” Dixie Fried was one of those records that disappeared without a trace upon initial release, only to be rediscovered years later. Originally recorded in 1970, the out there in left-field amalgamation of country, R&B, soul, and rock finds Dickinson mostly covering other artist’s material, but everything he touches shimmers with that cool and greasy Memphis groove -- probably why Atlantic Records saw it unfit for public consumption for a couple of years. By the time it came out, Dickinson was off touring with Ry Cooder and had no time nor desire to promote the album. Dickinson said that by mid 70’s he was seriously hated over at Atlantic records. They tried pushing him out the door, giving him what was referred to as "the Jesse Ed Davis treatment," or to quote Jerry Wexler, "right down the old pipe, baby." For years Dixie Fried circulated around the underground, developing a extraordinary following. But as far as Atlantic was concerned, the album’s notoriety was surely due to some bizarre bayou voodoo; the label kept its distance. Finally in 2002 it was re-released on CD by Sepia Tone Records.
 
Last month, Jim Dickinson was relocated to a rehabilitation facility; doctors had hoped for an eventual recovery. His death comes only a week after a benefit concert and tribute was held in Memphis at The Peabody Skyway to raise money for escalating medical bills. Performers at the benefit included John Hiatt, Jimmy Davis and the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars, whose members include Dickinson's sons Luther and Cody. Dickinson always understood the enduring power of music and that is mirrored in his epitaph he wrote himself: “I’m just dead, I’m not gone.”
 
James Luther Dickinson is survived by his wife Mary and his two sons.

Villanova Junction

Posted by Whitmore, August 18, 2009 10:05pm | Post a Comment

One of my favorite reads in any blog is the unquantifiable absolute statement ... "this is the consummate, best bla bla bla since the invention of sliced bread and Pepto-Bismol..."; well, 40 years ago today, August 18th 1969, the absolutely greatest blues jam ever captured on celluloid, bar none, absolute fact and sure as shit Sherlock-- Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock and a tiny, minor keyed, mellow and oddly intimate piece, only about three minutes long, so profoundly perfect I don’t think such artistry has been witnessed in western civilization since the days of Johann Sebastian Bach.
 
Hendrix was the headliner at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair but didn’t hit the stage till after the scheduled festival, Monday morning at dawn. The delay was due to the bad weather and an infinite number of logistical problems. By the time he arrived on stage, the audience, which had peaked at over 500,000 people, had dwindled to somewhere between 60,000 to 160,000 people, still a hell of a crowd. Hendrix would play a two hour set, the longest of his career. The official, historic, climax of the set was obviously his rendition of the "The Star-Spangled Banner," probably --and here is one of those absolute statements again -- the greatest musical pyrotechnic blast of the entire crazed decade of the 1960’s, hell, make it the entire second half of the 20th century, life was just never the same after detonation. But as far as I’m concerned the gem of the whole set, and the last song before the encore, is the Hendrix's free form, breathtakingly beautiful, soulful modal blues, "Villanova Junction." And yes, at times the piece has brought me to tears, what can I say, I tear up easily ... watch and listen.

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