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Ch-ch-changes: thoughts on music, election Day '08

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 8, 2008 01:19pm | Post a Comment
Virginia's state bird the cardinal
Tuesday was tough. I woke up early, voted without having to wait in line (my polling place has always been quiet) and spent the bulk of the day thereafter feeling like I had been physically rendered into ragged shreds of mixed emotions that mainly resembled a patchwork of grief. Being confined to the registers at work, restless, while polls across the country closed at their designated times, the ague that wracked my body and mind increased as the day sank heavily into night. On my dinner break things started looking up; I spent the hour with a politically like-minded coworker (and dear friend) at a local sports bar so decorated with festive balloons, streamers and flat-screen televisions that the effort needed to focus on what might really constitute "news" distracted my mind away from any results I didn't want to see, but nevertheless felt somewhat prepared to receive. When it was projected that my home state of Virginia was going to "go red," as red as a Virginia cardinal, my nerves slackened into an uncomfortable numbness.

Given the option to leave work early, I fled and hopped a bus to meet up with some friends at a bar I'd never been to or heard of. Trying to find a place unknown on such a night was absolutely frustrating and just when I was knitting my brow in consternation, bent over my cellphone feverishly texting queries to inebriated friends, a girl at the front of the bus began to squeal like a steam leak. Suddenly strangers were hugging, kissing and high-fiving me, dancing and falling all over each other on a crowded, careening Haight street bus with a horn-happy driver at the wheel. Images alike to those photos taken during the block parties that erupted at the end of World War II flashed to life in front of me and, maybe for the first time in my life, I felt the news. Everyone here would remember this night, the night the streets of San Francisco went wild for Barack Obama's victory and the end of eight years of  George W. Bush.

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Suze Rotolo's A Freewheeling Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 06:05pm | Post a Comment

I just finished reading Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Rotolo is most famous for having had a complicated and inspiring relationship with Bob Dylan early in his career and for appearing with him arm in arm on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

the freewheelin bob dylan


Her autobiography is an easy read, and she chronicles not only her time in the Village in the early 60s, but also the trials of growing up thbob dylan suze rotoloe child of two communists in the era of blacklisting, and her post-Dylan trip to then-recently Communist Cuba for several months in 1964. It's interesting to read about a woman's life in the early 60s (I was glad to have recently experienced a visual touchstone of the early 60s in Mad Men) and the limitations that were part and parcel of daily life back then that are now in many ways foreign to us gals. When Suze was with Dylan, everyone expected she would merely be his shadow and have no career or creative pursuit of her own, and, among other things, she was subjected to his own rigid expectations of her looks and her second-class status.

While the book was mainly enjoyable to read, I'm not sure if I was expecting too much, but it was not heavy on details, in my opinion. I respect Rotolo's right to keep some things private, of course, but I also wondered at times why she was compelled to write a book if she wanted to keep so much to herself. Still, the book does give an outline of The Village as an exciting, creative place and also of Dylan as a charismatic but manipulative charmer. She also gives an interesting take on the corrosive effects of fame on individuals, those around them, and their relationships. bob dylan suze rotolo dave van ronk

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Bobby Charles - Let Yourself Go

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 02:49pm | Post a Comment

If you're trying to escape the inevitable -- late fall's chill in the air -- then slip into an easy sense of denial by listening to Bobby Charles' self titled 1972 album.

bobby charles


The album is bursting with the organic sound of Bearsville, NY in the early 70s crossed with a dash of Cajun spice and that simple, ephemeral combination will warm you right up again.

Bobby Charles is an idiosyncratic songwriter from Louisiana who wrote "See You Later Alligator," knownbobby charles mainly as covered by Bill Haley and His Comets. Charles wasn't one for fame, and hid behind artists like Muddy Waters who covered his work, allowing him to pay the bills. I'm not sure why exactly, but somehow in the early 70s he ended up in Bearsville, New York, hanging out with the likes of Bob Dylan and The Band. That friendship is reflected in the album's sound as well as its production, which is by Rick Danko and John Simon (who also put out at least one excellent solo album). Members of The Band no doubt also contributed musically to this album, though with the exception of a songwriting credit for Danko, they are uncredited.

The album's songs are instantly pleasing through and through. They alternatively ramble along and bound forward energetically, but all the tracks glow with an animated heat that will take that chill right out of you: quite the accomplishment for such a hermetic kind of guy! There's also some sweet, sunshiney love songs on this album that'll have you feeling the sun on your shoulders again and make the return of spring seem not so far away anymore. It's all very bucolic and idyllic, as you shall see.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 11:07:08

Posted by Billyjam, November 7, 2008 09:09am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 11:07:08

paris acid reflex
1) Paris Acid Reflex (Guerrilla Funk/Fontana)

2) Mighty Underdogs Droppin' Science
    Fiction
(Definitive Jux)

3) Murs Murs for President (Warner)

4) T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

5) Black Milk Tronic (Fat Beats)

Thanks to Tunde at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five sales-based chart, which finds the Bay Area's own Paris in the number one slot and his thought-provoking, lyrically charged, recommended new album Acid Reflex on Guerrilla Funk/Fontana. If you missed the interview with the controversial artist when it was published last week, click here to read the Amoeblog Paris interivew.

Reactions to Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday were upbeat (to put it mildly) in hip-hop circles. Longtime Fillmore, San Francisco rapper San Quinn told Amoeblog the next day, "Hopefully with him winning it will give little black kids in America a new sense of hope to know that instead of drug dealers and rappers and basketball players and football players and many other stereotypical but true things that we choose to be, including killing off each other, san quinnthat now we have a chance if we keep our slate clean to be the president of the United States." 

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out this week 11/4...all the saints...for against...barack obama...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 6, 2008 01:45pm | Post a Comment
president barack obama
It is really hard to think about anything but the election this week. It is really all I have thought about for many months now. I have become obsessed with watching CNN every night. I sometimes feel like I know John King and Anderson Cooper better than I actually do. I have spent a lot of time with them. I am just glad it is all over now. The people of the United States actually impressed me this year and elected a president that I actually respect. I still remember how I felt in 1992 when I was able to help elect Bill Clinton in my first election. I have not felt this good about an election since then. Unfortunately we stillanderson cooper cnn have to wait a couple of months for Barack Obama to take over. I can't really imagine the last 8 years without music to help me get through it. Just try to imagine your life without the escape that music offers you. I would not have made it. Think of all the great music that came out during the Reagan and first George Bush administrations. The music that came out between 1980 and 1992 was some of the best music ever created. It still john kingremains my favorite period for music. I am really happy about Obama but this might mean we are facing a bad period for music. Just think about all the bad music that came out during Bill Clinton's eight years in office. These were the years of Blind Melon and Crash Test Dummies, Spice Girls and Aqua. I will need to do some more research, but I am almost positive that having a Republican as president helps to create some fantastic music, while having a democrat as president makes musicians lazy and helps to create some horrible singles and albums.

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