Amoeblog

Diamanda Galás Hates The Food Fighters

Posted by Job O Brother, February 28, 2011 01:32pm | Post a Comment
blond girlbuttons
Call it a survival kit.


The boyfriend is out of town this week, enjoying* the chilly dewiness of Portland, Oregon. (I wish I was with him – I get hungry just thinking about Portland, with all its easily accessible, diet-vanquishing, culinary goodness. Plus there’s a lot of hella rad folks who live there, and while I normally loathe good food and great people, something about the air there makes me all for it.)

I love my boyfriend, and I never find myself wishing he was gone; all the same, I cherish these times when it’s just me and the cats. It’s not that the boyfriend keeps me from doing anything, per se, but self-respect  keeps me from behaving certain ways in his presence.

For example, alone, I do nothing with my hair other than washing it. The result is a blond afro which effectively doubles the size of my already-capacious noggin. I wear a wife-beater constantly – something that never fails to get me not laid in this house – and if it’s too cold, I simply toss a hoodie over the wife-beater. That’s fashion, kids.

afro
The cover for my new album, Save Auntie

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Howlin’ Wolf’s 100th birthday

Posted by Whitmore, June 10, 2010 02:07pm | Post a Comment
howlin wolf, chester burnett, blues, guitar, harmonica, killing floor, smokestsck lighten', spoonful, back door man, eric clapton, soul on fire,

He was named after Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, and as a kid Chester Arthur Burnett was nicknamed Big Foot Chester or Bull Cow as he grew to stand 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weigh in close to 300 pounds. That was a big man. But we know him as Howlin' Wolf, legendary and incredibly influential blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player and composer, whose songs are as standard today as anything written by Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Carmichael, Leiber and Stoller or McCartney and Lennon. Howlin' Wolf’s compositions include “Killing Floor,” “Sikilling floor, smokestsck lighten', spoonful, rock, rawk, back door man, eric clapton, soul on fire,tting on Top of the World,” “Who's Been Talking?,” “Moanin’ at Midnight,” and “Smokestack Lightnin'.”
 
Also, his versions of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” and “Back Door Man” are about as perfect a three minutes as you’ll ever hear in any genre, anytime, anyplace. Rough-edged, fearsome and fearless, Howlin' Wolf's booming voice sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before -- like something in between grinding a knife on a whetstone or a sharpening steel or shears tearing into bone or a monster truck pulling donuts on a gravel road. As the adage goes -- Howlin' Wolf has often been imitated but never duplicated.
 
Chester Burnett died in Hines, Illinois on January 10, 1976 and is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, Hillside, Cook County in Illinois. His gravestone, etched with a guitar and harmonica, and allegedly purchased by Eric Clapton, can be found in Section 18 on the east side of the road.
 
Today would have been his 100th birthday.




"Baby Please Don't Go" Has Remained Popular with Artists Over the 75 Years Since It Was Written By Big Joe Williams

Posted by Billyjam, May 27, 2010 06:51am | Post a Comment
Big Joe Williams "Baby Please Don't Go"

Written, recorded, and released back in 1935 by the great delta blues musician and songwriter Big Joe Williams, the sBig Joe Williamsong "Baby Please Don't Go" has been popular with countless artists in the seventy five years since, having been covered by dozens upon dozens of different musicians to the point that it ranks among the top ten most recorded blues songs in music's history. 

Perhaps the most famous or recognizable cover version of "Baby Please Don't Go" is the 1964 recording/release by Them -- the Belfast, Northern Ireland blues-rock ensemble featuring Van Morrison. Them's cover (with "Gloria" on the B side), which was a top ten single in the UK in 1965 and a US AOR radio staple in consequent years, injected a whole rock n roll energy into the classic blues song. 

themSo influential was Van & co's version that nearly all of the versions of the song recorded or just played after 1965 (including by fellow Irish blues-rockers Taste featuring Rory Gallagher) are rock inflected covers a la Them rather than the original blues version by Williams. Another Irish rocker to cover the song was guitarist / vocalist Eric Bell, who was an original member of Thin Lizzy. 

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America Gets a Post-Racial: The Legacy of Lee Atwater

Posted by Charles Reece, August 30, 2009 10:03am | Post a Comment
The latest issue of The London Review of Books has an excellent essay, "What Matters," by Walter Benn Michaels (author of The Trouble with Diversity). In analyzing the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Michaels answers my fellow blogger Eric's question of "who's black?" with another, more telling question: "who's poor?." To wit:

Gates, as one of his Harvard colleagues said, is ‘a famous, wealthy and important black man’, a point Gates himself tried to make to the arresting officer – the way he put it was: ‘You don’t know who you’re messing with.’ But, despite the helpful hint, the cop failed to recognise an essential truth about neoliberal America: it’s no longer enough to kowtow to rich white people; now you have to kowtow to rich black people too.

[...]

In the US, one of the great uses of racism was (and is) to induce poor white people to feel a crucial and entirely specious fellowship with rich white people; one of the great uses of anti-racism is to make poor black people feel a crucial and equally specious fellowship with rich black people. Furthermore, in the form of the celebration of ‘identity’ and ‘ethnic diversity’, it seeks to create a bond between poor black people and rich white ones. So the African-American woman who cleans my office is supposed to feel not so bad about the fact that I make almost ten times as much money as she does because she can be confident that I’m not racist or sexist and that I respect her culture. And she’s also supposed to feel pride because the dean of our college, who makes much more than ten times what she does, is African-American, like her. And since the chancellor of our university, who makes more than 15 times what she does, is not only African-American but a woman too (the fruits of both anti-racism and anti-sexism!), she can feel doubly good about her.

In the words of our first "post-racial" president's speechwriters, it's the economy, stupid (or, rather, the racially stupid economy -- even its staunchest proponents this side of Ayn Rand will tell you that capitalism is amoral). As the harbinger of racial peace through commercial success, a prescient Arsenio Hall managed to signify our current climate through one particular performance that bridged the old racial divide in popular culture, that of the poor black's blues and the poor white's country:

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(In which an angel visits Amoeba Music Hollywood.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 13, 2009 02:33pm | Post a Comment
jimmy scott
Little Jimmy looking big

Uh, did I mention that, a couple weeks ago, Little Jimmy Scott came into the jazz room at Amoeba Music Hollywood? I used up a whole box of tissue, my mind was so blown – and I’m not easily star-struck. Most of the people I’d like to meet are dead (a quality I admire in a person). Never have I been as giddy and star-struck as I was at meeting Jimmy Scott. I cried. I actually cried! Like I was a seventeen-year-old girl at a Beatles concert in ’64. Okay, I didn’t grab the sides of my face and scream – not externally, anyway.

jazz singer

He was sweet like an angel descending on the city for a day to offer a glimpse of light unsoiled by our planet’s spiritual smog. His voice was unmistakable, his smile generous, and he patiently listened to all our gushing with the grace you’d expect from your favorite Kindergarten teacher. The fact that he was wheelchair-bound only enhanced the sense that he was visiting royalty, forever receiving people at his throne.

Poor health has made his already diminutive body more frail, and the stiffness in his hands made for an other-worldly contrast to his skin, which was soft and warm like a newborn infant.

He was flanked by a small film crew from Germany who were shooting a documentary on the making of his next album which, they reported, would be of the blues genre. They were excited that, in the employees of Amoeba, they finally found some young people who not only knew who Jimmy Scott was, but were fans. One of them bullied my fellow co-worker, Lucas, and I into being interviewed for their documentary, despite my emphatic explanation that I was too shy for interviews and anyway, English was my sixteenth language. (I acquiesced after they called my bluff and offered to allow me to answer questions in my native Ket.)

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