Amoeblog

The Women I've Loved

Posted by Job O Brother, March 23, 2012 03:07pm | Post a Comment
man ray

In honor of March being Women's History Month, I've created the following list of female musicians (with a smattering of bands consisting of, or fronted by, women) who have rocked me, rolled me, and everything in-between. Presented from A to Z, I hope you'll waste your employer's time and/or ignore your children's needs long enough to peruse this list and find some swell new chanteuse to make your knees sway...


Laurie Anderson


Ruth Brown


Wendy Carlos


Karen Dalton


Missy Elliott


Fanny


Bobbie Gentry


Nina Hagen


Cruise to Mexico: Part 7

Posted by Job O Brother, December 6, 2010 11:37am | Post a Comment
mexico

Day 5 (Part 2)

Thursday. September 16, 2010

PUERTO VALLARTA



As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”

You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.

Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.

“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”

It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.

Yma Sumac 1922 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, November 3, 2008 10:32am | Post a Comment


Yma Sumac
the legendary, one of a kind singer famous for her 4 1/2 octave range, has died in Los Angeles. She was 86.

Peruvian born, she was the personification of exoticism, making her an international sensation in the 1950’s. After signing with Capitol Records in 1950, the striking, raven-haired beauty became known as the "Nightingale of the Andes," and the "Peruvian Songbird." Her first album, Voice of the Xtabay, rocketed to the top of the LP charts introducing a whole new genre, Exotica, to the music buying public. During her heyday, Sumac headlined at the some of the most prestigious venues in the world, such as the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. She reportedly made $25,000 a week in Las Vegas and turned down offers to sing with New York's Metropolitan Opera. Her eccentric costumes and stage settings were often extremely elaborate, filling stages with native dressed drummers and dancers and caged wild birds. Yma Sumac was also featured in the 1951 Broadway musical Flahooley and appeared in the films Secret of the Incas in 1954 and Omar Khayyam in 1957.

Although details of her birth and early life have varied greatly, lending mightily to her legend, the biggest misconception was that she was born in Brooklyn as Amy Camus -- Sumac was actually born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo in Cajamarca, Peru, on Sept. 13, 1922. After performing and recording in Argentina in the early 40’s, she and her husband, bandleader Moises Vivanco, moved to New York City in 1946, where they performed as the Inca Taky Trio, with Vivanco on guitar, Sumac singing soprano and Cholita Rivero, her cousin, singing contralto and dancing.

Lila Downs' Shake Away

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, September 28, 2008 10:27pm | Post a Comment

The “breakthrough” album is something most critically acclaimed artists have to contend with. It’s the pressure to get to that elusive “next level.” Sometimes the pressure comes from outside sources, such as the record label or management. Other times it’s self-induced. It’s the desire to grow out of the confines of one’s fan base in order to seek a larger audience. Perhaps the move is purely artistic, to grow into a new sound or a new image, damn the loyalists and critics!

Lila Downs’ latest release, Shake Away, is just that. It is an attempt to go beyond the confines of a cult following. It is her chance to shed her past image as the token Mexican Diva and perhaps become a household Diva. Out of the sixteen songs on the album, more than half are in English, which should make her songs more accessible to a non-Spanish speaking audience. 

That should make songs such as "Little Man," a Mexican Banda song (the style of which usually has most Americanos groaning) made easily digestible with English lyrics and a guitar solo. It is an “every person” song of the working immigrant, just trying to get by like everyone else. But the problem with the songs is that it lacks the spice, the flavor, and the balls for one to care about the immigrant that does the jobs that no one wants to do. The same problem exists within "Minimum Wage," a song about the trials and lila downstribulations of immigrants in the U.S. by way of Loretta Lynn. It’s a down home country vibe that’s awkward at best, with the message getting lost on the train to Nashville. These two songs feel like Lila is both trying too hard and trying too much. Another sign of that is her version of "Black Magic Woman," a duet with pop singer Raul Mídon. Upon first listen I could almost hear the music executives saying:

(Wherein your neon's flashin & your one-arm-bandits crashin.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 8, 2008 08:47pm | Post a Comment

"Say cheese"

Oh, hey! Fancy writing you here.

Where? Vegas, baby. Yours truly is currently 29 floors above desert level, tucked inside the golden, looming Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on The Strip of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Corey, the dude I’m totally in a relationship with, and I left early this morning (if you ask him) or late this morning (if you ask me) and hit the freeway.

His car’s stereo plays MP3’s, and I’m notorious for making gigantic mix CD’s for the slightest road trip. (“Oh, we’re driving to Trader Joe’s? Better burn a ‘Going to Trader Joe’s’ mix!”) Corey, who finds my ravenous appetite for music overwhelming, manages to be patient as I force hundreds of hours of tunes upon him.

A couple weeks ago we were driving back from a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, listening to the mix I had made for our trip to Disneyland, because we had already listened to the mix for driving to Santa Barbara on the way there (you following?). The mix for driving to Disneyland was mostly chipper, romantic songs – lots of doo-wop, some schmaltzy kitsch, with some Disney songs here and there for good measure. One of the songs was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Corey smiled and said, “Now this is music!”



What Corey would say, as he’s said to me countless times, is that he “finds an album he likes, then listens to it over and over for weeks – maybe months – until he’s tired of it”. MP3’s containing entire discographies, however, are daunting.