Amoeblog

Remembering Legacies of the Late Roky Erickson and Leon Redbone (RIP)

Posted by Billyjam, June 1, 2019 06:14pm | Post a Comment
  Roky Erickson's All That May Do My Rhyme (released 2017 via Play Loud Productions). The influential artist, who co-founded pioneering first wave psychedelic rock band 13th Floor Elevators died yesterday.


Yesterday May 31st influential singer/songwriter/musician Roky Erickson died at age 71. A long revered artist he was a pioneer of psychedelic rock back in the mid sixties. That's when he co-founded the forever influential Austin TX band 13th Floor Elevators. The band's debut single “You’re Gonna Miss Me” may have only reached #55 on Billboard's singles charts upon its release back in 1966 but it has since become iconic and been covered by numerous artists whose careers have been influenced by Roky and his group. [Incidentally “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was the title of a 2007 documentary on Roky including the history of the Elevators and their role in psych/garage/acid rock - scroll down to see trailer]. Note that the Rhino issued Nuggets From Nuggets: Choice Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era compilation (pictured left) contains The 13th Floor Elevators landmark song + 19 other artist tracks from that era.

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Brightwell's Top 10: 1897

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 21, 2015 11:07am | Post a Comment
 In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.

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(In which Job does the least he can do.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 19, 2010 09:34pm | Post a Comment
I have a tummy ache. Do you think it’s the weather? The volcano? Or maybe that I decided to conclude my late lunch with a third of a pack of butterscotch chips?

candy

Even the word “butterscotch” is delicious to me. Having a crush on both butter and scotch helps. But take it from me: there’s more to making this delicious concoction than merely mixing butter and scotch together. I learned the hard way.

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you found this blog entry both educational and entertaining. Bye!


…I’ve just been informed that the above paragraphs weren’t enough to qualify as proper Amoeblog entry. Apparently my editors think that, so long as they’re paying me to write a blog about media and art, that there should be more to an entry than a quick cautionary tale about mixing dairy and booze. I’d tell them to lump it, but I really need the money to buy butterscotch with.

Well, as a music addict, pretty much any subject can lead to tunery. For instance, after writing the word “butter” five times in this entry, I now have a song stuck in my head by 1980’s act Martika, perhaps more famous for not being Madonna than anything else. Most of us know her one-hit wonder single "Toy Soldiers," but the song that’s playing in the jukebox in my brain is…

Okay, before I tell you, let me explain: This is one of those songs it’s so easy to mis-hear. You know the type: a song who’s lyrics are obscured or sung in such a way that it allows you to sing the wrong words, sometimes for years. In the case of the following song, I always hear her singing about butter. And honestly, maybe because I’m not what you could call a Martika fan, I think this song is improved if you think she’s singing about butter.

The roots of jazz - ragtime

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 24, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
Although for most people the strains of "The Entertainer" and other rags now primarily evoke quaint, scratchy images of silent films projected at the wrong speed, when ragtime first appeared around the 1870s, it was the soundtrack of Missouri's whorehouses, parlors and gambling clubs.

st. louis 1870
St. Louis in the 1870s

Ragtime was also one of the first truly and distinctly American musical forms. After cakewalk, ragtime was one of the first global music crazes. That Ragtime's cradle was the river towns of the Missouri Valley shouldn't be a surprise. Missouri, located at the center of the country, has long been and remains a crossroads of cultural exchanges. No state borders more than Missouri and noted ragtime musicians came from all the neighbors and spread to them (except Nebraska and Iowa, states whose people are known to be deaf to the joys of melody and dance). The character of ragtime -- drawing from folk, European and American marches, minstrelsy, spirituals and other forms -- connects Europe, Africa and North America, town and country, classical and popular, black and white.

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The roots of jazz -- cakewalk -- Amoeba's Jazz Week

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 21, 2009 08:00am | Post a Comment
A performative, competitive dance known as the chalk line walk first appeared around the 1850s on the plantations along the Gulf Coast. Its origins lay in the African-derived dance known as the bamboula -- also the name of a drum -- and it was performed in New Orleans, where on Sundays slaves were allowed to congregate. In their limited freedom, they not only danced the bamboula, but also dances like the pile, chactas and the carabine in Congo Square and at their masters' homes. Louis Moreau Gottschalk, a local creole composer was inspired by the dances and wrote "Bamboula, dance des nègres, Op.2" in 1848. By the 1850s, the bamboula's popularity had spread to Florida, where it possibly mixed with the dance traditions of the Seminole. It eventually developed into the cakewalk, which quickly became popular throughout the Gulf Coast. 

congo square

Whereas the minstrelsy craze of the 1840s-1860s was the first major cross-racial American musical exchange, cakewalk's heyday from the 1850s-1890s was probably the second and importantly, a reversal. Minstrelsy was a product of white musicans seeking to simultaneuosly imitate and mock black customs, but cakewalks were initially produced by black performers imitating and mocking whites. Thus began a long history of back and forth musical and cultural dialogues that have been behind nearly every significant innovation in American music.

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