Category Archives: music

Good morning!

Carly Simon (b. 1945) seems to have disappeared from the music scene, but for a while she was very visible. Her reluctance to perform live and her stage fright were famous, but they’re not at all visible in this wonderful rendition of one of her classic songs, “That’s the way I’ve always heard it should be.” It […]

Good morning!

The two greatest female pop voices (not singers) of our time belong to Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. I’ve featured Karen many times (she was a heartthrob), but not such much La Streisand. Streisand, of course, had a much better oeuvre of songs, but you shouldn’t turn your nose up at Carpenter’s talents on non-schlocky songs, like “Little Girl […]

Music and love

It struck me today, as it does occasionally, that nearly all popular songs have the same theme: love.  New love, enduring love, broken love, all-you-need-is love, and so on.  Yes, the Beach Boys sang about cars and Steely Dan about god knows what, but they’re the exceptions. Now why is this? The easy answer is that love is […]

Wake up!: “It Never Entered My Mind”

Today you can wake up with some soothing music. This rendition of “It Never Entered My Mind” is a duet featuring two of the greatest saxophonists in jazz history: Ben Webster (who soloed on “Cottontail” yesterday, and was nicknamed “Frog”) and Coleman Hawkins, also known as “Hawk” or “Bean”). To my mind, it’s up there with […]

Wake up!

Here’s a bouncy song guaranteed to get your juices flowing—if you have any. It’s one of my favorite jazz pieces, “Cottontail,” written by Duke Ellington and recorded in 1940 with his famous “Blanton-Webster” band. It’s most famous for the tenor saxophone solo by Ben Webster, one of the all-time greats.  It starts at at 0:29 […]

My Old School & Bad Sneakers

The original Steely Dan, with Donald Fagan, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, and Walter Becker, was moderately famous, but I contend it’s one of the best rock groups of all time: sui generis, with a unique mixture of jazz, rock, and other motifs. Although they’re in sad decline (Fagan’s lost that plaintive voice), I still revisit their […]

Whipping Post

I think everyone needs this to wake up today. It’s raining in Chicago and so is a gloomy start to the week. What better way to rouse yourself than a strong espresso or latte and a dollop of The Allman Brothers Band? “Whipping Post,” written by its singer Greg Allman and recorded in 1969, is one of […]

Caturday felid: World premiere of “Hili and Cyrus”

I am extremely honored to present reader Carol Piller’s polka/klezmer composition (and performance) in honor of Hili and Cyrus. But I will let her explain the origin. First watch the video: an original piece of music accompanied by slides of our favorite cat and her canine staff. A few years ago, I started writing my own piano […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo, Calvin ‘n’ Hobbes, and Bonnie ‘n’ Clyde

This morning we have a fortuitous conjunction of three pairs of individuals—fortuitous because Albatross 2.0 will be done today and I will have little time to post here. Do not expect Deep Thoughts (which, according to philosophers and theologians, I don’t have anyway). First the latest Jesus and Mo, relevant to our discussion of theology […]

Laura Nyro (reimagined)

If you listened to National Public Radio (NPR) this morning, you heard a piece on Laura Nyro, who happens to be one of my favorite popular singers of all time, and someone who, I imagine, is almost completely unknown to anyone born after 1970.  She died young: at 49, and from ovarian cancer, the same […]

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