dxmachina: (Schoeder)
This was from a special Harry did for the BBC. One thing I didn't realize before watching the Nilsson documentary was that he was, for the most part, his own set of background vocalists. It seems obvious to me now that I relisten, but I'd never thought about it before.

Walk Right Back/Cathy's Clown/Let The Good Times Roll Medley

dxmachina: (Schoeder 02)
Last Night I watched Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, a behind the music type documentary about Nilsson which is currently available as a free online preview. Today, thanks to the movie, I've been listening to Nilsson all day. It's easy to forget at this remove how talented he was both as a singer and a songwriter. The movie is well worth the time. There are even a couple of Nicky Hopkins sightings in some footage taken during the Nilsson Schmilsson sessions.

One of my favorites, "The Lottery Song," with Hopkins on piano.

Cooperstown

Feb. 6th, 2011 01:02 pm
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
Last weekend I joined my friend Tom Z on his annual pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I'd never been before, despite it being no more than 15 miles from my brothers' farm. Tom goes every year for a F2F with his online fantasy baseball buddies. Now I know how civilians feel at b.org gatherings.

We were a little worried about the weather, as snow showers were predicted, but they didn't really materialize. If fact, there was less snow on the ground in Cooperstown than in coastal Rhody, and far less that at Tom's house in central Connecticut. We were all supposed to meet up for breakfast, but the usual restaurant was closed for renovations, and we chose the wrong backup. We met up with the group at the Hall and spent most of the day there. I have pictures here.

It was fun. It's not a big museum, and there are areas where you think they might have done a better job, although a lot of that might be personal preference. You get a little bit of everything, but not a lot of depth, which I suppose is par for the course in any museum. One item actually annoyed me. In a generally well-done exhibit about baseball movies, they include a jersey Tim Robbins wore in Bull Durham. What annoys is that this is the same institution that banned Robbins from speaking at a celebration of that movie because of his political views. Jerks*.

* The museum is currently embroiled in a bit of a scandal of another sort. Sometime in the 80's some items went missing from their collection. Some of these have now turned up at some high end auction houses. An employee at one of the houses notified the HoF, and reports they seem to show no inclination of getting the artifacts that they were entrusted with back, along with apparently refusing to assist the FBI in its investigation. Meanwhile, the nY Public Library has been much more active in trying to sort out similar thefts from their collection. More information here and elsewhere on that site, which is for a forthcoming book on the subject.

Midway through the day we all had lunch, and the conversation turned into a bit of a wake. These guys are all heavy hitters in the world of fantasy baseball, and one type of game in particular**, a game that was just canceled by the company running it. I got to hear more about the politics and business aspects of running fantasy baseball competitions than I need to know, but not enough to put me off the day (my own leanings are to baseball simulation games, and the search for the perfect sim, so I know from the zeal). Apparently the company that originally ran the game was the outfit that successfully fought MLB's bogus attempt to copyright game data. They won, but used up a lot of dough in doing so, and sold out to another company. That company was sold to the conglomerate that owns the Atlanta Braves, among other things, and the corporate PTB decided to get out of fantasy baseball. So, RIP, Diamond Challenge. Or maybe not. One of the guys at lunch apparently helped launch the game back in the day, and is now trying to launch it again under new management. I hope it works out.

** Normal fantasy baseball involves drafting a team from the current list of ML players, and seeing how they perform over the course of the season. The late, lamented game (Diamond Challenge) has the same goal, but a different approach to rosters. In the usual game, once a player is drafted no one else can get him for their team, just like in real life. In the Diamond Challenge, players are assigned "salaries", and more than any team can draft any player, as long as they stay below a set salary total. Thus every team in the league can put Albert Pujols on their roster, but paying his humongous salary doesn't leave much to spend on the rest of the team.

Anyway, it was good day.

---
I stumbled across Momma Mia! on TBS last night, and watched it for the first time. So, who thought it was a good idea to have Pierce Brosnan sing? Because he makes Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon sound like Pavoratti.
dxmachina: (Rats!)
Pete Quaife, original bassist for the Kinks, passed away over the summer. I just found out tonight whilst looking up some videos for a friend of Ray performing with the Crouch End Chorus. Ray dedicated this set at this year's Glastonbury Festival to Pete. Rest in peace.

dxmachina: (Music)


That's Tennessee Thomas on drums behind Elvis, daughter of Costello's long-time drummer, Pete Thomas, who's also there. You don't usually see female drummers backing iconic male rock stars. Daddy taught her well.
dxmachina: (Music)
...for once again showing me something that I did not know.

This time it's that the lead singer of the Buggles was Trevor Horn, who later produced most of the BritPop that showed up on MTV in the eighties. Fitting for the man whose "Video Killed the Radio Star" launched MTV in the first place. I found this out only after stumbling across a video on Youtube of a Prince's Trust concert honoring him.

Now, I'd heard of Trevor Horn plenty of times, but until I saw the video, I had no idea he was the guy with the funny glasses. A quick check of wikipedia also adds something else I never knew. After achieving fame with VKtRS, the Buggles merged with Yes, with Horn taking over for Jon Anderson and Geoff Downe replacing Rick Wakeman. When Anderson returned to the band, Horn became the producer. Huh.

And now I remember where the last place I saw his name was. He produced Dear Catastrophe Waitress for Belle & Sebastian.

Sweep!

Oct. 5th, 2008 11:58 am
dxmachina: (Koufax2)
For the Cub fans out there, one of the finest baseball songs ever written, Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request":



The Dodgers polished off the Cubs last night, 3-1, sweeping the series. Because the media was so invested in the Cubs as a team with a hundred year-old destiny, most of the stories about the series are going to be about how the Cubs choked, but if the Cubs choked on anything it was the pitches the Dodgers pitching staff were shoving down their collective throat. Just a tremendous performance by the team as a whole and the pitchers in particular.

And it was not really as much of a surprise as some in the media are making it out to be. Yes, the Dodgers were mediocre (or worse) for much of the season. But this is a much different team than the one that limped along through May, June, and July. Much has been said about the trades that brought Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake to the team, but there were a lot of other differences, as well. For one, Andruw Jones was finally shown the bench after posting one of the ten worst performances by a batter in the history of baseball. Juan Pierre was likewise shunted aside in favor of Kemp and/or Ethier. The return of Rafael Furcal, on the DL with back surgery from the beginning of May until just last week, finally plugs the enormous sucking offensive hole at shortstop that opened up in his absence.

Meanwhile, the pitching has been the best in the National League, something the media seems to keep missing in all the caterwauling about the collapse of the Cubs. This excellence has been especially so since Brad Penny finally admitted that he'd been hiding shoulder problems all season so as not to hurt his chances at a contract extension. He was unceremoniously dumped onto the 60 day DL to make room for Furcal.

All this leaves the roster the strongest its been all season. The season was incredibly frustrating until about a month ago, But right now it's a fun time to be a Dodger fan.
dxmachina: (Music)
Raining a lot outside.



Apart from some individual songs, I wasn't much into glam back in the day. Or even much today, but I do like this one, "Ballroom Blitz" by the Sweet. There's some nifty drumming, and it's got the over the top vocal bridge by the bass player. I mostly remember the Sweet for one of the worst songs ever inflicted on me back in my college days, "Little Willie."
dxmachina: (Schoeder 02)
Seems like everyone's doing it tonight. You know the drill...

"You were chained to a girl that would kill you with a look
It's a nice way to die she's so easy on the eye"

"White Collar Boy", Belle and Sebastian

"Sometimes I wish I knew you well,
Then I could speak my mind and tell you
Maybe you'd understand"

"I Want to Tell You", the Beatles, by [livejournal.com profile] debg

"Did you know she was flirting around
With another young man,
And he's taking her out
When you have to work late?"

"Mr. Pleasant", the Kinks, by [livejournal.com profile] debg

"You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round"

"Do You Realize", by the Flaming Lips

"Well you can roll your eyes and nod
But I swear that I saw God,
In the moonlight on a side street in the wreckage we call Queens."

"Doreen", by the Old 97's

"A phalanx on camelback
Thirty ranks on a forward tack
Followed close, their shiny bright standards a-waving"

"The Infanta", by the Decembrists

"I've got statistics that'll make you plead
I'll put my thesis right in your hand"

"Fully Qualified to Be Your Man", Richard Thompson, by [livejournal.com profile] nestra

"Must be some sort of mysterious love affair
The monster and the girl
Then one night when it was really over
I told her that I really loved her"

"Girl of My Dreams", by Daniel Johnston

"Second verse, same as the first"
"I'm Henry the VIII, I Am", Herman's Hermits, by [livejournal.com profile] nestra

"And her eyes as kind as the fallen rain
And a voice that steadies a shaken man
Caught in indecision"

"Sometimes I Remember", the Pernice Brothers, by [livejournal.com profile] debg
dxmachina: (Music)
It's lightly snowing outside, but I've got a chicken and some taters and carrots roasting in the oven, and Belle and Sebastian on my computer.

Video behind the curtain... )
I just wish the last hadn't been marred by the guy taking the two snapshots in the middle. It's otherwise very good for home concert video. Love the song.
dxmachina: (Music)
No band ever sounded like they were having more fun than the Traveling Wilburys.



And a couple more, "Handle with Care" and "End of the Line". Terrific vocal work, especially from Roy Orbison, who died not long after recording them.
dxmachina: (Schoeder 02)
So how often has this happened to you? You're walking through a big box store, say a Home Depot, and a song you don't ever recall hearing before comes over the PA system and completely grabs you. Yeah, me neither. At least not till yesterday, when I spent a good couple of minutes just standing in the tool department of the local Depot listening to this song, especially its killer chorus, trying to latch onto a lyric fragment that I could google later on to track the song down. The only thing I was sure of was that the band had to be from Texas.

Deep in the heart of... )
dxmachina: (Rain)
Will not be riding today as hurricane Noel slides by somewhere offshore, bringing lots of wind and rain. Made the mistake of napping from 9 to 10 last night, then waking up enough to watch Numb3rs. I was up till 2 (or later) after that. The whistling wind didn't help much.

---
Finished Cat's Cradle before the nap. I'd read it before back in college. It had been pressed into my hands by a woman I had the hots for at the time, and I thought then that it was fabulous. Things didn't go so well with the next book she'd tried to get me to read (The Bell Jar). (Other books I've made the effort to read and enjoyed over the years because a woman I was attracted to pressed them into my hands include The Hunt for Red October and The Silmarilion. The ex-wife tried to get me to read Ayn Rand, but that didn't work out at all.)

After the first time I read Cat's Cradle I read every other Vonnegut book written to that point. Then he wrote Breakfast of Champions, which I hated. So it goes.

The good news is that I still enjoyed Cat's Cradle after all these years. I don't think it's the life changing book I once did, but it's still pretty good. And it still had the capacity to surprise, too. As I read Bokonon's "Fifty-Third Calypso" it dawned on me that its lyrics were the same as "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," the biggest hit of a seventies band called Ambrosia. I even saw Ambrosia perform it live once, when they opened for the Strawbs at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, and never realized from whence it came.

---
Since I couldn't fall asleep, I wound up skimming through another book I picked up at the library last weekend, Defenses of Narragansett Bay in World War II, by Walter K. Schoeder. It's short and very dry, but fortunately has lots of photos and maps. Living near the bay all these years, I've been fascinated by the ruins of the old coastal fortifications that dotted the entrance to the bay. There were five major installations dating back to the 1800's, four of which are now state parks. The most famous of those sites is Fort Adams, where the Newport Folk and Jazz festivals are now held. The fifth was Fort Kearney, which was also a POW camp during the war. It's now the site of URI's Graduate School of Oceanography. There is also quite a bit about the numerous smaller installations built during WWII. As I said, pretty dry stuff, but not dry enough to put me to sleep.
dxmachina: (Music)
More music from youtube, this time inspired by Teppy's posting of an "It's too hot" summertime playlist.

I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote... )
dxmachina: (Music)
Well, it took awhile, but I finally got sucked into Youtube. Last Saturday night it suddenly occurred to me that I might find some Kinks and other favorites videos there, and the next thing I knew it was two in the morning. Sure, the quality is abysmal on a lot of them, but there's still some of decent stuff. As long as the sound quality is good, I'm fine.

Lost in the Tubes... )
---
Still no rain; still sauna-like outside. On the good side, I managed to sleep in until 7:30 this morning. I guess being ridiculously tired has some advantages.

Album Meme

Jul. 23rd, 2007 08:29 pm
dxmachina: (Music)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] snurri, here's an alphabetical list of performers/musicians by whom I have five or more albums:

Barenaked Ladies
Beach Boys
Beatles
Belle & Sebastian
Dire Straits
Bob Dylan
George Harrison
Joe Jackson
Elton John
Billy Joel
Kinks
Tom Lehrer
Chad Mitchell Trio
Randy Newman
Oasis
Old 97's
Tom Paxton
Simon & Garfunkel
Bruce Springsteen
Strawbs
Pete Townshend
Who
Yo La Tengo

It's shorter than I expected. I did it mostly from memory, but there doesn't seem to be anyone missing. Downloadable music changes things quite a bit going forward. I'm sure I have downloaded individual songs from more than five Stones albums, for example, but I only own two complete albums (one a greatest hits collection). Oh, and Jamming with Edward.
dxmachina: (Music)
Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] debg.

Part the first: List 10 musical artists you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below).

1.Barenaked Ladies
2.The Who
3.Dire Straits
4.Strawbs
5.Belle and Sebastian
6.Old 97's
7.Tom Paxton
8.Beatles
9.Beach Boys
10.Kinks

Part the second: the questions.Nothing like a good music meme... )
dxmachina: (Default)
List 10 songs that begin with the letter given to you and explain why you picked them.
Comment and I shall give you a letter.


[livejournal.com profile] debg gave me "R."

"Rock & Roll Music" -- Chuck Berry
Any old way you choose it, if you want to dance with me...
(Just edging out "Roll Over Beethoven.")

"Rubber Bullets" -- 10cc
The catchiest song about a prison riot ever.

"Revolution" -- the Beatles
Still one of my favorites. One of the songs to throw on the player when someone sniffs that the fab four were just a pop band.

"Romeo and Juliet" -- Dire Straits
b/w
"River" -- Robert Downey, Jr.
Two takes on lost love, one bitter, one sad, which pretty much captures the experience. Knopfler's guitar work in "Romeo" is wonderful. I like Downey's cover of "River" quite a bit. Who knew he could sing? (And Joni's original is aces.)

"Razor Dance" -- Richard Thompson
Speaking of bitter. "What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?"

"Roam" -- B-52's
Great dance tune.

"Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35" -- Bob Dylan
Whimsical Dylan. Back in the day, I had such a hard time finding a copy of this song, mostly because I thought the title was "Everybody Must Get Stoned."

"Runnin' Down a Dream" -- Tom Petty
A great air guitar song.

"Radio Free Europe" -- REM
It seemed like this was always playing on the radio in my lab in grad school. I have no idea what they're talking about, and that probably makes it better. I wonder how many people remember the actual Radio Free Europe?
dxmachina: (Calvin)
Posted by Jon B. over at b.org:

Celine does AC/DC...

The air guitar makes it perfect.

Still better than the State of the Union speech.

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