Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm not just making them jiggle around

And indeed he is not. Alternately fascinating, funny, and creepy, "christhrash's" hobby is reprogramming audioanimatronic robots - which originally were used as entertainment in pizza parlor venues - to do rap performances. The level of work he's put in to get the robot's movements coordinated to the music is amazing. You can find several more of christhrash's videos at his YouTube Space.

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash - One Too Many Mornings

From the Nashville Skyline recording sessions, February 17, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee. The video is probably from either the documentary Johnny Cash: The Man And His Music, released in 1979 or The Other Side Of Nashville, released in July 1984.

The Cash/Dylan sessions over February 17-18 generated only one commercial release on Nashville Skyline, a duet of Dylan's Girl From The North Country, which had originally appeared on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, but most - if not all - the material from the sessions have appeared on various bootlegs over the years. This excerpt from a comment on the Between Thought and Expression blog details an interesting history of the origin of the bootleg material:

"... A little history about the source: These were bootlegged in the late 70s or early 80s in poor quality. In 1985 or 86, my friend, Chris D., worked in a video store in Nashville (I lived near there). I had helped him get some space shot videos from NBC, so to return the favor, he called one day and asked if I wanted a cassette of the Cash session. He got it from a guy who found it in his attic, in a box marked "BDJC". That guy's father worked for CBS Nashville in 1969 and made a 1 inch mono reel-to-reel copy of the original session tape. He made Chris a cassette from the 1 inch tape. Chris copied the cassette, and gave me the original. In the fall of 1986, I went to a Dylan collectors meet in Chicago, and we daisy-chained 15 cassette decks together. I was second in the chain, and everyone past me copied my tape. By then, I had added the second "One Too Many Mornings" and the three songs from a betamax tape of the JC TV show, so this CD is one generation down from my original cassette. The original bootleg CD came out about two months later. "Mornings" has a tone shift in the middle, from the video when they change from the studio footage to the control room footage..."

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Sins Play the Church

The all star, all female group of Boston musicians known as the Deadly Sins get together for a lively instrumental during the Boston Celtic Music festival in January, 2007. The concert was held at First Church on Harvard Square. About the name? At first there were seven, but the group grew...

The Deadly Sins are: Shannon Heaton (flute, vocals), Laura Cortese (upright bass, fiddle, vocals), Hanneke Cassel (fiddle, piano), Lissa Schneckenburger (fiddle, vocals), Tina Lech (fiddle), Kieran Jordan (dance, percussion), Natalie Haas (cello), and Emma Beaton (cello).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Freight Train - Elizabeth Cotten

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten, a self-taught blues and folk guitarist. As a child, she played the guitar upside down, since she was left-handed, requiring her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. By her early teens she was writing her own songs, including what would become her signature song, Freight Train.

As he mentions during her interview with Pete Seeger in another YouTube video from the same 1965 Rainbow Quest show, Cotten had stop playing her "ragtime" music due to her church's influence, and limited herself to the occasional church performance. However, she began public performances again after being "discovered" by the Seeger family while working for them as a housekeeper. As she notes in the interview, Cotten found the lost Peggy Seeger wandering through the aisles of a department store and crying for her mother. It was an opportune encounter. Cotten would eventually go to work for the Seegers, and picked up her guitar again.

Cotten's songs have been covered by the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, and Bob Dylan among others. Cotten was declared a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984, and was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution as a "living treasure." She received a Grammy Award in 1985 when she was 90. Cotten passed away at age 92 in 1987.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard

As a commenter notes on YouTube, "Before Green Day, before Casualties, before Black Flag, before The Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones. Before even the New York Dolls and the Stooges, there was the Seeds."

Muddy Waters once called them "America's own Rolling Stones." The Seeds were lead singer and bass guitarist Sky Saxon, keyboardist Daryl Hooper, guitarist Jan Savage and drummer Rick Andridge. Pushin' Too Hard was The Seeds only national Top 40 hit, charting in 1966.

Sky Saxon later joined the Yahowha religious sect, and released several albums as Yahowha 13 in the mid 1970s. Leader of the sect, Father Yod, later known as Ya Ho Wha, died in a hang gliding accident in 1974. Saxon continues to collaborate with various members of the Yahowa to this day. He may have one of the most minimalist sites on the web. Here's a link to Sky Saxon's site.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream

written by the husband and wife songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who were something of a songwriting machine for the Everly Brothers, writing Wake Up Little Susie and Bye Bye, Love as well as All I Have to Do is Dream. Both Bye Bye, Love and All I Have to Do is Dream would chart at #1 on Billboard's Pop, R&B and Country Western charts in 19 and 57.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

the foggy dew

The Foggy Dew is a classic sing around the campfire folk song, variously seen as lover’s lament or the tale of a rake, traveling from England and Ireland to America as the tale of a weaver who does nothing wrong but keep a maid from the foggy dew, and gets a son in the bargain. Tim O’Brien has even made it into a bit of a swing tune when he performs it.

There’s another side to the story though. There’s some argument as to who exactly wrote the words, but a song about the Easter Rising in 1916 in Ireland was set to the familiar folk tune. That’s the one Frances Black has included on her latest release. This Love Will Carry. Black says, by the way, that this is one of her husband's very favorite songs that she does, and when they travel on long car trips together it's always one he asks her to sing. It is one of three new songs on This Love Will Carry, which is otherwise a two disc retrospective collection.

video of Frances Black’s version of The Foggy Dew

"Thriller" as performed by inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center

The title says it all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed by Madness"

View Trailer Note: Requires that you have QuickTime installed.

via allenginsbergmovie.com

The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg documentary now on DVD. A 2-DVD set with interviews of Joan Baez, Beck, Bono, Stan Brakhage, William Burroughs, Johnny Depp, Philip Glass, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Johnson, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Paul McCartney, Jonas Mekas, Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono, Lee Ranaldo, Ed Sanders, Patti Smith, Hunter S.Thompson, Andy Warhol, and others. And includes:

- The Making of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg
- Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac's Grave (notes: this would be the first "official" footage from Renaldo and Clara since Dylan withdrew the film
- William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University
- Ginsberg reading selected poems
- Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg at City Lights Bookstore

The set can be purchased from the site above or from the usual venues.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nina Simone at The Bitter End - 1968

As I prepare the next Dreamtime podcast on The House of the Rising Sun, here's a clip of one of my favorite covers of the song, Nina Simone performing at the Bitter End, in 1968. The text roll at the beginning made me smile and feel old simultaneously... "`60s-style Black power at its most lashing." Simone also performs Go to Hell, which may better fit the "Black power" tag

Bob Dylan - 1st TV Appearance - Blowin' in the Wind

It's not really Dylan's "first" television performance; that would be the lost "Madhouse on Castle Street," broadcast in 1962, which also included the first broadcast of Blowin' in the Wind, but the above is Dylan's first U.S. television performance, on "Folk Songs And More Folk Songs," broadcast on WBC TV in May 1963.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hanneke Cassel: reels

Speaking of Hanneke Cassel (see Cathie Ryan post, below) she's a very fine fiddle player and composer, and the former US Scottish national fiddle champion -- and an amazing player to see live. This is from a gig at the historic Club Passim in Cambridge, Masschusetts, in May of 2006

For some reason the embed function doesn't seem to be working consistently.
here's the link, too

Joni Mitchell Before She Was Joni Mitchell

An amazing clip from 1965, Joni Mitchell née Anderson, performs the unreleased Born to Take the Highway on the Oscar Brandt hootenanny show. In `65, Mitchell's career - and life - were about to take off at lightspeed. An unwed mother, she gave birth to a girl in February 1965, and married Chuck Mitchell, who was not the father. Mitchell would give the baby up for adoption, which is another story. By 1966 she and Chuck Mitchell were divorced, and Joni, keeping his last name, was on the highway to becoming Joni Mitchell.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cathie Ryan: I'm Going Back

This is a test, really, of linking to a video which is not on YouTube. If you click on the highlighted link, it should take you to a quicktime video of a section of the song
I'm Going Back.
Cathie Ryan is the singer, and this is about 30 seconds worth of a very fine song she wrote which evokes the feelings of those who have ties to both Ireland and other countries. It is from a concert at the Averitt Center in Statesboro, Georgia in January of 2005. That's Greg Anderson on guitar and though you do not see her in this clip, you also hear Hanneke Cassel singing harmony.

Ian and Sylvia and Gord

Ian Tyson, Sylvia Fricker, and Gordon Lightfoot together on Gord's song Early Morning Rain which Ian and Sylvia made into a hit during the folk revival years. This is from a 1986 reunion concert aired on CBC.

"Keep a good head and always carry a lightbulb."

As more than one blogger has mentioned, it appears that Cate Blanchett studied Dylan's Don't Look Back persona in order to develop her interpretation for I'm Not There. This clip is from the infamous British press conference that Dylan held upon his arrival in England.

A "support your local blog" note: As you've certainly noticed, I'm experimenting with an advertising tool that overlays a static ad over the video. You click the "X" or the "Close Ad" text to make the ad go away. I get a small fee for displaying the ad to you; a larger one if you click on it; and many bags of gold if you actually buy something... well, not the last, but you get the idea.

I'm not wedded to the idea, it's just an experiment, and I expect to run it for a month or so. Like the Google Adsense block, I expect always carry some form of advertising on the site. If you have a strong opinion about the ad overlay on the video one way or the other, leave a comment, and I'll take that into consideration when I make the decision whether to continue. Thanks!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Many people were covering their ears, dogs were barking.

From the YouTube description

This is a solid-state Tesla coil. The primary runs at its resonant frequency in the 41 KHz range, and is modulated from the control unit in order to generate the tones you hear.

So just to explain a little further, yes, it is the actual high voltage sparks that are making the noise. Every cycle of the music is a burst of sparks at 41 KHz, triggered by digital circuitry at the end of a "long" piece of fiber optics.

What's not immediately obvious in this video is how loud this is. Many people were covering their ears, dogs were barking. In the sections where the crowd is cheering and the coils is starting and stopping, you can hear the the crowd is drowned out by the coil when it's firing.

This Tesla coil was built and is owned by Steve Ward. Steve is a EE student at U of I Urbana-Champaign. He and Jeff have been going to Teslathons, which is where they met.

It's been suggested that a good name for this coil would be the "Zeusaphone". "Thoremin" has also been mentioned, though personally I think we need Theramin type inputs for that.

To answer a few questions I've received, YES, someone did yell "Play Freebird!" after the first round of music.

Nobody knows where Slim Gaillard is

"... one night we suddenly went mad together again; we went to see Slim Gaillard in a little Frisco nightclub. Slim Gaillard is a tall, thin Negro with big sad eyes who's always saying 'Right-orooni' and 'How 'bout a little bourbon-arooni.' In Frisco great eager crowds of young semi-intellectuals sat at his feet and listened to him on the piano, guitar and bongo drums. When he gets warmed up he takes off his undershirt and really goes. He does and says anything that comes into his head. He'll sing 'Cement Mixer, Put-ti Put-ti' and suddenly slow down the beat and brood over his bongos with fingertips barely tapping the skin as everybody leans forward breathlessly to hear; you think he'll do this for a minute or so, but he goes right on, for as long as an hour, making an imperceptible little noise with the tips of his fingernails, smaller and smaller all the time till you can't hear it any more and sounds of traffic come in the open door. Then he slowly gets up and takes the mike and says, very slowly, 'Great-orooni ... fine-ovauti ... hello-orooni ... bourbon-orooni ... all-orooni ... how are the boys in the front row making out with their girls-orooni ... orooni ... vauti ... oroonirooni ..." He keeps this up for fifteen minutes, his voice getting softer and softer till you can't hear. His great sad eyes scan the audience.

Dean stands in the back, saying, 'God! Yes!' -- and clasping his hands in prayer and sweating. 'Sal, Slim knows time, he knows time.' Slim sits down at the piano and hits two notes, two C's, then two more, then one, then two, and suddenly the big burly bass-player wakes up from a reverie and realizes Slim is playing 'C-Jam Blues' and he slugs in his big forefinger on the string and the big booming beat begins and everybody starts rocking and Slim looks just as sad as ever, and they blow jazz for half an hour, and then Slim goes mad and grabs the bongos and plays tremendous rapid Cubana beats and yells crazy things in Spanish, in Arabic, in Peruvian dialect, in Egyptian, in every language he knows, and he knows innumerable languages. Finally the set is over; each set takes two hours. Slim Gaillard goes and stands against a post, looking sadly over everybody's head as people come to talk to him. A bourbon is slipped into his hand. 'Bourbon-orooni -- thank-you-ovauti ...' Nobody knows where Slim Gaillard is."

On the Road - Jack Kerouac

Carolyn Hester - Come Back Baby

From Carolyn Hester, with Bob Dylan accompanying on harmonica

"...I wanted to choose very carefully the musicians that I was going to use.... So I decided to have Bruce Langhorne, who had been playing a few gigs with me, on guitar, and Bill Lee -- who was Spike Lee's father -- on bass, who I'd heard on several Odetta recordings.

"My dad had played harmonica on my first recordings on Coral Records and so I decided to have a harmonica player too -- who would be Dylan. So we arranged a meeting..."

"Was this at Suze and Carla Rotolo's apartment?"

"Uh-huh. And it was there that he taught me Come Back Baby...."

"Did he suggest any other songs?"

I mainly just remember that one. But look at what I had him do on the record -- he did Swing and Turn Jubilee, a real hoe-down thing, and then I'll Fly Away, religious, and then a blues...."

Carolyn Hester interview by John Bauldie - The Telegraph, May 24, 1992

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"See You Later, Allen Ginsberg"

The first clip from I'm Not There, with Cate Blanchett doing a more than credible turn as the circa `66 Dylan. If you're a Dylan fan, this looks like it could be very, very good.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bob Dylan - Yesterday

Try to ignore the slideshow, which was apparently a boilerplate to evaluate software, and focus on this pretty rare - and pretty good - version of McCartney's classic Yesterday performed by Bob Dylan. The song can found on "Volume Two" of the three volume The Beatles Play (with) Bob or the Almost Went to See Elvis bootlegs.

The recording was apparently done in May 1970 during Dylan's New Morning sessions when George Harrison came by to visit and to jam on several songs. Six months later Dylan would return the visit during Harrison's All Things Must Pass sessions.