Thursday, April 24, 2008

I've been playing with Twitter of late (you can find me there at FredatDreamtime if you're interested) and have been going up the "what is this good for except as a major productivity buster?" to the slow dawning of awareness scale that apparently all Twitter users go through.

Is Twitter useful for someone like me remains to be seen, but in some cases and for some people it is useful to create dialogs with your audience. Here's an example - Roger McGuinn, yes that Roger McGuinn, twitters. And if you had been following him last night you would have found that Bruce Springsteen invited him backstage at his concert last night, and the two ended up on-stage doing Turn, Turn, Turn.

And yes, the video is exceptionally wretched. But think a second. Here I am sitting in New Hampshire, reading notes from a rock star in almost real time, and then watching a video of what he's talking about a few hours later.

In some ways we really are living in the future.

Cher & Tina Turner & Kate Smith - Beatles Medley

It kind of leaves you speechless. If you can make it all the way through the clip, you'll also see Ike Turner and the full Ike and Tina Revue with Tim Conway as a surrealistic Sgt Pepper's Band.

For some reason this clip always seems to surface around late April, possibly because it was first aired on the Cher variety show on April 27, 1975, making it almost exactly 33 years old.

Kate Smith who, to put it charitably, was already in the winter of her career by the late `60s, was a staple on television of the era, gamely putting in appearances on nearly every variety show in existence over the next decade, including but not limited to: Tony Orlando and Dawn; The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour; The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour; The Dean Martin Show; Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In; The Andy Williams Show and The Jackie Gleason Show. It was a happy show when Smith did not sing God Bless America, which producers tended to trot out to show how they were both hip and pro-American.

Thanks to Mark Evanier for the link.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Unusual Suspects

You’ve heard of big bands, you’ve heard of Celtic music -- but combining the concepts? That’s just what Corrina Hewat and David Milligan have done, with a changing cast of some of really talented Scottish players on fiddle, drums, pipes, whistles, flute...The band is known as The Unusual Suspects. Their first gig, at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in 2003, has been named one of the best gigs of all time by The Scotsman newspaper, and those who saw their gig this winter in Glasgow named it as possibly the best show of this year's edition of that internationally acclaimed gathering.

Hewat and Milligan compose for this ensemble too, and there’s a bit of their work in both clips here. That’s Hewat playing the harp in these clips, and Milligan on piano.

It’s a major undertaking, getting this many musicians together, making them all sound good, and financing tours and recordings. More about how and why they do all that at the band’s web site.

promo clip with loads of fiddles

from the YouTube notes on the second clip: The Unusual Suspects' "Lorient Suite" composed by Corrina Hewat & David Milligan for the 2007 Lorient Interceltique Festival. This part of the concert featured seven pipers - Calum McCrimmon, Donal Brown, Fraser Shaw and Mairearad Green along with Stuart Cassells, Willie Armstrong & Kevin Macdonald of the Red Hot Chili Pipers.

The rest of the band:
(L-R)Catriona Macdonald, Anna Massie, Eilidh Shaw, Alistair White, Jonny Hardie & Gavin Marwick (FIDDLES)
Brian McAlpine (ACCORDION)
Rick Taylor (TROMBONE)
Nigel Hitchcock (SAXOPHONE)
Ryan Quigley (TRUMPET)
Colin Steele (TRUMPET)
Conrad Ivitsky (BASS)
Alyn Cosker (DRUMS)
Ross Martin (GUITAR)
John Morran (BOUZOUKI)
Corrina Hewat (HARP)
David Milligan (PIANO)