The Galaxy – Remembering Dave Brubeck

 

Title: Portrait of Dave Brubeck, with sheet mu...

Portrait of Dave Brubeck, with sheet music as backdrop Photographer: Van Vechten, Carl Date: October 8, 1954 Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, LC-USZ62-103725. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We began tonight’s show with a bit of Dave Brubeck.  Dave passed away this past week at the age of 91, a day before his 92nd birthday.  Brubeck made no concessions to age, and performed as recently as Father’s Day, 2011.  His achievements are numerous.  His rhythmic complexity was groundbreaking, as was his use of unusual time signatures and arrangements, but this should be no surprise when one considers that he studied with the great composer (and subject of a fair amount of this show’s broadcasts) Darius Milhaud.  We could talk about his achievements all night, but I figure it is better to celebrate him through his music.  So we heard a portion of his classic Time Out album (it was intended to play the entire album, but some album skips prevented that): Blue Rondo A La Turk, Strange Meadow Lark, and Take Five.  (We also heard portions of Three to Get Ready and Kathy’s Waltz.)

 

Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin.

Portrait of Fryderyk Chopin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frederic Chopin wrote the third movement (known popularly as the “Marche funèbre” “Funeral March”) of his Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 in 1837.  He had nothing else to go with it, but in the following two years he felt so haunted by the elegiac music that he had written that he ended up writing material to add to it.  The resulting grouping of movement was thought by many critics of the day to be somewhat disjointed (noted critic and composer Robert Schumann famously suggested that Chopin “simply bound together four of his most unruly children”), but the great music has withstood the test of time.  The aforementioned Third movement has found its way into popular culture, having been played at a number of state funerals, including John F. Kennedy’s and Leonid Brezhnev.  Tonight’s recording is a 2005 set by Nelson Freire.

 

English: Johnny Cash promotional picture for S...

Johnny Cash promotional picture for Sun Records, 1955. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The contrasts between Dave Brubeck, Frederic Chopin and Johnny Cash are pretty significant, both in terms of style and technique.  But there is a great beauty in Cash’s music, starting with that beautiful bass-baritone voice.  His music was so intensely focused, a feeling that was intensified by the arrangements performed by the Tennessee Two (at times during his early days, I’ve felt that his intensity bore a striking similarity to that of punk rock).  He defied the limits of genre, yet he helped make rock and roll what it eventually came to be.  So since it has been a while since I’ve done a good Johnny Cash set, it is about time I did one, focusing primarily on his Sun Records output.  We heard Hey Porter, Cry Cry Cry, I Walk The Line, Get Rhythm, Big River, Guess Things Happen That Way, Five Feet High and Rising, I Still Miss Someone, and Ring of Fire.

 

English: Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert at...

Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert at Ravinia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul Simon’s 1986 Graceland album stirred some controversy in its day, given that he went to South Africa to record with South African musicians, breaking a cultural boycott then in place to protest apartheid.  Of course, the reality is that the album did quite a bit to bring worldwide awareness to the quality of South African music, with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in particular making quite a splash in the United States (including a rather striking performance here in Carbondale).  So it is nice to hear a few of these great songs: I Know What I Know (a song written primarily by, and featuring, General M.D. Shirinda and the Gaza Sisters), Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (a collaboration between Simon and Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo), and You Can Call Me Al (which, contrary to the video, does not involve Chevy Chase at all).

 

We closed out tonight’s set with some music from Underoath that I’ve been trying to program into the show for a few weeks now: My Deteriorating Incline and In Completion (both from 2010’s Disambiguation), Emergency Broadcast: The End is Near (from 2008’s Lost in the Sound of Separation), and finishing the show with Illuminator, also from Disambiguation.

 

 

 

The Galaxy – All the music you can Handel, and more!

Portrait of George Frideric Handel from the Ro...

Georg Frideric Handel, from The Royal Collection (Image via Wikipedia)

When understanding the depth of the works of Georg Frideric Handel, I think it is good to start with some of his keyboard works.  Handel had written most, if not all, of his material for keyboard prior to 1717, but did not publish his first volume of keyboard compositions until 1720.  This was prompted in part because, as he put it in the preface to the volume, “Surrepticious (sp) and incorrect copies of them had got abroad.”  Eventually, he would publish and republish a number of harpsichord works, both as individual pieces and as larger suites.  Tonight we heard first an individual piece, the Passacaile in G minor, HWV 432, then we heard the Suite in F minor, HWV 433, both performed by harpsichordist Bob van Asperen.

Mastodon.

A band named after an animal this big should be heavy, right? (Image via Wikipedia)

For several weeks now, I’ve been trying to insert some Mastodon into the playlist, primarily material from their most recent album, The Hunter.  I finally managed to do so tonight, mixing a few new tracks in with some material from older albums Blood Mountain and Leviathan.  We heard Black Tongue (from The Hunter), Hand of Stone (Blood Mountain), Blood and Thunder (Leviathan), Dry Bone Valley (The Hunter), Capillarian Crest (Blood Mountain), and ended the set with Hearts Alive, from Leviathan.

I love it when I have the opportunity to premiere new material, and I have the opportunity tonight to play material that is both old and new at the same time.  Allesandro Striggio (b. 1536/37, d. 1592) was a member of the court of Duke Cosimo I di Medici, and was a friend of Vincenzo Galilei, the father of the infamous Galileo Galilei.  Striggio’s son, of the same name, would eventually write the libretto for Monteverdi’s Orfeo.  He wrote both madrigals and dramatic music, and by combining the two is credited with creating the musical form known as madrigal comedy, an important precursor to opera.  The first mention of tonight’s work, the Missa Ecco si beato giorno, comes in early 1567, when Striggio made a rather difficult journey from Florence to visit Vienna, Munich, and Paris as part of a diplomatic mission for Cosimo I de’ Medici, impressing those in attendance (including the great composer Orlando di Lassus, who was at this time working in Munich).  He eventually made his way to London, where the mass is believed to be one of several works performed.  Enough of an impression was made that noted English composer Thomas Tallis composed his own 40 voice masterwork Spem in Alium in response.  Striggio’s mass was believed lost until musicologist Davitt Moroney unearthed it in Paris in 2005.

For further reading:

At San Quentin

Johnny Cash at San Quentin album cover (Image via Wikipedia)

We finished the show with a Johnny Cash set, taken from his Live at San Quentin album.  The San Quentin album was one of his first recordings without his longtime guitarist Luther Perkins, who had passed away 7 months earlier.  The differences between the San Quentin album and the previous Folsom Prison album are striking, as Cash replaced Perkins with not one but two guitarists (including Carl Perkins), and also added a drummer.  We heard Big River, I Still Miss Someone, Wreck of the Old 97, I Walk The Line, Darlin’ Companion (with June Carter Cash), I Don’t Know Where I’m Bound, Starkville City Jail, and San Quentin.

The Galaxy – As our massive roar fills the crumbling sky…

At Folsom Prison

Image via Wikipedia

Here on the Galaxy, we celebrate the beauty of music in its many guises.  I personally find music to be at times representative of life – just as with life, sometimes it is gentle and sonorous, sometimes it is hard and strident.  Sometimes it is laid back and luscious, while other times it is aggressive and demanding.  Tonight we have some musical samplings which fit each of those descriptions, which leaves us with a gloriously varied show for tonight.  Just the way that I like it.

We begin the evening with some Metallica, material that I haven’t been able to play in a while.  Starting off with the classic For Whom the Bell Tolls (with that killer Cliff Burton bass riff that leads off the song), we then led to the title track from …And Justice for All.  We also heard two from Master of Puppets (Battery, and the title track), before closing with a fine track from their most recent album, Broken Beat & Scarred.  I will admit that I don’t play much material from Death Magnetic, owing to the now legendary sound production that really is quite audible when I play the material on the show (it does come across better in certain circumstances, such as a good stereo system or an iPod).  But I really think that I shouldn’t allow my complaints about the album’s sound production to detract from my opinion about the music, which really is quite good.

We then heard a nice set from the Johnny Cash’s great Live at Folsom Prison album.  This was something that I had thought to do last week, as a tribute to the recent passing of longtime Tennessee Two bassist Marshall Grant. It was a lovely set, too, with the recording of Folsom Prison Blues that was released as a single, Busted, the Merle Travis composition Dark as a Dungeon, and finishing off with Cash’s own I Still Miss Someone.

We then proceeded to a gorgeous piece by Robert Schumann, his Trio in A Minor (“Fantasiestucke”), Op. 88.  This was written during 1842, a year which saw the composer write 3 string quartets, a piano quintet and a piano quartet – a great deal of output, which some historians credit as having a negative impact on his mental health.  The piece is actually a compilation of smaller pieces that Schumann wrote that year, and demonstrates his willingness to depart from traditional compositional forms (i.e. the sonata format).

We followed that with another gentleman who not only demonstrated a willingness to depart from traditional compositional forms, but he aimed a shotgun at them and blew them to pieces.  Ornette Coleman‘s Free Jazz was really the end result of the work of such greats as Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy (whom is featured on the recording), Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and others (I would add classical composers such as Stravinski, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern to that list), yet Coleman took the notion of “free jazz” to new heights.  Of course, in order to make the “free jazz” concept work, he had to enlist some excellent players to help.  This he did, with a killer lineup that features Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry, Scott La Faro, Charlie Haden, Billy Higgins and Ed Blackwell.  Top notch players playing top notch music in the most daring manner possible.

We then took a venture into some truly classic country.  A couple classic tunes from Webb Pierce (I’m Walking The Dog and his excellent rendition of Jimmie Rodgers’ In The Jailhouse Now, and a couple more classic tunes from Loretta Lynn (Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind), and You’ve Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out On Me).

We ended the show with a return to the metallic form.  First, two songs from a fine band out of Toronto, Canada, Cancer Bats (Scared to Death and Sleep This Away), and finally a song from Lamb of God’s 2006 album Sacrament, Blacken the Cursed Sun.

Potluck Special {Whirled Peas Café Radio}

Mondays 7a-9a

WPC Radio: Musical Comfort Food with a World of Spice

The Sunday evening before this show we held our 1st Annual DJ/Volunteer Post-Ball Potluck. With over 60 DJs, volunteers, and family members in attendance, the church dining room was full of intense and delightful conversation. I don’t know which was harder for me, choosing what to put on my plate or which table of DJs to join. The buffet tables had everything from venison to vegan dishes, apples to oranges, organic kale salad to specialty chips, curried corn chowder to traditional chicken and dumplings. The dessert table was well represented. We know what is really important! Thanks to Chuck from Chuck’s Place, one of our newest and most thoughtful DJs, for getting us not one but two occasion cakes. My solution: Put a little bit at a time on my plate to give me an excuse to ogle at everything all over again as well as an excuse to change seats to get a taste of another conversation. I knew I was not alone in my excitement and wonder when I realized that no one was manning the sound system. A room full of DJs, no music, and no one noticing. Now that is some serious eating and conversation!

If I’m making you jealous, I am sorry. But if you missed it, you can still get a taste of it (just not any of Chuck’s cake) if you are a member. Momma C of Kids’ Camp fame and Melia of Mixed Plate are two of the team of “newsies” cooking up a periodical which is slated to come to an email inbox or a snail mail box near you. If you can’t wait that long to get in on the action, come out to 10 Pin Alley in DuQuoin to cheer along the WDBX Dudes as they Bowl 4 Kids’ Sake Saturday, March 12th. The Dudes abide!

Roll On and Peas Out! ~Lori

Special Guests for Monday, March 7th: Southern Illinois ToastMasters International will join me for two hours of information, stories and tunes. Approximately 8 members of our local chapter will tell how ToastMasters impacts their lives and encourage you all to come see what all the fuss is about.

{WPC Playlist: February 28th, 2010}

Luz De Luna Vientos Del Pueblo
Gypsy Suzanne Vega
Geza’s Wailing Ways John Gorka
Sigh No More Mumford & Sons
That Bangle Girl Robbie Fulks
Walk Like an Egyptian The Bangles

When Doves Cry Patti Smith
I Don’t Know Why Shaun Colvin
In Spite of Ourselves John Prine & Iris DeMent

Our Town Iris DeMent with Emmylou Harris
The Bridesmaid Dress Song Deirdre Flint
I’m Ready Tracy Chapman
In the Nick of Time Joshua Bell & Edgar Meyer
While My Guitar Gently Weeps Jake Shimaburuko
Ho’ichi Ozzie Kotana
Unconditional Kirk Whalum
Let The Good Times Roll Ray Charles
To Higher Ground Winton Marsalis
16 Tons Johnny Cash

So Long Chris Smither
Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’ Mayer Hawthorne
She Was a Vision Active Child

Special Bonus Track:

Cigarette State Robbie Fulks

Too bad Jethro Tull never did train songs

Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff (Image via Wikipedia)

There is a long history of songs that memorialize our uniquely American fixation with trains.  Of course, there are many that date back to before the development of sound recording, but some of our greatest musical bards recorded songs about trains and the unique experiences that come with traveling the rails.  Now, a buddy of mine from my hometown of Cairo who works on freight trains passed through Carbondale just prior to the start of the show, and that inspired me to plug in some music that fits into a train theme to start the show.

So we started with two separate recordings by John and June Carter Cash.  We heard Johnny Cash doing his concert favorite Orange Blossom Special, from 1964, and then we heard June Carter Cash’s solo recording of The L&M Don’t Stop Here Anymore, also from 1964.  We then heard three songs from Roy Acuff, including a concert favorite of his, Wabash Cannonball (a traditional song which is often mistakenly credited to A.P. Carter, who may have added new lyrics).  We also heard from Hank Snow, before ending the set with an early Sons of the Pioneers classic, Way Out There.

I do enjoy playing live recordings, and when I do so I like to play the songs as they would have been heard, that is, to play a good, 4-5 song set from that show.  My feeling is that this gives us the opportunity to get a better grasp on the performer’s style and manner of presentation.  Tonight we heard a lovely 5 song set from Jethro Tull‘s Isle of Wight Festival appearance in 1970, which included My God, which had just been finished and was yet unreleased (it came out the next year on the Aqualung album).  The recording that we hear here was only released in 2004 as a separately released companion cd to a video dvd of the same performance, with a few songs available on the audio cd that are not found in the dvd (you will notice the listed recording label on the recording – it is the same distributor that distributed the dvd).  What we are left with is an excellent performance at a historically important event, definitely worthy of a detailed listen.  Check out the clip of that night’s performance of My God below, and take note of the surprise melodies that he quotes within his flute solo.

While we were listening to the Jethro Tull set, I received a call from a listener who wanted to hear some more Sons of the Pioneers.  While I do not have the specific song that he requested (I believe it was “Cigareetes, Whusky, and Wild, Wild Women”), I was able to oblige him with a nice set with some excellent samplings from their pre-1945 catalog.  I get so much pleasure from listening to the close harmony that you get in some of these songs, but one may also notice the excellent instrumental arrangements on these songs, especially from the two 1940s recordings.

In the early days of “The Galaxy”, I used the opening section of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra as a sort of “theme song” for the show.  Of course, the piece goes beyond the dramatic opening (which was also used for the opening sequence of the Stanley Kubrick classic 2012: A Space Odyssey), and in fact is quite a gorgeous piece of music that I like to play from time to time.

We closed out the show with a couple classics from Electric Light orchestra.  As it turns out, both of my selections were from the 1977 double album Out Of The Blue, although that wasn’t intended.

Below is the full playlist.  The original playlist can be found at my website.

Composer Performer Title Genre Label
Johnny Cash
Orange Blossom Special
Country, Classic
Columbia, 1964
June Carter Cash
The L&M Don’t Stop Here Anymore
Columbia, 1964
Beasley Smith/Marvin Hughs
Roy Acuff
Night Train to Memphis
Columbia, 1942
Traditional
Freight Train Blues
Columbia, 1947
A.P. Carter
Wabash Cannonball
Columbia, 1947
Geoff Mack
Hank Snow
I’ve Been Everywhere
RCA, 1962
Bob Nolan
The Sons of the Pioneers
Way Out There
MCA, 1934
Jethro Tull
My Sunday Feeling
Rock, Classic, Blues-rock, Progressive
Eagle, 2004
My God
With You There to Help Me
To Cry You A Song
Bouree
Maury Spence
Sons of the Pioneers
When Our Old Age Pension Check Comes To Our Door
Country, Classic, Country-Western
MCA, 1935
Tim Spencer
When The Moon Comes Over Sun Valley
MCA, 1941
Gene Autry, Fred Rose, Ray Whitley
I Hang My Head and Cry
MCA, 1943
Richard Strauss
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartmut Haenchen, cond.
Also Sprach Zarathustra
Classical, post-Romantic era, tone poem, music for symphonic orchestra
LaserLight, 1995
Electric Light Orchestra
Mr. Blue Sky
Rock, Classic, Progressive
Jet, 1977
Turn To Stone

Jessica’s Jukebox – 12/21/10

This will be the last Jessica’s Jukebox for a while. Thank you all for tuning in to my show! I hope to return at some point – so stay tuned to WDBX!

Rock N Roll Music – Chuck Berry
Rose-Colored Times – Lisa Loeb
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – The Beatles
Around the World – Daft Punk
I Love to Boogie – T. Rex
Hold Your Head Up – Argent
Destroyer – The Kinks
Hotel Yorba – The White Stripes
A Long December – Counting Crows
The Christians and the Pagans – Dar Williams
Jump – Kris Kross
Celebration – Kool & the Gang
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips
Merry Christmas… If That’s Ok – MST3K
A Patrick Swayze Christmas – MST3K
David Bowie/Bing Crosby Christmas Special:
Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan:
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes:
Bowie – from “Flight of the Conchords”
Proud Mary – Ike & Tina Turner
Jenny – from “Flight of the Conchords”
Fidelity – Regina Spektor:
Don’t Treat Your Man Like A Dog – Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women
(Nothing But) Flowers – Talking Heads
Never Kissed a Girl – Woodbox Gang
Family Night – Woodbox Gang

Thanks, y’all! Peace, love, and happiness! 🙂

Whirled Peas Café Radio Playlist: October 21st, 2010

 

Musical Comfort Food with a World of Spice

 

Whirled Peas Café Radio Special Show.  An emergency on Tessy’s part created an opportunity for me. With little prep time for a show, I ran down to fill in….and justified an indulgence, by spotlighting The Blogapus for two full hours. I won’t repost the videos played as they are all pulled off of the blog posts already for your perusal. I will put a teaser at the end…something to look forward to on Monday morning’s show. As promised on air, I will reference other DJs who posted the videos first. Otherwise, I would be the presumed guilty party.

Anything You Want (Not That)/ Belleruche

Breakthru/ Queen (from Jessica’s JukeBox)

My Funny Valentine/ Whirimako Black

Grace Days/ I Am Robot & Proud (from DJ Mo’s Random Show)

C’est Si Bon/ Eartha Kitt

Put Your Hands On Me/ Joss Stone

Sobrevive/ Ivonne Dippmann & Santiago Latorre (from ITDE with DaveX)

Temptation/ Diana Krall

Go Spastic/ SquarePusher (from DJ Mo’s Random Show)

Bohemian Rhapsody/ Cast of Glee (Jessica’s JukeBox)

Bohemian Rhapsody/ Jake Shimabukuro

Church/ Lyle Lovett

White Winter Hymnal/ Fleet Foxes (Jessica’s JukeBox)

Call It Off/ Tegan & Sara (Jessica’s JukeBox)

What’s A Girl To Do?/ Bat For Lashes (DJ Melia on Whirled Peas)

Sophisticated Side Ponytail/ Brite Futures (DJ Mo on She Said/He Said)

No Corras Tanto/ El Combolinga

Rusty Cage/ Johnny Cash (Jessica’s JukeBox)

The First Cut Is The Deepest/ Cat Stevens (Vote in the Poll!)

Broke My Baby’s Heart/ Hazmat Modine

I’d Like/ FreshlyGround

Pot Belly/ FreshlyGround

What I’m listening to this week? As always, an eclectic mix of sounds from all parts. What they have in common is a grounding in local traditions with a fresh interpretation. I like the authenticity that artists have when they acknowledge their surroundings, reach for the stars, and make it all their own.

 

See you bright and early Monday morning.