From Music Vault: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles [circa 1971]

This week I found out that Music Vault has uploaded to YouTube what it describes as “the greatest selection of exclusive live performances from legendary artists and your new favorite bands. Our new videos and playlists are hand-curated and added daily from the largest live music collection in the world.”

Over the next few days and weeks I will start sharing some of my favorite finds at the blog.

First up? Aretha Franklin feat. Ray Charles – Spirit In The Dark
Recorded Live: 3/7/1971 – Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA)

This video is an education for someone like me–who has never seen her perform live. I never realize that Franklin did any kind of dancing. It is a delight to see that aspect.

Then around the 6:30 mark the crowd goes crazy, as Franklin is joined onstage by Charles.

Watch and enjoy.

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Playing House: I Love When Shows Post Bloopers

If you have not checked out the new USA Network comedy, Playing House, you are missing out. Here’s a snippet from the series’ official bio page: “Childhood best friends Maggie Caruso (Lennon Parham, Best Friends Forever) and Emma Crawford (Jessica St. Clair, Best Friends Forever) have shared countless adventures growing up together in the charming town of Pinebrook, CT. Now, Maggie and Emma are in store for one of their biggest adventures—raising a baby.”

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Quotes You Have To Love: Mistook Fire for A Fog Machine

From a Yahoo story about a fire at a wedding, I love this justice of the peace quote:

I just finished pronouncing the young couple husband and wife when we started the recessional, walked out followed by the groom’s people and bridesmaids, then we looked up, and I thought it was fog from a fog machine. It was kind of nice and then I took a closer look and there was a smell to it that didn’t smell like a fog machine.

Because everyone uses a fog machine at a wedding, of course.

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Captured Sound: Processional Hymn on Uilleann Pipes

I rarely do things like this. But I attended a funeral/celebration of life today–and I noticed there were going to be bagpipes played for the processional hymn.

I contacted a friend who was not there (before the service began) and offered to tape it for him. Here it is. Out of respect for the family, I am opting not to identify them on the blog. My friend noted when he listened to my recording that the bagpipes were uilleann pipes (the national bagpipe of Ireland, apparently). Apt for two days before St. Patrick’s Day.

I must emphasize it is an amateur recording effort on my part. Enjoy.

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New Johnny Carson-Related Podcast Well Worth Your Time

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As a late night talk show junkie it was a delight to find out from Pop Candy that podcaster Mark Malkoff is tracking down contemporaries of Johnny Carson for a new show called The Carson Podcast.

In addition to sharing their memories of Carson, the subjects often (and understandably) delve into their own careers, which makes for a whole even more enjoyable layer of entertainment than I ever expected.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kudos to Amtrak for Supporting the Arts

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I am sure some folks will be annoyed that a struggling government enterprise  like Amtrak has announced its plans to host an expanded #AmtrakResidency for writers. (Thanks to Tom Feister for making me aware of this.) For my taxpayer money, I love to see it used in this nontraditional manner.

To quote Amtrak:

#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015.  A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.”

Here’s hoping it is so successful that, as my pal Feister has suggested, they offer a similar program for artists.

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I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down: Different Versions

When I was a kid in the 1980s, I was introduced to I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down through Paul Young’s cover of it. Back then I had no idea it was originally performed by Ann Peebles.

So for your consideration, here is the original (well a 1989 performance by Peebles of her 1970s song); a cover by Graham Parker and the Rumour; and finally Paul Young’s version (a horrible Top of the Pops lip synch performance).

As she co-wrote it, I think Peebles is the default winner–but I have always been partial to Young’s version. As I get older, my appreciation of Graham Parker’s version increases however; particularly as the 1980s Young version becomes increasingly dated with every passing year.

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How Did I Miss This? Fallon’s Last 12:30 Show Featured Muppets

The description says it all: “Jimmy & the Muppets perform The Weight by the Band for the last waltz of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Animal as Levon Helm makes perfect sense, honestly.

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Recovering from Cayamo 2014: Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

When I can make it, once a year I try to make the Sixthman Cayamo cruise. This year it was a seven-day musical cruise with a lineup that cannot be easily summarized (but can be found here). It just wrapped yesterday–and in the next couple of days I hope to post videos of past performances from some of the talent that caught my attention this year.

First up is Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams–and a video from Cayamo 2013. Judging by this video, I am supremely bummed that I missed last year. Glad I caught it this year. Williams’ voice is a powerhouse that could fuel the cruise ship all by herself.

Enjoy.

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RIP Peter O’Toole

Over at my Tumblr page (see the stream on the side) I am posting photos of Peter O’Toole, who left this earth after a long illness. His death feels like the loss of a beloved family member I never got to meet.

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