Lester Bangs lamented that The Electric Flag got buzz in the press when more deserving acts languished in obscurity (in spite of Bangs’ best efforts). There is just something disingenuous about The Electric Flag. Yeah, they have a jazzy soul thing going, melded with slightly psychedelic blues rock. But it seems too crass, just an assemblage of whatever seemed “hip” at the time. It’s contrived. These guys would have made a great studio band for somebody else, but on their own they just don’t have any good ideas of their own, just the ability to loosely amalgamate popular styles of the day. It’s the kind of music they seemed obligated to make, not music that came from any kind of genuine passion or drive outside of rock careerism. This just clings to forms that already had matured in the hands of others. But, for what it’s worth, this album beats the seemingly better-known A Long Time Comin’. Reference The Rascals too.
My selections for a “virtual” compilation of music by Johnny Cash, in the spirit of Bob Dylan‘s Biograph. In other words, this steps out from the usual canon of accepted Cash classics and presents some of the hits together with non-single deep album tracks, live recordings, B-sides, demos, and other overlooked treasures. Don’t consider this exhaustive. There are plenty of great Cash recordings not featured here. The list provides links to single releases, if any, plus the first album releases.
- “I Walk the Line” (1956); Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar! (1957)
- “Folsom Prison Blues” (1955); Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar! (1957)
- “I Was There When It Happened” Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar! (1957)
- “The Wreck of the Old ’97” Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar! (1957)
- “Hey, Porter!” (1955); Now Here’s Johnny Cash (1961)
- “Get Rhythm” (1956); Greatest! (1959)
- “Big River” (1958); Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous (1958)
- “Five Minutes to Live” The Man in Black: 1959-’62 (1991)
- “Guess Things Happen That Way” (1958); Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous (1958)
- “The Ways of a Woman in Love” [alternate version] Roads Less Travelled: The Rare and Unissued Sun Recordings (2001)
- “Goodnight Irene” Original Sun Sound of Johnny Cash (1964)
- “I Still Miss Someone” (1958); The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958)
- “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” Hymns by Johnny Cash (1959)
- “Drink to Me” Songs of Our Soil (1959)
- “The Great Speckled Bird” Songs of Our Soil (1959)
- “Seasons of My Heart” (1960); Now, There Was a Song! Memories From the Past (1960)
- “Transfusion Blues” Now, There Was a Song! Memories From the Past (1960)
- “The Rebel – Johnny Yuma” (1961); Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash (1963)
- “In Them Old Cottonfields Back Home” The Sound of Johnny Cash (1962)
- “A Little at a Time” (1962); Old Golden Throat (1968)
- “Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord)” (1962); Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash (1963)
- “The Talking Leaves” Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1964)
- “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow” Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1964)
- “Custer” Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1964)
- “Ring of Fire” (1963); Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash (1963)
- “Understand Your Man” (1964); I Walk the Line (1964)
- “It Ain’t Me, Babe” (1964); Orange Blossom Special (1965)
- “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” Nashville at Newport (1995)
- “Ballad of Ira Hayes” Nashville at Newport (1995)
- “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)” Orange Blossom Special (1965)
- “Mr. Lonesome” The Sound of Johnny Cash (1962)
- “The Road to Kaintuck” Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965)
- “Happiness Is You” Happiness Is You (1966)
- Johnny Cash & June Carter “Fast Boat to Sydney” Carryin’ On (1967)
- “Folsom Prison Blues” (1968); At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “Dark as the Dungeon” At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart” At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “Jackson” At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “I Got Stripes” At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “Greystone Chapel” At Folsom Prison (1968)
- “Tennessee Flat Top Box” Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World (2011)
- “Remember the Alamo” Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World (2011)
- “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World (2011)
- “Ring of Fire” Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World (2011)
- “Darling Companion” At San Quentin (1969)
- “A Boy Named Sue” At San Quentin (1969)
- “(There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley” At San Quentin (1969)
- Bob Dylan “Girl From the North Country” Nashville Skyline (1969)
- “The Folk Singer” (1968); The Bootleg Series Vol. 2: From Memphis to Hollywood (2011)
- “Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station” From Sea to Shining Sea (1968)
- “Daddy Sang Bass” At Madison Square Garden (2002)
- “He Turned the Water Into Wine” The Gospel Music of Johnny Cash (2008) (or version from the February 11, 1970 episode of “The Johnny Cash Show” – not available in album format)
- “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (1970); The Johnny Cash Show (1970)
- “Girl From the North Country” (with Joni Mitchell) The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show: 1969-1971 (2008)
- “Flesh and Blood” (1971); I Walk the Line (1970)
- “See Ruby Fall” (1969); Hello, I’m Johnny Cash (1970)
- “Wanted Man” Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970)
- Johnny Cash & June Carter “If I Were a Carpenter” (1969); Hello, I’m Johnny Cash (1970)
- “Orphan of the Road” Man in Black (1971)
- “Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues” (1971); Man in Black (1971)
- “You’ve Got a New Light Shining in Your Eyes” (1971); Man in Black (1971)
- “The Battle of New Orleans” America: A 200-Year Salute in Story and Song (1972)
- “Don’t Go Near the Water” (1974); Ragged Old Flag (1974)
- “King of the Hill” Ragged Old Flag (1974)
- “Southern Comfort” Ragged Old Flag (1974)
- “My Old Kentucky Home (Turpentine and Dandelion Wine)” (1975); John R. Cash (1975)
- “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine” På Österåker (1973)
- Johnny Cash & June Carter “The City of New Orleans” Johnny Cash and His Woman (1973)
- “Orleans Parish Prison” (1972); Murder (2000)
- “Mississippi Sand” A Thing Called Love (1972)
- “Nasty Dan” (1974 or ’75); The Stars Come Out on Sesame Street (1979)
- “The Junkie and the Juicehead (Minus Me)” (1974); The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me (1974)
- “I Hardly Ever Sing Beer Drinking Songs” (1975); Look at Them Beans (1975)
- “One Piece at a Time” (1976); One Piece at a Time (1976)
- “City Jail” (1977); The Last Gunfighter Ballad (1976)
- “Give It Away” The Last Gunfighter Ballad (1976)
- “After the Ball” (1978); The Rambler (1977)
- “I Don’t Think I Could Take You Back Again” I Would Like to See You Again (1978)
- “Without Love” Rockabilly Blues (1980)
- “It Ain’t Nothing New Babe” Rockabilly Blues (1980)
- “Abner Brown” I Would Like to See You Again (1978)
- “Lay Me Down in Dixie” A Believer Sings the Truth (1979)
- “The Baron” (1981); The Baron (1981)
- “The Last Gunfighter Ballad” (1977); The Last Gunfighter Ballad (1976)
- “Cindy, I Love You” The Last Gunfighter Ballad (1976)
- “The Lily of the Valley” Personal File (2006)
- “No Earthly Good” Personal File (2006)
- “It Takes One to Know Me” Personal File (2006)
- “Highway Patrolman” Johnny 99 (1983)
- “Unwed Fathers” Rainbow (1985)
- “The Hobo Song” The Mystery of Life (1991)
- “Just the Other Side of Nowhere” Unearthed (2003)
- “Let the Train Blow the Whistle” American Recordings (1994)
- “Delia’s Gone” (1994); American Recordings (1994)
- “Bird on a Wire” American Recordings (1994)
- “Spiritual” Unchained (1996)
- The Highwaymen “Live Forever [acoustic demo version]” The Road Goes On Forever: 10th Anniversary Edition (2005)
- “Ghost Riders in the Sky” In Ireland (2009)
- “Solitary Man” American III: Solitary Man (2000)
- “Rowboat” Unchained (1996)
- “Memories Are Made of This” Unchained (1996)
- “Country Boy” Unchained (1996)
- “I’ve Been Everywhere” Unchained (1996)
- “Country Trash” American III: Solitary Man (2000)
- “Field of Diamonds” American III: Solitary Man (2000)
- “Mary of the Wild Moor” American III: Solitary Man (2000)
- Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson “Unchained” VH1 Storytellers (1998)
- “Do Lord” Unearthed (2003)
- “I’ll Fly Away” Unearthed (2003)
- “Redemption Song” (with Joe Strummer) Unearthed (2003)
- “Help Me” American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)
Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)
Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Sam Raimi
Main Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff
L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series is often credited as being one of the most important fictional universes to emerge from America, or at least the first important one to break from European traditions of “fairy tales”. There were many, many books written about Oz, various theatrical productions, and many movies too. The success of the original printing of the book had as much to do with the format as the actual content. It was a full color book with text set in a stylized arrangement that interspersed it with illustrations by W.W. Denslow. Children’s books were not customarily printed so lavishly at the time, but the success of the first Oz book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) turned it into more or less an industry standard. Critics debated whether Baum’s or Denslow’s contributions were the basis for the book’s success–though most tend to unfairly overlook the publisher George M. Hill Company’s role in arranging the lavish printing. The credit given to Denslow caused a rift with Baum and the two ceased working together. Denslow even published separate illustrations related to Oz without Baum’s involvement. Following the smash success of the first book, Baum teamed up with a theater group and developed a Broadway show that deviated from his writings and played up the latest in theatrical special effects. He tried later theatrical shows, but without the input of the Broadway team those fizzed. The earliest movies were silent, and Baum himself made some. He even developed a touring multi-media show that incorporated some silent films. Then the 1939 film version starring Judy Garland, though not considered a commercial success at the time, went on to become one of the most iconic and beloved American movies of all time. Other movies and shows followed, from The Wiz to Return to Oz. Spinoffs and related books continued to be made. Baum tried to pursue other work, but the financial rewards of the Oz series always proved too attractive, and he continued to write Oz books even after clear statements that the series was finished.
If you notice a trend in the history of the Oz works it’s that they have been manipulated, contorted and exploited in every possible way, by Baum and others. There is nothing sacred about the Oz universe. But an interesting detail is that the biggest successes have be borne out of collaboration, first between Baum, Denslow and the George M. Hill Company, but later with the Broadway show, then with the Victor Fleming, Judy Garland movie with songs by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen. So there’s a feeling that the entire enterprise is one that sort of invites reinterpretation and tinkering.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is a big-budget “prequel” by Sam Raimi for the Disney company, which recently gave Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland similar digital-effects-laden treatment. While the Alice movie was a disaster, Oz: The Great and Powerful is actually quite good.
My interpretation of the film Continue reading “Oz: The Great and Powerful”
Fred Claus (2007)
Director: David Dobkin
Main Cast: Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, John Michael Higgins, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Kevin Spacey, Elizabeth Banks
There is something rather interesting about this film, Fred Claus. On the surface, it is an attempt to have an “offbeat” christmas movie like Elf, with sort of a bad streak along the lines of Bad Santa and plot elements that recall Office Space. Continue reading “Fred Claus”
A guide to gaining an introduction to gospel music (read: afro-american gospel music). When you get down to it, gospel is the rosetta stone of american music, and there are few styles of american music that haven’t either influenced gospel or taken influence from it. Hopefully the religious content of the music doesn’t keep people away. You can be indifferent or even openly hostile to religion and still enjoy this powerful music.
Various Artists Collections
Broad overview sets:
All things considered, this may be the best historical overview of gospel music I’ve seen yet, rivalled or surpassed only by the Jubilation! series mentioned below. There is definitely a good amount of material from the “golden age of gospel” in the 1950s here, which is something lots of other gospel box sets inexplicably omit. At four discs, there is a ton of great stuff from a lot of different periods and styles. This set does stop in the middle of the 1950s though, so you don’t get much if anything anything from the 1960s onward. But you might want to decide if you like gospel enough first before delving into the 1960s and 70s stuff. And for an introduction it’s probably best to avoid contemporary gospel anyway.
Jubilation! Volumes 1 & 2 make up probably the best two-disc introduction to gospel available, and together are probably my number one recommendation for someone just beginning to listen to gospel. Vols. 1 & 2 represent just about all of the major gospel talents, and the song selection is outstanding. Truly a superb set. The only caveat I would add is that the focus here is more on modern gospel, and little space is reserved for early 20th Century gospel, but that is actually a good approach for an introductory set like this.
Another great collection of material, similar to Vol. 1. You will really want to investigate both Vols. 1 & 2, though you could easily start with either one. There is a Vol. 3, but it focuses on country gospel, which is not the focus of this guide.
The first of a seven-album series, apparently available only as a digital download (in the USA at least). It features some great stuff from a variety of eras. There is a bit more non-quartet, folk/blues material here than many gospel collections.
Gospel Music (2006)
Bob Marovich review: http://www.theblackgospelb…golden-age.html
Like Get Right With God (see below), Fire in My Bones focuses on great but lesser-known recordings. In a way it’s a kind of alternate history of modern age gospel, documenting especially its vital and continuing tradition of do-it-yourself recordings. This also covers quite a large time frame (more than six decades). With some of the basics under your belt, this is a fun and exciting extension to delve deeper into the genre. The obscurity of the recordings means there is little overlap with other gospel compilations. A follow-up collection was released as This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45RPM, 1957-1982, but definitely start with Fire in My Bones.
Goodbye, Babylon (2003)
Testify!: The Gospel Box (1999)
The Essential Gospel Sampler (1994)
My own “virtual” compilation.
More period-specific, stylistically-specific, or label-specific sets:
Awesome selection of early pre-WWII gospel. Lots of this stuff straddles the line between blues and gospel. Probably a less intimidating option than the Goodbye Babylon set, which seemed to borrow heavily from these selections because of the substantial overlap. Pair this set with the Gospel Music one above and you’ll get a fairly good overview of both old and modern gospel.
A set that focuses on jubilee gospel groups.
A collection of songs from some of the great gospel “quartets” (they often actually had more than four members) from primarily the later part of the 1940s but also some from the 1950s and one Soul Stirrers track from 1939. This actually picks up where the A Warrior On the Battlefield set leaves off, stylistically and chronologically. The liner notes are also quite good in explaining various aspects of the music and the personalities behind it.
The Gospel Sound (1994)
Specialty was the premier label for hard gospel quartets in the 1950s. I could quibble about some of the song selections here, but there is no doubt you get some great music and an introduction to most of the key groups on the Specialty label. Continued with Golden Age Gospel Quartets, Vol. 2 (1954-1963).
Awesome collection of mostly obscure stuff from the golden age. It’s all high-energy and really fun. The way this is assembled definitely reminds me of Harry Smith (who created the Anthology of American Folk Music), and what a collection of gospel from this period would probably sound like if he ever got around to putting one together.
Golden Age of Gospel (2001)
Gospel music played a big role in the 1950s/60s civil rights or freedom movement in the United States. Here’s an interesting look at that role.
Best of Nashboro Gospel (1995)
Gospel’s Finest (1992)
Individual Artist Selections
|People totally unfamiliar with gospel music may want to listen to a various artists collection first, but here are some single-artist selections that I find to be particularly worth checking out:|
The Golden Gate Quartet represents a different era than lots of other music on this list. They had jazz-inflected rhythms that stretched gospel beyond earlier forms, but compared to more modern acts the tempos were slower and there were not really any lead solos. But this is still great music. There are certainly plenty of different Golden Gate Quartet compilations available. This two-disc one seems to capture a lot of their best recordings, though in some ways it’s still incomplete.
The early Soul Stirrers with R.H. Harris were the single most influential gospel group. Ever. More than any other group, they blazed a trail away from the jubilee style that had dominated gospel for many decades–a style epitomized by The Golden Gate Quartet–and toward hard gospel of the 1950s. R.H. Harris made lead soloists the stars of gospel “quartets”, which had been expanded past just four members. This collection features a tremendous amount of really great music.
The best gospel of the 1940s is right here. Lead singer Ira Tucker was just unbelievably good. He was sort of gospel’s first “rock star” in my book. Maybe he was just the first rock star period, running down the aisles, jumping off stages…
Love Lifted Me / My Rock (1991)
Another great set of hard gospel from the 1950s.
Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns (1991)
|The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times by Anthony Heilbut
How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel by Horace C. Boyer
Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music by W.K. McNeil (ed.)
Blues and Gospel Records: 1890-1943 by Robert M.W. Dixon, John Godrich, and Howard W. Rye
Gospel Records: 1943-1969 by Cedric W. Hayes and Robert Laughton
|Just Moving On Blog
The Black Gospel Blog
Holy Ghost Blog
Sinner’s Crossroads Radio Show
Black Gospel Collector’s Forum
The eponymous debut album by The Rolling Stones (renamed England’s Newest Hit Makers for subsequent U.S. release) is a somewhat inauspicious affair. It is full of energetic takes on American blues. The group plays with enthusiasm. Yet aside from a few hints at guitar prowess, there aren’t a whole lot of highlights here. Still, there aren’t any great missteps, and the effort to reach out across racial lines is admirable. This was about taking essentially rural music and making it more urban and palatable for middle class youth desperate for a new music to call their own. Perhaps that wasn’t the precise intent, but it was the ultimate effect. They got better quickly. What is stunning is how there are scarcely any cues here to indicate just how good they would get — or how fast they would get there.
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward’s Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (1977) was a watershed. Mark and Paul Engler recently wrote a an excellent summary “Can Frances Fox Piven’s Theory of Disruptive Power Create the Next Occupy?” (another decent introduction to her work is Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven?). The basic premise of the Piven/Cloward theory of action, dubbed the Piven/Cloward Strategy when first suggested in 1966 with regard to welfare enrollment, is that the poor–generally powerless–can exert some power, under certain circumstances, by collectively disrupting the smooth function of social institutions, and can make gains relative to vested interests as institutional actors hasten to restore some form of stability. The more provocative aspects of the theory and associated strategy are that unions are only effective in early stages, when they are initially formed. Once established, their own institutional dynamics tend to subvert the disruptive potential that is their primary source of power. Another aspect that Piven explored in greater detail in later work was that conventional channels of activity (electoral politics) generally co-opt or mute disruptive activities, and have the effect of neutralizing and undermining the demands of poor people’s movements.
But Piven/Cloward’s theories here also had precedent. The cross-disciplinary work of economist Thorstein Veblen raised similar points that merit further examination. The early chapters of The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904) discuss how “vested interests” use “sabotage” to withhold efficiency and disrupt the interrelated parts of a complex industrial economy to extract wealth for personal gain and the expense of the wider community’s general well-being:
“business men…have an interest in making …disturbances of the system large and frequent, since it is in the conjunctures of change that their gain emerges.”
For a modern example, think how the Enron corporation fabricated blackouts/brownouts to drive up energy prices. This is Veblen’s notion of “sabotage” at its purest. But Veblen didn’t view the actions of a company like Enron as the exception, but rather the rule.
“It is a matter of course and of absolute necessity to the conduct of business, that any discretionary businessman must be free to deal or not to deal in any given case; to limit or withhold the equipment under his control, without reservation. Business discretion and business strategy, in fact, has no other means by to work out its aims. So that, in effect, all business sagacity reduces itself in the last analysis to judicious use of sabotage.”
Veblen returned to this theme in his final book, Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times: The Case of America:
“any person who has the legal right to withhold any part of the necessary industrial apparatus or materials from current use will be in a position to impose terms and exact obedience, on pain of rendering the community’s joint stock of technology inoperative to that extent.
“Ownership of industrial equipment and natural resources confers such a right legally to enforce unemployment, and so to make the community’s workmanship useless to that extent. This is the Natural Right of Investment.
“Plainly, ownership would be nothing better than an idle gesture without this legal right of sabotage. Without the power of discretionary idleness, without the right to keep the work out of the hands of the workmen and the product out of the market, investment and business enterprise would cease. This is the larger meaning of the Security of Property.”
The use of sabotage was not limited to the captains of industry. In the first chapter of The Engineers and the Price System, “On the Nature and Uses of Sabotage,” though, Veblen makes an interesting point:
“Any strike is of the nature of sabotage, of course. Indeed, a strike is a typical species of sabotage. That strikes have not been spoken of as sabotage is due to the accidental fact that strikes were in use before this word came into use. So also, of course, a lockout is another typical species of sabotage. That the lockout is employed by the employers against the employees does not change the fact that it is a means of defending a vested right by delay, withdrawal, defeat, and obstruction of the work to be done. Lockouts have not usually been spoken of as sabotage, for the same reason that holds true in the case of strikes. All the while it has been recognized that strikes and lockouts are of identically the same character.
“All this does not imply that there is anything discreditable or immoral about this habitual use of strikes and lockouts. They are part of the ordinary conduct of industry under the existing system, and necessarily so. So long as the system remains unchanged these measures are a necessary and legitimate part of it.
“And yet, that extent and degree of paralysis from which the civilized world’s industry is suffering just now, due to legitimate businesslike sabotage, goes to argue that the date may not be far distant when the interlocking processes of the industrial system shall have become so closely interdependent and so delicately balanced that even the ordinary modicum of sabotage involved in the conduct of business as usual will bring the whole to a fatal collapse. The derangement and privation brought on by any well organized strike of the larger sort argues to the same effect.”
He talks about militant worker activism (like Coxey’s Army) as being no better or worse than lockouts by employers. But Veblen clearly sees the context as being different. He equates the two in order to argue for a leveling and equalizing effect. Establishing worker rights to strike on par with the rights of business to engage in a capital strike has the effect of promoting fairness. Indeed, in The Theory of Business Enterprise he notes that strikers “seek their ends by extra-legal means of coercion” because the court system is set up on terms favorable to businessmen, not to workers, and exigencies thus force extra-legal action like strikes. Alan Nasser wrote a rather excellent article discussing this topic, “Political Power Made Invisible
Who Strikes, and Against Whom?,” and elaborated in a contemporary setting how Veblen’s insights are fundamentally correct, yet also how economists and the media tend to selectively ignore capital strikes and business cycle fluctuations in this context.
Cloward and Piven aren’t linked to Veblen too frequently. More common would be a link from Cloward/Piven to Karl Polanyi, who worked independently in a manner somewhat redundant with Veblen, but who wrote in a more “acceptable” and standardized academic format. The extension of Veblen that Cloward and Piven offered was to extend the theory beyond the purely economic sphere. They emphasized how government bureaucrats and (especially) politicians sought stability and, above all, predictability. These things are undermined by disruptive action. Attempts to restore stability offer opportunities for concessions and advancement of the interests of the poor that would not be granted otherwise. Like Veblen said about the courts being set up on terms favorable to business rather than workers, the electoral system is not set up on terms favorable to the poor. And so, Cloward and Piven made the keen observation that the poor have only certain options to exercise any power to advance their interests to achieve greater fairness.
The recently deceased historian Gabriel Kolko wrote a book, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History 1900-1916 (1963), that also took a similar approach in taking a fresh look at the so-called “progressive era” to find that business interests aligned with government (as part of a “regulatory capture” dynamic) to suppress disruption to better protect their vested interests. Kolko’s book was well researched and fit quite squarely in line with Veblen’s original theories.
A somewhat similar political debate between Stephen D’Arcy and Vijay Prashad was also published recently, “Are Riots Good for Democracy?” D’Arcy emerges with the better argument, because Prashad seems to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” in being cowed by certain atrocities of riots while neglecting atrocities that riots often are meant to redress. As D’Arcy notes, not all riots are created equal, and they aren’t always a force for good. Prashad is certainly correct that riots, and disruption more generally, can be used as a pretext for a subsequent authoritarian crackdown (to wit: German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder made Die dritte generation [The Third Generation] to emphasize the idea that the Baader-Meinhoff Red Army Faction’s militant “urban guerrilla” actions were used to justify a regressive crackdown; or read a history of the Haymarket Riot and its aftermath, like James R. Green’s Death in the Haymarket (2006)).
Here is my take on a “virtual” single disc gospel overview compilation. Neophytes, I dare you to listen to this and not become a fan. I’ve tried to link up more readily available CD collections rather than hard-to-find LPs. Will be continued with my Gospel Mix, Part II, Gospel Mix, Part III, Gospel Mix, Part IV and Gospel Mix, Part V lists. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an atheist.
Rev. B.L. Wightman with Lottie Kimbrough & Congregation – “Live the Life”
Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – “Judgment”
Golden Gate Quartet – “Bedside of a Neighbor”
Richmond’s Harmonizing Four – “Everytime I Feel the Spirit”
Dixie Hummingbirds – “Move On Up a Little Higher [alt. take]”
I Want to Know (2006)
Love Lifted Me / My Rock (1991)
The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi – “(I’ll Be) In the Wilderness”
The Davis Sisters – “Jesus Steps Right In”
When Gospel Was Gospel (2005)
Get on Board (1992)
Sister O.M. Terrell – “I’m Going to that City”
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – “Cain’t [sic] No Grave Hold My Body Down”
Gospel Train (1956)
The Caravans – “Your Friend”
The Best of The Caravans (1998)
Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns (1991)
The Holmes Brothers – “I Shall Not Walk Alone”
Speaking in Tongues (2001)
Some bag on Stereopathetic Soulmanure as an inferior Beck release, but I think it’s easily one of his best albums. It’s a little rough in patches, but the eclectic songwriting is usually good and there is even some fairly good guitar playing. Beck is all over the place. From found sounds, to noise rock, to country, to folk, he tries a little of everything. But he manages to pull it off. In fact, Mellow Gold was a big step down from the creativity on display here. Beck hadn’t yet hooked up with hip-hop producers but it’s no real loss with what is found here. Is this juvenile? Yes, of course. But it manages to faithfully capture the sense of looking for something that resonates and finding the process of the search at least as interesting as anything found along the way. This has the feel of bored Southern California kids making their own entertainment — not unlike what Ariel Pink would do a few years later.
A more mature Vijay Iyer offers something the younger Iyer did not. He melds angular, modernist attacks with smooth, easy sensibilities in a way that avoids both stilted transitions and empty new age chamber jazz posturing–sometimes the nagging limitations of his early work. Accelerando features all his strengths and none of his weaknesses. It certainly helps that bassist Stephan Crump provides a very prominent drive to the music. Covering some pop music (“Human Nature”) also reveals a grounded sense of humor. Such little touches evidence the magnanimous spirit imbuing the proceedings. This is music that is as accessible as it is vibrant. It may well be Iyer’s best offering yet.