Monthly Archives: March 2011

In Praise of Helen Humes

I want to put a good word in for Helen Humes. Check out this bit of unadulterated joy – Sonny Terry on the harp, Brownie McGhee and T-Bone Walker on the guitars, Willie Dixon on bass, Memphis Slim on piano, … Continue reading

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I’ve been listening to Nick Drake on and off for a long time. But Helen – Mom to Billy – has just gotten into him – Nick Drake, that is. She’s been playing our records of him over and over. … Continue reading

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Dying to Sophisticated Lady

There’s a nice article from The New Yorker about the Duke and race. It ends with this sublime anecdote: ‘Two years before Ellington died, in 1972, Yale University held a gathering of leading black jazz musicians in order to raise … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Myself

Everyone is entitled to a vision of paradise, especially on one’s birthday. Pretty much this is mine. Ben Webster on tenor, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Rex Stewart on trumpet, Tricky Sam Nanton on the slide trombone, Ray Nance on the … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Bach!

This actually is a good saying of Bach’s: “There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.” Right now I’m learning Minuet One. This is … Continue reading

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The Staples Come In

I think The Band is a great band. But with The Staples they are exceptionally good! Mavis has this hard soul voice. And Papa Staples has this soothing soul sound. Wow, Robbie Robertson is good. Look for his guitar in … Continue reading

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Arthur McBride

One of my favorite ballads of all time is Arthur McBride, which most of us know because of Paul Brady’s pure, sweet version. It’s about two cousins walking along on Christmas morning who are accosted by British army recruiters. They … Continue reading

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Our dear friend Peg turned us on to this guy C.W. Stoneking, a real eccentric with an accent somewhere between Australia and New Orleans, a banjo, a Dixieland band, and a pretty good hat. We here in Iowa City have … Continue reading

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Goodbye, Real.

For the beginning of spring I figured I’d go buy a couple good jazz lps. So I head down to Real Records, the land of a million jazz albums, and – it’s closed. Closed permanently. This is immensely saddening. When … Continue reading

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Fat Tuesday

I’m not sure if it’s appropriate or inappropriate to Fat Tuesday to post a Mardi Gras tune, the famous “Iko Iko,” which is about two parades clashing, somehow related to the Mardi Gras Indians. But here are some great outfits … Continue reading

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