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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Funky Music? White Boy?

Ok.  There was a certain level of sacrilege on American Idol tonight.  This was wrong on so many levels. 

I cannot wait to hear Dave White’s take on this one.

How in the world could even attempt this classic Idol “moment”…has he not heard?   There is only ONE Boogie.

– now, THAT is some emotion.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2009 in american idol, Funny, taylor hicks

 

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Since you showed me how to be happy….

 

  Since You, Jackie Wilson (now you know where Michael Jackson got the “moves”)

Tried to find Otis Redding’s Happy Song, but alas it is not out there on the Interwebs.  Certainly a “pick me up” on a rainy Tuesday, though.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2009 in jackie wilson, Otis Redding, Soul

 

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Colette’s Corner: Don’t Worry, Be HAPPY

A few weeks ago, I called for a moratorium from bad news and made a concious decision to be positive and not let my cynicsm get the better of me.  I consider it a Lenten penance as I really am a member of the Piss & Moan Club.  Colette seized upon this opportunity to support me in my quest for “half-full”-ness by submitting a post on “happy” songs.

However, Colette omits THE MOST “happy” song, ever:

  Don’t Worry, Be Happy — The Chipmunks 

Also, I have to share a little serendipity.  Today, as I was preparing this post, I recieved a comment on a post I did a couple of years ago on Marc Broussard and his take on Love & Happiness.   Ned Theall, veteran trumpeter and Boogie King extraordinaire left a comment.

That made me VERY happy… 

Happy Together

 

With thanks to Paul McC, Johnny N,  Al Green, Aretha & all the musical joy-givers

 

Since Music Maven so wisely called a moratorium on bad news, it got me thinking:  what songs just fill me pleasure every time I hear them?  Which ones really get those endorphins going — thanks to their great hooks, upbeat lyrics and joyous performances?

 

I think we have to cling to whatever gives us joy in times like this.  It can’t help to get bummed out — the universe doesn’t offer any reward at all for that.   We’re alive, music in the air, love doesn’t cost a penny, and while that ain’t everything it sure is something to be grateful for.

 

So here are some of my Happy Hall of Fame songs & performances.  May they give you a boost, no matter what’s bothering you:

 

From my childhood on, just a few bars of the Beatles could restore me to good mental health.  This song especially, from “Revolver,” performed here by Sir Paul on tour, and just a fab picker-upper:

 

Good Day SunshinePaul McCartney

 

This tune has been covered by many, many artists (most notably Jimmy Cliff), but I love it in its original reggae-beat format sung here in the 1970s by the guy who made it a beam of sunshine Top 40 hit, actor-singer Johnny Nash:

 

 — I Can See Clearly NowJohnny Nash

 

Whatever your religion, or lack of it, this tune is sanctified.  It was a sneaky, underdog hit in the 1970s, from a then-obscure choir in Oakland, CA led by Edwin Hawkins.  The rest is gospel history, but the great Hawkins Family of singers is certainly still with us:

 

 — Oh Happy Day — Edwin & Lynette Hawkins and Choir

 

All right, I know what you might be thinking:  shlockmeister Neil Diamond?  Well Neil has many facets, and before he was doing a lot of middle-of-the-road, self-indulgent dreck, he was writing some very cool tunes.  This for me is his best (written for The Monkees), which he performs here in a recent concert in Glastonbury, England with great verve and a terrific band:

 

 — I’m a BelieverNeil Diamond

 

This song on the radio can send me into a delirium of delight.  Yes, it’s my own true soul guru The Rev. Al Green, before he became a “rev.”  In this clip from “Soul Train” he sounds so gooood, and looks so pur-dy.   The tune?  Of course, “Love and Happiness,” and he’s still singing it:

 

 — Love & Happiness — Al Green

 

I have a special place in my heart for this little Aretha Franklin novelty, because it not only captures her in fine, fine 1980s form, but also connects me back to my very young youth in the Motor City, when Detroit was the proud auto and soul music center of the universe.  It’s changed a lot, but the essence of its past glory is here:

 

  — Freeway of Love — Aretha

 

A generation away in age, but a spirit that burns true and beautiful, is Corinne Bailey Rae’s great gift of a song with its message: when life gets tough, the tough listen to music.  Rae has dropped off the face of the entertainment world since the drug death of her beloved musician husband.  May she heal soon, and keep bringing us great music to soothe her soul and ours:

 

 — Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae

 

Paul Simon has written a lot of brooding songs, and some upbeat masterpieces.  Here’s a Tokyo performance, with a fine band (he always hires the best), on a tune that celebrates crazy youth and growing up In Queens:

 

  – Paul Simon —  Me & Julio

 

Though his first post-Idol CD does little for me (so what else is new), I still adore David Cook.  Compare his beautiful voice and assured musicality on last year’s American Idol with the motley crew vying for the title this year and…..well, let’s just say it’s no contest.  This song, originally by The Turtles, was fave for me way, way back there in the 60s.  I love his sly, ebullient take on it:

 

 — Happy Together – David Cook

 

Finally, a recent version of a Dire Straits tune that’s a toe-tapping affirmation of humanity, without any pretentious BS.  I love that Knopler is still out there, making music and spreading happiness:

 

Walk of Life — Mark Knopler

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2009 in colette's corner, Marc Broussard

 

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New Finds…Share and Compare

Some stuff I’ve recently been exploring…thanks to Shrew on Ellis & KJ…she’s been busy. 

Somebody to You, Lelia Broussard

  Hurricane Angel, Ellis Paul

  Little Mary, KJ Denhert

Share your finds…Post some of your “finds” in the comment section.  After all, word of mouth is what “sells” these indie artists.

 

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Everything’s NOT Black & White

  I’ve Been Watching You, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

 
 

One More “Southern Belle”

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The aptly named Pink Perfection Camelia
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Posted by on March 22, 2009 in photography

 

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Big Easy Azaleas in Black & White

St. Louis Cathedral - New Orleans, LA
St. Louis Cathedral – New Orleans, LA

Since KD announced a mini-“photo” challenge  over at her blog, A Half Hour A Day, regarding flowers in black & white that had a quick turnaround, I figured I’d capture some spring foliage on my woman’s weekend in New Orleans.  So, in between good eats and great company, I managed to find the patron plants of the Deep South, Azaleas.

Technically, Azaleas are Rhododendrons, and are mainstay plant material in beds of virtually every Southern homeowner.  My father was a Nurseryman for over 45 years and was actually a field grower of Azaleas, so I have special kinship with the “belle of the South”.  Ironically, Mobile is actually called the “Azalea City” because of the proliferation and varieties found here.  But I digress…

The point of the challenge was to use black & white to show character of the flowers, in particular textures of petals, stamins, and leaves.  I’m not sure if I captured it exactly, but I gave it a good shot.  The New Orleans azaleas were soft pink, but taking the color out really does draw your eye to different facets of the flower, particularly the veining in the petals.

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Truthfully, I have never noticed the “ink stains” on the top petals before and likely wouldn’t have without putting these in black & white.  While this isn’t part of the challenge, I think it’s important to show the same picture in color to really get the perspective of how the subject is changed when converted to black & white.

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More of my “series” from New Orleans:

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 And, here are a couple of different varieties that are actually in my yard.  This one is red:

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This one is purple:

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I think I still prefer the soothing that color brings when it comes to flowers, but black & white definitely “pops” texture and depth. 

And, just to bring it around full circle, here is the King to lay some New Orleans on ya (in black & white, of course).

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2009 in Elvis, New Orleans, photography

 

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