Monthly Archives: August 2008

Laboring through Gustav


 Well, this is not exactly what I had planned for the Labor Day weekend, but here we are….again.

As I explained in my Tropical Storm Fay post last week, we are “stayers” so we’ve made our preparations, stocked up on supplies, lanterns, gas, ice, beer, and wine.  (Believe me, as the storm draws near, the latter is a necessity.)  While Mobile will not get a “direct hit”, we are on the right or the “wrong” side of the storm where the storm surge and rain bands are the worse.  We’ll likely lose electricity so I may not be available for a while.

However, the real issue with this storm is New Orleans.  Gustav is predicted to make landfall just west of New Orleans, putting the city and Lake Ponchartrain in the path of the Eastern eye wall, which is the absolute worse place to be.  In my opinion, this storm will be worse on New Orleans than Katrina.  This storm could very well break the back of a city that has experienced such wide-spread suffering.  Even though residents know that New Orleans is basically a “bowl” and the levees will fail if strained at all, the shock of seeing damage from 20 ft. of water is just not something you get used to.  If this storm plays out like it looks to, New Orleans may very well never recover.

Most of our family is in Lafayette and New Iberia (which is west of New Orleans and Baton Rouge) and most are staying put.  Those that live in low lying areas are bunking in with others and are basically safe.

It appears that they will experience the immediate Western side of the storm, which will likely not be too severe.  One son stayed in Lafayette and the other evacuated here and is staying with us.  We’ll stay in phone contact with everyone as long as land lines and cell towers hold out.

Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers.  They are needed and appreciated.  We will be fine.  We always are. 

  Shelter, Ray LaMontagne


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Michael Jackson at 50!

Say it ain’t so….Can the musical Peter Pan really be 50?

While MJ is definitely not your “typical” superstar, one cannot deny his contribution to popular music.  From his debut at age 11 as part of the Jackson 5 to the heady days of Thriller, Michael has been a major influence in Top 40 music.  However, while his music has been consistent, his looks have been ever-changing.

While his obvious struggles with his looks are tragic, his music has been cutting edge throughout his career.

  I’ll Be There, Jackson 5

  Jackson 5, The “Fly” Years

  Blame it on the Boogie, The Jacksons

  Beat It, Michael Jackson

  Thriller,  Michael Jackson

Look out AARP.


Posted by on August 30, 2008 in Music History, music legends


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She’s a Woman!

Oh yeah.

John McCain has announced his Vice Presidential running mate and it is power WOMAN, Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska.

Now, tell me that this lady does not look like one of your best friends. 

I usually do not explicitly express my political views on this sight because it really is about the music, BUT…I generally try to weave the music into current day happenings.  And, for women in America today, this is a HUGE happening.

This is only the second time a woman has been nominated for VP and the first time that a woman has a LEGITIMATE shot at being Vice President.  I’ll admit that I’m not a huge McCain fan.  While I admire his service to our country, his “maverick” streak of independence, and his stubborness against conforming to the norm, there’s just always been something a little standoffish about the man.  However, today Mr. McCain showed his progressiveness, open-mindedness and respect for smart people.

And, make no mistake about it, Sarah Palin is smart.  But what I really like about her is that she’s also REAL.  Most of the politicians in Washington, including Mr. Obama, don’t know about real life and working for a living.  Sarah Palin comes from a middle class upbringing, her husband is a pro snowmobiler, and she is MY AGE.  Hallejuah.  A young (relatively), smart woman who has REAL life experiences.  If you don’t believe me, try these on for size:

  • She is the daughter of two teachers who left Idaho to teach in Alaska in the mid ’60s.
  • She has FIVE, count ’em, FIVE children ranging in age from 19 to 4 months.
  • Her oldest son, Track, is in the U.S. Army and will deploy to Iraq this month.
  • Cool kids names:  Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.
  • She surprised everyone in late February, announcing that she was SEVEN MONTHS pregnant with her 5th child.
  • That child was born with Downs Syndrome.
  • She went back to work THREE days after giving birth.
  • She’s an avid hunter who used to go moose hunting before school.
  • She recently posed in a photo spread in Vogue.
  • She has a remarkable resemblence to Tina Fey.

As for the prospect of her being vice president, Palin told Larry Kudlow that she could not answer the question of whether she wanted the job “until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day. I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here.”

In other words, don’t waste my time with a “token woman” position….if you ain’t serious, I’ll just stay here and get some real work done.  This is a new day, a new opportunity.  Finally, a peer of my own generation who I can actually relate to is in the mix.  Bravo!, Mr. McCain for having the cahonas to do what many folks give lip service to.  As a mother, working woman, and wife, Sarah Palin certainly has a grasp of the issues that we are all facing and the ones that are most important.  Her unique understanding of the war in Iraq, education challenges and the complexities of the oil issue will truly provide the McCain ticket with a hard-working, contributing partner and not just a figure head.

However, it’s the understanding of having a handicap child that really resonates with me.  This kind of situation puts many issues into perspective.  Having a handicapped sibling and mother, I learned early on that you become much more pragmatic and tend to stay calm in the face of trying times.  A friend of mine is fond of the saying, “God is preparing you for greatness”, when things are particularly tough and perhaps that’s exactly what has happend to Mrs. Palin.

She had this to say about Trig and what she thought God would say to her family about her son: “Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome.”

Intelligence and Compassion, Fortitude and Grace.  All critical ingredients for a leader.

Oh yeah, and about the music….here’s a few Sarah might want to use on the campaign trail…

  She’s a Woman, The Beatles

  She’s Always a Woman, Billy Joel

  More than a Woman, The Bee Gees

  I Am Woman, Helen Reddy

  Sarah, Bob Dylan



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Colette’s Corner: Right Proper Soul Kats & Kittens

The latest installment from Colette on Soul from the British Isles.  Enjoy.

Most people know how much I love, adore and worship vintage soul music and musicians.  But like MM, I’m also constantly trolling for those new young artists with a truly soulful sound (blue eyed or black) — and the artistic backbone to keep it from being watered down by a recording industry that wants to mulch every bit of soul grit out, and  ground it into a smooth, sludgy club-vibe Spam version of R & B that’s so hot these days, and to me feels like slightly funkified elevator music.
Turns out there are a lot of kids out there carrying  the torch under the radar (to mix metaphors), trying to refresh the R & B/soul idiom and keep on keepin’ it real  with some integrity.  And there’s a new movement afoot, at least in Britain:  Retro-soul!   Amy Winehouse‘s huge, surprise success is propelling this, as is Joss Stone‘s and (though she’s got a different soul bag) my beloved Corinne Bailey Rae.    
I’m intrigued by a few of these other old soul contenders, and wonder what you think:  Do they have a groove?   Do they have a future?  Would you want to see them live, or hear a whole album?
Let’s start with the most hyped of this bunch:  a pretty 24-year old Welsh bird called Duffy, marketed as the healthier, cleaner version of the sadly ravaged Amy Winehouse.  She’s gaining chart traction with original tunes, and so far so good.  I like this one best:
    — “Mercy” — Duffy
Here’s another of her originals — a scratchy, beseeching ballad:
 — “Syrup and Honey” — Duffy
Palol Nutini is even younger — a 21 year old Scottish kid with an Italian name (his parents are from Tuscany),  and a  slurry/blurry, broken and raw kind of voice, that oozes eros and hurt, and is quite distinctive. A bit of a hipster teen idol, and a little scary (rumors of substance abuse already).  But there’s something compelling about his sound.  This is a sort of knock off of “Let’s get it on” by Marvin Gaye,” but I do love Paolo’s lyric “Let’s get restless baby….”
 — “Loving You,”  Paolo Nutini
He does a lot of very interesting, offbeat covers of old tunes — would you believe “Bang Bang”?  One I especially like is this heartfelt rendition of a tune by the late great Fred Neil, who also wrote “Everybody’s Talkin’.”
  — “Dolphins” sung by Paolo Nutini
I also have to fess up to a fondness for his “Rehab” cover — just hope it doesn’t apply to him as much as to Ms. Winehouse…..
  —  “Rehab” sung by Paolo  Nutini
James Morrison (no relation to Jim, or The Doors)  is another very young stripling of a Brit, with a different kind of ragged voice and a more —  dare I say —  wholesome(?) brand of sensitivity.   It’s amazing, isn’t it — I mean, where do they get these kids in England?   Their tradition of blue-eyed soul is still, obviously, very strong.    And the record companies get behind it.  This was a huge British and European hit, but hasn’t caught on as big in the US:
  —  “You Give Me Something” — James Morrison
And one of his originals:
  — “Call the Police” — James Morrison
Then there’s Jamie Lidell.  I was extremely disappointed when I saw Jamie live last year, and he spent the set tinkering with several synthesizers and induced brain freeze in a long, boring, electronic jam — with himself.   He’s apparently quite the trickster, loves changing up his look and sound.  But I’m happy to learn that his fetching new “Jim”  gets him doing what he does best:  singing those old-school jumps.    Very gifted guy, in my book:
  — “A Little Bit of Feel Good” — Jamie Lidell
  — “Multiply” — James Morrison
Finally, working a groove that’s a little Amy Winehouse, a little Van Morrison, a little Screamin’ Jay and a lot of scrappy soul is the older (45)  but not yet hugely famous  James Hunter.  He was discovered by Van the Man, who used him as a backup vocalist on “Days Like This.”  Live he doesn’t have much variety, but he really cooks. Also it’s such a rush when someone can really play instrumentally, do great arrangements and otherwise behave like a gen-u-ine musician:
  — “Baby Don’t Do It” — James Hunter












Posted by on August 26, 2008 in colette's corner, Soul



Stormy Weather

ETA:  It has now been raining solid since about 1AM.  What’s left of Fay has changed direction, yet again, and is coming back over us.  No real threat, just a LOT of rain.  After three days, I feel waterlogged.

Well, after anticipating up to 10 inches of rain from Tropical Storm/Depression Fay, I’m happy to report that Mobile encountered a few stiff breezes and a few sprinkles, but nothing of the proportions that our neighbors in Florida experienced.  Matter of fact, Fay is reported basically on top of us at this hour and the sun is shining brightly outside with the air as still as a statue.

We are no strangers to “storms”, as they are referred to along the Gulf Coast.  I was a scant nine days old and just home from the hospital in 1964, when Hurricane Hilda came ashore just 35 miles south of where we lived.  My father walked the fields in between our house and “the shop” at our family nursery farm every four hours to use a gas generator that could heat a hot plate and my formula.  Before I was a year old, we took another direct hit from Hurricane Betsy, which would claim 58 lives.

In 1969, a 21 year old Mr. D, hisself, rode out the notorious Hurricane Camille in Pass Christian, Mississippi, just 200 yards off the beach.  Miraculously, both he and his 68 year old grandfather survived to tell the tale of the worst “storm” of the 20th Century.  With winds of 200 mph, Camille claimed a total of 172 lives, 78 in the sleepy little fishing village of Pass Christian.  To this day, Mr. D solemnly tells stories of the indelible devastation and loss of Camille like it was yesterday, rather than nearly 40 years ago.

Hurricane Camille

The years after the tumultous ’60s provided a respite from significant “storms” with the exception of a noted few, like Frederic in ’79 and Andrew in ’92.  Mini-DD was 11 months old and was just starting to walk when Hurricane Andrew barreled through Florida, out into the Gulf of Mexico and made a second landfall in Mr. D’s hometown of New Iberia, LA.  We were living in Baton Rouge at the time and the worst of Andrew, for us, was the NINE days without electricity and therefore, air conditioning…in August…in Louisiana.

When we moved to Memphis, TN, the hurricane gods were dormant and “storms” along the coast were virtually non-existent.  In 2002, we moved to Mobile, and had only a few mild tropical storms until Hurricane Ivan came ashore just 45 miles southeast of us in Gulf Shores, AL in 2004, packing 120 mph winds.  Just a year later, Hurricane Katrina threatened Mobile Bay, but jogged west at the last minute to spare the city from a direct hit.  However, being on the “right” side is the wrong side, so Katrina’s “whip” provided quite a punch with incredible storm surges into the river basins and bays that dot the Mobile area.

Downtown Mobile during Katrina

“Storms” are a fact of life on the Gulf Coast.  June to November are months of anxious apprehension with one eye on The Weather Channel and the other on sale papers for Lowe’s and Home Depot for batteries, lanterns and portable A/C units.  There are “Goers” and “Stayers”.  Goers generally head for the hills (literally) when even the faintest of winds begin to blow.  Stayers batten down the hatches and hunker down, determined to “weather” whatever the storm may bring…plus, they can’t do 9-10 hours in a car on the Interstate with kids, pets, and no bathroom.  We are steadfastedly in the Stayers camp.  As we live on high ground and the primarily killer in storms is flood waters and the fact that Mr. D has survived three category 5 storms in his six decades, we choose to ride it out and take our chances.  We simply load up on ice, gas, beer & wine, and plenty of batteries to power up the weather reports.  For good measure, we burn a little of the Palm Sunday palm cross that I keep by the kitchen sink for added protection.  And, of course we always have good tunes to help pass the anxious waiting.

So, with that in mind, here is the authentic Music Maven Hurricane Playlist:

Story Weather – Etta James

Hurricane Party – Cowboy Mouth

Wayward Wind – Patsy Cline

It Feels Like Rain – Aaron Neville

Against The Wind – Bob Seger

Shelter From the Storm – Bob Dylan

Tryin’ to Reason with Hurricane Season – Jimmy Buffett

Bring on the Rain – Jo Dee Messina

Lightning Strikes – Lou Christie

Like a Hurricane – Neil Young

Come Rain or Come Shine – Frank Sinatra

Too Much Rain – Paul McCartney

I Think It’s Going To Rain Today – Dusty Springfield

Rock You Like a Hurricane – Scorpions

Who’ll Stop the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon

It’s Raining Again – Supertramp

Stormy Monday – Bobby “Blue” Bland

When the Levee Breaks – Led Zeppelin

Rain Song – Mosquitos

Storms – Fleetwood Mac




Posted by on August 24, 2008 in that's life


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In 36 Years,…..

Some things don’t change that much…

Some things change ALOT…

  Brandy, Looking Glass — #1 Song on August 21st, 1972

  Disturbia, Rihanna  — #1 Song on August 21st, 2008


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The Rhythm of My Heart….

Newport Sunset - Shrewbiedoobiedoo

Newport Sunset - Shrewbiedoobiedoo

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I’m accumulating many on our most righteous journey to Newport, R.I.  This place is gorgeous, folks, and a photographer’s dream.

For more on the Shutter Gourmet Dive Tour, click here or here.  I’ll be back on Thursday with more, so for now, stay tuned with a wee sea shanty: 


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The Angel of Grace

I heart Somebody.

Knowing of my aff-FECK-shun for Angel from Montgomery (explained here), as well as my Grace Potter fondness, he sent me a most righteous link to an older Grace performance of the Southern Woman’s Anthem.

Click here for Grace’s Angel

First, this version was nearly three years ago and done with Assembly of Dust in an obvious “small venue”, a/k/a Dive.  Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE THIS down & dirty, in your face, whiskey-tinged, no holds barred, live and ALIVE music.

In contrast to the great sorrowful version of Susan Tedeschi, Grace’s version is plucky, funky and borderline fun.  Although she’s gotten better and better concerning sound and performance, this shows her underlying passion for the music she’s singing and her obvious talent at the kun-NECK-shun with the audience.

A little Lagnaippe find from this performance is Assembly of Dust.  Here’s a little background on who they are:

And here’s a very nice cover of Champagne Supernova done at XM Studios:

Can I just go on record as saying this is what I love about the Internets?…The sharing of thoughts on music and recognizing that certain songs or certain artists are friends’ favorites and giving them a head’s up. 

Word of mouth and “recommendation marketing” are truly the most powerful forms of promotion and product acceptance.

Thanks, Somebody.


Posted by on August 13, 2008 in Grace Potter, Marketing


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Mea Culpa (of sorts)

It has been 90 days since I posted my unmistaken disappointment  in Taylor Hicks taking the role of Teen Angel in the Broadway production of Grease.  I vowed that if this turned out to be a good thing that I would happily admit that I was wrong.

Well, I have to say that I am floored that this whole Grease thing has been nothing but positive for Taylor.  Somewhat magically, once he donned the sparkly blue suit and descended the ice cream cone for the first time, substantial and positive press surrounded him.  Of course, this is the total opposite reaction I was anticipating from the less than kind industry press.

While I think that Taylor made chicken salad out of the proverbial chicken shit and seems to have virtually saved the production from closing early, I have to wonder about the sudden shift from cowpies continually flung in his direction (if he was even talked about at all) to the literal toast of the town (a really big one).

I don’t know if this gig was his idea or not; if he finally acquiesed to AI minions; or if he just wanted to summer in NYC, but he certainly has embraced the role and seems to be having a high time.  Again, I still don’t really “get it”, as I’d prefer that he be doggedly working on a “real” CD, however I must admit that this part has given him some definite positive traction.

With the demanding schedule, I highly doubt that he’s been recording anything.  So, I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see the new CD before Christmas.  Particularly since the Early Works CD is being released today in an exclusive Target offering.

For $9.98 you can own re-mastered tracks from In Your Time and Under the Radar.  While not the normal CD price, I think the $9.98 deal through Target is a great distribution deal that will end up saving Taylor money and ensuring that the CD is highlighted in a very effective channel.  (For example, EW makes it’s debut alongside the very popular Jonas Brothers CD ^^^^).  It’s also “priced to sell”, which means more people will consider buying it. 

In case you’re wondering about which songs are included on the Early Works CD, here you go:

1. Soul Thing
2. The Fall
3. Hold On to Your Love
4. The Deal
5. Heart and Soul
6. In Your Time
7. West Texas Sky
8. Somehow
9. Tighten Up
10. Son of a Carpenter
11. My Friend
12. Georgia (with Billy Earl McClelland)

While these are well known to many who have followed Taylor for a while, there are many who have never heard the early stuff, i.e., the good stuff.  Hopefully, this CD will show those who are unfamiliar, Taylor’s grittiness, talent and range.

It appears that some fan groups are doing a bit of guerilla marketing, as well…

  by PayTheDevil661

I’ll be glad when the Grease thing is done and a new CD with new tracks hits the street.  Will we finally see that collaboration with John Mayer?  How about Robert Randolph?  Norah Jones?


Posted by on August 12, 2008 in american idol, new releases, taylor hicks


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Shut Yo Mouth…Soul Man Isaac Hayes, Dead at 65

Stax music legend, Isaac Hayes, has reportedly died from a “simultaneous” stroke and heart attack at his home in Memphis, TN. 

Known for the watershed album, Hot Buttered Soul, and the mega hit Shaft, Isaac Hayes became the savior of Stax Records when Otis Redding died in a plane crash in 1967.  Hayes started at Stax as a session musician for Redding and others, eventually taking the forefront in the early ’70s.  He was also a successful songwriter, writing the Sam & Dave hits, Hold on, I’m Comin’ and Soul Man, with writing partner David Porter.  He is considered a pioneer in Urban Contemporary and Rap music, adding “raps” or dialogue to many of his songs.

Most recently, Isaac Hayes was best known as “Chef” on Southpark and was working on the film Soul Man, with Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac, who also passed away yesterday.  Both will be missed.


Can you dig it?



Posted by on August 10, 2008 in memorials, Otis Redding, Soul, the seventies


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