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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rhapsody Streamnotes (June 2016)

Pick up text here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26732 [26705] rated (+27), 438 [440] unrated (-2).

Been sick the last couple days. Probably just one of those passing bugs, but it's really kicked my ass. I started a Weekend Roundup yesterday, but couldn't finish (or even get very far into the thing). Lots to say about the whole "Brexit" thing, but no point trying until I feel up to it.

Phil Overeem liked the extended 3-CD It's Too Late to Stop Now, so I gave it a try. I can't say that all the redundancy is worth it, but I can't find much fault either. It was enough to get me to do a deep dive into all the Morrison I had missed -- almost everything from 1983-1999. Turns out the best of that stretch is another live double. Only one I'm still aware of missing is You Win Again (with Linda Gail Lewis).

Rhapsody Streamnotes is due by the end of the month, which is to say Thursday. I don't feel up to wrapping it up right now, but hopefully will recover somewhat by then. (Otherwise there's always backdating.)


New records rated this week:

  • Adele: 25 (2015, XL): [r]: B
  • Ben Adkins: Salmagundi (2016, Ben Adkins Music): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Alchemy Sound Project: Further Explorations (2014 [2016], ARC): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Kris Allen: Beloved (2015 [2016], Truth Revolution): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Lou Caputo Not So Big Band: Uh Oh! (2015 [2016], JazzCat 47): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Andrew McAnsh: Illustrations (2014-15 [2016], self-released): [cd]: B-
  • Jason Palmer/Cedric Hanriot: City of Poets (2014 [2016], Whirlwind): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables (2015 [2016], Pi, 2CD): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Allen Toussaint: American Tunes (2013-15 [2016], Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harvey Valdes: Point Counter Point (2016, self-released): [cd]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Van Morrison: It's Too Late to Stop Now: Volumes II, III, IV & DVD (1973 [2016], Legacy, 3CD): [r]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Van Morrison: Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983, Warner Brothers): [r]: B
  • Van Morrison: Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast (1983 [1984], Mercury): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison: A Sense of Wonder (1985, Mercury): [r]: B-
  • Van Morrison: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986, Mercury): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison: Poetic Champions Compose (1987, Mercury): [r]: B+(*)
  • Van Morrison & the Chieftains: Irish Heartbeat (1988, Mercury): [r]: B-
  • Van Morrison: Enlightenment (1990, Mercury): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: Hymns to the Silence (1991, Mercury, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: A Night in San Francisco (1993 [1994], Polydor, 2CD): [r]: A-
  • Van Morrison With Georgie Fame & Friends: How Long Has This Been Going On? (1995, Verve): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison/Georgie Fame/Mose Allison/Ben Sidran: Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (1996, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Van Morrison: Back on Top (1999, Point Blank): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: Magic Time (2005, Geffen): [r]: B+(**)


Grade changes:

  • Van Morrison: Too Long in Exile (1993, Polydor): [r]: [was: B+] A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • The Corey Kendrick Trio: Rootless (self-released)
  • Ron King: Triumph (self-released): July 8
  • Allison Lewis: Seven (self-released)
  • Os Clavelitos: Arriving (self-released)
  • Putumayo Presents: Blues Party (Putumayo World Music)
  • Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra: Portraits and Places (Origin)
  • Jim Snidero: MD66 (Savant): advance, August 26
  • Sound Underground: Quiet Spaces (Tiny Music): September 15
  • Peggy Stern: Z Octet (Estrella Productions): July 8
  • Brahja Waldman: Wisdomatic (Fast Speaking Music)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26705 [26674] rated (+31), 440 [447] unrated (-7).

First, some business left over from yesterday's Weekend Roundup post. David Everall wrote a long and informative letter on the "Brexit" question. Main point: "both the linked to article and your comments vastly underestimate the racist, xenophobic nature of the 'leave' side of the debate here." I've added the whole letter to the Comments section of the "faux blog" post. (If you seriously want to comment on a post, best way is to send me email -- look for the "Contact" link.)

What Everall says makes sense to me, and not just because I'm tempted to see a parallel in Donald Trump. I've probably tended to underestimate Trump movement racism because I find his more conventional Republican opponents so horrifying, but I do think that Laura Tillem has a point when she says that the worst thing about a Trump election is that it could happen (i.e., what it would show about the dim-witted viciousness of the American people). The takeaway of a Trump election would surely be that racism and xenophobia are acceptable, even majority, views, and that's probably what people would glean if "Brexit" succeeds. I can't say as I ever thought the latter would happen, as both right and left have their own reasons for keeping the union together. But I finally looked up some polling, and the referendum looks to be very close, with either outcome possible. But whereas, say, last night's NBA Finals Game was so close I figured either side winning would be a meaningless fluke, the "Brexit" is even close is already some kind of racist, chauvinist triumph -- even if what it really suggests is the utter breakdown of Britain's conservative elites' ability to keep their popular base in line. Again, this runs parallel with America's conservative elites inability to derail Trump. Whoever thought that decades of cynical manipulation of racial and ethnic grudges would have led to this?

Of course, a big part of those conservatives elites' failure comes from their disastrous excursions abroad. For example, see Record 65 million displaced by global conflicts and The translators promised visas but made into refugees by the US Army.

Another thing I haven't been paying sufficient attention to is the Trump meltdown. Given a little more time, the Trump section could have grown to two or three times as many items as I cited. Just from TPM today we see Trump Adviser Resigns After Celebrating Top Aide's Ouster, How Did Trump's Internally Loathed, Embattled Top Aide Last So Long?, The Real News Is Trump Is Broke, and Panicked Utah GOP Chair Is Another Sign That GOP Stronghold Is in Play. The first of those four starts out:

After sending out a tweet Monday dancing on ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's grave, top aide Michael Caputo admitted the tweet was "too exuberant" and resigned his post with Trump's campaign.

There's also this: Trump says US should adopt Israel's racial profiling model.


I also want to note that Al Leiderman passed away -- Uncle Al to us. Born 1917, married Lillian Tillem for 74 years until her death in 2015, owned a laundry business and did fairly well. I met Lillian and Al twice: in 2008 when they came to Kal Tillem's funeral, and in 2014 when Laura and I visited them in Palm Beach. Googling Al gets us to several episodes of Old Jews Telling Jokes, like this and this and this. Not great jokes, but more of a legacy than I usually find.


Fairly hefty list of newly rated albums this week, mostly drawn from Christgau's Expert Witness (Aesop Rock, Chance the Rapper, Robbie Fulks, Heartsrevolution, Mr. Lif, Thao, White Lung), a Jason Gubbels SPIN World Report (Kel Assouf, Can't You Hear Me?, Romulo Fróes, Elektro Hafiz, Ukandanz), Phil Overeem's latest Good to My Earhole (Chance the Rapper, Elizabeth Cook), and Stereogum's The 50 Best Albums of 2016 So Far (Chance the Rapper, Pinegrove, Pup, Radiohead, Underworld). Looks like everyone (but me) loves Coloring Book. I gave it three plays, bumping it a notch from my original grade. I could imagine getting to like it somewhat more, but unless I figure out how to burn a copy I doubt I'll bother. Too much mess, even before there's too much God. Cook also got three plays, but they finally took. I got off on the wrong track with Heartsrevolution, but the widget at Noisey did the trick.

Taking my jazz queue pretty much in order, which leaves Tyshawn Sorey up for next week. First three or four albums after I got back came in B or worse. Wondered whether that was because I had spent the previous two weeks listening to classics, but I'm pretty sure they weren't very good.

Looks like AMG dropped their anti-AdBlock hostageware. No idea why, but I had decided to see how long I could live without it. Still, glad to have access again.


New records rated this week:

  • Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid (2016, Rhymesayers): [r]: A-
  • Jonas Cambien Trio: A Zoology of the Future (2016, Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book (2016, self-released): [r]: B+(***)
  • Elizabeth Cook: Exodus of Venus (2016, Agent Love): [r]: A-
  • Jeff Denson Quartet: Concentric Circles (2016, Ridgeway): [cd]: B-
  • Kali Z. Fasteau: Intuit (2012-13 [2016], Flying Note): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Romulo Fróes: Por Elas Sem Elas (2015, YB Music, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories (2016, Bloodshot): [r]: B+(***)
  • Brian Groder Trio: R Train on the D Line (2014 [2016], Latham): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Electro Hafiz: Electro Hafiz (2016, Guerssen): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Heartsrevolution: Ride or Die (2013, Owsla, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Heartsrevolution: Ride or Die (2014, Owsla): [dl]: A-
  • Kel Assouf: Tikounen (2016, Igloo): [r]: B+(**)
  • LUME: Xabregas 10 (2014 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Branford Marsalis Quartet: Upward Spiral (2016, Okeh): [r]: B-
  • Mr. Lif: Don't Look Down (2016, Mello Music): [r]: B+(***)
  • Nacka Forum: We Are the World (2016, Moserobie): [cd]: B+(***)
  • New Standard Jazz Orchestra: Waltz About Nothing (2015 [2016], OA2): [cd]: B-
  • Sebastian Noelle: Shelter (2015 [2016], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cdr]: B
  • Bruno Parrinha/Luis Lopes/Ricardo Jacinto: Garden (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Pinegrove: Cardinal (2016, Run for Cover): [r]: B+(*)
  • Pup: The Dream Is Over (2016, Side One Dummy): [r]: C+
  • Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (2016, XL): [r]: B
  • Jim Self and the Tricky Lix Latin Jazz Band: ˇYo! (2016, Basset Hound): [cd]: B
  • Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: A Man Alive (2016, Ribbon Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Ukandanz: Awo (2016, Buda Musique): [r]: B+(*)
  • Underworld: Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (2016, Astralwerks): [r]: B+(**)
  • Waxwing: A Bowl of Sixty Taxidermists (2015, Songlines): [r]: B+(**)
  • White Lung: Paradise (2016, Domino): [r]: B+(**)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Can't You Hear Me? 70's African Nuggets & Garage Rock From Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (1970s [2016], Now-Again): [r]: A-


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Brazzamerica (self-released)
  • Sara Gazarek/Josh Nelson: Dream in the Blue (Steel Bird): August 5
  • Mike Jones Trio: Roaring (Capri): July 15
  • Mathias Landaeus: From the Piano (Moserobie)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend Roundup

Travel disrupts my normal news browsing. I'm lucky to keep up with my email, find it hard to write on notebook keyboards, never listen to the radio, only watch TV when that's happening somewhere I'm staying (which did get me some History Channel in CT, CNN in Buffalo, and Weather Channel in AR). So I'm catching up here, and this week's links and comments are pretty hit-and-miss.


  • David Atkins: Gun Violence Research: If Republicans in Congress Won't Do It, California Will: One of the major problems with debates over gun control is the general lack of serious research into the problem. We have some rough numbers about total shootings but little else, in large part because the NRA has worked very hard to keep any research from getting funding. So if California does this, it will be a big help to anyone who wants to base policy on real data.

  • Andrew Cockburn: Victory Assured on the Military's Main Battlefield -- Washington: Back in the 1980s the "star wars" program was originally dubbed SDI, but I recall someone quipping that it should have been SFI, for Strategic Funding Initiative. It is one of the Pentagon's more famous multi-billion-dollar boondoggles, but far from alone. The military may or may not get the wars they lobby for, but somehow they always manage to get extravagant funding:

    Inside the Pentagon, budget planners and weapons-buyers talk of the "bow wave," referring to the process by which current research and development initiatives, initially relatively modest in cost, invariably lock in commitments to massive spending down the road. Traditionally, such waves start to form at times when the military is threatened with possible spending cutbacks due to the end of a war or some other budgetary crisis. [ . . . ]

    The latest nuclear buildup is only the most glaring and egregious example of the present bow wave that is guaranteed to grow to monumental proportions long after Obama has retired to full-time speechmaking. The cost of the first of the Navy's new Ford Class aircraft carriers, for example, has already grown by 20% to $13 billion with more undoubtedly to come. The "Third Offset Strategy," a fantasy-laden shopping list of robot drones and "centaur" (half-man, half-machine) weapons systems, assiduously touted by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, is similarly guaranteed to expand stunningly beyond the $3.6 billion allotted to its development next year.

  • Steve Fraser: How the Age of Acquiescence Came to an End: Author of last year's The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power, now admits that:

    So consider this essay a postscript to that work, my perhaps belated realization that the age of acquiescence has indeed come to an end. Millions are now, of course, feeling the Bern and cheering The Donald. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the first signs of what was to come as I was finishing my book: the Tea Party on the right, and on the left Occupy Wall Street, strikes by low-wage workers, minimum and living wage movements, electoral victories for urban progressives, a surge of environmental activism, and the eruption of the Black Lives Matter movement just on the eve of publication.

    Also, after noting that not just the left but also the right has rediscovered the class struggle of the 1930s:

    Hillary Clinton is broadly distrusted. Sanders has consistently outpolled her against potential Republican opponents for president because she is indeed a limousine liberal whose career has burned through trust at an astonishing rate. And more important than that, the rebellion that has carried Sanders aloft is not afraid to put capitalism in the dock. Trump is hardly about to do that, but the diseased state of the neoliberal status quo has made him, too, a force to be reckoned with. However you look at it, the age of acquiescence is passing away.

    It should be added that while both right and left seek to build on mass disposession, the left offers programs that appeal to those without power, whereas the right seeks to redirect that fear and anger against others, thereby insulating the wealthy from the wrath of the masses -- if not from the consequences of their own lust for violence.

  • Paul Krugman: Notes on Brexit: Eleven of them, concluding that Britain would be slightly better off if they vote down the referendum threatening to part company with the European Union. Still, the biggest point is that exit would be bad for the City's financiers, which probably means as little to the average Briton as Wall Street bonuses mean to most Americans. Beyond that, he dismisses "claims that Britain, freed from EU rules, could achieve spectacular growth via deregulation." I haven't read much on this topic and don't have much to offer, other than the thought that exit might be preferable if Britain was solidly to the left of Europe -- and therefore able to use its independence to further equality -- but with the Tories controlling Parliament that pretty clearly isn't the case. (On the other hand, Scottish independence would likely have moved Scotland to the left, although that wouldn't have been good for English Labour.)

    The Brexit thing took a nasty turn with the assassination of Jo Cox, a Labour MP who strongly opposed Brexit, by a right-winger who shouted "Britain first" while attacking her. It would be fitting if her martyrdom swings the vote to no, but I can think of more than a few strategic assassinations that, often despite initial sympathy, did the job. As for the killer, there is much available, like Ben Norton: Suspected killer of British lawmaker is neo-Nazi -- but media blamed mental illness, like Charleston 1 year ago.

  • Stephen Kinzer: Don't mythologize Ali's rage: Probably much more worth reading on the late Muhammad Ali, but this is a good start, focusing on his courageous political stances against racism at home and imperialism abroad, and how recent eulogies tend to sanitize him in a time when "his message is every bit as urgent today as it was when he first began preaching it."

  • Ronald B Rapoport/Alan I Abramowitz/Walter J Stone: Why Trump Was Inevitable: Nothing deep or surprising or even very informative here. The authors merely did some polling among likely Republican voters and found out that Trump was the most popular candidate, beating all the others in one-on-one contests with Cruz (48%), Rubio (43%), Carson (42%), Paul (37%), and Fiorina (36%) his closest challengers -- the most notable finding is that among ten contenders (the polling was done around Iowa caucus time) the lowest rating belonged to Jeb Bush (31%), with Kasich and Christie just a whisker better (32%). Another chart shows that Republicans thought Trump was more likely to win in November than any other candidate (56%, vs. 44% for Cruz, 39% for Rubio, and a mere 13% for Bush). Other charts show that Trump's signature issues (banning Muslims, building his wall) were widely favored not just among Trump supporters but among all Republicans. As I said, nothing revealing there (except perhaps how doomed the Bush campaign was from the beginning).

  • Aaron Rupar: Senator Who Has Received More NRA Suport Than Anyone Blames Obama for Orlando Shooting: John McCain, $7.7 million, although most of that came during his 2008 presidential campaign, an unfair advantage compared to all the other NRA stooges in Congress. McCain's thinking here is that Obama opened the door for ISIS when he oversaw the withdrawal of US occupation forces from Iraq. The implication is that were it not for Obama's folly no one would have heard of ISIS, so no deranged westerner could pledge allegiance to the group in the midst of a killing spree. McCain may be one of the last true believers in the magical powers of American military power, or he may just have wanted US troops to stay in Iraq because their presence sustains the war he so dearly loves. If one has to blame Obama for this, it would make more sense to question his decision to send troops back to Iraq (and on to Syria) to fight ISIS, reinforcing the view that America is at war with Islam and has callous disregard for anyone who gets in the way. Clearly, America's long and seemingly intractable involvement in the Middle East's wars is leading to both sides disrespecting and dehumanizing the other. I don't think either Bush or Obama ever wished to paint their wars with racism but as those wars drag on, with us and them killing the other, their remonstrations are lost on demagogues like Trump. McCain, at least, has started to walk back his charges. Still, he hasn't betrayed his sponsors.

    Of course, what actually happened in Orlando doesn't fit at all well with the preconceived notions of someone like McCain. That the shooter was born a Muslim and had heard of ISIS seems almost incidental, even as that he was so filled with rage and armed with an assault rifle is so quintessentially American. For a profile, see 'Always Agitated. Always Mad': Omar Mateen, According to Those Who Knew Him.

  • Some light reading on Donald Trump:


Also, a few links for further study (briefly noted:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Krugman's Truthiness

I wanted to write about this scurrilous piece [Paul Krugman: The Truth About the Sanders Movement] before my trip -- it was posted May 23 -- but never found the time (and my tools weren't much help). The problem isn't that Krugman claims the high ground of truth, although that's usually a tell of an impending bullshit dump. It starts with a quite from Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels charging that "Mr. Sanders's support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men." Rather than finding Sanders' support from "disaffected white men" a damning fault, I'd argue that it is a remarkable breakthrough: it shows that a demographic that has lamentably trended Republican in recent years -- indeed one that seems to be the not just the core but the limits of Trump's constituency -- is less monolithic and more open to a progressive candidate whose articulation of not just their interests is free of the Republicans' customary chauvinism. That sounds like a win to me -- one that Clinton should study and aspire to. As for Sanders' shortfall "among liberal ideologues," that may be because differences between pro-labor social democrats (leftists) and liberals run deep. The latter have always been pro-business individualists -- something partially bridged by the New Deal but which has come roaring back with the New Democrats' hook, line and sinker embrace of the chilling economic doctrines of neoliberalism.

Krugman goes on to observe that "Sandersism has been an assemblage of people with a variety of motives," and offers this taxonomy:

  1. Genuine idealists: "maybe because they're very young" and "ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can't be accomplished in a day."
  2. Romantics: "shades over into something that's less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement"; but "when reality began to set in, all too many romantics reacted by descending into bitterness, with angry claims that they were being cheated."
  3. Purists: "those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose; "Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about the results, only about affirming personal identity."
  4. CDS victims: "Clinton-haters, deep in the grip of Clinton Derangement Syndrome"; "Sanders has gotten a number of votes from conservative Democrats who are voting against her, not for him, and for sure there are liberal supporters who have absorbed the same message, even if they don't watch Fox News."
  5. Salon des Refuses: "policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the inner circles of the Democratic establishment, and saw Sanders as their ticket to the big time."

I suppose Krugman would consign me to the "purists." I did, after all, vote for Nader in 2000, and have been consistently critical of many of the policy choices made by the Clinton and Obama administrations: especially how they continued with little (Obama) or no (Clinton) critical thought the neocon establishment's imperialistic foreign policy, but also how they (again, Clinton more blatantly) have repeatedly slagged their voters to advance the interests of their financiers. But where Krugman sees me as merely "affirming personal identity," I see real and substantial policy differences, especially regarding war/peace and inequality -- easily the two most important political issues we face today. Implicit in Krugman's argument that we should make pragmatic choices is the assumption that policy options like peace and equality aren't possible, but his logic is circular: as long as we keep picking politicians (like the Clintons) who believe that war and inequality are inevitable, they will be. Sanders offered the first explicit challenge to this paradigm since Nader -- sure, Obama offered vague hope for change but that didn't amount to much -- so my view is that it would have been dishonest and cowardly not to vote for Sanders over Clinton when given the chance.

Krugman goes on to speculate that "Purists and CDSers won't back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway." Maybe I'm not such a purist after all, as I've been planning on voting for Clinton (assuming she is nominated) vs. the Republican nominee all along. Granted, I know and respect people who say they won't -- they don't want to feel responsible for the next war she blunders into, and I have to admit that the odds of that happening are scary high. But one lesson I learned from the Nader debacle in 2000 was that most of the people we realistically hope to support leftist candidates will in the end vote Democratic anyway. Sometimes you have to support them in order to get them to support you. Indeed, most of the people I know in Kansas who are planning on supporting third-party candidates will be watching the polls and voting for Clinton if it gets close. Clinton carrying Kansas won't make much difference in the electoral college, but a Democratic win would chip away at the myth of invincibility that helps the Republicans dominate (and ruin) the state. Even "purists" realize that electing lesser evils than Sam Brownback would help reduce the damages caused by Republican extremism.

I have less to say about Krugman's other categories, especially idealists and romantics, the sort of fuzzy terms use to dismiss people who haven't yet degraded into embittered cynics. I find it hard to believe that any Sanders supporters are as deluded as the self-described progressives who profess that Hillary is (perhaps secretly) one with them -- and I say that knowing a few that believe just that (including at least four old friends from my recent road trip).

Some while back Krugman argued that Obamacare was practically equivalent to single-payer, and I more/less bought his argument. The key equivalency there is that both aim at universal coverage, and my takeaway (which, by the way was also Bernie's) was that it was important to support Obamacare because it would establish universal coverage as basic public policy. Still, Obamacare wasn't as effective at realizing universal coverage as single-payer would have been, and it left every facet of the profit-seeking health care industry intact, in some cases slightly more regulated but in most respects as greedy as ever. And it also meant that Democrats were taking any prospect for a much better health care system off the table, out of their platform, and moving it into "pie in the sky" territory. Krugman seems to be arguing for a similar equivalency between Hillary and Bernie, saying that for all practical purposes neither will achieve more than the other, but at least Hillary is possible (and necessary given that the alternative is Trump), whereas Bernie is off limits, tempting us with more than we can possibly hope for. Some of my friends think the same thing, although Krugman is exceptional in that he claims the laws of economics disprove Bernie -- although few things are more deeply rooted in politics than the so-called laws of economics.

It might be amusing to work out a similar taxonomy of Clinton supporters, but it's likely to be equally misleading. There can't be all that many neocons or bank lobbyists, although their money speaks volumes. Mostly she leads the timid, promising them little and, if the past history of campaign populism from Wilson to Obama holds, delivering even less. The one thing you have to credit the Republicans with is that even in abject defeat after colossal failure they strut like they rule the world and cower the mainstream media into fawning cowardice. But part of the problem is that the Democrats have never been able to distinguish friends from foes. How else can you explain them blaming Nader for Gore's loss in 2000, as opposed to packing the Supreme Court, or the media's eagerness to treat the teetotaling GW Bush as America's favorite drinking buddy while never noticing Dick Cheney lurking behind the scenes. And could Bush have done so much damage had no Democrats joined in his tax cuts, deregulation, "no child left behind," Patriot Act, or invasion of Iraq? As with Clinton's NAFTA, "crime bill," "welfare reform," balanced budgets, and repeal of Glass-Steagall, often the most effective enemy of Democratic voters is their own leaders. It's not clear to me how Hillary, whose career is dogged by bad decisions, unreliable allies, and one stupid scandal after another, breaks that mold.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26674 [26674] rated (+0), 447 [424] unrated (+23).

That is, nothing new rated in the last 15 days, while I've been busy driving around half of the the eastern half of the United States (KS, MO, IL, IN, KY, WV, MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, MA, PA, OH, AR -- twice missed OK by only 1 mile). Took me a couple extra days to get this post together, so I can report the unpacking, way down below. Also didn't manage to buy a single CD -- I remember past trips of similar length where I brought back a hundred or more. As it was, the only record store I even saw was CDepot in College Park, Maryland: drove by and meant to return but didn't manage it. (I don't think I've ever been there without spending at least $200, so it would have been the one store to go to if I managed to go to one.) Still, I hardly ever buy things these days, so that streak would likely have fallen.

I got a rude awakening when I got back: All Music Guide has added some programming to prevent you (or at least me) from seeing any of their pages. Their gripe is that they've detected that I'm using Add Blocker, and they're insisting that either I disable it or "continue with a paid subscription." The $12 annual "ad-free" subscription is actually pretty modest considering how much I've used their website in the past, but the way they're going about this is pretty nasty. I also wonder what happens when they realize I'm also running NoScript and have 11 of their 15 JavaScript domains blocked -- all sorts of hideous, annoying, possibly dangerous shit.

So I balked, then turned to All About Jazz to at least get the musician lineup and song list on the album I was streaming, only to find that they want "$20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!" That doesn't sound like nearly as good a deal. (OK, review-wise AAJ is a cut above AMG, but it's less useful discographically, harder to search, more confusing, and it's only jazz.) They also have a "sign up and become a member" feature, like (or unlike, I'm not sure) AMG introduced a while back. AAJ doesn't charge for membership -- looks like it mostly lets them spam you, and lets you contribute free data to them. But then I'm only allowing 6/12 AAJ script domains, and fear that funding their "website expansion" will add more to the clutter than to content or accessibility (I understand there are some cases where JavaScript might be useful, but all this promiscuous script cross-referencing is a plague on the web).

AMG and AAJ are valuable websites, and it can't be easy funding them. But they're also profit-making companies, and they are at least partly built on contributed content (no idea how much if anything they pay writers -- M. Ricci has offered to publish me but hasn't offered to pay me anything). So it's hard to say that adding new revenue streams will offer anything in return to anyone but the owners. And while some websites may be worth paying for, as a practical matter most people cannot afford or justify more than a few such subscriptions. I expect that the effect there is that those sites that succeed at subscriptions will crowd out any others. That may indeed be part of the rationale. But it should also make those sites less popular, and ultimately less valuable. I don't know what the answer is (other than the currently utopian one of publicly supported democratic sites; free markets work OK for rivalrous goods, but are pretty much impossible for non-rivalrous ones).

One thing I haven't tried yet is an "anti-adblock killer" like Reek. For one thing, it adds to the arms race between between sites that try to seize control of your browser running on your computer and your basic right to defend yourself against their attacks. For another, it seems to depend on Greasemonkey, a piece of possibly invidious technology that I've never gotten the hang of. (Basically, it allows you to write or use scripts that change the way your browser works, for better or perhaps more often worse.)

Two more bits of news on returning:

  1. I see that Rhapsody has decided to rename itself Napster, thereby throwing away all the free promo work I've done for the streaming service since 2007. They're promising the same service for the same rates, so this shouldn't be as disruptive as when they switched to Flash for their streaming layer (what a headache that was). But it probably means I'll change the name of my monthly compendium of music notes to something else, and almost certainly that won't be Napster Streamnotes.
  2. Speaking of profit-seeking websites, the people who gave you that free resume-sharing site LinkedIn are cashing in on all your data and loyalty to Microsoft for $26.2 billion. The likelihood that they're going to share any of that bounty with you is nil, and the chances the site will become any less parasitic or predatory aren't much better. This is, of course, just a bigger version of the fortune AMG and AAJ are aiming for, and it's easy to see their recent member programs and ad extortion as efforts to improve their market value -- i.e., as signs that the end is near. It may be time to start thinking about new website projects again.


Lots of ideas pop into my head while I'm driving. I met John Chacona in Erie, PA, and one thing he was interested in was what I was my music cases and what I was listening to on the road. I have two cases with 80 CDs each, plus one more with 40, so I usually take 200 with me. I used to load these things for each trip, but had gotten lazy and had only shuttled a few discs in and out each trip: the first things to go were current jazz I was working on, then I generally cut back on jazz and hip-hop, often in favor of old rhythm & blues, rock & roll, and country -- those seem to work best for driving, although I preferred jazz in the motel room back when I thought to bring a boombox along. (My wife's iPod would eliminate the need for the boombox, but she doesn't always come along.) So I resolved two things: one is to jot down a list of the CDs for this trip; the other is to unpack the cases when I get back, so I can start fresh next time. What follows is the list, with date/label data from the database (which doesn't always match the disc, especially in cases where the CD replaced an LP). Multiple disc sets are noted, and something like "1/3CD" means I only had one of three CDs.

  • The Abyssinians: Tree of Satta: Volume 1 (1969-2003 [2004], Blood & Fire)
  • King Sunny Ade: The Best of the Classic Years (1967-74 [2003], Shanachie)
  • Lily Allen: It's Not Me, It's You (2009, Capitol)
  • Lily Allen: Sheezus (2014, Warner Brothers/Regal)
  • Louis Armstrong: 16 Most Requested Songs (1954-66 [1994], Columbia)
  • The Beautiful South: Welcome to the Beautiful South (1989 [1990], Go! Discs)
  • The Beautiful South: 0898 Beautiful South (1992, Go! Discs)
  • Sidney Bechet: The Legendary Sidney Bechet (1932-41 [1988], RCA)
  • Big Youth: Screaming Target (1973 [2006], Trojan/Sanctuary)
  • Bobby Bland: The Voice: duke Recordings 1959-69 (1959-69 [1991], Ace)
  • The Blasters: The Blasters Collection (1980-85 [1991], Slash)
  • Bootsy: Back in the Day: The Best of Bootsy (1976-82 [1994], Warner Brothers)
  • James Brown: In the Jungle Groove (1969-72 [2003], Polydor)
  • James Brown: The Best of James Brown Volume 2: The '70s [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection] (1970-76 [2002], Polydor)
  • James Carter: The Real Quietstorm (1995, Atlantic)
  • Johnny Cash: The Essential Johnny Cash (1955-1983) (1955-83 [1992], Columbia/Legacy, 3CD)
  • Manu Chao: Clandestino (1998, Ark 21)
  • Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul (1951-59 [1991], Rhino/Atlantic, 3CD)
  • The Clash: London Calling (1979 [2004], Epic/Legacy)
  • The Coasters: 50 Coastin' Classics (1954-68 [1992], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Leonard Cohen: Live in London (2008 [2009], Columbia, 2CD)
  • Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation (2002, Beggars Banquet)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle (1968-70 [1976], Fantasy)
  • Culture: Two Sevens Clash [30th Anniversary Edition] (1977 [2007], Shanachie)
  • Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1970 [2005], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Ani DiFranco: Which Side Are You On? (2012, Righteous Babe)
  • DJ Shadow: The Private Press (2002, MCA)
  • Fats Domino: My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino (1949-61 [1990], EMI)
  • Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International: Heavy on the Highlife (1990, Original Music)
  • The Drifters: The Very Best of the Drifters (1959-64 [1993], Rhino)
  • Champion Jack Dupree: A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree (1990-93 [2000], Rounder)
  • Ian Dury & the Blockheads: Jukebox Dury (1977-80 [1981], Stiff)
  • Dave Edmunds: From Small Things: The Best of Dave Edmunds (1970-2002 [2004], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (1966 [2003], Bluebird)
  • Duke Ellington: Meets Coleman Hawkins/And John Coltrane (1962 [2011], Impulse)
  • The English Beat: Special Beat Service (1982, IRS)
  • Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974, EG)
  • Marianne Faithfull: Broken English (1979, Island)
  • Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again (1957 [2003], Verve, 2CD)
  • The "5" Royales: Monkey Hips and Rice (1952-62 [1994], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Franco: Francophonic: A Retrospective, Vol. 1: 1953-1998 (1953-98 [2008], Sterns Africa, 2CD)
  • Aretha Franklin: Aretha's Gold (1967-68 [1969], Atlantic)
  • Lefty Frizzell: Look What Thoughts Will Do (1950-63 [1997], Columbia/Legacy, 2CD)
  • Slim Gaillard: Laughing in Rhythm: The Best of the Verve Years (1946-54 [1994], Verve)
  • Gang of Four: A Brief History of the 20th Century (1979-83 [1990], Warner Brothers)
  • Marvin Gaye: The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (1962-82 [2001], Motown, 2CD)
  • Don Gibson: RCA Country Legends (1958-66 [2001], Buddha)
  • The Go-Betweens: 1978-1990 (1978-90 [1990], Beggars Banquet)
  • Al Green: Greatest Hits (1972-75 [1995], Hi)
  • Coleman Hawkins: Hollywood Stampede (1945-47 [1989], Capitol)
  • Coleman Hawkins: At Ease With Coleman Hawkins (1960 [1992], Prestige)
  • The Holy Modal Rounders and Friends: I Make a Wish for a Potato (1975-99 [2001], Rounder)
  • Lightning Hopkins: Jake Head Boogie (1951-54 [1999], Ace)
  • Howlin' Wolf: Howlin' Wolf/Moanin' in the Moonlight (1951-61 [1986], Chess)
  • Michael Hurley/Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Frederick & the Clamtones: Have Moicy! (1976 [1991], Rounder)
  • Mississippi John Hurt: Rediscovered (1965-66 [1998], Vanguard)
  • Abdullah Ibrahim [Dollar Brand]: Tintinyana (1971-79 [1988], Kaz)
  • Elmore James: The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (1951-61 [1993], Rhino)
  • Etta James: The Definitive Etta James (1954-2004 [2006], Geffen/Chronicles)
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson: Making History (1984, Mango)
  • Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five: The Best of Louis Jordan (1942-45 [1975], MCA)
  • Louis Jordan: Five Guys Named Moe: Original Decca Recordings Vol. 2 (1939-55 [1992], MCA)
  • Joy of Cooking: American Originals (1970-72 [1992], Capitol)
  • Le Grand Kallé: Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music (1953-83 [2013], Sterns Music, 2CD)
  • Ronnie Lane: One for the Road (1976 [1995], Edsel)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis: Rare Tracks (1956-63 [1989], Rhino)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis: The Definitive Collection (1957-81 [2006], Hip-O/Chronicles)
  • Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool (1975-78 [2008], Yep Roc)
  • Taj Mahal: The Best of Taj Mahal (1967-74 [2000], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions: The Anthology (1961-77 [1993], MCA, 2CD)
  • Roger Miller: All Time Greatest Hits (1964-85 [2003], Mercury/Chronicles)
  • Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall (1974 [1996], Rhino)
  • The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers (1971 [1986], Rhino)
  • Van Morrison: Into the Music (1979, Warner Brothers)
  • Maria Muldaur: Richland Woman Blues (2001, Stony Plain)
  • Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy: Good Time Music for Hard Times (2009, Stony Plain)
  • Willie Nelson: [/Webb Pierce:] In the Jailhouse Now/[/Hank Snow:] Brand on My Heart (1982-85 [2000], DCC)
  • New Order: Brotherhood (1986, Qwest)
  • New York Dolls: In Too Much, Too Soon (1974, Mercury)
  • Niney and Friends: Blood and Fire (1971-72 [1998], Trojan)
  • Pere Ubu: Datapanik in the Year Zero (1975-82 [1996], Geffen, 1/5CD)
  • Houston Person: The Art and Soul of Houston Person (1996-2008 [2008], High Note, 3CD)
  • Pet Shop Boys: Very (1993, Capitol)
  • Astor Piazzolla: The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla (1957-88 [2005], World Music Network)
  • Wilson Pickett: A Man and a Half: The Best of Wilson Pickett (1961-71 [1992], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (1975 [1992], Capitol)
  • Prince: The Hits/The B-Sides (1978-93 [1993], Paisley Park, 1/3CD)
  • Professor Longhair: Crawfish Fiesta (1980, Alligator)
  • Public Enemy: Power to the People and the Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits (1987-98 [2005], Def Jam)
  • Don Pullen: Ode to Life (1993, Blue Note)
  • Amy Rigby: Diary of a Mod Housewife (1996, Koch)
  • Roberto Juan Rodriguez: El Danzon de Moises (2002, Tzadik)
  • The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (1972, Virgin)
  • Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (1957 [1988], Contemporary OJC)
  • Pharoah Sanders: Welcome to Love (1990, Timeless)
  • The Shirelles: The Very Best of the Shirelles (1958-63 [1994], Rhino)
  • Horace Silver: The Very Best (1954-66 [2005], Blue Note)
  • Zoot Sims: Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers (1975 [1991], Pablo OJC)
  • Sly and the Family Stone: Greatest Hits (1967-69 [2007], Epic/Legacy)
  • Todd Snider: Live: The Storyteller (2010 [2011], Aimless, 2CD)
  • Hank Snow: The Essential Hank Snow (1950-73 [1997], RCA)
  • Swamp Dogg: Best of 25 Years: F*** the Bomb, Stop the Drugs (1970-95 [1996], Virgin)
  • Rachid Taha: Diwan (1998, Polydor)
  • Art Tatum/Ben Webster/Red Callender/Bill Douglass: The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8 (1956 [1990], Pablo)
  • Television: Marquee Moon (1977 [2003], Elektra/Rhino)
  • The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970, Warner Special Products)
  • Bunny Wailer: Crucial! Roots Classics (1979-82 [1994], Shanachie)
  • Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (2008-09 [2009], 161, 2CD)
  • Muddy Waters: The Definitive Collection (1948-76 [2006], Geffen/Chess/Chronicles)
  • Ben Webster: Soulville (1957 [1989], Verve)
  • Ben Webster: Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (1959 [1991], Verve)
  • Mary Wells: The Best of Mary Wells [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection] (1961-64 [1999], Motown)
  • The Who: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1965-68 [1971], MCA)
  • The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976, Island)
  • Hank Williams: The Original Singles Collection (1942-52 [1990], Polydor, 3CD)
  • Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (1988, Rough Trade)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson: The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (1955-64 [1993], Chess, 2CD)
  • Wire: On Returning (1977-1979) (1977-79 [1992], Enigma)
  • Stevie Wonder: Number 1's (1963-2005 [2007], Motown)
  • X-Ray Spex: The Anthology (1977-78 [2002], Sanctuary/Castle, 1/2CD)
  • Lester Young: The Essential Keynote Collection 1: The Complete Lester Young (1944 [1987], Mercury)
  • Lester Young: The President Plays With the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952 [1997], Verve)
  • Neil Young: Tonight's the Night (1975, Reprise)
  • ZZ Top: Deguello (1979, Warner Brothers)
  • African Connection, Vol 1: Zaire Choc! ([1988], Celluloid)
  • Afro Latin: Via Dakar (1960s-80s [2011], Syllart, 2CD)
  • Afro Latin: Via Kinshasa ([2011], Syllart, 2CD)
  • Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 3: 1955-1958 (1955-58 [1985], Atlantic)
  • The Best of Ace Records, Vol. 2: The R&B Hits (1955-60 [1993], Scotti Brothers)
  • The Best of Doo Wop Uptempo (1954-63 [1989], Rhino)
  • The Best of Excello Records, Vol. 2: Southern Rhythm 'n' Rock (1954-66 [1990], Rhino)
  • The Best of Studio One (1967-80 [2006], Heartbeat)
  • Creole Kings of New Orleans (1950-58 [1992], Specialty)
  • Dance Floor Divas: The 70s (1974-82 [1996], Rhino)
  • Finger Poppin' and Stompin' Feet: 20 Classic Allen Toussaint Productions for Minit Records 1960-1962 (1960-62 [2002], Capitol)
  • Girl Group Greats (1960-65 [2001], Rhino)
  • Groove 'n' Grind: '50s and '60s Dance Hits (1957-67 [1990], Rhino)
  • Guitar Paradise of East Africa ([1991], Earthworks)
  • Hurricane Zouk ([1988], Earthworks/Virgin)
  • Millennium Funk Party (1972-83 [1998], Rhino)
  • Motown: The Classic Years (1960-72 [2000], UTV, 2CD)
  • The Music in My Head ([1998], Sterns)
  • New Millennium Rock 'n' Roll Party (1954-59 [2000], Rhino)
  • Nigeria 70: Sweet Times: Afro-Funk, Highlife and Juju From 1970s Lagos (1970-84 [2011], Strut)
  • The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm and Blues (1944-74 [1994], Rhino, 6CD)
  • Roots of OK Jazz: Congo Classics 1955-1956 (1955-56 [2010], Crammed Discs)
  • The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll 1946-1954 (1946-54 [2004], Hip-O, 3CD)
  • The Rough Guide to Highlife [2nd Edition] (1969-84 [2012], World Music Network)
  • Scratchin': The Wild Jimmy Spruill Story (1956-63 [2014], GVC, 2CD)
  • This Is Ska! (1962-70 [1997], Music Club)
  • Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961-1966 (1961-66 [2011], Phil Spector/Legacy)

Not necessarily the best 200 CDs I could have taken. There's some amount of accident and drift here, but they're all A- or better (often much better). I probably played a little more than half of these on this trip. I can't say as I was ever disappointed.


Unpacking: Found in the mail last couple of weeks:

  • Ben Adkins: Salmagundi (Ben Adkins Music): July 8
  • Kris Allen: Beloved (Truth Revolution)
  • Ricardo Bacelar: Concerto Para Moviola: Ao Vivo (Bacelar)
  • The Michael Blum Quartet: Chasin' Oscar: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson (self-released)
  • Corey Christensen: Factory Girl (Origin)
  • Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Ikue Mori/Evan Parker: Miller's Tale (Intakt): advance
  • Dan Cray: Outside In (Origin)
  • Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble: Havana Blue (3Sixteen)
  • The Diva Jazz Orchestra: Special Kay! (self-released)
  • The Evenfall Quartet (Blue Duchess)
  • Cheryl Fisher: Quietly There (OA2)
  • Fresh Cut Orchestra: Mind Behind Closed Eyes (Ropeadope)
  • Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (Intakt): advance
  • David Greenberger, Keith Spring, and Dinty Child: Take Me Where I Don't Know I Am (Pel Pel)
  • Joonsam: A Door (Origin)
  • Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Play All the Notes (Hot Cup, EP)
  • Joel Miller: Dream Cassette (Origin)
  • Russ Miller and the Jazz Orchestra: You and the Night and the Music (Doctheory)
  • Bob Mintzer: All L.A. Band (Fuzzy Music)
  • Bryan Nichols: Looking North (Shifting Paradigm)
  • Marc Ribot/The Young Philadelphians: Live in Tokyo (Yellowbird)
  • Daniel Schmitz/Johannes Schmitz/Jörg Fischer: Botanic Mob (Sporeprint)
  • Jürgen Wuchner/Rudi Mahall/Jörg Fischer: In Memoriam: Buschi Niebergall (1997, Sporeprint)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Trip Report


May 2016 Jul 2016