Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah



Cantillation with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, conducted by Antony Walker (thanks to Buck for the coding). The Robert Shaw version is also quite nice, and Steve Audio passed on this great version by the Roches:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Odetta





Here's three selections in two videos. For the first video, from 1969, "the first song she performs is based on a Negro "field blues" song known simply as "Black Woman," then [she] duets with Cash on "Shame And Scandal In The Family," which was written by a calypso artist who went by Sir Lancelot, in the 40s." The second video is a live version of Odetta performing "House of the Rising Sun" from 2005.

Meanwhile, here's the Washington Post and NPR obituaries, a 20 minute New York Times video interview (via Paul at Impolitic Eye) and a clip of a radio interview.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Beatles - "Two of Us"



This seemed like a good pick for Thanksgiving, although Dido's "Thank You" still works well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tom Paxton – "I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae"



Tom updates his classic. Boy, some things don't change, do they? Will Rogers made jokes about "trickle down" economics... Meanwhile, here's a good fan video of Arlo Guthrie on Precious Friend covering Tom's original:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Marvin Gaye – "His Eye Is On the Sparrow"



This version is the one from Marvin Gaye: A Musical Testament 1964-1984. There's another version out there that's better known and smoother. It's great too, but I like the rawer edge to Marvin's vocal in this version. To me, it's always expressed the fervent yearning of someone desperate to believe, but plagued by doubt. He's trying to convince himself. Identity is often not a static thing, but defined by tensions like that. Societies and political movements can be like that, too. Here's to all that yearning and striving, and to one hell of a week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Golden Earring – "Twilight Zone"



Somewhere in a lonely hotel room there's a guy starting to realize that eternal fate has turned its back on him.

I think this and "Radar Love" are their best. Back in the 80s, this one made quite a splash (at least at our school) as one of the first really cool videos, and the censored-in-the-States nudity helped the chatter. This version is the crispest currently on the web, although there's one unfortunate and unintentional skip early on. You'll also hear the standard radio-version edit during the instrumental break, since the full album version runs about 7 minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Red Elvises – "I Wanna See You Bellydance"



With all this talk of socialism and the "real America," really, there was only band to feature…

(Bonus: Here's the best version currently posted of "Drinking with Jesus," although it's hard to make out the lyrics.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain



You'll recognize the tune. Via Brave Sir Robin. (I think Paul Anka's cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" works better than their version, but their rendition of Morricone music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is worth checking out.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

John Coltrane - "My Favorite Things"



In honor of Coltrane's birthday on the 23rd...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

John Lennon - "Gimme Some Truth"



Boy, after all the lies at the RNC, a certain song comes to mind... (The video volume is low, but much cleaner than the other version I found.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Travis — “Selfish Jean” (live)



The Club Blue pick from 8/30/07.

This post concludes my retro project for older picks, unless I find new versions of yanked videos or videos that now disable embedding.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

James Brown and Marvin Gaye



James Brown – "I'm Black and I'm Proud"



Marvin Gaye – "Let's Get It On"

We've already featured "A Change is Gonna to Come," so here's something to mix it up a bit. Here's to history, and to all those who made it possible, with a tune for the fighters, and one for the lovers. We need 'em both as we march to November, and beyond.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Beatles - "I'm So Tired"



Just the track here, but a great one, which goes out to all my fellow insomniac bloggers...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tilly and the Wall – "Pot Kettle Black"



With the increase in conservative mudslinging, swtifboating and smears, this seemed sorta appropriate...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – "Red Clay Halo" and "The Way It Would Be"





In honor of this past weekend's Newport Folk Festival (NPR now has the audio posted), here's Welch and Rawlings, with two selections showing off their versatility. (Welch is perhaps best known for "Look at Miss Ohio.")

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sonny Landreth





Riffing off the slide guitar earlier this week, here's a double dose of Sonny Landreth, "Uberesso" and "Native Stepson," live from the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007. Landreth's got a wild, very impressive technique.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nanci Griffith — "I Wish It Would Rain" (Live, 1988)



I like this performance, although you can hear the harmony better on the studio version.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kiri te Kanawa — "O Mio Babbino Caro"



The Club Blue pick from 6/14/07. More on this Puccini at the original post.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

U2 — "Beautiful Day"



I've featured this one before (and it's a gas to play), but Roy's most excellent post provides the spur:

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, MAKE VENOMADE. Let's see how they're reacting to Obama's speech at National Review's The Corner. First up: Greg Pollowitz.

U2's "Beautiful Day"... is playing at the Barack Obama rally. No Americans write music Obama likes?


Ooooh, the pickings are gonna be mighty slim. K-Lo:

John McCain seriously needs some of these screaming girls behind him.


Good luck with all that. The rest of Roy's post is great, too (natch), but boy, I'm looking forward to kicking these folks' asses in November. Ain't no time like the present to get started!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Janis Joplin — "Piece of My Heart" (Live)



In Stockholm, 1969. The video's murky, but this has by far the best sound quality of all the live versions I've found. Goddam, I love her singing this song.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Godspeed You Black Emperor — "The Dead Flag Blues"



A fan video for the track. Some of their music appears in the film 28 Days Later. Not for all tastes, but it's striking and memorable, and they have a devoted following. Here's their Wiki entry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Feist — "1 2 3 4"



The Club Blue pick from 5/10/07. I love this video.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Willie Nelson, Diana Krall and Elvis Costello — "Crazy"



Willie just turned 75 yesterday, so one of his most famous songs seemed like a good choice. Happy Birthday, Willie!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lily Allen — "LDN"



The Club Blue pick from 4/19/07.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Goldfrapp — "A & E"



An offbeat video for their new album. They seem to enjoy lyrics that really contrast their tunes. Here's their Wiki page and (pretty cool) website.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sam Cooke — "A Change Is Gonna Come"



With all the great posts and discussions on Martin Luther King over the past two weeks (many of them heartbreaking), this song has been running through my head, and this fan video about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement is very well done. It's remarkable that MLK was only 39.

Cheap sentiment doesn't get me weepy. This does. It's one of the most soulful, moving vocals I can think of.

I think the only hope for the human race is in giving a damn about people who aren't us. Arlo Guthrie once said that we should push for loving one another, but settle for peace. That's not a bad sentiment, and probably a wise strategy, but I do feel the key to the most lasting, positive change lies in pushing for, developing, and showing compassion. There's a radical idea whose time has always come.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Alison Krauss — "You Will Be My Ain True Love"



Written by Sting for the film Cold Mountain, directed by Anthony Minghella, who died recently, and far too soon. You can hear Alison's other performance for the film, "The Scarlet Tide" (written by Elvis Costello), in a fan video here. Both songs were up Best Original Song Oscars.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Steve Martin — "Dentist!"



From Little Shop of Horrors. Recapping my life of the past two weeks...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

U2 — "Pride (In the Name of Love)"



In honor of one of the best speeches on race I've heard in a while, here's the matching song to MLK. (Performing it is also one of my fondest memories, but that's another tale.) Oh, and since it was St. Paddy's Day recently, it's doubly appropriate. The leprechaun with the mullet's got some soul, doesn't he?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Duffy — "Mercy"



Yet another Welsh woman going retro, this time Ms. Aimee Anne Duffy, with a catchy little tune. What can I say, other than Cyrmu am beth, baby? (Oh, and Welshman Tom Jones is not retro. He's a classic.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nelly McKay — "Sari"



The Club Blue pick from 3/1/07.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová — "When Your Mind's Made Up"



Congratulations to these two on their well-deserved Oscar for Best Original Song, from one of the best films of 2007, Once. I previously featured their winning song, "Falling Slowly," here. This is probably my other favorite from the film. The video quality ain't great, but the audio track is clear.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Two Pieces from Verdi's Otello



Tito Gobbi — "Credo in un Dio crudel" from Verdi's Otello

Sorry, another multiple video entry. I only really got into opera after college, but Verdi's Otello is one of my favorites, and I'm seeing it again tonight. This is one of my favorite arias, as Iago explains his "belief in a cruel God." The video's a bit out of synch here, but Tito Gobbi really sells the juicy deviltry of the piece. A translation is here. Opera buffs might enjoy comparing it to Mephistofele's "Son lo spirito che nega" ("I am the spirit who says no") from Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele, since Boito wrote the librettos for both operas. (Alas, I could not find an English translation of the Mefistofele piece online. I actually worked on the Verdi aria a bit in college, but was far too shy at the time to commit to the unabashed melodrama of the piece.)




Renée Fleming — "The Willow Song" from Verdi's Otello

I just couldn't pass up this performance of one of Otello's signature arias. A translation is here. Fleming's voice is simply gorgeous as well as nuanced, and I appreciate her acting in this clip, too. She's completely present, and that helps her fully inhabits this piece musically as well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lily Allen — "Smile"



The Club Blue pick from 2/15/07.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day: Three Tracks

In, um, honor of Valentine's Day, here's a super-sized, three track edition.



Ben Folds Five — "Song for the Dumped"

We'll kick if off with one fiery breakup song!



The Bird and the Bee — "Fcking Boyfriend" (live)

Really, what sensitive (available) gent could deny the charming Miss Inara George here? (Here's the studio version, for comparison.)



Marvin Gaye — "Let's Get It On" (live)

We'll close with the master. (Here's the studio version, and here's another live version, this one with a prominent horn section.) As Harlan Ellison once quipped, "Love ain't nothing but sex misspelled."

If you want more, NPR has both more anti-Valentine's Day songs and a bunch of other stories for you more touchy-feely saps. Ehh, whatever.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Beatles discuss "Sexy Sadie"



With the recent death of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I couldn't help but think of the most famous (veiled) song about him, although some folks claim John's take was unfair. Here's more footage of the Beatles in India and a fan video of the full song. Michael Gerber has an interesting piece on how the Maharishi helped John to a certain (perhaps crucial) degree despite any animosity, and David Lynch is one of those mourning.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – "Your Long Journey"



A fan video for what I think's the most gorgeous of the tunes on their new album together.

(This was my Club Blue pick subbing for Questiongirl a while back, but I'm a slacker getting it up here. Big surprise there.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sade – "By Your Side"



That's one silky vocal.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nicole Atkins — "The Way It Is"



Here's the performance that earned Nicole Atkins a host of new fans. (The studio version is here, for comparison.) Here's her Wiki entry, official website and MySpace page. Her recent tour with The Pipettes must have been an interesting pairing.

I particularly enjoy the look on her face at the end, and hope that every performer has had that feeling at least once. In her case, it's her first solo national TV gig, and she knows she's absolutely nailed it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

U2 — "MLK" (live)



A fan video of the studio version is here. There are also some great a capella choral versions of this song (I performed one years back), but none with good sound quality that I could find online.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sarah McLachlan — "When She Loved Me"



Since I posted "Save Me" from Aimee Mann last week, here's another one of the Oscar nominees from that year, written by Randy Newman, who's playing piano. It's from Toy Story 2, where it's used for a Velveteen Rabbit-like sequence. It's much better than the song Newman finally won an Oscar for, some much more generic, forgettable song called... hmm...

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iron and Wine — "Southern Anthem"



The Club Blue pick from 1/04/2007, which has a longer post.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Aimee Mann — "Save Me"



I felt like a little Aimee Mann tonight. Some people prefer "Wise Up," but this is still my favorite tune from Magnolia, where it's fantastically used.