Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Great Umm Kulthum

I first heard a recording of this legendary Egyptian singer in the mid-Seventies when a housemate, an escapee from Yemen, played it with friends. The live performance was as thrilling because of the audience reaction as for the impassioned delivery of her song.

Apparently her performances could last up to five hours, but here is a sample from her Enta Omri (You Are My Life) given at Paris' Olympia Théâtre in 1967:

Sunday, October 29, 2023

If ever you're tempted to write...

 A moment I can't forget is Peter Richardson as Al Pacino in The Comic Strip Presents' episode 'The Strike.' The writer has scripted a lengthy impassioned speech and the Hollywood superstar dismisses it with:

'I can say all that by the way I stand.'

At what point did movies run away from words? Maybe when Hollywood's Golden Age European émigré / refugee writers left the scene.

Anyhow, a classic, and thank goodness it's on Youtube:

Friday, October 27, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Ray Ellington, by JD

Henry Pitts Brown (17 March 1916 – 27 February 1985), known professionally as Ray Ellington, was an English singer, drummer and bandleader. He is best known for his appearances on The Goon Show from 1951 to 1960. The Ray Ellington Quartet had a regular musical segment on the show, and Ellington also had a small speaking role in many episodes, often as a parodic African, Native American or Arab chieftain (but also often, with no attempt to change his normal accent, in counter-intuitive roles such as a female secretary or a Scotsman).
Ray Ellington - The Irish Were Egyptians Long Ago

Ray Ellington - The Three Bears

Ray Ellington:Goonshow 1955

78 RPM – The Ray Ellington Quartet – The Teddy Bears’

The Ray Ellington Quartet Plays Mr. Sandman

Monday, October 23, 2023

Proxy War Poll

 Which proxy warfighter do you support?

1) Kiev regime

2) Hamas

3) Both

4) Neither

Friday, October 20, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Dr John; Voodoo NiteTripper! by JD

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019), better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined New Orleans blues, jazz, funk, and R&B.

As a young man, Rebennack was interested in New Orleans voodoo, and in Los Angeles he developed the idea of the Dr. John persona based on the life of Dr. John, a Senegalese prince, conjure man, herb doctor, and spiritual healer who came to New Orleans from Haiti. This free man of color lived on Bayou Road and claimed to have 15 wives and oven 50 children. He kept an assortment of snakes and lizards, along with embalmed scorpions and animal and human skulls, and sold gris-gris, voodoo amulets which supposedly protect the wearer from harm. Gris-Gris became the name of Dr. John's debut album, released in January 1968, representing his own form of "voodoo medicine".

Not sure how seriously he took voodoo but it became part of his stage persona along with some spectacularly colourful clothes and show.
Dr. John & Eric Clapton - Right Place, Wrong Time 1996

Dr. John - Such a Night

Dr. John - Swanee River Boogie (new upload)

Dr. John - Didn't He Ramble ; Closer Walk With Thee

Dr. John - Goin' Back To New Orleans (Video)

Dr John "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" Live in Brooklyn

Friday, October 13, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Edith Piaf, by JD

The Rugby World Cup is currently in progress in France and is being televised. And in the TV's introductory montage I caught the familiar strains of Edith Piaf singing 'Je Ne Regrette Rien' which reminded me.......

One of my friends at school had a copy of Piaf singing 'Milord.' Don't know where he found it or why. I think it was on the 'B' side of her most famous song, the one being used for the TV coverage. A great barrel house honky tonk style with added gallic flair! We would sing along with it rather raucously. Well, here is the great lady herself and she is/was much better than we were!
Edith Piaf Non Je Ne Regrette Rien [Live]

La Foule

Edith Piaf - Hymne à l'amour ( "Paris chante toujours")

EDITH PIAF - Milord (Live) 1959 Best Quality Found!

Edith Piaf - La vie en rose (Officiel) [Live Version]

Friday, October 06, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Norman Blake, by JD

Norman L. Blake (born March 10, 1938) is a traditional American stringed instrument artist and songwriter. He is half of the eponymous Norman & Nancy Blake band with his wife, Nancy Blake.
Most of the music that Norman Blake plays could be described as neo-traditionalist Americana folk and roots music (folk, bluegrass, country, blues), and many of the songs he plays are traditional, but he plays this acoustic type of music with a style, speed, and quality that has evolved and progressed in the modern age. Though probably best known for his fluid renditions of classic fiddle tunes transcribed for the guitar ("Fiddler's Dram/Whiskey Before Breakfast"), Blake has also written songs that have become bluegrass and folk standards, such as "Ginseng Sullivan", "Slow Train through Georgia", "Billy Gray", and "Church Street Blues".

Blake is revered within American folk music circles because of his many accomplishments. He’s put out more than 40 studio albums, backed up Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan on the seminal Nashville Skyline, and worked with the legendary John Hartford during Hartford’s most creative period. Blake also recorded with singer Joan Baez and appeared on her hit song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, played dobro on the 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Later, he performed on the album Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, which won five Grammy Awards, and worked with T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Norman Blake Documentary: 
Legendary guitarist, singer, and songwriter Norman Blake 
discusses and performs clips from his album "Wood, Wire and Words." 
This video was shot at Cook Sound Studio atop Lookout Mountain 
in Fort Payne, Alabama, in July 2014.

"I'm Going to Georgia" - Norman and Nancy Blake with James and Rachel Bryan

Norman Blake flatpicks Randall Collins and Done Gone

Tony Rice & Norman Blake - New River Train

Norman and Nancy Blake "My Dear Old Southern Home" and "New Money":
Norman and Nancy Blake discuss some of their beliefs about music and sing the tune "My Dear Old Southern Home." Norman also discusses their guitars as well and plays "new Money" with Nancy.

Blake is another welatively unknown 'superstar' - if the likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, Alison Krause and many more want you to play in their recording sessions then you are very very good!

Norman Blake is very very good.

Monday, October 02, 2023

Ocean viruses and carbon sequestration

new bacteria-infesting virus has been discovered in the western Pacific’s Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. 

Viruses kill 20% of the ocean’s biomass every day, breaking it down into constituents that are then taken up by other bacteria and also helping to form the ‘marine snow’ of particles falling to the ocean floor. 

A link in the above article leads to another that says ‘It is estimated that there are around 10^31 viruses in the world’s oceans accounting for ~94% of all biological entities (nucleic acid containing particles). Despite their small size, the amount of carbon they contain is estimated to be the equivalent of 75 million blue whales.’

This opens a window onto a great area of science and nature of which I was previously unaware.