Tag Archive | music

#MusicMonday – Summertime – Billy Stewart

Billy Stewart was an R&B singer active in the 1960s.

He met Marvin Gaye through the Rainbows, a Washington, DC vocal group. Bo Diddley has been credited with discovering Stewart in Washington, DC. This led to a recording with Bo Diddley’s label Chess Records.

Amazing: I didn’t know that Marvin Gaye and Bo Diddley had ties to Washington DC.

Here’s Billy Stewart singing what Wikipedia calls his “radical interpretation” of Summertime from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Forgive the blurriness of this video.

Not sure about the 10-gallon hat and the folks sitting around on hay bales. 🤔

Billy Stewart died in an automobile accident in 1970. He was 32.

Shout-out to the Sunday Kind of Love program on WPFW 89.3 FM for introducing me to Billy Stewart.

Sources: Continue reading

#MusicMonday “I call your name” Johnny Clegg and Savuka

South African singer Johnny Clegg died on July 16, 2019 of pancreatic cancer. He was 66. He was instrumental in bringing South African music to a broader audience during the apartheid era.

Here is Johnny Clegg performing “I Call Your Name” with his biracial band Savuka in 1988:

Is this cultural appropriation?  We’ve become more sensitive to this issue over the years.  I don’t know how Johnny Clegg was perceived at the end of his life, but 30+ years ago, cultural appropriation didn’t stick to him, as he immersed himself into Zulu culture, to the point that he was called the White Zulu.

 

American Anthem

Today I listened to a delightful program on NPR called American Anthem. Among the songs that the show profiled were:

  • The Star Spangled Banner (naturally)
  • America The Beautiful
  • Fanfare for the Common Man, by Aaron Copeland
  • Born in the USA
  • God Bless The USA
  • America, by Simon & Garfunkel
  • This Land is Your Land
  • The Times They Are a-Changing
  • Get Together, as performed by the Youngbloods
  • Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178, by Antonín Dvořák
  • Dixie

NPR writes:

Sometimes, a song isn’t just a song: It’s shorthand for an idea. Some songs can rouse and rally huge masses of people at once, whether they’re chanting in a stadium, marching in the streets or sweating it out on the dance floor.

American Anthem: The Playlist. (2019, July 01). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.npr.org/2019/07/01/736718887/american-anthem-the-playlist

NPR has put together a playlist that not only includes the songs listed above but also songs that have reached “anthemic status.”

I think that this playlist should include Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” What other songs do you think should be included?

#MusicMonday Top Ten #Christmas Songs Written by Jews

The two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ—the divinity that’s the very heart of the Jewish rejection of Christianity—and what does Irving Berlin do? He de-Christs them both! Easter, he turns into a fashion show [Easter Parade] and Christmas into a holiday about snow [White Christmas].

That quote from Phillip Roth begins Marc Tracy’s article “From ‘Winter Wonderland’ to ‘White Christmas,’ the Top Ten Christmas Songs Written by Jews” in Tablet magazine and quite frankly, I can’t think of a better way to begin this post.

I’ve assembled a playlist of the de-Christed secularized Christmas songs listed in Tracy’s article:

There’s plenty of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra here, but the one video that catches my eye and ear is the video of Mel Tormé and the one, the only Judy Garland singing The Christmas Song (aka Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), which Tormé co-wrote with Bob Wells. Who knew? I didn’t even know that Mel Tormé was Jewish.

If you want to listen to Nat “King” Cole’s iconic rendition of The Christmas Song, visit #MusicMonday Nat “King” Cole “The #Christmas Song”.

Source:

Tracy, M. (2016, December 09). From ‘Winter Wonderland’ to ‘White Christmas,’ the Top Ten Christmas Songs Written by Jews. Retrieved December 21, 2018, from https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/music/22910/have-yourself-a-jewish-little-christmas

#MusicMonday – God Bless America – Kate Smith – #VeteransDay

Today is Veterans Day, so it’s only appropriate that today’s #MusicMonday feature is a patriotic song “God Bless America,” composed by Irving Berlin and sung here by Kate Smith, who is linked forever to the song.

The slow introduction is new to me.

#MusicMonday 5 songs from the 80s That You Might Have Forgot

The article Ten Songs From the ‘80s That You’ve Probably Forgotten About from PJ Media inspired me to put together this short playlist of five songs from the 80s that you might have forgotten (or else don’t know because you were born later):

Source:

Queen, C. (2018, October 2). Ten Songs From the ’80s That You’ve Probably Forgotten About. Retrieved October 8, 2018, from https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/10-songs-from-the-80s-that-youve-probably-forgotten-about/

#MusicMonday – Taurus – Spirit

Today’s #MusicMonday feature is the instrumental Taurus by the sixties band Spirit.

Why is this relevant? Notice the riff in Taurus. Does it sound like the beginning of Stairway to Heaven?

Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a jury’s decision that Led Zeppelin did not plagiarize the chords from Spirit’s Taurus. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit that accused Led Zeppelin of stealing portions of “Stairway to Heaven” from “Taurus,” which was written by Randy California (né Randy Wolfe) of the 1990s band Spirit. The dispute stemmed from a passage 45 seconds into “Taurus,” which sounds like the opening guitar tones of “Stairway,” which was released three years after “Taurus.”

I won’t comment on the merits of the lawsuit, but it’s unfair to say “if the other guys were any decent, more people would have heard of em.”  No, no, no.  Spirit was great.  Songs like “Fresh Garbage” and “I Got a Line on You” were fixtures of late 1960s FM radio.


Sources:

C. Clarke [Aus4Aus] (2018, September 29). Great, what a crock! Some of the notes sound the same, but they are completely different. Love Led Zeppelin, if the other guys were any decent, more people would have heard of em.. The Artist is dead, just a Greedy estate rep trying to scam $$$$$$$$$ [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Aus4Aus/status/1045890297241063424.

Dolan, M. (2018, September 28). Court orders new trial over claim that Led Zeppelin stole ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Retrieved September 30, 2018, from http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-zeppelin-copyright-9th-circuit-20180928-story.html

Wolfe, R. (1968). Taurus. On Spirit. Retrieved September 30, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFHLO_2_THg