Friday, August 31, 2007

A free Spragga Benz download

One of the tastiest tracks I’ve found in my search for free MP3s is “Hardcore Lovin’” by dancehall superstar Spragga Benz. It’s from his 1995 album “Uncommonly Smooth.”

Spragga flows like Shock G in “Humpty-Hump” mode, which is pretty comical. (I miss Humpty.)

To spin “Hardcore Lovin’” at my Vox site, click here. If you want that FREE download, follow this link to CNET’s

Spragga’s “Uncommonly Smooth” album is downloadable from iTunes and eMusic

Enjoy the long weekend, y’all.

MBP of the Week: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

There’s more than one way to misidentify a black person.

In an editorial on Monday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette made mention of “the outrages of Robert Mugabe’s ruinous [run] in Rwanda.”

The newspaper said: “His fellow dictators in Africa have done little but applaud their old comrade. It’s a common enough pattern: Vultures of a feather stick together.”

Yeah, maybe. But Robert Mugabe has nothing to do with Rwanda. He’s the president of Zimbabwe. (Hat-tip: Regret the Error.)

The Democrat-Gazette, in its correction yesterday, tried to play it off with a joke:

“The error was entirely our own and not that of our geography teacher in grade school.... The map of Africa has changed wildly since we had to draw it and memorize all the capitals back in class, which is no excuse for our mistake. Rather, our cartographic ignorance is one more strong argument for emphasizing geography, along with history, as a separate discipline in elementary school.”

Cute. But, of course, a map doesn’t have shit to do with knowing who’s president of which country.

Don’t feel too bad, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial writer. It happens to the best. On September 9, 1998, the New York Times published the following correction:

“Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about Congo peace talks in Zimbabwe misidentified President Robert Mugabe’s country. It is Zimbabwe, not Zambia.”

Friday Concert: Ice-T and Body Count

You might not have much desire to see Ice-T leading his ghetto-metal band, Body Count. Especially the part where he mock-rapes a female dancer (during “Bring It to Pain”).

If you do, Body Count’s complete 2006 concert in Amsterdam is embedded below, by means of (Of course, it includes Ice-T’s performance of “Cop Killer.”)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A free Fats Domino download

KCRW, the SoCal public radio station, has a podcast called “Today’s Top Tune” – a free MP3 download of the day. Yesterday’s tune, in commemoration of Katrina, was by that grand old man of New Orleans R&B, Fats Domino.

“The Fat Man,” released in 1949, was one of the first tracks Domino ever cut. It became a nationwide hit, and launched a career in which he would sell 65 million records.

Fats Domino can still rock the live stage; he played his first post-Katrina gig three months ago at Tipitina’s.

Due next month is “Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino,” which honors him as a songwriter. Tracks from superstars such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Neil Young and Herbie Hancock make this double-CD one to watch for. (Los Lobos handles “The Fat Man.”)

Part of the proceeds of the album will go towards rebuilding Domino’s home, which was destroyed by the flooding after Katrina.

Now, if you wanna download that FREE 1949 “Fat Man” track, you have to go through a few steps:

At the iTunes Store, click on Podcasts, then look under “Featured Providers” for KCRW. Go to the KCRW page, and look for the title “KCRW’s Today’s Top Tune.” Click it.

You’ll see Fats Domino listed... but not for long. These KCRW giveaway tracks are only up for a couple of days, so move fast if you want this one.

Now, click the button that says “Get Episode,” and the song will download to your podcast library. You can then transfer it to the music library by pulling down the “Advanced” menu from the iTunes menu bar, then clicking “Convert Selection to ACC.” That’ll do it.

To hear “The Fat Man” beforehand, click here and stream it at my Vox site.

UPDATE (08/31/07): Aw hell. I waited too long to post about the Fats Domino freebie. It’s now gone from KCRW’s podcast list. Sorry about that.

Obama’s Katrina video

The top Democratic candidates for president put a lot of videos up on YouTube. You know that, right?

But only Barack Obama’s campaign posted a video yesterday to mark the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans. It’s a very well-produced 5½-minute piece. Here it is:

Hurricane Katrina on UBM-TV

Let’s continue our remembrance of New Orleans and the victims of Hurricane Katrina...

On my Video Bar I’ve pulled up some YouTube clips by “bnvn1,” a.k.a. Douglas Kiesling, a.k.a. The Weather Paparazzi. He shot video in New Orleans from August 28 through August 30, 2005 – before, during and after Katrina’s landfall.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kiesling doesn’t allow embedding. To watch these videos, you’ll have to double-click through to

Even with the Weather Paparazzi logo watermarked across the screen, there’s something unsettling about this raw footage. Including the fact that Kiesling, from Minnesota, traveled to New Orleans to document the destruction like some thrill-seeking (and money-chasing) ghoul. I guess that’s what a professional storm-chaser has to be. But still...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Playlist: Katrina

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath inspired many musicians and songwriters over the past two years. And not only native New Orleanians like Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr.

I’m streaming some Katrina-related tracks on my Vox blog. Click the song titles below to listen to them.

1. “Katrina” – James Blood Ulmer

Ulmer, an extraordinary jazz/blues guitarist, isn’t from Louisiana. But this track from his latest CD – “Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions” – couldn’t be more haunting and heartfelt.

Downloadable from iTunes and eMusic.

2. “Sweet Home New Orleans” – Dr. John

Perhaps the Crescent City’s greatest musical ambassabor, Dr. John released the EP “Sippiana Hericane” within months of the storm. But he originally wrote this track in the 1990s.

Downloadable from iTunes.

3. “Katrina” – Fathead

Fathead is reputed to be Canada’s hottest blues band. This zydeco stomper is off Fathead’s new album, “Building Full of Blues,” which is downloadable from eMusic.

4. “What’s Happening Brother” – The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (feat. Bettye LaVette)

A year to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band released its remake of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” album, with guest artists including Chuck D and Ivan Neville. A great concept, superbly executed.

This funky track – downloadble from iTunes – demonstrates why the DDBB is considered the baddest horn band in New Orleans.

5. “A Change Is Gonna Come” – Aaron Neville

Neville’s “Bring It On Home... The Soul Classics” was also released one year after Katrina. Its mood is one of optimism and perseverance in the face of tragedy.

Aaron Neville has recorded this Sam Cooke classic twice before. And he can still break your heart with it.

Downloadable from iTunes.

A free Katie Webster download

Not many people, beyond hardcore blues heads, know the name Katie Webster.

A standout boogie piano player from the age of 15, Webster played on hundreds of recordings in Southern Louisiana during the 1950s and ’60s (for stars like Slim Harpo and Clifton Chenier).

Her two-fisted piano style and gutty vocals brought her worldwide acclaim in the ’80s and ’90s. (They really dug her in Europe.)

Katie Webster’s later albums attracted superb guest musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and the Memphis Horns.

Ms. Webster passed away in 1999 at age 63, leaving behind much rockin’ music. One track, “I’m Still Leaving You,” you can download as a FREE MP3 from Just follow this link. (To give it a pre-listen, click here and hear it on my Vox audio stash.)

Now, a little something extra for your listening pleasure: Katie Webster’s cover of “Ya Ya,” the 1961 hit by New Orleans soul man Lee Dorsey. Webster’s rendition, labeled “Sitting In My La La,” is from a 1992 CD recorded in Germany and released in Europe – “The Many Faces of Katie Webster.” Click here to listen.

Wednesday 45 Flashback: ‘Iko Iko’

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. And things ain’t been right since.

So today on this blog, it’s all about Southern Louisiana, starting with this platter from YouTube’s 45 king, spoonfedcornbread.

The Mardi Gras song “Iko Iko” was first recorded in the 1950s by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, and has been covered by the likes of Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Cyndi Lauper and the Grateful Dead.

But the hit version was this one by the Dixie Cups, a girl group out of New Orleans. Their 1965 single reached No. 20 on the pop chart, and No. 20 on the R&B chart.

I’m not old enough to remember “Iko Iko” from the radio. But anybody who’s American has heard this tune some kind of way.

UPDATE (08/29/07): If you’d like an MP3 of Sugar Boy Crawford’s original version (titled “Jock-a-Mo”), Nancy Nall has it up on her blog. Follow this link; click the blue button at the bottom of the post. But move quickly; the download will only be available for 24 hours.

I had never heard Crawford’s version before, so thank you, Nancy, for sharing! (To hear it streaming on my Vox blog, click here.)

UPDATE (09/13/07): Oh crap, y’all. Looks like YouTube has suspended spoonfedcornbread’s account! If you try to check out any of his spinning platters, it’ll say: “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”

Dammit. Dee-double-dammit. I sure hope my calling attention to him didn’t lead to his downfall. I didn’t even know this was illegal. He was just an oldies deejay to me... playing cool records and getting people excited about music... bringing back sweet memories...

Shit. I don’t even have a way to contact him and find out what the deal is. We communicated through YouTube messages. Wow. I couldn’t wait to embed 45s like “I’m Doing Fine Now” and “Remember Me.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Brand New Heavies in L.A. (08/26/07)

After stumbling upon that Brand New Heavies concert on last month, I decided to get off my ass and check out the band live at House of Blues Sunday night.

The Heavies may not be virtuoso musicians, but they are a feel-good party band that gets the job done, and the fans were ready. They were especially ready for N’Dea Davenport, the star of the show, who rocked the older and newer material with power.

I really like how she’s put her own stamp on Stevie Wonder’s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You.” And my favorite cut off their last album – “Sex God” – is a killer concert number, thanks to Davenport’s dramatic performance.

After a one-hour set, the Heavies did a 20-minute encore, starting with a poppin’ version of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”

Good to see the Brand New Heavies still got some life in ’em. No doubt there’ll be more albums and plenty more gigs to come.

In the coming days and weeks, BNH will be opening for Macy Gray on the “Big and Heavy Tour.” (They’ll be in Forth Worth tomorrow night, and from there hitting Louisiana, Mississippi, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Columbus, New York, Baltimore and D.C.)

If you want to see a Fabchannel clip of the Heavies performing “I Don’t Know Why I Love You,” click here.

And I’ve got the album version of “Sex God” streaming on my Vox site; click here to check it out.

A free Bob Marley download

I do like finding the free (and legal) music downloads. And I like pointing y’all to the hippest ones. So I think I’ll keep this one-a-day groove going till the end of summer. Every day there’ll be a link to a tasty FREE MP3 right here.

And it doesn’t get tastier than Robert Nesta Marley. The CD “Roots, Rock, Remixed” came out last month; it’s the first Bob Marley remix project approved by the Marley family.

The freebie is “Soul Shakedown Party,” remixed by L.A.’s Afrodisiac Sound System.

There are several places you can download it from. One is the “Roots, Rock, Remixed” MySpace page. Or you can follow this link and cop it from CNET’s

To hear the track streaming on my Vox site, click here.

The album can be purchased for download from iTunes, eMusic or Calabash Music.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A free Amy Winehouse download

I’ve been in no rush to check out Amy Winehouse. Because when there’s that much record-industry hype behind an artist, I step back and say, “Okay, whatever.” (We all know the most interesting music is happening outside the major-label loop.)

I recently bought the single “Rehab.” It doesn’t rock my socks. And now that Winehouse seems to be turning into a tabloid train wreck, that song’s effed-up attitude is even more wrong.

But for those of you who dig the Amy, there’s a FREE 20-minute podcast available at AOL’s It includes unplugged performances of “You Know I’m No Good,” “Rehab” and “Love Is a Losing Game.” There’s also an interview, in which Amy shows love to Wu-Tang Clan, the Roots and Mos Def.

To download the podcast as an MP3, follow this link.

To sample her unplugged version of “Rehab,” click here to hear it on my Vox site.

Black people as monkeys: The wit and wisdom of Lawrence Auster’s readers

As any observer of far-right blogger Lawrence Auster knows (and I observe him the way birdwatchers gaze upon the yellow-bellied sapsucker), Mr. Auster resents the suggestion that he harbors an irrational animus toward black people... that he is a bigot.

He especially resents my suggestion of it, which prompted David Horowitz to exclude Auster from FrontPage Magazine. (Oh, such drama!)

How ironic, then, that Auster’s blog would welcome commenters who compare black people to monkeys.

On Saturday, Auster linked to this curious BBC story about an pack of vervet monkeys terrorizing a Kenyan village, stealing the people’s crops and mocking their women.

The villagers cannot kill any of these monkeys because that’s a crime; the vervets are protected by the Kenya Wildlife Service. So some villagers have abandoned their homes and farms. “I beg you,” said one village elder, “please come and take these animals away from here so that we can farm in peace.”

Auster didn’t remark on this article beyond pointing to it as “a weird story.”

But some of his readers saw it as a metaphor.

Mark J. wrote (with sarcasm): “I suppose the reason the monkeys are so aggressive and anti-social is that they were raised in deprivation and poverty. If only we would try harder to understand their pain, and maybe implement some after-school programs for them.”

Robert B. wrote (without sarcasm): “[T]his whole thing sounds a lot like life in the American ghetto. Males absent from what should be their role as protectors, women caring for the home, children and the ‘crop’ (welfare check)--the source of revenue. And of course, the monkeys themselves, who appear to act like American rappers (and their ‘wannabe’ emulators) with their gesturing at... their genitals.

“All in all, we can see African culture at its base.”

The blacks-as-monkeys metaphor didn’t draw a response from Mr. Auster, except that he highlighted Robert B.’s comment on his main page: “(Check out Robert B.’s analogy between Kenyan farms and the American inner city.)”

Perhaps Auster sees nothing objectionable in the comparison. Perhaps he’s not alone.

But it reminds me of an old text I recently discovered online – “The Negro: What Is His Ethnological Status?” It was published in 1867 under the pseudonym “Ariel.” In fact, the author was a Southern clergyman, the Rev. Buckner H. Payne of Nashville, Tenn.

Rev. Payne argued that Negroes weren’t descended from Adam and Eve.

“... Adam and Eve being white, ... they could never be the father or mother of the kinky-headed, low forehead, flat nose, thick lip and black-skinned negro...”

The minister continued: “[I]t follows, beyond all the reasonings of men on earth to controvert, that [the negro] was created before Adam, that, like all beasts and cattle, they have no souls.”

Rev. Payne then broke it down scientifically: “[W]e take up the monkey, and trace him ... through his upward and advancing orders – baboon, ourang-outang and gorilla, up to the negro, another noble animal, the noblest of the beast creation. The difference between these higher orders of the monkey and the negro is very slight, and consists mainly in this one thing: the negro can utter sounds that can be imitated; hence he could talk with Adam and Eve, for they could imitate his sounds.”

(You can download the full 48-page text of Buckner Payne’s “The Negro” as a PDF file, courtesy of Google, by following this link.)

To me, it’s no coincidence that this description of blacks as non-human was published in 1867 – after the South lost the Civil War. Southern whites didn’t have to bother defining Negroes as animals while they were enslaved. But once the Negro was free – and politically empowered during Reconstruction – that’s when the defeated white Southerner felt the need (psychologically, not just politically) to put forth this ugly idea.

And guess what? When white Southerners reclaimed their political dominance and disenfranchised black people, the monkey thing stuck.

In 1900, Charles Carroll published a book building upon Buckner Payne’s. “The Negro a Beast” cites the Apostle Paul’s declaration that “there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts.” Carroll wrote: “[I]t becomes plain that the dog, the swine and the negro all belong to one kind of flesh – the flesh of beasts.”

He argued further that the “red, yellow and brown” races resulted from the “amalgamation” of whites and blacks. Therefore, all those non-whites aren’t human either. To argue otherwise, according to Carroll, was a blasphemy equal Darwin’s theory of evolution:

“This modern church theory that the negro and the mixed-bloods are included in the Plan of Salvation is another result of putting man and the ape in the same family.”

(Charles Carroll wasn’t a clergyman, but there are many references to him as “Professor.” I haven’t been able to find out where he was a professor, or what his field of scholarship was.)

Carroll’s book was sold door-to-door to across the South and was “enormously influential,” according to Jane Dailey, a Johns Hopkins University historian. In a 2004 essay, Prof. Dailey quotes an earlier historian:

“During the opening years of the twentieth century [‘The Negro a Beast’] has become the Scripture of tens of thousands of poor whites, and its doctrine is maintained with an appalling stubbornness and persistence.”

(You can download “The Negro a Beast” as a PDF file by following this link.)

To give you a sense of the impact of “The Negro a Beast,” I dug up a reference to it by Bill Arp, a newspaper columnist who was hugely popular in the South. The following appeared in Arp’s column in the Atlanta Constitution on May 18, 1902:

“I have just received a pleasant letter from a North Carolina friend asking me what I think of Carroll’s book, ‘The Negro a Beast,’ and he asks, ‘Do you believe the nigger is a beast?’ I answered at the bottom of his letter, ‘Which nigger?’ ”


Which brings us back to Larry Auster and his thoughtful readership. I tracked down an email address for “Robert B.,” and I asked him:

“Isn't it funny that Lawrence Auster takes such grievous offense at the suggestion he harbors an animus towards black people... but he'll publish two letters on his website (including one from you) comparing black people to monkeys?”

Robert B. graciously replied:

“... I see no problem with it--Africa is what it is. Africans in America are what they are.... I have, from the very beginning, viewed the Black fashion trend of letting their rears hang out of their pants as akin to baboons with their brightly colored rears sticking out as well. The practice of grabbing one’s genitals is equally barbaric and is, as you can see from the article, akin to monkeys. Denying the obvious is a liberal trait, not an intelligent one. ...”

Well. I guess that makes a monkey out of me.

Something trippy from Pedro Bell

Yeah, that’s me standing in front of the coolest thing I’ll ever own: the original album-cover artwork for Funkadelic’s “Hardcore Jollies” (1976).

The artist – Pedro Bell – was as much a part of Funkadelic as any guitarist or singer. His spaced-out marker drawings and satirically grandiose liner notes added much to the mystique of P-Funk music.

I first interviewed Pedro around 1991 for my short-lived music fanzine UNCUT FUNK. We’ve been friends ever since. (My 1996 interview with him is archived here.)

With influences ranging from Robert Williams to Frank Zappa, Pedro is one of the deepest cats I know. And one of the nicest. And one of the strangest.

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a YouTube video that will delight any and all funkateers. Pedro Bell in 1997 was a guest on “Chic-A-Go-Go,” a Chicago cable-access show. Pedro was interviewed by a hipster puppet named Ratso. Then he did a strange little song-and-dance. And then the young kids in the studio audience boogied to Funkadelic’s “Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

I’m still tripping out.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Alexyss K. Tylor on UBM-TV

A tip of my hat to justjudith, who is having a ball with the Google Video Bar on her blog. She recently pulled up some clips of Alexyss K. Tylor, the Georgia sex lecturer and public-access cable guru who has become a mini-phenomenon on YouTube.

Ms. Tylor’s ridiculously frank disquisitions on “penis power” and “vagina power” will blow your mind, or crack you up, or squick you out. Either way, she’s never boring.

A free Rick James download

They say real gangstas don’t die. Well, three years after Rick James took up permanent residence in “Stone City,” he has a song on the radio. (Or so I read at EURweb.) The song is “Taste.” It’s off his “Deeper Still” CD, which contains tracks completed before Rick’s death.

“Taste” has an early-’80s smooth-funk feel that may please fans of a certain age. Matter fact, he “borrowed” the hook from one of Slave’s biggest hits. (Which is why us P-Funk fans, following the liner-note dictates of Pedro Bell, referred to the man as “Trick James.”)

You can cop a FREE (and legal) MP3 download of “Taste” from CNET’s Simply click here.

Or you can just give it a listen on my Vox site. Click here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Live dangerously.

Nowadays people need to be careful what they do with their hands.

Case in point: Virginia has developed a new advertising campaign to promote tourism. The slogan is “Live Passionately.” See that picture at the right? The woman’s hands? That heart shape is supposed to represent passion (as in “Virginia is for Lovers”).

Unfortunately, this particular configuration of the hands also represents allegiance to the Black Gangster Disciples, a notorious drug-dealing “street organization” rooted in Chicago.

The hand sign is demonstrated in the photo below, courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. It’s one of a variety of Gangster Disciple hand signs.

Well, once Virginia tourism officials found that out, they announced the symbol would be removed from all upcoming advertising.

Alisa Bailey, head of the Virginia Tourism Corp., said in a statement: "We have decided to adjust the new Virginia is for Lovers Live Passionately campaign due to concerns that the heart/hand symbol has a meaning other than what our agency intended.

“For the majority of people, the heart sign is a symbol of love – and the campaign’s images intended to convey a love of travel and love of Virginia. A heart has been our symbol since 1969 and we were looking for new ways to express it.”

The reaction to this turnabout? “Virginia got punked by the Gangster Disciples,” wrote Shanna Flowers, a Roanoke Times columnist. (Ms. Flowers is black.) “Here's an idea for a new campaign for the folks at the tourism agency: Virginia is for Wusses.”

Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond Times-Dispatch opined: “Don't get me wrong: Gangs are a serious problem, even in Virginia. No one is trying to make light of that. But have we reached a point where any gesture, no matter how innocent, is guilty by the obscurest of associations? Do we really need to give gangsters and thugs that much power over us?”

I say: Better safe than sorry. Why take a chance that some travel brochure or billboard could lead to the shedding of...

A free Susana Baca download

I was lucky enough to turn myself on to Susana Baca whilst gathering up Spanish-language music to use in a TV show.

Ms. Baca is a world-class ballad singer... and a renowned champion of Afro-Peruvian culture. The first song I heard her sing was the traditional lullaby “Drumi Mobila” on a Los Super Seven CD. (To hear it streaming on my Vox site, click here.)

Then I purchased one of her albums on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. And I used the song “Si Me Quitaran...” in “Kingpin.” (Click here to listen to that one.)

This week I was delighted to find a FREE MP3 of Susana Baca floating around on the internets. It’s “De Los Amores,” off her 2000 Luaka Bop album “Eco de Sombras.”

I won’t even spin it for you in advance. If you like the other two tracks, you’ll be proud to own this one. You can download it from cool-chick podcaster Anji Bee, whose music show is called the Chillcast.

Here’s what you do: Click here to go to Anji Bee’s Chillcast #77 playlist. Track 3 is Susana Baca’s “De Los Amores.” You’ll see: “free mp3.” Click that shit.

Then, if you have a hankering, you can buy “Drumi Mobila” or “Si Me Quitaran...” from iTunes. (“Si Me Quitaran...” is also available to eMusic and Calabash Music subscribers.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

They love you long time

There’s a great conversation going on at Carmen Van Kerckhove’s Racialicious blog concerning a series of photographs by artist O. Zhang.

Titled “Daddy and I,” this photo series (including the image above) poses white American males with their adopted Chinese daughters. (Yep... that’s a father-daughter picture.)

O. Zhang is a young Chinese woman who was educated in Beijing and London. She describes the artistic intent behind “Daddy and I” thusly:

“Through the relationship of the emerging feminine power of the adolescent girl to the mature father, each image explores the relation of the two often divided cultures: East and West.”

Zhang goes on to say: “I am curious about how the West sees the rapid development of contemporary China. The growing girls symbolize the future potential of China. ... [A]s the girls grow up, will they remain innocent adoptees under the tutelage of their western patriarchs?”

But as Carmen Van Kerckhove (of white and Asian ancestry) says, “there’s something very disturbing and exploitative about these pictures.”

Most of her commenters agree. “If these same photos were taken of little White girls with men of color I don’t think they would even be published. No matter what the relationship was,” writes one.

Another asks: “Was Woody Allen the influence of O. Zheng?” (Ohhh, snap!)

Friday Concert: The Family Stand

Remember the Family Stand, who put out some nice soul music back in the ’90s? They’re still playing. Matter fact, their new CD – “Super Sol Nova” – was released in Europe last month. (It’s available on iTunes.)

Ever feel like Europeans got more love for American soul music than Americans do? Or is the Man just up to his usual shenanigans... making it hard on brothers and sisters who try to do something a little bit different?

Anyway... the Family Stand performed in February at an awards show in Amsterdam. I’ve embedded one song below – “Sweet Liberation.” If you’d like to see the complete six-song set, click here and enjoy it on

The Eminem of dancehall?

I don’t keep up with what the kids are listening to these days, so I only heard of Collie Buddz yesterday. He’s got a hit reggae song called “Come Around”; the video was hot on BET and MTV, plus 900,000 views on YouTube. (Click here to watch it.)

Yeah, it’s catchy. But the twist is that Collie Buddz is white. Born in New Orleans, raised in Bermuda, Buddz (real name: Colin Harper) blew up in Europe before catching on in Jamaica and then here. White people love white people who sing like black people... and black people don’t seem to mind them either. (Ellliott Yamin, you still mah boy.)

Michel Martin interviewed Buddz last week on her National Public Radio program, “Tell Me More.” They dealt with the race thing. I’m streaming a one-minute clip on my Vox site; click here to hear it.

For Michel’s complete 9-minute interview, you can download a free podcast from iTunes. (Go to the Podcast section of the iTunes store; click “NPR” under Featured Providers; find “NPR: Music.” The Collie Buddz piece is part of the podcast dated 08-15-2007.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Something uninhibited from Louis C.K.

“Everybody who’s white should just wake up and go, ‘I’m fucking white! This is great! ... How easy is this shit? ... The police protect me...’ ”

Speaking of bold racial humor, I came across a clip of Louis C.K. from 2004. Now here’s the thing about Louis C.K. He deserves lifetime props for his creative collaboration with Chris Rock on HBO’s “Chris Rock Show.” (For directing “Pootie Tang”? Not so much.)

But from what I’ve seen of his standup comedy, C.K. to me is, like, almost funny enough. But not quite.

Well, this clip is funny. It’s C.K. talking about the time he performed for an all-black crowd at a “Mo Betta’ Monday” show at the Hollywood Improv. (He bombed.)

Coming attraction: ‘Skid Row’

There’s an intriguing documentary film arriving tomorrow. Pras Michel of the Fugees lived as a homeless person in downtown L.A. for nine days and nights, followed by hidden cameras. The result is “Skid Row.”

Click here to view the official theatrical trailer. (A different version, available on MySpaceTV, is embedded below.)

“Skid Row” will be playing in L.A. (at the Culver Plaza Theatres), New York (at the City Cinemas Village East) and Washington, D.C. (at the Landmark E-Street). I intend to check it out this weekend and share my thoughts about it here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Arnold Rampersad on Ralph Ellison

It’s amazing the amount of cultural information at our fingertips via the Internet. With enough time, one could give oneself a college-level education in pornography world history or gambling literature or lolcats philosophy.

You want to know a supremely cool resource? Public radio archives.

In June, Stanford English professor Arnold Rampersad spoke with David Inge on WILL-AM 580, the University of Illinois radio station. The subject was Rampersad’s new book, “Ralph Ellison: A Biography.”

Their conversation makes me hungry to read Ellison’s “Invisible Man” again; I haven’t since high school.

Prof. Rampersad has interesting insights on the major mystery of Ralph Ellison’s creative life: Why, after having written a great American novel, did he never finish a second one?

You can download the full 50-minute interview as an MP3 podcast here. (Click on the headphones icon, then save to disk.)

I’m streaming a 4½-minute audio bite on my Vox annex, dealing with the criticism Ellison received from black nationalists and separatists. The clip begins with a question from David Inge. Click here to hear it.

One more... just for fun

No competition. No prize. Just another “race difference” for y’all to ponder.

Any guesses what the chart above represents?

UPDATE (08/23/07): Wow. I don’t know how BlackinUSA does it, but he figured this one out too. The graph represents people without health insurance (in 1997). You can find it here on page 17.

Another round of Name That Race Difference

You guys up for another contest? I want to give somebody the brand new Cornel West CD, “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations.”

So here’s the game: See that chart above? It presents data for one year (1995) from one American state (I won’t say which).

What do those numbers represent? What statistical race difference do they illustrate?

The first person to correctly guess the meaning of that chart, and put the answer in the comments thread, will win the prize. Only one guess allowed per person, so make it a good one.

UPDATE (08/22/07): We have a winner. (I’m not stumping anybody with this game.) BlackinUSA revealed that the chart represents the percentage of pregnancies terminated by abortion in Oregon in 1995. You’ll find that chart here on an Oregon government webpage. (Figure 3-5.)

That means more than 40 percent of black pregnancies in Oregon that year were terminated by “legal induced abortions,” compared with about 25 percent of white pregnancies and about 15 percent of Hispanic pregnancies.

I don’t know about you, but it’s news to me that there are so many abortions among black folks nationwide. In 2000, black people were 12 percent of the U.S. population, but had 35 percent of the abortions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “The abortion rate for black women (30 per 1,000 women) was 3.1 times the rate for white women (10 per 1,000 women).”

There’s also something called the “abortion ratio” – the number of abortions compared with live births. The CDC says: “The abortion ratio for black women (503 per 1,000 live births) was 3.0 times the ratio for white women (167 per 1,000 live births).”

What does this mean? Is it something we should be talking about?

Vintage ‘Sesame Street’ on UBM-TV

Since spoonfedcornbread has got me recalling my childhood, here’s a serious flashback. I was part of the original “Sesame Street” generation. (“Electric Company” too. And if you wanna “zoom zoom zoom-ah-zoom,” I’m right there with ya, babe.)

My all-time favorite recurring feature on “Sesame Street” was these musical counting films which I’ve gathered on my Video Bar. (Thanks to YouTube poster “mstatz.” Good on you, Mike!)

To this day, I get a thrill when they count down to the particular Number of the Day, then the animation goes haywire and the kids are all like, “Five! Five! Five! Five! Let’s sing a song of five! How many is five?”

These segments, directed by Jim Henson himself, are known amongst aficionados as the “baker” or “falling baker” films because of the slapstick gag at the end of each one. But before I saw them again on YouTube, I didn’t even remember that baker dude. I remembered the drum fills.

Wednesday 45 Flashback: ‘Love Land’

From the dynamite video collection of YouTube’s 45 king, spoonfedcornbread, here’s another record I owned when I was a kid.

“Love Land” debuted on Billboard’s R&B chart on March 7, 1970, climbing only to No. 23. It actually did better on the Top 40, reaching No. 16.

The next single for Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band would be “Express Yourself,” their smash hit. But something about the smoother groove of “Love Land” really captures the flavor of 1970 for me.

To spoonfedcornbread, my man... keep doing what you do!

UPDATE (09/13/07): Oh crap, y’all. Looks like YouTube has suspended spoonfedcornbread’s account! If you try to check out any of his spinning platters, it’ll say: “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.”

Dammit. Dee-double-dammit. I sure hope my calling attention to him didn’t lead to his downfall. I didn’t even know this was illegal. He was just an oldies deejay to me... playing cool records and getting people excited about music... bringing back sweet memories...

Shit. I don’t even have a way to contact him and find out what the deal is. We communicated through YouTube messages. Wow. I couldn’t wait to embed 45s like “I’m Doin’ Fine Now” and “Remember Me.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lisa Lampanelli in L.A. (08/18/07)

Well, I got off my ass and went to check out Lisa Lampanelli at the Wiltern Theatre on Saturday night.

I was curious about two things. 1) What type of audience does she draw? 2) So soon after the Flavor Flav roast, would she dish any behind-the-scenes dirt?

The crowd was an amazing mix. Lots of older couples (which surprised me, given the raunch factor of Lampanelli’s act). Lots of gay guys (they seem to travel in packs of four) and lesbians. Lots of Asians and Latinos, not so many black folks (considering she does so much racial humor).

What crossed my mind, watching this diverse crowd get seated, is that “diversity” isn’t about how different we all are. It’s about how similar. All these different types of folks came here for the same experience.

If they gave Nobel Peace Prizes to filthy, loudmouth bitches, Ms. Lampanelli would be most deserving. She brings human beings together.

And insults the shit out of them.

Boy oh boy... there is nothing this woman won’t say. And if you’re not bothered by at least one of her jokes, you’re probably a sociopath. If the AIDS joke doesn’t do it, the deaf joke will. If the Down Syndrome joke doesn’t offend you, then the rape joke definitely will.

(Yes, I said rape joke. Which went something like: “It’s a great way of cheating if the guy is hot.”)

It was like a pagan ritual of transgressive utterance. Shock comedy as aerobic workout. I laughed myself hoarse, even though much of her material (too much) was rehashed from her “Dirty Girl” cable special/DVD/CD.

I tried to write down some of her best lines, but the meaning doesn’t transfer to the printed word. It’s all about her stage persona, and the vibe of the crowd... it’s about the ritual.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have much to say about the Flavor Flav roast, except for this crack about Flav’s physical size: “Either him or Katt Williams is a pygmy. I thought one of ’em was gonna blow a dart right in my ass.”

For a dose of Lisa Lampanelli in a more free-wheeling format, listen to this clip of her on Penn Jillette’s radio show, where she and Penn got good and bitchy about Jerry Lewis, Nathan Lane and Sandra Bernhard. (Lampanelli links to it from her own website, It is hilarious.

A free Irakere download

My ongoing search for the very finest free (and legal) music downloads led me to Calabash Music (a site which commenter Jena6 told us about 10 days ago. Thanks, Jena6!).

Aside from being a great place to sample and purchase international music, Calabash offers one free MP3 download per week. All you have to do is register with the site. (Go ahead. Don’t cost you nothing.)

This week’s free track is a vintage jam from Irakere, the legendary Cuban band whose alumni include Paquito D’Rivera and Arturo Sandoval. It’s called “Bacalao con Pan” (“Codfish with Bread”). And when you name a song after food, it damn-sure better be funky.

This nasty groove was written by bandleader/pianist Chucho Valdés (pictured above). You must move quickly to cop it, because Calabash’s free downloads are only active for one week per song. And this week is almost half over already.

After you’ve registered at Calabash, here’s how to get that FREE Irakere track: Click here, scroll down to the button that says “Add to My Music,” click it, then follow the next set of instructions.

Whoa, Dave... that’s a lotta damn changes to go through for one free MP3. Is this “Bacalao con Whatever” worth it??

You tell me. I’m streaming “Bacalao con Pan” on my Vox blog; click here to test-drive it.

Insert Brigitte Nielsen joke here

As Freud might’ve said, sometimes an ice cave is just an ice cave. But this one had me remembering the Flavor Flav roast.

Hat-tip to Daithin for pointing to the remarkable glaciological photos of Jason Gulley.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Illegal immigrant = runaway slave? Buuullshit.

You probably heard on the news about Elvira Arellano, the illegal immigrant who was deported to Mexico yesterday after a year of claiming “sanctuary” inside a Chicago church. (She got caught in L.A., where she’d come to publicize the pro-immigration cause.)

Well, the law is the law. The United States has a duty to control who migrates into this country. So I’m not shedding any tears for Elvira Arellano (who got booted out in 1997 and snuck back in again).

But I heard a sound bite on the radio this afternoon that made a couple of my orifices clench.

Juan Jose Gutierrez, of something called “Latino Movement USA,” said: “It seems to us that the mentality and behavior by law enforcement of the runaway slave is alive and well.”

Oh no he di-in’t. He did not compare illegal immigration to black slavery... did he?

Then I saw a wire-service report where Señor Gutierrez popped up again. “A small group of protesters and activists condemned the deportation, comparing it to returning a slave to his masters,” according to Reuters.

“ ‘The message we take from the federal government is that there will be no mercy toward the modern-day slaves that are the undocumented workers,’ said Juan Jose Gutierrez, coordinator of Latino Movement USA.”


That’s what I can’t stand about the rhetoric of the hard left. It’s all about trying to manipulate people’s emotions. No clear-headed appeals to reason.

And make no mistake, Gutierrez is a hardcore revolutionary Marxist. I’ve downloaded a couple of his little speeches off the internets. His goal is to smash capitalism, so obviously he doesn’t want to strengthen America as it is; he wants to weaken it for the kill.

Hey, take your best shot, J.J. But don’t expect any black people to stand in solidarity with you on open immigration when you disrespect our struggle. Illegal immigration isn’t comparable to black slavery in any way.

One, nobody is dragging Mexicans here against their will. Two, no U.S. immigration official has lashed the bare back of any Mexican with a whip, as used to happen to “runaway slaves” who got caught. Three, Mexican workers get paid; they send billions of dollars per year back home to Mexico.

Gutierrez will use the deportation of Elvira Arellano to try to stoke up a couple of social-protest actions this coming fall. Whatever. I don’t care how he spends his time. I don’t care if he beats his meat to “The Bolivian Diary.”

I just say this: let’s treat our border like a border and build that fucking fence already. Those who wish to immigrate can line up in an orderly fashion and do it by the rules.

UPDATE (08/21/07): It had slipped by me that, even before Elvira Arellano got deported, her supporters were calling her “a Mexican Rosa Parks,” according to the L.A. Times. (Hat-tip: Sister Toldjah.)

The only positive thing about this is (as I mentioned in a comment), when it comes to social activism, the black civil-rights struggle is the gold standard for moral authority. When Latino activists invoke fugitive slaves or Sister Parks, they’re trying to cop some of that precious commodity.

To state the obvious: Rosa Parks was a citizen who defied an unjust law. Elvira Arellano is a non-citizen who defied a just law.

Cornel West’s new CD...

... hits the streets tomorrow. It’s called “Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations.” Its lineup of guest stars includes Prince, Andre 3000, Jill Scott, Gerald Levert, KRS-One, Talib Kweli and Chuckii Booker.

Before you get too excited about those first two names, you should know there’s a little recycling going on. Prince’s track, “Dear Mr. Man,” comes from his “Musicology” album, with Prof. West overdubbing some grateful words of introduction. And Andre’s “Chronomentrophobia” is on the “Idlewild” soundtrack.

I’m streaming a 7-minute portion of the official promotional sampler for “Never Forget” (including the Prince-song intro). Click here to hear it.

I must confess: I bought Prof. West’s first CD in 2001, but I never listened to it all the way through. Still, I admire the man’s funkdafied spirit.

When I interviewed him in the early ’90s for the Washington Post, Prof. West talked about the importance of music in his life. He attended Sacramento’s Shiloh Baptist Church as a kid. “Sly Stone used to play the organ for us, so we had some serious music, man. He didn’t stay a long time, he went to San Francisco right away. But he used to be there.”

Cornel West was also drawn to the orbit of the local Black Panthers. “One thing I liked about the Panthers was, they appreciated black music,” he said. “Which is something that I think the Nation of Islam is deeply in need of. You can’t have no movement among black people without a hymnal or some music, see.”

It’s interesting to note that Prof. West, on this new album, drops the N-word. I’ll leave you with his spoken words from the track “911”:

“[F]or analytical purposes, to be a nigger in America is to be unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated. Since 9-11 the whole nation has been niggerized. A blues nation must now learn from a blues people how to deal with such conditions.”

Let’s play Name That Race Difference!

Race differences are always interesting. So here’s a contest. The winner gets a prize.

See the graph above? It illustrates a U.S. government statistic. But what statistic? Ahh. You have to figure that out.

To make it extra challenging... only one guess per commenter. So give it your best shot. What do those numbers mean?

The first person to put the correct answer in the comments section will win a paperback copy of “How Race Is Lived in America,” the book version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series from 2000. (Which happens to include a detailed story about the making of HBO’s “The Corner.”)

UPDATE (08/20/07): We got a winner. Withnail guessed obesity.

To be exact: these are the rates of teenage obesity broken down by race, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The chart is from a 2003 special report in the Birmingham (Ala.) News.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Something unnecessary from Elton and Betty

God bless the eccentrics. God bless the freaks and the weirdos. God bless the shamelessly exhibitionistic and the delusionally talented.

God bless Elton and Betty.

In ancient times before YouTube opened a direct portal into your home for every back-zit-popping white boy and queefing college chick in America... compulsive attention-seekers had to get on public-access cable TV. Like for instance this half-dressed husband-and-wife team, Elton and Betty White.

They write songs and sing them to ukulele accompaniment. One of Betty’s tunes is titled “The Little Dicks Fit Me Best.” Elton’s masterpiece is “I’m In Love With Your Behind.” The vidclip below features a portion of the latter.

Supposedly this public-access clip dates back to 1992. But Elton and Betty are still making music today. Check out their MySpace page for a complete version of “I’m In Love With Your Behind.”

Unless, of course, you have something better to do with your time. Like maybe popping a back-zit.


As you can see by the above National Hurricane Center map, Jamaica is directly in the path of Hurricane Dean, an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm which may yet get stronger.

Through the magic of the internets, you can listen to Jamaica’s talk-radio station, Power 106 FM, in real time. Right now, I’m hearing phone calls from Jamaicans in New York, Texas and the U.K., as well as from all parts of the island. [UPDATE: Power 106 is now off the air; Jamaica shut down power on the island late this morning, in advance of Dean’s arrival.]

And then there’s the blogosphere. Here is what a few Jamaican bloggers wrote yesterday about the approaching danger.
FRANCIS WADE (at Moving Back to Jamaica): ... Here in Kingston at 12:00pm the sky is blue, there are almost no clouds and there is a nice cooling breeze.

Perfect beach weather.

And Jamaicans are standing by ready to proclaim one of two things on Tues morning.

“God listens to prayers and decided to spare us, out of his mercy”
“God has sent us a powerful sign, a judgment on our wicked ways” ...

It’s the first time that I am back in Jamaica for what one of nature’s “big events.” The weatherman has been particularly excited for the past few days, speaking faster than usual, with a hint of excitement in his voice and the knowledge that many, many people were hanging on to his very words.

Calls are coming from all over the globe from family and friends who are concerned about what is coming.

Flights are filled with people escaping what winds, rains and destruction that is heading this way.

We are fully expecting to lose power, internet, phones and water and that roads will be closed until they are cleared of debris, and until the inevitable looting stops.

So, we sit here waiting, doing the best we can to prepare ourselves.

And it’s still a really nice sunny day today, with blue skies and hardly any clouds and a light breeze.

STUNNER (at Stunner’s Afflictions): Yes folks, even though this morning is a bright sunny beautiful morning, Jamaica’s worst nightmare has just been realized! within a few hours Jamaica will begin to feel the first impacts of the Cat 4, or even possible Cat 5 Hurricane Dean. ...

I have not done much preparation for this hurricane. I think what I have done so far is sufficient. I bought myself some bottled water, tin food, easy to cook non-perishables, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions. I did this from Thursday, yes I know it was early, but I did it to avoid the mad rush the few hours before the hurricane, and also because...

I will be at work! What the hell! Yes I have been forcibly drafted in the hurricane team and will be at work for quiet a long time. During the entire pre-hurricane, hurricane and post-hurricane periods. So I will spend the rest of my day securing the home front, then later it will be off to work. I guess some of us have to make sure vital services like communication remains up during such a critical time. I would rather not be at work and at home to somehow protect my property... or at least feel like I am... somehow!

... I am just hoping that by some miracle Dean decides to dip southwards and spare Jamaica the carnage! I know for a certain that our already limping economy and substandard facilities cannot handle a Cat 4 much more a Cat 5.

... To my fellow Bloggers in Jamaica and Cayman, stay safe and those not affected, keep us in your prayers.

[NOTE: While tourists yesterday scrambled to get off the island, this next blogger – a woman known as “Yamfoot” – flew from Grenada to Jamaica, her home country, to ride out the storm.]

YAMFOOT (at The 5th Decade... What’s In Store?): 1. Got collected at airport around 1:15pm. The ride over wasn’t too bumpy. ... Did errands like buying fruits and coconut water.

2. Went to the hairdresser. The hairdresser?????????? Yup. I had made an appointment for Monday but who knows what Monday will be like and the tough nigger head needed to be relaxed.

3. Driving around St Andrew today, everybody was walking with shopping bags in their hands, showing some sign of preparedness. But I passed a shack/shop on the side of Barbican Road who hadn’t yet started to take down his stuff. I guess he feels he has time. The radio station reported extended opening hours of some supermarkets up to midnight tonight and from 8am tomorrow morning up to 4 hours before Dean is expected. Not sure they should open.

4. When you looked up into the sky earlier this afternoon, it looked like a typical Caribbean weather day. Blue skies, some clouds, not much. By the time I was leaving the hairdresser at 6:20pm, there were just a few dark clouds but nothing to suggest that something so catastrophic is looming less than 500 miles east of us!

5. A friend called me from Grenada tonight. He asked me if I was crazy to have left Grenada to come here, knowing Big Dean was approaching. He wasn’t the only one. When I was putting my suitcase in the car at the airport this afternoon, a man walked by me, looked at me and muttered “so why you come here for...yuh nuh see si hurricane ah come?”

They don’t understand the concept that for me, it’s better to be with my family, knowing what is happening with them, than me being safe far away. ...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Playlist: Best Beatles covers evar!

As a lifelong Beatles fan, I have a fetish for cover versions of Beatles songs. Back in my vinyl-hoarding days, I was particularly interested in black Beatles covers. They seemed like a closing of the circle, since the Beatles began their career rocking a lot of American R&B.

(Click here to hear John doing Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman,” from the “Live at the BBC” double-CD.)

Now that I’m an MP3 fanatic, I’ve accumulated hundreds of Beatles covers from around the world. Below are my five all-time favorites. Click the song titles to hear them streaming.

(I’d love to hear about your personal favorite Beatles covers. I’m always looking to fatten my collection. So comments are especially welcome.)

5. “All I’ve Got to Do” – Peter Lipa

I like unorthodox Beatles covers. Peter Lipa, a jazz singer from Slovakia, did an album full of them in 2003. It’s called “Beatles in Blue(s).”

This track is freaky in a special way. I can spin it any time and it’ll elevate my mood.

Downloadable from iTunes and eMusic.

4. “Dear Prudence” – Jerry Garcia Band

Garcia jams this one live in concert for nearly 12 minutes. I could listen for twice as long. Recorded in 1990, this track is from the double-CD “Jerry Garcia Band.”

3. “No Reply” – The UnHerd

This 1999 track is sung by Larry Hoppen, semi-familiar voice of the old Top 40 band Orleans. Nothing unorthodox about it... just straight-ahead polished pop, and catchy as hell.

Downloadable from iTunes and eMusic.

2. “Something” – Screaming Headless Torsos

I pointed to this upload a couple of weeks ago, but here it is again. Dean Bowman’s wigged-out vocal and Dave Fiuczynski’s virtuoso guitarisms make this track a funk-metal classic in my book.

1. “Things We Said Today” – Mary McCaslin

This is exquisite. McCaslin takes one of the least memorable songs from the Lennon-McCartney catalogue and claims ownership with a spellbinding folk-acoustic interpretation.

From her 1996 album “Old Friends.” Downloadable from iTunes.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Father Coughlin and the Jews

“I speak these words certainly holding no brief for Germany or for Nazism. ... I do ask, however, that an insane world will distinguish between the innocent Jew and the guilty Jew...”

As a student of the racist mind, I naturally study anti-Semitism. But only today for the first time did I hear one of America’s most renowned Jew-baiting rabble-rousers – the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin, the Michigan-based “Radio Priest.”

Father Coughlin during the 1930s had a weekly radio audience of millions. As a populist, he strongly denounced Communism... but also the capitalist “money changers” who were responsible, he said, for the spread of Communism.

Coughlin aimed the spear point of his rhetoric at those all-powerful “atheistic Jews” pulling the strings of both international capitalism and international Communism.

Two months ago, the domain name was registered by a Canadian (under the name Val Volk) as a “memorial” for Charles Coughlin, who was born in Canada. Announcing the launch of on a Catholic website, Stephen Volk wrote:

“[I]t's time to call a firm halt against the decades of unwarranted liberal slander towards Father Charles Coughlin… While this man should by now be hailed as one of America’s great heroes – who tirelessly fought for the poor during the Great Depression – his name is still being sloshed in the mud of liberal propaganda.”

Good luck with that rehabilitation project, dude.

I downloaded a few sound files of Father Coughlin’s radio speeches from a Jewish guy, Steve Schwartz, a self-described “amateur historian” who runs

Now I’ve uploaded a couple of 7-minute segments from one speech in particular, titled “Persecution and Christianity.” It was originally broadcast on December 11, 1938.

One month after Kristallnacht, the free world was coming to grips with the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. But Father Coughlin had a couple of other points to make. One, Nazism itself was a “defense mechanism” against (Jew-inspired) Communism. Two, the Soviet Communist persecution of Christians was worse.

Click here to hear the first 7-minute segment on my Vox audio stash.

Click here for the second segment, in which Coughlin defends himself, in a sneering tone, against the charge of anti-Semitism.

According to the 1992 book “Seasons of Grace: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit,” Father Coughlin’s increasingly strident anti-Semitism in late 1938 was an embarrassment to Archbishop Edward Mooney, even though the archdiocese pre-approved all of Coughlin’s radio speeches.

“Archbishop Mooney himself effected substantial changes in the broadcast of December 11, 1938,” wrote Leslie Woodcock Tentler, “but was unable to persuade Coughlin to alter the subject of the address.”

So if you listen to those two audio bites above, try to imagine what this speech sounded like before the archbishop toned it down.

Max Roach on UBM-TV

Thanks to a music collector in Brazil named Pedro Mendes, there are some marvelous Max Roach clips on YouTube. Check out my Video Bar if you doubt me.

You especially need to see the two clips with Abbey Lincoln – live performances of Roach’s legendary “Freedom Now Suite.”

UPDATE (08/22/07): Here you’ll find part one and part two of Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln performing the “Freedom Now Suite.”

Friday Concert: Michael Franti & Spearhead

I remember when Michael Franti’s first album came out in 1992, under the awkward name Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. He was trying his damnedest to sound like Gil Scott-Heron and Chuck D. I wasn’t impressed.

Even then, he was more alt than hip-hop, covering Dead Kennedys’ “California Uber Alles”... using words like “oxymoronic” and “agrarian”... rappin’ ’bout toxic waste and homophobia. But I wasn’t feeling his Bay Area hard-left vibe, even back then when I was sympathetic to such.

Well, Franti carved out his place in the music scene with Spearhead, a band with rock, reggae and funk elements that’s all about taking it to the stage.

I still wouldn’t call myself a Michael Franti fan. But he can put on a decent show. This December 2006 concert – uploaded by the Dutch website – took place at Amsterdam’s Paradiso.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Max Roach (1924-2007)

Max Roach, a founding father of modern jazz, died this morning in New York City. Beyond his stature as an drummer, Roach was an activist, a teacher and a restless innovator.

Here is Variety’s obituary; here is the New York Times obituary.

And here are a few Max Roach recordings. Click the song titles to hear them on my Vox audio stash.

This version of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” comes from a legendary September 1962 session uniting Ellington and Roach and Charles Mingus. A remastered version of this album – “Money Jungle” – was released in 2002.

“Drums” is an avant-garde track from the 1955 album “The Charles Mingus Quintet + Max Roach.”

“Conversation” is a pyrotechnic 4-minute solo piece off of Roach’s 1958 album “Deeds, Not Words.”

Non-white parenting styles are different.

Here’s a funny video of a father kicking his two young sons in the head, knocking them on their asses, and tossing them around like rag dolls. Rocky Chavez may not win Father of the Year, but he’s my pick for YouTube Star of Tomorrow.

Back in March, Mr. Chavez felt obliged to explain online: “... i know that at times it's gonna look like i abuse my kids but the fact is my kids are tough they love to horse play...”

Indeed, I bet little Nick and Rocky Jr. had a blast making this video. It’s always fun till somebody’s spine gets broken.

Hat-tip: Ernie’s House of Whoopass. (NSFW)