Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another free Henry Butler download

This is the last of my daily FREE MP3s for the month of April.

Back in January, I posted a free track by New Orleans piano virtuoso Henry Butler. Here’s a brand new one.

Butler just came out with a solo CD called “PiaNOLA Live.” To hear his performance of “Dock of the Bay,” click here.

To download it, click the song title below.

And for those of you who’ll be in New Orleans for Jazz Fest: Henry Butler will be playing tomorrow night, Friday and twice on Sunday.

“Dock of the Bay” (MP3)
Album available at iTunes Music Store

Chris Rock in L.A. (04/26/08)

I have dez to thank for motivating me to get off my haunches and go see Chris Rock at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

I caught him on Saturday, the last night of a four-night stand. Place was packed. I even saw a couple of celebrities... unlikely celebrities, I would have thought, for a Chris Rock show: Two older Jewish cats who are big names in show business.

I won’t make you guess who... but I’ll reveal their names in the comments section, just in case you want to wonder for a minute.

As for Rock’s material, I’d give it a C+.

The first part of his set was devoted to the presidential race. He joked about John McCain’s age. (“He used to own Sidney Poitier!”)

He joked about Hillary Clinton’s marriage. (“She’s gonna work in a office that her husband got blowjobs in? There ain’t enough redecorating in the world for that.”)

He boosted Barack Obama. (“We have never seen a brother this cool and legal. He’s on some Don Cornelius shit.”)

Rock didn’t break much ground with his discussion of the N-word either.

“For the first time in the history of the world, white men have to hold their tongue.” And if white guys don’t like it, Rock proposes this: “Wanna trade places? You scream ‘nigger,’ I’ll raise interest rates.”

The back half of his set, as usual, was devoted to sex stuff. Let’s just say he didn’t take blowjob humor to new horizons. But the crowd was happy, all in all.

No doubt this tour will result in a new HBO special.

Hillary on Fox News tonight

Here’s a taste:

Remember this lying beyotch?

Which lying beyotch? This lying beyotch.

Ahh, who could ever forget Peggy Seltzer?

Not Harry Allen, the hip-hop activist and “media assassin” who started his own politics-’n’-culture blog two months ago.

Yesterday, he uploaded and analyzed a 10-minute video of Margaret Seltzer (alias “Margaret B. Jones”)... a promotional video for her fantasy memoir “Love and Consequences,” all about growing up as a gun-toting foster child in gang-ridden South L.A. (Truth: total Valley girl.)

Good on you, Harry Allen.

Kinda reminds me to ask: Has anyone at Riverhead Books lost her job over this fraud?

Anyways, if you enjoy watching pathological liars lie pathologically, then crack open a 40, pour some off the top for your dead homies, and check out The Race Hustler Who Almost Got Away With It:

Wednesday 45 Flashback: ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’

Not the 1966 Supremes classic but the heavy-rock cover version by Vanilla Fudge... which was a Top-10 hit in 1967.

All hail Mr. Holland, Mr. Dozier and Mr. Holland.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A free Rashied Ali download

Drummer Rashied Ali, whose work with John Coltrane had a major impact on free jazz, is still cookin’ at the age of 72.

Today’s FREE MP3 is a track off Mr. Ali’s 2006 album “Judgment Day, Vol. 1.”

Click here to hear a boppish workout called “M.O.” Follow this link to if you wish to cop.

Richard Price reads from ‘Lush Life’

Here’s one for you book-reading types.

Novelist and screenwriter Richard Price – author of “Clockers” and a contributor to “The Wire” – has a new book out. “Lush Life” is a crime story set on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Below is Mr. Price reading a passage from it, courtesy of Big Think. (To hear Price talk briefly about his association with David Simon and “The Wire,” click here.)

How the white race was created

Now that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has declared Louis Farrakhan “one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st Century,” let’s take a minute and explore a core belief of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

Here is Farrakhan’s teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, describing how the white race was created (or “grafted”):

Not enough

Barack Obama had a press conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., a short while ago. He distanced himself from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I only caught the last few minutes of Q&A. But from what I saw – and what I’m hearing in the after-analysis – Obama didn’t do enough to shut this thing down.

He said he considered Wright’s performance yesterday at the National Press Club “a show of disrespect to me.”

That “made me angry,” Obama said, “but it also made me sad.”

But his tone – again, as much as I saw of it – was chilly, detached. Which only feeds into public perceptions of Barack Obama as “aloof.”

I’ll post the full video here as soon as I can find it, and I will unpack my thoughts throughout the day regarding this latest turn in the campaign...

11:54 a.m. (Pacific Time) – CNN will replay the Obama news conference in full a few minutes from now... at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific...

12:37 p.m. – Having seen the full news conference, I can now put my finger on what seemed so ineffective about it.

It’s the cold legalism with which Obama phrased things. He said Wright’s remarks yesterday “don’t portray accurately my beliefs” and are “antithetical to my campaign.”

Yes, Obama clearly denounced Wright’s words yesterday as “appalling,” “divisive,” “destructive”... “a bunch of rants that aren’t grounded in truth.”

But the manner in which he did so, in my opinion, didn’t allow him to connect emotionally with the American people.

This is important, because he’s in a contest with Hillary Clinton, who in recent weeks has put forth an emotionally compelling image of herself as a “fighter.” Hillary showed heart.

Obama’s news conference today wasn’t about his heart. It was all intellectual.

7:21 p.m. – You guys should check out Kellybelle’s “Five Stages of Dis-Obamallusionment.”

Monday, April 28, 2008

A free Grupo Fantasma download

Grupo Fantasma is a Latin funk band out of Austin, Texas. Guess who’s a big fan?

Prince, that’s who. Matter fact, the Grupo Fantasma horn section backed up Prince on “The Tonight Show” last Friday.

Grupo Fantasma will play at New Orleans Jazz Fest this coming Sunday, and at Bonnaroo in June. Fellows are definitely on the rise.

I got a FREE MP3 for you. Follow this link to the South by Southwest website and you can download “Mentiras.”

Click here to spin it on my Vox blog.

This date in Beatles history: 1966

Here is how it usually worked at the Abbey Road studios: producer George Martin would be up in the control room while the Beatles were down on the studio floor.

But on April 28, 1966, Paul McCartney and John Lennon were the ones in the control room. George Martin was down on the studio floor with eight session musicians.

A double string quartet.

On that day, they recorded the instrumental tracks for “Eleanor Rigby” (as scored and conducted by Martin). Paul would cut his vocals the next day.

To hear the strings-only mix of “Eleanor Rigby,” click here. This track is available on the double-CD “The Beatles Anthology 2.”

Crab, meet barrel.

With a peacock’s strut, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright basked in the media spotlight in D.C. this morning – just like he did yesterday in Detroit – to avenge his wounded pride.

In the best tradition of crabs-in-a-barrel black bullshit, Rev. Wright did his part to cut the legs out from under Barack Obama.

Among the gift-wrapped sound bites he presented to Fox News, Hillary Clinton and the Republican Party, here’s one about Louis Farrakhan:

“He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st Century, that’s what I think about him. ... When Louis Farrakhan speaks, it’s like E.F. Hutton speaks: All black America listens.”

(Uhhh... no.)

“Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy,” Wright continued. “He did not put me in chains. He didn’t put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color.”

(Sean Hannity just nutted in his pants.)

If Sen. Obama is undone by all of this... well, ummm... he did choose this pastor. He chose a church with a racial-nationalist agenda.

And I bet that’s because, as a biracial man raised by whites, Obama felt the need to boost his “black” credentials to make himself more electable.

And that, my friends, is called irony.

UPDATE (04/28/08): David Gergen, a political commentator I respect, said on CNN tonight that Rev. Wright’s shenanigans could cost Sen. Obama the state of Indiana.

The grim tone with which Gergen discussed this put a chill into me. Because it sounds right.

In Gergen’s opinion, Obama has got to speak on this again. He must display the strength to push this story out of his way... or it will reflect poorly on his ability to lead in a national crisis.

“This isn’t a story about Wright,” Gergen said. “This is ultimately a test of Barack Obama, of his inner steel.”

Tonight is probably the worst night of the entire campaign for Obama. Because he probably doesn’t have a clue how to handle this mess.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lip gloss

On Fox News this afternoon, weekend anchor Julie Banderas reported that lip gloss might lead to skin cancer. (Seriously.)

Ms. Banderas added playfully: “What would the women at Fox News be without lip gloss?”

Seriously, she said that.

And I know what she means. I’ve seen Pussycat Dolls wearing less makeup than Fox News babes.

‘Pink is the color of healthy flesh...’

Anyone who reads Undercover Black Man knows that blogger Michael Fisher never misses an opportunity to point out the perniciously pervasive “Global System of White Supremacy.”

I don’t buy into Fisher’s rhetoric. But when I find a piece of evidence that might serve my opponent’s case, I don’t run and hide from it.

So below is a 2½-minute Al Jazeera news report on an urban- improvement campaign in Manila that’s all about painting stuff pink.

Bayani Fernando, a local official, explains: “Pink is the color of healthy flesh, and we all want to be a city or a metropolis in the pink of health.”

I have no idea why a brown-skinned Filipino would equate the color pink with “healthy flesh.” But I’m sure Michael Fisher could break it down for anyone who cares to listen. This one’s for you, Fish:

A free Jada Pinkett Smith download

Y’all know about Jada Pinkett Smith’s metal band, right? It’s called Wicked Wisdom.

She takes it pretty seriously.

If you have a MySpace account, you can download a FREE MP3 from the band. Follow this link to Wicked Wisdom’s MySpace page and look for the remix of “Bleed All Over Me.”

To hear that track streaming on my Vox blog, click here.

YouTube Shakespeare

All the Web’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Playlist: Black singers, white songs (pt. 2)

I first played around with this theme last summer. Now, I’ve got a theme within a theme: hippie music!

Below are some familiar tunes from the golden age of psychedelic rock... interpreted by black artists. Click the song titles to hear the tracks. Hope you enjoy ’em.

1. “White Rabbit” – Shiner Massive Soundsystem (feat. Honeychild Coleman)

The blogger known as estiv got me moving on this idea when he uploaded a cool Jefferson Airplane video clip this week.

I had recently stumbled on this dub-style version of “White Rabbit,” cutely sung by Brooklyn rocker chick Honeychild Coleman. It’s off the 2003 CD “Shiner Massive Soundsystem.”

2. “California Dreamin’ ” – Eddie Hazel

Funkadelic guitar god Eddie Hazel didn’t often sing... but when he did, he made it count. This Mamas and the Papas cover is a soulful slice of vintage P-Funk, produced by George Clinton. Downloadable from iTunes and Amazon.

UPDATE (04/27/08): Something trippy happened last night. I was at the Gibson Amphitheatre for a Chris Rock show. They had a 20-minute intermission after the opening act (comedian Mario Joyner). During that time (as before the show) a mixtape boomed over the sound system.

And this track was on it. Eddie Hazel’s “California Dreamin’.” I mean, you have got to be seeerious about yo’ funk to put this bad boy on a mixtape.

What are the odds? On the very same day that I post about this obscure recording, I encounter it in the real world? A million-to-one, I say.

3. “Big Yellow Taxi” – Chris Thomas King

This Joni Mitchell classic has one of those melodies that I’ll always associate with childhood. Singer-songwriter Chris Thomas King gives it a faithful reading in this 2006 recording.

Downloadable from iTunes, eMusic and Amazon.

4. “Mellow Yellow” – Jef Lee Johnson

I don’t know why Jef Lee Johnson, one of my favorite funky musicians, chose this song to cover. Then again, he’s also covered a Monkees tune. Maybe it’s his sense of humor.

“Mellow Yellow” was written by the U.K. folk-rocker Donovan, and it’s one of those ’60s songs that’s presumed to be about drugs. (“Yo, don’t bogart the banana skins!”) This version is downloadable from eMusic.

5. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (live) – Natalie Cole

Only while preparing this list did I download this track. And then I realized I know this version... all the riffs, the changes, the big finish. It totally skipped my mind that Natalie Cole had a small hit with this Beatles song in 1978. Nice to hear it again.

It’s downloadable from iTunes and Amazon.

A free Kimara Lovelace download

Getting towards the end of another month of daily FREE MP3s.

The compulsive search for free music on the interwebs has led me to some artists I’d never heard of. Like dance-music veteran Kimara Lovelace.

She’s been singing ever since she was a kid. She was an understudy for Stephanie Mills in “The Wiz” on Broadway.

Ms. Lovelace has a new track out. To hear “These Times” on my Vox audio stash, click here.

To download it, click the song title below.

“These Times” (MP3)
EP available at iTunes Music Store

Friday, April 25, 2008

A free Michael Burks download

If you’re into electric blues, you might dig the way Michael Burks shreds a guitar. Click here to check out “Strange Feeling” on my Vox blog.

This track is available as a FREE MP3 at Follow this link if you want it.

Quincy Jones on ‘Thriller’

I haven’t been listening to the “Thrillercast” – an official podcast celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Frankly, I don’t care what Omarion and Nick Cannon think about “Thriller” or anything else.

I’ve been waiting patiently for the Quincy Jones episode. Which was uploaded this week.

I’m streaming a 1-minute excerpt on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.

To download the complete 7-minute Quincy Jones podcast for free, search for “Thrillercast” at the iTunes Store. Or you can stream it at by following this link.

If Hillary gets the nomination...

... it could be the best thing that ever happened to Barack Obama.

Before I explain why, let’s consider the remarkable change in the political atmosphere since Sen. Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday.

For the past three months, the mainstream media and the punditocracy have spoken about Obama in tones of awe. Chris Matthews compared him to Abraham Lincoln (after the race speech).

But on “Hardball” yesterday, Matthews said that Obama “doesn’t have the knack for walking into a diner with regular people and connecting.”

Matthews also said: “If he can’t fight better than [Hillary], he will lose to her.” Regarding Jeremiah Wright, he said: “This is [Obama’s] Iraq.”

“Hardball” guest Bob Herbert, a New York Times columnist, said yesterday that “the bloom is off of” Barack Obama. “I think he has stumbled badly on the patriotism issue.”

Herbert also said there are “questions about whether Obama has that same fighting spirit” as Hillary Clinton.

That’s how fast the game can change.

Now... let’s suppose Obama finishes weak and Clinton finishes strong.

Suppose she gets the nomination by convincing enough superdelegates that she is the Democrats’ best hope against John McCain.

If that happens, she will lose in November. There is no way she can get a majority of Americans to vote for her. Especially with many disenchanted black Democrats and party activists hating on her.

Hillary will lose, and that is the end of Clintonism, period, close the book.

Barack Obama can run again. In four years or eight years... whenever. He will be incalculably wiser for having gone through this battle.

And when he runs again, the Democratic big chiefs will be sorry they hadn’t cast their lot with him in 2008, instead of with the loser Hillary Clinton.

Okay, let’s flip it. Let’s say that Obama gets the nomination this year. And let’s say he loses to McCain, having been weakened and bloodied by the Clintons. If that happens, Obama can’t run again. He’ll have that stench of defeat on him.

And Hillary Clinton will run again in 2012, saying that the Democratic big chiefs should’ve backed her instead of Obama in 2008.

I am rooting for Obama to finish this primary season strong. I’d like to see him defeat John McCain.

But if he doesn’t get that chance, I won’t be shedding tears.

Am I making sense?

Fatman Scoop and Shanda

Can I get nasty for a minute?

I’m starting to delve deeper into YouTube. Beyond just music clips.

For instance, there’s Fatman Scoop and Shanda, a married couple that hosts a sex-chat show called ManandWifeTV. They’re cute, they’re funny. This is entertainment.

The video below is Not Safe For Work. (Might not even be Safe For Home.) Scoop and Shanda welcome former porn star Heather Hunter into their bed for an interview.

During this conversation, Scoop boasts: “I’ll lick a ass with the best of ’em.”

And he follows that up with one of the most brilliant quotes ever uttered on the intertubes: “I don’t get licked in my ass. I’m a man!”

Ladies and gentlemen... I give you Fatman Scoop and Shanda:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rush Limbaugh vs. pissed-off sista!

On Rush Limbaugh’s show this morning, a black female caller – Lisa from Atlanta – jumped in Rush’s shit for something he said yesterday.

(I don’t often hear black callers on the Limbaugh program. It’s always interesting when I do.)

Rush and Lisa went at it Rock-’Em-Sock-’Em style for almost five minutes. Lisa kept her composure and her sense of humor... but Rush got flustered, and he resorted to name-calling. He called her a “mush-mind” and a “racist.”

Let’s go to the audio clips!

We’ll start with a 1½-minute bite from the Wednesday show, so you know what Lisa was talking about.

Limbaugh described the ultimate goal of his “Operation Chaos” campaign (in which he urges Republicans to register as Democrats and vote for Hillary in the primaries).

Click here to listen.

Now, to hear the full 5-minute Lisa call from this morning, click here.

Lisa, you are the absolute hotness!

Two free Martina Topley Bird downloads

Singer Martina Topley Bird is known in the U.K. for her work with the rapper Tricky. I don’t think she’s known in the U.S. for anything.

Got an interesting voice, though.

Martina’s new CD, “The Blue God,” comes out in a few weeks (overseas). A remix of the single “Poison” is available online as a FREE MP3.

Click here to hear it. Then follow this link to the music blog 3hive if you wanna download it.

Guess what else? You can also cop a freebie off Martina Topley Bird’s highly praised debut solo album, “Anything” (2004).

Click here to hear the title track, which is a cloudy alt-rock ballad.

To download “Anything,” follow this link to

April 24

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in an Armenian neighborhood. An Armenian family was raised in the house I’m now renting.

If you know anything about Armenians, you’ll know the importance of this date. April 24 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

Most of the small businesses in my area are closed. Which means I must wait until tomorrow to hit that Zankou’s chicken.

Let me tip my hat to the proud Armenian people by embedding this YouTube video from Armenianrnbgirl (“Armenian R&B girl”). It’s kinda gangstalicious!

Al Wilson (1939-2008)

Soul singer Al Wilson, whose voice was surely heard by every American of my generation, died Monday of kidney failure. He was 68.

Wilson had a No. 1 smash in 1973 with “Show and Tell” – a song originally recorded by (and written for) Johnny Mathis.

Al Wilson’s version sold three million copies.

This was not Wilson’s first hit record. Five years earlier, he’d cracked the Top 40 with a peculiar song called “The Snake.”

I first heard “The Snake” a few years ago in Las Vegas; Tom Jones made it a part of his repertoire. Click here to hear Al Wilson’s original.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Voices from Zimbabwe

Today Al Jazeera English provided the first video I’ve seen about the political violence happening in Zimbabwe. (The Mugabe government still hasn’t released the results of the March 29 presidential election.)

Here is Al Jazeera’s 2½-minute news report:

Bonus freebie: Rae Davis

May I introduce you to another groove-oriented artist you probably never heard of?

Rae Davis is a young guy out of San Antonio, Texas. His album “Positive Thinking!” comes out next month. You can download one track now as a FREE MP3.

I’m streaming “This I Dig of You” on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.

To download it, follow this link and scroll down to No. 5 on the tracklist.

Wednesday 45 Flashback: ‘Then He Kissed Me’

When Phil Spector put his “Wall of Sound” behind a New York City girl group called the Crystals, he created some great pop singles. This is one of them.

(Cheers, as always, to thunderbird1958, the YouTube 45 king.)

A free Kyoto Jazz Massive download

Groove music is a universal language. So today’s FREE MP3 comes from Japan.

Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino – brothers, DJs and bandleaders – run a project called Kyoto Jazz Massive.

When a British radio jock started playing their music, Kyoto Jazz Massive’s international reputation grew.

Click here to hear a 2002 track called “Mind Expansions.”

If you wanna download that, follow this link to

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Live-blogging the Pennsylvania primary

First things first: This is my 1,000th post on this blog! One thousand. I didn’t know I could stick with it this long.

Thanks to all who’ve ever stopped by here and read my stuff. Extra thanks to all who have commented.

Now, the polls are still open in Pennsylvania, but MSNBC has kicked in with its marathon coverage. That’s where I’ll be spending most of my time... with Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, Pat Buchanan, Tim Russert, Gene Robinson, and hopefully Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson somewhere in the mix.

Plus, of course, the ringmasters: Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.

I’ll jump over to CNN and Fox News from time to time... try and catch a glimpse of Amy Holmes, ya dig?... but MSNBC is the place to be.

More to come... especially after the polls close in 102 minutes...

4:53 p.m. (Pacific Time) – MSNBC has smartly paired former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. with former Congressman Joe Scarborough for a commentary block labeled “The Insiders.”

With minutes still to go before the polls close, there’s a stench of defeat in the air for Barack Obama. “Clearly something is not working,” Harold Ford said.

He just now said that if Obama loses by 8 to 10 percent of the popular vote, “There are legitimate questions to be raised about Barack.”

Ford added that, if he were advising the Obama campaign tomorrow, he would say: “You’ve gotta get out there, you’ve gotta get in touch with these blue-collar workers.” ...

5:37 p.m. – It just got feisty over on CNN...

Republican Bill Bennett used his seat at CNN's partisans’ roundtable to wage guilt-by-association warfare against Obama... especially hammering the “Weather Underground” connection.

Then Democrat Donna Brazile jumped in Bill Bennett’s shit.

Brazile said if we question all of Barack Obama’s associations, we need to question all of Clinton’s and McCain’s associations too. Bennett shot back: Not all of Obama’s associations should be questioned... just associations with former terrorists.

Oh... and Bennett is rocking a flag pin on his lapel. But so is (Clintonite) Paul Begala. Accident? Coincidence? No way, Jose. ...

5:51 p.m. – Meanwhile, over on Fox News, Megyn Kelly’s lip gloss be poppin’...

6:03 p.m. – The TV networks are officially projecting Hillary Clinton the winner. And MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman just said: “The arms are being twisted right now.”

He said phone calls have gone out to six members of Congress... six undeclared superdelegates... to convince them it’s time to stand up for Hillary.

Fineman said the Clinton campaign now must convert this victory into a bunch of new fundraising and some new superdelegates. (As the snarky folks say, “Good luck with that.”) ...

6:15 p.m. – Harold Ford, Jr. on MSNBC: “My message to my friend Barack Obama is very clear: You have got to win Indiana.”

7:33 p.m. – Hillary just rocked her victory speech. “I might stumble and I might get knocked down,” she said. “But as long as you’ll stand with me, I will always get right back up.”

All of that I’m-a-fighter stuff she’s been talking for months is finally starting to make sense to me. ...

8:18 p.m. – Chris Matthews: “I think Barack Obama has a problem with working white people.”

I think that will be a dominant media meme in the coming days.

Before Barack Obama made his concession speech, Tim Russert said: “The next two weeks are going to be incredible.” He thinks the lesson Hillary will take from her Pennsylvania victory is to ratchet up her say-anything, do-anything tactics.

So... in the face of a momentum shift, with a different tone in the media regarding Obama’s strength as a candidate and with Hillary Clinton pumped up and confident, the “delegate math” doesn’t seem so determinative tonight.

The next two weeks will, indeed, be incredible.

10:44 p.m. – Before I say good night, I just want to mention something. Hillary’s victory tonight brings to mind a phrase. Perhaps you’ve heard it. “Fake it till you make it.”

In this context, it means that months of talking about how “tough” she is... what a “fighter” she is... while getting her ass whipped at the polls... it’s finally turning into genuine toughness, a confident fighting spirit.

Here’s a message posted tonight on the Hillary for President website, over Sen. Clinton’s signature:

“Thanks to you, we won a critically important victory tonight in Pennsylvania. It’s a giant step forward that will transform the landscape of the presidential race. And it couldn’t have happened without your generous support.

“There will be much more to do beginning tomorrow. But tonight, let’s just celebrate the fact that you and I are part of a remarkable community of people tough enough, passionate enough, and determined enough to win big when everything is on the line.”

Fake it till you make it.

Now... if you’re an Obama supporter, whatchu gonna do?

Good night.

Jello Biafra does not like Hillary

I blogged a year ago about Jello Biafra, the former punk-rocker who now does spoken word.

He is an entertaining left-wing loudmouth.

On his last album – a triple-CD called “In the Grip of Official Treason” – Mr. Biafra trash-talked Hillary Clinton big time.

It was mid-2006. Clinton was running for re-election to the Senate... while already casting her gaze toward the White House.

But she put herself in a trick bag. Because ever since she got to the Senate, Hillary has been moving to the right, believing that’s what she must do to get elected president. Hence her support for the war in Iraq.

Now she’s all pissed because the left wing of the Democratic party – the type folks, and now Michael Moore too – is supporting Barack Obama.

Hillary’s rightward shift is bound to reap dividends today in Pennsylvania. But this Jello Biafra clip illustrates the passion of the anti-Hillary left.

Click here to hear a 4½-minute track called “And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Cash.”

By the way, I will be live-blogging the Pennsylania primary coverage. So stop by here tonight if you feel like talking some politics.

A free Black Joe Lewis download

Here’s another FREE MP3 from the good folks at South by Southwest. It’s by a young Texas rocker called Black Joe Lewis and his band, the Honey Bears.

Click here and listen to “Gunpowder,” a shot of foot-stomping soul built on Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun” hook. Follow this link to to cop.

Lewis has got an album and an EP for sale on iTunes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The artist formerly known as Pebbles

I tip my hat to Bob Davis at for the news about Perri McKissack, who got her fame and fortune as “Pebbles.” She is now a Christian recording artist known as Sister Perri.

You remember Pebbles, right? “Mercedes Boy” was a monster. (Has it been 20 years? Oh crap... it’s all moving too fast...)

Pebbles is also the ex-wife of L.A. Reid and the ex-manager of TLC. The drama behind all that is probably what led her to Jesus.

In any case, Sister Perri has a new double-CD out: “Prophetic Flows Vol. I & II.”

There’s a free MP3 available on the official Sister Perri website... but you’ll have to give up some personal information. I’m not crazy about that, so I won’t call this one of my bona fide daily freebies.

But I went for it... just so I could stream the track for y’all on my Vox blog. Click here if you wanna check out “Say No.”

It ain’t no “Mercedes Boy.”

Hillary vs. Olbermann?

Hillary Clinton is supposed to be on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” tonight. Like, 25 minutes from now.

Considering how K.O. put Hillary on blast with a “Special Comment” five weeks ago... is it hoping for too much that this meeting will produce some thunder ’n’ lightning?

I’ll post an update after it’s over.

UPDATE (04/21/08): Well, no thunder, no lightning.

Olbermann tried to challenge Sen. Clinton on several elements of her campaign – her meeting with “vast right-wing” conspirator Richard Mellon Scaife, her use of the image of Osama Bin Laden in an anti-Obama ad, her previous extolling of John McCain’s commander-in-chief credentials.

And Hillary dusted the furniture with him.

The woman is good. She is tough, she is smart, and she’s at the top of her game right now.

In a later segment, Olbermann seemed defensive and almost apologetic about his lack of follow-up questions.

Save your breath, Keith. Obviously you’re at your best popping shit behind people’s backs... not to their faces.

You, sir, are a minor leaguer.

Unusual black names

No, not the kind of unusual black names you’re thinking of. (I got nothing but love for ya, Kwanise.)

Whilst on the internets, reading about the recent political history of Zimbabwe, I came across the name Happyton Bonyongwe. He’s the head of Zimbabwe’s national spy agency, the CIO.

Unusual name, I thought. Then I came across a Zimbabwean journalist named Brilliant Pongo.

And then former newspaper publisher Kindness Paradza.

There’s a saying in journalism: “One is an incidence. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend.”

So I dug a little deeper and, indeed, found other unusual Zimbabwean names:

Jealous Mpofo, Clever Mudadi, Gift Maenda, Energy Murambadoro (pictured).

Such names may be unusual to American ears... but they aren’t unusual in Zimbabwe. One of that nation’s finest novelists is named Shimmer Chinodya.

The New York Times even did a feature article about Zimbabwean names last October, quoting Hatred Zenenga, Godknows Nare and a fellow named Enough. (Explaining this, Enough said: “My mother had 13 children. And I was the last one.”)

I love learning about these kinds of cultural peculiarities.

Benhilda Chanetsa, a freelance writer in Harare, described the phenomenon in a fascinating online article.

A free Steve Earle download

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle is best known among black folk for his rendition of “Way Down in the Hole” for Season 5 of “The Wire.”

I myself had never heard Earle’s music until 1999, when my man David Simon chose “South Nashville Blues” as the theme song for “The Corner.” (Re-recorded by Corey Harris and Henry Butler.)

Well, shame on me. Because Steve Earle is a major talent.

Last week I stumbled upon a documentary called “Heartworn Highways,” which was filmed in 1975. It features a very young Earle along with David Allan Coe, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and other country troubadours.

Click here to hear Steve Earle performing “The Mercenary Song.”

That track is available as a FREE MP3. Follow this link to the “Heartworn Highways” website, then look in the right-hand column under “FULL MP3S.”

A video clip of Earle’s performance is up on YouTube:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coming attraction: ‘Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus- ItchyFooted Mutha’

So... umm... Melvin Van Peebles made a new movie, y’all. He calls it “Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha.”

It will be screened several times during the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. For instance, a week from tonight at Pace University.

Like many people, I dug “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song.” I also like some of Mr. Van Peebles’ music. (Especially a track called “Funky Girl on Motherless Broadway.”) I never saw any of his theater pieces, but I do own a copy of his novel “A Bear for the FBI.”

The man is a character, no doubt about that.

But “Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha,” shot on digital video, looks to be... uhh... strange. Too strange, judging by the 3½-minute trailer, which is embedded below.

According to the description on the Tribeca fest website, the movie is a “picaresque yarn about a boy from Chicago who wants to see the world and get rich but discovers that all he needs is the love of a good woman.”

(“Picaresque yarn” means “waaay too frickin’ strange.”)

A free Thirst download

The Thirst is a rocking band out of Brixton, London, with a punk/ska thang happening. The Thirst was in Austin last month for the South by Southwest festival.

Which brings us to today’s FREE MP3. You can download a track called “All Mine” from the SXSW website. Just follow this link.

To hear what it sounds like, click here; I got it streaming on my Vox blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

‘Torture and violence are surging in Zimbabwe.’

The international watchdog group Human Rights Watch announced today that members of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party have set up “torture camps” and are rounding up political opponents of President Robert Mugabe. And beating them.

“Human Rights Watch has interviewed more than 30 people in the last two days who have sustained serious injuries, including broken limbs, as a result of these beatings,” according to HRW’s press release.

What’s unfolding right now in Zimbabwe is one of the great political dramas of our day. The U.S. media don’t seem very much interested. Whatever. The machine at your fingertips is an amazing window onto the world. You can read for yourself what’s being written by independent journalists in Zimbabwe.

I point you to the Zimbabwe Gazette and the Zimbabwe Independent.

Speaking of mashups...

... are you hip to DJ Man-Cat and his album-length mashup of classic David Bowie glam-rock and classic gangsta rap? It’s called “Thuggy Stardust” and it’s free to download here. (Mine is downloading as we speak.)

Here is Man-Cat’s teaser video:

Bonus freebie: A Run-D.M.C./Tom Petty mashup

Pete Rock’s tasteful sampling of Run-D.M.C.’s “King of Rock” reminds me of something...

I dig dj BC. He does a lot of very cool mashups. For instance, click here to hear his mashup of Run-D.M.C.’s “My Adidas” and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”

If you have a MySpace account, you can download this track – called “Free Adidas” – from dj BC’s MySpace page.

A free Pete Rock download

I remember Pete Rock. He was making hip-hop music in the early ’90s, back when I gave a damn.

He’s still doin’ it. Pete Rock’s new album is called “N.Y.’s Finest.”

Click here to hear a track called “Till I Retire.”

It’s available as a FREE MP3 from Just follow this link. You can also get it from BAM!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A free Paul Randolph download

Randolph (a.k.a. Paul Randolph) is part of Detroit’s thriving “underground soul” scene. He sings, he writes songs, he plays the bass.

What I’ve heard by Randolph so far reminds me of another Detroit mover – Amp Fiddler (whom I have blogged about here, here and here).

Randolph has a new album out called “Lonely Eden.” Coincidentally (or not), Amp Fiddler plays on one cut.

Let me stream that one fer ya, because it’s tasty. Click here to listen to “Claim.”

That’s not the freebie, though. Tonight’s FREE MP3 is off Paul Randolph’s debut EP from 2005. Click here to hear a clubby funk track called “About Last Night” on my Vox blog.

To download that track, click the song title below.

“About Last Night” (MP3)
EP available at iTunes Music Store
EP available at eMusic
EP available at Amazon

Zimbabwe’s Independence Day

April 18 is celebrated in Zimbabwe as Independence Day. On that date in 1980, Robert Mugabe’s ZANU party assumed control of that new nation after waging armed struggle against the white rulers of Rhodesia.

President Mugabe gave a speech today in Zimbabwe, making no mention of the nationwide election three weeks ago... an election Mugabe evidently lost, though he refuses to release the results.

Mugabe, instead, is now in full-tilt “Blame Whitey” mode, trying to bamboozle his people by pointing the finger at Britain for everything that’s wrong with his country. Here is what the BBC reported today:

Something ludicrous from Tiny Tim

I barely remember Tiny Tim in his glory days as a TV oddity. He was so uncool, he was actually hip. (I never quite understood that.)

In recent years I’ve discovered that Tiny Tim was, in fact, seriously knowledgeable about the history of American popular music.

But what I respect most is his absolute willingness to play the fool. Look at what he did to “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”... all to entertain us. (Don’t miss the big finish.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

‘Dolemite for President’

I betcha Rudy Ray Moore woulda knew how to handle Hillary Clinton in that debate last night. I ain’t lyin’!

Sheeeeit, that bad muthafucka Dolemite ran for president way back in 1972... before Barack Obama even had fuzz on his nuts.

Click here and listen to Rudy Ray’s campaign speech and press conference (NSFW). It is an artifact of political rhetoric that Sen. Obama would do well to study.