Friday, October 31, 2008

What could possibly be more cute than...

... a Chihuahua in a Halloween costume?

Living Colour live webcast tomorrow!

You do know Living Colour still rocks, right?

Tomorrow, the band plays a concert in Amsterdam. The show will be webcast live via, the Dutch music site.

Start time: 4 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Pacific.

I assume I’ll be able to embed the live concert here. If not, I’ll definitely post it after the fact... as I have with other Fabchannel videos.

I bet Vernon and them will talk a little politics from the stage too.

Tito the Tool

Joe the Plumber worked out so well for the Republican ticket, now Team McCain has put another “regular guy” in the spotlight: “Tito the Builder.”

Tito Munoz, a Colombian immigrant who supposedly “owns a construction company in Virginia,” was given the honor of introducing Sarah Palin at a rally on Wednesday.

And Tito appeared last night on “Hannity & Colmes” so that Sean Hannity could give him a nice wet beej.

But who is Tito the Builder?

He actually appears in a McCain campaign ad – titled “I Am Joe” – that was uploaded to YouTube last Thursday (October 23).

Except in that video, he calls himself “Tito the Truck Driver.” (I swear, the bullshit games never stop with the Republicans.)

See for yourself. The “I Am Joe” ad is embedded below, under the “Hannity & Colmes” clip.

Four days...

Is Ann Coulter right? Are Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity right? Will John McCain shock the world by defeating Barack Obama on Tuesday? Will Sarah Palin be our next vice president?

You know it could happen. In your bones, you know this.

So prepare to cast your ballot, if you haven’t already.

Rapper Andre “Dres” Titus of Black Sheep has revamped his 1991 hip-hop classic “The Choice Is Yours” (“You can get with this, or you can get with that...”). Check out the brand new video:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got a cartoon mind, bobba.

But I do not recall there being a black mammy character in the old “Little Audrey” animated shorts.

Now I know better.


Before I drop some N’Orleans funk on y’all, I wanna mention an early Christmas gift I got for myself.

Remember when Prince performed in London last year for 21 nights in a row? A new artsy picture book is out to commemorate those gigs. So I bought one.

Along with the book comes a CD titled “Indigo Nights.” And on that CD are live recordings from Prince’s renowned after-show jams.

I’m streaming one of those tracks – “Alphabet St.” – on my Vox blog. Click here to listen. Because it’s blazing hot.

Joe the Bummer

John McCain got his face broke this morning in Ohio. The video clip – an instant classic – is embedded below.

What’s beautiful about this clip is, it reinforces a narrative. A narrative about Team McCain being less competent (and less lucky) than Team Obama... on the day after Barack Obama rocked a Hollywood-style mini-movie on national television.

Last weekend, pundits said “Joe the Plumber” was gaining traction as a campaign issue... that this concocted symbol of Hard-Working White America was pulling voters toward McCain.

Now, this embarrassing moment will suck another day’s focus away from the major McCain talking point of Obama-as-socialist. David Shuster highlighted it on MSNBC an hour ago; the Huffington Post is leading with it; the YouTube clip has racked up 155,000 views already.

Just wait until the late-night comics have at it.

UPDATE (10/30/08): This clip was show twice tonight on Anderson Cooper’s show. And, of course, Keith Olbermann couldn’t resist hyping it on “Countdown.”

But McCain’s awkward moment wasn’t shown at all on Fox News, as far as I can tell. (Merely an oversight on their part, I’m sure.)

Missing it already

Been back in California for less than a week, and already I’m nostalgic for New Orleans. This photo is musician Davis Rogan, yours truly and David Simon at the parade.

Later on I’ll share some of the music I bought when I was down there.

By the way, if you missed Simon on “The Colbert Report” last night, here it is:

Five days...

And now, an important message from

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now this takes me back.

All Obama, all the time

A half-hour from now, Barack Obama’s 30-minute TV commercial comes on. I’ll be watching on MSNBC, so I won’t have to wait for West Coast prime time.

If I have something to say about it, I’ll post it here. If anybody else feels like commenting, please do.

For me, the real show is gonna be at 11 p.m. Eastern Time (8 p.m. Pacific). That’s when Obama and Bill Clinton appear together at a rally in Florida. (Jimmy Smits will be there too.)

C-SPAN will broadcast the rally live. Yay, C-SPAN!

5:40 p.m. (Pacific Time): Meh. At this stage of the game, it’s still all about making white folks in Middle America comfortable with Barack Obama.

It was a well-produced show... and politically sophisticated, with its targeted shout-outs to battleground states such as Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado. It reaffirms for me the sense that the most impressive thing about Barack Obama, apart from his on-camera skills, is the high professionalism of his campaign team.

If he can run the country the way he ran this campaign, Obama will have a successful presidency.

I don’t know that this half-hour special was necessary, but it can’t hurt. The only thing that bugged me was the recycled material... the stuff about his absentee father and his mother’s cancer, which was shown during the Democratic Convention, I think.

What did y’all think?

8:37 p.m. Wow. President Clinton was just spitting fire down there in Florida!

He made a passionate case for why Barack Obama should be elected president. It was carried live by CNN and MSNBC (but not, curiously, by Fox News... a mere oversight, I’m sure).

All is forgiven, Bill. Way to stand on the mound in the top of the 9th inning and throw that heat. Clinton’s performance tonight, far as I’m concerned, means more than Obama’s own half-hour infomercial.

Everything in that infomercial we’d already heard before. But Bill Clinton doing this is headline news.

A free Mavis Staples download

There’s a new Mavis Staples album coming out next week. On Election Day, even. It’s a live album – “Live: Hope at the Hideout.” And I’ve got a FREE MP3 to share.

Click here to stream “Waiting for My Child” on my Vox blog. To download it, follow this link to

With a stripped-down band and a few back-up singers, Ms. Staples performed this concert in Chicago just four months ago.

The set list includes old spirituals and protest songs such as “Wade In the Water” and “Eyes On the Prize.” She did studio versions of some of these songs for her 2007 album “We’ll Never Turn Back.”

As a listening bonus, I’m streaming another cut from “Live: Hope at the Hideout.” Click here to hear “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

David Duke on Barack Obonga

Judging by former Klansmen David Duke and Don Black, professional racists are already coming to grips with the notion of a black president.

Matter fact, David Duke thinks it could be a wake-up call for the white race!

Click here to hear what Duke had to say Monday on Don Black’s Internet radio show.

Six days...

It’s down to the wire. And speaking of “The Wire,” check out this new ad from the Obama campaign, targeting voters in North Carolina:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Leftover jokes from ‘D.L. Hughley Breaks the News’

Okay, you know I wasn’t impressed with the quality of humor on “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.” And I’m not alone. Gina McCauley of the blog What About Our Daughters even posted a protest video on YouTube.

But you know what? It could’ve been worse. Because I went dumpster-diving at CNN’s New York offices, and I found some of the jokes that D.L. didn’t use. (Play along with me on this.)

Believe it or not, the jokes he threw away are even more stereotypical and offensive! Read ’em for yourself:

“Obama wanted to bring some of his African relatives over to America to celebrate on Election Day. But the airline wouldn’t let ’em get on the plane with bones in their noses!”

“Guess who Obama is considering for Secretary of Defense? Minister Farrakhan. Yeeaah, that’s what I’m talking about. ’Cause the Fruit of Islam do not play. Hell, if they can clean up the projects, you know they can handle Afghanistan!”

“They say when Richard Nixon got elected, he put a bowling alley in the White House. Barack said, ‘Forget that.’ Y’all know he can’t bowl, right? Barack is gonna change it up his own way. Put a basketball court in the Rose Garden. Yep... right next to the watermelon patch!”

“Ain’t too many black folks working at CNN. But they treat me nice. They treat me real nice. My first day here, Wolf Blitzer came right up to me and said, ‘ESPN’s across the street, nigger!’ ”

“Naw, seriously... CNN got some good black people working here. Soledad O’Brien, Suzanne Malveaux. I swear, I ain’t seen so many light-skinned bitches in one place since the BET Movie Awards!”

“I’m glad to see Obama and Joe Biden get along so well. One day they were walking by the Reflecting Pool, out by the Lincoln Memorial, and they had to pee. So they took their dicks out. Joe Biden said, ‘Damn, this water’s cold.’ Barack say, ‘Yeah, and it’s deep too!’ ”

A free Revelations download

The ’60s soul fetish rolls on with the Revelations featuring Tré Williams, a Brooklyn band serving up Southern-fried R&B. Their debut EP, “Deep Soul,” drops in three weeks.

A cut called “I Don’t Want to Know” is downloadable as a FREE MP3, by means of the widget below. You can also stream other tracks from the EP.

And it all sounds good to me. Real good. (Now watch ’em blow up in England.)


Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘I Need Your Lovin’ ’

Hard to believe I’ve been blogging for nearly two years and haven’t mentioned Teena Marie.

She put out some good records during my heavy radio-listening years. My favorite was one of her smaller hits – “Midnight Magnet.” (Damn... 25 year ago??)

Teena Marie is still gigging. She played a show in New Orleans earlier this month. (Her next album, according to Wikipedia, will be titled “Congo Square.”)

This 1980 single was her first Top 40 hit:

Seven days...

... and seven long nights. Then we’ll know.

In the meantime, scroll to the bottom of this homepage for up-to-date polling data from

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bonus freebie: Aterciopelados

The Colombian rock band Aterciopelados (which I blogged about last year) has a brand new album out called “Río.”

The title track is available from Amazon as a FREE MP3. It might not be available for long, so jump on it if you like it.

Click here to hear “Río” on my Vox blog. I really love Andrea Echeverri’s voice.

To download the track, follow this link.

Coming attraction: ‘Dark Streets’

Due in December is a movie called “Dark Streets,” a stylized murder mystery that has something to do with a nightclub. The trailer is embedded below.

The thing that has me interested is the soundtrack. It will include original songs performed by the likes of Aaron Neville, Etta James, Natalie Cole, Dr. John and Chaka Khan.

The score will feature B.B. King on guitar.

Maybe I’ll buy the album and skip the flick.

(By the way, that too-cool-for-school emcee character is played by Toledo Diamond, an L.A. cabaret figure.)

John McCain says the N-word... on tape!

Got your attention, didn’t I? Man, I am shameless.

I’m not a liar, though. John McCain indeed uttered the word “nigger” in the audio version of his 2005 book “Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember.”

He spoke it in the context of South Africa’s history of racism.

Click here to listen (and to assess how trippingly the word rolls of his tongue. Hee-hee...).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with McCain saying the word in this context. What’s ironic is that McCain spoke so admiringly of Nelson Mandela – a man who, until this very year, was on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list.

Perhaps Sarah Palin should ask her running mate whether he “pals around with terrorists.” (Just sayin’... Mandela did bomb shit.)

Something silly from George Clinton

Dr. Funkenstein interviews himself:

A free Mamadou Diabate download

Mamadou Diabate of Mali is a master of the kora, a West African string instrument. For generations, music has been a family tradition; Mamadou’s cousin, Toumani Diabate, is also a world-class kora player.

Mamadou Diabate now lives in New York state, and he tours the world displaying his chops.

A track from Diabate’s 2008 album, “Douga Mansa,” is available as a FREE MP3. Click here to hear “Bolomabory” on my Vox blog.

To download it, follow this link to

You can stream more tracks from Mamadou’s albums on his MySpace page. But it’s really mind-blowing to watch him with your eyes. Below is a video clip from Malian television.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Random hipness

Elvis Mitchell interviews Steven Bochco

TV producer Steven Bochco – the man who used to sign my paychecks – was the guest last week on Elvis Mitchell’s radio show, “The Treatment.”

Bochco’s latest drama series, “Raising the Bar,” is a hit for TNT. But his place in history is due to two police shows – “Hill Street Blues” (my all-time favorite drama) and “NYPD Blue” (which I used to write for).

Click here to hear a 1-minute excerpt in which Bochco places “Hill Street” in the social context of America in the early 1980s.

You can stream or download the complete interview by following this link to

A free Sugar Minott download

Jamaican superstar Sugar Minott has a new album out called “New Day.” If you’re interested in a free track, I got one.

To hear “Good Friends” on my Vox blog, click here. To download the FREE MP3, click the song title below.

“Good Friends” (MP3)
Album available at iTunes Music Store

The Dance Electoral

Viral vids are coming fast and furious in the dwindling days of Campaign ’08. Here’s one of the best. (Hat-tip: Afronerd.)

Cheers to the writer-director, David Morgasen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

‘D.L. Hughley Breaks the News’

I’m sorry, y’all... but two minutes into D.L. Hughley’s monologue on his brand new CNN show, I had to walk away.

Weak-ass jokes make the baby Jesus cry.

Hughley is not now, nor has he ever been, a sharp political comic. He’s not deep like that. And he ain’t too funny otherwise.

I don’t know how he got this gig, but I blame Barack Obama.

UPDATE (10/26/08): Okay... this time I made it halfway through before I had to quit. I just couldn’t take any more.

Oh well. You can’t spell cooning without C-N-N.

I will check out “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News” next week. Maybe they’ll tighten their game up by then. If not, I predict a quick cancellation.

The Stepford anchor

This Joe Biden interview on Thursday with Barbara West, an Orlando TV anchorwoman, is absolutely hee-larious. She quotes Karl Marx!

Biden reacts like he’s on “Candid Camera”... he cannot fricking believe what’s happening. (Hat-tip: Huffington Post.)

A free Cool Kids download

The Cool Kids are a Chicago-based hip-hop duo that started out releasing tracks on their MySpace page. Now they’ve got a record deal.

Let me point you to a FREE MP3 of the Cool Kids rapping on a remix of “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames” by the Carps. (I posted a different free track from the Carps back in April.)

Click here to stream “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames” on my Vox blog.

To download it, follow this link.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crazy White Bitch of the Year

The Drudge Report went all out yesterday afternoon, announcing with a bold red headline that a McCain campaign volunteer – a young white woman – had been attacked and “mutilated” in Pittsburgh... by a large, dark-skinned black man who didn’t like the McCain stickers on her car.

The young woman’s name is Ashley Todd. And she told police that the giant Negro carved a letter “B” on her cheek with a knife.

“You are going to be a Barack supporter,” the giant Negro said.

Turns out Ashley Todd made the whole thing up. Including cutting her own face.

I hereby salute right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin, who was suspicious of the girl’s story right away.

Even before Ashley had confessed, Ms. Malkin wrote: “Hate crimes hoaxes – by anyone, of any political persuasion, and of any color – diminish us all.”

Even Lawrence Auster, my favorite far-right blogger – a man who often writes luridly about black criminal “savagery” – even he voiced a bit of skepticism about Ashley’s tale last night.

(Although Mr. Auster also wrote this: “The attack on a white woman because she had a McCain bumper sticker also supports the prediction of some [of my readers] that the election, whether Obama wins or loses, will lead to an outpouring of black anti-white violence.”

(Well, Larry... keep a happy thought.)

I’m about to board a flight back to Los Angeles. But I really look forward to the cable-news chatter about this incident tonight.

UPDATE (10/24/08): Via the magic of the internets, tonight’s Keith Olbermann segment on the Ashley Todd fiasco is embedded below.

The new question is whether a McCain official in Pennsylvania “pushed” the story of the big black assailant to local media yesterday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A free Kermit Ruffins download

Were this an ordinary Thursday in New Orleans, I’d be looking forward to watching Kermit Ruffins perform at Vaughan’s tonight.

But this week Kermit and his band are in England, and so are the Rebirth Brass Band, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Buckwheat Zydeco.

Why? Because the New Orleans Saints will play an NFL game Sunday in London (versus the San Diego Chargers), and a two-day free music festival is part of the weekend’s festivities.

Last December I posted a FREE MP3 by Kermit Ruffins. Today I have another one.

Click here to hear “Skokiaan” from Kermit’s 2007 CD “Live at Vaughan’s.”

“Skokiaan” was composed 60 years ago by Zimbabwean bandleader August Msarurgwa and has been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Pérez Prado and the duo of Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela.

To download the Kermit Ruffins version, click the song title below.

“Skokiaan” (MP3)
Album available at iTunes Music Store
Album available at eMusic
Album available at Amazon MP3

‘Maverick John McCain’

Maybe what McCain’s been needing is a kick-ass theme song. Here’s one by animator Corky Quakenbush:

Holy shit!

From what I’ve managed to glimpse on Fox News this week, there are some right-wing partisans who insist that Barack Obama “hasn’t closed the sale”... that the polls overestimate Obama’s strength... that the “race will tighten” in the coming days... and that McCain still has a real chance to win.

Well, just cast your peepers on the poll numbers above, courtesty of Real Clear Politics. (Click the image to see it bigger.)

The Big Ten Battleground Poll, in particular, could dominate today’s agenda among the cable-news talking heads.

Karl Rove – the man who made a president out of George W. Bush – says that in order to win, McCain must capture all of the toss-up states (North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota and Nevada) plus Ohio and another big Obama-leaning state.

On “Hannity & Colmes” last night, Rove said that McCain’s electoral strategy depends upon a victory in Pennsylvania.

Okay. Now check those Big Ten poll numbers again. Obama’s ahead in Ohio by 12 points. Obama leads in Pennsylvania by 11.

With 12 days to go.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take it viral.

Hip-hop producer Quincy Jones III (a.k.a. QD3) has just posted a 45-second video on YouTube in support of Barack Obama.

Watch it. Then tell a friend about it.

A free Small Jazz Band download

New Orleans holds a special place in the imagination of the world. That’s because of black music.

At that second line parade I visited on Sunday, I saw a couple of young Japanese tourists who chatted with the brass-band musicians during breaks.

As for the sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz, those are being kept alive by performers across the globe. Such as a group in Argentina called the Small Jazz Band. Let me point you to a FREE MP3.

In 2004, the Small Jazz Band released a version of “If You Want to Be My Sugar Papa,” a tune popularized in the 1920s by clarinetist Johnny Dodds (who recorded with King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong).

Click here to hear that track. To download it, follow this link.

I’m also streaming the Dodds version; click here to listen.

I am not a particular fan of “trad jazz.” But I do respect its power to endure.

Muffuletta madness

Me and Simon and Eric Overmyer rolled out to Jefferson Parish today to look around at stuff. We stopped for lunch at a spot called R&O’s. Here’s what I had to eat:

Cup of seafood gumbo.

Half a muffuletta.

Plate of french fries in brown gravy.

I. Am. Going. To. Die.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dee Dee Warwick (1945-2008)

More sad news. Singer Dee Dee Warwick, younger sister of Dionne Warwick, died Saturday in a New Jersey nursing home. She was 63 years old.

Dee Dee was a major-label recording artist in the late ’60s and early ’70s, but her solo career never took off.

Ironically, she recorded the original versions of two songs that later became huge hits for other stars – “You’re No Good” (a smash for Linda Ronstadt) and “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” (a No. 2 hit when recorded by the Supremes and the Temptations).

Ms. Warwick was also a busy background vocalist during the 1960s, appearing on records by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, the Drifters and others. She got her start in a gospel group, the Gospelaires, along with Dionne.

To hear Dee Dee’s 1963 version of “You’re No Good,” click here.

A free New Orleans Jazz Vipers download

I was out walking with David Simon last night, and there wasn’t much happening in New Orleans. Hardly even a street musician to be found in the French Quarter. (And New Orleans is supposed to be the busking capital of the United States.)

That’s Mondays for you.

But in the funky little nightclub district along Frenchmen Street in Faubourg Marigny, a delightful racket was emanating from the Spotted Cat. So we stood by the open door and dug a couple of tunes by the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, who do sort of a hip take on “trad jazz.”

Three MP3 files (low-fidelity) are free to download at the band’s website. The songs are from the Jazz Vipers CD “Live on Frenchmen Street.”

Click here to hear “A Ghost of a Chance” on my Vox blog. If you want the FREE MP3, follow this link and look for where it says “Downloadable Demos.”

Tuesday 12-inch Flashback: ‘Murphy’s Law’

This one is dedicated to the supporters of Barack Obama. It was either this or “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”

(I’m saying... a lot can happen in two weeks. So don’t pop no champagne bottles yet.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore (1937-2008)

Culture warrior Bob Davis of has put a lot of sad news in my email basket over the years. Today he reports that comedian Rudy Ray Moore has died. He was 71.

According to, the cause of death was complications from diabetes.

I have blogged about Mr. Moore’s foul-mouthed performance art twice before (here and here). Now let me stream his classic rendition of “Signifying Monkey,” released in 1970 on “The 2nd Rudy Ray Moore Album: This Pussy Belongs to Me.”

Click here to listen.

Rudy Ray Moore has influenced rappers such as 2 Live Crew and Too Short. Anybody who grew up black in the 1970s has either heard one of his LPs or seen one of his movies. White hipsters started embracing him in the 1990s.

The man made an impact.


I suppose it’s time to share a piece of news. My old buddy David Simon – creator of “The Wire” – is working on a new project for HBO, a drama series called “Tremé.” It’s about post-Katrina New Orleans, with a focus on the music culture.

I will be one of the writers (along with series co-creator Eric Overmyer and novelist George Pelecanos).

HBO has greenlit a pilot episode and ordered a few more scripts, but we won’t know until next year whether “Tremé” goes all the way to series.

Simon, a huge music fan, knows New Orleans well, and Overmyer lives in the city for part of the year. But I never even visited New Orleans before arriving yesterday with Simon for a weeklong excursion. (Overmyer will join us today.)

In my first day, I got an eyeful and an earful. We marched for two hours alongside a second line parade as a young brass band funked it up.

From September thru December, a Sunday parade is almost a weekly occurrence in black New Orleans. Yesterday’s was organized by the Men of Class Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

Simon and I were rolling with Davis Rogan, a pianist, teacher, raconteur, gadfly and all-around funky white boy.

During the parade, local rap star Cheeky Blakk stepped up to dance with him and then meet the out-of-towners.

(Click here to hear a track that Cheeky recorded with Davis.)

We also stopped and chatted along the parade route with trombonist and bandleader Glen David Andrews, who was more than happy to meet a TV producer doing a show about New Orleans music.

Later, I tagged along as Simon hit Sidney’s Saloon – a.k.a. Kermit’s Lounge – to say hey to Kermit Ruffins, trumpet player extraordinaire. (Kermit was wearing an Obama-Biden button on his chocolate-brown pinstripe suit.)

After that, we went to the Bywater neighborhood to see Davis Rogan and his band play a set at a wine lounge.

Topped it all off with a stroll down Bourbon Street, where rowdy tourists go to vomit.

Fascinating town, New Orleans.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A free Wayne Henderson/Wilton Felder/Ronnie Laws download

Veteran horn men Wayne Henderson, Wilton Felder and Ronnie Laws have just released their second album under the “Three Kings” banner. (Their first one came out in 2004.)

Henderson and Felder were leading voices in the Jazz Crusaders going back to 1960. Laws’s older brother Hubert played in an earlier version of that band.

Now, I can’t tell you where to find “Three Kings, Vol. 2: The Legacy Continues.” But I do have a FREE MP3. And it’s kinda funky.

Co-written by Henderson and Laws, “Blues in the 5th Ward” was originally recorded for a 1992 Ronnie Laws album.

Click here to stream “Blues in the 5th Ward” on my Vox blog. To download it, click the song title below.

“Blues in the 5th Ward” (MP3)
More on this album