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One important identity that Ms. Letissier’s Christine wears is that of a dancer. As she sings, Ms. Letissier gets inside her music, punctuating the beat with a silken authority or sliding her body between notes to give her songs an unusual kind of energy. She isn’t dancing to the music; she is the music.

“Movement never lies,” Martha Graham liked to say, and Ms. Letissier’s use of dance in her videos and stage performances brings her closer to the essence of Christine. “When you dance, you own everything you have,” Ms. Letissier said. “You are really in your own body. You do it with your muscles and your bones and your weight and your height — it’s how to love yourself by moving.”

– from Christine, A Pop Star Who Sings With Her Muscles, NYT, 10/5/2016

letissier-photoHéloïse Letissier, the French pop singer-songwriter behind
Christine and the Queens.
Photo by Jeff Hahn

Video here – or click on photo above…




Rain, rain, rain today…

Video by Michel Gondry…full lyrics here (separate window)…

chance encounter_lewis_2Chance Encounter
Martin Lewis,1940

Comb your hair, pleads your face
Try to wipe out every trace
Of all the other days in the week
You know this’ll be the Saturday reachin’ your peak

Stop on the red, goin’ on the green
Tonight’ll be like nothin’, you’ve ever seen
Barrelin’ down the boulevard
Looking for the heart of Saturday night

Is it the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin’?
Telephone’s ringing, it’s your second cousin
The barmaid that’s smilin’ from the corner of her eye
The magic of the melancholy tear in your eye

– Tom Waits, Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night
[video/audio here]

From the 2014 film, Whiplash:

An obsessed and driven student. An obsessed and driven teacher. And jazz.

Watch what comes before, then this pivotal scene, then the hypnotic rollout at the end…

Watch it more than once. Then ask yourself that question…where is that line?


…let’s play it…wait for that solo around the 3:00 mark…

Are we supposed to be our brother’s keeper
Are we supposed to hear him when he calls

Are we supposed to be our brother’s keeper
Are we supposed to hear him when he calls

Are we supposed to catch him
Are we supposed to catch him when he falls

Jesus said to feed the hungry
Jesus he said to help the poor

Jesus said to feed the hungry
Jesus he said to help the poor

So many of today’s so called christians
See, they don’t believe in that no more

I believe we supposed to be our brother’s keeper
I believe we supposed to hear him when he calls

I believe we supposed to be our brother’s keeper
To hear him when he calls

I believe we supposed to catch him
I believe we supposed to catch him when he falls

I picked up on Walter Trout when I plugged Gary Moore’s name into my Pandora channels. Some kinda workout music this is – no doubt the young’uns in the gym got a kick out of the old man on the treadmill doing some serious air guitar.

The video comes thru Don Odell’s cable studio show – you can read a bit more about it here…and you can pick up more of his channel here

The Brunette wandered in while I was listening this morning…I asked her if she ever heard of Walter Trout. Or course she did. I am so unworthy…

ringo-starr_1962_004Ringo Starr, Liverpool, 1962
[via The Beatles Bible…photo original source unfound]

Nik Cohn writes about the Beatles with a few notes about Ringo:

Big-nosed and dogeyed, he had a look of perpetual bewilderment and said hardly anything: “I haven’t got a smiling mouth or a talking face.” He only bumbled, came on like some pop Harry Langdon and women in millions ached to mother him. In fairness, it has to be said that this was not his fault—he looked that way by nature and couldn’t change.

Every now and then, out of deep silence, he’d emerge with some really classic line. No verbal gymnastics like Lennon, not even a joke—just one flat line, so mumbled and understated as to be almost non-existent.

Really, he summarizes everything that’s best in the English character—stability, tolerance, lack of pretension, humour, a certain built-in cool.

Post-Pax day – I just re-watched part of the 50th anniversary special pointing back to the Ed Sullivan hour that launched The Beatles here in the USA. What has always amazed me is how their music changed – and no matter how many years and decades have passed, how enjoyable it still is.

Sadly,with both George and John gone, only Ringo and Paul were there. The only family that I could clearly identify was Yoko and son Sean. Julian was off in Kenya from what I understand on a humanitarian trip. Didn’t help that there’s been no decrease in the tension between Cynthia Lennon, Julian and Yoko, Sean. Dhani Harrison was there – to look at him is to see George.

Worth seeing again…

What will you be watching this weekend?

ronstadt– excerpted from a Tavis Smiley interview with Linda Ronstadt

linda_ronstadt Linda Ronstadt poses in New York to promote the release of
her memoir Simple Dreams
(Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)

With the release of her memoir, Simple Dreams, Ronstadt seems to be everywhere these days…and I don’t mind that at all…

What an incredibly modest and talented musician she is. I am so in love with this woman…and I am such a boy about it…

Part 1 of the Tavis Smiley interview is here…Part 2 is here

One more thing – she did have something to say about technology:

“..even worse is screens, which make me feel like I’m going to have a seizure. I get on the airplane and there’s a screen in front of everything. You get into a taxicab in New York, there’s a screen blinking at you.

I think it’s going to have a tremendous effect on our brains, because those bright, saturated colors and those strong lines, they do things to your brain.”


ronstadt shopdLinda Ronstadt

rondstat pic 2Singer Linda Ronstadt poses for a portrait for
her first solo album ‘Hand Sown … Home Grown’
on March 1, 1968 in Topanga, California.
Photo by Ed Caraeff/Getty Images
via the San Francisco Chronicle

Since I manage accounts for a packaging design firm, I spend a lot of time traveling thru NYC, mid- and south New Jersey, and into Pennsylvania. To deal with the frustration of regional traffic that can make a grown man cry, as well as hours alone at the wheel, I listen to the radio.

Some months ago I discovered a public radio app for my Droid phone. My go-to programs are Leonard Lopate and Brian Lehrer for talk, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and Car Talk for humor and lift, and Terry Gross of Fresh Air for her insightful interviews.

This week, Terry interviewed Linda Rondstadt who has just published a memoir, Simple Dreams. The book was released to the publisher just prior to Ronstadt’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, a condition which ended her singing career.

Ronstadt has a very measured voice, even tempered in both reflection and opinion, and offers her views of the world that she grew up in. She spoke of her music, her family, and her grateful thanks to all the gifts she’s been given from her talent to the people she’s met and had the opportunity to sing with. We’re provided with samples of her music that ranged from country, to pop, to American standards, and finally to the music of her Mexican heritage. She was a celebrity who didn’t want to be a celebrity – her Catholic upbringing and her traditional views puts her in direct contrast to what we view as the world of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll that we thought the rock industry to be.

This wasn’t a sad interview at all but a celebration and she spoke only barely of her illness. She is a joy to listen to and not at all what I expected. I’ve already listened to the interview twice. I think I’m going for a third time.

It’s Friday – what will you be listening to this weekend?

I’m not exactly sure how our paths crossed. But one day it seemed as if he was circling the edges of the group just close enough that I became aware of him.

We were a raggedy bunch and that’s where he stood out. His clothes were crisp, always shined loafers, never wore sneakers, and the part in his hair was as sharp as the crease in his pants. We were the others with hair that was weeks past growing out and t-shirts that were about as baggy as our cut-off jeans.

He brought his guitar down to the group and began playing a few chords and picking away at the strings with a more thoughtful talent and subtlety that I hadn’t heard yet on the radio. I was still stuck somewhere between Shindig and The Moody Blues and individual notes were as rare as Friday night dates.

We became friendly and I would often head up to his apartment where his room was a wonderland of six and twelve string guitars, banjos and stereo equipment. Or at least I thought so since living my life on a fold out couch in our living room didn’t afford me many luxuries except for an old Heathkit stereo my father built with one working speaker.

Aside from his picking, he looped around some music on his reel-to-reel from names and not bands – Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez. Bob Dylan and the occasional satire and piano of Tom Lehrer. We listened to WBAI and their own eccentric  lineup like Bob Fass, Larry Josephson, and Larry the Bagelman. (A few years later, while pledging a fraternity, I was ordered to bring a bag of bagels to the studio by a WBAI loving brother…another story for another time.)

Then he introduced me to Richie Havens and the oddball open E-chord tuned guitar.

Listening and understanding just about every stringed instrument, he had figured out how to play it by ear – that’s how he picked up most of his music. Then he played some Havens both on his own and on the stereo.

I followed Havens for a while. He was a regular at the Cafe Wha? down on McDougal street where Ed Sanders and The Fugs used to play and was one of the first Greenwich Village streets I began circling lost among button stores, middle eastern restaurants, head shops, and cafes with The Hip Bagel sign swinging in the breeze around the corner from the Cafe Figaro. Some of his songs still stick in my head, his voice a clear rasp over the single guitar that he seemed to play like a drum. He sang with his eyes closed inside the song and always carried this beatific smile framed by a thin rough beard.

Havens passed away this week. Just one more transition for me from young to old.

He took a few of my stories with him…

“I’m going straight into what I’m doing.
The direction for my music is heaven, of course.

We gear all things to the realm of heaven…”

If I Possessed a Printing Press by George Hamilton IV:

This was actually the “B” side of Only One Love released in 1957.

Now spend the day trying to get this out of your head…has a good beat and you can slow dance to it…gotta find The Brunette now…

[h/t to Letterology for the lead in..]

© Bill Israel

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