[ Saturday, April 17, 2004 ]
Laugh it up
Finally a chance to breathe after a very busy Wednesday through Friday. (Tonight, it gets busy again.) I've been taking part in a civil rights summit of sorts, with Connie Curry, SNCC veteran from North Carolina, and Ms. Joanne Bland and Rev. C.T. Vivian, veterans of the Selma voting rights movement (and co-founders of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute
), have been visiting us for these last couple days, and they've been responsible for a series of events that are, in turn, deeply affecting and too much fun. I'm not a better human being than when I'm doing this stuff, and it feels pretty damn good. (Other things feel pretty damn good, too, but enough about that...)
Anyway, in the spare moments I've managed to straggle together between the events and after-hours conspiracies, I've been watching Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians Of All Time. Now, I love these kinds of lists, and the useless arguments they inevitably cause, and I'm a huge fan of stand-up comedy, so I was not gonna miss this.
The list was excellent, even though there were some choices (and placements) that I take issue with (I love Chris Rock, but is he really "greater" than Bill Cosby?...and how could Dick Gregory only be #80?). It's absolutely impossible to argue with the top three, who were, in order,:
(Now, I hate to get snarky, but I seem to remember that a friend of ours and a member of the blogosphere told me that I was "on crack" for predicting that Pryor would be number one. He also said that Jerry Seinfeld would be #1, and he ranked at #13. I win...one to nothing.)
Anyway, there's no way anybody could be higher than Richard Pryor, in my estimation. Apart from his incredible influence, he's also responsible for many of the funniest things I've ever heard, and he's got that straight-up blues fearlessness, just like his friend Muhammad Ali. Big ups to Mr. Pryor.
(I can't believe, though, that Pryor's writer - and current contender for funniest man alive - Paul Mooney didn't make the cut at all. Can't say I appreciate that.)
Let me know your thoughts about this stuff. Nothing like futile parlor games to pass the time...
On the box right now: Black Star, BLACK STAR.
Dove With Claws [9:03 AM]
[ Thursday, April 15, 2004 ]
Wait a minute
Okay, so things in my life continue to get complicated, but wonderfully so. Nothing else I want to say about that right now, but I will say that there seems to be a sunrise lurking over the horizon, somewhere.
On the box right now: Marvin Gaye, LET'S GET IT ON. Please don't ask....
Dove With Claws [12:32 AM]
[ Monday, April 12, 2004 ]
Somebody up there must've liked me the last two weeks...apart from the fact that my life is, in general, in a very nice place, I've heard some amazing records, from unexpected sources, that have made every trip to the stereo worthwhile. Capsule peeks, for my peeps:
-BR5-49, TANGLED IN THE PINES. I've always liked this retro-country band a lot, but their past couple records had left me really dry and uninspired. How nice to hear, then, that they're not only back in form, but that they've made the best record of their career. It's a loose and rocking affair, with great rawness in the production. (Thanks to Kevin McCool, who's around this blog every now and then, for playing me this record when I'd given up on the band.)
-Candi Staton, CANDI STATON. Ms. Staton had a few R&B hits from the early-70s through disco, but never was considered an important player in the world of Southern soul, even though she recorded a bunch of stuff at Muscle Shoals' Fame Studios during its golden age. Now collected on one disc, 27 tracks of this righteous and funky soul prove that she deserves a place next to any of the genre's big names. This is the best Southern soul record I've heard in a long time.
-Slick Ballinger and the Soul Blues Boyz, POMADE FOR THE SOUL. A powerful demo from a young, white Mississippi blues man. Closer to Fred McDowell than Stevie Ray, it's blues of the highest quality. If anybody who reads this runs a record company, they sign this guy up immediately.
-Old Crow Medicine Show, OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW. A definite contender for my favorite record of the year. A bluegrass-based romp through American musical history, produced by David Rawlings (who appears with wife Gillian Welch on a couple tracks) with a few songs at the end that are so beautiful they defy description. (Their song "Take 'Em Away" is an instant classic.)
On the box right now: Slick Ballinger, POMADE FOR THE SOUL, to be followed by the Old Crow Medicine Show.
Dove With Claws [10:59 AM]