Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, May 06, 2005 ]


Write 'er down

Do you ever say something that you realize is a definitive statement, the kind of thing that you'll be repeating for years and years? I had one of those the other day, when I said the following:

"Anybody who says they don't like country music clearly doesn't listen to Percy Sledge, Otis Redding or half the Southern soul music of the 1960s."

I think I've got the the first line of my first book...

On the box right now: Johnny Paycheck, THE SOUL AND THE EDGE. Listen to Johnny and George Jones' version of soul great Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" for further proof of the above.


Dove With Claws [11:22 AM]

[ Thursday, May 05, 2005 ]


One more thing

I forgot to mention this from seminar on Tuesday, which is crazy, since it was easily the weirdest comment of...well, maybe ever.

We got talking about Muhammad Ali, and the professor - the professor - asked the following:

"I can't remember. Was Muhammad Ali a wrestler or a boxer?"

We were all flabbergasted, and - quite frankly - I'm still rather stunned.

On the box right now: Robbie Fulks, GEORGIA HARD. One of these days, I'll get sick of listening to this fabulous record. Thankfully, that day hasn't yet arrived.


Dove With Claws [9:44 AM]

[ Tuesday, May 03, 2005 ]


Grand finale

Today was the last meeting of a seminar that has provided the lion's share of the quotes I've so snarkily related over the past semester. Needless to say, I was hoping for big things. And my prayers were answered.

First of all, the class got off to a roaring start when, five minutes in, the goddamned UW symphonic band decided to start playing in the courtyard below our classroom. Nothing says "learning" more than oppressively loud Sousa, Beethoven and show tunes. It actually broke us up on a few occasions, particularly when someone's comment would be punctuated by a giant tympani "BONG!" or something such like.

A few good quotes too:
-"Can I have a lollipop?"
-"Wait a minute...have I just been talking for two minutes about something we read in another class?"
-"This is why I hate the English language."

And, finally, another one for the "definitive grad school quote" list:

-"I'd like to respond to our latest despair."

I'm gonna miss this class, both for reasons of amusement and, for real, because it was a really interesting class with some damn smart folks, who for some reason failed to either realize or care that a moron like yours truly had infiltrated their midst.

On the box right now: Robbie Fulks, GEORGIA HARD. See below for more on this fantastic album, which - on second listen - is definitely my fave of 2005 so far.


On the box right

Dove With Claws [4:57 PM]



Thanks to a well-connected friend, I'm currently listening to the as-yet-unreleased new album by Robbie Fulks (GEORGIA HARD), street date of which is May 17th. While I've always loved Robbie, particularly his astounding live shows, this album is leagues ahead of anything he's done before. A little bit like Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT, this album totally repositions Fulks' artistic foundations, and - thank God - proves that he can make a quality album without resorting to his previous, rather annoying tendencies towards filler and snarkiness. (There's definitely attitude all over this record, but it's much more in conversation with the more serious stuff.)

The songs sound great, the lyrics are mature and interesting, the melodies are beautiful, et cetera et cetera. Five songs in, this is sounding like the best album of the year so far.

By the way, here's another good grad school quote. (Being that this is the last week of classes, they're about to go on hiatus.)

"What a little jerkoff."

Funny, the person wasn't even referring to me.

On the box right now: Robbie Fulks, GEORGIA HARD.


Dove With Claws [10:43 AM]

[ Sunday, May 01, 2005 ]


Washed in the blood

Lately, I've been thinking that one of the major problems with (white) American culture is that we're not too good when it comes to catharsis, either positive or negative. We don't mourn or celebrate as expressively as we should, particularly in a public context, and this leads to a straitjacketing of emotions that can't help but create damaging effects for ourselves and our society. Take 9/11, for example. How would the last couple years have been different if we had really engaged in a substantive, collective soul-searching in the days after the attacks, instead of merely wiping our national tears away and striking back at the "enemies" who we guessed were responsible? Seems to me that the only people advocating true national grieving were artists, particularly those with a significant gospel stripe (Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, even U2 at the Super Bowl). The rest of us just picked up the guns, waved the flag, and ignored the darker aspects of our souls and actions.

This worries me, particularly as it relates to our future. It looks now like there are powerful elements within the government who are dead-set on invading Iran, no matter what the human or material cost. Since apparently we've given the fuck up on trying to create a truly healthy world community, and since we're no less specific about our "Arab enemy" targets than we were before, I'm left to think that our national soul is deeply ill, infected by an inconsiderate imperialism that only serves to wreak havoc the world over. We think we have God on our side, I know we have a fool at the helm, and we have a stack of bodies - American, British, Iraqi, Afghan, maybe soon Iranian, Christian, Jewish, Moslem - that disappear into the ether of our collective forgetting as quickly as Terri Schiavo did, or as the "Runaway Bride" will. God help us. I hope that God/Allah/Yahweh/etc. will forgive our sins. Maybe we should pray on it.

But maybe I'm wrong. These are just some thoughts provoked by James Baldwin, who's recently got me pondering some imponderables.

On the box right now: Nina Simone, ANTHOLOGY, Disc 1.

Peace...Shalom aleichem...Ah salaam aleikum...

Dove With Claws [8:24 PM]