Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, August 18, 2005 ]


Since last we spoke...

...people have been moving in and out of my apartment building, causing me a great deal of annoyance. Nothing like the annual Madison move-out/move-in to turn a ray of sunshine like me into a total misanthrope overnight.

...I saw a black dude wearing a T-shirt that said "Welcome to speak English." I didn't feel that it was a good time or situation for me to inquire about the historical irony of an African American man displaying such a message, one so reminiscent of the (attempted) forced destruction of West African language and cultures during slavery. So, I just stored it away as another piece of evidence speaking to the complexity of American racial politics (and the need for good history teachers).

...I've been following, with delight, the developing Cindy Sheehan vigil. (

...I saw FOUR BROTHERS, which I was hoping to love, and which I didn't really like at all. The dialogue and characters were paper-thin, the film had nasty gender and sexuality politics, and the ending was - how shall I put this - completely preposterous. I was expecting more from John Singleton, quite frankly.

...I've been watching episodes of UNDECLARED, the failed college comedy created by the people who brought us the great FREAKS AND GEEKS. It's not as great as that show, but - considering that F&G is right up there with my favorite shows of all time - that's not that much of a criticism. (A back-handed condemnation, if there was such a thing.) It is a very funny show, with the most consistently funny character being portrayed by, of all people, Loudon Wainwright III.

...I've been listening to two fantastic Nashville country albums, Brad Paisley's TIME WELL WASTED and Hanna-McEuen's self-titled debut. As a recovering country snob, I feel ever more vindicated in my recent conversion to the joys of the best "pop" country records, even if Paisley's pretty much straight honky-tonk and Hanna-McEuen are basically a roots-rock harmony duo. (By the way, y'all need to hear Paisley's song "Alcohol.")

On the box right now: Hanna-McEuen, HANNA-McEUEN.


Dove With Claws [3:32 PM]

[ Tuesday, August 16, 2005 ]



"He's not very smart, but - thank God - he's smarter than he looks." - Hulk Hogan, from last Sunday's episode of HOGAN KNOWS BEST, my latest bad-TV addiction

On the box right now: Joe Tex, 25 ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS. Fantastic stuff. It's somewhat puzzling to me why Tex isn't considered a more significant an R&B artist than he is. He had 25 R&B Top 40 hits, several Top 10 entries in the Pop charts, and recorded near-definitive examples of country-soul ("Hold What You've Got"), deep Southern balladry ("I Want To (Do Everything For You)," mid-60s dance records ("Show Me"), chitlin-circuit blues comedy ("Skinny Legs and All"), and early funk ("I Gotcha"). Not to mention his disco classic "Ain't Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman." Add in a bunch more well-sung-and-played performances, all produced by former Hank Williams/Jim Reeves sideman Buddy Killen, and - for my money - you've got what should be the makings of a legend. (Not to mention the fact that Tex converted to Islam before his death.)


Dove With Claws [6:40 PM]

[ Sunday, August 14, 2005 ]


Radio, radio

Things I learned from my appearance on Wisconsin Public Radio the other night:

-It's much easier to follow a poet than it is a trombone choir, but both are easier to follow than an intensely-performed group of selections from ANNIE.

-Radio hosts are their own species. (Thankfully - this member of the species was one of the better examples I've come across.)

-Nothing sells better than a surprising and heartfelt cover (see my second song, a version of The Chi-Lites' "Oh Girl.")

-Always - always - be sure of the key before you start the song, particularly when you wrote the fuckin' thing. (see my fourth song, "Games Nobody Can Win.")

-Always - always - double-check any gig promotions the host might throw in to the performance.

-Pad the crowd with friends and sympathizers. (Thanks, Jarvis!)

-Do not fuck with the producers. (Didn't learn this from personal experience, thankfully, but can only imagine.)

-Public radio might actually not be in the hands of just a lotta fools tryin' to anesthetize the way that you feel. (Sorry, Elvis.)

On the box right now: Hot Foot Powder, RETURN OF THE P-FOLK. I got friends, and they some weird and talented motherfuckers.


Dove With Claws [2:16 PM]