Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, November 04, 2005 ]


Grad school good'un

So, just to prove to y'all that I'm a fair-minded guy, not merely repeating the verbal mishaps and bafflers of my colleagues, I thought I'd share an out-of-context gem from yours truly, spoken earlier today in front my students. (That's right, this is actually an example of me corrupting and confusing the youth, not just engaging in another academic circle-jerk.)

"So, the question is, here we are, so where are we? (perplexed silence from mis estudiantes) Come we are, so where are we? Here we are, so where are we?"

There you where are you? Or where am I?

On the box right now: Various Artists, I BELIEVE TO MY SOUL.


Dove With Claws [9:55 AM]

[ Thursday, November 03, 2005 ]


The word

I picked up the reissued version of The Highwaymen's ROAD GOES ON FOREVER a while back. It's spotty, but there are a couple great tracks. First and foremost among them is a song that Waylon Jennings wrote and sings, "I Do Believe." I'd heard the song before, sung by Kris Kristofferson on a Jennings tribute, but I'd never heard Waylon himself sing this beautifully written lyric.

As much as I loved the song before, I love it infinitely more now. I also think that it's as coherent and eloquent a description of the kind of complicated faith that I've come to realize is closely akin to mine. I also wish that more people of faith would admit to the complications Waylon so bravely and honestly confesses to. Lyrics below; find a recording of the song if you can...

In my own way I'm a believer
In my own way right or wrong
I don't talk too much about it
It's something I keep working on
I don't have too much to build on
My faith has never been that strong

There's a man there in that building
He's a holy man, they say
He keeps talking about tomorrow
While I keep struggling with today
He preaches hellfire and brimstone
And heaven seems so far away

I do believe in a higher power
One that loves us one and all
Not someone to solve my problems
Or to catch me when I fall
He gave us all a mind to think with
And to know what's right or wrong
He is that inner spirit
That keeps us strong

In my own way I'm a believer
But not in voices I can't hear
I believe in a loving Father
One I never have to fear
That I should live life at its fullest
Just as long as I am here

God bless Waylon Jennings. God bless us all.

On the box right now: Various Artists, I BELIEVE TO MY SOUL. And God bless this album, too...


Dove With Claws [8:35 AM]

[ Tuesday, November 01, 2005 ]


Soul deep

As much music as I listen to, I'm rarely stopped dead in my tracks by any particular record. When it happens, it's a beautiful feeling, one that I can honestly list among my very favorite emotions in the world.

The other day, it happened again. The culprit: I BELIEVE TO MY SOUL, a newly-recorded collection of songs by soul greats Ann Peebles, Billy Preston, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, produced by prince-among-men Joe Henry. The collection is warm and lovely, with some of the very best singing I've heard in some time. Song selection's great (including Dylan and Mayfield covers), and the whole thing breathes with a comfortable gospel energy that oughta reaffirm anybody's faith in humanity. On top of that, between the two Irma Thomas lead vocals ("Loving Arms" and "When The Candle Burns Low") and the closing Allen Toussaint gospel plea "We Are One," it's the first album in quite some time that's made me cry. Beautiful, beautiful stuff...

On the box right now: Peebles/Preston/Staples/Thomas/Toussaint, I BELIEVE TO MY SOUL.


Dove With Claws [10:11 AM]

[ Monday, October 31, 2005 ]


In our forum

To his credit, head ISTHMUS ( music writer Tom Laskin has addressed my criticisms of his treatment of Bruce Springsteen in the "Comments" section of the October 18th entry. (I'm assuming that someone else didn't comment using his name.) This comment, which I only noticed yesterday, has also provoked a response from writer Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen (who is one of the conspirators over at

I hope this continues, and I welcome Laskin, Schumacher-Rasmussen, or anyone else to join the discussion.

(By the way, I second Eric's remarks, but am open to any refutation.)

On the box right now: Cher, 3614 JACKSON HIGHWAY. Cher goes to Muscle Shoals in 1969, and makes a folk-pop-soul record that's not too far removed from some of Dusty Springfield's similar work. You really should hear her sing "Danny Boy." Seriously.


Dove With Claws [6:49 AM]

[ Sunday, October 30, 2005 ]



Another year, another Halloween in Madison...and another near-riot. Not too much in the way of property damage or reported injury this year (which is nice...sincerely), but more tear gas and chaos from a crowd supposedly in excess of 100,000 people.

The most disturbing element of the reports I read - and the most disturbing element of the whole Halloween insanity - were the interviews with out-of-town visitors who said that mayhem was in some way an essential part of the Madison Halloween experience. That's the most unsettling thing. It's the pathology that means that every year will always be in danger of true disaster, and it's also the one part of the pathology that's hardest to legislate. I don't know what to do about it (particularly without throwing the good-party baby out with the violent-yahoo bathwater), but Halloween is without question the one weekend a year that makes leaving Madison (which, right now, is a definite possibility) seem most like the right decision to make.

On the box right now: Scarface, MR. SCARFACE: GREATEST HITS.


Dove With Claws [8:56 AM]