Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, February 09, 2006 ]


Grammy thoughts

-Well, the Sly thing was weird. I stick to my original point (namely, the fact that he even showed up is amazing enough to justify watching), but nobody can deny that the whole thing was pretty bizarre. It also looked like he left before the number was supposed to be over, which is too bad. Also too bad is the basically unexplained fact that the rest of the Family Stone were playing behind him, and never got introduced. That's really unfortunate, since they still rock. So do Nile Rodgers and Randy Jackson, who were in the band as well.

-The hair was...incredible. Who'd have thought that, 19 years later, Sly's on-stage look w0ould most closely resemble Wendy O. Williams. (Of course, maybe he hasn't really been gone all this time, just hiding as a member of Fishbone.) Looking at it in news clips and photos today, I'm even more convinced that the platinum mohawk look was one of the more bizarre choices in American pop history. Which is not to say I didn't like it, of course. And leave it to Sly to keep us guessing.

-Kanye and Jamie Foxx were great. I loved how they unabashedly paid tribute to the black college traditions of marching bands and step shows, with little to no explanation for the white folk. The pure joy of their performance was a nice symbol of the general exuberance that makes their activities (like those of their associates Common and John Legend) such fun to watch.

-Mary J. Blige and U2 were okay, but nowhere near as good as the recorded duet, and nowhere near Mary J's previous Grammy triumph, her 2002 performance of "No More Drama." This duet, like most of the rest of the show's performances, suffered from a terrible sound mix.

-Who knew that Green Day was even nominated for Record Of The Year? While I have readily, rightfully extolled their praises before, it seemed like a little bit of a back-step - in the year of Gwen, Kanye and Gorillaz - to reward a rock record that came out in 2004, off an album that actually won Grammys last year.

-As bizarre as Sly surely was, as bizarre - in its own way - was the Jay-Z, McCartney, and Linkin Park mash-up. I applaud the Grammys for embracing an inclusive musical future like this, even if the actual performances could use some work. (Same goes for the Madonna/Gorillaz mash-up that opened the show. Very cool, if a little awkward.)

-The New Orleans tribute was great, though overstuffed. Allen Toussaint's piano playing was amazing.

-The Wilson Pickett tribute was great, too. We piss all over the Grammys, and often for good reason, but how bad can you really feel about a national television show that ends with Springsteen, Sam Moore and Irma Thomas singing "In The Midnight Hour?"

-Long and short of it is, if I ever go into hiding for 20 years, and then announce I'm coming back, just look for the dude with the six-inch-high blonde mohawk.

On the box right now: Al Green, IS LOVE.


Dove With Claws [3:48 PM]

[ Wednesday, February 08, 2006 ]


Stay tuned

Must sleep now, but tune in tomorrow for thoughts on the Grammys, featuring:

-Sly Stone
-Sly Stone's hair
-Kanye/Jamie Foxx
-Jay-Z/McCartney/Linkin Park
-U2/Mary J.
-Green Day
-New Orleans tribute
-Wilson Pickett tribute
-Uhh...did I mention Sly Stone's hair?

On the box right now: Al Green, LIVIN' FOR YOU.


Dove With Claws [9:26 PM]


Grammy says hello

So, in what should be totally unsurprising to any regular Shot Of Rhythm reader, I'll be watching the Grammys tonight. Even if Sly doesn't show - it would be amazing if he did, even if he's terrible - there's still Kanye, Mary J/U2, the New Orleans tribute with Springsteen/Costello/Toussaint/Irma Thomas/Sam Moore/everybody else in the world, John Legend, a tribute to Richard Pryor, and the assured batch of stupid decisions and weird acceptance speeches to make it interesting.

Although I won't be live blogging like Caryn, whose thoughts can be found during the show at and who's sure to have some cool stuff to say, I'll certainly come back later with a few thoughts. In fact, in that spirit...

Thought #1: I'm pissed that I've gotta flip back and forth for the first hour between the Grammys and AMERICAN IDOL. I'm now positive that I'll miss something good...

On the box right now: Various Artists, DIFFERENT STROKES BY DIFFERENT FOLKS: THE SONGS OF SLY STONE. Last summer, I blogged very pissily about how Starbucks released this album early without the Nappy Roots' version of "Don't Call me Nigger, Whitey." Thankfully, now that it's out officially, I found a used copy for cheap. The Nappy track is very cool, as is the Janet/Sly mash-up that ends the album, and - surprisingly - the rest of the album sounds pretty good too. Maybe I'm just hyped for the potential return of Mr. Stewart tonight, but this is a lot better than I remember.


Dove With Claws [8:32 AM]

[ Monday, February 06, 2006 ]


The customer is always right

I got my Fall semester TA evaluations back today. Here's my three favorite quotes:

3) "He was the man!" (I'm most certainly not.)

2) "Apart from being passionate and knowledgeable, he seemed like a genuinely nice guy." (Ha! I fooled another one.)

1) "Reading quizzes = NOT HELPFUL!" (Ah, now they're getting honest.)

Then, of course, there were the few unhappy campers who gave me a "4" or "5" (the highest marks) on every question except the one about "Grading was fair and explained", where I'd get a resounding "1" (at least as resounding as a pencilled-in circle an anonymous Scantron sheet can get).

By the way, I read today that Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland died last week. Dr. Holland was a child prostitute in Mississippi turned SNCC activist and award-winning author. She joins Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King and Dr. Nellie McKay in the too-long list of historically significant black women who we've lost recently.

On the box right now: Bettye LaVette, CHILD OF THE SEVENTIES. Miz LaVette's unreleased 1972 Atlantic album, down in the Shoals and down in the groove.


Dove With Claws [9:22 PM]