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July 21, 2006

YouTube for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Much as I'd like to give this posting an overarching theme, I in fact have no way of theme-a-tizing these YouTube clips. Well, except maybe to report that each one of them made me think "Hallelujah!"

* Iris Dement sings a raw and touching "Sweet is the Melody":

* Professor Longhair gives a profound lesson in what it means to be New Orleans.

* I listen to Nat King Cole's trio thinking, "I don't ask for anything more from jazz than this." I don't know if I actually stand by that statement, but it's certainly how his music makes me feel.

* For smooth and suave stylings, it's hard to beat Sam Cooke::

* A short but hard-swinging "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by that country powerhouse Patsy Cline. Patsy wasn't subtle but she sure did deliver:

* Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Harry James and the boys serve up a smokin' "Sing Sing Sing":

* I want some of whatever faith it is that Sister Rosetta Tharpe is selling. (Did you know that Sister Rosetta Tharpe was Little Richard's favorite performer?)

Marveling once again at the amazing resource that is YouTube,


posted by Michael at July 21, 2006


Wow, that was fun! I love watching Iris DeMent's (beautiful) face -- especially her fleeting, fierce expressions of concentration, like a spelling bee contestant's. If you remember Nat King Cole mostly for "Ramblin' Rose" or "Mona Lisa" it's easy to forget what a brilliant jazz pianist he was. Sam Cooke should be required study for American Idol types -- his melisma (noodling around on one syllable) makes musical sense, is never overdone, and it just slap sounds good. Rare, these days. Watching old Gene and the boys snort through that number reminds me what a sheer physical workout drumming can be, and how hard it is sometimes for orchestra musicians to NOT tap feet or jiggle legs when in the midst of some particularly hell-raising tune.

Posted by: Flutist on July 22, 2006 1:03 AM

I'd never heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She's incredible. The guitar look so incongruous on her yet she plays it perfectly. And her singing. Man. Thanks.

Posted by: the patriarch on July 22, 2006 2:05 AM

None of them can compare to this one.

Posted by: Tat on July 22, 2006 10:07 AM

I love Professor Longhair! I had the pleasure of seeing Fess play once and he was fantastic. I remember reading an article about him and supposedly he had rigged up some system in his house where he could sit in his la-z-boy chair, hit a button, and have roach insecticide sprayed simultaneously into all four corners of the room. It may be an apocryphal story, but I find it amusing.

Posted by: Mark on July 22, 2006 11:05 AM

If 'Sing, Sing, Sing' ain't rock-n-roll...

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on July 22, 2006 8:41 PM

I'm loving these Youtube roundups. Here's two cartoons from the warped mind of Don Hertzfeldt, one in lyric and the other in epic mode.

I spend far more time on Youtube than I ever did watching television.

Posted by: Brian on July 23, 2006 7:11 AM

You can pick up the Nat King Cole box set for approx. the price of one CD. It's got all his trio stuff, plus his later work. A true hero of music.

Posted by: Yahmdallah on July 24, 2006 10:43 AM

Except for Iris Dement (who is an astoundingly pure creator of early 20th century Scots-Irish folk who somehow popped up today) all of those clips are either of black musicians or white musicians pretty much working in a black-created idiom. 20th century black American music will IMO be remembered someday as America's single greatest contribution to world culture. Only the movies come close. Amazing story, that this ex-slave population should have ended up being so culturally central.

Not saying it is purely black of course, no American music is purely anything (listen closely to Professor Longhair and you can hear him channeling some of the European classical contributions to early ragtime piano). But blacks were the key creators, innovators, and performers in all blues-influenced genres.

Posted by: MQ on July 25, 2006 2:02 PM

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