Friends, February 18 was a BIG day in American music history. For it was on this day, in 1959, that Mr. Ray Charles recorded "What'd I Say". Here is that recording, including Ray's spoken explanatory introduction. Here's a live version from that same year. Heres a version from 1963, live in Brazil. Here's a version in living color, with none other than Billy Preston sitting in on organ, from 1964. Also from 1964, here's an artfully filmed version from a British motion picture called 'Ballad In Blue. A mere 18 years later, here is a decidedly uptempo version from 1982, live in Japan. Finally let's fast forward 41 years from the original recording, and hear Ray doing it one more time (with some serious note bending) live in Paris the year 2000. Feels so good.
Here's a song I didn't know existed until summer 2007, when Lemon Jelly's Fred Deakin released an impeccably curated three-CD mix (full 4 hours on Mixcloud). Halfway through the first disc, the music slipped into an easy, loping groove, sunburned and hungover, and a regretful voice offered Otis Blackwell's lonesome lyric: "You know I can be found/ Sitting home all alone …" [Billy Swan's version of "Don't Be Cruel" is] a beautiful record, though, and utterly different from Elvis's 1956 recording. And it opens a fantastic collection of country funk songs, collected and remastered by Zach Cowie of Light in the Attic Records. More sounds below the break. [more inside]
What is it about "Happy" by Pharrell Williams that makes you want to move? Why can't we sit still when we hear Ray Charles perform "I've Got a Woman"? Michael Jackson had it, and so did Stevie Wonder. "It," in this case, is syncopation, the gaps in the rhythm that your brain wants to fill in, as reported in the article Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music (full article online).
Wilder Mann - photos of traditional animal costumes of Europe, by Charles Freger. Also in National Geographic, and in the New York Times' Lens Blog:
“These traditions come from Neolithic times — from shamanism — and they have never stopped,” said Mr. Fréger, 38. “For a few nights you can behave like a goat, drink a lot and forget about being civilized. You can be a wild animal for three days and then you go back to controlling your wildness.”
Spending the Day with Charles, Your Hangover [SLVimeo] [nsfw-ish]
Director and/or star of many of the greatest films ever made including The Great Dictator (2:05:16) [Globe scene and the eternally goosebump providing Final speech], The Immigrant (20:01), The Gold Rush (1:11:49), City Lights (1:22:40), Modern Times (1:27:01), and Monsieur Verdoux (1:59:03), Charlie Chaplin's movies have entered the public domain in most countries. Below the fold is an annotated list of all 82 of his official short and feature films in chronological order, as well as several more, with links to where you can watch them; it's not like you had work to do right? [more inside]
Charles Murray, author of the controversial 1994 work The Bell Curve, has a new book coming out, entitled Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010. He's included a twenty-five question, weighted quiz to get a feel for how in touch you are with mainstream, blue-collar American culture. It's not automated, so you'll need pen and paper. [more inside]
In 2000, microbial ecologist Roy Cullimore and Charles Pellegrino (author of Ghosts of the Titanic) discovered that the Titanic was being eaten by an extremeophile super-organism, transforming the steel into huge pillars of rust. [Previously, regarding the Titanic.] [more inside]
American basketball icon Charles Barkley turned 48 yesterday to a certain amount of televised fanfare. For those who have followed the ups and downs of the round mound of rebound over the past 25 years, his staying power has been impressive. The author of four books has even recently launched his own website. From a quixotic attempt at a political career to a golf reality show to his current role as an NBA analyst, Barkley’s on-camera life has been far from boring. And while many of his Dream Team peers are fading into middle age, Barkley’s image and popularity have continued to improve, despite his best efforts off-camera to the contrary. From a shout out by the President to a serenade by Stevie Wonder, does everybody now love Sir Charles?
Charles Bronson stars in Killing Hipsters, rated PG, an action-packed smorgasbord of revenge.
Charles Darwin, famous for his work On The Origin of Species, was also a secret terraformer.
Bobby Charles 1938-2010. Songwriter, musician's musician and cultural treasure, he died on last Thursday in Abbeville,Lousiana. In the 1950s, he wrote Fats Domino's Walking to New Orleans, Bill Haley and the Comet's See You Later, Alligator and recorded for Chess records. His eponymous Bearsville album recorded in Woodstock in 1972 has been described as the best Band album released under another name.(Check out Small Town Talk there.) He appeared as well in the Band's farewell concert filmed as The Last Waltz. He made an enormous contribution to American popular music. [more inside]
Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, former member of the Manson Family and would-be assassin of President Gerald Ford, is being released from prison after 34 years behind bars. But did she really try to assassinate Ford in the first place?
For all which Treasons and Crimes, this Court doth adjudge that the said Charles Stuart, as a Tyrant, Traitor, Murtherer, and a public enemy, shall be put to death by the severing of his Head from his Body. On January 30, 1649, King Charles I was beheaded on a scaffold at Whitehall. [more inside]
Apropos on Black Friday, Charles, Prince of Wales addresses the Foreign Press Association with a comprehensive lecture on the dangers of unchecked consumerism and the need for an increasingly holistic worldview in light of the global social, economic and environmental challenges. The credit crisis is a side effect of a throwaway society and consumerism is no cure for depression, he says, and we need to question the concepts of "Modernity" and "Economic Growth" we take for granted.
Charles Meets Barack [SLYT]
There seems to be a resurgence of interest in Charles Manson, the notorious lifelong convict who is currently serving a life sentence for masterminding the 1969 Tate/LaBianca murders, as of late. You may have heard about the search for bodies buried at the group's final hideout at Barker Ranch, Death Valley, using specially trained cadaver dogs. Besides that, Lindsey Lohan has signed on to star as Manson follower Nancy "Brenda" Pitman in a new film entitled Manson Girls. Also, documentary filmmaker Robert Hendrickson has finally given his classic 1973 film MANSON a proper DVD release, and has also released a new film entitled The Manson Gang, consisting of leftover original footage from his first film. There are even rumors that ol' Charlie might receive a new trial. So why all the sudden interest? [more inside]
Don't Mess with Charles Bronson (Videos) Charles Bronson is not to be messed with on the street, in any man made structure, but certainly not on a train. When Charles Bronson wants to sit alone and read his paper on the subway, leave Charles Bronson alone.
Animation: Julia Pott just graduated from Kingston University on animation and illustration. She has made some short movies and two books. Charles Bukowski's "The Man With The Beautiful Eyes" is an inspiration among others.
An Interactive Map of Charles Dickens' London. After you have had a chance to peruse the map, see then and now pictures or take a quiz about Dickens' London. If you want to see it with your own eyes, take a walking tour. Or if you are daring enough, you can try to virtually survive Dickens' London.
The Information Machine, [YouTube]. This short animated film was written, produced and directed by Charles and Ray Eames for the IBM Pavillion at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair [embedded sound]. Animation by Dolores Cannata. The topic is the computer in the context of human development.
Handshakes are an important: They've signaled new eras in international relations, but this week they reaffirmed the sad realities of our time.
Diaries of the Lewis and Clark Journey. American Journeys has a collection or primary source documents about the Lewis and Clark Journey across America, including the diary of Sergeant Charles Floyd (the only member of the expedition to die en route), Jefferson's letter to Clark where he suggests the expedition, and 63 engravings of Places and People. If you're into history, you might also want to vote on Wisconsin Turning Points, a ballot to determine the most interesting topics in Wisconsin History.