Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963
, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966
. The performance is also available on YouTube
with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
The Will to Music: Nietzsche's Musical Works
The recent 2010 Cambridge University Press biography of Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzche: A Philosophical Biography
, by Julian Young, comes with a companion website with 17 free musical compositions of the philosopher in mp3 and an extended commentary. [more inside]
Wagner, the repulsive giant
If, on one hand, you ever wanted to know what a swine Richard Wagner was, this is the book to tell you
. It does so at length, in reliable detail, calmly, without prurience, perfectly backed with documentation, and in a translation whose only fault is in giving no Translator’s Notes for in-house German references. Joachim Köhler sustains his story with new ideas, revises other interpretations and modestly deconstructs Cosima née Liszt’s creation of “Richard Wagner Enterprises Inc”. (This she developed so far as to keep Parsifal exclusive to Bayreuth, prompting George Bernard Shaw to remark in 1889 that it “would almost reconcile me to the custom of suttee
Shakey: Neil Young's Biography. . .
Any big Neil Young fan, and I have to admit to being one, also spends a lot of time hating a lot of his artistic output (i. e. the cringe-enducing Let's Roll
, as well as his all-over-the-map politics.
In the LATimes book review
Hal Epsen mentions that the reliably perverse Young has been a staunch Reagan supporter and proponent of the death penalty, as well as a devoted husband and a stalwart parent to three kids, two of whom were born with cerebral palsy
. He also asserts that Young appeals almost wholly to male listeners.
Young has been discussed here before but not, I believe his biography, which, as has been Neil Young's M. O. from the get-go, is a dictionary-perfect example of a "mixed bag."
The Filth and The Fury.
I went to see this film last night and it has to be one of the best music documentary (or, if you will, rockumentary) films I've seen. It charts the Sex Pistols rise and fall and is surprisingly funny and touching. It even manages to capture Seventies Britain in all its revolting glory. I think I shall now go and put a safety pin through my website.