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Jon runs the voodoo down

Pianist Jon Cleary is not a native New Orleanian (he hails from Cranbrook in Kent, England) but when it comes to the history and practice of New Orleans music, and piano music in particular, hell, you'd think he'd grown up on Basin Street or maybe next door to Tipitina's. You'll see what I mean when you watch this little clip, Jon Cleary - History of New Orleans Piano, and hear this masterful player roll through an exhaustive (and very entertaining) demonstration of the musical styles that the city is renowned and revered for.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 20, 2014 - 6 comments

and it's making me feel like my trousers are torn...

Be a fly on the wall while John Lennon gives birth to a song. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 11, 2014 - 5 comments

Information wants to be… good.

Five Lessons the Faltering Music Industry Could Learn From TV
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 3, 2014 - 49 comments

while my guitar not-so-gently weeps

Weeping, wailing Japanese politician inspires copycat guitarist to dizzying heights of emotional expression.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 12, 2014 - 27 comments

"Robert was supposed to change the lyrics, and he didn’t always do that"

ZEPPELIN TOOK MY BLUES AWAY Trading Cards – An Illustrated History Of Copyright Indiscretions!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 25, 2014 - 30 comments

Kyrgyzstan komuz

You remember how Jimi Hendrix played the guitar behind his back, and with his teeth, and all that, right? And it was some cool stuff, for sure. But he ain't got nothing on the komuz players of Kyrgyzstan. Nuh-uh. They turn that instrument every which way but loose.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 8, 2014 - 25 comments

Don't keep your feelings bottled up

It's hard to imagine a cover of Michael Jackson's hit song Billie Jean that could any be more satisfying than this one by the Bottle Boys, who do it on, guess what? Bottles.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 29, 2014 - 24 comments

You scream, I scream, we all scream...

The song "Turkey In The Straw" is one known to millions of Americans as well as many, many others around the world. Here's a National Public Radio article that shines some light on the virulently racist lyrics that attended that familiar old melody in its earlier incarnation. WARNING: Do not go to the link if you wish to avoid racist imagery and slurs.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 14, 2014 - 117 comments

JB and Bobby D, together at last

My head just exploded because the the two epic spiraling vortexes of iconic American pop have met and merged and made my head explode and it's exploded. Like a Rolling Sex Machine.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 9, 2014 - 17 comments

Showin' how funky 'n strong is your fight

As Michael Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 27, 2014 - 44 comments

Gnawa sounds

Sometimes nothing satisfies quite like the funky bass lines you hear played on the ghimbri in Moroccan Gnawa music, not to mention the ecstatic singing. And Hamid Kasri is one of the greatest exponents of the music. Check him out here and here . [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 25, 2014 - 11 comments

the big musical history of a little island

Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music, is an excellent BBC Documentary in three parts: 1 - Forward March, 2 - Rebel Music and 3 - As Raw As Ever.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 19, 2014 - 16 comments

A simple, concise and informative primer:

THE 14 SYNTHESIZERS THAT SHAPED MODERN MUSIC
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 3, 2014 - 97 comments

the generations and the blues

Elijah and Jeremiah
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 21, 2014 - 5 comments

I beg-ee, oh, make you hear me well!

Forty eight, uh-huh, count 'em, FORTY EIGHT Fela records are now available for streaming. Make you hear this one!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 9, 2014 - 28 comments

"...mournful, joyful, delicate, or kind of badass..."

Got 57 minutes to spare? Then sit back and let David Garland, host of WNYC's "Spinning On Air" take you on a whirlwind tour (with insightful commentary) of over 50 excerpts from pieces of music that all use a common musical DNA: the Diatonic Phrygian Tetrachord, aka the The Andalusian Cadence, aka the world's most used musical sequence. Check it out.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 7, 2014 - 29 comments

Memphis's finest, in top form

Fans of classic southern R&B and soul, and I'm talking the Stax variety, should get down on their knee and genuflect toward Norway, and then sing the praises of the BBC down every corner and alleyway of the city of Memphis. Why? Well, for hosting and for documenting a sweaty, burning, solidly funky evening back in 1967: Otis Redding & Friends Stax Volt Revue
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 4, 2014 - 28 comments

Bollywood Inspired Film Music from Hausa Nigeria

The Hausa people of the north of Nigeria like Bollywood films so much that around 20 years ago they started making their own local productions. The films of Kannywood (for Kano, the capital city) feature song and dance - and the incredible music that defines Northern Nigeria: autotuned robotic vocals combined with frenetic drum machine rhythms and intricate, interwoven synths in a hybrid of local styles and Indian influence. Hear a generous sampling of it here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 1, 2014 - 16 comments

just a little folk music for y'all

December 4th, 1928, in a New Orleans park: two boys dance while another plays a homemade drum kit.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 13, 2014 - 22 comments

Sweet is the melody, indeed

Today is Iris DeMent's birthday, and I've been listening to some tunes by this delightfully idiosyncratic singer and songwriter, whose sound harkens back to an earlier era of American music. I thought some of you might enjoy hearing them today as well. Here's Out of the Fire, God May Forgive You (But I Won't), He's Not You, Easy's Gettin' Harder Every Day, Sweet is the Melody, Let the Mystery Be, Our Town (featuring harmony vocal from the wonderful Emmylou Harris), He Reached Down (with Joan Osborne and Bruce Molsky), and finally, here's Iris dueting with John Prine on his hilarious number In Spite of Ourselves.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 5, 2014 - 30 comments

So long, Phil, and thanks for the music

Phil Everly, one half of the iconic and deeply influential vocal duo the Everly Brothers, has died at age 74. Marked by their sweet, tight harmonies and chopping acoustic guitars, tunes like All I Have To Do Is Dream, Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Cathy's Clown and When Will I Be Loved made an indelible mark on the musical consciousness of America.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 3, 2014 - 79 comments

Why, yes, please Mr. Brown, by all means, take it to the bridge.

Here's forty four minutes and forty four seconds of James Brown: said to be the total of all his appearances on Soul Train.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 1, 2014 - 30 comments

Heck, it's Tex-Czech!

If you're going to listen to a brass band play a waltz, it might as well be a joyously exuberant one, with a unabashed sense of humor and a firm conviction that notes were made to be bent. Right? Oh, and it might as well be played, by, say, a Texas Czech (yes, a Texas Czech) band. Right? OK then, here's Circling Pigeons Waltz by the Joe Patek Band of Shiner, Texas. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 31, 2013 - 20 comments

What scale did you say that was in?

You or someone you know, at one time or another, might have taken a blade of grass, positioned it between thumbs or fingers, and made some sound, a note or two, by blowing over it. You can actually do the same with certain other things, like, say, fish scales. But chances are that neither you nor anyone you know can make music like the music Marin Toma of Romania, back in the 1930s, made with a fish scale. I mean, hey, just listen to this.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 21, 2013 - 20 comments

mamako mamasa mamamakossa!

Let's celebrate the 80th birthday of Afrofunk pioneer Manu DiBango with a few of his groovy tunes, shall we? He made a splash way back in 1972 with a catchy (and rather influential) little number called Soul Makossa. A few years later, in 1982, another DiBango tune, also catchy as hell, might've made it onto a turntable or a dance floor near you: it was called Echos Beti. Aside from these two tunes, there's been lots, lots more from this very prolific Cameroon-born saxophonist, vocalist and bandleader, so I've included... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 12, 2013 - 5 comments

Farewell to a giant of African popular music

The much-renowned and very influential singer, songwriter and bandleader Tabu Ley Rochereau, the legendary pioneer of soukous, has died. His music was characterized by his sweet, mellow voice, smoothly beautiful and quintessentially African vocal harmonies, and chiming, smooth-as-silk interwoven guitar melodies. Not to mention a steady, infectious beat that kept people moving on dance floors all across Africa for the past five decades. Here is but a small sampling, spanning from his very fruitful, prolific musical career: Mokolo Nakokufa, Muzina, Kaful Mayay, Bania Irene, Mongali... and since the man is said to have written as many as 3000 songs, there's plenty more out there to discover. RIP Tabu Ley Rochereau.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 30, 2013 - 20 comments

some rockin' little records

All you Americans know what day it is today, right? Of course you do! It's Hendrix's birthday! Duh. And I'd like to suggest you celebrate by listening to this excellent compilation of various soul and R&B singles that featured Jimi's guitar artistry before the man became the most celebrated guitarist in American music history. JIMI HENDRIX : THE SOUL SESSIONS
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 27, 2013 - 9 comments

The Yellow Dogs, RIP

The Yellow Dogs was a NYC-based group of young expatriates who fled their native Iran for Williamsburg, Brooklyn in order to freely pursue their dream of playing rock music, saying what they wanted to say, and, well, having fun, which were three things they couldn't do back home. Three members of the band were found murdered today. A sad farewell to The Yellow Dogs. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 11, 2013 - 38 comments

Sounds of the wanderers

Whether or not all cultural historians agree with the premise that Rom people came to Europe originally from India, or whether or not the portrayals of Rom musicians in the film are always *accurate* or *authentic* ones (some have indicated they're not, or are too heavily draped in over-stylized Exotica), there is surely no denying that the film is a treasure trove of fantastic musical performances. You've probably guessed by now that we're talking about Latcho Drom, which you can see it in its entirety here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 15, 2013 - 36 comments

Alright, get a little closer to the mic, here we go...

First, you might want to listen to the Beach Boys song Sloop John B, just to refresh your memory. Then a look and listen to the video Behind The Sounds: Sloop John B will give you some nice insight into the recording and arranging process and open a window onto the keen production expertise of a young Brian Wilson, directing a roomful of seasoned session pros (none other than the Wrecking Crew). It's how they used to make records, kids!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 7, 2013 - 48 comments

Baka women of Cameroon, water drumming

Further proof that Pygmy music is some of the most awesome on earth.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 29, 2013 - 21 comments

Some tasty morsels from the 1920s jazz table

Have you heard the music of Tiny Parham? Though not as celebrated a name as some of his early jazz contemporaries like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong or King Oliver, Tiny's arrangements were inventive, lively and big fun to listen to, and his bands were full of fine players. Here are three slow to medium tempo numbers selected by The Mainspring Press Record Collectors blog that are a good starting point. Then, if you want to get things jumping a little hotter, try Nervous Tension and Sud Buster's Dream. We'll round it out with Tiny's Stomp. Thanks for the music, big man!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 14, 2013 - 4 comments

Another take on slide guitar

Hey, the Indian sitar is a great instrument and all, but it's really refreshing to hear Indian music played on Hawaiian slide guitar, and in that department, you can't do better than Debashish Bhattacharya. Here's an hour and fifteen minutes of his sublime sound for your listening pleasure: Calcutta Slide Guitar vol.3.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 13, 2013 - 16 comments

That's what I waaaaaa-aaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaant, yeah

You've more than likely heard this early recording of Money by the Beatles, or perhaps this version by the Rolling Stones. But Barrett Strong, the man who originally recorded it and who was the primary songwriter hasn't shared in the millions of dollars the song has earned over the years.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 2, 2013 - 30 comments

Low-end melodicism at its most sublime

You're perhaps familiar with the Stevie Wonder classic, For Once in My Life. It's a great little tune, catchy, pleasing, just makes you feel good. What you may never have really thought about, though, is how much James Jamerson's bass line has to do with the tune's infectious brilliance. So, check out James Jamerson’s Bass Line Visualized. I mean, just... damn! Right?
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 30, 2013 - 73 comments

aaaaand... CHASER!

Sam Ulano appears to have been drumming, non-stop, since he arrived on the planet in 1920. Sam Ulano is a drumming MACHINE. He's drummed on more gigs than anybody. Anybody. He's also a celebrated educator, who, throughout his long career, has taught and inspired thousands of drummers. But those aren't the reasons Sam Ulano is appearing today at Metafilter. No, Sam is here because of this: Little Red Rhumbahood. That's right. And this: Santa And The Doodle-Li-Boop. Because you've never heard anyone tell a nutty story while accompanying himself on the drum set, and doing it this, um... well, with this kind of verve, spontaneity and deliciously crazed energy. Sam Ulano is a law unto himself, a category of one. Ah, but the pièce de résistance, friends, the crowning achievement of this mad genius, the epic masterpiece which simply must be heard to be believed, is HOW TO PLAY A SHOW. Thank you, Sam Ulano, you joyously inspired lunatic!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 29, 2013 - 5 comments

Portraits of a dysfunctional family

The Last Beatles Photo Shoot
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 19, 2013 - 94 comments

diddally​diddally​diddally​diddally​diddally​diddally​diddally wawp wamp

If you're not already in the mood for bacon fat, you might find yourself craving it anyway, just as soon as it hits the pan. Cause it's a slow simmering, juicy slab of swamp doo wop just right for easing across the kitchen floor to. Or the juke joint floor. Or just about any floor. Aww, have mercy! By the way, I mean this kind of Bacon Fat. Mmmm-mmm! Hungry for more? Alright then, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 15, 2013 - 11 comments

feel so good this mornin' ... gon' be downloadin' all night long

"Folk Music in America" is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. It's absolutely fantastic. And here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 10, 2013 - 21 comments

but I'll dream of pretty Saro wherever I go...

Bob Dylan ran through the 18th century English folk song "Pretty Saro" six consecutive times during the Self Portrait sessions in March 1970, but none of those versions made the final cut for the album and the song remained in Columbia's vault for the past 43 years, until now. Bob Dylan's Lost 1970 Gem 'Pretty Saro' - Premiere
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 7, 2013 - 14 comments

AAAH-HAHAHA HEYYY-AAAYY-OH GOOBA GOOBA GOOBA GOOOBA AAAH-HAHAHA

Let's just kick back and have a hella lotta fun with some good old fashioned New Orleans R&B and proto-rock from Huey 'Piano' Smith, what'cha say? His Don't You Just Know It can't help but put a smile on your face, and he'll give you that Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu so strong you'll hardly notice your High Blood Pressure, or that your baby is Psycho!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 3, 2013 - 8 comments

This might come in handy sometime...

A guide for classical radio announcers... and whoever else is interested.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 28, 2013 - 28 comments

Bow. String. Gourd. Bliss.

You think you need more than one string to make some totally captivating, subtly expressive and utterly soulful music? Well, you wrong!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 5, 2013 - 42 comments

by the dawn's early light

It's a damn tough song to sing, that one we often hear on July 4th, but that didn't stop 'em from designating Francis Scott Key's clunky and tortuous little tune as the US national anthem. People have struggled with it ever since. There was one guy, though, who, back in 1969, performed a soaring, acid-drenched, whammy-barred and noise-punctuated version of it that still stands as one of the most daringly adventurous and poignant moments in American musical history: Mr Jimi Hendrix and his amazing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 4, 2013 - 115 comments

unexpected encounter

Jimi Hendrix and Dusty Springfield’s duet of “Mockingbird,” the soul/novelty number originally made famous by by Inez and Charlie Foxx in 1963, hasn’t surfaced in decent quality yet, and maybe it never will, so savor this admittedly murky peek at it, apparently taken from a super-8 camera pointed at a TV screen when it originally would have aired in 1968.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 29, 2013 - 16 comments

Harry Reser and his kah-raaaaaazy tunes!

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who, upon hearing Harry Reser's 1926 recording of OH! HOW I LOVE BULGARIANS will cover their ears and run as far as they can possibly get from the Victrola, and those who will, um... want to hear more? For those in the latter category, then, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 25, 2013 - 7 comments

So long, Bobby 'Blue' Bland

It's time to say farewell to one of the great and legendary voices of American music. Mr Bobby 'Blue' Bland has died. With the perfect combination of muscle and tenderness, grit and sweetness, he gave us so many stellar performances over his long career. Here are but a few: Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City, The Way You Treated Me, Stormy Monday, Further Up the Road, St. James Infirmary, I'll Take Care of You, I Stand Accused, That's the Way Love Is, Ain't Nothing You Can Do... and the list goes on. Thanks for the music, Bobby Bland.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 23, 2013 - 44 comments

Sign me up

Meet Holly Maniatty, the sign language interpreter who has brought the words of Wu-Tang Clan, Marilyn Manson, Killer Mike, Bruce Springsteen and the Beastie Boys to the deaf.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 22, 2013 - 13 comments

Slim Whitman, RIP

Country crooner Slim Whitman has passed away at the grand old age of 90. His gentle, relaxed and pristine voice (featuring an effortlessly soaring falsetto and a mighty fine yodel, friends) is the kind that, well, you just don't really hear anymore on the pop music landscape. Let's take a moment to revisit a musical aesthetic that now seems a million miles away... Cattle Call, Rose Marie, North Wind, Blues Stay Away From Me and Indian Love Call. So long and happy trails, Slim.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 19, 2013 - 36 comments

Go, Eddie, go!

See string svengali Eddie Peabody drive three count 'em THREE ladies crazy with his smooth-as-silk strumming on three count 'em THREE exotic instruments: Strum Fun, for sure! And not only was ol' Eddie a suave lady's man, he was surely one of the best violinists (when it comes to bird calls, anyway) of his day! And what say we drop in and watch the wild and crazy guy strutting his stuff, doing a bit of crooning, banjo picking, toy-violin sawing and who knows what else, with His College Chums. We'll close it out with Eddie and the Beachcombers, as the irrepressible picker and grinner demonstrates some newfangled *electrified* instruments! Thanks, Eddie, and keep on plucking, baby!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 15, 2013 - 13 comments

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