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This shot, and one more.

The legendary TV production manager and inspiration for the film set term "Abby Singer Shot" has passed away at 96. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Mar 13, 2014 - 21 comments

 

"I guess I’m an artist. That’s my super power."

A short and sweet 10-minute documentary on musician and artist Daniel Johnston. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 6, 2014 - 14 comments

Richard Pryor: that clown can really sing the blues

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 5, 2014 - 14 comments

The thrillsville of it all...

Gay Talese's "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" appeared in Esquire Magazine in April 1966. Sinatra had turned down interview requests from Esquire for years and refused to be interviewed for the profile. Rather than give up, Talese spent the three months following and observing the man and interviewing any members of his entourage who were willing to speak -- and the final story was published without Sinatra's cooperation or blessing. In 2003, editors pronounced it the best article the magazine had ever published. Nieman Storyboard interviewed Talese last month about the piece and has annotated it with his comments. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 8, 2013 - 46 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

What It’s Like When A Label Won’t Release Your Album

What It’s Like When A Label Won’t Release Your Album
posted by reenum on May 19, 2013 - 41 comments

if it's the last thing we ever do...

Well, folks, Eric Burdon turned 72 today. And the man deserves some props, you know, for Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and It's My Life and We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Don't Bring Me Down and a few other tunes as well. Oh, and he brought House of the Rising Sun to, yeah, a whole new generation. Happy birthday, Eric.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 11, 2013 - 24 comments

You ain't a poet, just a drunk with a pen

Hayes Carll is a Texan alt-country singer who's known, if he's known at all, for the soundtrack to Country Strong and the novelty song She Left Me For Jesus. Slate ranked his latest album, KMAG YOYO (and other American stories), as one of the best albums of 2011, partly on the strength of its poetic title-track about an Afghan war vet and partly due to the Red State/Blue State love song duet Another Like You. Other Hayes Carll hits include Drunken Poet's Dream, his duet with Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the melancholy Wish I Hadn't Stayed So Long .
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Mar 6, 2013 - 17 comments

Like a bell...

On this day in 1963, in a tragic plane crash, America lost one of its finest singers: Patsy Cline. While many are familiar with her acclaimed rendition of the Willie Nelson-penned Crazy, let's pay a visit to some lesser-known but nonetheless masterfully impressive vocal performances from that sublime, transcendent voice, shall we? Here's two live TV spots: Patsy in full cowgirl regalia with a delightful performance of the Hank Williams classic Lovesick Blues and the snazzy Walking After Midnight, one of the tunes that reminds us that Patsy could've just as easily been marketed as a pop/jazzy chanteuse as the *country* artist she was presented to the world as. And here's the gorgeously smooth studio renditions of She's Got You and I Fall To Pieces, and... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 5, 2013 - 44 comments

She took us there.

When Staple Singers hits like I’ll Take You There and If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me) came on the radio, it was easy to get lost in Mavis Staples’ raspy, soulful lead vocals. But if you listened closer, a key element in the Chicago gospel-soul group’s warmly distinctive sound was the deft soprano harmony of Mavis’ sister Cleotha Staples, who died on Feb. 21 at age 78 in Chicago. RIP Cleotha Staples.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 25, 2013 - 17 comments

You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.

The Okeh Laughing Record, a novelty recording, was first released in 1923 and rose to #8 on the Billboard charts, becoming the highest ranking anonymous* recording ever. It's history and provenance is completely unknown**. It has since appeared as the soundtrack to cartoons, on Dr. Demento and on Jean Shepard's radio show. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Feb 13, 2013 - 24 comments

Farewell to funky diva Marva Whitney

Funk singer Marva Whitney, who was dubbed Soul Sister #1 by her mentor James Brown, has passed away at the age of 68. Backed by the whip-crack James Brown band (the JBs), Whitney's raw expression was just what the doctor ordered for those who wanted their funk uncut. Witness the supreme grooving goodness of It's My Thing (live TV appearance), Unwind Yourself, What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You, I Made a Mistake Because It's Only You, and Things Got to Get Better (another live TV appearance, with James Brown himself conducting the band and Whitney resplendent in platinum blonde afro). Here she is in a southern-flavored soul ditty recorded for Excello in 1972 called Live and Let Live. Later in her career she cut an album with a JBs soundalike band from Japan called Osaka Monaurail, which included a recreation of the James Brown hit Give It Up or Turnit a Loose. And here's a radio interview from 2006, in which she reminisces about meeting James Brown and working under his wing. Heaven is a funkier place tonight. RIP Marva Whitney. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 24, 2012 - 13 comments

H+

This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 19, 2012 - 66 comments

Amy Winehouse - SWR3 New Pop Festival, Baden-Baden, September 18, 2004

Four days after her 21st birthday, Amy Winehouse sang at the SWR3 New Pop Festival in Baden-Baden. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Dec 9, 2012 - 24 comments

Around the Corner

Around The Corner: How Differential Steering Works (9:31) is a brilliantly simple explination of the deceptively simple concept of differential steering by the Jam Handy Organization in 1937. It makes a great introduction to this more advanced modern explination (4:44) for the layman. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 6, 2012 - 27 comments

I lost my heart to a ...

Sarah Brightman, multi-million selling singer, actress and songwriter, has taken her medical and will soon start training to become the 7th or 8th 'Space Tourist', visiting the ISS in 2015. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 10, 2012 - 51 comments

Our Huckleberry Friend

Popular US crooner Andy Williams, best known for singing the bittersweet "Moon River" (YouTube link), is dead at age 84. [more inside]
posted by Sidhedevil on Sep 26, 2012 - 52 comments

"Etta James Rocks The House"

On September 27, 1963, at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee, Etta James rocked the house. The result was "simply one of the greatest live blues albums ever captured on tape". [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 26, 2012 - 7 comments

Veteran singer Kelly Hogan finally gets her due

Singer Kelly Hogan has a reputation as a journeyman, someone who's worked for years to master the craft but has yet to make a mark of her own. That may change with her new album, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain. Here are some songs: 1 2 3 4 5. [more inside]
posted by hydrophonic on Jul 22, 2012 - 31 comments

Thinking of Nico

On this day in 1988, just three months shy of what would have been her 50th birthday, Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico, died. Her stark, no-frills delivery conveyed a kind of guilelessness and honesty that many listeners continue to find refreshing. These Days. I'll Keep It With Mine. Chelsea Girls. Femme Fatale. All Tomorrow's Parties. My Funny Valentine. The Fairest of the Seasons.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 18, 2012 - 31 comments

The "Unstoppable Gay Jew"

In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2012 - 16 comments

Marva Whitney

Although she's not a household name, Marva Whitney is fondly remembered by funk devotees as one of the rawest, brassiest, most powerful divas the music ever produced. Along with fellow funk belters Lyn Collins and Vicki Anderson, Whitney made her name singing with the James Brown Revue for a few years, and her limited, much-sampled recordings for Brown-associated labels now fetch astronomical sums on the collector's market. - AllMusic
posted by Trurl on Jun 4, 2012 - 8 comments

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, 1925-2012

Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has died (NYTimes). “Providence gives to some singers a beautiful voice, to some musical artistry, to some (let us face it) neither, but to Fischer-Dieskau Providence has given both. The result is a miracle and that is just about all there is to be said about it.” (John Amis) [more inside]
posted by Madamina on May 18, 2012 - 26 comments

one of the greats will be leaving the stage

The Band singer and drummer Levon Helm is in the final stages of cancer, according to a note posted on his website Tuesday by his wife, Sandy, and daughter, Amy. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 17, 2012 - 137 comments

Dory Previn, 1925 - 2012

"Whether writing as herself, or through one of the many voices she heard in her head, Previn's sinister riverboat chansons revealed the pain, games, lies and loneliness behind the L.A. free love myth. 1971's Mythical Kings And Iguanas was, perhaps, the peak point of Previn's eerily confessional style containing the searingly honest Lemon Haired Ladies and The Lady With The Braid, both of which recount encounters between young men and single older women in chilling detail. Her third album, Reflections In A Mud Puddle was a concept album based upon her life with her father, and contained the astonishing Doppelganger, a Weillian Sympathy For The Devil in which the world's evils are found to lurk in all of us. " Singer-Songwriter Dory Previn has died. (previously on Metafilter).
posted by The Whelk on Feb 22, 2012 - 13 comments

Birdcloud is Two Tennessee Girls with Stringed Instruments and Potty Mouths

"Birdcloud met in Murfreesboro and immediately didn’t like eachother. At a party in 2009 they had some whiskeys and became friends and started dicking around on guitar, writing their first song, a song about going down on your best friend, now lost to the sands of time. Despite a lukewarm reception at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, they have been sitting on eachother’s faces ever since, showing eachother their bruises and generally doing whatever they want when it works out that way." Songs on the inside NSFW if you can't tell. [more inside]
posted by cmoj on Feb 21, 2012 - 14 comments

The Gift and the Curse

After years of rumored depressiondrug and alcohol addiction, and legal issues, D'Angelo is poised to make a comeback. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 29, 2012 - 26 comments

Sibylle Baier

This song was recorded at home in the 1970s by German actress Sibylle Baier. Her son collected her recordings and created an album to share with family, and in 2006 the Colour Green was released by label Orange Twin. [more inside]
posted by KingoftheWhales on Dec 6, 2011 - 11 comments

Howard Tate, soul man, 1939-2011

The man who lent his wonderfully warm and soaring voice to the rolling soul ballad Get It While You Can, the limber southern funk of Eight Days on the Road, the coolly driving How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark, the mellow soul lilt (with breathtaking falsetto interjections!) of I Learned It All the Hard Way and so many other delightful soul numbers has died. Farewell Howard Tate. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 4, 2011 - 17 comments

Linda Ronstadt to publish memoirs

Linda Ronstadt plans to publish her autobiography (aptly titled “Heart Like a Wheel”). Linda Ronstadt is one of the most versatile and commercially successful female singers in U.S. history, recognized for her many public stages of self-reinvention and incarnations.” [more inside]
posted by I_Love_Bananas on Nov 30, 2011 - 39 comments

Lana Del Rey

Lana del Rey sings "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" and just got signed to Interscope. But she's also known as "failed mainstream artist" Lizzy Grant, a "gangster Nancy Sinatra," and "the lie we like to tell ourselves." Here she is at the 2011 Q Awards.
posted by Avenger50 on Oct 28, 2011 - 47 comments

Jean-Jacques Beineix's "Diva"

The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience. - Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 16, 2011 - 33 comments

You look to me like love forever...

Tim Hardin : underrated singer-songwriter of the '60s and '70s, or the most underrated singer-songwriter of the '60s and '70s? Known mostly for more famous singers covering his work, his songs were sung by a plethora of people, from Bobby Darin, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Rod Stewart to Astrud Gilberto, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Echo & the Bunnymen, while he remained a very little-known but widely loved figure in folk music. He music could be painfully honest (Reason to Believe, Don't Make Promises), or slow and hypnotizing (Misty Roses). Sadly, 6 days after his 39th birthday, he died from a heroin overdose in 1980. [more inside]
posted by Drainage! on Aug 26, 2011 - 18 comments

"I'm not a good singer, but I just like it."

Sung-bong Choi auditions for 코리아 갓 탤런트 (Korea's Got Talent.) (SLYT. The singing starts around 2:45. Video is unrestricted.)
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2011 - 33 comments

For the Love of Music

"A ballet dancer needs a mirror to perfect her style, her technique. A singer needs the same -- an aural mirror."
In 1950 and '51, Japan’s first reel-to-reel tape recorders, the "G-Type" (for gov't use) and the "H-1" (for home use) were released by a company named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. Music student Norio Ohga was unimpressed by the wobbly sound of "Talking Paper," so he wrote a note complaining to the firm's founders, who hired him. Mr. Ohga never achieved his original dream of becoming a baritone opera singer, but the future President of TTK, (later renamed Sony,) would still make an indelible, global impact on the world of music -- including the development and introduction of the compact disc. Mr. Ohga died on April 24, 2011. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 4, 2011 - 3 comments

Don't say I didn't warn you.

This is a single-link YouTube post involving a small child singing a grown-up song. But she's absolutely fierce, so it's quite a lot less annoying than that sounds. [more inside]
posted by jacquilynne on Mar 3, 2011 - 34 comments

What can a poor boy do?

More, perhaps, than any other rock star of his generation, Jagger has made it his business to understand and control the mechanics of his own stardom.
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 16, 2010 - 22 comments

Artiste hors-pair, celui qui s’est fait connaitre sous le nom de Djilali Raina Rai...

The Algerian singer, Djillali Rezkellah, has passed away from stomach cancer at the age of 49. [more inside]
posted by HopperFan on Nov 6, 2010 - 5 comments

Laila Kinnunen

Laila Kinnunen was very popular in Finland in the fifties and sixties. She sang beautifully in Finnish, but had also the ability to perform in many other languages. As performer Laila was quite versatile, just compare these two performances. Though in her heart of hearts she probably wanted to be a jazz singer. [more inside]
posted by severiina on Oct 14, 2010 - 4 comments

Broke a billion hearts in mono

"Teen rebels and bobbysoxers still heralded Johnnie Ray as their hero, but to parents across America, he was Public Enemy Number One. Five years before Elvis Presley evoked a similar kind of mass parental dread, Johnnie had all of button-down America shaking in their boots, fearing for the souls of their children." [more inside]
posted by MrVisible on Oct 5, 2010 - 17 comments

taal tales

The original beatboxing. Sheila Chandra shows us how it's done.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 25, 2010 - 33 comments

RIP funkmaster Garry Shider

Garry Shider, singer, guitarist and musical director of George Clinton's P-Funk All-Stars for much of their history, has passed on at age 56. Shider (the man in the diaper for so many P-Funk performances) was co-author of One Nation Under a Groove and many other masterpieces of the funk. RIP, Garry Shider.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 16, 2010 - 37 comments

the amazing Washington Phillips, gospel singer

Have you heard of Washington Phillips? He was possessed of a wonderful voice, and delivered his simple but gorgeous gospel tunes in an easy and utterly unprepossessing style. He accompanied himself not on guitar or piano, as might be expected, but rather on a chiming, delicately ethereal zither, lending a curiously timeless air to his recordings from the 1920s. An altogether unique performer, his music is a real treat for the soul: Take Your Burden To the Lord, What Are They Doing in Heaven Today, Denomination Blues, I Had a Good Father and Mother, Lift Him Up, Paul and Silas in Jail, Mother's Last Word To Her Son and Train Your Children. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 14, 2010 - 23 comments

I hear babies cry and I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than we'll know. And I think to myself: What a Wonderful World

You may not know who Israel "Brudda Iz" Kamakawiwoʻole was, but you're probably familiar with his medley of "Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World," which has been included on several movie soundtracks and used on television shows & commercials throughout the world.... [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 8, 2010 - 72 comments

Helen Shapiro

With a surprisingly low voice and the composure of an R&B singer many years older, Helen Shapiro toured with The Beatles in 1963; inspired Lennon and McCartney to compose for her the song “Misery” (which they intended for her vocal style); wrote her own B-sides; starred in ("A Hard Day's Night" director Richard Lester's) 1962 movie; and recorded an album of songs in Nashville with (Patsy Cline producer) Owen Bradley. All before her 17th birthday. [more inside]
posted by applemeat on May 17, 2010 - 25 comments

Stormy Weather (1917-2010)

Lena Horne dies at 92.
posted by iviken on May 10, 2010 - 68 comments

Truth to power.

Gil Scott-Heron, Godfather of Rap. Parts 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 and 6.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 16, 2010 - 19 comments

"Kevin, you look beautiful."

Kevin Coyne plays his song "Having A Party" live in Köln, 1979. [more inside]
posted by koeselitz on Mar 22, 2010 - 8 comments

Use the Force, Luc

Ladies and Gentlemen, the amazing voice of Luc Arbogast. Here's another video of his impressive singing, if you can manage to ignore the dodgy camera work and annoying tourists. [more inside]
posted by bwg on Feb 23, 2010 - 13 comments

Ruby Hunter

We were supposed to really actually forget about that lifestyle. But it'd come back to me in song.
Ruby Hunter, award winning songwriter, has died.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Feb 17, 2010 - 7 comments

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