"The "chitlin' circuit" sounds like something that's gone, and with good reason. After all, the name itself derives from the "soul food" of chitterlings (fried pig intestines) that was a staple at early performances. But from CC Blues Club on Thomas Street to the Cannon Center downtown, thousands of Memphis music fans flock to hear stars like Marvin Sease and Bobby Rush sing what's too risqué for radio play, and to watch dancers shake what's too big for TV. That's both the beauty of the chitlin' circuit and the reason for its survival. While its roots run back to racial segregation, it thrives today because performers give audiences what they can't get through mainstream media. It's called "grown folks music," and it's all in the name of the blues."Soul-blues singer Marvin Sease has died at age 64. Here's a comprehensive playlist of his (sexually-explicit/NSFW) songs on YouTube, including the one that never received any radio airplay but whose title the former gospel singer took as his professional nickname: Candy Licker [more inside]
And just think: When your shitty kid marries someone you violently disapprove of 20 years from now, this song -- with its references to blowjobs and songs that were ground into the ground before the kid was a twinkle in your eye -- will serve as the couple's first dance. As you watch your offspring and new in-law twirl around the dance floor, you will reach for a glass of Champagne Loko (President Kid Rock won't try to ban the stuff until he's up for re-election in 2032) and wonder how everything went so, so wrong.
The Village Voice presents the 20 Worst Songs of 2010. [more inside]
The Village Voice presents the 20 Worst Songs of 2010. [more inside]
During the show's history Mystery Science Theater did many musical bits. Topless Robot recently linked to the "13 best" Mystery Science Theater 3000 songs. It's not a bad list, although there are some notable exclusions. About those, click through.... [more inside]
Rock historian Joseph Burns makes a case for why Arthur Big Boy Crudup's "That's All Right Mama" should be regarded as rock & roll's first song. Not everyone agrees - clips to some of the other contenders inside. Or explore Google's Rock & Roll Timeline. [more inside]
BIRD CALLS and SONGS: A blog about the bird sounds of eastern North America and beyond. Featuring Nightjars, the Blackbird and Tits. (~v~)
Cover Me - A blog about cover songs. Started out as a college radio show in 2006, now a website! Includes: A recently unearthed Weezer cover of Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak my Heart', 5 Good Covers of Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' (with one by MeFi favorite Pomplamoose), covers of songs from the Radiohead album Kid A (one by an a cappella group!)
Eminem's new video, featuring Rihanna, makes domestic violence sexy as only a (literally) smoldering Megan Fox can. [more inside]
The Music of Jacques Brel is an article by music journalist Amy Hanson about the career of pop music legend Jacques Brel and his effect on popular music in the English language. A lot of songs and covers are mentioned in the article, below the cut are links to the songs that I could find videos of online. [more inside]
"I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway, lookin' for the love getaway." These lyrics to the B-52s' "Love Shack" inspired a lengthy list modestly titled "Some Road Songs." Planning to make a road song mix tape? This is the motherlode. Surprisingly (or not?), the list is hosted on the Federal Highway Administration website. Browsing around the site, you'll also find information on the history of the Interstate System, articles from Public Roads magazine, and a selection of "Back in Time" articles about highway history by Rickie Longfellow. [more inside]
What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
Given the seeming homogeneity of many hit songs, it might come as a surprise that some very strange and unconventional songs have found their way to the top of the pop charts in the past. Some are novelty songs, some are just weird... [more inside]
The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody: Parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. (From BBC Three.) Oh, and... [more inside]
'A site dedicated to songs about London. The only rules are that the songs must be brilliant and that the blindingly obvious numbers are excluded.' The London Nobody Sings takes you on a musical tour of the capital, by bus, train and tube, via Camden Town, Parliament Hill, Portobello Road, Shepherd's Bush, Southall, Tottenham and Tooting Broadway. And if it's too late to take the Underground? Don't worry, the trams may have gone, but you can always catch the Nightbus home.
Fifty-one Elliott Smith cover songs.
Pain Pack — Ze Frank posted a phone number and asked that anyone experiencing emotional pain leave him a message. He received a number of very distraught messages. From those, DJs and musicians created 138 samples for him—and those samples have since been made into songs—and the collaborative process continues.
Playground Jungle: The "folk process" in the subversive songs, rhymes, stories and jokes you told when the teacher wasn't around. Visit the whole (growing) collection via the index of first lines.
John Anealio records songs inspired by science fiction and fantasy. Sing along about Cylons, Summer Glau (Firefly/Serenity), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and about how "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch" (previously).
So* you want to learn the Language of Birds? There's the mnemonic route and the youtube guide. You can listen to the birds in your local habitat or geographic area: New York State**, Florida, Southwestern US, Tropical America***, for example. Or, just find your favorite bird out of 104,517 audio and 33,693 video samples at Cornell's Macaulay Library, and listen. [more inside]
You've probably seen (and heard) his version of Alice in Wonderland, but have you seen The King and I, Harry Potter, The Sword in the Stone, or Mary Poppins?
Gather round the microphone, friends, put your headphones over one ear, and wave your hands in the air like you do care, very deeply. It's time to celebrate the benefit song. [MLYT] [more inside]
Mountain air, clear as wineShortly before the Six Day War of 1967 an amateur singer performed [YT] an elegy for the then-divided city of Jerusalem "locked in a dream ... with a wall in its heart". [more inside]
And the scent of pines
Brought by the twilight breeze
With the sound of bells
Leonard Cohen live in London, July 18, 2008. The entire two and a half hour concert. Available for one week only. Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
The Belfer Cylinders Digital Connection is a collection of old cylinder records at Syracuse University. The library has started to digitize them, both in mp3 and wav format. They have only 293 online yet but aim to have 6000 cylinders digitized by the end of next year. It can be searched either by genre, keyword or Here are a few that I really like: Bedtime at the Zoo, That Syncopated Boogie-boo, Mary, You're a Little Bit Old Fashioned, Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong, Phoebe Brown, Was zu Gott ist zu Gott und was zu leute ist zu leute, Aberystwyth, Glada na lusch, I Love a Lassie and Pussy's in the Well.
Those of Love(+), those of Sex(+), those of Hearbreak(+), those of People and Places (+), those of Politics and Protest (+). The Guardian's journalists purloin you with "1,000 Songs You Must Hear". The plus links lead to people's outraged suggestions of those that are missing from each category. Perfect for when 10, 100, 500 or 3,000 are just the wrong numbers.
Musical Fruitcake. Almost all Christmas songs are a little schlocky. But some are even worse than that.
Guardian Journalist Dave Simpson went in search of people who inspired famous pop songs. We have, for example, Holly Woodlawn ('Walk on the Wild Side'), Dave Balfe ('Country House'), Melanie Coe ('She's Leaving Home'), Pattie Boyd ('Something', 'Layla' AND 'Wonderful Tonight') and Suzanne Verdal ('Suzanne' - previously)
Silent Night in English, German, Irish, Arapaho, Czech, Italian, Finnish, Russian, Hungarian, Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Japanese, French, Spanish and another 120 languages. The official song of the Christmas truce. [more inside]
The Isleños are said to be a dying traditional American subculture. Descendants of Canary Island immigrants of Louisiana, the name Isleños was given to them to distinguish them from Spanish mainlanders, known as "peninsulares." But in Louisiana, the name evolved from a category to an identity. For a long time they were one of those rare subcultures that found a way to maintain a living tradition as the world around them modernised by carving out a livelihood as crabbers and 'shrimpers'. Then Katrina hit and the wetlands, which were central to the Isleños identity, essentially dissapeared. Despite the blow to their economy, they still have their songs and annual fiestas, evidence of a strong culture which binds their community together, and their rebuilding following Katrina demonstrated how strong that sense of identity and culture can be. So perhaps the Isleños shouldn't be written off just yet, then. After all, as Isleño Irvan Perez says, "This is home. Where else would we go?"
Comedy Musicians Paul and Storm have started "25 Days of Newman" where they are offering a free brand new Randy Newman-inspired movie theme song every day until Christmas.
High Peaks: aerial panoramas of 18 famous Himalayan mountains, from the Digital Himalayas Collections, which include all kinds of interesting things: old and new photographs, short films from the 1930's, maps, rare books and manuscripts, songs and stories in the languages of the locals in these remote parts of the world at high altitudes.
The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive can be used as a training tool for CPR, because it has a near-perfect rhythm for timing compressions, it's well-known and it has a tendency to get stuck in your head. Unfortunately, another song useful for training, with a similar rhythm, isn't quite so uplifting.
The Jupiter Foundation and the Whalesong Project are both organizations which record humpback whale songs from floating buoys; some of their archived recordings can be found here, here, and here. (Warning, last two may resize your browser.) DOSITS hosts a more comprehensive collection of oceanic sounds, with seals and fish along with its whales and dolphins. It also has a couple of nice sections on how animals use sounds in the ocean. (Previously.) [more inside]
Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
John Rawls gives six reasons why baseball is the best of all games. Marianne Moore's "Baseball & Writing." John Updike's "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu." [more inside]
Who knew when Arnel Pineda, lead singer of a Journey cover band called "The Zoo," posted videos of his band on YouTube that he'd grab the attention of Journey itself and be invited to be its new lead singer? (via) [more inside]
The 25 Greatest Duets Of All Time (with embedded YouTube videos of each) from retroCRUSH. Duets, by nature, are a corny type of song. Sure, there's a handful that we recognize here that are also some of best tunes ever recorded, but there's something inherently cheesy and fun about duets that make them a fun guilty pleasure for millions to enjoy.
A good chuckle about surviving the hellidays: Dysfunctional Family Holidays, the music l an interactive karaoke with several songs l What exactly is a dysfunctional family? l What are the roles for the kids? [more inside]
Shel Silverstein, songwriter. "A Boy Named Sue," as performed by Johnny Cash; "One's on the Way," performed by Loretta Lynn; "The Unicorn Song" performed by the Irish Rovers. (All YouTube links) [more inside]
Claude François was one of France's most successful popstars, a complete song-and-dance act who remained at the top of the charts for almost ten years before his career was tragically cut short when he tried to change a lightbulb while in the bath (youtube ahead). [more inside]
First she was a dancer but after an injury she had to sing to make a living. She still dances a little during her songs (a rare feat among flamenco cantaoras). I first heard about her when she made a whole record (cd) of Edith Piaf's songs in spanish. You can get a taste here. She talks about it here (spanish + french, excerpts). She sang les feuilles mortes too. But nothing equals seeing her, I think : so here she is with two covers from a recent documentary : a song by Edith Piaf, a song by Lola Flores. Btw, If you get into french songs in the flamenco idiom, try this.
"I just turned on my little iMovie, and here I am!" This week, Hollywood Records announced a record deal with female vocalist and underground sensation Marié Digby. Over the past few months, she has over 2.3 million cumulative Youtube hits, and has become a veritable rags to riches story - a testament, if you will, to how the Internet is changing the world of entertainment. What the label failed to mention was that Digby had already been signed to Hollywood Records for almost two years, well before she became a hit. A case of manufactured networking, or simply a "major" misunderstanding?
Ingmar Bergman once said that Roy Andersson "makes the best commercials in the world." The 64 year old Swedish director has also made a couple of striking feature films, including the 2000 Cannes Jury Prize winner Songs from the Second Floor (excerpt / reviews) and this year's still unreleased You, the Living (excerpt / review).