What, Me Worry?

Gone but not forgotten!

This video is only concerned with the artists who contributed to Mad in it’s first two decades – even if some of them carried on for longer. I’ve got nothing against those who came later but I’m selfishly only dealing with the ones who inspired and influenced me as I grew up. They taught me more than 4 years of college ever did. Apparently in the early Kurtzman comic years Mad was printed in colour, although all the examples I found were black and white only, and according to a particularly grumpy viewer Dave Berg didn’t die until 2002. Mea culpa.

La Cathedrale Engloutie


Claude Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” is based on a myth involving, well, a sunken cathedral off the coast of Brittany. The beautiful princess of a prosperous coastal town named Ys had an affair either with Satan or one of his many lieutenants on earth (as beautiful princesses tend to do). As punishment, the town was destroyed by sinking into the sea along with most inhabitants. Local legend held that on certain days you could hear the bells of the cathedral of Ys ringing from below. On other days, it was believed to rise briefly to the surface. Debussy begins by representing both waves and the ringing of the cathedral bells. As the cathedral rises, chanting monks and priests emerge, culminating with the great organ at 2:25: a brief emergence of a grand, underwater zombie Mass of the damned. Then it all sinks again until we just hear the bells. Near the end, the great organ melody makes a muted reappearance from the murky depths.

Beautifully creepy stuff here, with the obsessively perfect Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli looking like he’s playing this from deep within his castle in Transylvania. (He actually never lived in a castle in Transylvania, but for a while he did live in one near Brescia).

This Was Quite A Ride

… experiencing it as it happened, and now watching this.

Some solid tunes amidst the abhorrent soft rock. Boney M was in here two or three times and I swear I’ve never heard of them.

Goldbergs


I’m sure you all have a lot of music you have to hear a few times a year. On my list is Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m kind of addicted to theme and variations pieces, and this is one of the best, inventive and resourceful as hell. Bach can get too dour and Lutheran for me, but not here. Consists of an aria, 30 variations, then the aria again at the end. The common theme is not the aria but the bass line, which is repeated in every variaton, although not always overtly. The melodies of the variations are not necessarily related to one another. A huge range of material from a single bass line. Reminds me of how many rock songs use the same bass/chord structures a million different ways. But these are all from one work by one guy.

If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy young person play it, I go to Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording. This record made him an overnight sensation, and I would guess that it’s the #1 selling classical album of all time. If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy middle-aged person play it, I like GG’s 1981 re-make. When I want to hear it played by someone from this planet, I like the one posted above.

Musicologists wet their trousers when Bach is played on a piano instead of a harpsicord. They shit themselves too if the pianist is as individual and “inauthentic” as GG. All the more reason to love these records.

A musicologist is a man who can read music but can’t hear it. -Sir Thomas Beecham

Without music, life would be a mistake.-Friedrich Nietzsche

Dear Mr. Brody

I’ve been watching this and it’s pretty fantastic. Via Amazon Prime Discovery trial, which I will cancel when finished. The producer who had all the letters in storage boxes was Edward Pressman – who produced Phantom of the Paradise. Have you guys ever seen that?

More Nazz


I’ve posted a Nazz song or two here and there. Was about to blargh more substantially about them, then I ran across this video, a decent overview. First I’ve heard of this YouTuber, but apparently he does a lot of these on various bands.

Not Wrong Long always reminds me of Hot Burrito #2. Both released the same year, ’68. Coincidence? Who knows? Who cares?

Pedantic correction: Nazz Nazz came out in ’69.

Rhino released a cool red vinyl Nazz Nazz some years ago (seen on the turntable in video). Not hard to find.

Focus On Big Star

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its release, host Rich Tupica compiled a two-part show on Big Star’s “No. 1 Record.” Released in 1972, by Ardent and Stax Records, it’s influenced everyone from R.E.M. and Teenage Fanclub to Beck and Wilco.

The first part, comprising only alternate takes from the LP, also includes 1972 radio interview clips with founders Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel – recorded days after the album was released. Part two of this show digs back into the roots of the Memphis band, playing only Big Star pre-cursors. Part two also features 1975 interview clips from Chris Bell, who left the band just after the LP was released.

Check it out here!

Also, can’t remember if I told you bastards or not, but I grew up on the same street as Chris Bell. Missed him by about ten years, though. They moved in ’65.