Saturday, February 22, 2020
Al Green is a much deeper artist than he gets credit for. In the post below I bring up the fact that the black canon includes songs where the singer claims powers over women that are either extreme or supernatural, while also including songs where the singer feels powerless and despairs of ever getting the girl. Leave it to Al Green to combine the two.
Here, the singer cheerfully explains his wonderful powers over the natural world, but by the end of the song he admits that he cannot even get this girl's phone number. These early Al Green albums were a welcome revival of the (drummer) Al Jackson driven Memphis sound, reborn on Hi Records and produced by Willie Mitchell.
Friday, February 21, 2020
An interesting aspect of these blues records is the mix of attitudes displayed by the singer. Many songs display supreme confidence, maybe even supernatural ability. "I'm a Man," "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," "Backdoor Man." Then there are a lot of songs like this one, where the singer is longing for the woman while not holding out much hope for success.
There is an abundance of talent in this genre, these first-generation urban blues records. So many great bands, and instrumental geniuses playing inexpensive instruments. A broad range of emotional content, all clearly connected to direct experience. Bragging, despair, forlorn hope. It's an anthropologist's dream.
You could see this one coming a mile away, long before debate season. Now we're into the primaries, and anyone's negative predictions about the Democrats are proving to be solid, take them to the bank, right on. The Democrats, as usual, seem to be trying to lose.
Michael Bloomberg has, inevitably, entered the race. Getting to know him has, predictably, led to most people hating him. Little Mike is, like the earth itself, much more attractive the farther away you are standing. We are discovering at a rapid pace every horrible thing that Mike has ever said and done. Running big enterprises, including New York City, requires the assistance of many thousands of people, and it seems like each of them has an anecdote or two that will hurt Mike's campaign. As it always is, the main question is, “do they like you?” Trump and Bloomberg are both disagreeable billionaires, but people like Trump, so whatever he does or says is aces with his many fans. People like Trump because he's goofy and he says funny things and moves his hands like a crazy man and, most of all, because he tells them what they want to hear. They want to hear, “bing, bong, bang!” and comforting lies. Trump lies without compunction, and when he's called on the lies, he just says, “who cares?” People don't like Bloomberg. He is smug and condescending, and if he has ever said anything funny, I haven't heard about it. Trump says, “I love the low educated,” while Mike says, “people who like guns are stupid.” Or substitute, “people with no money,” or people in lots of categories. Stupid, stupid, stupid. That's no way to make friends.
But Mike Bloomberg has sixty-one billion dollars, so don't count him out. Well, do count him out, because he's out. If he uses that money to defeat the other Dems and get the nomination, Trump will wipe the floor with him.
The other Democrats are falling all over themselves trying to get ahead of Bernie. It's hard to tell who hates Bernie more, Republicans or Democrats. Mainstream Democrats, think of them as Hillary Democrats, really, really hate Bernie, but the pretend progressive Democrats hate Bernie just as much. Or more! I think Bernie would have the best chance of winning against Trump, but I doubt if he'll get the chance. They're busy stacking the deck against Bernie as we speak. They've done it before, and they'll do it again. Then Trump can wipe the floor with Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttegieg. I love Elizabeth Warren myself, but then I don't have anything against academics, coastal elites, Harvard University, women, or people who are smarter than me. American voters have proven to my satisfaction that they hate all of those things with a passion.
I think it's safe to give Sleepy Joe his hall-pass and send him down to the nurse's office for a nap. (Someone should warn the nurse that Joe can get a bit handsy.) Is Amy Klobuchar roaring up on the outside? That's probably a trick of the light. Trump would wipe the floor with her too.
It's too bad that Kamala Harris is out of it. I'd pay good money to see her in a debate with Trump. She'd give him a heart attack on the spot, and we'd be done with this phase of the nightmare.
The only bright spot here is that most Americans seem genuinely unconcerned with Mayor Pete's sexuality. I think that's great. Homosexuals were invisible until the mid-1970s, they had to be. They were well and truly out by the 1980s though, and it was the first time most Americans realized that they were surrounded by gay men and women that they knew and loved. Cousins, aunts and uncles, friends, nieces and nephews, old school chums, work-mates, sons and daughters, beloved teachers, police and soldiers, neighbors, somewhere around ten percent of everybody. And most people seem to have taken that opportunity to say, “oh!” and get with the program. The smudge on all of that positivity is the nature of the Trump electorate. They've got more than their share of the Leviticus crowd in there. They're still ready to line homosexuals up against the wall and shoot them, no matter how bright, charming, religious, and polite they are. It would be a shame to supercharge homophobia in the way that Obama's presidency supercharged racism.
Another presidential election, another year in hell. I don't know how many more of these I can stand.
Saturday, February 15, 2020
There are several great truths in this song. Nico reflects them all nicely.
That's all I have to say on the matter. Many of the truths that are the foundations of our world are unpleasant, and the gentleman does not go about shouting them from rooftops.