My, My, This Here Anakin Guy…


We were on vacation last week, and during the week the kids managed to watch all six movies in the Star Wars saga. (It was that kind of vacation.) The best part of the whole film fest was this video, from the extras disk: "Star Wars: The Saga Begins", by Weird Al Yankovic. (Full disclosure: I own the vinyl of Weird Al's first album. I was given it by my best friend's mom out of a clear blue sky when I was in high school, because it seemed like my kind of thing.)And having played … [Read more...]

Bertie Fit the Battle of Jericho!


Because I enjoyed it so much last week, here's another track from Hugh Laurie's album Let Them Talk: "The Battle of Jericho". Give it a little bit; it starts slow and then builds. … [Read more...]

Bertie Wooster Sings the Blues!


Pandora has a way of surprising me...but I was astonished when a blues track called "Six Cold Feet" came streaming by.  It was good, and the singer was one I wasn't familiar with.  I glanced at the Pandora widget on my desktop, and discovered that the singer was...Hugh Laurie.Yup.  Bertie Wooster sings the blues.  Dr. House is in the house. And it turns out he's recorded a couple of albums of material. I'm downloading Let Them Talk as I type; I might have more to share in future. … [Read more...]

Mago de Oz: La Leyenda de la Llorona

Here's another song that comes across my Pandora regularly, by a Spanish heavy metal band called Mägo de Oz. I know almost nothing about the group, and I haven't heard anything of theirs except this one piece, "La Leyenda de la Llorona", a delightfully energetic flute, violin, and guitar piece that reminds me of Jethro Tull in their heyday. The title refers to a legend of a woman who is doomed to wander the earth forever, weeping for her children, drowned by her hand, which is rather a downer, … [Read more...]

Mississippi Squirrel Revival!

Ray Stevens' classic novelty song "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival" randomly appeared in my music stream this morning, and I felt I ought to share it. For those not familiar, it's the story of how one "half-crazed Mississippi squirrel" brought revival to the folks at church one day. Here's Stevens performing it in 2006 at the Grand Ole Opry. … [Read more...]

Wondrous Love, by Blue Highway

So Elizabeth Scalia sent me a YouTube video the other day, a performance of the hymn "Wondrous Love" by a group called Blue Highway. And I sat and listened to the singer's raw country voice on the first verse. And on the second, he was joined by another; and on the third, another, and so on, and when it was all done, I went to the kitchen and played it for Jane, who loves close harmony almost more than she loves me. And she sat in silence and listened to it, and when it was all over she just … [Read more...]

Mark Knopfler, Southbound Again

I was a sophomore in high school when Dire Straits made it big with "Sultans of Swing". It was popular, it was part of the background, it was OK, I was only mildly impressed. Later, one of my brothers gave me a copy of their third album, Making Movies, and I liked it; and as I started trying to grow my collection I eventually picked up the rest of their albums as well. I got to know all of their early tracks pretty well.But although I'm familiar with it, I'd never given the track … [Read more...]

Celebrating the Full Orchestral Grunt

Or, another chapter in the long-running series, "Odd Things from Pandora". So across Pandora one day came streaming the song "Whatever Lola Wants," recorded by Carmen McRae in the mid 1950's. It's from the show Damn Yankees, in which Lola isn't simply a femme fatale, she's the Devil's assistant. The recording is typical non-rock-n-roll '50's pop: a singer backed by a brass orchestra. Now, I'd never heard the song before; I only recognized the name because once in a while my dad would say, in … [Read more...]

Levon Helm and the Dixie Hummingbirds: When I Go Away

A few years before his death, Levon Helm of The Band recorded an album called Electric Dirt; and on that album he sang a surprisingly upbeat song about dying called "When I Go Away". I fell in love with it the first time I heard it:For his sake, I hope he was indeed "bound for glory" when he went away.More recently, I've been hearing another version of the song by an all-male gospel group called the Dixie Hummingbirds. There's no very good video of it on YouTube; the only one I … [Read more...]