Watch Aretha Franklin bring the gospel funk to The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby"

The queen of soul Aretha Franklin brings the gospel funk to The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby" at the 1970 Jazz à Juan festival in Antibes, France. Well, good morning to you too!

And here's a bonus clip from the same gig, "Respect":

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Bass To The Future: DIY time machine bass guitar

Flux Capacitor fluxing! Read the rest

Freaky 1980s Leonard Cohen TV performance

Leonard Cohen performs "First We Take Manhattan" on Sweden's Kulturen TV program in June 1988. It's perfectly bizarro 1980s while also being so very Cohen.

Below, Cohen's interview on the same program:

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Listen to "Internet Loving," an earnest and delightful country ditty from the 1990s

In the 1990s, country musician Ray Presnell wrote and recorded this delightful ditty, "Internet Loving."

At YouTube, Presnell writes, "Internet Loving was an easy one to write for me. I think most us can relate to the song and has spent a lot of time in the chat rooms."

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A rare, new interview with Bob Dylan

Since the pandemic began, Bob Dylan has released his first two songs in almost a decade, "Murder Most Foul" (above), a beautiful ballad about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the stunning "I Contain Multitudes" (below). In a very rare interview in today's New York Times, Dylan talks to Douglas Brinkley about his new music, the curious references to both Indiana Jones and Anne Frank in his latest song, and, of course, sheltering-in-place. From the New York Times:

Why didn’t more people pay attention to Little Richard’s gospel music?

Probably because gospel music is the music of good news and in these days there just isn’t any. Good news in today’s world is like a fugitive, treated like a hoodlum and put on the run. Castigated. All we see is good-for-nothing news. And we have to thank the media industry for that. It stirs people up. Gossip and dirty laundry. Dark news that depresses and horrifies you[....]

Does having the Pacific Ocean in your backyard help you process the Covid-19 pandemic in a spiritual way? There is a theory called “blue mind” which believes that living near water is a health curative.

Yeah, I can believe that. “Cool Water,” “Many Rivers to Cross,” “How Deep Is the Ocean.” I hear any of those songs and it’s like some kind of cure. I don’t know what for, but a cure for something that I don’t even know I have. A fix of some kind. It’s like a spiritual thing. Read the rest

This is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "symphony of social justice"

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his iconic "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," a profoundly important message that King's adviser and friend Dr. Clarence B. Jones called a "symphony of social justice." In 2018, Oakland composer Zachary Watkins (Black Spirituals) wrote Peace Be Till for the contemporary classical group Kronos Quartet, in honor of Dr. King's activism. The staggering excerpt above features Dr. Jones, currently director of the University of San Francisco Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, reads from the "Letter from the Birmingham Jail."

Film edited by Evan Neff.

Peace Be Till premiered on January 19, 2018, at New York City's Carnegie Hall during "The ’60s: The Years that Changed America" festival. Read the rest

Enjoy some old-timey, ragtimey music from The Vaudevillian

From Hamilton, Ontario, it's The Vaudevillian, an old-timey ragtimey troupe! Below, a clip from last week with the band now as a duo. They say that "as well as performing at festivals and theaters around Canada, they host interactive Washboard Workshops and interactive Musical Spoon Workshops all across the country and to date have taught over 1400+ participants in this past year alone."

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Astounding acoustic guitar cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"

To paraphrase one YouTube commenter, innovative acoustic guitar maestro Luca Stricagnoli is the only guy permitted to play a Zeppelin song at Guitar Center. Don't miss his manipulation of the tuning pegs during the song.

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Gil Scott-Heron explains "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

From an interview with Gil-Scott Heron:

"The first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move...It will just be something you see and you’ll think, "Oh I’m on the wrong page."

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (1971):

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Fellow brushes his teeth during Japanese noise music concert by Merzbow

As Japanese musician Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) performs live in Taipei in 2013, one concertgoer demonstrates that enjoying noise music does not preclude you from practicing good dental hygiene. Full clip below.

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Impressive four minute mash-up of 50 music videos from 1988

The Hood Internet cut up bits of 50+ music videos from 1988 and mashed them into a four minute video. It would make the perfect soundtrack to a montage of 80s movie montages.

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Members of Flaming Lips and Los Lobos score Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923)

During Passover last month, I posted about The Ten Commandments, Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 epic silent film version of the biblical Exodus story (plus a related modern story that I never bothered to watch.) As part of tomorrow night's DAWN online celebration of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, and drummer Scott Amendola are premiering a far out new score for the film! Watch the excerpt above. Organized by the Jewish arts and culture organization Reboot, DAWN is sure to be a wild program of music, conversations, comedy, and performances. My pal and Boing Boing contributor David Katznelson, the head of Reboot, orchestrated the new Ten Commandments musical collaboration. From Rolling Stone:

Reboot CEO David Katznelson — who signed the Flaming Lips to Warner Bros. years ago — said of the project: “Watching this film score come together, with three amazing artists forced to work remotely and yet completely in flow with each other as they composed such an incredible piece of music was inspirational. Using the greatest artists of the day to bring something like The Ten Commandments to life for new generations to connect with… that is exactly what Reboot was created to do.”

Along with Drozd, Berlin and Amendola, the DAWN lineup will feature appearances from Carl Reiner, Norman Lear, Michaela Watkins, Gaby Moskowitz, Tiffany Shlain and Kasher vs. Kasher, a new podcast from comedian Moshe Kasher and his brother Rabbi David Kasher. The event kicks off May 28th at 10 p.m.

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Knight Rider theme performed on eight cellos

Samara Ginsberg (previously at BB) performs Stu Philips' Knight Rider theme tune on eight cellos.

PREVIOUSLY: Alternate version of the Knight Rider theme tune

BONUS: Australian beer ad ☟

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Delightful cover of A-ha's "Take On Me" performed on a washing machine

I hereby dub this genre: "Appliancewave." Read the rest

There's actually an interesting (and obsessive) story behind Wheatus's "Teenage Dirtbag"

I have a soft spot for Wheatus's "Teenage Dirtbag," mostly as a fun karaoke song that namedrops Iron Maiden and a boyfriend who's a dick. But I've always been surprised by its lasting endure — it's even by covered by One Direction, and the band re-recorded a translation in Irish Gaelic. Not bad for a song that never even charted in the US.

But apparently — as I learned after reading this Rolling Stone article — there's a lot more going on in that tune than realized. Singer/writer Brendan B. Brown genuinely considers it to be his sort of magnum opus, loosely inspired by a horrific murder in his hometown, and he himself has never grown tired of it. In fact, he's been in the process of meticulously re-recording the band's entire first album — including "Teenage Dirtbag," with (ideally) all of the exact little cellphone trills — to make-up for the fact that the master tracks went missing. This isn't just about revisiting a 20-year-old album to make it sound better; it's about recreating it to exacting perfection (which is perhaps even more impressive when you realize that the album was recorded in Brown's mother's basement).

Brown’s re-recording project has cost him countless thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours spent obsessing over bass lines and synth sounds fans almost certainly never noticed in the first place. His quest has sent him scouring the internet for gear that most closely resembles what the band originally used to record the album.

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Watch "Mondo Elvis," a short and unsettling 1984 documentary about extreme Elvis Presley fans

Tom Corboy's "Mondo Elvis" (1984) is a short, award-winning, and oddly unsettling documentary about extreme Elvis Presley fanatics after The King's demise. From the description at Mondo A-Go Go Video's channel:

"This award-winning film takes a searing look at Elvis Presley's most fanatic followers. Meet such devoted disciples as the twin sisters who believe Elvis was their father, a woman whose husband divorced her for excessive devotion to Elvis, and an impersonator who claims The King came to him in a dream.

Disturbing yet entertaining, haunting yet hysterical, this program is a must for anyone interested in comprehending the significance of America's greatest cultural hero."

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Kraftwerk's connection to R&B and black DJs in America

Pioneering hip hop musician Afrika Bambaataa's love for Kraftwerk is evidenced by his groundbreaking 1982 electro track "Planet Rock" (above). Indeed, Bambataaa's underground DJ sets in black nightclubs were a key point-of-entry into the United States for many international electronic musicians in the early 1980s, from Yellow Magic Orchestra to Gary Numan. I hadn't realized though that Kraftwerk readily acknowledged that it was a two-way musical conversation: Black American music, particularly R&B, was a massive influence on Kraftwerk's music. In The Wire, John Morrison writes:

In an interview with Dan Sicko, the late author of Techno Rebels: The Renegades Of Electronic Funk, former Kraftwerk percussionist Karl Bartos gives an essential statement on the influence of black R&B on the band's work: “We were all fans of American music: soul, the Tamla/Motown thing, and of course, James Brown. We always tried to make an American rhythm feel, with a European approach to harmony and melody.” When exploring the band’s early work, this rhythmic influence does occasionally peek its head up through their abstract sound. On “Tone Float” (the title track from founder members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben’s pre-Kraftwerk 1970 debut album as members of Organisation), the band can be heard experimenting with a rhythmic framework similar to the “Bo Diddley'' beat, the heavily accented drum pattern that dominated rock ’n’ roll in the 50s and early 60s. For their first release as Kraftwerk, the “Bo Diddley” beat remerges, albeit with an aggressive Jazz flair courtesy of drummer Charly Weiss providing the driving pulse for the the album’s ten minute closer “Vom Himmel Hoch”.

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