Feb 10 2012

Godsmack, Staind, Halestorm

Tag: art,music,my familyDonna B. @ 2:20 pm

My few readers will know that these groups are not my first choices in music, but y’all also know that my older daughter doesn’t necessarily share my taste.

However, I do think she’s done a fine job creating tour posters for these bands.

You can vote for them here and here.

Go ahead… click. You know you want to see them and vote for them! (I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to post the images that are also links to the voting page.)

Jan 25 2012

Why Youtube Must Survive

Tag: computers & internet,humor,legislation,musicDonna B. @ 6:25 am

Nov 18 2011

Such A Thoughtful Gift

Tag: music,my family,parentingDonna B. @ 2:04 am

For years my daughters have given me truly fantastic gifts, especially for Mother’s Day and my birthdays. These have included trips to Scotland, wonderful dinners, cards, photos, surprise visits… the list is long. *

What makes each gift special is that so much thought and planning (conspiracy!) goes into each one. Though an overseas trip is always a good gift, the one to Scotland was awesome because it was a trip to see my sister. Plus, they checked with my boss first to make sure I could get the time off AND announced the trip with a surprise party at my workplace on my birthday.

After the Scotland trip, I was informed that was “it” and that they would be starting over the next year with handprints on paper plates. I must confess I’m a tad bit disappointed that they didn’t actually do that.  

Yesterday, I got an out-of-the-blue gift from one of them. We’d discussed our tastes in music earlier this year when we drove to S Carolina together. (Not an entirely uneventful trip.) Our tastes overlap somewhat, but we both love types of music that the other just doesn’t quite “get”.

She had already sent me the cable I needed to hook my new smart phone to my car’s audio system merely because I mentioned I’d like to have it.

But… back to yesterday’s gift. Two music CDs. One of them is filled with songs we both like; music I’m quite sure she already had on her hard drive. It’s the other that is special because, with the possible exception of one song, I’m pretty sure she had to search, buy, and download them.

She made me my dream “Music To Drive By” CD.

Now while I’d like to believe she reads my blog daily and remembers posts from over a year ago, even my daughters aren’t THAT good. I’d sent her a link to that post this past August prior to traveling to S Carolina together to… shall we say… emphasize our differing tastes in music.

Thank you, my dear daughter, for paying attention.

I’m sure that I will never be writing a post like this one, though I submit that buying a gift for an old woman is easier than buying one for an old man every day of the week. Oh, it wouldn’t hurt to remember I like scotch (and wine, of course) as much as that old fart does but I’m not quite as particular about the age. 

*Disclaimer: I did nothing as a parent to deserve this kind of treatment. I’m just very, very fortunate.

Aug 14 2010

Music To Drive By

Tag: art,musicDonna B. @ 12:27 am

Retriever asks for recommendations of good driving tunes to keep her and her co-drivers awake and happy.

Here’s the list I posted for her:

Charlie Mingus – Moanin’

Something fast light and airy from one of the elli’s (Locatelli, Corelli, Torelli, et al) 

Grateful Dead – Deep Elem Blues

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Pump Boys & Dinettes – Vacation 

Mormon Tabernacle Choir – The United States Marines Hymn

Mormon Tabernacle Choir – Hallelujah Chorus (despite bad video and spelling, it’s pretty good audio)

The Beach Boys – Barbara Ann

Earl Scruggs & Steve Martin – Foggy Mountain Breakdown - be careful… this one tends to encourage speeding!

Another one that triggers lead foot syndrome is the Ventures’ Wipeout.

John Philip Sousa – Stars & Stripes Forever

Janis Joplin – Brand New Key (I’m not sure what the title is… I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key… ) SEE comments – by Melanie, not Joplin.

Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

Marty Robbins – Ghost Riders in the Sky

Roger Miller – King of the Road

and… as an afterthought for 55 mph driving: Massenet’s Meditation from Thais.

What’s your favorite driving music?

Mar 04 2010

But At Least It Doesn’t Sound Like It Looks

Tag: music,sillinessDonna B. @ 5:48 pm

I was complaining over at Amba’s place a few days ago how some videos/visuals distract and subtract from the songs they are trying to illustrate rather than add value.

Well… since then, Jim at My Bossier opened my eyes to how it could be worse. But much funnier. Literally.

Mar 04 2010

It’s All Beginning To Sound The Same

Tag: genealogy,music,nostalgiaDonna B. @ 5:36 pm

My Momma used to say that all the music I listened to sounded like just noise. Now I say to my kids that the music they listen to all sounds alike… which makes it similar to just noise.

What will my grandchildren hear? Chances are it will pretty close to the same thing I heard and their parents heard. Both the complaints and the music will likely have this sameness in common.

Though the video below is fairly constrained on an historical time scale, there’s bait in there for several decades. I have to admit, I’m not familiar with a lot of the artists… but doesn’t all the music sound familiar and familial?

Mar 02 2010

Old-fashioned Sounds

Tag: musicDonna B. @ 11:29 pm

Via Megan McArdle, here’s Slate’s In Search of Lost Sounds: Why you’ve never really heard the “Moonlight” Sonata.

Because a lot of people my age grew up hearing more of the old, out of tune upright pianos prominently featuring chipped ivories and a funky smell… than we did well-made, well-cared for, and thus rare, older pianos, it’s easy to understand why we preferred the new.

The story is about the Frederick Historic Piano Collection – 24 pianos made from 1790 to 1928. They are housed in a small Victorian library building in Ashburnham MA and they are featured in a yearly concert series. Hearing one of those concerts and seeing the pianos is one of the most appealing reasons I can think of to visit Massachusetts.

There are several clips in the article comparing compositions by Beethoven, Brahms, and Debussy played on a Steinway to them played on pianos the composers might have actually used. I checked YouTube for more recordings by the pianists playing the old instruments, but didn’t find any. That’s a void begging to be filled.

Fascinating… and somewhat of an indictment of standardization. Heed this, autotune.

Jan 09 2010

Elvis Has Left The Building

Tag: History,music,nostalgia,Shreveport/LouisianaDonna B. @ 3:47 pm

Of course, I’m a day late in acknowledging what should have been Elvis’ 75th birthday.  I’m always late.

Jim at My Bossier has a short, sweet tribute that reminds me why I originally thought Elvis was a fine and talented performer. It’s a clip of two songs from 1954 sang on KWKH’s Louisiana Hayride show. (That’s the 2nd clip.)

The first clip is of the first time the phrase “Elvis has left the building” was used, from the same radio program a few years later.

Jun 27 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

Tag: musicDonna B. @ 8:36 pm

Though he touched my life much less than either Farrah Fawcett or Ed McMahon, I feel almost obligated to post about him and his obviously premature death. The premature part is what sets it apart from the other two even though Farrah was also too young to die.

Farrah Fawcett had a disease that’s, in reality, impossible to defeat. While it is a shame that she got it while so young, her death was not a surprise or a puzzle. Her life was much more of an open book to the public, therefore it did not create quite the buzz that Michael Jackson has for the last 20 or so years.

Poor Michael. That’s really all I can say. He apparently had a horrendous celebrity childhood and suffered even more as an adult celebrity. It’s far too possible that he was never allowed to be human. He has my sympathy.

But… none of the three have my worship or can garner enough caring from me for more than this post, acknowledging their celebrity. Really, they were only people I did not know but had heard of. None of them, except Farrah, made the slightest bit of difference in my life and her only contribution was a determination for a few months to copy her hairstyle. Quite unsuccessfully.

If I sound harsh and cruel, then go read the obituaries in any newspaper and tell me you’d hold a candlelight memorial for any of those people you have never met and whose families you do not know.

Feb 14 2009

In Promotion And Defense Of The Arts

Tag: art,music,ResponsibilityDonna B. @ 3:39 am

Our house is on a dead end street. When my youngest was growing up, there were four girls her age who lived nearby. Three of these girls took ballet lessons at the same studio. Being the stay-at-home-mom on the street, I took care of transportation to and fro the ballet studio.

I was also heavily involved in costuming the dancers, so my time while the girls were learning was spent in the costume shed. I learned more about fitting and sewing in those years than all others combined.

This adventure began when my daughter went to see “The Nutcracker” with the neighbors across the street. We’d been living here for less than a month. My daughter came home with brochures, prices, and class schedules that evening. She was in the third grade and took the initiative to approach the dancers and find out what she had to do to become one of them. Yes, I was impressed.

But this was the child who was interested in everything and wanted to do it all. I told her she had to narrow her after-school activities to two things — we could not do it all. She decided on ballet and violin lessons. If only she’d chosen something inexpensive like Girl Scouts or 4-H!!

I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. We spent a year’s college tuition on a violin, but she had the experience of playing a solo accompanied by a full orchestra.  She played with her orchestra in Carnegie Hall. Really, how may non-professionals can claim that?

Ahh… ballet. My daughter, as a junior ballerina, never had a chance at the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker”. She would have been damned good in that role… but she was not professional material. I hope that her realization of this did not take too much enjoyment away from her role as one of the core dancers of the company. The star may shine, but if the core is weak, the production suffers.

As chauffeur to my daughter and two of her friends, three times a week to lessons, more frequently when a production was imminent, the three girls often forgot I was there. They were in the 8th grade, when one of them told about a classmate who had done drugs and broken his leg.

The amazing conversation that followed was exclamations of how none of them would be so stupid because if they broke their leg, or even sprained an ankle, Mrs. XXX (ballet teacher) would never forgive them.

I never felt so much a part of a community as I did then. I am by nature a loner, not a joiner. In fact, I had many arguments with Mrs. XXX about costumes. She will always be a hero in my mind because she had such a fantastic influence on my child.

As a parent, I think my child would have naturally had the guts, or whatever you may call it, to resist the path to degeneracy, but I am f0rever grateful to her dance teacher for making it easier for her. And to her violin teacher, who trusted her to babysit her infant. There’s not a better measure of trust of one’s character than that.

This post is dedicated to all the music and dance teachers who instill the best in their students, whether they become stars, or not.

Thanks, Mrs Mills :-)

May 26 2008

An Antidote to Rev. Wright

Tag: music,religionDonna B. @ 9:49 pm

From Evening Palaver, Some history and a song.

As Wintley Phipps introduces the song, contrast his interpretation of the Christian message with Jeremiah Wright’s. Where one is divisive, the other is inclusive, and not just for the sake of inclusion, but because of the theoretical basis for that inclusion: that each and every human is equal in God’s eyes, that there remains no division based on strength or weakness, goodness or evil, only grace.

And that, if nothing else, is amazing.

Go listen.

While you’re there, check out this version too.

Mar 03 2008

Red Beans, White Rice, and the Blues

Tag: art,food & drink,music,Shreveport/LouisianaDonna B. @ 1:37 pm

Because it’s Monday. And I’m in Louisiana, though I’m not doing laundry today.

•2 cups dry small red beans
•16+ cups water
•4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled, reserve drippings
•1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (or too taste)
•2 cloves garlic, minced fine
•1 bay leaf
•3 cups Trinity*
•3 medium carrots, minced
•More water
•2 teaspoons beef base
•2 pounds polish, link, or cajun sausage
•4 cups cooked white rice** (I prefer Jasmine Rice)

“Look & Pick” the beans, removing any trash, rocks, or severely discolored and deformed beans. Rinse beans well, changing water at least 3 times. This step reduces the flatulence-making property of beans. Cover with 8 cups of the water and let them soak overnight in refrigerator. The next day, remove any “floaters” and drain the water off the beans.

In a large heavy pot, cover the beans with 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low and simmer beans for at least one hour. In the meantime, sauté the Trinity*, garlic, and carrots in the reserved bacon drippings. Add the crumbled bacon, the Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, then add the entire seasoning mixture to the partially cooked beans.

Bring back to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer for several hours, adding water as necessary. The beans are done when they begin to “pop” or split and are tender all the way through. (For this step, I use a pressure cooker, even though it’s only 300 or so ft. above sea level here. I like for the carrots and trinity to “dissolve” and thicken the soup.)

High altitudes require using a pressure cooker. If you’re at 4000 ft, you can boil beans for a week and they won’t get done.

Check seasoning and adjust to taste, keeping in mind that the rice is somewhat bland. If the bean soup is not as thick as you like, smash some of the beans to a paste for thickening. Do not use a roux to thicken.

Slice and brown sausages, or grill them whole or in serving size pieces. Your taste, your choice. Serve the beans ladled over cooked white rice, the sausage on the side and a wedge of cornbread, all accompanied by some blues, of course.***

*Trinity – equal parts chopped celery, chopped green pepper, chopped onions. I prefer green bell peppers and red onions, and chop the inner tender celery leaves as well as the stalk.

**Rice – Cover 2 cups uncooked white rice with 4 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and simmer over lowest heat for 20 minutes, then “fluff” with fork. Do not stir rice during cooking or standing time.

•Substitute finely chopped pancetta, ham, or sausage for bacon
•Eliminate the bacon, slice & saute the sausage and vegetables, adding all to beans. •Skip the side serving of sausage. For a lower fat version, use less sausage.
•Substitute grilled pork chops or chicken for the side of sausage.
•Use pinto or black beans. You could also use kidney beans, I suppose. I don’t like kidney beans, but if you do… use them.
Now for the blues***

Click here to listen to (or download) a sampling of the music of Huddy Ledbetter, aka Leadbelly. Click here to hear more snippets of some of his songs and Woodie Guthrie’s performed by Little Richard, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Sweet Honey in the Rock. That CD — Folkways: A Vision Shared – A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly — is one of my favorites.An updated recipe from the one I originally posted at Pajama Pundits.