Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Smiths - "Panic" (spotlight)

Special Brexit edition...

"Panic", a non-LP single released in 1986 by The Smiths is an appropriate choice as the markets and the world in general react to this unforced error.

On the surface it's about music, but like Brexit it's really about culture, identity, and a side of xenophobia.

Panic on the streets of London
Panic on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?
The Leeds side-streets that you slip down
I wonder to myself...

Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
But honey pie, you're not safe here
So you run down
To the safety of the town
But there's panic on the streets of Carlisle
Dublin, Dundee, Humberside
I wonder to myself...

Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music they constantly play

On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
Provincial towns you jog 'round
Hang the DJ

"Panic" - official video, live 1986

And because it's been a while since I've blogged about The Cribs, here's a 2008 cover of "Panic" with Johnny Marr.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Ralph Stanley - "O Death" (spotlight)

Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley died on Thursday.  We've seen him twice: 2005 at the Ferguson Center in Newport News, and in 2013 at the Jewish Mother in Va Beach (the picture to the left is from that performance).  I was happy to see him both times, but he was a lot stronger in the 2005 performance (even briefly playing banjo).

The obvious tribute for him is his version of the traditional song "O Death".  Although he had recorded the song several times before (for example, on 1977's "Clinch Mountain Gospel"), it was his 2011 acapella version on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack that earned him a Grammy and cross-over success.

"O Death": 2000 "O Brother" version, 1977 (?) studio version, there are many live versions on line, but this 2009 (?) version is particularly good.

On a more positive note, here's 1961's "Finger Poppin' Time", from "The Stanley's In Person", which features James Brown and the Famous Flames "poppin'" their fingers.