It’s a long time until Election Day in New York City, but clearly the best candidate is Jimmy McMillan of The Rent is Too Damn High Party.
McMillan ran in the Democratic primaries for governor in 2010 but failed, despite strong debate performances, to win the nomination. The problem was that beyond lowering the rent, his major position was to allow people to marry their shoes. It’s an interesting policy innovation, but somehow didn’t seem to directly address the serious problems facing the state.
He’s back, and his video — which seems to be loosely modeled on the training montage in Rocky — does not disappoint. It’s especially impressive considering the fact that McMillan seems to have almost no musical ability.
Beyond the comedy, McMillan is talking about the serious issue of middle class and the working poor surviving in New York City. There is a method — and a reason — to the madness.
Below is Connie Francis’ Nixon’s the One, a well done song from the 1968 campaign. It sound sums up 1960s establishment America perfectly, and the images are very interesting — though they were not compiled by a fan. Elvis and Johnny Cash make cameos.by
The One on the Left is on the Right was written by Jack Clement and, according to Wikipedia, was on the album Everyone Loves a Nut.
The site has a news item today that reports the American Pop Music Hall of Fame is seeking input from the public on which group or performer should be in the inaugural class. The story the item is based on has a link to the entire list of candidates.
Paul Anka, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, Tony Bennett, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, the Carpenters, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Chubby Checker, the Dave Clark Five, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, the Four Seasons, Connie Francis, Elton John, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, the Monkees, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Patti Page, Les Paul & Mary Ford, the Platters, Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Smokey & Miracles, The Supremes, Three Dog Night, Bobby Vinton, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder.
I wanted to feature one of the acts on the site in addition to the news item. So I took a pen, closed my eyes and pointed to the screen. The Everly Brothers was the closest.by
The Washington Post has a positive review of La Futura, the first studio album from ZZ Top in a decade.
The review points out that the band brought in Rick Rubin to produce. Rubin started in rap but in recent years has specialized in helping artists and bands get back to basics and rediscover their cores. Johnny Cash’s late great work was done in partnership with Rubin.
The Carter family — into which Johnny Cash married — is central to the history of country music and, therefore, American music.
These two excerpts sum it up. The first, from Southern Music Network, introduces the characters:
The original Family consisted of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1979), who played guitar and sang harmony; Sara Dougherty (1898-1979), who played autoharp and sang alto lead; and Sara’s husband, Alvin Pleasant (A.P.) Carter (d.1960), who played fiddle and sang bass.
In the second, CMT describes why they are remembered:
The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, “Carter picking,” the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls — his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle — the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the ’30s and the ’40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.
The Los Angeles-based post-grunge seven-piece Flogging Molly are an interesting mix of traditional Irish music and spunky punk rock.
Here is what’s happening today, updated as often as possible: Levon Helm, co-founder of The Band, dies at age 71…YouTube now offers 150,000 music tracks for video backgrounds…PerezHilton.com says that Cheryl Cole’s album is due June 7. The story has 102 words and seven exclamation points!!…The Roots, Jesus and Mary Chain, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo, Liars and Sun O are among acts scheduled to appear at the Hopscotch Music Festival Sept. 6-8 in Raleigh, N.C…TheNational has a piece on a four-disc retrospective of Vanguard Records…It’s safe to say that there are not many harpists in pop, R&B and hip-hop, but NPR writes about one, Rashida Jolley…It’s becoming easier to present live music at small venues in the U.K…Facebook now will feature a listen button that connects to a streaming music service that automatically plays artists’ music…Here’s a feature on Esperanza Spaulding, the jazz artist who won last year’s Best New Artist Grammy…by
There is so much out there about Johnny Cash that it doesn’t make sense to discuss it much here. The main reason, of course, was that he was an American original. It doesn’t hurt that he hosted a television show from 1969 to 1971, which produced a mountain of video. Much of it is with folks you wouldn’t associate with Cash.
Here is the song Cocaine Blues. It’s amazing that a song by that name, based on a drug-induced murder, was featured on a network television program. In any case, it’s a song that pops up, in one form or another, all over the place. Check out Little Sadie by John Renbourn. There also is an apparently separate song by the same name done by many artists, including Keith Richards. Wikipedia, of course, has chapter and verse.
Two Cash videos are worth mentioning: Hurt, a song written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, has been voted the best video ever in some polls. God’s Gonna Cut You Down is equal parts brilliant and weird.
One of Cash’s biggest hits was A Boy Named Sue. Believe it or not, the song was written by Shel Silverstein, the author or The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic. Here are the two playing the song together.by