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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Webcast info for December 26, 2015

No webcast today.

Just a reminder - due to the SCAT building being closed, or my own travel plans there will be no new Unpopular Music webcast until either January 16th or 23rd.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas preparations

I've known the version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town from downloading the Holiday Freakout collection quite some time ago, but I only just recently became aware of this Christmas album from the piano duo Ferrante and Teicher. I was familiar with the duo from easy listening versions of pop songs and movie themes, "Theme from Exodus" and the like, so the obvious use of prepared pianos á la John Cage caught me off guard.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for December 19, 2015

And so this is Christmas...

We present you an assortment of Unpopular Christmas Music, hopefully not what you were listening to in line at the register. Along with some festive jazz, pop and R&B numbers we do have a serious set as well. And also, a contemplation of the cruel and fickle parameters of jazz legendry where a long, healthy, creative, and productive life lacks the glamour of living fast and dying young.

Ho, ho, ho.

Playlist after the break...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Number one sentence from today's New York Times, December 14, 2015

As much as I am loathe to bring that man into my blog, even tangentially, this sentence from an  article about Donald Trump's doctor, Dr. Harold Bornstein, made my day -

"He is also active on eBay, the online auction website, where he sells a mix of colonoscopy equipment and alligator cowboy boots."

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bruce Cockburn on Christmas Music

While searching online, trying to dig up some credits, I came across these thoughts from Bruce Cockburn regarding Christmas music which more or less jibe with mine -

Liane Hansen:Do you think we, at this point, in some respects, take Christmas music for granted at this time of year? I mean, we don't really hear what we're listening to?
Bruce Cockburn: Well, I guess it depends on the person, but we're certainly discouraged from hearing what we're listening to because we're inundated with the elevator music version of all these songs. And they become, at best, tiresome, and at worst, [laughs] you don't want to hear another note of that stuff. It becomes the unconscious accompaniment to your stressed-out Christmas shopping and all the rest of it. One of the things I was hoping would happen in the course of doing the record was to try to bring the life back into these songs, and treat them as songs that somebody actually put creative effort into writing, and not just something that was intended to be wallpaper. [singing] It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old. [speaking] The songs with spiritual significance and these Christmas songs in particular, often have a really profound level of writing and really profound things to say, and we miss that. We even miss it in church, where we shouldn't be missing it. A song like It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, I never appreciated how good a song that is and what it actually talked about until I was learning it for the record, because I'd only ever heard one or two verses and never but in a context where I was able to really appreciate what was going on.

[Slightly edited to make it read less like extemporaneous conversation. Taken from an interview on NPR twenty-three years ago, which, nerd that I am, I totally remember hearing.]

And yes, that is Sam Phillips singing harmony, and it's more or less her arrangement, too.

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for December 12, 2015

I got an email saying that Christmas is sometime soon. I'll have to look into that, and see what my obligations are.

In the meantime, A variety of fish, from jazz to 20th century classical and elsewhere.

However if you wish to see the playlist, you have an obligation to read beyond the break...

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Playlist for the Unpopular Music webcast for December 5, 2015


A few days ago, when it was still November for a few more hours, I was in line at the supermarket check out, with headphones on as per usual, over which, before I took them off to interact with the cashier1, was playing the Beatles' "In my life" (one of John Lennon's greatest songs) to be greeted, for the first time of the season, by the strains of "Happy Xmas (War is Over)", one of Lennon's worst.2 And so, this is Christmas...

Today we offer some music other than what bothers you while you're waiting in the check-out line when you feel it's too early for Christmas music (who does Christmas shopping at the grocery store anyway?). A jazzy first hour, that ends with a couple of pop songs. An, I-don't-know, atmospheric, contemplative, ponderous second hour follows.

Playlist and footnotes after the break...