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Saturday video break: Shame On You

Continuing with the shame theme, here’s the Indigo Girls:

They should have had more success on mainstream rock radio. Maybe I’m just a sucker for vocal harmonies, but they were and are excellent at what they do. Now here’s Willie Nelson in tandem with Asleep At The Wheel:

God bless ya, Willie. May you outlive us all.

Saturday video break: Shame On The Moon

Here’s Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band with a deep cut:

Gotta say, in thirty years of listening to AOR and classic rock radio, I don’t think I’d heard that song before. I know, the playlists are shallow, but still. Now here’s Rodney Crowell:

I’ve mentioned the Fluxblog 80s mixes before. Turns out the Crowell song is on the 1981 mix, and the Seger version, which I presume is a cover, is from 1982. I didn’t know Seger did covers, but that song is right in his wheelhouse, so there you have it.

Saturday video break: Shame

Here are the Avett Brothers, at a music festival in Jackson Hole:

I’ve collected music from a lot of different sources over the years. Both of today’s songs come from different CD samplers, this one on Americana music and the next one from a collection of 70s AM radio hits. Here’s Evelyn Champagne King:

If there’s such a thing as musical opposites, I’d put those two in that category. I like them both, though obviously for different reasons. I suppose that’s one way of claiming to have broad musical tastes.

Saturday video break: Shake Your Booty

Fluff up your hair, put on your dancing shoes, turn your HiFi up to max volume, and get down to KC and the Sunshine Band:

Now that, my friends, is what I’m talking about. It’s too much awesomeness for any one person, and it can all be yours for $12.99 plus shipping and handling on K-TEL Records’ Sizzling Hits of 1975. Order now, operators are standing by.

Some forty years later, it all gets put through the Disney machine, and out comes Forever in Your Mind:

That is from the Disney Channel show Best Friends Whenever, for its back-to-the-70s extravaganza episode. Go ahead, ask me how I know this. The thought occurs to me that those groovy grandparents probably ordered a copy of K-TEL Records’ Sizzling Hits of 1975 back in the day. Possibly on 8-track, which I believe cost a dollar more. Those were the days.

Saturday video break: Shake It Up

Here are The Cars:

What exactly is “the move with the quirky jerk”, anyway? Ric Ocasek has a lot to answer for if you ask me. Now here’s Selena Gomez:

That’s the theme song to the former Disney Channel show of the same name, which was a thing when my kids were still into programming for the younger set. There are several results in YouTube that claim to be the “official video”, but this was the only one I found that wasn’t just music on top of still images. Weird. Anyway, now you know Zendaya’s origin story. You’re welcome.

Saturday video break: Sex

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? Here’s The 1975:

Gotta say, as much as I love the extravagance of 1970s and 1980s videos, I really appreciate ones where we just see the band or singer in a natural setting doing their thing, with no effects or artsiness or other frippery. Just musicians making music, as God intended it. Helps if the song is good too, but just that form is worth watching.

And just to prove my affection for the other form, here’s Berlin:

The full title of that song is “Sex (I’m A)”, so technically they’re not the same name. But it was worth it to see roast beef sliced in such a sensuous fashion, wasn’t it? Of course it was.

Saturday video break: September

The only thing that can rival the 80s for video awesomeness is the 70s, and when you think of the 70s, you should think of Earth, Wind & Fire:

The glitter, the dashikis, the groovy video effects – it’s all there, in one spectacular package. The vocals and the horns are pretty great, too. A more modern take on this comes from Pomplamoose:

I like how they sped up the tempo, and of course the dancing grandma is fabulous. It’s not as funky as EWF – how could it be? – but it’s peppy and joyful and it works.

Saturday video break: Secret

We’re all about the 80s here, and very few things say “the 80s” like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

It’s the hair, the synthesizers, the usage of black and white footage to tell a story about…well, I don’t know exactly, but that’s not the point. The point is, this is what the 80s was all about. Move it forward two decades and here we have Mieke Pauley:

Not 80s at all, but someday when it’s time to create a radio station that caters to the tastes of people who were the same age in the Aughts as I was in the 80s, this song might make the playlist. Assuming there are still such things as radio stations by then.

Saturday video break: Saved

Here’s Bob Dylan during his Christian phase:

Gotta say, that meets my criteria for a good gospel song: It’s not doctrinally objectionable, and it has an excellent beat that you can dance to. Thumbs up. Now here with a similar these are The Commitments:

That’s from Volume 2 of the soundtrack, which is why it’s less familiar. It’s also not the Dylan song, but it too meets my standards. And for a third take on the concept, here’s Khalid:

That’s an Olivia song, and it shows a different meaning of the word “saved”. It also has over 14 million plays on YouTube, so make of that what you will. Not something that I would have come across, much less downloaded, on my own, but still pretty good.

Saturday video break: Save It For Later

Let’s start with The English Beat:

Some day, when my kids ask me “Dad, what was it really like in the 80s?”, I’m going to show them that video. That, and maybe an episode of LA Law. Now for one of the best cover-doers out there, the pairing of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs:

Do yourself a favor the next time you’re feeling a little blue and you have some time to kill, and spend some of that time on YouTube with live acoustic videos of Sweet and Hoffs doing their thing. I couldn’t find such a version for this, but there’s plenty of others. You’ll thank me for it. And as good as that is, my favorite version of this remains Pete Townshend’s:

Just perfect in every way. Happy Saturday, y’all.

Saturday video break: Saturday Night

Hey, it’s Saturday! And here’s a song all about Saturday Night! It’s perfect!

That was the Bay City Rollers, and the entire 1970s boiled down into a three-minute video. And for a slightly different view of the 70’s, here are the Eagles:

Well, you can answer the question of whatever happened to Saturday night yourself, at your convenience later today. Have fun!

Saturday video break: Sara

Here’s Fleetwood Mac with one of their bigger post-Rumours hits:

There isn’t a Fleetwood Mac video channel as far as I could tell, so that was the best-looking video I could find. Other than the lips not always synching with the music, it’s not too bad. Now here’s Camper Van Beethoven’s take on this:

That may be the least-viewed video I’ve ever embedded. CvB did a song-by-song cover of the Tusk album – their 10-minute rendition of the title track is kind of amazing. Perhaps a bit of an acquired taste, but I like it anyway.

Saturday video break: Safety Dance

Hey, I just realized that I’ve never seen the video of the Men Without Hats classic “Safety Dance”. Let’s watch, shall we?

Well, that was…um, yeah, I got nothing. Let’s just go to the Literal Video version, because there just had to be a literal video version of that:

Now it all makes sense. With that, here’s Big Daddy:

No matter how weird things get, you can always count on Big Daddy.

Friday random ten – Girls’ music of 2016, part 1

The girls got their share of music last year as well, enough to span two lists. Here’s the first half:

1. Confident – Demi Lovato
2. Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
3. Mockingbird – Eminem
4. Hello – Adele
5. Brave Honest Beautiful – Fifth Harmony
6. Chandelier – Sia
7. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching – Laura Marano
8. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae – Silento
9. Wildside – Sabrina Carpenter & Sofia Carson
10. Grease (Is The Word) – Jessie J

I’ll be honest, I like a lot of these songs. “Ex’s & Oh’s” is a great tune, though one that (I hope) kind of goes over their heads. Thanks to the girls’ insistence on watching “America’s Got Talent”, I am now familiar with the Puddles Pity Party version of “Chandelier”, which I assure you is a sentence I never expected to type. We all enjoyed the live showing of “Grease” last year, including the opening number. And of course what kind of monster doesn’t like Adele? I’ll have more next week.

Session ends in chaos

Seems fitting.

The normally ceremonial last day of this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican representative called immigration authorities on the people making the noise.

Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement while hundreds of people dressed in red T-shirts unfurled banners and chanted in opposition to the state’s new sanctuary cities law. The action enraged Hispanic legislators nearby, leading to a tussle in which each side accused the other of threats and violence.

Rinaldi said he was assaulted by a House member who he declined to name.

“I was pushed, jostled and someone threatened to kill me,” Rinaldi said. “It was basically just bullying.”

Hispanic Democratic lawmakers involved in the altercation said it wasn’t physical but indicated that Rinaldi got into people’s faces and cursed repeatedly.

“He came up to us and said, ‘I’m glad I just called ICE to have all these people deported,’” said state Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, whose account was echoed by state Reps. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth.

“He said, ‘I called ICE — fuck them,'” Romero added. Rinaldi also turned to the Democratic lawmakers and yelled, “Fuck you,” to the “point where spit was hitting” their faces, Romero said.

[…]

“Matt Rinaldi gave the perfect example of why there’s a problem with SB 4,” said state Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth. “Matt Rinaldi looked into the gallery and saw Hispanic people and automatically assumed they were undocumented. He racial profiled every single person that was in the gallery today. He created the scenario that so many of us fear.”

And in a press conference, following the altercation, state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, said Rinaldi in a second scuffle had threatened to “put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads.”

But Rinaldi defended the decision to called immigration authorities.

“We didn’t know what to do,” he said. “A lot of people had signs that said ‘We are illegal and here to stay.’”

He said he called law enforcement “to incentivize them to leave the House.”

“They were disrupting,” he said. “They were breaking the law.”

Asked if the protest was too little, too late since the measure has already been signed into law, Adrian Reyna, an organizer with United We Dream, said the movement is just getting started.

“We have to show resistance the whole summer,” he said. “We have identified key representatives that we will take out of office who voted for SB4. People are outraged, people are tired of the Legislature walking all over people.”

First of all, good Lord Rinaldi is a weenie. What a pathetic display of phony bravado. And as Rep. Romero suggests, his words will only help the plaintiffs in the anti-SB4 litigation. Words matter, and judges in the travel ban litigation have made it clear they will take what politicians say about these actions as seriously as they take what the lawyers say.

You can see video of what happened here, Democratic response to what happened here, and a statement from the AFL-CIO here. If there’s going to be an injunction in one or more of the court cases, we ought to know fairly soon, but the bigger fight, both in the courtroom and at the ballot box, will play out over a much longer period. We’re going to need to see a lot more of the kind of action that makes people like Matt Rinaldi cry. The Chron, the Observer, and RG Ratcliffe have more.

Saturday video break: Royals

Here’s Lorde’s global hit:

She’s going to be in Houston for the 2017 Free Press Summerfest, which I will be unable to attend. One presume she isn’t coming all this way just to play a couple of days in Houston, but her tour schedule doesn’t actually include many American appearances, so check her out while you can. Meanwhile, here’s Bruce Springsteen’s now-famous cover of “Royals” from his down under tour in 2014:

I’ve watched that video multiple times and I still love it. It’s Springsteen at his roots, singing a song you could imagine him having written. He’s well known for doing covers at his live shows, but man would I love him to put together an album of the tributes he’s done.

Saturday video break: Rock This Town

A big hit from the Stray Cats:

Am I the only one who thinks that the “real square cat” who “looks so 1974” kinds sorta resembles Weird Al Yankovic with a short haircut? It’s the mustache and the smirk, I guess. Now here’s lead singer Brian Setzer with his Orchestra nearly 20 years later:

That’s the beautiful thing about having a horn section – you can let them kick things off while you get a quick drink and fix your hair. Also, they sound great. Other than that, it’s the same basic arrangement, he just has more accompaniment.

Saturday video break: Rescue Me

Here’s the Doc Thomas Group:

I have no idea how I got this CD. Maybe it was Tiffany’s, maybe someone gave it to me, whatever the origin was it has been lost to the mists of time. It’s a pretty good cover of the Fontella Bass original, and yes I had to look up who did the original.

I do know that the Madonna song of this name came from one of Tiffany’s CDs:

Must be post-80s Madonna. Still Madonna, just not quite peak Madonna.

Saturday video break: Reason To Believe

Here he is, in all his cheesy glory, Rod Stewart:

As much as I love 70s music, I’ve never much cared for Rod Stewart. It’s just too much, you know? I know, we were never meant to take any of it seriously, but I’m still left cold by Rod Stewart. That said, this is one of his tunes that I like, and it’s a nice version of it. Now here also in acoustic mode, is Bruce Springsteen:

That song is from his dark, moody, mostly acoustic Nebraska album, also known as “the one before Born In The USA“. It may be the lightest song on that album, which tells you all you need to know about the rest of it, which is really good but not something you’d put on at a party.

Saturday video break: Pulling Mussels From A Shell

Squeeze, circa 1980:

Such an underrated band. I don’t think I heard any of their music on the radio back in the day – I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it on a “classic rock” station either, though I can’t swear to this. I discovered them the old-fashioned way, by raiding my roommate’s record and CD collection. Now here’s Chris Difford circa 2012:

I don’t know if it counts as a “cover song” when an artist reinterprets his own material, but I love it when it’s done well. Phil Collins’ “Behind The Lines” from Face Value, and Sting’s “Shadows In The Rain” from The Dream Of The Blue Turtles are my other top two in this category. Do you have any examples?

Saturday video break: Pressure Drop

Here’s Toots and the Maytalls:

I have a live acoustic version of this from the KCBO in-studio series. Any way they do it sounds good. Now here are The Specials:

That’s from the soundtrack to the movie Grosse Point Blank, which came out in 1997 and which I’d say was the leading edge of the 80’s music revival. Now I feel like I need to get the second album as well. It’s interesting that the score for Grosse Point Blank was composed by Joe Strummer of The Clash but their cover of this song was not the one picked for the movie. I think it was the right choice, but it’s still interesting.

Saturday video break: The Power Of Love

One of Texas’ treasures, the fantastic Marcia Ball:

That video is from 1990, which is around when I first saw her play at a dive bar on Washington Avenue. I’ve been a fan ever since. She’s a virtuoso on the keyboards, has a great soulful voice, and her writing is full of humor and playfulness, even in the blues context. It’s an unbeatable combination.

The song of this name you’ve probably heard of comes from Huey Lewis and The News:

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but this song stands out from other Huey Lewis works of that era in just being much more 80’s-infused power pop than anything else. Go back and listen to what’s on “Sports” or “Fore!” and you’ll see how much this tune stands out. He has some songs after those albums that are more of a fit for this, but if it hadn’t been for the “Back To The Future” movies, you wonder if it or anything like it would have existed at all.

Saturday video break: Paradise

Let’s start with the Bee Gees:

Not one of their better-known songs, I suppose, but you can never go wrong with those vocal harmonies. The Bee Gees’ disco era was so big, it tends to overshadow how good they were overall. Not that their disco stuff wasn’t good, of course, just that they were more than that. Now here’s Bruce Springsteen:

That’s from “The Rising”, which is why you probably don’t know it. Lots of acts from the 70s and 80s are still actively touring thirty-some years later, but not many are still recording quality new music that much later. Which reminds me that I need to buy some of those more recent albums, as if I didn’t already have more Springsteen music than anything else in my library. You gotta do what you gotta do, though.

Saturday video break: Over You

For the second week in a row, here’s Roxy Music:

Sorry, couldn’t find a good live version, so I have no idea if there’s an oboe player on this one. Add Bryan Ferry to your list – OK, my list – of musicians you knew more about that you thought. Now here’s Ingrid Michaelson:

Lots of covers of this one out there, but again no good live version. Among other things, Ingrid Michaelson is an artist the girls and I both like. I keep trying to expand that list, but that tends to happen mostly when I decide I like one of their faves. Which, thankfully, does happen. I wouldn’t mind if it happened a bit more often in the other direction, but I take what I can get.

Saturday video break: Out Of The Blue

Here’s Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour playing a tune from his 1984 solo album About Face:

I love finding concert footage like this on YouTube. The sound quality isn’t always this good, but seeing musicians like Gilmour in their prime just thrills me. I love how good his live version of this song is. Some acts are best off never leaving the studio, if you know what I mean. Gilmour knows how to bring it. Do yourself a favor and check out all of About Face, it’s one of my faves. Now here’s another live video, featuring Roxy Music:

When was the last time you saw someone play an oboe in a rock band? And a translucent electric violin, too. Gotta love 70s art rock.

Saturday video break: Our Lips Are Sealed

It’s peak 80’s with the Go-Gos:

I’m so old, I’m watching them drive around in that convertible and all I can think is “PUT YOUR SEAT BELTS ON! ARE YOU CRAZY?” Different times, they were. Now here are favored cover artists Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs:

As one of the commenters said, a double bill of the Go-Gos and the Bangles would have been awesome. Maybe in another life.

To the moon!

If this is on your bucket list, you may be in luck.

SpaceX, the ambitious rocket company headed by Elon Musk, wants to send a couple of tourists around the moon and back to Earth before the end of next year. If they manage that feat, the passengers would be the first humans to venture that far into space in more than 40 years.

Mr. Musk made the announcement on Monday in a telephone news conference. He said two private individuals approached the company to see if SpaceX would be willing to send them on a weeklong cruise, which would fly past the surface of the moon — but not land — and continue outward before gravity turned the spacecraft around and brought it back to Earth for a landing.

“This would do a long loop around the moon,” Mr. Musk said. The company is aiming to launch this moon mission in late 2018.

The two people would spend about a week inside one of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 capsules, launched on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The spacecraft would be automated, but the travelers would undergo training for emergencies.

Mr. Musk did not say how much the travelers would pay for the ride. “A little bit more than the cost of a crewed mission to the space station would be,” he said.

The Falcon Heavy itself has a list price of $90 million.

While the trip appears to be within the technical capabilities of SpaceX, industry experts wondered whether the company could pull it off as quickly as Mr. Musk indicated. “Dates are not SpaceX’s strong suit,” said Mary Lynne Dittmar, executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, a space advocacy group consisting of aerospace companies. The Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy are years behind schedule and have yet to fly.

“It strikes me as risky,” Dr. Dittmar said, adding that autonomous systems are not infallible. “I find it extraordinary that these sorts of announcements are being made when SpaceX has yet to get crew from the ground to low-Earth orbit.”

[…]

Seven space tourists have paid tens of millions of dollars to fly on Russian Soyuz rockets to visit the International Space Station, which is about 200 miles above the Earth’s surface. This would be a much more distant trip. The moon is about a quarter million miles away, and the trajectory would take the capsule 300,000 to 400,000 miles from Earth.

My advice is to start saving up for it now. I don’t know if travel insurance will be an option, but stuff can happen, so be prepared for contingencies. In the meantime, I leave you with a song:

If they don’t play that on the launch date, someone needs to be held accountable.

Saturday video break: Ordinary Day

This is Alva Leigh, with a song from 2012:

That’s from a Nashville Film Festival mixtape I got on Noisetrade. Mellow, but I like it. Now here’s Great Big Sea:

Bodhrans and rugby – what more could you want?

Saturday video break: Operator

The classic gospel song by the great jazz/a capella group The Manhattan Transfer:

Oh, those outfits. I confess, I don’t actually have a ManTran version of this song in my library right now, though I have owned this on cassette in the past. I’ll get around to fixing that one of these days. I do have two versions by Eddie from Ohio, both of them live recordings:

EFO hasn’t toured much since 2005, when lead singer Julie Murphy Wells was diagnosed with breast cancer. That video is from 2012, and it makes me happy to see her healthy and dancing around. I like the coda they add that leans into the gospel-ness of the song. I keep hoping they’ll release another CD and maybe take another trip to Texas, but until then at least there’s some newer material on YouTube.

Uptown lawsuit filed

I suppose we should have expected something like this.

The city’s Uptown Development Authority and the economic development zone that feeds it were created in violation of the Texas Constitution, two critics allege in a lawsuit that seeks to void all resulting actions and block Uptown from collecting or spending another dime.

The Galleria-area agency’s controversial, $200 million effort to widen Post Oak Boulevard and add dedicated bus lanes down the middle is a key focus of the lawsuit. It was filed Wednesday on behalf of restaurateur Russell Masraff and condominium resident Jim Scarborough, who was also was a plaintiff in another, since-dismissed lawsuit seeking to block the bus plan.

The suit argues that Uptown officials repeatedly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act in pricing and purchasing land to widen Post Oak – including tracts in which some Uptown board members had a financial interest – and that the agency’s subsequent decisions should be voided or reversed, to the extent possible.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Joe Larsen, said he views the filing as having broader significance beyond the bus plan.

“We’re asking the court to order Uptown to make no further payments because all the money involved has been collected through an unconstitutional tax regime,” Larsen said. “The bottom line is the Constitution requires equal taxation.”

He added that the only reason tax increment reinvestment zones, or TIRZs, “are not unconstitutional is that there’s a different provision in the Constitution that allows them.”

“In order to meet that other provision in the Constitution that allows TIRZs to be constitutional, they have to be in an area that’s ‘blighted, undeveloped or underdeveloped,’ Larsen asserted. “That’s it.”

This is not the first lawsuit related to this project; that one was subsequently dismissed, though without a comment on its merits. In this case, the plaintiffs asked the judge for an injunction blocking the Uptown Development Authority from spending money or issuing bonds while the litigation was in progress, but that request was denied. I feel like it’s also in the Constitution that we cannot have a non-freeway expansion transportation project in this town without at least one lawsuit. I’m not qualified to assess the legal argument being made here, so instead let me bring you a video of “Uptown Funk”, since that song has been lodged in my brain since this story first broke.

With all due respect to “Uptown Girl”, I say this song should be played at the beginning of all court hearings in this case. Who’s with me on this? Swamplot has more.

Saturday video break: Only You Know And I Know

Here’s the versatile Dave Mason doing an acoustic version of one of his better known songs:

Mason was an original member of Traffic and went on to have a long solo career, often collaborating with other artists. He’s one of those guys you don’t realize you know that much about. Now here’s a guy you do realize you know a lot about, Phil Collins:

Boy, No Jacket Required was a very different album than Face Value and Hello, I Must Be Going, wasn’t it? I remember being kind of disappointed by it back in the day, because I really loved the first two albums and didn’t care for the more pop-infused direction Collins went. Looking back on it now, I like it more than I did then, but a part of me still wishes he’d continued exploring the turf he covered previously. I guess you have to go where the muse takes you.

Saturday video break: One Day

Here’s one of my favorite underrated bands from the 80s, Fishbone:

I guess I’d describe Fishbone as being a ska band, but I feel like they have more blues and funk in them than a typical ska band. Be that as it may, here’s a different One Day by Susanna Hoffs, who is performing solo here but came from another underrated 80s band, The Bangles.

Hoffs has carved out a pretty good solo career, but you should also check out the work she has done with Matthew Sweet, covering bucketloads of popular and deep-cut songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Lots of good stuff in there. I don’t know if they have plans to take on the 90s, but I hope they will.

Saturday video break: Once In A Lifetime

One of the more iconic songs by the Talking Heads:

Who hasn’t asked himself these questions? Nobody does musical paranoia like David Byrne. This song was also used to great effect in the movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills.

And nobody does mashed-up covers of popular songs like Big Daddy:

Because of course this song blends well with Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O”. Isn’t it obvious?

Saturday video break: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only John Lee Hooker:

We should all achieve that level of coolness at least once in our lifetimes. Now here’s George Thorogood with the version you’ve probably heard:

So, did Jersey party as good as they did in Philly? I love the narrative he adds to the song. The spoken-word song is an underrated tool in the musical toolbox, if you ask me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m thirsty.