Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It Didn't Rain!

The weather held. The evening was lovely. And the music was fantastic! More later.

The Summer concert season has officially begun for the Evans-Mitchell household!

Bits of Midweek Goodness

I'm hoping it doesn't rain today, or at least not this afternoon. It's Waterfront Wednesday with Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane, and I don't want it to be rained out. Really, really don't want it to be rained out. Really.

I saw a notice in the paper yesterday about the Louisville Geek Dinner, so I just had to check out their web page, which had a link to a "geek test," which I just had to take. The result?

i am a major geek

I'm not surprised. Neither is anyone who knows me.

Speaking of Louisville, if you ever want to know what's happening here or in the surrounding area, here's a cool calendar from WHY Louisville, which is a pretty cool group in its own right.

I got an email about a new Americana concert series that's starting in June. First act is Joe Ely, with Tim Easton and Kim Richey in the works! Yay! The group that's putting these shows on is trying to raise support to put on a major music festival. I hope it works!

Need any Emmylou Harris lyrics?

Need help surviving the last days of the Bush presidency? It's only 965 more days, folks! We can make it! I just hope the rest of the world can too.

Fantagraphics is posting the first chapter of its 30th anniversary book, a few pages at a time.

That's all for now!

How Does My Garden Grow?

I’ve not really blogged about our garden much, for some reason. I think I’ll start right now. In our house it’s really simple: Keith grows veggies and I grow flowers.

This year’s veggies: Tomatoes (lots of them!), peppers, squash and beans (lots of beans!)

Past veggie efforts have included corn, carrots, melons (not a veggie, I know), eggplant, snow peas, and various lettuces. Due to lack of a consistent success with most of these, Keith decided to stick with the tried and true this year. So far, the beans are sprouting and we’ve got lots of tomato blooms and small tomatoes!

Keith is really dedicated to his garden and I’m proud of him for that. He built an 8’ x 8’ raised bed a couple of years ago, and puts a lot of time into getting it prepped each year. He’s trying the organic route this year.

This year’s flowers: marigolds, coleus (not a flower, I know), petunias, geraniums, begonias, and impatiens

That’s pretty much the regimen every year. I stick with what I know pretty consistently. I’ve got a couple of gardening books and I keep telling myself that I’m going to spend the winter months doing some research and planning, but I never do.

I’m usually pretty late getting my flowers out, and this year was no exception. I spent part of the day Monday planting, and still have to do the marigolds and petunias. I love my flowers, but I’m not as disciplined a gardener as Keith. Yesterday morning, my thighs and lower back reminded me that I had done some gardening the day before. Groan!

I decided this year to buy my gardening stuff from a local hardware store, instead of going to Home Depot again. Unfortunately, I waited too long to get them, and the local store didn’t have much of a selection. So, I still ended up at Home Depot. Best intentions and all that, I guess. Story of my life. I did manage to find some flowers there that came from a local supplier, so I bought them. I really do need to plan this better.

Anyway, it looks pretty wimpy right now, so I can’t wait until they fill out some.

When I get the last of the flowers out, I'll take some pics and post them.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Alex Toth

I don't have much more to add to the thoughts and condolences currently being expressed over the death of Alex Toth. Kevin and Mike both have nice, simple tributes, with links to more information.

They're aren't too many folks left from that generation of mainstream artists who knew how to design a page so that it pulled your eye across it and right into the story.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sprucing Up the Place

Just added some new links to the sidebar:

Serene's Successless Comics Blog--One of the participants in the current Mixed Bag
Bully Says--A very clever little stuffed bull with a lot to say about comics!
FLOG!--The blog for Fantagraphics, my very favorite comics publisher
Hey Bartender--The blog for Top Shelf, another of my favorite publishers
The Buzz--Oni Press isn't as high on my list of favorite publishers, but Scott Pilgrim just might be changing that...

And, to add some variety: MoJo Blog, the blog for Mother Jones and The Nation blogs (the real "liberal media"). The Nation actually has several blogs, so I just linked to the front page, where you can find the links to the blogs on the right side.

Any more additions, and I guess that I'm going to have to start organizing the links a little better. I kind of like the random jumble, though. My life isn't compartmentalized or categorized, why should my links be?


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mixed Bag Reviews

Serene has posted reviews of all the Mixed Bag discs from this round. I got an 8 out of 10 awww-yeahs, which is pretty good, I think. She did note, though, that the disc made her feel like a crazy person. I’m thinking that means I actually succeeded with what I set out to do…

I've now listened to everyone's disc, except for Greg's and Logan's magnum opus. I tend to do most of my listening at work, so the stuff that's work unsafe usually has to wait until the end. This batch of reviews brings my reviewing almost current with my listening. I need to give Mike's disc one more listen before I finalize my write-up.

...This World, Then the Fireworks by Gordon

Starting with a rather intriguing title, Gordon has put together a strong, consistent collection of music. The tunes, drawn mainly from different sub-genres of rock, all fit together well. I liked the way he put artists that most recipients were likely to be familiar with (Yardbirds, Clash, Queen, U2) in amongst the other groups, which might or might not have been as familiar. Sometimes, having some familiar sounds mixed in with the new is helpful. It was my first exposure to Rich Kids, Material Issue, and the Effigies, for example. I really liked a lot of the material that was new to me, and will be searching out more by some of the artists.

The only tune that didn’t click with me was the Television song, which just meandered way too much for me. However, Gordon gets bonus points for using the Boomtown Rats, which more than makes up for one stumble. I also appreciated having one song (from the Hollies) with some prominent acoustic guitar. Overall, it was a solid, entertaining disc that I’ll be playing again. Good job, Gordon!

I (heart) WA by Serene

First off, the hand printed cover totally rocks! It was a really nice touch and fits the disc so well. Old (and out-of-touch) fogey that I am, I honestly expected this CD to be full of obscure, grunge band, Nirvana-wanna-be’s, none of which I would like. So imagine how (pleasantly) surprised I was that the first thing I heard after I put this disc in was a dobro! After the opening song from Sera Cahoone (who was new to me) and the Damien Jurado tune that followed it, I was totally open to whatever else this disc might throw at me.

There were only a small handful of artists I had heard of on this one, and even fewer that I had ever actually heard. This is a good collection of music, and I enjoyed most of it quite a bit. Since so much of it was new to me, it was almost like listening to one of the InRadio CD’s. Considering how much I look forward to getting each new InRadio release, that’s pretty high praise. Great job, Serene!

(Focus.) by Kevin Church

Judging from some of Kevin’s comments about music at his blog, I honestly wasn’t sure if I would like this one or not. He seems to lean towards a lot of electronic and dance stuff, which isn’t always my bag. Still, one of the reasons I do the Mixed Bag exchanges is to share music that I think is good with others who might not be familiar with it, and to let others do the same thing for me. So, I prepared myself for an experience that might just broaden my horizons a bit. Or might not.

I ended up playing his disc for almost a week straight.

Instead of the throbbing, pounding dace beats that I wasn’t sure I’d like, Kevin created a smooth jazzy, loungey, chill-out collection of music that’s just wonderful! Most of the disc is instrumental, but there are a handful of tracks with vocals towards the end. There’s lots of smooth, mellow stuff, stuff with lots of beats and things, and stuff with some killer flutes. Oh yeah, and the Theme from SWAT! How cool is that?

This has turned out to be one of my favorite discs from this exchange. It’s a great work disc, especially for those times when I’m working on creative projects.

From beginning to end, I truly love this disc. I even like the reggae tune, and that’s saying something! Thanks for the good music, Kevin! Awesome cover photo, too.

Rockin’ Like Dokken by Chris Brown

Chris made two discs, and I think his other one, I See Dead People, is one of the best discs of this Mixed Bag round. This one is not as not as good as its companion, but it is a solid, enjoyable disc in its own right. Chris and his wife Kelly have convinced me through their discs that I must get some Ookla the Mok CDs. Chris’ disc also reminded me that I’ve been meaning to check out Ted Leo for a while now. Any disc that expands my “music to check out” list gets a couple of bonus points from me!

There’s a lot to like here: an acoustic Pixies song, Ben Folds, Arctic Monkeys, Belle and Sebastian. The Prince tune surprised me, because it sounds so much like his classic stuff, but is fairly recent. Lefty also gets props for the My Morning Jacket cut. I gotta support the local guys! Plus, he used the Beastie Boys, one of the few rap acts I actually like. Yes indeed, lots of good stuff here.

What holds the disc back for me, though, is the tunes by acts I’m largely indifferent to: Wolfmother, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Dokken. I accept the inevitability of a Dokken cut on a disc called “Rockin’ Like Dokken” but I’m still underwhelmed by it. The Iron Maiden song was better than I thought it would be, but there are enough songs that I’m lukewarm about to make this a disc I’d call “pretty good” instead of “excellent.” However “pretty good” is a pretty good rating, so I think Chris can take a bow for this one too!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Week That Wasn't

Spent the week getting ready to go to Nashville to spend some time with Keith’s mom, aunt, and a bunch of cousins I’ve never met. Had too much to do to post much or use complete sentences: flowers to plant, clothes to wash, TV shows to watch (to clear off the DVR), bills to pay, house to tidy, etc. etc....

...Then yesterday, the trip got cancelled, which is a little bit of a bummer, since I love Keith's mother and was looking forward to seeing her again.


Since all the craziness of the week left little time for posting, here’s some quick stuff to fill the gap:

Dorian proves once again why he’s one of my blogging heroes.

The Absorbascon linkblogs. (Incredibly self-aware irony alert! I’m lazily and sycophantically linkblogging to a post that refers to linkblogging as lazy and sycophantic! But he links to a bunch of stuff I was going to point out anyway, so why not?)

The Comics Reporter has a preview/review of a
book I really, really want.

Bully tells us how to do BEA the right way. What a well-mannered little stuffed bull he is!

There’s still time to enter
Gordon’s contest!

The Pulse has an
interview with Ivan Velez about the long-awaited conclusion and collection of Tales of the Closet. The interview includes a lot of information I didn’t know about rights disputes and other issues that held the series up for over a decade. The collection will probably be roundly ignored by most gay comic readers, but I am looking forward to it.

Speaking of books that will be ignored by most gay comic readers, Alison Bechdel has a
graphic memoir out, which I am also greatly looking forward to getting., the web page for Jeff Smith’s wonderful comic Bone, has a new look!

The Indigo Girls are working on a new album and they’ve been posting
little videos of the production sessions on their web page.


Upcoming concerts we hope to catch:

Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch at Waterfront Wednesday
Marshall Chapman at Ear X-tacy
Del McCoury at Ear X-tacy


Future plans for posts that I hope to write/finish in the very near future:

Some reminiscing about my dad and comic books
Some actual honest to god comic reviews!
A long rambly post about spirituality
A critique of the current sad state of Days of Our Lives
My addiction to serial drama
My ambivalence about the Democratic Party at this moment
The restoration of the Louisville Derby Clock
Some thoughts about comic books in general
My last mixed bag reviews
Eddie's Top Gay Comics Moments!
New music I want
My ten favorite Emmylou Harris songs
100 things I love about Louisville
Ranting about the "Marriage Protection" Amendment
Dorian kind of sort of asked me to do this pretty cool meme-thing, which I actually do want to do. I just couldn’t get to it this week.


And finally, some little gifts for Roger who's feeling kind of grumpy.

Maybe these will cheer him up.

The Goddess of Music singing a classic!

Adam West having some sort of seizure

A picture of the sweetest kitty in the world

You can let them cheer you up too, if you need it.

Have a nice holiday weekend!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Some Comic Book Type Notes

If you missed Free Comic Book Day, Newsarama has the Scott Pilgrim story up right now. It was my first exposure to SP, and I quite liked it.

Gordon is celebrating his second blogiversary by giving stuff away! There’s still plenty of time to enter, so check out what you gotta do to win. (Don’t forget about Comic Book Galaxy’s First Second giveaway, while you’re at it!)

The scariest thing about Blockade Boy’s Letters from a Henchman is how closely the syntax, spelling, and grammar match those of most of the folks who post on comic book message boards!

Comics Reporter has a link to an interview with Gary Groth that’s well worth checking out. However, I do hope he’s wrong about one point:

But the question is always, Are there enough people to sustain that kind of activity? Plus, it becomes much, much more difficult to do when there are so many people doing it. The audience does not grow in proportion to the number of comics being published. So it's actually harder now, but there are probably more worthwhile comics being published than ever before. I suspect that there isn't a big enough readership for "literary" or "art" comics today to sustain the current bandwagon boom that so many New York houses are jumping on, and we'll see a contraction in another year or so.

I’m starting to get quite spoiled by my local independent bookseller and its ever-expanding shelf of good graphic novels. I sure would hate to lose any part of it. On the other hand, as good as they look, I do have to wonder about either the bookstore market or the comics shop market’s ability to absorb all the titles in the First Second initial launch.

About ten years ago, Keith and I were going to move to San Francisco. I had lost my job, and Louisville was starting to feel really small to us. For a lot of different reasons, we ended up staying put, but every now and then I’ll see something that makes me wish we’d taken the plunge. After all, no one ever gets smacked with trade paperbacks in my local comics shop! Wouldn’t you know that Mike started it! Folks in the big cities are so lucky, I guess!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mixed Bag Reviews: Chris and Kelly

I See Dead People by Chris “Lefty” Brown

I haven’t gotten to listen to Lefty’s other disc (Rockin’ Like Dokken) yet, because I can’t get past this one!

First off, he has to be applauded for his choice of deceased artists to include on the disc. For the most part, he avoided the “obvious” choices—no Elvis, No Hank Williams, no Jim Morrison, no Kurt Cobain. I think this made for a much more well-rounded disc, with a variety of musical genres represented.

The few times he did stray into “obvious choice” territory, he balanced it by using slightly less obvious song choices. For John Lennon, it’s Mother rather than Imagine. For Janis Joplin, it’s Summertime, instead of Me and Bobby McGee. Neither song is totally off the beaten path, to be sure, but they show a little more thought than just grabbing the usual songs by the usual suspects, which is what really makes this disc work. He really fleshed out (so to speak) his concept well.

There’s no way I’m not going to love a disc with this much good blues on it, especially when there are also cuts by the much underappreciated Gram Parsons, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash on it! And if Cash singing We’ll Meet Again isn’t an inspired, off-beat choice, I’ll eat my hat. Lefty also gets high marks for included a couple of the more recently demised—Buck Owens and Ali Farka Toure.

There is absolutely not a bad song choice on this disc. I love it from beginning to end, in fact, may be the best of this batch. Yay, Chris!

Kelly Brown: Man vs. Woman

There are some sequences of songs that are just magical. The individual tunes and the way they flow into each other and play off each other is just mesmerizing and one has to repeat the entire sequence over and over again because the listening experience is so wonderful.

On Kelly’s CD, the five song set from Son House’s John the Revelator to the A-Sides’ Jump Back Jack is one of those sequences for me. It’s so magical and so captivating that the CD would be worth playing even if the rest of the CD were nothing but ambient sounds of cows mooing in the pasture! Fortunately, that’s not the case, as the rest of the CD has several other great moments: Ookla the Mok (must get something from him!), Chagall Guevara, the incomparable Etta James and Government Mule are all stand-out selections. In all honesty, I don’t care much for the rap or reggae tunes, but that’s just me. I’m just not into those genres, and nothing on this CD really changes my mind.

All in all, though, it’s a strong mix, with that one song sequence—starting with the rough-hewn country blues of Son House into the folksy-pop of Bob Weir’s Cassidy followed by Johnny Cash on Daddy Sang Bass, one of my favorite gospel tunes, then the joyous celebration of Ben Folds’ Kate and ending with the groovy, polished pop-rock of the A-Sides—raising the whole CD up to a disc I’ll being playing over and over. Take a bow, Kelly!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

In the Mix (Part One)

Eddie-tor's Note: Blogger has totally fucked up this post three times now, so I'm trying it in two parts to see if that will solve the problem. If you find that any paragraphs seem to end abruptly or switch topics in mid-sentence, point them out, please. I've worked on this for so long, I'm a little cross-eyed (and more than a little cross...)

Well, they've had enough time to get to most folks, so here’s what my fellow Mixed Baggers can expect to hear:

Disc Title: Sounds Ed-clectic

Yeah, I know it’s corny, but I like the pun.

Themes: I didn’t have any over-arching theme in mind for the CD, but a couple “mini-themes” came out as I was putting the songs together. Several songs ended up having political undertones to them, for one thing, which really isn’t that surprising if you know me, I guess. It's probably even kind of stretching it to refer to that as a "theme." On the other hand, the plan to include one Go-Go’s cut, soon grew into the creation of a Go-Go’s “mini-suite” of songs in tribute to one of my favorite bands.

Dedications: Knowing some of the folks in the exchange and their music tastes, I tried to pick a couple of things that I thought they would especially like. Then I got the idea of dedicating those songs to them. Then I decided that wouldn’t be fair to the others, so I ended up dedicating at least one song to all the other mix participants. Then I got the idea to do a couple of other dedications as well. Then I decided to stop thinking about the whole thing.

Rules: Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to make sure CD’s I created for other folks met certain basic criteria. They had to have an Emmylou Harris tune, a song from a local or regional act, and a song from an LGBT act. I do this because I like Emmylou Harris(a lot), I believe that we’ve got some really talented musicians in our local scene, and I feel like I ought to show some support for queer artists.

For this particular CD, I expanded on those criteria a bit. I’ve been feeling like my last couple of mixes were in a sonic rut—too many artist repeats and too much from one particular genre. This time I decided that I couldn’t use any artists who were on my last few CDs—except, of course, for Emmylou. I also said that I had to make an effort to include more songs from genres other than Americana.

That’s a lot of babbling about how much overthinking I did for one CD. What about the songs?

The Contents

Know Your Rights—The Clash

I wanted to kick this one off with a real bang, and this is the perfect song for it. It’s loud, driving, and unabashedly political. It’s hard to watch the news any more without being totally pissed off, and this song expresses some of that anger for me. Sadly, despite the decades since it was recorded, it doesn’t sound dated at all.

Dedicated to Gordon and Lefty, who both used Clash songs in their mixes. (Lefty used this very song, in fact!)

Arizona Yodeler—The De Zurik Sisters

Oxford American Magazine releases a music issue every year, along with a companion CD. This song was a cut on the 2005 CD, and I knew I would be using it in a mix the first time I heard it! How can you not love yodeling sisters? The yodeling is pretty fantastic too, with all those coos and trills and things. It’s just such a happy song! I thought it made such a nice, complete contrast to the Clash song, from the production to the mood, that I had to put it here.

The De Zurik Sisters were a part of the country music radio show world of the 30’s and 40’s.
You can read more about them here.

This song is dedicated to Mike, because I know that if the Arizona Yodeler were a story in an old Charlton western comic, it would eventually wind up in his blog. It’s also dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, who yodeled a little.

Ghost Riders (in the Sky)—Ned Sublette

There’s only one way to follow the Arizona Yodeler in my book, and that’s with a salsa-fied version of an old country chestnut!

I just love the opening guitars in this song, and the point where the full band kicks in with the horns and percussion. This comes from one Sublette’s Cowboy Rumba, one of my favorite and most highly recommended albums! If you like what he does here with the Cowboy Song-Latin Music fusion, you have to get the CD! There’s lots more where this one came from!

This is also dedicated to Mike, because he used another version of the song on his disc.

Unforgiven—The Go-Go’s

I am an unashamed, unrepentant, unapologetic fan of 80’s pop. It’s the soundtrack of my college days, after all. Along with ABBA, The Go-Go’s are one of my all time favorite bands. Including this song on the disc eventually grew into the whole “Go-Go’s mini-suite.” Sometimes, once an idea gets going it’s hard to stop.

This comes off their 2001 reunion CD, God Bless the Go-Go’s. I love the lyrics and the cascading guitars. I’ve been waiting for a follow-up album for several years now, but they seem to have forgotten me. Maybe, I’ve been Unforgiven too?

Super Trouper—ABBA

You’ve got to follow one of your favorite groups with the other, I always say. This is one of my favorite ABBA songs, and one that I always reach for when I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

It’s dedicated to Keith, because I’m sappy that way, and to Greg, because I want a spot on his ruling council when he takes over the world. It’s also dedicated to Dorian, who’s getting a copy of this disc, even though he wasn’t in the Mixed Bag group this time.

You Are the Light—Jens Lekman

One of the best things I did musically last year was subscribe to
InRadio. Every other month, I get a CD in my mailbox that’s chock full of all kinds of music from all kinds of independent labels. Of course, I don’t like everything, but there are always a few gems in every bunch, like this song, which was on the March/April 2006 CD, entitled Wishbone.

I love everything about this song—the horns, the vocal stylings, the modern take on romance and relationships. It makes me smile in a slightly twisted sort of way.
You can find out more about Lekman here, which is his label’s site. There’s a link there to a video for this song, which is hilarious!

This one is dedicated to Kevin, because anyone with an Ironic Dance Party Mix should really appreciate this song.

Rush Hour—Jane Wiedlin

It’s probably blasphemy to say this, but Jane, rather than Belinda, was always my favorite Go-Go. After all, she wrote most of their material. It was just a bummer that her solo career didn’t seem to do as well as Belinda’s. This was one of her few hits, off her Fur album. It was the last of the Go-Go’s songs to get added. I figured that I couldn’t do a Go-Go’s mini-suite without including someone’s solo material or side project, but what to pick? I mean: Jane’s solo stuff, Charlotte’s solo stuff, Gina’s solo stuff, the Graces, the Delphines, Frosted, Belinda’s TON of solo material—the ladies did keep busy. (By the way, anyone with a copy of House of Schock on CD that they’d like to sell, drop me a line.)

In the end, I decided to go with Jane and stick with something kind of familiar. I needed fun and poppy to kind of balance out the irony from the Lekman tune.

Right as Rain—The Kennedys

The Kennedys are a folk-rock husband and wife team, and this comes from their Life is Large album. I fell in love with its simplicity and sweetness, especially the retro-jangly-guitar-sitar stylings. I also like the “love against all odds” message.

Since this is an election year, and the Right is struggling to maintain control, I expect to see the whole “the gays are threatening our way of life” bogeyman to be trotted out before long. So I’m dedicating this one to LGBT couples in this country who are fighting for legal recognition of our relationships.

Pilgrim’s Progress—Kris Kristofferson

In the commentary for his disc, Lefty points out that political, thematic songs have long been a staple in punk. He’s right, but before there was punk, there was folk. I wanted to honor that tradition, so I picked this song of Kristofferson’s new release, This Old Road.

The whole album is incredible. Largely just Kristofferson and his guitar, he explores the screwed-up American political scene, looks back on his life, and ponders his future. In this song, he does a little bit of all three, reminding us that we need to stay involved and active in the process, no matter how old or settled we are.

This one is dedicated to Lefty (for reasons stated above), Keith (the biggest Kristofferson fan I know), and Keith’s friend Ben, who is part of the new generation of political activists. I hope we all stay young enough to believe in revolution.

Real Men—Pansy Division

And what’s more revolutionary than playing with gender identity, masculinity in particular?

I had a completely different song in mind here, however, interestingly enough, it would have shared many of the same characteristics as this one: loud gay band questioning gender assumptions. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the CD which I thought I did, so you get PD instead. It works. It’s all good.

As a small-town, rural Kentucky kid, I grew up with a lot of those “this is what it takes to be a man” kind of messages. It became pretty clear, pretty early on, that I didn’t have a lot of what it took to meet those definitions, nor was I really that interested in meeting those definitions. So, I like this song that questions all those assumptions about what it means to be masculine, yet retains a little sense of humor about the whole thing.

I’m dedicating this one to all the other queer comics bloggers out there.

Vacation—The Frogs

This was the song that took the disc from merely having one Go-Go’s song to having a Go-Go’s mini-suite. This comes from Unsealed: A Tribute to the Go-Go’s, a CD I picked up for a buck at Half-Price Books recently. Most of it’s pretty mediocre, but I cracked up the first time I heard this song. I knew it had to go on my disc, and the mini-suite was born!

Originally, I placed this song after the Kristofferson song, but that opening “Whatever” coming on the heels of Kristofferson’s earnest soul-searching didn’t feel quite right. It works well coming in after all the musings and posturings in the PD song, however.

I like the way that the “whatever’s” take this from being a silly pop romance song to a more, jaded, modern take on relationships. Two weeks away from you? Whatever!

I hadn’t heard of The Frogs before, but apparently, they’ve had quite an interesting recording history.


In the Mix (Part Two)

Continuing the run down of the songs on Sounds Ed-clectic...

Head in Front of Your Head—Best Friends Forever

This is another InRadio contribution, this time from the January/February CD, Wishbone. How can you not love a love song to Abraham Lincoln? This is another one that just cracks me up with sheer, demented joy every time I hear it.

From what I have been able to find out, Best Friends Forever is a couple of college kids who use puppets in their stage show, which certainly doesn’t surprise me in the least.

Dedicated to Mike because it reminds me of him somehow, and because Lincoln plays a role in one of the songs on his mix.

Belinda Carlisle Diet--Patterson Hood

Couldn’t do a Go-Go’s mini-suite without this beauty. Even though she appears nowhere in the song, anyone familiar with Carlisle’s infamous binges in the 80’s should get the title of the song. Patterson Hood is the lead singer of Drive-By Truckers. This song comes from Killers and Stars, an EP of dark and somewhat sordid tunes he put out a couple of years ago.

Dedicated to Greg for the use of the word "fuck" and to Kevin because it seems like something he would write about in his blog.

Yo Viviré—Celia Cruz

This is another one that I knew would end up in a mix from the moment I heard it. Honestly, I was so carried away with the lyrics, that it wasn’t until the strings kicked in that I realized this was based on the old Gloria Gaynor disco anthem, I Will Survive. It’s an entirely new song, with new lyrics, not a translation of the original, but it keeps the spirit of the original intact.

For those of you who don’t understand the Spanish, this version is basically a tribute to Cruz and the eternity of her music. Throughout the chorus she promises that her voice is going to live on and that every time the band is playing she’ll be there in spirit. This is the final cut on Regalo del Alma, the CD she completed right before she died. She had the kind of voice, personality and talent that deserve to live forever.

This one is dedicated to me because I like it so much and to Kelly because she has had to live through so many medical issues and to Belinda Carlisle because she survived those years of the Belinda Carlisle Diet.

Molly Rose—Bluegrass 101

This is one of two local acts on the disc. I just love bluegrass music, and I thought the contrast of the highly produced instrumentation of the Cruz song and the pared down acoustic sound of this one would make a nice transition in the disc, since I’m moving into an acoustic mode at this point. At the same time, though, the song demonstrates the flourishes and decorations you can bring to a song with just a few acoustic instruments.

This one is dedicated to Kelly because it fits the theme of her disc and to Serene because her disc was dedicated to artists from her part of the world.

Benjamin—Danny Flanigan

This is the other local act. I like this one because it’s nice and sweet and simple and personal. Plus, he name-checks one of my favorite Kentucky cities, Covington. I like the structure of this song a lot, too. Sometimes it's good to get away from "verse-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus."

This is dedicated to my brother Danny and my nephew Benjamin, and to Roger, because it reminds me of the posts he makes about his daughter, Lydia.

Everywhere I Go (I Hear the Go-Go’s)—Phranc

Thus ends the Go-Go’s mini-suite. This one actually comes from their 80’s heyday. The first verse dates it a little, as does the reference to Lebanon, but it’s still fun in its own way. Interestingly, she name checks every Go-Go except for Kathy Valentine. Once I committed to the idea of the mini-suite, I had to dig through my CD closet until I found this disc. To really get some of the jokes in the song, it helps to know something about Phranc. She probably would have looked kind of silly with bangs like Charlotte.

Lo Siento Mi Vida—Linda Ronstadt

Way before she started recording Mariachi music, even way before she teamed up with Nelson Riddle, Ronstadt recorded this song on one of my favorite albums: Hasten Down the Wind.

I had intended to include more Latin music on the disc, but that kind of fell apart because most of the songs I wanted stood out too much from the rest of the mix. What I ended up with, the Sublette and Cruz songs, left me feeling like I had reduced several genres of music that I love down to novelty songs. I added this one to have one more song with some Spanish in it, but with a different musical feel. Hopefully it helps ground the other songs a little more.

In the Spanish verses, she laments the loss of a love that she’s about to experience. Something has happened that means that she and her lover have to separate. It’s sad, mournful, classic Rondstadt, and I totally love it.

I Will Dream—Emmylou Harris

This is off her 2004 release, Stumble into Grace. It’s one of my favorites and one of the saddest songs ever written. I love the dream-like images she uses to convey her sense of loss and longing for the love that will never be. I also love the way her voice sounds in this one.

This one is dedicated to me, because it is the Goddess of Music, after all, and to Roger, because we lovers of “old fogey” music must stick together!

Dublin Blues—Guy Clark

This is, honest to god, my all-time second favorite song ever recorded. (The first is John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery, if you were interested.) Guy Clark is a songwriter’s songwriter, and this song is the epitome of his talent. I love the imagery he used and the overwhelming melancholy that permeates the song. Plus, it has what I consider to be one of the greatest lines ever written in any song:

“I have seen The David. I’ve seen The Mona Lisa too. And I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues.”

Simply awesome. It just doesn’t get any better than this, folks.

This is dedicated to Keith, and he knows why.

Mbube—Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Taj Mahal

If this song sounds familiar in some way, think of the following:

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.”

Mbube is the word that some how got transformed into “Wimoweh” in the US, and this South African song is the original setting of the melody for what later became the famous hit in the 60’s.

I’m rather partial to the original, at least in part because the Zulu man who composed it never got much in the way of royalties from the later US versions. It’s a long, sad, unfortunate story about music industry ethics.

Ladysmith has helped to keep his story and the original song alive. They are a wonderful group and a joy to see live, so check them out if you get a chance. This version comes from their 2006 release, Long Road to Freedom, in which they celebrate their anniversary by re-recording some of their past songs with guest performers. Here the guest, singing and playing the electric guitar is Taj Mahal. A certain Ms. Harris also pops up on one song.

This is dedicated to Logan and Thom, largely because I couldn’t figure out anything else to dedicate to them, and when you’re in that kind of situation, it’s best to just go with a song you really like. I hope they do, too.

One Little Song—Gillian Welch

Finally, a somewhat revolutionary ideas for the closer: hope—hope for the future expressed here in the search for a new song to sing. I love the underlying optimism of this song: as long as there’s one little song left to sing, then maybe everything can be all right.

Please note that the title on the CD insert is slightly incorrect. The one given here is correct. This has been your Eddie-torial errata update for this CD.

This one is dedicated to all the mix participants. I hope you’ll always be able to find one more song to play, to sing, to mix, to buy, to rip….whatever.

BONUS CUT: Card-carrying, Bleeding Heart Liberal

I know Chris hates having hidden cuts, but I really did want this one to be a surprise. It’s cheesy as all get out, but man do I love it! In a day an age where everyone tries to play for the center and liberal is treated like a dirty word, it’s wonderful to listen to something that actually celebrates the contributions liberals have made to America. If there have to be cheesy patriotic songs, then at least let them be liberal cheesy patriotic songs!

The song was written by Ervin Drake and is available for down load at his web page. It’s being sung here by Paul Evans. Folk artist Christine Lavin included the song on her CDFolkzinger.

Dedicated to Lefty in appreciation for pulling another one of these exchanges together!

And there you have it. Late, but hopefully worth it. I had fun putting it together. Hope you have fun listening to it. Let me know what you think.

When Last We Saw the Dynamic Duo…

…They were facing one of the most hideous fates known to humanity!

Holy Betty Crocker, Batman!

That’s right, old chum. The Joker has unleashed the horrible mounds of the Cake Batter of Doom headed right for us!

What can we do, Batman? This tunnel is too narrow to dodge the batter, and the only way out is on the other side of it!

There’s only one thing we can do, Robin.

You mean…?


Quick, Robin!

The Giant Bat Handheld Electric Mixer!

Get behind me, youngster! If you have dessert now, you’ll spoil your dinner!

TV show pics from 1966 Batfan.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Discs Are In the Mail!

For those of you in the Mixed Bag exchange this time, this is your word that my discs are finally on their way! Now your life can truly be called complete....or maybe not...or something....

Whatever! (That's an in joke you'll get after you listen to it.)

Roger--I sent one to the new work address and one to your home address. Surely one of them will meet up with you somewhere down the line.

There is one "fuck" in one song that also happens to be about a particular controlled substance. There is also one song that makes some loose jokes about certain sexual practices between two men. You can judge for yourself whether that makes it work-safe or not.

I'll get my commentary up in a couple of days, as soon as I finish it.

My apologies again for the delay, and I do hope you all enjoy it! Feel free to leave comments, critiques, etc.

Oh yeah, Dorian, I sent a copy for you to Mike. Make sure he gives it to you.

Gotta run! Keith's photographing a wedding and I'm sitting in the hotel where it's taking place trying to blog inobtrusively.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In Which Your Eddie-tor Babbles on a Tuesday

Spot checking

What color is the background you’re looking at right now? It’s supposed to be black, but when I checked for new comments when I was at work yesterday, it was white, which made everything else look awful, as the fonts are too light for a white background.

It made me look as if I know even less about what I am doing than I do, and I didn't think that was possible.

I think it’s back to the drawing board.

FBCD Wrap Up

Mike has some words on FBCD 2006 here.

The Absorbascon deconstructs the Archie FBCD book, and the results are hilarious. "Are they ambitextuals?"

Comics Reporter has one of Spurgeon's usual comprehensive lists of links to various sites with FBCD reports, plus some commentary of his own.

I actually made it to the local shop on Saturday. The crowd was light, but it was pretty early, not to mention Derby Day. I picked up my holds, got a few of the free books, chatted with the manager, and left. As in year’s past, they are actually running the promotion all week, to try and counter the drain that Derby has on business. I got the Owly and Scott Pilgrim books, since those are titles I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. My plan is to read them this week and then go back on payday (Friday) and buy the complete books, if I like the freebies. That way, FBCD has created a couple of purchases for my shop.

We also stopped in at Half-Price Books, where they had their own twist on FBCD going. The guy who manages their comic section really knows comics and is always creating little displays and such to tie in with what’s going on at the moment. He’d pulled some of their stock, left it in a short box at the counter, and made a couple of signs for their own Free Comic Book Day. It was a pretty cool idea! I like the idea of a non-Diamond customer finding a way to get in on the fun and promote the store's own comic section!

Finally, Roger made my day a little brighter today by opening his post with a picture of the Goddess of Music. Thanks, man! I needed that!

Fine Art Photo Studio Presents...

Still Life with Scooby Doo and Sprig of Grapes with Spoon

Monday, May 08, 2006

What Took You So long?

Well, I finally got my Mixed Bag CD’s burned last night. Now all that’s left is to finish the covers and get them in the mail. I may never get asked to this party again. Sigh!

Honestly, I really did have the best intentions of getting this one out on time, but there’s probably only so much one can expect from a guy who can’t even seem to blog regularly.

I’d been keeping a loose running list of songs I might use in my next mix ever since the first of the year. I figured I’d either do one and just send it to some folks or jump in one of Lefty’s next mixing parties. When lefty came along, I signed up, and then everything went downhill.

Parts of the problems were technological and parts of them were personal. When I started gathering CD’s together to rip, I realized that my CD drive was completely shot. I ended up getting around that problem by buying a laptop from one of Keith’s friends. I’ll still need to get a new CD drive for the PC, but I had been wanting a laptop, and this guy’s wife had won one as a door prize at an event. They didn’t need it, and they were willing to take a reasonable offer and let me make payments, so I couldn’t pass that up.

That was actually the easiest part of the whole process. My real problems started about a week before the CD’s needed to go into the mail. I started reading the blogs of folks who were going to APE this year and wishing I could go too. Then I remembered what happened last year when I got back from San Francisco, and all of a sudden it dawned on me that I’m basically in the first anniversary of my father’s last two months of life.

I think that awareness had been lurking around in the back of my mind somewhere, but consciously, I was thinking that I wouldn’t really have to face anything until the actual anniversary of his death. I hadn’t really thought that the weeks before that would bring up anything for me.

It’s not that I’ve fallen totally apart or anything, but it seems like everything reminds me of something that happened last year: APE, Derby, starting the garden, Keith’s birthday—they all fell in that time frame last year. Emotionally and physically, I feel like I’m reliving everything from that time period all over again. I’m tired, listless, and cranky. I’m not eating right or exercising. And I just can’t seem to get my head around starting anything more complicated than watching TV.

Up until this Spring, I thought I had pretty much processed everything, even though I’ve always known that grief is a pretty tricky thing. I guess knowing that and actually experiencing it are two different things.
Anyway, I’ve really had to focus what energy and concentration I have on work lately, so the mix just had to wait for a bit. I hope you’ll think it was worth the wait when you get it.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, review.

Mixed Bag 4 Reviews

Well, if I can’t get mine out on time, I can at least give those who did some feedback.

It’s Not That Hard Bein' Green by Roger Green

According to his commentary, Roger used a lot of songs with some personal meaning or attachment to them.

I really like every song on this CD. The opening cut, 45 Men in a Telephone Booth by the Top Hatters is one of the most fun songs I’ve heard in a long time! One can never go wrong with selections from Etta James, Lyle Lovett, and Bonnie Raitt, that’s for sure. And the Johnny Cash/Nick Cave version of Cindy is probably my favorite cut on the disc. The only cut that didn’t grab me right off the bat is the Earth Wind and Fire tune, but it did grow on me, after a while.

As a collection, however, it took a while for the disc as a whole to grow on me. I’m not sure why or how, but the individual pieces were a lot stronger to me than the sum of their parts ended up. It didn't gel completely for me right off the bat, largely because the flow felt disjointed in places. I think if some of the more “novelty” songs were shifted around a bit, then it might help some. I would move the Roger Ramjet theme to the opening track and close with the Spider-man theme, for example. That might make for a smoother listen.

In the end, though, after many repeated listens, it’s a disc that has grown on me as a collection, and one that I think I will be turning to in the future. Nice job, Roger!

In One Ear: My Own Chapter from Thom Wade

So far, this is one of my favorites, a fun mix of pop, rock, folk, country and a bunch of other stuff. Two cuts, Queensrcyhe and Erik B and Rakim, leave me a little cold, but that’s mainly because they represent genres I have never warmed too. The Over the Rhine cut knocks me flat every time. (They are practically local after all), as does the Ramones song that follows it. That could very well be my theme songs. I’m also awfully fond of the Wonder Woman song and the Hollies song. And the last three songs on the disc just knock me out every time I listen to them. The Bee Song in particular just cracks me up! This one’s a winner! Great job, Thom!

I just don't like Mondays...

I decided to try a new blog template and lost my sidebar links in the process. I'll try to get those back this week. I'm still not happy with it, but don't really know enough about what I'm doing to just create my own, which is what I really want to do. Sigh!

Scooby! No!

Not on the desk! Bad dog!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Get Ready!

In case you're planning to hit the comic shop for Free Comic Book Day tomorrow, Comics Worth Reading and Postmodern Barney have reviews of some of the freebies that will be handed out.

Foto Fun!



Friendly key-chain fob Spider-men!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

In Which Your Eddie-tor Rambles Aimlessly About This and That

Happy Derby Week!

If you don’t live in Louisville, you probably think of the Kentucky Derby as a famous horse race that takes place on the first Saturday in May. You don’t have a clue about the rest of what is called the Derby Festival: two weeks of madness events leading up to race day. This town really does go crazy this time of year.

Since we are now in Derby week proper, that means I have a little extra time, since we get off work early two days this week. I decided to put the time to use by finally finishing my Mixed Bag CD and by doing some long-overdue blogging. (It’s either this or mow the yard…)

First off, some blogiversary wishes! A couple of my favorite blogs recently celebrated milestones. Happy Blogiversary and thanks for all the good reading to Rambling with Roger and belatedly to Comics Worth Reading!

Speaking of CWR, I finally got its link on my sidebar fixed. I also added a couple of blogs a while back, but never mentioned them: Beaucoup Kevin and Various and Sundry. I’m also adding Blockade Boy, Crocodile Caucus, and The Absorbascon today. Good reads, every one of them. I really need to do something about my template.

Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, proving that nobody in comics has any idea about Derby Day in Louisville. It’s not exactly the best time to be doing any special promotions that don’t involve horses running in circles in this town. On Saturday, no one is going to be interested in comics, free or otherwise. As the day wears on, there are fewer and fewer people out, as those who aren’t at the track start attending Derby parties and cook-outs. By race time, the streets are practically deserted.

It’s kind of a shame, because I’d love to see FCBD do really well here. It’s not practical to try to change the whole system at this point, just for one mid-sized city, but every year I do kind of wish it could fall on another weekend, just once.

My own LCS has compensated in the past by doing Free Comic Book Week, and just giving the things away all week. I’m not sure how effective that’s been for them. Seems to me like it dilutes the impact of the promotion, but they gotta do something. One year, they did get some coverage in the paper. I think Don Rosa (local guy) was a guest there for on FCBD. Not sure what they’ve done this year. I haven’t been to the shop in a while.

Just got tickets to see Doc Watson here in June. I’m really psyched because he’s one of a dwindling number of musical treasures that still remain with us. Years ago, I passed up the chance to see Bill Monroe do a free show in a park a few blocks from our apartment. He died a couple years afterwards. I’ve regretted not going that night ever since.

Since then, I’ve drug Keith to see Jean Ritchie three or four times and insisted that we make time to see Hazel Dickens the year we went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. I also made sure we got to see Odetta when she was here in January. (And it was an AWESOME show!) I’m not going to pass up the chance to see any more musical legends!

When we missed HSB last year, we missed a chance to see Doc Watson, so I was excited to see him scheduled to come to Louisville. The tickets had been on sale a little while before I was able to order them, so I was pleasantly surprised that I got front row seats!

Speaking of music, first new release I’ve bought this year: Garrison Starr, The Sound of You and Me, which I like a lot! I’m so behind in my musical pursuits! It’s a good CD though. I need to get the Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris disc!

Eddie’s one comic question of the post:

Is there any place online where I can find a copy of Previews every month? Text is fine. I don’t necessarily need the images. I used to rely on CBR for it, but they don't update as regularly as they used to. I don’t want to pay for the thing, and my web searches aren’t turning anything up. I’ve been going to Westfield’s site and using their listings, but they don’t offer everything that’s in Previews. Honestly, I hate the whole pre-ordering thing, but do play the game from time to time to make sure I get what I want to read. Although, honestly, I haven’t placed an order since well before Christmas!

Let’s see….what else? How about some comic book linky-goodness? This is supposedly a comic blog, after all!

Courtesy of Comics Reporter: A book I’d really like to have! This is the kind of stuff about comics I love to read!

Not comics, but still fun: pranking Best Buy (link from Augie).

Courtesy of Bully Says: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about comic book logos. Fun stuff.

From The Absorbascon sometime last week: Robin vs Surrealism. Reminds me of one of my favorite episodes of the TV show!

To quote the esteemed episode guide at 1966 BatFan:

92 - FLOP GOES THE JOKER 3/22/67 3/23/67
Cesar Romero as The Joker
Written by Stanford Sherman. Directed by George Waggner. Joker joins the world of pop art when he disfigures paintings in a gallery with twin guns of spray paint, leading to a plot to steal the Renaissance art collections of imprisoned millionaires, including Bruce Wayne. Robin attmeps a rescue but ends up in a giant rotating mobile of deadly palette knives that will slice apart the Boy Wonder-bread. A fantastic pair of episodes that shows the staff's creativity at colorful lighting and design at its best. Some knowledge of art history will enhance and enjoyment and understanding of some of the less-obvious gags such as Jackson Potluck and Vincent Van Gauche. What knocks a piece of the ear off these episodes is perky overacting by Diana Ivarson as Baby Jane Towser, whose art contest helps launch the winning Joker on a new career as art instructor to the millionaires. BatBits: Dialog coach Milton Stark played several small roles in the series including the second browser in #92, as well as the second zoologist (#72), Mr. Tamber (#76) and Irving Bracken (#89).

Free stuff: Graphic novels from Comic Book Galaxy and comics from Yet Another Comics Blog. I saw some of the First Second gn's at the bookstore last night, and they look really sharp. The production values and book designs are fantastic, and some quick flip-through's tell me the content will be too.

It figures Roger would manage to get his pic snapped with a green-skinned comic character!

And finally, speaking of the Batman TV show, here’s the commercial announcing the introduction of Batgirl in the third season.

"In the guise of a noble, flying rodent and a common backyard bird!"

(I need to learn how to make the fancy links to YouTube like Mike and Dorian do.)