Category Archives: Aretha Franklin

Has Obama Solved the Economic Crisis Yet?

C’mon, man, it’s been three days already!

OK, that first day, you did have those parties to go to.

Actually, I’m pleased so far with what I’ve seen: halting the Guantanamo tribunals, trying to upend those last-minute Bush regulations, though the worst of them are already in place and will have to go through a more rigorous process of undoing. Plus he shut down the Detroit Lions – OK, not yet.

Two Diane Feinstein sightings in three days? First she was in the movie Milk, which I saw on Sunday, then she chaired the inauguration. Oh, and when did the song America, sung by QoS, become known as My Country ‘Tis Of Thee? I did like Aretha’s hat, though; reminded me of those women of a certain age in the black church.

I got my TIAA-CREF financial statement, and there was a certain perverse beauty to it. I lost as much in the 3rd quarter as I did in the first two; I lost as much in the 4th quarter as I did in the first three. It’ll be awhile before that turns around.

I liked, not loved the inaugural speech. He took some pointed shots at his predecessor, which was fine. But he was so conscious of not wanting to build up expectations that it seemed almost out of place with the euphoria going on around him. On the other hand, I felt he was being honest with us. And, not so much after hearing the speech as reading about it after, this song came to mind:
I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
Ive had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

So I shan’t complain about hearing the truth.

Songs That Move Me, 80-71

80. The Ostrich – Steppenwolf.
I discussed this song here.
Feeling: ticked off.
It’s HERE.

79. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone – Aretha Franklin.
One of the things I hated about AM radio when I was growing up is the fact that disc jockeys would talk over the instrumental opening. I swear that this intro was designed specifically to avoid that. Highlight musically is the sweet crescendo of the horns.
Feeling: joyful.

It’s John shredding his voice and those ascending thirds.
Feeling: Joyous.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As I’ve noted, I often play music based on artists’ birthdays. This week, I have quite a few albums by these folks:
May 9, 1949, Billy Joel
May 10, 1961, Bono (Paul Hewson) (U2)
May 12, 1948, Steve Winwood
May 13, 1950, Stevie Wonder
May 14, 1953, David Byrne
And at least one from these people:
May 9, 1937, Dave Prater (Sam & Dave)
May 9, 1944, Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield/Poco)
May 9, 1945, Steve Katz (Blues Project/Blood, Sweat & Tears)
May 10, 1946, Dave Mason (Traffic)
May 10, 1946, Donovan (Donovan Leitch)
May 11, 1941, Eric Burdon (Animals)
May 13, 1966, Darius Rucker (Hootie & The Blowfish)
May 14, 1936, Bobby Darin
May 15, 1948, Brian Eno
May 15, 1953, Mike Oldfield
May 16, 1966, Janet Jackson
So sue me, I bought that first Hootie album. Oh, and the exact dates of the birthdays I’ve seen different by a day or two.

Last night, Carol and I saw a musical based on the music of one of these folks as a pre-anniversary present for ourselves. Wanna guess which one?

I was thinking about a couple questions Eddie (yes, him again) posed:
1. Is it any slight to the original artist when someone else’s version of a song becomes the definitive one? Even if the original artist wrote it?
I can think of at least a couple examples where the original artist acknowledged the superiority of the cover. One was Otis Redding’s Respect; he said of Aretha Franklin something like “That girl done stole that song from me.”
Then even Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails noted, somewhat wistfully, that Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” had become the definitive one.
[And speaking of which: Trent Reznor for intellectual property czar.]
I suppose it depends how the songwriter feels about the song. If it it’s his or her “baby”, then losing it might not feel so hot. But if the writer is open to new possibilities, then I’d think it’d be an honor. Unless…
2. What do you think about cases where a cover is actually quite inferior to the original, yet is wildly more successful?
I’m trying to think of an example of this, actually. Do you have something in mind? Can anyone think of an original, written by the artist, that the cover was not good, yet sold well? Purists might pick Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, but Whitney Houston’s version was not technically terrible, just mind-numblingly overplayed.


Carry On, Wayward Son

One of our former library interns, Ben, is leaving town. He’s moving to Wichita, Kansas to take a job. Albany is a tough market for a new librarian because there’s a library school here, and moving away is often the best option. The folks in Wichita had called and I gave a positive reference for him.

He had asked his friends whether he should stay or should he go. I advocated for his departure, not because I was getting rid of him – as he [kiddingly?] suggested, but because his life was simple enough (no house, no spouse, etc.) that leaving was easier than it might be later in life.

Last night, he had a BBQ/auction. Well, not everything was auctioned, only “the most prized and valuable items” were auctioned. Other items were sold in a more traditional manner — “priced and sold to the fist taker”. I think he meant “first”, for there wasn’t anything worth fighting over.

He is a lapsed blogger who may get back to it after he gets settled in his new job.

Ben leaves for Wichita tomorrow. Good luck.
The Marvin Gaye segment of American Masters premieres on PBS, starting May 7; check your local listing. Also being shown this week, the American Masters piece on Aretha Franklin.
Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.