Saturday, September 30, 2006

More Melody---Martha My Dear

by Hector Diego
This dog has been immortalized. In fact, Paul McCartney's late dog Martha is one of the most famous dogs in history, up there with Lassie and Old Yaller.

Now here is something to cheer you up on your darkest day. Could you imagine a stadium full of different kinds of dogs, and all of them smiling? Could you? COULD YOU?



Theme From A Summer Place

by Hector Diego

I'm on a roll here with pre-Beatles music from my childhood. Here's one from 1960. Those days were melodic beyond compare! If the Station Agent can abide an instrumental, this one's a classic. Light as a feather, but still a classic.

An American Artist---Muddy Waters (1915---1983)

by Hector Diego


Famous as "the father of Chicago blues", Muddy Waters strides through American musical history as a giant.



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Moon River---Audrey Hepburn (1929---1993)

by Hector Diego


I went looking for a studio version of Andy Williams singing Moon River, and found this excellent video commemorating Audrey Hepburn. If you have ever enjoyed any of her films, don't watch this video if you don't want to feel nostalgic.

Besides being rated the third greatest actress of all time by the American Film Institute, Audrey Hepburn's humanitarian work is famous. Her legend continues to grow. There has been no one quite like her before or since.

Here's Andy Williams with his absolutely perfect rendition of Moon River.



And here's the actress herself performing the song for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.



There are so many great versions of this song, I have half a mind to post them all! I'm hoping to make a point here. The heart of music is melody. Rhythm is there in the seasons and in the sound of your washing machine. But only humans and gods can make melody. And when we do, we are like the gods.

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Tom Paxton---Viet Nam Song

by Hector Diego
You youngsters should know about Tom Paxton. Guys like him were overshadowed by Bob Dylan, but that is unfortunate for all concerned. Paxton is one of the greatest folk singers of all time. He knew how to protest what should be protested.



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ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE---DEDICATION

by Hector Diego
I haven't dedicated any music to anyone yet here on The Walrus Speaks. I was just waiting for the inspiration to do so. I dedicate now this Beatles song to my Italian aunt, Mrs. Margaret Piciulli.

Aunt Margaret didn't think much of the Beatles in the beginning, but after awhile she liked to sing along. Aunt Margaret just loved to sing. She and radio station 77 WABC from New York City was the soundtrack of my childhood. It went with the barrels of homemade vino and the cheeses hanging from her basement rafters. Each uncooked ravioli was crimped just right by Aunt Margaret's fork, to the tune of so many Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

As the 60s wore on Aunt Margaret's disgust for youthful hair and clothing styles evolved into an attitude of benign amusement. As you might imagine, the Generation Gap of this era was immense. In Aunt Margaret I found someone older than my Dad that I could actually communicate with. We would sit on her porch in Port Chester, New York, and comment on the terrible state of the world.

Aunt Margaret passionately hated war. She hated any kind of violence. She used to quote the Hollies song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's Your Brother". But she was no wide-eyed sentimentalist. She would sit on that porch and rail against the politicians of the day, who were almost all male. But she called them bitches. "Those lousy bitches!" she would cry, while shelling peas.

Aunt Margaret was great with one liners. She liked to refer to Beatles songs didactically, such as "All you need is love", or "Don't be a nowhere man!"

My Aunt Margaret was the salt of the earth, fully involved with life, making the world go around. She was not a Nowhere Man. She was a Somewhere Woman.

NOWHERE MAN---STUDIO VERSION

by Hector Diego


Sometimes I am not satisfied with videos of the Beatles live. For various reasons, the quality of their live performances was uneven. That's why I like to post the studio version of their songs as well.

Oh, to have seen the Beatles in Liverpool or Hamburg before 1963!



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NOWHERE MAN

by Hector Diego
"He's as blind as he can be, just sees what he wants to see..."

These were ironic lyrics in 1966, because now for the first time war was brought to you on live television by General Mills, Johnson and Johnson, etc. You watched villages being napalmed while eating your TV dinner.

But Lennon always did have a knack for subtlety. Was he singing about Viet Nam? Racial bigotry? The benefits of taking LSD? "Nowhere man, please listen. You don't know what you're missin'!"

Maybe we are all the Nowhere Man. "Isn't he a bit like you and me?"



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Friday, September 29, 2006

Drugs are bad, MMMMMkay

by Jay Allbritton
Hector Diego,

I see where my post, "Which Generation is the Drug Generation?" was misleading. I meant it as a response to your post in which you wrote the following:
If you think the hippies were no-counts, as my Grandpa would say, my advice to you is to GET OFF OF YOUR SLACKER GENERATION BUTT AND GET TOGETHER.
The point of my post about Ritalin was that while your generation is maligned for being worthless, no account hippies, my generation, or, more accurately, the group of people slightly younger than me--our current crop of 18-25 year olds--aren't nearly as politically active as the hippies were. I'm saying that 60s generation--raised on weed and acid--managed to make a difference, while our generation, raised on ritalin and making the transition to Prozac, won't go out in the street to protest torture or the end of Habeus Corpus.

I think some of that is to be blamed on Ritalin, which were ver widespread.
From Wikipedia:
Production and prescription of methylphenidate [Ritalin] rose significantly in the 1990s, especially in the United States, as the ADHD diagnosis came to be better understood and more generally accepted within the medical and mental health communities.
A lot of questions remain about Ritalin, but I believe that it may have been one of many factors in creating a generation of conformists.

I never intended to talk about the legality of drugs. Since you posed the question, "What is really behind the prohibition of certain recreational drugs?" I would say that the short answer is "follow the money". The long answer is another post altogether.

Until then, here's Stephen Colbert on Psychopharmaparenting (He takes a little while to get around to it).


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Drugs are here to stay.

by Hector Diego
Station Agent,

It's not a question of which generation did more drugs. It's a question of the kind of drugs. My Dad's generation fought WW II with a cigarette stoicly jutting from the mouth while firing away at the enemy, who also had a cigarette. This nonsense continued all the way through the Viet Nam era, and even the so-called hippies at Woodstock can be seen smoking cigarettes.

But of course the hippies had added all of the fascinating stuff your generation did too. Plus you guys have so-called "designer drugs" available in the 60s only to lab rats and CIA volunteers.

Alcohol was a staple in the Bible, so we can presume that God likes it.
I think it would be very difficult to discern which generation in history was the most into drugs. But the variety of drugs can be easily ascertained.

Apparently, the variety has always been increasing.

I guess that means it is up to the individual to decide what drugs will be taken. At least, after all these centuries you would think that would be the case.

I'm not an historian, but I believe that prohibition of certain types of recreational drugs, while allowing other kinds of recreational drugs, is a fairly recent development---a 20th century development. If it happened before, it couldn't have been significant, for it hasn't made its way into the layman's knowledge of history. What do you think?

So, Station Agent, what is really behind the prohibition of certain recreational drugs?

I'll take my answer online. Hector Diego.



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Within You Without You

by Hector Diego


The Beatles had already recorded Within You Without You before they stayed with Maharishi in his North Indian asrama. By this time George Harrison had been involved with Hinduism for over two years. John Lennon, you probably already know, became disillusioned with Maharishi---a typical John pattern his whole life---but Harrison looked on the sunny side. To this day, the Hare Krishnas claim George Harrison, TM people claim George Harrison, and a dozen other Hindu groups claim George Harrison.

That's a mark of a great man. Here's Harrison's Within You Without You.

The Who---I Can See For Miles

by Hector Diego
Talk about a classic. And for all practical purposes, The Who invented the rock opera.



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Very Early Beatles---September in the Rain

by Hector Diego



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Which Generation is the Drug Generation?

by Jay Allbritton
The 60s?













Or the 90s?
















I'm still trying to answer the question--"where are the protestors?" Maybe it was the drugs.

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Doniger Lecture

by Jay Allbritton
The University of Chicago Religious Studies Professor Wendy Doniger spoke at the Radcliffe Institute (Harvard) in November 2004.

From Radcliffe's video archive:
"The Mythology of Self-Imitation in Passing: Race, Gender, and Politics"
Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago
2004–2005 Dean's Lecture Series
Video (1:20 minutes)

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A Perfect Circle - Counting Bodies Like Sheep to The Rhythm Of The War Drums

by Jay Allbritton
Crossposted at Ice Station Tango.

Crank up the war machine Amerika. Gas is down, torture is on. Go back to sleep.



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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bombtrack

by Jay Allbritton
Rage Against the Machine was a unique idea for a band. Few groups managed to go beyond the protest song to become a protest band exclusively and manage to gain widespread popularity. The novelty--mixing overt political poetry, rapped Beastie Boys style over heavy Black Sabbath riffs, tweaked by the effects rack of the gods--worked for one, maybe two albums. Rage made four before calling it quits, sadly, a few years before the nightmare injustices they sang about got much, much worse.

This is the first Rage song I ever heard--Bombtrack.



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Peter, Paul, and Mary

by Hector Diego
When I was a kid there was a bit of a lull in rock between the old rock and roll and the Beatles. But folk music was really cooking. Not only was the music outstandingly tuneful, the lyrics have never been surpassed before or since. I watched Hootenanny, a folk music tv show, religiously at the age of seven. I guess this makes me a liberal.

I SAW HERE STANDING THERE

by Hector Diego





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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rilo Kiley---Wires and Waves

by Hector Diego



If you want some quality light "pop" (a tortured term) music, try Wires and Waves.

ROCKY RACOON

by Hector Diego



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I AM THE WALRUS

by Hector Diego



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LET IT BE

by Hector Diego



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Fake Rilo Kiley Show

by Jay Allbritton
This a fake show I put together from various live Rilo Kiley MP3. Enjoy.

1. Pull Me in Tighter
2. Patiently
3. Portions for foxes
4. Room 8
5. Spectacular Views (Palisades Jam)
6. Spectacular Views (hidden track – Blake Vocals)
7. Such Great Heights
8. Spectacular Views (hidden track – Jenny vocals)
9. Spectacular Views (duet, acoustic)
10. With Arms Outstretched

MP3--Rilo Kiley - Fake Show.

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Jenny Lewis's MP3 Player

by Jay Allbritton
Jenny Lewis participated in "Random Rules", in which the blog, The A.V. Club, asks people to set their MP3 players to shuffle and comment on the first few tracks that come up—no skipping.

An interesting segment that I may steal at some later date.

One of the songs that popped up--Kanye West's "Graduation Day"--is fine, but Jenny enthusiastically mentioned how she loves the song Through the Wire, and I agree, so here's that instead. When you're done with Kanye go to Belaire's MySpace page to hear their fabulous cover of "Through the Wire".



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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Religious Passion and Intellectual Law

by Hector Diego


William James, Harvard Professor, Philosopher of Religion (1842-1910)


Some of you may feel that religion and intellect are incompatible, what to speak of a forming a theocracy of mind. However, William James, in his The Will to Believe, subordinates intellect to but one passion. And it's not donuts. It seems like a more subtle cousin of Pascal's Wager , without the Abrahamic hellfire stuff in the background.

"...Science says things are; morality says some things are better than other things; and religion says essentially two things.

First, she says that the best things are more eternal things, the overlapping things, the things in the universe that throw the last stone, so to speak, and say the final word. "Perfection is eternal" - this phrase of Charles Secrétan seems a good way of putting this first affirmation of religion, an affirmation which obviously cannot be verified scientifically at all.

The second affirmation of religion is that we are better off even now if we believe her first affirmation to be true.

...To preach skepticism to us as a duty until "sufficient evidence" for religion be found, is tantamount therefore to telling us, when in the presence of the religious hypothesis, that to yield to our fear of its being error is wiser than and better than to yield to our hope that it may be true. It is not intellect against all passions, then, it is only intellect with one passion laying down its law."

John Lennon admired George Harrison's committment to settled (but unfanatic) religious beliefs, and spiritual experience. I wonder why.

Strawberry Fields

by Hector Diego
You might have noticed that lately old Hector Diego has been posting only YouTube (marca registrada, whatever); this is because Radio Blog (ditto) has been turned off for blogging. I think Strawberry Fields is better without a video, almost even without a Beatles video, "but you know I know when it's a dream..." I must confess that I believe the age of video, predicted by Paul McCartney way before MTV began, has not improved music.

This video passes for state of the art in 1967. Musically, it is one of Lennon's best. But Lennon liked the simpler version without the sound effects.

Outkastmania (It's just the Hey Ya video again)

by Jay Allbritton
Blogging the obvious. Look everyone, it's the biggest hit of the century--AGAIN!!!

Whatever, I still love this song and it's even relevent to this blog because of the Beatlemania theme in the video:


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Breathless Live in Trafalgar Square

by Hector Diego
The Corrs. For us ignorant Americans who don't know. They're great.

American Domination: The Master Plan.

by Hector Diego

As much as I admire our Founding Fathers, it can hardly be said that they cared for the civil and political rights of Native Americans. And they had designs on Cuba too. Well, what can we say, folks---that was the 18th century. But the Master Plan continued to develop in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century. Better us than those Ruskis, you say? Maybe so. But read on...

2004 Chomski Interview: American Empire.

The Last Photo of John Lennon

by Hector Diego
The Beatles' desire to be seen as humans, not Beatles, is understandable. But their humanity was such that they also understood the other side: our side. Sometimes they felt inspired to give a piece of their time to a stranger.

Here's John Lennon and the man who took his last photograph.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rocky and Bullwinkle

by Hector Diego
This article does not mention it, but Rocky and Bullwinkle were better friends of the new left than the old right.


Eminem - Toy Soldiers

by Jay Allbritton
Forget for a second that rich rappers having street wars is absolutely nonsense. Eminem tells the story of a conflict that probably happened, if not exactly this way. Eminem uses a wide range of skills to tell this story. The song is brilliantly produced by Dr. Dre, who realized long ago that the best way to produce Eminem is to accent his vocals, not to drive them home. And, once again, the near comical Martika sample comes off as earnest before deeper thought kicks in and erodes the whole thing--it's just too stupid to be as noble and epic as it is trying to be. In all, a staggering musical experience, and that alone is enough for me.

Maybe I'm Amazed

by Hector Diego


This is one of the strongest post-Beatles songs for Paul, in my humble opinion. He's playing all the instruments here. It's just about a man in love. End of story.

Paul and his wife Linda dedicated much of their lives to the vegetarian cause. When Linda McCartney passed away in 1998, Paul asked that instead of people sending flowers to honor Linda, the best tribute would be "to go veggie"---becoming vegetarian.

Handle With Care---Jenny's Picks

by Hector Diego


We've already posted some tributes to George and The Traveling Wilburys. Now here they are: George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. What a line-up! Jenny Lewis, a big fan of George Harrison, also recorded Handle With Care.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding?

by Jay Allbritton
One thing we care about big time on this blog is songwriting. To that end, I give you, Elvis...

Costello, that is.

Ticket to Ride

by Hector Diego
This video appears to be a concert from late 1965 or 1966. I didn't chase down the stats, folks, I'll let you do that. Notice how Ringo, who can barely hear his drums, keeps it really simple. We can't hear Paul's bass at all. You have to wonder if the audience could. And notice how John can't help ridiculing all the screaming. That's why you gotta love him.

An American Artist---Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)

by Hector Diego
I'm not a big fan of obscenities, but arresting someone for it is absurd. Lenny Bruce was repeatedly arrested for using obscene language, then turned around and made his treatment by police part of his comedy act---with more obscenities. That is something about the guy I admire, plus he was damned funny. And timely. Read about Lenny Bruce here.

Watching Rainbows Go Nowhere.

by Hector Diego
For those of you who think that the Beatles are gods among musicians, I can only say...YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! However, among the gods, the Beatles were musicians, not gods. That means that they had to work hard for the good stuff they gave us---and let me reiterate, they gave more than they took. Watching Rainbows is a good example of the Beatles at work, something you could also get from much of their Anthology. They are trying to do something in this video that doesn't quite make it. And John was always brutally honest as a Beatle. He wanted the movie Let it Be released to the public precisely so everyone could see that they were only musicians among gods, so people could "see us with our pants down." He wanted to blow wide open the myth of the Beatles.

Sorry, John, even you couldn't do that. Why? Because we are all so grateful that the Beatles never released any substandard stuff. Therefore, decades later, all their music still shines as if it were made this afternoon. This situation was a result of all the hard work they put in to make it happen.

Listening to the Anthology is so fascinating because it shows how some of their greatest songs started out as very little, nothing special. But somehow, with 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration (that's where the gods come in) their music coalesced into genius.

If you want to hear what they threw away, watch this video.

Norman Lear's Most Beautiful Baby

by Hector Diego
The geriatric crowd needs no introduction to All In The Family, written by Norman Lear, which ignited the entire country in the early 70s. It was way ahead of its time, but in a way, it was high time that certain things were being said. The cast of characters were so fairly represented that even Archie, the guy you loved to hate, was not unloveable. The show appealed to youth and the WW II generation simultaneously---no mean feat.

Sometimes I theorize that my parents' generation liked the show because they realized that their kids had some good things to say---they just didn't want to hear it from their kids. And of course, part of them still identified with Archie. I can't think of another family TV show that tops it for humor with a serious message, not even MASH. If you don't know about All in the Family and you have cable TV, watch it ASAP. If you don't have cable, get it.

Do you think Archie has become a thing of the past? Here he is at his best (worst?)

An American Artist---Janis Joplin (1943-1970)

by Hector Diego


In her day, the only peer of Janis Joplin was Aretha Franklin. This means that Janis was one of the greatest female singers of all time. This giant of a woman was not appreciated, in spite of her world fame, in her own hometown during her life. Most of her music is about the love she needed and never got. Listening to her stinging lyrics might remind us that a Janis Joplin could live within our midst, and we're too stupid to realize it. She'll give you a big old piece of her heart if you let her. Read about her here.

Here she is performing the famous Gershwin composition, Summertime.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cult of Personality - Living Colour

by Jay Allbritton
Cult of Personality - Living Colour

Look into my eyes, what do you see?
Cult of Personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I've been everything you want to be
I'm the Cult of Personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I'm the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights, A Nobel Price
The mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set me free
I sell the things you need to be
I'm the smiling face on your T.V.
I'm the Cult of Personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the Cult of Personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I'm the Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality
Cult of Personality

Neon lights a Nobel Prize
A leader speaks, that leader dies
You don't have to follow me
Only you can set you free

You gave me fortune
You gave me fame
You me power in your God's name
I'm every person you need to be
I'm the Cult of Personality

The U.S. vs. John Lennon

by Jay Allbritton
Here's the trailer. Hopefully this gets a wide showing.

The Shamrock and the Beatles.

by Hector Diego
The Beatles Are Irish?
(http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=2970)


The chairman of the Beatles Ireland Fan Club claims that all of the Fab Four are Irish. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are both already on record as having Irish grandparents, Beatles Ireland Fan Club Chairman Pete Brennan claims that both George Harrison and Ringo Starr are of Irish extraction, too.

Brennan says, "George's family tree stretches back to the 13th century when the guitarist's ancestors, who were Norman knights from France, settled in southern Ireland."

Proving drummer Ringo's roots is not quite so easy. However, Pete insists that the drummer—real name Richard Starkey—has Irish blood. He adds, "I can definitely confirm that some of Ringo's relations on his mother's side were Irish. But I'm actually still in the middle of researching his roots, so I can't say too much right now."

I think it is safe to say that the Beatles were plenty Irish.
The Long and Winding Road sounds nice with that slight Irish lilt sung by a pretty Irish lady, does it not?

Revolutionary Pie - Please, Please Me

by Jay Allbritton
Tribute bands bother me. I don't think any band should commit to playing only the songs of another band. Cover bands are another story. What I find interesting about this video is that while these guys are decent enough musicians, the song practically plays itself. This might be the best pop arrangement I've ever heard.

Friday, September 22, 2006

THE BEATLES' SWAN SONG...

by Hector Diego


...or so it seemed. Most of you will know that Abbey Road was the Beatles last album to be recorded. But since Let it Be was kept around for so long before it was released, The Long and Winding Road is the last song we heard from them.

McCartney was upset with Phil Spector's orchestral arrangement, but John and George said they liked it. Frankly I have my doubts that John actually liked it, but by this time he and Paul were openly feuding (well, Lennon was openly being critical and Paul, following his nature, responded in kind, but diplomatically) and saying he liked it would have been one more way of upsetting Paul. Nobody knew how to push Paul's buttons better than John.

Knowing all this stuff is what makes this song so sad, although it would have been sad anyway. It's a beautiful melody, in that long line of beautiful McCartney melodies. It was McCartney who took the brunt of dissatisfaction at the end, not only from the public, but within the Beatles too. So it seems fitting that with The Long and Winding Road, Paul gets the last word. However, anyone who has read enough Beatles history knows that all the Beatles later realized that no one was at fault. It was just life.

And just in case some people don't realize that the Beatles were like brothers, that they truly loved and respected each other, I have included this photo which was taken late in their career as Beatles.

We took the long and winding road with the Beatles, and it has always been an honor to be with them.

Here is The Long and Winding Road with Spector's "wall of sound" treatment.



Here's the version McCartney wanted for the Let it Be album.

The Self-Immolation of a Buddhist Monk

by Hector Diego


"On June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk from the Linh-Mu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam, burned himself to death at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon, Vietnam.. Eye witness accounts state that Thich Quang Duc and at least two fellow monks arrived at the intersection by car, Thich Quang Duc got out of the car, assumed the traditional lotus position and the accompanying monks helped him pour gasoline over himself. He ignited the gasoline by lighting a match and burned to death in a matter of minutes. David Halberstam, a reporter for the New York Times covering the war in Vietnam, gave the following account..."

Wow. Whether emphasizing political purposes, as Thich Nhat Hanh and Russell McCutcheon have done, or seeing Thich Quang Duc's religio-political suicide as a most remarkable example of what spiritually adept humans are capable of when they put their minds to it---which is what Buddhism is all about---this event should be thought provoking to all. Hindu scriptures describe self-immolation by yogis who use the body's heat to spontaneously combust, and the Inquisition has recorded at least one instance of a persecuted Protestant who actually dragged burning faggots toward him with his feet, while righteously chastising his executioners and never uttering a cry of distress. St Francis of Assisi was said to have walked straight into burning flames in response to a Muslim ruler's challenge as a test of his belief. Luckily for the world, the ruler did not actually want to see the saint come to harm and had him pulled away from the flames.

We are not these bodies. The Most Venerable Thich Quang Duc knew that beyond theory.

We'll all get there someday.

Handle With Care

by Jay Allbritton
Another from Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison & Company from a 2002 George Harrison tribute. This is a Travelling Wilburys song, "Handle With Care".

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne & Prince - While my Guitar Gently Weeps

by Jay Allbritton
What a team, eh. Wonder how these guys met Prince. I guess the beautiful people all know each other.

L'Internationale

by Hector Diego



Get this: Radio Blog, where I get all the music you click on here at The Walrus Speaks, has thousands and thousands of songs arranged randomly. Except for L'Internationale. It's followed by Imagine. That can't be a coincidence! And then, as if for a bit of comic relief, they have Purple Haze.

My communist comrade the Station Agent has traded one religion for another. So I dedicate these songs to him.


L'Internationale


Arise, the damned of the earth,
Arise, prisoners of hunger,
For reason thunders in its crater,
It is the eruption of the end!
Let us make a blank slate of the past,
Army of slaves, arise, arise!
The world is changing at the base,
We who have been nothing, let's be everything!
|: This is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

There are no supreme saviours,
Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune.
Workers, let's save ourselves!
Together let's enact a common decree
To force the thief to return his loot,
So that the mind is set free from the prison cell!
Let us blow upon our furnace ourselves,
Strike the iron while it is hot!
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

The state strangles and the law cheats,
The taxes bleed the disadvantaged in society.
The rich do not shoulder any responsibility;
The rights of the poor is an empty word.
It is enough to decay in servitude,
Equality needs other laws!
No rights without duty, she says,
Conversely, no duty without rights.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

Hideous, in their glory,
The kings of the mines and rail.
They have done nothing else,
But to steal others' work.
In the strongboxes of this band,
What we created are all in there!
In working for their restitution,
They only want their rightful due.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

The kings deceive us with their fumes,
Peace among ourselves, war to the tyrants!
Let us encourage strikes in the armies,
To wave their guns and disband their ranks!
If they insist, those cannibals,
To make heroes of us,
They will soon know our bullets,
Are for our own generals.
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

Labourers, peasants, we are
The big party of workers
The earth belongs only to humans
The idle are going to live elsewhere
How much they feast on our flesh
But if the ravens and vultures
Disappear one of these days
The sun will shine forever
|: It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!


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L'internationale.mp3


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John Lennon - Imagine.mp3


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Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze.mp3

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

by Hector Diego

WE MEAN IT, MAN !!!


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Sex Pistols - 06 - God Save The Queen.mp3

God Only Knows

by Jay Allbritton
Stereogum has coverage of the Beach Boys' Pets Sounds Live.

Here's Brian Wilson performing a little "God Only Knows" from 1988.

George Martin and Brian Wilson talk about "God Only Knows".

AN AMERICAN ARTIST---RAY CHARLES

by Hector Diego


Click for:


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America The Beautiful - Ray Charles

Station Agent...don't get me started on Ray Charles! Talk about soul, baby, the man invented it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ray, Let it Be...

by Jay Allbritton
This is transcendent.



Ladies and Gentlemen, Ray Charles.

Vlad the Impaler---The Twilight of the Gods?

by Hector Diego


It took a Muslim army to finish off Count Vlad Dracula, the Impaler.



By July, 1475, Dracula had served almost 13 years as a political "prisoner" when Matthias officially pardoned him so he could take part in a campaign against the Turks. The "Army of Allah" had worked its way through Wallachia and was now sporadically crossing into Transylvania and Moldavia, thanks to Radu's white-dove policies. It had become, therefore, the defenders' aim to sever the Turks' lifeline by attacking several main supply bases below the Danube, in the Serbian province of Bosnia. Effectively, the triumvirate of Matthias, Stephen and Dracula was historical; it meant that, for the first time, Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia were working together as a unit.

(more)

HERE COMES THE SUN---STUDIO VERSION

by Hector Diego



207d

Here Comes the Sun-The Beatles.mp3

Allison Crowe - In My Life

by Jay Allbritton
Another cover.

WHAT REALLY IS REAL LOVE?

by Hector Diego
Let's face it---Beatles people have been through alot. We wove them into our lives and then watched them disintegrate. That was ... kinda traumatic ...

OK, let me back up here. Every generation discovers the Beatles anew, and they can enjoy them without having to suffer the pain of the Beatles' dissolution. But for the first Beatles generation---people now in their fifties and sixties---we needed some healing. For me that came in stages, as I realized that no Beatle was "responsible" for their breaking up. A major event in the healing process came twenty-five years later when Paul, George, and Ringo got together for the Anthology. You'll see some of that footage here, and other great stuff.

Hey old man, or old lady, reading this: have you never cried over the Beatles? Been holding it in all these years? You took John and George seriously when they told us to get over it?

Well, you can just let it all out right here, Beatles brothers and sisters. You youngsters need not feel ashamed either, if you shed a tear of ecstasy over the Beatles. After all, it's Real Love.

HELLO GOODBYE

by Hector Diego
Well they're cute, folks, what can we say. Here's the Beatles lip-synching. You won't mind that if you like the Beatles.

Hello Goodbye is a Paul song. And probably not one of John's favorites. But Paul was good at cranking out infectious tunes, wasn't he?

Speaking of cute, I like that little exchange of smiles between John and Ringo at the beginning. You know, they say that Ringo is one of the nicest people in the world.

That's not hard to believe.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Scarborough Fair

by Hector Diego


Click for Simon and Garfunkel:


39d

Scarborough Fair - Simon and Garfunkel

Oliver Stone's Platoon

by Jay Allbritton
From Religion and Politics in Films About the Vietnam War.

Of Oliver Stone's Vietnam War film Platoon, critic Stuart Voytilla writes, "The Vietcong, the apparent enemy, are beyond dehumanized uniforms becoming literal shadows that flit through the jungles. The Platoon--the sacred Hero's Team of World War II--is the battlefield. And we have become our Enemy." The Vietcong in Platoon are just another factor to weigh (along with heat, fatigue, mines...) when considering the question of whether or not the war effort was worth it. Stone divides the military between those with pro-war tendencies and those with antiwar tendencies. It's as if the soldiers were sent to Vietnam simply to have the debate that was going on at home, only their version of the debate was held among the landmines, with the Vietcong "shadows" watching, under a blistering sun. Both factions were armed to the teeth, and the officers, who were supposed to lead and keep order, frequently became targets for their own men.

We can see Porterfield's priestly and prophetic types in this division of the platoon. The "heads" are Stone's version of the prophetic type. According to Milton J. Bates, they share many of the same characteristics of the "portion of the working class which shared the antiwar sentiment, hedonism, gender-blurring, racial tolerance, recreational drugs and music of middle-class student culture." The heads smoke pot the first time we see them. A poster of Ho Chi Minh hangs on the wall. When we come back to this warm, tight-knit group later in the film, they dance intimately with each other or with chairs and brooms to Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of my Tears."

The second group consists of the "juicers". They represent Stone's version of the priestly type. They tend to be very macho. They prefer beer to marijuana. They tend to come from rural locations. In one scene, Bunny demonstrates their masculinity when he bites a hole in a metal can of beer. They tend to use more racist language.

Elias (head/prophet) and Barnes (juicer/priest) most epitomize their group/type. Elias draws all the common cinematic Christ-like imagery. The scene in which Elias is finally killed is titled in the screenplay "Elias crucified." EliasÂ’s reason for going to Vietnam in the first place is to avoid jail.

Barnes, conversely, is identified as the Beast from the Book of Revelations--seven times shot, seven times survived. Elias was forced to defy his natural place and fight. Barnes, however, is a natural fighter. Barnes personifies the rhetoric of the priestly type's need for discipline with the line, "When the machine breaks down, we break down."

Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) represents the triumph of the prophetic type at the time of the Vietnam War. Chris's character--and young Stone--matches Porterfield's description of the war critic--well educated, economically privileged, young, and self-centered. At the beginning of the film, he's obsessed with himself, writing, "Maybe I've finally found it, way down here in the mud. Maybe from down here I can start up again and be something I can be proud of, without having to fake it, be a fake human being." Both Stone and Taylor went to Vietnam because they did not believe they should get out of service because they were privileged. All of these things amount to Chris having two mentors, one liberal and one conservative. In the end, it is the conservative mentor that Chris kills.

Stone's film represents the attitudes of deep distrust between liberals and conservatives by showing them killing one another rather than the Vietcong. Stone is saying that the war itself had more to do with the ideological differences among Americans than it did with any ideological differences between Americans and the North Vietnamese.

HERE COMES THE SUN

by Hector Diego


As much as I admire the wit of John Lennon, it seems that George Harrison was the one with wisdom. So when someone asks me, "Who is your favorite Beatle?" I invariably say George. Lennon is on record for admiring George's spirituality, something for which Lennon longed but was always a bit too cynical to grasp. Not that George was a naive lackey! Rather, in George we see the classic spiritual biography reflected in the world's great religions: a very accomplished person enjoys the world to the hilt, but is deeply unsatisfied; "surely there must be more to life."

Both John and George believed in reincarnation, but John, with his basic orientation towards socially active Buddhism, could not commit to any spiritual path that emphasized liberation from this cycle of reincarnation. George, on the other hand, saw the world as a place that is not our home; a place meant to educate us so that we could return to our original nature and position in a spiritual world. In other words, George was very comfortable with traditional Hinduism, as those Hindus who knew him have observed. So many different Hindu organizations of varying flavors claim George Harrison as one of them that surely, here was a man who loved much and who was loved much. Sriman Bhakta George Harrison is the Beatle I love the most.

Did you know that Harrison's Something was actually written about the Hindu deity Krishna? George changed he to she in that song so that people would not misunderstand what he was trying to say. Unfortunately I believe it is just taken as a beautiful piece of music. And Here Comes the Sun was George's way of singing about how his meditation on Krishna had cleared up some very dark periods in his life. Here Comes the Sun, says George Martin, was one of George's best, and it is probably my favorite Beatles song. It certainly ages well.

Check out the bead necklace George is wearing in the photo above. All devotees of Krishna wear these beads, made from the sacred tulasi tree (sacred basil, ocimum sanctum).

For more about George's spirituality, see http://herecomesthesunbook.blogspot.com/

Here's a live version of George performing Here Comes the Sun.


Gordon Wood On Revolutionary Figures

by Jay Allbritton
You know you're pretty big in academia when you get your name mentioned in a movie, as Gordon Wood did in Good Will Hunting's famed applesauce sequence.

You say you want to study the Revolution?

Here's Dr. Wood is in his natural habitat:

...son of sam, son of a shining path, the clouded mind...

by Jay Allbritton
Elliott Smith would have hated blogs. Just a guess, it seemed like the guy hated everything. It makes his great music so hard to like. It seems like by liking his music I endorse the pain in his life.

Of course this is all on a gut level and with just a little thought, I realize how silly that is, to interject myself that deeply into a hermeneutic relationship...

Anyway, dead singers who were great leave a huge contradiction behind in their music. The recording is so alive and the performer is so trapped in those lifeless, repetitious grooves on vinyl or whatever machines they use these days.

Elliott Smith - Son of Sam

Monday, September 18, 2006

AN AMERICAN ARTIST---ELLIOT SMITH (1969-2003)

by Hector Diego


Here begins a new feature of The Walrus Speaks that I will call Jenny's Picks. Since the Station Agent and I are so enthusiastic about the music of Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis, it seems fitting to highlight the music that Jenny likes. I think you will agree that she has good taste.

The first selection for Jenny's Picks must feature Elliot Smith, a brilliant musician and composer who died tragically of two knife wounds to the chest in 2003. Some claim this tragic event to be a suicide, but from what I know of the Japanese practice of honorable seppuku, which employs a helper known as a "second", this is a very difficult thing to do. Whatever was the manner of Smith's death, we wish him all the best in his next life. He was a good friend of Rilo Kiley. They composed an exquisitely beautiful song in his honor, It Just Is.

Click for:
51d

Elliot Smith - Thirteen

431d
Rilo Kiley - It Just Is

Jefferson Airplane

by Hector Diego


The Beatles influenced the musicians of San Francisco, who returned the favor. By 1967, rock and roll was now "rock". And it was increasingly difficult to define.

By now those of you who have observed Hector Diego's musical tastes might have guessed that his favorite Jefferson Airplane album would be Surrealistic Pillow, their first. For this album, Jerry Garcia was their "spiritual advisor", as the album's jacket informs us. The songs are melodic and beautiful. Dissonance is used sparingly (not like their later work) and the general effect is very artistic, for lack of a better word.

Click for:

127d

Jefferson Airplane - Today

Sometimes life is like lemonade...

by Hector Diego

...if you add sugar.

Click for:


731d

Portishead - Sour Times

DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU CAN'T...

by Hector Diego


...WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?


Why is that?

(Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, above)

Click for:



730d

Rilo Kiley - A Better Son or Daughter


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sam Sedar Interviews Filmmakers of The People vs. John Lennon

by Jay Allbritton
Sam Sedar interviewed the filmmakers behind The People Vs. John Lennon. It's a great interview. I'm much more excited about this project after hearing from these guys. Good job by Sedar too, who really has come along lately. The Sam Sedar Show debuts today at 9am on Air America.

MP3 -- Sam Sedar interviews makers of The U.S. vs. John Lennon.

GET OFF YOUR ASS AND GET TOGETHER !

by Hector Diego


I missed the second half of the 1970s. That's because, well...we won't go into that now. But the result of my cultural isolation was that I missed the pathetic bad treatment of American GIs from Viet Nam (as if the war was their fault; as if soldiers are not the most oppressed class of all), Patty Hearst, disco (no loss there) and the birth of punk. So when I became aware of the cultural scene in 1982, I was mightily bewildered to hear young people putting down hippies. OK, the term hippie is rather stupid. But peace and love is not stupid, unless that's all you've got in your squirt gun. The Viet Nam War generation had far more than that.

Somewhere between Woodstock and John Lennon's assassination, the myth grew that the so-called hippie generation was effete, or pie-in-the-sky; that the hippies had a good chance that they fumbled (and what "chance" was that?); or that all that cannabis smoking had made them content with their flowers and love beads, while the world went straight to hell, courtesy of megacorporations.

Well, let's take a good look at the 80's, the high water mark of hatred for Flower Power. What was a lark for the punkers of the 70s became the religion of the yuppies and the preppies of the Reagan Era, who could not afford to think of anything but making money. As for the punkers, it was as if crystal methamphetamine gave one a better perspective than that old weed that has been growing naturally and used for thousands of years without a single fatality. Once I heard a group of totally spun punkers croaking along to a punk version of a John Lennon song. They were not aware of the composer of the song (I can't remember what it was). But they were sure they hated John Lennon. Why? Maybe it had something to do with that stuff that came in little plastic baggies called go-fast, and a huge helping of ignorance laced with juvenile frustration with being juvenile.

The fact is that popular culture has been on a retrograde course for quite some time. Nowadays, if you want to hear any contemporary music that is good you have to bend over back asswards to familiarize yourself with the so-called indie scene. There is good stuff there, even genius stuff, to be sure---but it is not studded with genius as the 60s scene was.

In the current period of mediocrity we still hear complaints about those lazy, myopic hippies. But really, folks, those hippies knew more about getting angry with the Establishment than today's devotees of Britney Spears. And they were able to express their anger without a mountain of dissonance. Have you ever wondered how this could be possible?

Anger is only as good as its application. Without control, anger is useless and aesthetically limiting. This is about as angry as Hector Diego gets.

So let's get some balance here (or comic relief, as you like), with the Youngbloods. They crashed the San Francisco scene as late-comers, but so what---their Get Together is a true classic. The composer of this song is either Dino Valente (lead singer Quicksilver Messenger Service) or Chet Powers, I can't verify either one. But I'm working on it.

If you think the hippies were no-counts, as my Grandpa would say, my advice to you is to GET OFF OF YOUR SLACKER GENERATION BUTT AND GET TOGETHER.

Love is but a song we sing
and fear's the way we die,
You can make the mountains ring
or make the angels cry,
Though the bird is on the wing
and you may not know why.

C'mon people, now
smile on your brother,
everybody get together,
try to love one another right now.

Some will come and some will go
and we shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
fading in the grass.

C'mon people, now
smile on your brother,
everybody get together,
try to love one another right now.

If you hear the song I sing
you will understand
You hold the key to love and fear
in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both,
it's there at your command.

C'mon people, now
smile on your brother,
everybody get together,
try to love one another right now.


EARLY BEATLES LIT THE HOUSE ON FIRE

by Hector Diego


After the Beatles became so incredibly innovative as the 1960s rolled on, many people forgot about their earlier work---big mistake. Don't you wish you could have been part of that lucky crowd that saw the Beatles at the Cavern Club in Liverpool? Lennon said they never recaptured that energy, regardless of what George Martin says of their musicianship at the time. Frankly I don't care what Martin says unless it's positive, and then I'm inclined to quote him here at The Walrus Speaks.

There were only four Beatles that we need to concern ourselves with, and the traditional order still stands: John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Stu Sutcliff died and couldn't play his instrument, or you could say it the other way around, but it does not matter. Pete Best never fit in with the other boys, and his drumming was not what they wanted. So it all goes back to J, P, G, and R.

The Station Agent has given me a huge headache by calling Martin the third Beatle. If anyone were going to be the fifth Beatle, granted, it would have to be Martin. Only by that proviso does it make sense to include Martin with the Beatles. But the fact is that the Beatles themselves would never accept Martin as one of them. When the Beatles closed ranks (before the Yoko era) you couldn't fit a playing card between them.

I'm presuming the Station Agent thinks of Martin as the third Beatle because he feels that George and Ringo could have been replaced by someone else---even though John and Paul did not think so. One could think of some really great drummers of the 60s like Ginger Baker or Keith Moon, and great guitarists like Keith Richards or Jimmy Page. But could you imagine these guys in the Beatles? That would make no more sense than having John and Paul strictly as a non-playing composing team, and the vocals carried by Robert Plant and Mick Jagger, with George and Ringo in the background. In other words, trying to conceptualize the Beatles in any way besides the historical fact is quite absurd.

If anyone was replaceable, it was Martin. Don't get me wrong, I love Martin. When that old man leaves this world I will cry a bucket. He did the Beatles right, which is far more than we can say for Brian Epstein. And Martin was a great advisor to the Beatles. But in the end, he was only their producer.

Another way to understand the Beatles as a coherent entity is to examine carefully the contributions of George and Ringo. Ironically, for all of you George Martin-as-third-(or even fifth)-Beatle fans out there, Martin's own writings reveal the vital nature of the Beatles as a quartet. In the future we will illuminate the Beatles as an organic whole by way of Martin and other sources. For now, let's dig the early Beatles. Twist and Shout was not even written by the Beatles, and so it cannot emphasize the creative composing genius of the John and Paul team. But the song does exemplify the charismatic energy of the four we all (well, most of us) dearly love. The original Twist and Shout by the Isley Brothers is good, but the Beatles' version is great. There's not much for Martin to contribute there, except the stuff he had his engineers do with mikes and volume and other technical stuff. It's just the four boys from the old Roman land called Mercia who changed the world while Martin looked on.


80d

The Beatles - Twist and shout


Saturday, September 16, 2006

RINGO'S DRUMMING

by Hector Diego
George Martin has remarked that Ringo's drumming in A Day in the Life is particularly good. Today such drumming sounds are taken for granted. But in Ringo's time, they were not---at least not in rock. Like Paul and his bass, Ringo set some standards that have not been surpassed--- although he couldn't do "a proper roll". Does anyone reading this blog care about "a proper roll"?




Listen carefully to Ringo in A Day in the Life. Try the Radio Blog version if that sounds better on your computer.

56d
Beatles A Day in the Life

Or, if that's not clear enough, haul out your CD of Sgt. Pepper's and listen to it with proper awe and reverence.

George Martin Interviews

by Jay Allbritton
From 1987. I think of this guy as the third Beatle.

STUDIO VERSION---DON'T FEAR THE REAPER

by Hector Diego

BLUE OYSTER CULT


182d

Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper

Friday, September 15, 2006

Free as a Bird

by Jay Allbritton
When "Free as a Bird" was released as a new Beatles song, I hated the idea. There could be no new Beatles, clearly this was a fraud. I didn't hate the song, I just shrugged it off.

Well, I just watched this video and, I'm totally turned around on it. The song is a complete gem. Paul's vocals and bass land in the perfect spots, suggesting that his chemistry with Lennon transcended even the grave. And Ringo's has a feel to it previously unheard--the benefit of more modern production.

The video has some interesting moments as well. I noticed Eleanor Rigby's grave near the end. Nice touch.

YESTERDAY

by Hector Diego
Notice how McCartney, who played bass as a lead instrument, plucks his acoustic like a bass. According to Guinness Book of World Records, his Yesterday has been covered by more artists than any song in history. Why have the Beatles broken more records than anyone else?

WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?

by Hector Diego
IS THIS A SERIOUS QUESTION?


DON'T FEAR THE REAPER

by Hector Diego
You don't need need pictures for

BLUE OYSTER CULT


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Antique walrus print courtesy of FineRarePrints.Com