What I’m Listening to This Week



Curtis Salgado: Strong Satisfaction (Shanachie)

The best bluesinger on the West Coast got crushing news this week when doctors informed Curtis Salgado that he cancer has invaded his liver. While Curtis awaits a liver transplant in Eugene, its time to get reacquainted with his stunning body of work. There’s no better introduction to Salgado than “Strong Satisfaction”, a deeply grooved blend of blues and soul, where Curtis does his Al Green thing and does it damn good, too. Godspeed, bro.

Rosie Ledet: It’s a Groove Thing! (Maison de Soul)

I made a cursory examination of the performers slated for JazzFest this year and couldn’t find the young zydeco phenom Rosie Ledet anywhere on the list. She probably got booted to make room for Springsteen and his brass band and all the other musical carpetbaggers descending on the ruins New Orleans. That’s okay. Most of the best music during JazzFest weekends is performed at the local clubs, such as the Rock’n’ Bowl, which is immortalized by Ledet in her stomping song “String Beans at the Rock’n’ Bowl.” This is joyous music that infuses traditional zydeco with southern soul.

Nicholas Payton: Sonic Trance (Warner Brothers)

After his two sizzling tributes to Louis Armstrong, Gumbo Nouveau and Dear Louis, the hot young New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton was written off by many jazz snobs as yet another W. Marsalis-like neo-traditionalist. Boy, did they miss the mark. Sonic Trance is jazz at its most surreal and riskiest, a challenging melange of electronica, hip-hop, reggae dubs (Fred Gardner please take note of “Cannabis Leaf Rag No. 1”) and acid jazz. Payton proves here that could easily have won first trumpet chair in Sun Ra’s Archestra.

Earl Bostic: Flamingo (Proper Pairs)

These days the place you’re most likely to hear the great Earl Bostic is by tuning in the Mystery Channel and watching those sleazy Mike Hammer movies with the cokehead Stacey Keach, which uses as its theme song Bostic’s haunting cover of the Earl Haggen-penned “Harlem Nocturne”. That’s too bad, because Bostic, born in Tulsa in 1913, was without question the most influential saxplayer in R&B. His fat and driving sax sound, which broke onto the scene with his bopping cover of Ellington’s “Flamingo”, shaped the music of musicians as varied as Blood Sweat and Tears, James Brown, Clarence Clemons and the horn charts of the Rolling Stones. The Coltrane of early rock and roll.

John Prine: In Spite of Ourselves (Oh Boy)

Prine breathes new life into a long dead format: the country duet. He croaks out these pun-saturated honkey-tonk standards with a glamour roll of singers from Nashville’s past and present, from Connie Smith and Melba Montgomery to Patty Loveless and Trisha Yearwood. But the highlight of the set is Prine’s duet with Iris Dement on his own song, “In Spite of Ourselves.” Dement and Prine may have the most recognizable and idiosyncratic voices in folk music and they collide here in a kind of comical collage. Perhaps only Iris Dement could get away with the following couplet: “He ain’t got laid in a month of Sundays. I caught him once sniffin’ my undies.” One of my favorite records in the last decade.

JEFFREY ST. CLAIR’s music writings (as well as CPers Ron Jacobs, David Vest and Daniel Wolff) can be found in Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.




Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.

November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”