What I’m Listening to This Week



Some of you relics are waiting for the new Dylan cd, but here’s what I’m listening to while awaiting shipment of Face the Promise, the first Bob Seger record in more than a decade.
Freddie King: Hide Away (Rhino)

Eric Clapton stole nearly all of his best licks from the great Texas guitar slinger, Freddie King, who, if he hadn’t died so prematurely, might well have emerged as the King of the Kings.

Magic Sam: West Side Soul (Delmark)

Scarcely a week goes by without this venerable CD being forced into extended play on my Mac. Inexplicably neglected now, Magic Sam Maghett was the best blues guitarist of the 1960s. Indeed, he has few peers across the history of recorded music. Like Freddie King, Sam died young, leaving behind a tragically thin body of work. Rarely has the electric guitar been played with such tenderness.

Drive By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse (New West)

Lynyrd Skynyrd pioneered the three guitar attack. The Truckers vaulted a step further with a three guitar, three voice assault. Inventors of the southern rock soap opera, DBT are Skynyrd with a social conscience and a darkly ribald sense of humor. “Aftermath USA,” indeed.

Patty Loveless: Mountain Soul (Sony)

The most versatile singer in country music. Loveless bucked Nashville by recording this suite of neo-bluegrass songs in one take without over-dubs. The result a record exuding a freshness and an immediacy that hasn’t been heard in country music in decades. Loveless comes from coal mining country in the mountains of Kentucky. Her father died of black lung disease. But you don’t need to know any of that background to well up with tears when she sings Darrell Scott’s song, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan County Again”:

“Where the sun comes up about 10 in the morning
And the sun goes down about 3 in the day
And you fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you’re drinking
And you spend your life digging coal from the bottom of your grave.”

Bob Seger: Beautiful Loser (EMI)

Seger was the first rock musician I interviewed. Back in 1975, I was 16 and he was on the cusp of becoming a huge arena rock star on the merits of Night Moves and Live Bullet, one of the best live rock albums. Seger was no newby, though. By 1975 he’d been touring the Midwest hard for nearly a decade, popular enough in the heartland, but relatively unknown in New York and LA. In the story I wrote on Seger for a local music rag, I called his music “Dirt Rock,” meaning it was gritty, true, rooted in place. Seger remains one of my favorite artists and Beautiful Loser one of my favorite albums.

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.

December 01, 2015
John Wight
From Iraq to Syria: Repeating a Debacle
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: the Left Takes Charge
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border
Sami Al-Arian
My Ordeal: One of America’s Many Political Trials Since 9/11
Steffen Böhm
Why the Paris Climate Talks Will Fail, Just Like All the Others
Gilbert Mercier
Will Turkey Be Kicked Out of NATO?
Bilal El-Amine
The Hard Truth About Daesh and How to Fight It
Pete Dolack
Solidarity Instead of Hierarchy as “Common Sense”
Dan Glazebrook
Rhodes Must Fall: Decolonizing Education
Colin Todhunter
Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe
Eric Draitser
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Linn Washington Jr.
Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie
Randy Shaw
Krugman is Wrong on Gentrification
Raouf Halaby
Time to Speak Out Against Censorship
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case
Patrick Walker
Wake Up Zombie, Kick Up a Big Stink!
November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism