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What We’re Listening to This Week

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR And DAVID VEST

Scott Miller and the Commonwealth: Citation
(Sugar Hill)

Scott Miller has been called
the Springsteen of Tennessee, which sounds like an oxymoron to
me. But this record by the former leader of the V-Roys is fueled
by brutal rocking and smart and gritty lyrics from the edgier
precincts of Appalachia.

Bruce Robison: Eleven
Stories
(Sustain Records)

I got started listening to
Bruce Robison, the gangly singer-songwriter from Austin, the
back way: through his wife, the sunny alt country singer Kelly
Willis. Robison, whose sister-in-law is the quite Dixie Chick,
Emily Robison, writes as deftly as that sad icon of the Austin
sound, Townes Van Zandt but, unlike Van Zandt, Robison’s voice
does justice to the emotional complexities his music. Every one
of these songs is a gem, but the duet with Willis on “More
and More” is a true thing of beauty.

Daddy: At
the Women’s Club
(Cedar Creek Music)

Okay, I know rock music is
long dead, having ex-sanguinated the moment Grand Funk Railroad
mis-struck their first powerchord. So I don’t know what you’d
call the music that Daddy plays: electrified Americana, perhaps.
Daddy doesn’t rock, per se; they just kick ass. Imagine the Sex
Pistols by way of Waylon Jennings. That’s as close as I can come
to putting a label on songs such as “I Miss Ronald Reagan,”
recorded live before a raucus crowd in Frankfort. That’s Frankfort,
Kentucky, dude.

Ralph Stanley: Clinch
Mountain Gospel
(Rebel Records)

If the voice of God ever calls
my name, I expect it to sound like Ralph Stanley’s on “I
Am Weary.” Bluegrass gospel at its most thanatic.

 

Anita O’Day: Sings
the Most
(Polygram)

I remember her from the wonderful
film, “Jazz on a Summer Day”, her voice airy, luscious,
swinging. O’Day may be the great white jazz singer. You got the
sense that she truly was an improviser, who took as much from
Charlie Parker or Monk as from Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday.
Diana Krall seems rigid and canned in comparison with O’Day–but
what do you expect from someone who married Elvis Costello? Anita
O’Day died this week and perhaps an era of American music died
with her. There are lots of O’Day recordings to choose from,
but she never sounded sharper than on this brisk set from the
1950s with the Oscar Peterson Trio.

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.

David Vest …


Julie London, About
the Blues
(Blue Note)

I looked for this album after
flipping channels and catching London opposite Robert Mitchum
in “The Wonderful Country,” which also featured Satchel
Paige in the cast. Why do I keep forgetting what a fine singer
she was? The intelligence and presence of her phrasing are legendary,
and “Meaning of the Blues” and “Dark” say
that needs to said about her voice, not to mention her soul.

Mary Black, Full
Tide
(Curb)

Amazon is still listing this
CD as an import, but it’s available for $9.99 on iTunes. Black
is a singer’s singer, not given to belting, with phenomenal breath
control. She never oversings a song, but she’s got plenty of
power when it’s called for. Her latest effort features two Dylan
covers, “Lay Down Your Weary Tune” and “To Make
You Feel My Love”. “Straight As A Die” is sensational.

Oscar Peterson, Solo
Oscar
(Live) (Pablo)

I have seen serious jazz critics
spin the fact that Peterson sprang onto the scene more or less
fully formed in his technique as a “failure to develop.”
What crap. If it leaves them speechless, there must be something
wrong with it, right?

David Vest’s latest CDs are: Serve
Me Right To Shuffle
and Way
Down Here (Live)
. He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com.

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
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