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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
CounterPunch Playlist

What I’m Listening to on New Year’s Eve

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

Luther Allison: Reckless (Alligator)

Luther Allison could have been Hendrix. He’s guitar chops were just as dynamic and he had a more expressive voice. But American indifference to the blues in the 1970s drove Allison to exile in France. His triumphant return to the states was cut short by a brain tumor. This is electric blues that screams.

Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns: Having Fun (West Side)

Give or take, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint, the argument can be made that Huey Smith was the great rock piano player in New Orleans. He is certainly one of the most talented and under-appreciated songwriters (Rock and Roll Fever and Boogie Woogie Flu) in rock’s early and most glorious days. With Earl King on a sleazy guitar and transvestite Bobby Marchan on vocals, this collection makes a compelling case for Huey’s preeminence.

Roland Stone: Just a Moment (West Side)

Another largely forgotten R&B hero from the frenzied hey-day of New Orleans rock and roll, Roland Stone, born Roland LeBlanc, started out playing and writing songs with Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) in the late 1950s for Ace Records, string of hits from 1958 to 1961, including "Preacher’s Daughter," "Junco Partner," "Just a Moment," "Strollin’ My Baby Back Home" and "Because I Do." By 1964, Stone’s moment had passed and he bought a dry cleaning business. Still it was a helluva party while it lasted.

The Who: The Who Sell Out (MCA)

It was all downhill from here. But The Who Sell Out may have been the raunchiest raid on our sedate American sensibilities inflicted during the entire British invasion–including the one in 1812.

The Gap Band: Best of the Gap Band (Mercury)

Bacchanalian funk from the Dust Bowl. And you thought Woody Guthrie was the most radical sound to gusher forth from Oklahoma. Now, go burn some rubber …

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Babylon By Bus (Island)

Marley’s most joyous and danceable recording and, don’t ya know, "da Rasta man ain’t no CIA … "

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.