Category Archives: music

Amy In The Sun: The Other (Caribbean) Side of Amy Winehouse – LargeUp

Interesting speculation on where Amy Winehouse’s musical direction would have gone if she hadn’t died so young: Amy In The Sun: The Other (Caribbean) Side of Amy Winehouse via LargeUp. That post has a lot of links to Amy’s performances on YouTube, so if you are the mood for something other than Christmas music, click on that link and enjoy.

Friday night music: Banks doing the Tiny Desk Concert for NPR

I’ve tweeted this before, but here it is again: Banks: Tiny Desk Concert : NPR.

I think the Tiny Desk Concerts are good, and Banks does a good job here of simplifying her sound without making it uninteresting.

Search around for other such concerts. Lots of musicians have done these gigs, and many of them are good if not great.

Looking to buy a technical gift for someone (or yourself) ?

Then you need to check out the Wirecutter. It has experts in every area of technology — from headphones to TVs to much more — stating what they think is thebest thing to buy right now. They explain their reasoning, offer alternatives, and best of all, the site is kept up to date. Also, they have links to sites like Amazon and others to let you take the next step and purchase the tech you want.

Friday night music: “Born to Be Wild”: Jammin’ with the Band at The Lower Deck, Halifax

Head on over here for a great example of what live music is like in Halifax: “Born to Be Wild”: Jammin’ with the Band at The Lower Deck, Halifax.

Enjoy! Preferably with a beer from Nova Scotia.

Some thoughts on the lost guitar solo from Here Comes The Sun

This post is fantastic:  Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Guitar Solo by George Harrison, from the blog Open Culture.

Not only do you get to hear the lost guitar solo, but you get to do so with Dhani Harrison (George’s son), George Martin and Giles Martin (the son of the great producer)

Even better, you get a sense of what George Martin was working with at the time, and you get a sense, at least I did, of how Martin thinks about what he is hearing.

A must for Beatles fan and anyone who appreciates popular music and how it is made.

Friday Night Music: “Lets Dance” Danny Michel, Ed Robertson, Sarah Harmer, Luke Doucet…

I love this: wonderful cover, great musicians, loads of fun.

If you wish you could go out tonight and can’t, watching this could be the next best thing.

P.S. Thanks to Blake E. for this!

If you feel like going out and hearing some live music in Toronto tonight….

If you feel like going out and hearing some live music tonight, but are not sure where to head, then these two posts from might be useful to you:

Now you have options.  Enjoy!

Billy Bragg and David Byrne on streaming and music

David Byrne kicked off the discussion on music streaming with a long and thoughtful post. Billy Bragg picked up on that and replied with an equally long and thoughtput post, fround here (Streaming Debate: Billy Bragg’s Response To Byrne’s ‘How Will The Wolf Survive…’ — MusicTank.). I highly encourage anyone who is interested in music, the music business, or music and IT to read both of these.

If you go to the Billy Bragg link, you’ll also get to see a link to David Byrne.


Here’s a great list of music I can recommend (from @carlyrhiannon)

Carly Rhiannon has compiled a list of what she recommends as the best albums of 2013, and a great list it is, in my humble opinion. What I like about this list is her descriptions and the variety of music. And the music itself, of course.

If you feel your music is getting stale and you need to freshen it up, try this list.

Late Night / Early Morning Music: Björk – Big Time Sensuality

Equally good as the last music of the night or the first music of the day….

YouTube – Björk – Big Time Sensuality

Great new music on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge

If you like great new music, go to YouTube and search for “BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge” and you will get everything from the Arctic Monkeys to the Jonas Brothers and everything in between. It’s rough, it’s eclectic, and it’s great. There’s too much to cover in one blog post, but here’s a sample: the superb Noisettes covering The Killers “When We Were Young”.

YouTube – bbc radio 1 live lounge

Why do I think Wynton Marsalis is great?

Because as well as he can play The Very Thought of You or September Song, he can also play Handle and Bach like this.

However my day is, if I listen to this, my day is better.

The Very Thought of You from Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance — Wynton Marsalis

One of my all time favourite albums is this:  Standard Time, Vol.3: The Resolution Of Romance by Wynton Marsalis.

One of my favourite songs from this album is this:


Late night music with the Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah

I like how the director of this video uses split screen really effectively to make what could be something very static — an acoustic guitar player — something very dynamic. It also gives it a nice 1960s vibe, though it feels new. I wonder if the musician likes Paul Simon? Anyway I like this song, and I really like this video.

YouTube – Plain White T’s – Hey There Delilah

The great Roger Ridley, Playing for Change

Roger Ridley, a great performer, performs Bring It On Home, a great song,  as well as anyone. Take a listen….

There are many mediocre performers in the world who get far too much attention. And there are great performers like Roger Ridley, performers who, when you hear them, you think: man, more people ought to hear this person! That’s what I thought when I heard him. I hope you feel the same way.

Thanks to Playing for Change for bringing Roger to our attention. You should check them out, too.

Good weekend morning music: Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie

I like this song: it’s a good song to slowly wake up to on a lazy weekend morning. As for the video, it is another stop motion animated short feature. It’s worth a look as well as a listen:

YouTube – Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie

The Cure unplugged

There are a bunch of excellent black and white videos on YouTube of the Cure performing acoustic version of their great work, including this:

If you like this, go to YouTube and look for “The Cure Acoustic”. You’re in for a treat.

Superb guitar work on Born Under Punches Live with Talking Heads and Adrien Belew

I’ve always loved this song, but I hadn’t seen ths live version before. It has superb guitar playing from many of the players on stage, but Adrien Belew (from King Crimson) does some amazing things with feedback at the beginning. Well worth a look and a listen.

YouTube – Talking Heads – Live in Rome 1980 – 10 Born Under Punches

Night Passage Music from the School of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”


YouTube – School of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”

Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops

Sadly, the great Levi Stubbs past away today. Stubbs was the lead singer of the Four Tops, who were known for such classics as “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” and “Baby I Need Your Loving,”.

Here they in 1965 performing “Baby…”

The Globe and Mail has a good review of his career here

The amazing “Get Your Head Around It” by the Headlights

This song is incredibly catchy, but wonderfully smart, too. I have listened to it many times all ready.

You can get it here: Get Your Head Around It (Cd): MP3 Downloads: Headlights

Thanks to!

The beautiful and sultry Corinne Bailey Rae has trouble sleeping

Great song, great singer. See

Wal-Mart and the Music Companies

It is interesting that there has been much discussion about conflict between Apple and the music companies. Well, Wal-Mart is only going to make life more difficult for them. According to this article, Wal-Mart stirs CD pricing pot with multi-tiered plan – Yahoo! News/Reuters

“The major music companies have been resistant to lowering their price on CDs, but now they may be dragged to that point: Wal-Mart, the largest retailer of music with an estimated 22 percent market share, has proposed a five-tiered pricing scheme that would allow the discounter to sell albums at even lower prices and require the labels to bear more of the costs.According to sources, the Wal-Mart proposal would allow for a promotional program that could comprise the top 15 to 20 hottest titles, each at $10. The rest of the pricing structure, according to several music executives who spoke with Billboard, would have hits and current titles retailing for $12, top catalog at $9, midline catalog at $7 and budget product at $5. The move would also shift the store’s pricing from its $9.88 and $13.88 model to rounder sales prices”

The music companies are caught between a rock (Wal-mart) and a hard place (Apple). This could be an opportunity to see them respond in a better manner than continuing to sue people for downloading free music. Let’s see if they can. Otherwise the future of recorded music will be decided by someone other than themselves.

Tuneage has great…tunes.

I came across Tuneage since I am a big fan of Bill Israel’s work, and he contributes to this music based tumblelog. There’s lots of food for your ears and your brain here.

I enjoyed The Jesus and Mary ChainHappy When It Rains (page 3) and The HeadlightsGet Your Head Around It (page 5).

If your music sucks, they’re here to help.

What Bill Gates listens to on his Zune

Thanks to Woody’s Lounge for the reference!

The first thing one learns on guitar

For her 12th birthday, my daughter got a guitar. I know she is using YouTube to learn music.* I assumed she would learn something contemporary. When I came home the other day, she said: Dad! My friend taught me a new song. And the first thing her friend’s taught her on the guitar was…Smoke on the Water!!! My first thought was: cool, she can play something. And then I thought: hey, 30 years ago when I was trying to learn how to play guitar, I ALSO learned SotW. And then I thought: Has no one written anything ELSE since then worth learning first!?!? It’s quite amazing how this song continues to be passed down to people learning how to play guitar (for better or worse).

Ah well…perhaps they should have put some Deep Purple on that disk they shipped out via Yoyageur, so alien kids all over the universe can learn the first few bars of Smoke on the Water, too. 🙂

* (In fact, I was surprised how many “hits” these tutorial videos get! A tutorial of how to learn how to play “Bubbly” gets way more hits than a classic from Lyle Lovett! Hmmm, maybe Lyle should give guitar lessons on YouTube on how to play Bubbly. Nah! Although I would be happy to watch Lyle singing the ingredients of the back of a cereal box.)

Music Mashup: smells like bootylicious!

Now THIS is a mashup!

See Smells Like Bootylicious!

Kurt C is rolling over in his grave.

How to sing the blues

(I’ve seen this in a number of places. It’s a classic. I am sad to say I own a computer, but I still aspire to sing the blues… )

1. Most Blues begin, “Woke up this morning.”

2. “I got a good woman,” is a bad way to begin the Blues, ‘less you stick something nasty in the next line: ” I got a good woman- with the meanest face in town.”

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes…sort of: ” Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound.”

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch. You stuck in a ditch ain’t no way out.

5. Blues Cars: Chevy’s and Cadillac’s and broken down trucks. Blues don’t travel inVolvos, BMW’s, or SUV’s. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

6. Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, “adulthood” means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don’t get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain’t the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you were skiing ain’t the Blues. Breaking your leg cause an alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can’t have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

1. Highway
2. Jailhouse
3. Empty bed
4. Bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:

1. Malls
2. Gallery openings
3. Ivy league institutions
4. Golf courses

12. No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man, and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues: Yes, if:

1. You older than dirt
2. You blind
3. You shot a man in Memphis
4. You can’t be satisfied

Do you have the right to sing the Blues: No, if:

1. You have all your teeth
2. You were once blind but now you can see
3. You have a retirement plan or trust fund
4. You won the lottery
5. The man in Memphis lived

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also get the Blues.

15. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable drinks are:

1. Cheap Wine
2. Whiskey or bourbon
3. Muddy water
4. Nasty Black coffee

16. The following are not Blues beverages:

1. Mixed drinks
2. Kosher wine
3. Snapple
4. Sparking water
5. Diet Coke

17. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely in a broken down cot. You can’t have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

18. Some Blues names for women:

1. Sadie
2. Big Mama
3. Bessie
4. Fat River Dumping
5. Caledonia

19. Some Blues names for men:

1. Joe
2. Willie
3. Little Willie
4. Big Willie
5. Leroy

20. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Tiffany, Brooke and Heather can’t sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

21. Make your own Blues name (starter kit):

1. Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
2. First name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.)
3. Last name of president (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.

22. I don’t care how tragic your life; if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues.

The greatness of Billie Holliday as she sings Strange Fruit

Many artists who are called “incomparable” or “inimitable” are not. Billie Holliday is, especially when she sings this.

P.S. Note the audience response: they are overwhelmed.

So what? Hardly.

Miles Davis. John Coltrane. Brilliant.

P.S. It’s inconceivable that an artist could step back and have a smoke like Davis does here while Coltrane plays. Times have changed.

Friday music – Joanna Newsom

The brilliant Joanna Newsom with “sprout and the bean”

The John Coltrane web site

I love John Coltrane’s music. Learn more about the man and his music at ::: JOHNCOLTRANE.COM :::

Bonus: you go to the site, it pops up with “A Love Supreme”. Enjoy.

Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age Tickets On-Sale Saturday

Under 30? Live in or around Toronto? Love or interesting in opera? Then mark this date on your calendar:

On Saturday
January 19, the Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age
tickets go on sale. You get tickets at $20 a seat (as opposed to $60 or more.) for performances of Tosca by Puccini and From the House of the Dead by Janácek.

See Canadian Opera Company’s Opera for a New Age Tickets On-Sale Saturday

(Credit to

One Giant Leap – Maxi Jazz & Robby Wiliams – My Culture

One Giant Leap is very innovative musically, and My Culture is a very rich example of this. A fine piece of work….

The great Anna Netrebko, singing O Mio Babbino Caro

What can I say? Just watch and listen…

David Byrne explains the music industry

There is alot said about the state of the music industry. Much of that is dire. Then I read this article

David Byrne’s Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars

by David Byrne in WiReD. His knowledge of the industry and his insights make for a fascinating article. If you are musician, or if you love music, it’s a great read.

I hear the Mermaids / IBM 1401 singing.

What is this?

YouTube – IBM 1401, a User’s Manual Part I – IBM 1401 Processing Unit

(Reply) The IBM 1401 was an mainframe computer back in the 60’s. It was this huge beast of a machine that had a small flaw in which it leaked electromagnetic radiation in a frequency that AM radios could pick up. It didn’t take long for the geeks of the day to figure out how to make music out of it! That wierd instrument you hear at the start that sounds kinda like a claironet but isn’t… that the 1401!

Small side note: I have a mint condition hard cover manual on how to program the IBM 1401.

Kate Nash and Foundations

The music is poppy, the lyrics are anything but. Transbuddha has Kate Nash singing Foundations here

Jim Jaramusch, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits

Jim Jaramusch’s “Coffee an Cigarettes” has alot of great scenes, but this one of Iggy Pop and Tom Waits is my favourite. It helps to know something of the two singers, but it is still funny.

Transbuddha » Archive » When Iggy Met Tom

YouTube and Music: Pavorotti and James Brown

I really enjoy Pavorotti and James Brown’s singing. While not everyone will like the idea of singing together, I do, and if you do too, check this out: