Soundtrack for the gathering clouds

The old song For What It’s Worth by the group Buffalo Springfield in 1967 was symbolic of the turbulent 1960s when there were riots and clashes between police and the public as the Vietnam war raged and the Civil Rights movement fought for equal rights. I can see this song returning to vogue as we head into another turbulent time where street clashes become the norm.
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Thoughts on nationalism and patriotism

Today is the 150th anniversary of Canadian independence and on Tuesday it will be the US’s turn. But the celebrations will be quite different in these two neighboring countries. On the program On The Media host Bob Garfield talked with Stephen Marche about how Canada’s lack of patriotic fervor has enabled it to withstand the vicious xenophobia and divisiveness that is endemic in the US and parts of Europe. In addition, it has “a flourishing economy, an effective single-payer health care system, and a Prime Minister with a philosophy of tolerance.”
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Playing a diddley bow

I had not known that there was a single-stringed musical instrument called the diddley bow until I saw this clip of Justin Johnson playing a two-string version. It has a real bluesy feel.

Curiously, while there are quite a few well-known musicians who have played it, one famous blues musician who might seem a natural never seems to have done so. I am referring of course to Bo Diddley.

Context is everything

Democratic congressperson Elijah Cummings has been one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump. So when, in an interview after meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Trump said to a reporter, “Elijah Cummings was in my office and he said, “You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country” pretty much nobody believed him and put that down to yet another falsehood by this pathological liar.
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My first day of spring

On the first day of each spring, I like to play some version of George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun because it perfectly captures the joy of emerging from winter, even when the winters have been so mild as the last two have been in Cleveland. Of course, the first official day of spring was this past Monday but I sneer at being bound by calendars. For me, the first day of spring has to feel warm, sunny, have no snow on the ground, and be late enough in the year so that even though it will snow again, that snow will quickly disappear within a day or so.
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Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

One of the great rockers of all time, a pioneer in blending blues, swing, and country into what became rock and roll, died today at the age of 90.

Musicians of all genres and ages paid tribute to Berry. “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” said Bruce Springsteen, who played with one of Berry’s pick-up bands before achieving his own fame.

“Thou Shall Have No Other Rock Gods Before Him,” the drummer and producer Questlove wrote. “His lyrics shone above others & threw a strange light on the American dream,” said Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger. “Chuck you were amazing [and] your music is engraved inside us forever.”

Berry’s music was a hugely influential figure for generations of rock musicians who followed him, many of whom recognized him during their lifetimes. “If you had to give rock’n’roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry,” John Lennon.

But he had a very dark side to him too when it came to women.
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The Seekers

Here is the Australian group The Seekers recording at the famous Abbey Road studios in London their first hit single I’ll Never Find Another You. The group then had one massive hit after another during the 1960s, often beating out the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling stones, before they broke up in 1968. The group was easily recognizable because they featured the rich sound of a 12-string guitar and exquisite vocal harmonies around the gorgeous voice of Judith Durham.
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The Beatles sing Hey Jude

I came across this clip that I had never seen before of a quasi-live performance of the Beatles singing Hey Jude in 1968 as part of a video promotion for the song. The clip first aired on a show hosted by David Frost that begins with them goofing around and ends with the studio audience of 300 people crowding around the group to join in the famous ending. According the person who uploaded the clip, the performance was a mixture of live and lip-synching.
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