Obit: Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

nimoySo Leonard Nimoy was not so much rock’n’roll, but he did release eight (yes, eight) albums.

  1. Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.
  2. Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy
  3. The Way I Feel
  4. The Touch of Leonard Nimoy
  5. The New World of Leonard Nimoy
  6. Space Odyssey
  7. Outer Space/Inner Mind
  8. Highly Illogical

Who knew? Who even heard?

Of course, we all remember William Shatner’s kitchy cover of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

But, the pair also cut a disc together, as you can see. nimoykirk

Still, there is no question of the influence of Star Trek and its characters on us boomers, and the cottage industry it spawned (I watched Next Generation and Voyager in addition to the original series).

There was also some music on the actual original Star Trek show, most of which was awful.

In honor of the life of the esteemed cultural icon, Spock, here is part of what was perhaps the worst episode, with some of the worst music. I do remember watching this when I was 16, and being half embarrassed, while half laughing my ass off.

But, Nimoy was indeed a mensch, as witnessed by his final message/Tweet, earlier in the week: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”

Irrespective, Live long and prosper, Nimoy. You were a good egg.

Night Music: Annie Lennox, David Bowie and Queen, “Under Pressure”

This clip is from the rehearsals for a Queen tribute show. That’s all I know.

What impresses is the intensity and the craft and intensity that Lenox and Bowie bring to singing the song. Which unfortunately mostly reminds me of Vanilla Ice, who as arrested last week in Florida while filming a reality TV show, which is another story entirely.

Being a star/artist/whatever means not dialing it in, is what I think that means.

That’s the main thing that interests me about this clip. These are not everyday people. They’re aware of how hard they worked to get to where they are, and how hard they have to keep working to hang onto even a fraction of it.

Show business is brutal. And I bet, in the best of times, awesome fun.

Lunch Break: Yo La Tengo, “The Asparagus Song”

Cannot help it: after looking at those great asparagus graphics that accompanied The Obituaries, I had to post this great Yo La Tengo song from a great album (New Wave Hotdog/President Yo La Tengo).

BTW, as kid I hated the stuff, which my mother furiously over-boiled (did no one in 50’s and 60’s understand grilling and steaming?), thus causing the house to stink. She made the same miscue with Brussels Sprouts, btw, which I now like (grilled or roasted) a lot as well.

Viva les vegetables!


The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Here’s a fun one. Enter your birthday into this site and they’ll tell you what song was No. 1 the day you were born.

I doubt your song can be much cooler (or classic) than mine.

They’ll also tell you what song was No. 1 the night you were conceived, a real rock ‘n’ roll moment for sure. (I’ve posted about this song twice before, with various versions but not the giant hit that was Tennessee Ernie Ford’s.)

Night Music: Esteban Jordan and Valerio Longorio, “La Hilacha”

Two accordions in one song. I fear what might happen tonight in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Anyone who has watched Breaking Bad knows the form of the borderlands ballad, a nortena song style that’s usually about criminals plying their trade and escaping the long brazos of the law.

One of the main characteristics of these songs is a metonymical tempo and a steady passionless delivery. This is Mexican music, but one that evolved out of the polka of the German settlers of South Texas. It is a dance music of the wooden soldiers.

Esteban Jordan, known unofficially as the king of the diatonic accordion when he was alive, subverted the rules. His is a music of swing, varying tempos, intemperate ejaculations (like Bob Wills), and a drive to rock the tempo out of it’s implacable groove, into one with just a little bit of surprise. You can see from Velerio Longorio’s reactions in the video, that Jordan’s mild improvs and filigrees are outrageous.

And the eye patch doesn’t hurt.

Chips & Pretzels: Why The Radio Sucks

One of a bunch of reasons, I guess.

Decided to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Nuthin’ Fancy tonight. I don’t choose Skynyrd that often and I haven’t heard this one in years.

But I really enjoyed it and ran into this bluesy, sleazy, party rocker, with which I was well pleased.

Got me to thinking, long ago this was a somewhat popular Skynyrd tune. But geez, I haven’t heard it in ages. Why is that? Because the radio sucks.

There’s the pool of an artist’s complete work from which we personally choose what we like and don’t like. That’s fine and dandy – the natural order of things. The artist pool and the personal pool vary in size from artist to artist, on a personal level.

But here’s the rub – radio, and at least the basic version of Pandora or whatever streaming service one chooses – reduces the artist pool to five or six songs, sometimes as little as a couple. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s predigested song pool doesn’t include this song. I think it may have years ago, but as LS got dated, songs got dropped.

Why are most folks content with this? AC/DC – Highway To Hell, Back In Black, Dirty Deeds, You Shook Me All Night Long, TNT. Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes, All The Way From Memphis. Old ZZ Top – La Grange, Tush. Etc. I could name the artist and I’m sure you could name the radio catalogue.