RENEE ZELLWEGER, WHERE DID YOU GO?
You know, I kinda fell in love with you, circa “Jerry Maguire” and later, you did brilliant work in “Cold Mountain.” “Fetching” was your middle name; You were the tomboyish girl who lived next door. You were a little goofy, but there was sex appeal and you looked like you might be a lot of fun afterward. It’s fair to say that you were a fantasy that seemed possible, plausible, perhaps even likely. You had that every girl appeal and it was very convincing and sexual.
You might not remember me, but I had a glimpse when you rode past in a convertible on a cold winter’s day, as the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, in Cambridge, just a few years ago. You looked good. I could tell that you were freezing your ass off. In person, you looked like yourself. I was freezing my ass off too. We had that in common on the day we sort of met. You were Dorothy Boyd in the flesh…only with goosebumps.
I’ve got nothing against plastic surgery but you look, well, like somebody else. You look nothing like Dorothy Boyd now. You exude a distant sexiness, but the fantasy is Mission Impossible for most red blooded males, myself included. You have gone from Labrador Retriever to Borzoi. I’m a Lab kinda guy, Renee. We’ve drifted apart. Face it, you’ve changed.
Taking things so far that you are almost unrecognizable to an old friend like me is unsettling. You now have a vaguely haughty and disinterested look. Jaded, nonchalant and detached. I guess you can audition for that Hepburn role you must have been fantasizing about.
Sorry to say, but you no longer are the girl we had grown accustomed to; and liked. Rex Harrison would be muttering and stuttering. C’mon RZ, what does it feel like to look yourself in the mirror and not see someone familiar? You don’t have to answer that, and it’s just my opinion, but I liked you best when you lived next door to me.
This is surely a generational thing. Very happy for all the talent passed down to Pieta Brown, from her Dad, Greg, a spectacular midwestern folksinger; Iowa to be certain. I had no idea that Pieta was his daughter when I first was listening to her music. Gobsmacked is what I was, connecting Greg Brown (a man who’s rich in daughters), and Pieta being one of them. Reading her bio is how I found this little tidbit of news. So instant folk street cred.
I want to focus in on Pieta and her music, understanding that I know Greg Brown, having produced quite a few of his concerts, way back when Pieta was probably in grade school. Now she’s forty-something, and it just blows me away wondering where it all went. Time flies whether you are having fun or not, and Old Man River, he just keep rollin’ along.
So here is “Be With You” from Pieta Brown’s cd Mercury, which was a 2011 release. Enjoy. – Harry
“Here Comes The Sun” – Maestro John Williams’ instrumental arrangement for Spanish guitar and orchestra
For his last audio effort, Sir George Martin, Beatles Producer Extraordinaire, brought in a diverse, to say the least, group of actors and musicians to cover his favorite Beatles tunes on a record, simply called, In My Life. Handling “Here Comes The Sun,” surely one of the best Beatles songs ever, is John Williams, perhaps the finest musician on Planet Earth. The version begins with a crescendo of strings and then gently unfolds into a a graceful and lovely Spanish guitar instrumental version of our song of the week at HarryShots.com.
Maestro John Williams arranging and wielding the baton. George Martin behind the studio console. Music by The Beatles. “Here Comes The Sun” is the song. The perfect recipe for mighty great stuff. And it is, and I hope it pleases. – Harry
HUNTING? – I do not cotton to the idea of hunting, per se. The notion of hunting for “mon plaisir” doesn’t make it anything close to “sporting,” even if a small chunk of the population finds it “pleasurable.” It is a damn shame and a damn lie to say that hunting is sport. My guess is that most deer and a goodly number of ducks agree with me.
Looky, it’s great fun to be outdoors, weather permitting; and there are those occasions where I like tromping through the woods, even if said tromping is tempered by the artificiality of my knees. And I have actually hunted a few times in my reckless past, always by invitation from parents of friends, in my younger days. I get the thrill of the chase, as they say. For the record, I never chased anything, or fired my weapon, neither have I been hunting when anybody else did. I’m cool with walking around in the deep dark woods for hours.
On the one occasion that I was invited to a deer hunt, others, not in my “party,” killed deer aplenty. I have seen them being bled out, hanging there, dead and all, as trophies for us to see. There is a ritual where a hunter is slathered in the blood of his first killed deer. Truly pagan and probably historic social anthropology as practiced for all millennia. I just didn’t need to see it.
Notwithstanding the above, I actually find no fault with some of the trappings – the LL Bean boots with their lifetime guarantee, a rifle slung, Che Guevara-style, over the shoulder; or an unhinged, safety-breaked shotgun in hand, and a crackling campfire that a November afternoon can offer. It is good to be out in nature, away from it all, from time to time. All that I do get.
What seems irretrievably wrong, to me, is pulling the trigger or letting loose the taut-drawn bow to kill. Being out in nature is one thing. Killing Nature is another. How sporting is it to kill an unsuspecting animal, or duck/bird? Hunters will say sporting enough. I don’t draw that conclusion. – Harry Lipson III
ps- if you truly need to hunt to put food on your table, then I can live with that, even if what you kill can’t.
OK so,back around 1975, I read Roy Blount, Jr.’s first book, Three Bricks Shy of A Load, which if I recall was about the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family that owned that ball club. I had been reading a lot of Dan Jenkins’ stuff around that time, and I found that I liked Roy about the same as Dan.
Long story short, I became an event producer in Boston in the early 1980s and I went on to produce several events that Roy was invited to participate in, and did. Since Roy and I are both from the Deep South, we talked a lot about food and football, which is what Southerners often do when they first meet in a place like Boston, or elsewhere.
Roy is a good guy, in case you didn’t know. Real humble, pretty smart, and he generally tells a good story. All laudable Southern traits.
Now fast forward to early this morning. I had been “working” on my computer, mostly seeking new FaceBook friends, and after a while I headed over to Amazon.com to find a book to make me sleepy when I read in bed.
For reasons that are beyond me, perhaps it was a higher power, I ended up ordering another one of Roy’s books; this one about the legendary Confederate GeneraI, Robert E. Lee of Virginia.
After buying the paperback version, I went back to FaceBooking (a phrase I have just now invented, and want full credit for. If you can copyright a phrase, then I hereby do it You are my witness).
Anyhow, I went back to FaceBooking and I stumbled onto the RBJASFB page: The Roy Blount, Jr. Appreciation Society FaceBook page. How’s that for coincidence.
I have for many years been in possession of a photo of Roy Blount, Jr. and yours truly, which I offered it up to The Cause, that being, the Appreciation Society of one of Society’s underappreciated former sportswriters, the aforementioned Mr. Jr. himself. They immediately accepted my photo and published it. Then they wanted to know how every member of the club came to appreciate Roy. Someone went first and then things just sat there, so I assumed it was my “turn to go” and that’s how we end up here, with me telling them How and Why I Know Roy Blount, Jr., which my photograph almost certainly proves.
Since early childhood, in Alabama, I have been vividly aware of, and surely inspired by General Robert E. Lee. Coincidentally, when I was a little bit younger, a bookmaker I knew called me LightHorse Harry or, more frequently, just LightHorse. I actually had never been given a nickname before, and I kinda liked LightHorse Harry, partially because the original LightHorse was General LightHorse Harry Lee, who as it turns out was Robert E. Lee’s daddy. That is the same Robert E. Lee that Roy Blount, Jr. wrote a book about, which I bought, as you know, as a sleep aid.
As a footnote, Lighthorse Harry Lee was actually named Henry, but Lighthorse Henry didn’t have that revolutionary ring to it. So its a small world, and Southerners tend to stick together when they’re not seceding. I hope you see the coincidence or irony here and let there be no doubt that I am the inventor of the English word “FaceBooking” which refers to spending time, of any length, on FaceBook. And that is How and Why I know Roy Blount, Jr., who has his own FaceBook fan club. – Yours truly, LightHorse Harry Lipson III, in Boston, 8-23-14.
I flat out love Todd and his quirky, round about way of spinning his amazing thoughts into funny, touching, irreverent, occasionally crude, personal versions of the truth, as it occurred to him, which he maybe plagiarized, but most likely didn’t, cause he doesn’t listen to the radio, except when he does, but, if he does; he does in short doses, specifically to adjust his attitude, just trying to find some joie de vivre mojo, while Todd drives himself in one direction or another.
Now, I don’t want to imply, or give your the impression which you might have gotten, that Todd has ever plagiarized any song he has written; or ever sung without proper accreditation, to the actual songwriter, which as I said, would not, in his case, be likely to ever happen, which it hasn’t.
When you are a songwriter a lot of options, you know, words roll around in your head. You know, phrases, even including cliches, which are trite only because we keep using them over and over and over in one unbroken offhand plagiaristic recollection, that might have been a song Todd has just recorded for his next album, over and above the fact that the sound engineer mentioned once or twice that Tom T. Hall had a song he recorded twenty five years or so ago, which had all them same cliches and phrasings, but life is full of serendipity and coincidence, which is one of the muses Todd might be in touch with, now and again, but only rarely, because he has had this writer’s block or something ever since he saw that Robert Altman film about the music industry, which took place in a place called Nashville, which is where Todd Snider happens to live, but that is another story for another time, but you have to see that coincidence or serendipityness, which is the whole point.
That’s Todd in a nutshell, which isn’t actually a nutshell since it is too many letters and sylables for a tweet, much less a nutshell. I could go on in this Todd Snider, fully approved, actual rhythmic way of getting to the point of a story he is telling in one song or another, but why don’t you listen to him, by that I mean listen to Todd Snider and a live on tape version of a song he says he wrote, and I have to believe that he did, because I have not ever heard anyone else sing it, so here is Todd Snider, in a taped-“live” show, doing “Alright Guy.” The song goes on for over 10 minutes because Todd has a story to tell and here it is and you actually need to click the little play symbol, the arrow, just above this preview that you are reading as we speak, to use a cliche; when nobody here is actually really speaking, per se. And just for the record, Todd Snider is all O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L, and I love his stuff, which he probably wrote all by himself. – Harry Lipson at HarryShots.com
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Good ol’ Ry Cooder. Ryland Cooder. One of the great ones. “Get Rhythm” was written by Johnny Cash in the 1960s. Johnny Cash. One of the great ones. Since I love this song and the musicality of Ry and Johnny, we have a convergence. Hope my aim is true and you like this. – Harry Lipson at HarryShots.com
I write this in response to a Boston Globe columnist’s article calling for phasing out of football and arguing that we should not watch football on TV any longer.
The columnist correctly pointed out the issue of concussions and injuries in football.
My response: Your article about the traumatic realities of football is accepted science.
HOWEVER, AND IN SPITE OF IT ALL, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE AND LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING AMERICAN COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL, both in person and most especially on HD color TV, in living color as the old TV slogan goes. I just can’t help myself. Football games are too colorful, exciting, interesting, compelling, spellbinding, wonderful, heart pounding, jump out of your La Z Boy enjoyable.
We are all voyeurs. And I don’t watch football to see anyone get hurt. Injuries happen and brain injuries are a reality. I recognize the danger but I don’t accept personal responsibility for watching football. That is the disconnect. I get that it can be dangerous. I acknowledge your science. I buy that football can be linked to the Roman Circus. I understand the psychology and the human nature of Spectacle. Football, however, is not bloodsport, per se. I draw a line between the two.
Professional bicycling is dangerous. Watch the Tour de France. Professional soccer is full of intentional contact with the aim to hurt your opponent. I give you the World Cup, for example. Skiing is inherently dangerous. Men’s lacrosse is no walk in the park either.
I don’t apologize for football or my love of it. I don’t think I have to rationalize that. I don’t think I need to apologize for that. I don’t think football should be be turned into some sort of non-contact ballet. I do think that safer equipment and rules modifications which improve safety are important and ongoing. I’m not going to quit loving football. I revel in the history of college football, the fight songs, the uniforms, the halftime speeches, and the legacies of the great players and coaches. Roll Tide Roll. Go Patriots. Rah, Rah, Rah, Boola Boola, Sis Boom Bah, Dot the I, On Wisconsin, All the Live Long Day.
The world wide popularity of sport is, in general, a good thing. It brings us together. We learn to respect rivalry. In general, War is a bad thing. Therein lies the difference. Football is a game with rules and the contests are officiated.
If you want to vent, may I suggest railing against hunting, for example, where the object is to kill an animal or a bird. Hunting for pleasure is not sport, nor is it sporting. I don’t have a problem with hunting for food. Culling of herds is occasionally necessary. It’s great fun to be outdoors. I get the thrill of the chase, having hunted occasionally in my past. I like the whole deal except for pulling the trigger or drawing the bow. To me, it’s not justifiable, to kill for sport.
You won’t have Clay Bucholz to kick around too much longer. He’ll get dealt someplace where the glare isn’t so harsh and the scribes are suck ups. Buch is no longer dependable. You know it. I know it. Clay knows it. Even though his stock is low, we can send him packing after the season, eat salary, and move on.
Expect good things to happen, Red Sox Nation. The Cavalry is coming. We need great pitching and we’re gonna get it, and get it big time. Who’s that coming down Landsdowne Street, it’s John Lester (back in the fold, on his terms), and I see Max Scherzer and Cole Hamels and Justin Masterson and Tyson Ross.
The Red Sox can reload. It just costs money and money we have, with the shy, but rich, John Henry, who is, no doubt, getting all the more rich by just owning our team. John (if I may call you that), all we want is a really good chance to go deep in the playoffs, each and every year. We don’t have to win the World Series every year, but we should be playing in October. John, you have the greatest fans in baseball. We hardly complain about the highest ticket prices in baseball. We hardly complain about the fact that Fenway is covered with advertising. The way I see it, ownership asks something of us fans, and we ask something of ownership. So, c’mon John Henry, buy the top talent. Pony up. Put that sweet product on the field and we’ll sing “Sweet Effin’ Caroline” like we mean it, and a sizable portion of us do.
The Boston Red Sox are loved more than any local or regional institution, the Church being the exception. More than the Marathon. More than Harvard, more than M.I.T., more than the Celtics, more than the Bruins. The Red Sox are currently only slightly ahead of the Patriots, but when Belichick and Brady are gone, then the Red Sox will run circles around the Pats like they do everyone else. It’s fun to be a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. We’re on the bandwagon, rain or shine. We have been suffering for generations. Our parents and grandparents paid our dues. They overpaid our dues.
No one begrudges the fact that the Boston Red Sox are a money making machine. They print the stuff. Sure, it costs a ton to field a really good players, establish and maintain a great farm system, and pay for the duck boats. Thankfully, we, the fans, buy the merch, we buy the tickets, we throw money away at Foxwoods, drink Coca-Cola, and buy our office supplies at W.B. Mason. I even know a die hard Red Sox fan who throws a brick through his windshield every spring so Giant Glass can take his insurance company’s money. We support John Hancock, we buy Hood ice cream, and drink and eat Dunkin’ Donuts and shop at Cumberland Farms. Those folks, in turn, chip in a whole bunch of money to cover the ball club’s annual nut. Nat Geo calls it Symbiosis and it’s a win-win deal for everyone, except probably Clay Bucholz. And if we can’t fix Clay, we’ll find us someone who don’t need fixin’.
So lighten up on Clay. He did his part for the Red Sox. He has a ring on his skinny finger. That he can’t repeat his delivery now isn’t the end of the world. This season is just a blip on the Red Sox long timeline, soon to be forgotten, exactly when the equipment truck rolls South next Winter.
Clay, if you are reading this, it would behoove you to throw another no-no if you don’t want to play for Houston, Miami, or the Cubbies next season. Frankly, with Scherzer, Hamels, Ross, Owens, Kelly, and Lester in our 2015 starting rotation, there isn’t going to be room for you, unless you figure out a repeatable delivery.
FYI, two good things we’ve learned this year: One is that Brock Holt is the real deal. He’s a dirt dog winner and can play any position better than whoever is playing that position. The other thing is that Jackie Bradley is the best defensive outfielder in baseball. Yes, he needs to learn to bunt and hit better. But he’s coachable. He’ll get in the swing of it. Enough with the strike outs, Jack. But, given his unreal speed and his world class leather, JBJ needs to be in Fenway’s center field green grass for the next ten years. Even if he can’t hit a lick. But he will.
So get ready for some damn good Red Sox baseball in 2015. I have faith in our ability to buy about the best team in baseball each and every year. That is not cynicism, it’s what we all expect and happily pay for. Open up the checkbook John, and Red Sox Nation will have something to look forward to, next season, and every season. – Harry Lipson III, in old Boston Towne
One week ago tonight I published the post beneath this. The Red Sox had just won five in a row and beaten Toronto 14-1. Fast forward seven days and the Red Sox have lost six of seven and were just beaten, ironically, by Toronto, 14-1. The point being this: The Red Sox have thrown in the towel (to use a boxing metaphor). We are playing out the cards (another damn metaphor) and our season is lost. We are in last place and it is a tough pill to swallow (pharma phrase, I suppose) for fans of the reigning world champions. Hard to believe. Over the past ten seasons, Boston has won 3 World Series, so we can’t win every year. But from best to worst is a fast elevator ride straight down.
Now, apparently, we are about to trade or sell a number of our players. Ace lefty, Jon Lester, may be sent packing (big mistake) and superstar closer, Koji Uehara, may be available to the high bidder. Some say it will be a “fire sale.” It took us years to assemble this World Series championship team, and the ownership may shake the dice, and blow it all up in the next three days. The MLB trade deadline is Thursday afternoon so we don’t have long to wait to find out who is going and who is staying. For sure it is a lost season. On the other hand, its just a matter of weeks until football season starts.
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Here is Jakob Dylan‘s “Nothing But the Whole Wide World.” From the album “Women and Country” which was released in 2010. Dylan (yes, it’s his son) performs solo and with The Wallflowers. You know, this is a pretty good song and it’s your HarryShots.com song of the week. Enjoy. – Harrybr>
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Remember the blind DJ/radio station owner in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” After the band would play in his little studio, he would say something like, “yes sir, that’s mighty fine playing.” I can hear him voicing his high approval of Tim Grimm and “This Hole.” It’s all good, yes sir.
Tim is also an actor, having credits in films such as “Clear and Present Danger” and “Backdraft,” to name some of those that I’m familiar with. And he has a list of TV credits, my favorite of which is the incredible “The Larry Sanders Show,” (Rip Torn was Brandoish) as well as a co-starring role on Reasonable Doubts.
Timbo now lives with his family in rural Indiana, from whence he hails. Right now he is off touring Italy and The Netherlands. You know that I am proficient in Folk Music and Mr. Grimm passes my talent test with flying colores. I don’t think I have featured his music previously on HarryShots, so you may not have heard him, but I think you ought to, and here he is. -Harry
Our Boston Red Sox are surging, finally. As of this update, the Red Sox have won eight of nine games, including five in a row. On the down side, we are still five games under .500, but a week ago, it was a whole lot worse. Maybe the All Star pause was the break we needed. Everybody is hitting now. Last night we scored 14 against Toronto. And our pitching has been rock solid. Koji is still the best closer in all of baseball, Lester and Lackey aren’t giving up many hits, much less runs. Rubby De La Rosa is the real deal, a bonafide major league pitcher. And nobody tries any harder than Jake Peavy. Recently, even Clay Bucholz, streaky and freaky, has been getting the job done nicely. I will also single out Andrew Miller for his excellence out of the bullpen. I call him “Stop Sign;” when he comes in, the other team grinds to a sudden halt.
Brock Holt. He should win the Rookie of the Year in the A.L. Batting about .330 for the year, he is one of the best lead off hitters of 2014. He could conceivably win the American League batting crown. And what leather! So far this season, Brock has played every position except pitcher and catcher. And he plays them all extraordinarily. Blessed with speed and good reflexes, he is always in position to make a play if the ball is hit in his direction. Of the circus catches Brock has made, a few of them are all world. Brock Holt may be the best position player in baseball this season.
So we’ll soon see if the Red Sox are going to make a run at defending their World Series title, and I know they are in a hole that will be tough to dig out of. But, you know me, I say why not?
Other musings: Like everyone else, I don’t have a good answer for the Middle East. I certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself from attacks. They are surely justified, but the loss of civilian life in Palestine only fuels hatred that lasts a lifetime. That Hamas hides its offensive weaponry among the civilian population, makes for grim circumstances. Hamas, a terrorist organization, won legitimacy in Gaza by being elected, by the very people bearing the brunt of the Israeli incursion. I feel for the Palestinians and want them to have statehood and peace. Of course, Israel deserves lasting security within its borders, which must include the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Palestinians deserve a home, just not where Israel now flourishes. And Israel’s neighbors should turn their swords into plowshares and coexist peacefully, every religion respecting the other. I know the map of the Middle East will change as Shia, Sunni, Kurds, and Christians redraw old boundaries. Someday, kingdoms, dictators, and terrorist organizations will lose power and intelligent, reasoned, and compassionate leaders will find voice.
Further up the Road: For consecutive nights, I have been startled to see the names of two acquaintances in the obituaries. Both died from health related issues, but both were happy and well, when last I saw them. Michael Libin, an old golfing buddy, died yesterday of heart disease. Always quick in commenting on the ironies of life, I never heard him say a word in anger. I think he led a happy life, had a million friends, and I grieve his passing. Last Saturday, my former State Senator died from a brain tumor. Funny, well dressed, and full of knowledge, I had not realized he graduated from Harvard until I read his obit. A former stand out hockey player, he served my town very, very well over three decades. If there was a go to guy, it was Bob Havern. He was very popular, handsome, smart as a whip, funny, knew where all the bodies were buried, so to speak, and could get things done. He was my attorney, off and on, over the years, always was a straight shooter and his opinion was nearly always right when it came to local politics. He once lost a driveway dispute of which I was a party, and refused to take his fee for not winning, despite having worked on the issue for more than a year. I can’t believe he is gone. He died four days ago, two days after his 65th birthday. So it has been a hard week locally and throughout the Big Blue Marble. I know the sun will come out tomorrow, but right now I wish I could smile._________________________________________________br>
“Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” by Eric Bibb (The Transatlantic Sessions) with Aly Bain, Jerry Douglas, etc.
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Woody Guthrie’s traveling tune has been recorded by practically everyone. This is surely one of the finer versions you’ll hear. From the Transatlantic Sessions, a resounding geographical and musical tour-de-force that has been ongoing, somewhat irregularly, from 1995 through the present. I would have loved being there for some of them.
A fine mix of acoustic performers have gathered periodically, on location, in Scotland, and have laid down some very good music. The “house band” for the Sessions has included Aly Bain on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Donald Shaw, a founder of Capercaillie, playing the accordion, Michael McGoldrick – flute, guitarist Russ Barenberg, with multi instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, plus Danny Thompson on the big upright bass.
Here is Eric Bibb and the Transatlantic Sessions house band with “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad.” – Harry
When you reach the age of 64, as I have; you tend to look at life in two directions. I look forward to the future with cautious optimism; and more and more, I choose to look back and reminesce. I’ve been blessed with four legacies: my two children, FolkTree, and my passion for photography (replacing my passion for golf, which I had to give up (arthritis)). I’m extremely proud of my Son, Andy, and Daughter, Sarah, both of whom, always were, and still are, the stars in my sky.
Although I’m not too technical, I love photography and have a knack for observation, which is at least half the battle. And even though FolkTree Concerts is no more; we had a good run. Nowadays, I primarily listen to Americana music; that mix of folk, country, bluegrass, and the blues. The music I stream here at HarryShots is slightly more eclectic and I hope you’ll find some tunes that float your boat.
As some of you know, I have been working for years on a book of unusual first names that I hope will be published, at least online, in the not too distant future. I have found over 30,000 “unusual” first names, and I keep finding new ones every day.
With the weather warming, and the trees greening up, it’s time for me to get my camera out of hibernation. Remember, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget the sunscreen,
My dear old friend, Jesse Winchester, has died; gone to that far side bank of Jordan. Such a songwriter. Jesse, in person, was a lot like his music, – sweet, observant, slightly weary, with the poet’s intentional melancholia.
I knew Jesse’s music for a decade before our paths crossed. Eventually, I produced a number of concerts and festivals (FolkTree) that Jesse was part of. In fact, the very first Boston concert that I produced, starred Jesse Winchester, and that, dear reader, was not a random choice on my part. My respect for him runs so very deep and I greatly mourn his passing.
We shared the South, and later the North, a fact about which was interesting to both of us and we invariably talked about it whenever we were together. I will always love his lyric “Me, I want to live with my feet in Dixie, and my head in the cool, blue North.” Though he was born in Louisiana, he was Memphis through and through, and damn proud of it, at least it seemed so to me.
If I had to pick three of my favorite Jesse Winchester songs, at least tonight, I would cue up Yankee Lady, Brand New Tennessee Waltz, and Mississippi You’re On My Mind.
But I choose to honor his memory here, with his cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”
To quote you, Jesse, on the occasion of your passing, I am comforted by your lyrics “Oh Jesse, look over yonder, the birds are southward bound.” I will listen to your music all of my life. Your songs are part of me and my generation.
So, Godspeed, old friend. –
Harry Lipson, in Boston
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If you go looking for the a 7 1/2 minute instrumental Delta slide guitar tune, this is the one you want. Not that there are any others. Great listening to this. The acoustic slide guitar is my favorite musical instrumental sound. I rank it ahead of French Horns, the Glockenspiel, and the Banjo.
Andrey Dobrovolskiy and a couple of his friends just slide and glide their way, outstandingly, through “Mannerheim Street Blues.” — Enjoy – HL
Glee Club music is close to my soul. I can’t say directly why, but I like the precision and earnestness. They are mostly giving it all they’ve got and I appreciate their effort.
I specifically like chorales, glee clubs, and choruses. They’re unabashedly Teddy Roosevelt, Bull Moose cool.
Here is Harvard’s Glee Club with their rousing medley of Harvard preppy-serious, historic renditions of football fight songs, a few dating back to the mid 19th century. I gotta admit that “10,000 Men of Harvard” is one of my favorite things to hear.br>
PETE SEEGER: A Life of Purpose, R.I.P.
Having just heard of the passing of one of my heroes, Pete Seeger; I know that his life was about making a difference. He was somebody who was willing to buck long odds.
He had two purposes, folk music and activism, and he blended the two in furtherance of both.
Brave, foolhardy, and quixotic, Pete showed up and rallied people to causes.
I mourn his passing but I praise his life, his soul, his life-force.
He cut the mustard. He rang the bell. I sing his praises, I sing his praises. – Harry Lipson III / HarryShots.com
Sometimes, mindless and beautiful instrumentals are just the ticket. Easy on the thought processes. That brings me to KAARE NORGE, the Danish, classically trained guitarist. As they say, play it with feeling next time and, no doubt about it, KN plays from an emotional place. His music is beautiful, perhaps a bit over the top, but when you want lovely and wordless, Kaare Norge is, as I said previously, just the ticket.
Blackbird has been recorded ad infinitum, but this is a fairly fresh and imminently listenable tune. Thanks to the incomparable Beatles, Blackbird is reknown and one of the great Beatles songs, known the world over.
The album, HERE COMES THE SUN, has half a dozen quality instrumentals worth your attention.
When you need a break from the English language and want to hear familiar music, Kaare Norge’s Blackbird will do just fine. – Harry at HarryShots.com
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I love Bob Dylan when his songs achieve a “raucous” level. I love it when you can hear his mischief and mirth. You aurally can intuit the good time he’s having as he lays down certain tracks. For me, Duquesne Whistle is a riot. The song chugs along for a while before it gets up to speed, and the rails start rattling.
Bob Dylan certainly does not need my praise. But I get light on my feet when I hear this song. In case you didn’t know, the cat can flat out write (he teams here with Robert Hunter).
Enjoy The Duquesne Whistle by Bob Dylan. It’s the HarryShots.com Song of the Week. – Harry
These guys encompass the best of gospel and of bluegrass. They first recorded in 2007 and their star has risen. Darrin Vincent and Jamie Dailey Mssr. Dailey was the lead singer and guitar player, for eight years, with Doyle Lawson & QuickSilver. Vincent was with Ricky Skaggs Band, Kentucky Thunder, and is the brother of bluegrass’s Rhonda Vincent.
Dailey and Vincent’s six albums have received two Grammy nominations and the duo has won more than a dozen awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association. They record on the Rounder label.
Here is “Winter’s Come and Gone” from the album, Brothers from Different Mothers. Enjoy. – Harry / HarryShots.com
I came to Josh Ritter’s music via John Prine‘s duet with Josh, on My Mexican Home. MMH is one of my favorite Johnny P. songs. His imagery and heartfelt delivery of those understated lyrics always gets to me. A John Prine song will do that to a lot of us, for sure. Man, I love John Prine’s music. Here’s to his health. Long may you run, John.
But back to Josh Ritter. Here is The AppleBlossom Rag, which is the HarryShots.com Song of the Week. – So Enjoy! – Harry
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These “Kids” are really anything but. Some have said they are Simon and Garfunkel Lite, but that may be a bit harsh. Paul Simon is a very under-rated guitarist and the “Kids” are right up there too. They feature two vintage guitars (a Gibson and a Martin). Ken Pattengale and Joey Ryan are The Milk Carton Kids and they are great together. Excellent work by two fine artists.
This is my favorite song of theirs and I hope you like “Heaven” which is on their Ash and Clay cd. Enjoy, – Harry Lipson / HarryShots.com
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You know this dude, Sammy Dee Morton has shucked his share of oysters, gigged his share of frogs, and gone wild on his share of pit BBQ. He’s obviously been doin’ things Louisianne for a good long while. He pours hot sauce in his coffee, eats two muffalettas at the same time, and his guitar speaks fluent alligator. For your listening pleasure… - Harry
As the new year begins, it’s a good time to count blessings. Things could be worse. And yes, things could, sure as hell, be better. At the age of 64, I can no longer die young, having passed by “young.” It is so unreal and amazing to me that all those years have passed, and the accumulated time simply staggers me.
With Facebook I now connect with my old high school classmates and our next Reunion is the big one, the 50th, in about four years.
If you asked me how old I really feel, I would say about forty five. That’s how old I am inside on most days. I am nowhere near 64. But that is where I am in chronological time. As I said, for me, it seems too soon to be this old. Not that 64 is old, but I am no longer a spring chicken. I am too old to be that.
I am still looking for adventure of a sort. I am out there with my camera almost every day, shooting life as I see it wherever I go. That in and of itself is a bit of an adventure. Like a kid with Halloween candy collected, I go back to my computer and download the day’s images and see what I have that’s good. It’s like being a fisherman, except I don’t get paid for my catch. That is a shame and one that I would like to rectify soon.
But about those blessings to count. Let me begin with my children who have essentially, each been a blessing since the day each was born. No problems socializing as a kid. No drug issues or behavioral problems in high school. Both went to great colleges and my daughter, Sarah, likes school so much she is about half way through a double Doctorate at the University of Michigan. The professor in waiting, same as my father and his father before him.
It is a blessing that my son has temporarily moved back home. It is nice to see him daily and hear how his life is going. He has weathered a lot of surgery in the past year and now that that is behind him, he has a lot to look forward to; starting with his Aliyah trip to Israel, next month. Ten days in the Promised Land, will be eye opening and possibly spiritual for him. The Middle East.
On a note of lesser importance than family, my sports teams keep on winning. Alabama vied for its fourth national championship in the last six years, and three in a row. They almost got there. Again! Roll Tide. Roll Damn Tide, Y’all.
My Red Sox just won the World Series. How bout those apples. That is their third World Series in the past nine seasons, after a drought of 86 years. FinestKind.
My New England Patriots are in the hunt again this season, led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Pats have won three Super Bowls in the past 12 years and been in contention almost every season.
My Celtics are rebuilding this year having traded my all time favorite basketball player, KG, Kevin Garnett. He was my man. My MAN! Things on Causeway Street will never be the same without KG. Even though the Celtics are rebuilding, I take solace in remembering that they are the NBA’s most storied franchise and have won more NBA titles than any other team.
My favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, keeps winning Majors. All blessings of a sort.
I count my blessings for the health of my family. We are all in pretty great shape healthwise. And that is the ultimate blessing to count.
I am cognizant of the health concerns affecting quite a few of my high school friends and classmates. We have lost over 70 of my classmates, about 10% of the Tuscaloosa High School Class of 1967. A few to wars, most to sickness. Speaking of Tuscaloosa, I am thankful that so much of Tuscaloosa was spared in the Great Tornado of April 27, 2011. I count the blessings there as well as here in Boston, my home for the past 33 1/2 years. Alabama and Massachusetts haven’t got a lot in common, other that great sports teams, but I count both as home and always will.
I know that I am not going to actually change the world at this point in my life. No medical cures, no scientific discoveries will be credited to me. I wish that I had been of more help to more people. But I am mostly happy, and on most days I mentally feel somewhere between OK and Pretty Damn Fine.
As I have edged into my Sixties, I find that I like sleeping. I can nap at the drop of a hat. Pretty much anywhere, I can close my eyes and fall asleep. I count that as a blessing. It relaxes me. Sleep has a calming effect.
And my dreams are fun to participate in. Generally speaking. They too are an adventure. Mostly I don’t remember them, but afterwards I feel that things kinda worked out, and was interesting, if not very important. As John Prine sang, “I can’t complain.”
I can’t complain. I have been blessed. And there are blessings around every day. Some I take notice of.
I feel a sense of well being, that I used to call “Lipson Luck” which I dearly hope provides protection or guidance to my children, in a silent and unseen way, for their benefit and well being.
I wish you all a healthy and happy 2014.
I kept singing Auld Lang Syne as the New Year approached. It has become my favorite song as the years keep passing. On occasions, it can bring me to tears. I even count that as a blessing of a sort, I suppose. My Ipod has several dozen versions of Auld Lang Syne. I listen to this great old Scottish song and find a few lessons and blessings, even there. Folk music has been long with me and it too has been a wonderful blessing for most of my life.
Here’s to a year of mostly good things in 2014.
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Singing in her native Portuguese, here is “Nao Precisa” which translates to “You need not worry” or according to a popular translation of this song title via Google – “You Don’t Need It.”
With locally popular Brazilian singers, Victor and Leo, who lend their enjoyable voices to this catchy, catchy song, we have a duet with Paula taking the lead vocals for much of the song.
This is a departure from our musical norm. Previous songs have been in English, but the vocals are so good that the language barrier is not going to hinder your enjoyment. I am a johnny come lately to the Paula Fernandes bandwagon. But now that I have heard her music, including a number of other songs that she sings; I too join her growing legion of fans. Viva Brazil. – Harry at HarryShots.com
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You can look up all the superlatives in Wikipedia. Look at the album photo and you will begin to know John Hartford.
He had magic in his head and in his hands. You may not know that he was an ambidextrous calligrapher. When I say ambidextrous, I mean he would take a pen or a sharpy in each hand and draw simultaneously with both hands. And the details, as you might imagine, were impressive as can be. He played half a dozen instruments, he clogged, he mimed, he cut the rug. One man band is not the half of it.
Here is Brother John, doing Gentle On My Mind, at State College Pennsylvania, back in the day, in a live concert that captures some of his energy and spark. – Harry Lipson III – HarryShots.com
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“Where in the world is Alicia Keys?” is so out of context in a Bob Dylan song that it ranks right up there with Dylan’s truly memorable lyrics. I wonder if the band calls it Alicia or Thunder when they make out their set list at gigs. Just sayin’.
You probably know the song so I won’t go into it. Bob Dylan and his great band (Denny Freeman and Stu Kimball on guitars, Tony Garnier on bass, George Receli on drums, and Donnie Herron) with “Thunder” or is it….. It is said that the second verse, the Alicia Keys verse, is taken from an old Ma Rainey song. Okiedokie. Here is one of the best songs you’ll ever hear. The other line in this song that is extraordinary, is “I’ve sucked the milk out of a thousand cows.” Who thinks of that? Dylan, obviously. But, wow. This is a great song musically and well, lyrically. I love it.
Harry Lipson III – HarryShots.com
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Bing Crosby’s little bro, Bob, had his own orchestra back in the late 1930s and 40s, and they were no slouches. “Big Noise from Winnetka” is a little short on lyrics, but the tune is catchy. And, oh by the way, little br0ther Bob can sing like a Crosby, which is, excellently. Ran into this song on a PBS fundraiser and it stole the show from my point of view. Ray Baudec on drums and Bob Haggert on bass (and whistling eerily) are showstoppers. Here is the big band jazz of Bob Crosby with a little help from his friends, circa 1938. –
Harry Lipson / HarryShots.com
by Willie Johnson
Fifty years between these two versions of the very same song. From Blind Willie Johnson back in 1927 to Terrapin Station (1977) by Bob Weir and The Grateful Dead, this is the anthropology of the song “If I Had My Way, I’d Tear This Building Down” / aka “Samson and Delilah.”
The killer line, and you should listen for it, is- “And the bees made honey in the lion’s head.” Just my opinion. Yet The Blues will abide, Dude. –
Harry Lipson at HarryShots.com
The Boston Red Sox have a 38 year old pitcher who, by default, is the team’s “closer.” When I say “by default” I mean that the planned closers were Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey. Hanrahan was previously the closer for Pittsburgh and Bailey for the Oakland Athletics. When both went down to season ending injuries, the Red Sox turned to Alfredo Aceves. He was like a box of chocolates and was finally released from the team.
That is when, on June 21, the Red Sox handed the ball in the 9th inning to Koji Uehara.
Since Koji Uehara became the Red Sox closer, he has, statistically speaking, been about the best reliever in all of major league baseball. Not many folks are noticing what is going on with “Ooee,” but here are the statistical facts (Baseball loves stats):
Koji has pitched a total of 60.1 innings so far. Among major league relievers with at least 15 innings pitched, “Ooee” has the lowest WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) which is 0.63. That is by far the best for any closer in the Big Leagues.
Ooee’s ERA (earned run average) is second best among all closers in baseball, at 1.19. You eventually get to Cooperstown with an ERA like that. Of course, the only way Koji is getting in the HOF is by buying a ticket, like the rest of us. But if your best year in baseball was all that counted, Ooee would be a Hall of Famer.
Koji-san has faced 208 batters this season. He has given up only 29 hits and has walked 9 batters. Unheard of. That means the other 179 batters made “outs”. Koji-san is a lights out closer par excellence.
Strike Outs: In the 60.1 innings pitched, Koji has struck out 82 which is almost 1.5 batters per inning. Unheard of. On more than one occasion, Koji has struck out the side when he is pitching the 9th inning.
Less than 5% of inherited runners have scored on Uehara. He has given up 5 homers and only 8 earned runs have scored all season against him. As of today, September 1, 2013, Uehara has saved 15 games ( he was not the closer for the first 2.5 months of the season, so his total saves are no where near other top relievers who have taken the mound for the 9th inning, all season long). Uehara has not lost a game.
I think that it’s time to take a look at what is going on in Boston. Koji-san is the hottest “fireman” pitching. High five!, Ooee.
Harry Lipson III for HarryShots.com
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In this corner, fighting out of West Saugerties, New York, are five guys (Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm) who connected with Bob Dylan, lived in a big pink house, and became what, in my opinion, was the first, and possibly best, Americana band of all time.
They made music for about 12 years, and when they disbanded in 1976, Martin Fuckin’ Scorsese, hisself, would make a movie of their final concert (The Last Waltz). They called themselves The Band, which, if they weren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, would be some kind of chutzpah.
The Band reunited without guitarist Robbie Robertson in the 1980s and continued in various personnel lineups for another decade. They would record ten studio albums, not including their great records with Bob Dylan, with whom they were, and are, so closely identified. Sadly, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm have all since died.
Here is the “rough mix, alternative vocal take” of one of their big hits, “Rag Mama Rag.” – Harry Lipson III - HarryShots.com
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Me, I thought that Piggly Wiggly was just a local grocery store, in my hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, back in the late 1950s. Boy was I wrong, and I only figured this out two days ago. I was listening to the MIT college radio blues show and they proceeded to play “The Piggly Wiggly Blues” aka “Groceries On My Shelf” by Lucille Bogan. ” Okie dokie”, I correctly surmised, I may have been slightly myopic and kinda wrong on my facts.
The facts are these. Piggly Wiggly Grocery Stores were founded in 1916 in Memphis. They were the first self service grocery store in the USA. Today it is a large American chain of mostly Southern and Midwestern grocery stores, specializing in serving small towns, which I applaud. Today there are over 600 stores in the Piggly empire (so goes my “Piggly Wiggly is “just in Tuscaloosa” thought).
Lucille Bogans was a blues woman who recorded in the late 1920s and 1930s. She recorded this on July 9, 1933, in Chicago. Bogans has a great voice as you can hear. That she never achieved anything close to fame or recognition is the way the story often goes.
“The Piggly Wiggly Blues” was first heard prior to 1920, with a number of artists recording the PWB. Enjoy “Groceries On My…” or, as most who recorded it, called it, “The Piggly Wiggly Blues.” Eat your heart out Kroger. – Harry Lipson III / harryShots.com