A song for the unmasked alt-right

I suspect the Chad Mitchell Trio would be stunned to know this song of theirs would be newly applicable in 2017 in the United States of America. This one’s for all those whiners who showed up unhooded and unmasked in Charlottesville this weekend only to discover their employers and college classmates didn’t share their enthusiasm …

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A different version

Everybody knows Ray Charles’s version of this song. Here’s Becky Kilgore’s and Dave Frishberg’s cover, from their “Not a Care in the World” album. I think I first heard these two together on Fresh Air about fifteen years ago, and it was a revelation to hear her sing and hear Frishberg (who wrote “I’m Just …

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The Lark Ascending

There’s a scene in Eric Flint’s “1632” in which a collection of Spanish Army soldiers is holed up in a castle, besieged by a regiment or so of combined 21st-century American and 17th-century German soldiers. As an act of psychological warfare, the American general starts playing music (yes, this is reminiscent of the tactics the …

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Roots music, English version

When Sandy Denny died in 1978 it was one of the greatest losses English folk music ever suffered. She was only 31, but she’d already contributed to Fotheringay and before that to Fairport Convention, two of the best traditional English music bands of the time. She’d released four solo albums after she left Fotheringay. Her …

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Happy 4th!

This comes from a 1999 compilation album entitled Sing America. It’s very good, but I can’t help thinking it was clearly released before the last 17 years of argument about what America is and what it should be, which has now brought us to Trump. Here’s the track listing: 1. Fanfare For The Common Man …

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Take me back to 1968

At least, back to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Season Two, when Mason Williams debuted “Classical Gas” on the show. Here’s Williams explaining how he wrote the song. Here it is as it was recorded for Williams’ album “The Mason Williams Phonograph Record”. Backing him up: Larry Knechtel and Jim Gordon of The Wrecking Crew, …

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