June 22, 2024

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With saxophonist Ornette Coleman and cornetist Bix Beiderbecke: Video, Photos

This week in The Wall Street Journal, I interviewed Joan Baez for my “House Call” column on growing up in multiple locations around the country. Her father was completing his studies in physics and took various university jobs as he wrestled with his conscience.

Through the interview, you get a clear sense of the events that shaped Joan as the first major solo female protest singer in the post-Elvis age. Before Joni, Judy, Laura, Carly and all the rest, there was Joan in 1959. Joan has a new album out, Whistle Down the Wind. Here’s Joan in concert in 1965…

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 6.32.42 PMAlso in the WSJ, my “Anatomy of a Song” column for the Life & Arts pages on the Pet Shop Boys’ Being Boring. The 1990 song was never a pop hit in the States, though it did reach #10 on the Billboard dance chart. What makes the song important is its heavy use of analog synthesizers, its influence on electronic dance music and the folk quality of its narrative. As the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant told me, it was an elegy to a friend who had died of AIDS. If you’re a Pet Shop Boys fan, all of their albums are being re-issued with remixes from Parlophone. Several are out already with more to come. The official Being Boring video directed by Bruce Weber…

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 6.34.16 PMAnd finally, I interviewed actress, comedian and director Whitney Cummings on Mary Chapin Carpenter’s He Thinks He’ll Keep Herand the song’s impact on her own life growing up. [Photo above of Whitney Cummings courtesy of Twitter]

A trailer for Whitney’s new insanely funny film, The Female Brain, in theaters now…

0888072359734xrOrnette and Bix radio. Unfamiliar with saxophonist Ornette Coleman and cornetist Bix Beiderbecke? You’re in luck. WKCR-FM in New York will present its annual Ornette Coleman and Bix Beiderbecke Birthday Broadcasts back to back on March 9 and 10—for 24 hours each day. To access the radio marathon on your computer or phone from anywhere in the world.

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Blood-sweat-tears-4e5e2fc095849What the heck. David Clayton Thomas with Blood Sweat & Tears in 1971 singing You’ve Made Me So Very Happy…

Oddball album cover of the week.

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