28 January 2014

Genre Pioneer Pete Seeger Passes on to His Reward

Pete Seeger in 2007 (photo by Anthony Pepitone)

Folk legend Pete Seeger passed away yesterday. As one of my blogger mentors covered Seeger's passing so well, I pass it on here. 

Pete, Requiescat in Pace.

23 January 2014

A Mature Bruce Springsteen and The Big Man's Last Solo for Him

Bruce on tour in Europe (top photo) in support of Wrecking Ball (2012)

I just finished reading a collection of interviews, speeches and encounters, Springsteen on Springsteen (2012) containing Bruce's 2011 eulogy for his E Street Band's founding sax player, dear friend Clarence Clemons. After giving the eulogy, Bruce told an interviewer, he went home, put on The Big Man's sax solo in the yet unreleased song Land of Hope and Dreams, and cried. I love that song off Wrecking Ball (2012), an album I've enjoyed thoroughly since I got a copy last summer.

Mature; that's what this record is. Bruce's recent speeches and interviews attest to that maturity. Not really surprising; the man is 64. 

The daring arrangements and historically-aware ethnic diversity in the tracks, some of Irish and traditional immigrant folk with complete, authentic instrumentation. But there's plenty of the straight ahead, take-no-prisoners social commentary about the world we live in. I see plenty of charismatic rocker I've followed devotedly since the late 70s.

Springsteen on Springsteen may be best for die hard fans, but the album should bring new listeners from Bruce's international audience to the fold. (His photo up top was shot at a festival gig in Denmark.  

Here's a taste of mature, pure rock n' roll redemption.

14 January 2014

Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night": The Hitchhiking Sequence

{Reposted from 2009}
From Frank Capra's 1934 ground-breaking It Happened One Night -- the first film ever to sweep the major Oscar categories -- here's the film's most famous sequence: "Hitchhiking".

Claudette Colbert plays a runaway heiress and Clark Gable is the worldly reporter who can both help her escape her controlling father and also "get the story" that will bolster his career. ("Runaway heiress" was a common theme in films of the 30s and 40s. This film came out to low initial expectations, but, as word mouth got around, the film found it's audience and remains popular to this day.)

Two things to keep in mind regarding this sequence: first, the theme: "The limb is mightier than the thumb"; second, watch the film editing carefully as Colbert gets a car to stop from them. It's a perfect demonstration of the power of editing, showing Capra's genius emerging.

03 January 2014

"Where the eagle glides ascending, there's an ancient river bending ...." --Neil Young

From 1979, a year that rock saw punk and Anglicized reggae ascending -- here, with audience reaction removed, is an acoustic track from a live collection comprising one of Neil's finest albums.