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Posts from May 2014

So Todd Snider wrote a book...

...and it's HILARIOUS.

Actually, Todd uses the word "hilarious" in the book a lot.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

You may remember Todd Snider as an "Alright Guy" who sand some pretty funny songs back in the 90s, and more recently had some success with a song called "Beer Run."

I've had a chance to see him a number of times and even chat with him for a little while. So that comes to play in my review of his book I Never Met a Story I Didn't Like: Mostly True Tall Tales.

This is the first time I've read a memoir by anyone that I've actually met and had a conversation with, so that added an extra layer to the reading experience. As I read it, it seemed more like Todd was just telling me stories.

It focuses a lot on the rock n roll lifestyle, the cool singers he met and what he learned from them (Jimmy Buffett, John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker and Kris Kristofferson were biggies). If you've ever seen Todd Snider in concert and enjoyed his rapport with the crowd, you'll like this book. It helps if you're familiar with his music as well. If I had one complaint, it would be that he talks a little too much about how much he loves doing drugs.

I was a little sad he didn't mention me in the book. You'd think hanging out with a random girl in an Oasis shirt in a radio station lobby for half an hour would be one of his more memorable anecdotes!   He stopped by the station to record a Live From Studio M performance, and was early because he didn't know what time zone he was in. So I kept him company while we waited for the hostess to show up.  Later that night I watched him play at the Paramount Music Hall on Park Street (now some sort of parking ramp).

After the show, I had him sign this Ritz Cracker box because I couldn't find a poster and forgot to bring the CD.

I really should get this framed.


 
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5 Things You Didn't Know about Maya Angelou





Tributes are coming in from all over the world for poet Maya Angelou, who has died at age 86. If you've heard of her, you know she wrote many books, including "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings." You probably know she read a poem at President Clinton's first inauguration, and may even know that she was good friends with Oprah Winfrey.

Here are a few more tidbits to add to the Maya Angelou file in your brain.

1. At age 14, she became San Francisco's first female African American cable car conductor.

2. Maya Angelou studied modern dance with Martha Graham, and danced with Alvin Ailey on TV variety shows.

3. She spoke English, French, Spanish, Arabic and the west African language, Fanti.

4. She appeared in the iconic TV mini-series roots in 1977, playing one of the midwives who helped with the birth of Kunta Kinte in Africa.

5. She didn't take herself too seriously. Here she is hanging out with some muppets on Sesame Street!

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World's Worst iPod: Mocedades "Eres Tu"

The pop chart included a little Spanish spice back in 1974, when Mocedades had a hit with the song "Eres Tu."

It was a hit worldwide, and made it to #9 in los Estados Unidos.

I always loved this song because I was so proud of myself when I was able to translate it without looking up any words in an English Spanish dictionary.!



The B-side was the song in English. The lyrics are not a word for word translation. I remember enough of my 8 1/2 years of Spanish to recognize that!

 
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5 Great Dylan covers, and one really really bad one

I'm getting in early with a birthday wish for Bob Dylan, who turns 73 on Saturday.

In honor of the "Poet Laureate of Our Generation," I decided to share my list of top 5 Dylan covers, and one that is so bad it's almost good.

Let's listen to the good ones first, shall we?

1. George Harrison "If Not for You."  Included on George's 3-album set "All Things Must Pass," George really made this song his own.

 

2. Them (Featuring Van Morrison). Van doesn't do a lot of covers, but he covered the hell out of this one. Pure Garage!
 

3. Edie Brickell "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall."  Remember this one from the movie Born on the Fourth of July?

 

4. Byrds "You Aint Goin' Nowhere"  (Added bonus--the enthusiastic dancers in this video)

 

5. Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower."  The definitive Dylan cover.



And now, the WORST Dylan cover (in my opinion).

The Wonder Who "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."  Yeah, that's Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. The arrangement is HILARIOUS. Oh, and I apologize in advance if this gets stuck in your head!

 
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World's Worst iPod: Was (Not Was) Walk the Dinosaur

Weren't the 80s silly?

I don't think anyone would say that Walk the Dinosaur is a great song, but it does convey a sense of happiness that you can only get from that decade's radio classics.

This song went to #7 in 1987, and it seems everybody wanted to hear it this morning.  So okay--do the dinosaur. We won't tell anyone.


 
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Amazing supercell looks like....

A lot of people are sharing a video shot by some stormchasers in Wyoming.

It's almost otherworldly!  I would certainly be heading to the basement if I saw something like that. Luckily, this storm stayed up in the sky where it belonged and didn't cause any damage. Whew.

When I saw this video being shared on facebook, the first thing that came to my mind was that the big supercell looked like a giant gray baking powder biscuit. Am I alone on this one?

Actually, it's probably time for me to go get some lunch.

 
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30 Years of Cheatin' and Drinkin'

When I moved to Madison in 1989, the Rousers were one of the first bands I saw, and I immediately fell in love with them!

This Saturday they are celebrating their 30th year as a band with what I'm sure will be a wild night at the Barrymore Theatre, my favorite Madison music venue.

I've never seen the Rousers at the Barrymore--so I'm really looking forward to it. I've seen them too many times to count--at the Crystal Corner Bar (where I saw them first), Luther's Blues, the Majestic Theatre, Witz End in Stevens Point, and at countless festivals. I remember one Willy Street Fair when they were doing their set and a train blew by on the tracks right behind them. They immediately broke into "Runaway Train."  Epic!

The musicians are all great---Frank is a crazy wild frontman, and the choice of songs (covers and originals) keeps your toes a tapping (hell, you might even get up and dance!) 

And for some reason, beer tastes better when you're watching the Rousers.

Hope to see you Saturday night at the Barrymore! (Ticket info here.)

 
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World's Worst iPod: Franki Valli "My Eyes Adored You"

Franki Valli and the 4 Seasons originally recorded "My Eyes Adored You," but the record company wouldn't release it. So that smartypants with the high voice got the rights to the song and recorded a solo version.

It went all the way to number 1 in 1975.

It was way too easy listening for Kitty back in the day, but of course Jonathan loved it. He even had the 45. Hey, don't judge.

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Million Dollar Quartet: Educates a Little, Entertains a LOT

If you're familiar with the legendary photograph of music icons Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, taken at Sun Studios, you might know that the jam they had when the got together one night in 1956 was less than legendary.

They collaborated on some gospel songs, and the quality was not quite up to par. That's what fans found out when the recordings were eventually released.

But the musical, The Million Dollar Quartet, playing at Overture Center in Madison, imagines what COULD have happened on that winter night in Memphis. You get to see a little of the personalities of each, with the wild "Killer" Jerry Lee Lewis stealing the show with his over-the-top egomania. If you know anything about his eventual downfall, the lines are even funnier.

All four actors are extremely proficient musicians and singers, doing those four great performers justice. (Which is not an easy task, mind you.) And the background guys playing bass weren't too shabby either. Nor was the unnamed female singer that just shows up and sings a few numbers.

But it's Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studios, who is the glue that holds the production together.

I don't want to give too much away--but if you're a fan of early rock and roll, you'll love this show. It runs through Sunday at Overture Center.

 
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Another "shocking" kiss

Some people were pretty shocked about what happened after Michael Sam found out he had been picked by the St. Louis Rams over the weekend. That makes him the first openly gay man to be drafted by the NFL. So what happened?

Michael Sam kissed his boyfriend...on national TV!  Gasp!

Some idiots got on twitter to express their disgust of course. But I'm thinking someday (hopefully soon), a story like this would be no big deal.

Now this morning as I was reading that story on the air, I thought about another TV kiss that caused a stir.  Who else remembers this one?

 
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Has Jack White lost his gourd?

If you don't already have a turntable, you might want to get one, so you can experience Jack White's new album in all its glory.

It's called "Lazaretto" and it comes out June 10th, and it may be the wildest, trippiest album ever..and I'm not even talking about the music.

Let's start with the fact that a lazaretto is a very obscure obsolete word meaning a building, room, or part of a ship where you put people with serious diseases.

Okay, that's weird, but not necessarily crazy.

But listen to what you get with the Ultra release of the album on vinyl.

There are two hidden tracks, hidden beneath the album's label, one on either side of the record. One plays at 45 rpm, and the other at 78rpm. And you don't have to take the label off to hear the music.

The album also features locked grooves, and on the start of side B, the song begins with either an acoustic or electric intro, depending on where you drop the needle.

There's a visual element as well. When you look at side A from a certain angle, you will see a hologram of a spinning angel.

All of that sounds crazy cool to me. And I'm betting the music will sound pretty amazing as well.

Find out more about it in Jack White's teaser video.

 
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Kitty's Garage Sale Pet Peeves

Garage sale season is upon once again, and I'm hoping THIS is the year that I find the most amazing bargains ever. But before I embark on my quest, I've got a few things to get off my chest.

Here's a list of my most annoying GARAGE SALE PET PEEVES:

1. Ghost sales. My niece Heidi came up with this phrase. What's a ghost sale, you ask? This is what you get when you follow yard sale signs to a house with no garage sale. Presumably, the sale happened last week, or last month, and no one bothered to take down the signs. I think people who do this should just let us in their house so we can buy whatever suits our fancy. For a quarter.

2. People who don't put prices on their items. At so many sales, folks are too lazy to price stuff. This forces you to ask, "How much is this?" Then they'll most likely say, "I don't know, what do you want to give me?" That creates such an awkward scenario that I usually just leave. Next time I come across this situation, I think I'm just going to offer a nickel, no matter what it is.

3. People who exaggerate how awesome their sale is. If the ad says HUGE sale, everything must go, it is probably just a rack or two of clothes and some old VHS tapes. Also, the greatness of the sale is usually in converse to the creativity of the sign.

4. People who just throw all their stuff on a tarp on the ground and expect you to rummage through it. If I wanted to do that, I'd go to Dig n Save on Park Street.

5.  People who confuse their garage sale with the Antiques Road Show.  I'm pretty sure that Nitty Gritty birthday mug was not made by Tiffany.
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