Category Archives: Music

UPDATED (9/2): NO. IT’S NOT JOHN McCain: Celebrating The Life Of A Great American Who Brought Joy To The World

John McCain, Music, Neoconservatism, Republicans, War

HER casket lies in state, TODAYShe brought joy and happiness to many millions across the world, without waging non-stop war to make the world in the image of her America. She is Aretha Franklin. Let us celebrate the life of this truly great American:

Aretha Franklin (who also had fighting words for the Brothers in her life), sang for the love of Jesus. “She was singing to God, just as when she screamed out her passion as a sinner cleansed by the blood of the Lamb: When my soul was in the lost and found/You came along to claim it. And when she threw out her arms wide under the spotlights, it was not to thank the fans who clamoured for her as much as to say, Precious Lord, take my hand.”

“Aretha Franklin died on August 16th: America’s undisputed Queen of Soul was 76”:

AT POINTS in her concerts, which enthralled America for 50 years, Aretha Franklin would fling her arms out wide. Sometimes it was to shrug her strong shoulders out of some satiny or feathery dress, or to throw away her long fur coat, like any diva (though she was the ultimate diva) who by the end of her career had won 18 Grammys and sold 75m records. Sometimes it was to embrace America, all colours, as when she sang “Precious Lord” at Martin Luther King’s funeral, or gave her rapturous version of “My Country ’tis of Thee” in a big-bow-statement hat at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Or possibly those arms just demonstrated how her voice, the whispering or crying height of it and drop-jaw depth of it, seemed to pass any limit that people might imagine.

Open arms suggested love, but more often Everywoman’s frustration, black or white. For every super-sharp man she daydreamed of, Turns me right on when I hear him say/Hey baby let’s get away, there would be ten who let her down: You’re a no-good heartbreaker/You’re a liar and you’re a cheat/And I don’t know why/I let you do these things to me. They messed with her mind, as she fumed in the Blues Brothers film in 1980, pummelling her palms into her big man’s stupid chest: Just think/Think about what you’re tryin’ to do to me. After all, it don’t take too much high IQs. Men in general didn’t begin to give her what she wanted, just a little respect when you get home…R-E-S-P-E-C-T/Find out what it means to me. This, her most famous song, wasn’t just about a put-down woman and a do-wrong man; it became the anthem of every liberation movement because of her roof-raising style. It was her personal anthem, too. She wished to be called “Ms Franklin”, to be paid cash and to be spared air-conditioning. All I’m askin’, honey.
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Those wide arms also showed how her whole body sang. When she accompanied herself on the piano, big rampaging chords picked up from Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum, she sang with the stomach as well as heart and head. As a child of ten she’d understood that, hiding her chronic shyness behind the instrument while she sang “Jesus be a Fence Around Me” with the voice of an angel, or a grown woman. …

MORE in The Economist (August 23rd).

Naturally, it’s not John McCain and his “national greatness “conservatism.”

READ the expose on McCain’s history in Vietnam by Sydney Schanberg. Back in the days before American journalism became a circle jerk of power brokers, Mr. Schanberg was considered one of “America’s most eminent journalists.”

“John McCain and the POW Cover-UpThe “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam, said Sydney Schanberg.”

UPDATE (9/2):

Not MAGA: Meghan McCain

North Korea? No, America.

POW Wife:

Obama heaping contempt on America:

A Traditionalist Lesson For Laura Ingraham About Rap (Hint: It’s Not Music)

Art, Music, Objectivism, Pop-Culture, The West, The Zeitgeist

Is Laura Ingraham always a loud, boorish, boilerplate Republican?

I caught The Ingraham Angle last night, for the first time, and was appalled. First, Ms. Ingraham appeared a little loopy, as though she were, well, high.

The woman was loud, shouting over her guests in an unedifying manner, just because she could; just because she had the microphone. Not once did Ms. Ingraham puncture a Guest’s attempts to speak with meaningful argument, as the great Tucker Carlson does.

Tucker listens, he doesn’t talk over someone unless that someone is babbling. And Tucker, flaws and all (for he’s not pure Old Right, but he’s the best we have), is very sharp. He pierces a Guest’s case with good argument. (And his spontaneous laugh is adorable.)

Ms. Ingraham, on the other hand, is all wrong. Unconservative, unthinking, and yesterday, plain dopey, grinning inanely.

In particular, during the segment about rap lyrics, Ingraham declared, un-conservatively, that she loved all music. A serious conservative might have distinguished music (based on objective elements of composition) from rap.

And a methodical thinker—there are none on Fox News—would understand that while in older, contemporary American music, popular composers were smart enough to write gorgeous lyrics—lyrics are not music.

Put it this way, if the greatest composer ever, Johann Sebastian Bach, set his divine, godly cantatas to the naught lyrics of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, would I decry these sublime compositions as immoral? Of course not. The music would still be sublime.

Rap is BAD, and not only because of the filthy lyrics. Rap, simply put, is not music.

Conservative emphasis on lyrics is confused. First, separate music from lyrics. Then, make the conservative case that you cannot endorse rap qua music, because it isn’t music. Rap might be street theater, but music it isn’t. Then, as a side issue, add that rap theater and dance is set to filthy grunts and coitus-like movements.

That’s my own traditionalist case against rap. Ms. Ingraham, on the other hand, is a multiculturalist who loves all “music,” including some rap. And being a broadminded broad, she errs in considering rap to be music.

On Sexism, Peter, Paul & Mary & In Praise Of Younger Men

Feminism, Gender, Ilana Mercer, Intelligence, Music, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Sex

Young women today don’t know squat about sexism. Women of my generation can certainly speak to it–all the more so when they still interact, on occasion, with male throwbacks: older, paleoconservative or paleolibertarian men. Why occasionally? Because such older men (or men who’ve continued the old “tradition” of sexism) indiscriminately recoil from the odd woman who is as smart as they are or smarter. In fact, these men have a hard time believing such women exist, even as we stare them in the face.

I’m no fan of things distaff, but individualism demands that one treat a female individual (who’s as smart or smarter than you are) with the respect accorded to a male colleague. I, categorically, have not found this to be the case (except with younger men).

In interacting with Old-School codgers or their acolytes, you’ll find these men talk down to you, scold you as though you were a child, and conduct themselves imperially, as if their un-charismatic, long-winded, me-me-me, solipsistic soliloquies are indisputably superior. How can people lack so in self awareness? Easily: Because many older men are pompous, grew up in an era when their superiority was a given, equate a PhD with intellectual superiority. And so on. Moreover, these Old-Timers are still fortunate enough to enjoy personal and professional support systems which reinforce their mindset.

A recent example that comes to mind (aside personal relationships which will forever remain personal) is an older radio host who asked this writer to come on his program, but not before severely scolding me for not studying (no less) the “work” of an obscure, unknown dabbler, who had recently written a book about … South Africa. The same host also demanded that the little woman (me) find a partner with whom to appear on his little-known show. Kind of like a “Cheech and Chong” duo, for I could not be expected to hold my own without a partner.

Likewise, I recall how Bill O’Reilly never invited Ann Coulter back on his show after the good lady failed to suppress her intellectual superiority and embarrassed Bill. The Fox News hosts are always more comfortable with younger, mediocre, conventional Millennials, who cannot outsmart the egos in the anchor’s chair. That’s the formula on Fox News.

I don’t praise young men enough. But the young editors coming online more than make up for their lack of literary and editorial sensibilities with a natural penchant for treating women as equals. Younger American men are the best in this regard.

The same thought, albeit applied to music, came to mind when watching the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Mary was the talent, the star: she had the voice, the stunning, exotic looks and the stage persona. Compared to Mary Travers’ striking looks and sonorous voice, the two strummers, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, sound and look anemic. Yet in many of the trio’s performances, Mary doesn’t even have a dedicated microphone and is treated as a backup singer. On her death, September 16, 2009, this major talent was still described by the New York Times as “the sex appeal of that group,” whose “voice blended seamlessly with those of her colleagues, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey.” Essentially, a backup singer.

Crap. Mary Travers was the star of Peter, Paul and Mary. By comparison, the two men (who?) were just plain, wimpy, bloodless warblers, with an annoying nasal twang, and a very average facility with the guitar.

Brother Of Mine

Art, Music

Some respite. A thoughtful reader sends the lyrics and music of “Brother Of Mine” by Yes.

Brother Of Mine

So giving all the love you have
Never be afraid to show your heart
So giving all the love you have
There is a special reason
A special reason

In the Big Dream
We are heroes
We are dreamers
Of the Big Dream

Someone told me
There are brothers
Live forever
In the big sky

Just hear your voice
Sing all the songs of the earth
Nothing can come between us
You’re a brother of mine

Sing out you sisters
All the dreams of the world
Nothing can come between us
We the travellers of time

See the desert
We have walked the path
Of all the known religions

In the Big Dream
We are brothers, we are sisters
Of the Big Dream

Just hear your voice
Sing all the songs of the earth
Nothing can come between us
You’re a brother of mine

Sing out you sisters
All the dreams of the world
Nothing can come between us

Took me by surprise
It opened up my eyes
I can’t believe we’re ready to
Run another
Run another
Run another

Fourth Dimension Dream
Always the way it seems
I can’t believe we’re ready to
See the world for what it really is
In the full moon

Took me by surprise
It opened up my eyes
I can’t believe we’re ready to
Run another
Run another
Run another

Fourth dimension dream
Always the way it seems

Just hear the voice
In all the songs of the earth
Nothing can come between us
You’re a brother of mine

We hold our hands together
Be the sunshine
Nothing can come between us
You’re a sister of time

Just hear the voice
Sing all the songs of the earth
Nothing can come between us
Nothing can come between us
Nothing can come between us

So give it all the love you have
Never be afraid to show your heart
So giving all the love you have
There is a special reason to come true

So giving all the love you have
Never be afraid to show your heart
So give it all the love you have
There is a special reason
There is a special reason this time

Long lost brother of mine
Seeing my life for the first time
Long lost brother of mine
Living my life in the Big Dream

Long lost brother of mine
Walking away from illusion
Long lost brother of mine
Seeing my life for the first time

Long lost brother of mine
Seeing me fly like an eagle
Long lost brother of mine
Watching me walk in the full moon
Long lost brother of mine
Seeing my life for the first time
Long lost brother of mine
Walking this dream everlasting

So it’s there
Putting one into one special reason
So it’s there
Putting one into one
One another. Sure can. Sure can

It’s a further dimension
Coming at us for the very first time
It’s the second attention
Realising it all of the time

Re-defining this long lost passion
For the living we’re in
This will be the first of many
I be telling you

Long lost brother of mine
Walking the dream evolution
Long lost brother of mine
Singing the sisters of freedom
Long lost brother of mine
Seeing the fathers of wisdom
Long lost brother of mine
Seeing my life for the first time

So it’s there, but to want it to one special reason
Yes it’s there, but to want it to want one another
So it’s there, but to want it to one special reason
Yes it’s there, you can see what you want to see

Long lost brother of mine…

Written by Geoff Downes, John Roy Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve James Howe, William Scott