I Blame Trump


Led Zeppelin: Nobody’s Fault But Mine

I blame Trump for pretty much everything these days, and I’m not done blaming him for things, as you will see in a month or so.  One of the things that I blame him for is the increasing unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s own actions.  And despite my complete contempt for the man, I’m going to adopt this approach, and blame him for my failure to post anything here since September, and anything truly new since May.

And, I’m going to adopt another one of his behaviors, over-praising his own accomplishments, by stating that my writing on other sites has been the best music blogging ever.  No one has ever seen such incredible music blogging,  in the history of the world.  Believe me.

At Cover Me, I haven’t written any stand alone pieces (thanks, Trump), but did contribute to a few group articles: a Best Abba Covers list, in which I wrote about Wilco’s live cover of “Waterloo,” featuring Lucius, from the Solid Sound Festival (which is on my festival bucket list), which came in 25th, Mike Oldfield’s cover of the instrumental “Arrival,” (19), and Richard Thompson’s “Money, Money, Money,” from his great 1000 Years of Popular Music collection (6), a Best Nirvana Covers collection, for which I wrote about The Bad Plus’ jazz version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” (27), Graham Parker & The Episodes’ cover of “In Bloom,” (23), Maya Beiser’s borderline insane/brilliant multitracked cello interpretation of “Lithium” (18), sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer’s intentionally dissonant take on “Lithium,” (8), and Laura Love’s bass and vocal version of “Come As You Are” (2). Personally, I would have ranked Love lower and Beiser higher.

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Falling Down on The Job

Business man falling down the stairs in the office concept for a

Toad The Wet Sprocket: Fall Down

It is almost fall, and I haven’t written a new post all summer.  This really isn’t any way to run a blog.

But I have been writing regularly elsewhere, so let’s catch up on that while I consider how to finish the real post that has been sitting in the drafts folder for a while.

Over at Cover Me, I actually wrote a full piece–a lengthy review of the new William Elliott Whitmore album of covers, Kilonova.  Whitmore is a riveting performer, with a voice that is unforgettable, and he takes a group of covers, that range from Bad Religion to Johnny Cash to Bill Withers, and makes them special.  Highly recommended.

I also contributed to a bunch of group features–two Q&As: What’s your favorite cover of your favorite song?  for which I wrote about Sarah McLachlan’s cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill,” and What’s your favorite original song that’s best known as a cover? which prompted me to write about Dave Edmunds’ “Queen of Hearts,” best known, if at all, from the Juice Newton cover.

We also did a bunch of “Best Covers Of” features.  The one on Beyoncé barely interested me, but it turned out that a friend of a friend of my kids named Garth Taylor, of the Rooks, did a beautiful cover of “1+1,” and it finished 12th.  For the Rolling Stones feature, though, I had ten nominees out of the final 50: Bettye LaVette’s soulful cover of “Salt of the Earth” (8), Susan Tedeschi’s bluesy cover of “You Got The Silver” (15), Cal Tjader’s jazzy instrumental version of “Gimme Shelter” (17), Social Distortion’s scuzzy take on “Under My Thumb” (26), Golden Smog’s faithful cover of “Back Street Girl” (30), Otis Redding’s ad-libbed, horn-heavy version of “Satisfaction” (32), Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit’s live take on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” (34), his former band mate Patterson Hood’s sloppy live version of “Loving Cup” (37), The Feelies’ jangly “Paint It Black” (40), and Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams collaborating on “Wild Horses” (43).  And for the Madonna feature, another one that really was not that interesting to me, I nominated Tommy Emmanuel’s cover of “Borderline,” featuring. Amanda Shires, and it finished third.

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Summer Reading


Fountains of Wayne: It Must Be Summer

I have excuses for not posting here, really, I do.  I work, my son got married, my daughter came home from Barcelona for the event, I attended an off-year college reunion, and there’s just lots going on, including the greatest sporting event in the world.   So, I figured that the first day of summer is an excuse to post my writing on other sites since the Spring Cleaning post.

And thus our feature song is Fountains of Wayne’s great piece of summery power pop, “It Must Be Summer” from their excellent 1999 album Utopia Parkway.  I’ve long been a fan of the band, and their output is uniformly great, even if some might, humorously, consider it a tad formulaic.

My participation at Cover Me has been recently been limited to contributing to the now-regular “Best Covers Ever” feature.  For the Fleetwood Mac piece, I  wrote about Matthew Sweet & Susannah Hoffs’ cover of “Second Hand News” (No. 30), Whiskeytown’s cover of “Dreams” (No. 20), and Hole’s cover of “Gold Dust Woman” (No. 1!!!).  For the Pink Floyd piece, I discussed The Mavericks’ surprisingly good cover of “Us & Them” (No. 36), Bettye LaVette’s cover of “Wish You Were Here” (No. 29), and Elephant Revival’s cover of “Have A Cigar” (No. 17).  I had never heard of Elephant Revival before, but someone in a Jason Isbell fan group on Facebook happened to post the cover during the nomination period, and I really liked it, and investigated some of their other music.  Sadly, they appear to have recently broken up.  The next artist being featured is Beyoncé.  In addition, in my role as a Cover Me writer, I was a guest, along with editor-in-chief Ray Padgett, on a Sirius XM game show, 70s 80s 90s, NOW, where I attempted  to not sound like a jackass, and, I think, mostly succeeded.

At Star Maker Machine, our Punk theme prompted a discussion of the very punk band Stiff Little Fingers, and their song “Fly The Flag,” and a piece about the relationship between reggae and punk, a marriage maybe brokered by Don Letts.  Our next theme was May/Might, which led me to write about a family favorite, Jules Shear’s “You Might As Well Pray,” featuring Amy Rigby, and about a Left Banke song often covered by Richard and Teddy Thompson.

For the Gems & Stones theme, I reflected on Neil Diamond, whose talents as  a songwriter and performer are sometimes obscured by the schmaltz.  And, most recently, for the Speak/Talk theme, I reminisced about Romeo Void, whose song “Talk Dirty (To Me)” epitomized the interview that I did with the band back in college, and whose success may well have been short-circuited due to their label’s unwillingness to support a band with an overweight female singer.

Going forward, there will be a Clearwater Festival recap, either here, or at Star Maker Machine, if I can figure out a way to work it into the theme.  Also, in July, I will be making my debut as a blogger for the legendary Capitol Theater in Port Chester, which should be fun.

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Art For Art’s Sake?

Last fall, my wife and I drove up to Peekskill to see some folk music in a guitar store.  The main reason that we went was that our friend Judy Kass was performing with her new trio, Us!.  There were three acts, Jeremy Aaron, a young, but very accomplished, fiddler, guitarist, singer and songwriter (and, reportedly) tap dancer, the Karen Hudson River Trio, featuring Hudson on guitar and vocals, Jim Petrie on guitar and vocals and Suzanne Davenport on violin and vocals.  Hudson has been compared by others, accurately, to Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt, and her music is both dark and funny.  Finally, we heard Us!, featuring Judy, Amy Soucy and Glen Roethel, all singing and playing guitars.  They were a very new group, and performed originals, covers and one co-written song, and they sounded great (and I’m not just saying that because Judy knows where I live).  The show was sponsored by Tribes Hill, a nonprofit that supports musicians in the Hudson Valley and connects them to each other, to patrons and audiences.

So, we heard about two hours of excellent music from 7 musicians.  During the show, my mind began to wander a bit, and I started to think about the fact that they all came to Peekskill on a Sunday afternoon to perform before about 20 (at most) people, who maybe paid a suggested donation of $15 per person.  Which made me think about all of the people I know who pursue some sort of art, for little or even no money.

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Michael Cohen’s Lament


I’m trying something different here.  I don’t think Weird Al has anything to worry about, though.  Put suggested improvements in the comments.

Sung to the tune of “Stormy Weather,” of course.

Don’t know why
She ever had sex with my guy
Stormy Daniels
All the sleazy things we did together
Now I’m being raided all the time

My files are bare
Gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy Daniels
They’re gonna put two and two together
Making payoffs all the time

Everything seemed to be OK, ‘til the Feds walked in and met me
If I refuse to flip, I fear the law will get me
I have to pray that POTUS will pardon me
Stay out of jail some more

Can’t go on
If my law license is gone
Stormy Daniels
Can they stop us from working together?
Worried that I’ll do time

I walk around, heavy hearted and sad
News cycle comes around, I’m still feelin’ bad
Charges pourin’ down, the boss is getting’ mad
This Avenatti gloatin’, smilin’ and crowin’ gets me mad
Sex, sex, sex, sex,
This fixin’ is just too much for me

Can’t go on
If the attorney client privilege is gone
Stormy Daniels
If you put crime and fraud together
Like I did all the time

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Spring Cleaning


Van Morrison: Cleaning Windows

Although it is mid-April here in the New York suburbs, it hasn’t really felt like spring at all, with the exception of a few random days (or parts of days).  If it wasn’t for the fact that my Mets have been playing well (pooh, pooh, pooh), it would seem more like football season than spring.  But it is still appropriate to engage in some spring cleaning, with a rundown of my writing on other sites since the last one of these space-fillers.

At Cover Me, I wrote two features, the first about Five Good Covers of the new wave classic, “Another Girl, Another Planet,” by The Only Ones, and then switching genres completely, writing a “That’s A Cover?” piece about the pop/disco hit, “Gloria,” by Laura Branigan, originally sung in Italian by Umberto Tozzi, which included a discussion of my miniscule part in promoting the song during the summer that I worked at Atlantic Records.  I also contributed to a staff written article about the “best” Talking Heads covers.  (Look for our next collection, about Fleetwood Mac covers, at the end of April.)

I’ve continued to post fairly regularly at Star Maker Machine, too.  The first new theme for the New Year was “Sinking & Falling,” and I wrote about Rancid’s “Fall Back Down,” and in another big genre-hop, about Dixie Dregs’ “Free Fall,” both of which prompted memories of seeing the bands live.  Next up was “Aliens,” prompting articles about Klaatu’s (not The Beatles’) “Calling Occupants of Planetary Craft,” featuring a rare (for me) Carpenters reference, and a Jon Anderson solo track, “Flight of the Moorglade.”

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Just My Luck

So, on March 13, I posted a long piece here about how much I think that social media, mostly Facebook, has improved my life.  On March 17, the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal hit, and since then, we’ve heard even more bad stuff about Facebook.  This has predictably led to an anti-Facebook backlash, with friends and public figures threatening to leave Facebook, or actually doing so.

I’m not going anywhere.  As an initial matter, I kind of expected that my Facebook postings and the like were going to be scooped up and used, although I admit that I didn’t expect douchery of the Cambridge Analytica type.  Although a company founded by the Mercers and run at one point by Steve Bannon is definitely likely to act in a douchey fashion.  Second, and most importantly, I don’t see any alternative that would provide me with the benefits that I get from Facebook.

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