Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham


Li'l Radood - "Unknown"

Another motion picture that I saw many times on the big screen when I was little is 'Harold and Maude'. Now I am thinking that 'Japón' is the same storyline, just less fun. In H&M, there’s all of this Cat Stevens music, and so began a long affection for Cat Stevens, and later for his new existence as Yusuf Islam, later for his recording artist embodiment Yusuf.

I learned at some point that there are some rules or beliefs among certain Muslims that music as many of us know it is not welcome; that something exists that resembles music, though, that features voices and drums. I think it was on the hotel clock radio in my room at the Tolarno in Melbourne that I first remember hearing this great noise.

I kept a-listening and a-listening whenever I had moments in my room. But when I would ask people about it, usually eyes glazed over and lips got sealed. My best guess is that Muslims may view these ventures as truly unmusical, or possibly embarrassing the way some of us hear devotional music from our own traditions, or maybe they just don’t want this infidel to lay his ears on it.

After 9/11, I went to visit some friends in Fez, in Morocco, and started asking around about where I could get cassettes of the drum/voice deal. No luck. In a small town in the south, a man (who may have been trying to get into my pants?) led me to a bookstore where I asked again about this. The shopkeeper tried to figure out what I wanted. American man, interested in Islam, via audio cassette. So he sold me a tape, and I took it to my room and pressed play… it was Cat Stevens.

It was actually Yusuf/Yusuf Islam, singing a selection of songs I had read about but never heard. 'A is For Allah' and others. Then there was something curiouser, which was a recording of Yusuf giving a speech in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, speaking out in favor of Jihad.

Years later, Emmett Kelly suggested that we cover Yusuf’s 'One Day At a Time'. It was so exciting that the man had started making records again! This video here shows the voice/rhythm I’m trying to write about; it also shows the excitement we can share over the energy that those younger than us will continue to bring to the earth.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham


Unknown - "So Bad"

We used to see movies in the theater multiple times. Two movies I remember seeing more than once on the big screen are 'The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings' and 'The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh'. My friend Todd identifies a sub-genre of movies as 'assemble-the-team' movies, and these are two perfect examples of this sub-genre.

I idealized the identification of a community made of diverse individuals who could only fulfill their respective destinies by working as one, not at all by diminishing their individualities. My interest continued with 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'The Dirty Dozen', among many other movies.

In real life, it was a rare experience to witness or participate in such joinings. However, I met a real-life Lee Marvin about a decade or so ago in the person of David Tibet, and sat at times at the 50-yard line of some of his recent manifestations. And through Tibet, I became aware of Baby Dee.

This video is of a young girl singing a stand-out song of Dee's, 'So Bad', from 'Love's Small Song' (later collected on 'The Robin's Tiny Throat'). Dee asked Matt Sweeney, another in Tibet's crack platoon for a while, to lend a hand in making her 'Safe Inside The Day' record, and together they invited me in to work as well.

Every night during the session, after a long day of hard work, I listened to Susanna & The Magical Orchestra's recording of Leonard Bernstein's 'Who Am I?', I think because the confluence of wonders had my self-awareness spinning madly out of control and the song helped to ground me through its voicing of the common question.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Songs To Bobby

Dirty Beaches - "Lord Knows Best"

Van Morrison - "Wild Night"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Guest Post | Will Oldham


Lyrikkal - "Pink & Purple"

The first Triple-X motion picture I saw was 'Debbie Does Dallas II'. There was a slumber party hosted by upperclassmen, and we all lounged, co-ed, across the living room floor into the night. That was porn for us, that was kind of the filthiest that sex got for a regular kid of 14. I think.

A few years ago, a friend of mine in the public education system told me about a trend among 13- and 14-year olds called doing a 'rainbow connection', where multiple girls would put different color lipsticks on and then go down on a young boy, all of them, leaving a fruit-stripe rainbow pattern along the shaft of his penis. And so the kids are lost? No. The kids in this video are firing full-on, with confidence and guts and charisma and bad-assness.

What is realistic to hope for is that the rainbow connectors will ultimately find sex so gross and desolate that they'll end up not having children, and the Pink-and-Purples will populate our earth (for the time she has left) with a truly chosen people. Being old and watching Lyrikkal is going to make being old pretty good.

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Will Oldham will be writing from Louisville every Wednesday about loved and significant music.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012