Sunday, May 30, 2010

This rendition of a work song``We Don't Have No Payday Here'' sounds an awfully lot like Robert Johnson's recording of ``Last Fair Deal Gone Down.''
Both even share the line,
``If you cry about a nickel, you'll die about a dime.''
The work song was performed by convicts at the state prison in Raiford, Florida on June 4, 1939. Johnson recorded his tune in San Antonio, Texas in 1937.
Dispersion of folk culture -- passing it on, in other words -- never seizes to fascinate me.
I lifted the work song recording from the Library of Congress' American Memory archive.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How much has leaked so far? Depends on whom you ask.

Here's a PBS Newshour ticker that allows you to know just how much oil and natural gas is gushing into the Gulf -- calculated according to various worst case scenarios. BP has provided this live feed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

WFCR, an NPR station in Amherst, Massachusetts, is compiling classical and jazz top 50s. Folks can participate by voting for their three most-favorites on-line. The results should be fascinating. But vote soon! The station will begin to announce the winners on May 19. I don't feel qualified to vote in the classical musical poll, but under jazz I listed these albums: Dexter Gordon, ``Biting the Apple;'' ``Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian;'' and ``Thelonius Monk's Greatest Hits.''
The Charlie Christian album is really a compilation of recordings of Benny Goodman, for whom Christian played guitar.
I'm afraid that the allowance of only three votes will result in a list too-largely populated by canonized musicians, such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Lester Young and Duke Ellington. People just won't have enough room to vote for those who are ``out of the way.''