Questlove and How to Save Hip-Hop

Don’t ask me why I’m feeling angry at artist packaging by the music industry.  I’m just an angry young man.  Well, I used to be young.  I have a lot of respect now for Questlove, especially after seeing this clip.  The meat of the clip is at 4:48.

If this clip makes you mad, you’ll understand what kind of mood I’m in.

To really get your blood pressure up, read this:

Lose weight now – listen to music!

Skinny jeans, skinny jeans, you’re still hanging ’round
In the back of my closet and that’s bringin’ me down
This morning, I woke up and made me a vow
Skinny jeans, gonna get back into you somehow
Some things got between us, and now you’re too tight
But I know it’s all my fault, and I’m gonna make it right
No, it won’t be easy, but it’s not too late.

Song by Heidi Roizen,

Entrepreneur and former Apple exec Heidi Roizen has released a collection of weight-loss songs. Imagine the market! If only I had thought of this first! If this works, just think of how many other preventable health problems (i.e. caused by behavior) could be cured by music. Songwriters, your fortunes are waiting…

Attacked by your own song?

Jonathan Coulton’s career took off when he wrote a little ditty called “Code Monkey”; a witty love song from the point of view of a repressed software code writer. All the resulting press, including Jonathan’s own BIO, now labels him as a leader of the “geek rock” movement in popular music. This is a sad illustration of what happens when your own songs turn on you:

(video courtesy of Paul and Storm)

What next? Karaoke?

It’s interesting to see the changing role of technology in live performance. A few months back, my wife and I saw Jonathan Coulton with his Zen Drum triggering loops in order to “perform” his song “Mr. Fancy Pants”. A couple of weeks ago, this video appeared on Youtube, following Coulton’s UK tour and documents the Zen Drum’s demise and subsequent replacement by the IPhone.

Is this the same quality of creation? I know it’s making something new from prior material; it happens in visual arts all the time. In music, we used to call it “lifting a melody” and the lawyers would get all excited, but it’s so commonplace in this age that no one seems to care.
I’m getting the same feeling I get when I watch the work of DVDJ Unique: -question= is it art?

Monday Throatsinging

A student came by today to borrow my throatsinging resources. All I have is Genghis Blues and some memories of discussions on blogs/websites etc…, so I pulled up Youtube. There are a couple of good tutorials, should you feel like trying it. But the most amazing performance was clearly this one:

The Story of Lady Bo

Can’t embed this one:

She’s Bo Diddley’s right hand woman.

Her website is at

From her website:

PEGGY JONES was born on Friday July 19th 1940, and grew up in the Sugar Hill district of New York City, located in uptown Manhattan. She displayed a very early talent for music. At just 3 years of age she was already a tap dancing prodigy, and by the age of 9, studying opera and learning to master her first instrument, the ukelele. She graduated from the New York High School of Performing Arts, studying dance, drama, music theory, and several musical instruments. Influenced by artists such as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, Etta James, LaVern Baker, Mahalia Jackson, Linda Hopkins and Sam Cooke, she began to compose and arrange her own music. In 1955 she bought her very first guitar, and it was in this same year that she first heard the music of BO DIDDLEY.

In the following years she recorded 3 local hits, and in 1957 joined The Bop Chords vocal group as first tenor, and went on to enjoy a further 2 hits with them. That year, after meeting up with BO DIDDLEY, she replaced his guitar player Jody Williams, who had been drafted for military service. The following year she was hired full-time to play on all of his recording sessions and for all of his stage performances. SHE WAS THE FIRST FEMALE LEAD GUITARIST IN HISTORY TO BE HIRED BY A MAJOR ACT. She worked full-time with BO DIDDLEY until 1961, when she formed her own group The Jewels, later to be known as LADY BO & The Family Jewel. In addition, at this same time, she worked as a session musician, and as a night club singer, and as a vocalist with several big bands. It was as a session percussion player that she enjoyed her biggest international pop chart success when, in 1967, “San Franciscan Nights” by Eric Burdon & The Animals (MGM Records), reached the Top 10 around the world.

Now married to her bass player Wally Malone, LADY BO & The Family Jewel continued to accompany BO DIDDLEY for many of his stage performances upto 1993. In November of that year she was the recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award in appreciation of her contribution to the Blues, at The Third Annual South Bay Blues Awards Show, held at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. On that same evening she was presented with a plaque from Gibson Guitars USA for her years of loyalty to Gibson, plus a 20″ x 26″ oil portrait painted by local artist George Milo Buck. Today, LADY BO and her current group The BC Horns continue to perform to appreciative audiences around the US and worldwide. Audiences that are eager to see and to hear at first hand the woman who added so much to the distinctive BO DIDDLEY sound, and who did so much pioneer work to further the cause of women in music. In 2008, LADY BO was included in Venus Zine magazine’s “Greatest Female Guitarists of All-Time” listing, in recognition of how she altered the shape of the male-dominated industry.