Archive for October, 2009

They’re Selling Postcards of the Hanging: Playlist 10-27-09

October 27, 2009

I just started teaching a freshman writing class on the music of Bob Dylan. They’ve yet to get rolling on the blog, but once they do you can follow them here at Hiway 61. Today’s Street Parade, then, was mostly early Dylan since that’s what’s on my brain these days (with just a bit of Billy Bragg thrown in for fun):

Billy Bragg/Wilco: “California Stars” from Mermaid Avenue
Billy Bragg/Wilco: “Hoodoo Voodoo” from Mermaid Avenue
Bob Dylan: “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” from Blonde on Blonde
Bob Dylan: “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” from Bringing It All Back Home
Bob Dylan: “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” from Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan: “Desolation Row” from Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan: “Mr. Tambourine Man” from Bootleg #4, 1966
Billy Bragg/Wilco: “One by One” from Mermaid Avenue

Yea, sure, not a lot of variety in terms of artists here, but all good stuff!

See ya next week.

RIP Steve Ferguson

October 21, 2009

The Street Parade was very sad to learn of the passing of guitar great, and NRBQ co-founder, Steve Ferguson who died at age 60 due to cancer on Oct. 7. Steve Ferguson formed NRBQ  in 1967 with  keyboardist Terry Adams, , singer Frank Gadler, drummer Tom Staley, and bassist Joey Spampinato. It’s true that Ferguson only played with the band for a few years, but his influence on the band’s direction as a whole and particularly on his successor Big Al Anderson were vast. When they hired Anderson, the primary qualification was for the new guitar player to be able to even come close to playing Steve’s intro to “Flat Foot Flewzy.” Ferguson said he had the right hand of a country player and the left hand of a blues player. Throw in a touch of Sun Ra to the mix and you’ve got the heart of one of the best live bands ever. Ferguson and Anderson played together on the 1972 album “Scraps”–one of the all-time greats. The original album and the collaboration with Carl Perkins are also amazing. Finally, as listening tribute, I’m going to suggest his recent reunion with Terry Adams, “Louisville Sluggers.” Good fun and goofy R&B to the core.

steve ferguson

On another related note, any NRBQ fan will also be saddened by the loss of “Captain Lou” Albano on Oct. 14. Yea, yea, yea, forget the Cyndi Lauper connection, it’s all about the Q. As Lou screams at the end of “Captain Lou”:

They’re talking about me!
Captain Lou Albano!
Maker of champions, baby!
Twelve tag-team champions!
I take them, I mold them,
I think it’s charisma, it’s pandemonium!
It’s psychedelic pandemonium!
Ah ha ha ha ha ha! I, am “the Guiding Light,” ha ha!


October 18, 2009

MB and I were offered some last-minute, complimentary tickets to Brewnost, the benefit for the National Czech and Slovak museum in Cedar Rapids (thanks much Matt and Michelle!). The event is now in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art because the Czech building was completely ruined in the floods last summer. I’m not sure what the future is as that location will most likely become “green” area in the new Cedar Rapids map.

We’ve always wanted to go but it’s a bit pricey for an event at which vegetarians can’t eat anything and in which the beer list is a bit questionable for us (yes, I know it’s a benefit, but….). The beer list is pretty much eastern european lagers which don’t do that much more for me than Budweiser. Sure, they have some more malt to them and more hop profile, but then the hops for most of these beers are a bit worn by the time they hit our shelves. I usually say, eh.

And so it was in fact partly what I expected. No food for veggies, and a list of light eastern european beers. There were more beers than what is generally advertised, though. Boulevard had its smokestack series there. Millstream had its beers. There was a guy who just 5 months ago started a brewery in his garage outside Janesville (Briar Patch). It wasn’t great, but I definitely liked it and would buy it. I don’t know how he got on the list frankly, but it was nice to see a new brewer out there just brewing that recipe he perfected as a homebrewer. Cheers to that. So we found some good beer sampling. But mostly, it was nice to see such a well-attended and festive benefit. The art museum was packed and everyone was definitely having a good time. The silent auction seemed like it was going really well.  A fun night and a good sign for the continuation of this cultural landmark in the land of eastern european heritage.

10-13-09 Playlist

October 13, 2009

Here’s today’s playlist from the Street Parade. Mostly random stuff here except for a little nod to John Lennon in the middle who would have been 69 on October 9th.

Lafayette Gilchrist: “Assume the Position”
Medeski, Martin, and Wood: “Dracula”
Jerry Garcia/Merle Saunders: “The System”
Jerry Garcia/Merle Saunders: “Imagine”
The Beatles: “Tomorrow Never Knows”
The Beatles: “Everbody’s Got Somethin’ to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”
Jeff Beck: “A Day in the Life”
David Crosby: “What Are Their Names?”
The Mekons: “Dark, Dark, Dark”
The Political Blockheads: “Diplomat”

Next week is department meeting day so I probably won’t make it in to the show, but I’ll be back in two weeks. Same bat-station, same bat-time.