Ick’s Pick (Week III): Beausoleil’s Alligator Purse

The great thing about cajun music is that you know it’s going to raise your spirits and it’s gonna shake your rump. As the torchbearers of traditional Cajun music since their inception in 1975, Michael Doucet and Beausoleil accomplish this with every album. Cajun and zydeco barn burners are a staple of their work. But interspersed always are some surprising gems that stray from the mold.

This week, Beausoleil released Alligator Purse, their first album for Yep Roc. The fun traditional stuff is represented in songs like “Reel Cajun (451 North St. Joseph St.)”, “Theogene Creole”, and “Marie”. But the new territory is just as fun to explore. Like their reworking of Bob Dylan’s cover of Muddy Water’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin'” (yes, a cover of a cover) – they cajunize it and sing it in French: “Rouler et Tourner”; their version of J.J. Cale’s “The Problem” is a creole roots-rocker, with Doucet reaching down into his lower vocal registers for a sweet whiskey-soaked sound [By the way, why is it that I like every J.J. Cale song I hear, yet I don’t have ANY of his stuff? I need to fix that.].

The band brings in some special guests: Garth Hudson (The Band) on “I Spent All My Money Loving You”, Natalie Merchant on “Little Darlin'”, and Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, among others.

The album is a journey through American music, southern Louisiana style. It’s rich, tasty, zesty, and genuine. I’ve been eatin’ it up like a big ol’ hot bowl of jambalaya baby. Week III delivers!

Beausoleil will be all over the country this year, including April 3rd here in Arizona at the Chandler Jazz Festival. Come on down and join me.

President Obama

What an amazing day. All of the majesty, symbolism, and History behind today’s inauguration of Barack Obama was nothing short of breathtaking. Thanks to ABCNews.com, I was able to catch the Oath and the speech at work. It’s a very large corporation, with layers of security, firewalls, web filtering software and the like, so I was happy to see that at least one web site’s streaming video of the ceremony was working.

I must say though, I wasn’t impressed that: a) there was no acknowledgment by the company, no communication to its thousands upon thousands of employees, that addressed the magnitude and significance of the day.; and b) there was absolutely no enthusiasm, chatter – no nothin’ – from my co-workers. Sure, the economy sucks, everyone has a job to do, work work work, focus focus focus, blah blah. But to go the entire day at work with no one (around me, at least) even opening their mouth to talk about this historic day? Well, I was a little disheartened and disappointed. I figured my enthusiasm for the day would be matched at least by some people. Maybe they were out there, but they sure weren’t verbal about it.

But let my rant end there, and let me sum up by saying how refreshing it will be to wake up tomorrow with President Obama at the helm. I’m proud of my country, and I have the utmost confidence that this President will be a great leader through these very tough times.

Old Crow Medicine ShowI Hear Them All (mp3)

Did anyone see Old Crow Medicine Show on Austin City Limits recently? Great set, and prompted me to dig out some of their stuff. This song is fitting for the moment, in my opinion.

I hear leaders quit their lying
I hear babies quit their crying.
I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

Buy:

The Boss Was Made for Lovin’ You?

The Boss lifting from Ace, Gene, Paul and Peter? A new controversy brewing on the interwebs is the similarity between Bruce’s new album opener “Outlaw Pete”, and Kiss’ 1979 foray into disco, “I Was Made For Lovin’ You”. Similar? Sure, but not to the extent of Coldplay’s rip of Satriani. I rule in favor of – guess who? – The Boss!

What do you guys & gals think? Did Bruce dip back into his repository of shitty disco-rock?

“Outlaw Pete” vs. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”:

All of “Outlaw Pete”:

Dr. Dog Live at Amoeba Records

I got turned on to these guys through a local band here in Arizona, What Laura Says. I was at their CD release party over the summer and heard a Dr.Dog tune on the PA before the show. I pulled out my iPhone, opened Shazam (sweet #&$ app!), and it brought back “The Old Days”. So since then, I’ve bought Fate and We All Belong.

They have a very cool retro, psychedelic, wild sound. Check out this in-store performance at Amoeba Records in Hollywood…

Howard interviews Paul McCartney

Say what you will about Howard Stern, but you gotta admit, the man is one of the best interviewers around. He has a way of putting his subjects at ease, and he delves into territories you won’t find on the morning or late night talk shows. He asks the questions a regular person would want to ask, and goes beyond the prepackaged “tell me about your latest project” crap best exemplified by Mr. Jay Leno.

On Wednesday of this week, Paul McCartney dropped by Howard’s show on Sirius-XM. Now this is how you interview a Beatle…

Howard Stern interviews Paul McCartney (1-14-2009):

Paul discusses, among many other things, his latest album as “The Fireman”…

The Fireman – Official Web Site

The Friday Five: January 16, 2009

Shuffle matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my Shuffle, do you?

If you’ve been working for the weekend, well you are in luck because it’s just about that time. That’s right, it’s Friday and it’s time to kick back hit the shuffle button and let the music take us where it will. Today we’re firing up iTunes to battle the post-lunch dip!

For those who have not joined in the Friday Five here is all you need to know; each Friday I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes and share my five and drop a little knowledge and insight for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes we have guest, but most of the time it’s just me.

The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments. The more the merrier!

The Five:

“Jamie’s Cryin'” – Van Halen (from Van Halen)

… Hey you two I was once like you and I liked to do the wild thing

“Crash Into Me” – Dave Matthews Band (from Live in Chicago 12.19.98)

I’ve recently discovered that Dave Matthews has a twitter account that he uses quite actively (clearly via his iPhone and Twitterific). He provides a view into his twisted head and preoccupation with his farts (and sharing photos of himself in various states of clown make-up).

“Golden Ring (feat. Tammy Wynette)”  – George Jones (from The Bradley Barn Sessions)

An absolutely classic tune from the master

Direct Line to the Telepathic” (mp3) – Flickerstick (from Welcoming Home the Astronauts)

Before American Idol, Rockstar:INXS, Making the Band and other awful music-based reality programs was VH1’s “Bands on the Run” which placed 4 bands in vans and sent them out to tour with challenges along the way. It was sort of like MTV’s “Road Rules” with twice the alcohol and prima donnas’. Dallas, Texas’ Flickerstick won the competition and a recording contract. The band released one major label record and an indie follow up (along with a pair of live recordings) and it was announced late in 2008 that they had decided to go their separate ways. They will play a final show on Jan 24th at the House of Blues in Dallas. In honor of this great band I’m sharing this epic track with you all.

“Jet City Woman” – Queensrÿche (from Empire)

I’ve got a real soft spot in my musical heart for Queensrÿche, specifically this time period between Operation:Mindcrime and Empire.

Okay, I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours!

Lotusflow3r.com updates…

Every day I’ve been cruising over to Lotusflow3r.com, Prince’s new web site, to see if there’s anything new. Well, it’s nothing earth-shattering, but we do have a few changes since yesterday…

First off, snippets of three new tunes have replaced the three previous. “Chocolate Box” is another selection from MPLS, Prince’s “old school” Pro Tools album, which I’m looking forward to the most. “A Colonized Mind” is supposed to play next, but at this point I hear only silence. That one I’m guessing comes from his second new album, Lotus Flower. The third is “All This Love”, which must be off Bria Valente’s new album, Elixir. Only about 30 seconds of each song are streaming…

Secondly, we have an itty bitty little ticket icon on the site. If you click it, you’ll see the ticket pictured here.  Looks like January 31st will bring us a show in L.A., or some other item up Prince’s sleeve that will cost $77.  Better than $777…  You can also enter in your name and email and sign up for updates.

Lotusflow3r.com

One Last Song

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Josiah.

The return of American Idol (and my overall ambivalence towards it) reminded me that 2009 will bring the release of young Josiah Leming‘s record. You may recall Josiah as the most talented contestant to not make it past the second round of auditions last year. After some additional exposure via the Ellen DeGeneres show, Warner Bros. scooped up the singer and sent him to London to record his debut record.  In late 2008 he released an EP titled Angels Undercover which provides a small glimpse of the singer-songwriter’s talent. I’m looking forward to hearing the recorded version of this tune “One Last Song”, which sold me on his ability to write a hell of a tune.

Buy Angels Undercover: Amazon | iTunes

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace

Ick’s Pick (Week II): Derek Trucks Band

Welcome to week II of my Ick’s Pick series – 52 weeks of hot new album action! My pick for the second “release Tuesday” of the year comes from the Derek Trucks Band. Derek Trucks is the nephew of original Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, so grew up very musically inclined, to say the least. The “Derek” was in tribute to Derek and the Dominos, the blues-rock group put together by Eric Clapton, and whose album included the slide guitar work of Duane Allman. Derek was drawn to the slide guitar at an early age, and by the age of 11 or 12, was playing gigs in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Derek’s all of 29 years old now, and is already releasing his 7th album with the Derek Trucks Band – Already Free (his first DTB album was released in 1997, when he was 18 years old).

I’ve seen the Allman Brothers a handful of times, and only knew of Derek through his association with the band (he has toured and played in the band over the years). But I’d never taken the time to track down his work with his own band. So in listening to Already Free, there’s an instant familiarity, but at the same time, a sense of wonder at how mature and accomplished Derek and the band sound.

The album features some guests, including another guitar whiz, Doyle Bramhall II (he and Derek have been playing a lot with Clapton the last couple years), and Derek’s wife, blues singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi.

Standout tracks for me include the album opener, a gritty cover of Dylan’s “Down in the Flood”; “Maybe This Time”, which features Bramhall on guitar; “Don’t Miss Me”, one of the many tracks featuring DTB vocalist Mike Mattison, with some great blues riffs and tempo changes;  but my favorite out of the gate is “Sweet Inspiration” – a song written by Memphis/Muscle Shoals songwriters Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (hear them do it). It’s a raucous and joyful gospel rave up, and it’ll have you dancing around the house. The Hammond B-3 intro sounds straight off the Stax label; and the combination of Mattison and Tedeschi’s harmonies, Derek’s slide guitar, the B3, and the amazing percussion work come together for 4 minutes and 39 seconds of halle-frickin-lujah! Track it down.

Buy: Already Free

Links: DTB Official Site | MySpace | Already Free EPK

DTB on Conan O’Brien last week (Jan 7) performing “Down in the Flood”:

–dead link–

The Mellowness of the Shug

Like Michael mentioned in his 100 Words post today, when your music library gets too big, the challenge is to figure out what to even listen to. A lot of great artists and songs seem to go underground for a while, and pop up in a shuffle a few months down the road. One that plopped back on to my radar today was Shuggie Otis and his psychedelifunky 1974 album Inspiration Information.

It’s a mellow Monday, so a couple of laid back joints here.  “Island Letter” sounds like a cousin of Prince’s “Crazy You”, if you ask me. And I know you did. I heard you.

Shuggie OtisIsland Letter (mp3)

“Freedom Flight” is thirteen minutes of dream-inducing lite funky jazz and sweet sax & guitar effects. Close your eyes and drift off. But not if you’re at work. NSFW. Definitely NSFW.

Freedom Flight (mp3)

Check out Inspiration Information.