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January 29, 2008

retuning for white audiences - more sister rosetta tharpe

Helen has asked for specific details about the tuning of Tharpe's guitar in her comment here. Below is a big fat quote from an article called 'From Spirituals to Swing: Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Gospel Crossover' by Gayle Wald (published in 'American Quarterly', vol 55, no.3 September 2003), pgs 389-399. This is where I read that note about Tharpe's tuning - hope it's useful, Helen.
Wald's article is mostly about Tharpe's movement from black gospel music to the white jazz/blues/pop mainstream. Tharpe is taken as an example illustrating wider points about culture and music during this period. It's a really interesting read.

Although Tharpe arrived in New York already highly credentialed in Pentecostal terms, Sammy Price, Decca's house pianist and recording supervisor at the time Tharpe recorded "Rock Me," apparently wasn't feeling any of this joy. Tharpe, he recalled in his 1990 autobiography, "tuned her guitar funny and sang in the wrong key." In all likelihood Price was referring to Tharpe's use of vestapol (sometimes called 'open D') tuning popular among blues musicians in the Mississippi Delta region. (Muddy Waters is among the many blues guitarists, for example, who learned vestapol technique in the 1930s, when he was growing up in Clarksdale, Mississippi.) As common as it was in the South, however, vestapol tuning could sound distinctly crude and out-of-place in the context of northern jazz bands. By his own account, Price, who later went on to record several hits with Tharpe, refused to play with her until she used a capo, the bar that sits across the fingerboard and changes the pitch of the instrument. "With a capo on the fret," he explained, "it would be a better key to play along with, a normal jazz key."

Price's brief story of the carpo as a normalizing technology is rich with implications for the discussion of what 'crossing over' to the realm of popular entertainment might have meant for Tharpe. Resonant of southern black communities and of musicians who honed their craft in churches as well as on back porches - musicians Hammond quite unself-consciously called 'unlettered' - Tharpe's 'funny' guitar playing introduced, to Price's ear, an apparently unassimilable element into the prevailing sounds of urban jazz. It's also possible that Price was demanding that Tharpe sing at a higher pitch, to conform with popular as well as commercial expectations that high pitch evidences a correspondingly 'higher' degree of femininity. In any case, and as Price suggests, Tharpe quite literally had to adjust her guitar and singing techniques to make commercially popular, 'secular' records that would earn her an audience beyond the relatively small market of consumers of 'religious music.' The 'makeover' of Tharpe's sound also has important gender and class implications less obvious from Price's comment. In bringing her sound more into line with the sounds of commercial jazz, Tharpe would not only have to change her tuning, but 'change her tune' as far as her performance of femininity was concerned.

The 'Hammond' referred to in the article is John Hammond, an important figure in the promotion and management of a number of big jazz musicians. Gunther Schuller's book 'The Swing Era' reads almost as a history of Hammond's career. I think it's important to note that this one white man was important for his influence on the developing jazz and swing music industry. His selection and then promotion of specific artists shaped the recording industry, popular tastes and the white mainstream's understanding of and access to black music during this period. As the race records and black-run radio stations were forced out of the industry by white competitors and blatantly racist media regulation, black artists had less and less control of their own representation in mass media, and black musical culture was mediated by white corporate and cultural interests.


All of this makes for fabulous, fascinating reading. It is, though, all about America. I'm not sure how much (if any of it) can be translated to the Australian context. But that would make for interesting research in itself, particularly when you keep in mind that jazz in Australia is necessarily the product of cultural transmission - black music filtered through mainstream American recording and sheet music industries to white mainstream audiences and musicians and white Australian musicians and audiences. Sure, there were musicians making jazz in Australia (people like Graeme Bell of course), but I've been thinking about 'authenticity' and jazz in such a transplanted context... particularly as I've read recently somewhere (goddess knows where - I'd have to retrace my steps) that music tends to reflect the vocal patterns and intonations and rhythms of the culture in which it develops. So, we could draw from this the conclusion that we Australians would play jazz with an Australian accent. It wouldn't sound like American - or black American - jazz. I'm hesitant to make comments about the relative value of localised jazz, but it's an issue hanging in the background there...

But back to Hammond. John Hammond of course organised the concert 'From Spirituals to swing' at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1938 (you can see the artists here, in a recording of the concert) . This concert featured a bunch of super big artists (Jimmy Rusher, Joe Turner, Mitchell's Christian Singers, Albert Ammons, Sidney Bechet, Count Basie, Benny Goodman). It's goal was a combination of musical 'education' for the white mainstream and - indubitably, considering Hammond's impressive business sense - promotion of black music to new white audiences/consumers.

I'm interested in this concert and in Tharpe's cross-promotion to the mainstream as an example of cultural transmission - I'm fascinated by the way music and dance move between cultures. I'm also really interested in the uses of power in this process. Is it appropration? Stealing? Poaching? To quote (ad nauseum), Hazzard Gordon, we have to ask "who has the power to steal from whom?" when we're looking at this process.
I''ve been writing about the way different cultures not only 'take' dance steps or songs from other cultures or traditions, but also the way they then adapt these 'found' texts to suit their own cultural/social needs, values, etc.
I've argued all through my work that we can see the social heirarchy of the US in the reworking of dances and songs. What did they need to do to make these texts palatable for white audiences? With Tharpe it was 'retuning' her guitar and voice. With lindy hop, it was 'desexualising' and 'tidying' up the basic steps. Or at least presenting a different type of sexual performance.

Some interesting references
There's a really great page discussing race records that includes audio files, images and written text here on the NPR site.

There's also a pbs (US) site attached to the Ken Burns Jazz doco discussing race records.

For a (very nice) academic discussion, see David Suisman's article called 'Co-workers in the kingdom of culture: Black Swan Records and the political economy of African American music' (The Journal of American History vol 90, no.4, March 2004, p 1295-1324) which discusses the 'race records' of the period and the racialised nature of the American recording industry.
You can also walk through this article via the JAH's fantastic site (complete with images, sound files and other wonderful things). This is one site that really ROCKS.

Derek W. Vaillant has written a really interesting article about black radio in Chicago in the 20s and 30s which discusses these issues in greater detail ('Sounds of Whiteness: Local radio, racial formation and public culture in Chicago 1921-1935', American Quarterly vol 54 no. 1, March 2002 p25-66).

Katrina Hazzard Gordon has written quite a bit about African American dance culture. Here are a couple of references:
Hazzard-Gordon, Katrina. "African-American Vernacular Dance: Core Culture and Meaning Operatives." Journal of Black Studies 15.4 (1985): 427-45.
---. Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

Read more about John Hammond, look at photos and listen to music here on this Jerry Jazz Musician page.

Wald, Gayle. "From Spirituals to Swing: Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Gospel Crossover" American Quarterly vol 55, no.3 (September 2003): 389-399.

"retuning for white audiences - more sister rosetta tharpe" was posted by dogpossum on January 29, 2008 11:23 AM in the category academia and lindy hop and other dances and music

January 27, 2008

go media convergence, go

I'm not sure if anyone's seen this, but it's an amazing idea.
Basically, the Met transmits their operas live to cinemas in Australia (and elsewhere, I guess). So you're sitting in a cinema watching a high definition, live performance of some pretty high grade high art opera on a cinema screen. They don't go everywhere, but they do go to some regional centres.
Am I the only one who thinks that's a pretty interesting and quite amazing concept? I don't much care for opera, but I'm fascinated by the technology and marketing and cross-media/media convergence action here. Just imagine how popular these would be if it was something with mass, popular appeal.... or would it be popular?

Anyone been?

"go media convergence, go" was posted by dogpossum on January 27, 2008 10:38 AM in the category fillums

January 24, 2008

thursday cat blogging

A little bit out of my sphere of interest, but it's Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and that's gotta be good.
I should really be putting this post under jeeeezus as well, as Tharpe is one of those big voice chicks who got it going on in revivalist shows originally.
Dancers know her for the stuff she did with Lucky Millinder (especially 'Shout Sister Shout'), but she had a big rep as a stage performer.
I think I remember reading somewhere about her having to retune her guitar for white audiences in the north - apparently the distinctive southern tuning she used didn't go down so well with the honkies. But this is a nice clip because it's not all that often we see a black woman with a jazz/blues rep playing guitar on stage... Yes, yes, I know this is a 60s clip, and she's playing gospel, but you know what I mean.

...I'm listening to a version of this song by Mahalia Jackson as I type... these chicks had freakin' BIG voices.

"thursday cat blogging" was posted by dogpossum on January 24, 2008 2:15 PM in the category cat blogging

January 23, 2008

i can has female role model?

My hormones are rumbling, and I'm beginning to feel a little self-doubting.

This year's plan is as follows:
1. (semester one): make book.

2. (semester two): make teaching and/or research.

But things have gotten complicated. I've been offered different work by different university departments. Teaching? I has it. Exploitative first year tutoring? I choose not to has it. Researching? Hmmm. Interesting repeat teaching of last semester's Mega Teaching Experience, offering op to rework lectures and tutes and general Make It Gooder? I think I choose to has it.

Book? Oh, yeah, it's harder than it seemed. Rewrite? Why? It was a perfect thesis - there were no corrections needed! And what if I break it? Rewrite? But how? I mean, what exactly should I do? How should I do it? This rewriting - what exactly do you mean by that? Publishers. Yes, well. I choose Routledge. I choose them because it is an Impossible Dream, and we are in proximity to the Big Dream type stuff. Don't hold your breath though, homies - could be a long wait. There may be some resistance to my Choice.
And then, of course, there's the long, unbroken future spent tappa-tapping away at home, on my own, far, far away from other academic types. Trapped in a kind of netherworld, the Land of Far Far Away from Institutional Support. But also the land Relatively Close To (but not actually in) An Early Career.

I'm finding I'm more than a little needy with middle aged women academics. I'm looking for validation. For direction. For sound advice and useful criticism of my written work. I want pencilled comments in the margin of my work. I want an hour of uninterrupted Me Time with someone I admire and respect (and whose entire function, during that hour, is to listen to me, be interested in me, and most importantly, let me know how I'm going). I don't really know how to do this sort of larger project all on my own. Not only is the writing style I've spent 4 degrees and about 15 years perfecting almost completely inappropriate, every word I write seems to scream 'Feelings of inadequacy! Lacks confidence in own thinking! Overly defensive!' It's like I'm reading the internal monologue of a young woman dancer from the local McDance school. GoDAMN this whole over-achiever thing. I am hopelessly institutionalised and no longer capable of functioning on my own without a role model.

All these feelings are of course the product of my rampaging hormones. Premenstrual anxiety and self doubt? I HAS it.

This lolcat has, consequently, assumed disproportionate importance in my life:

"i can has female role model?" was posted by dogpossum on January 23, 2008 6:21 PM in the category academia

January 18, 2008

steel is real

(Originally uploaded by fixedgear on flickr).

One gear nerds are everywhere. But this is the first time I'd seen one getting all recreationist with it.
These are neat pics.

"steel is real" was posted by dogpossum on January 18, 2008 12:57 PM in the category bikes

lindy + sisters + SF = want!

(From flickr, uploaded by The Library of Congress)

Carefully trained women inspectors check and inspect cargo transport innerwings before they are assembled on the fuselage, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.
Photographer: Palmer, Alfred T., 1942 Oct.

How freakin' awesome.

"lindy + sisters + SF = want!" was posted by dogpossum on January 18, 2008 12:44 PM in the category clicky

January 17, 2008

when the metal is hot and the engine is hungry

If you saw this last night on ABC2, you'll feel the same way I do about this clip:

I'm trying to convince crinks that she could do with a man like that. Perhaps Jack Black would do.

"when the metal is hot and the engine is hungry" was posted by dogpossum on January 17, 2008 5:00 PM in the category music

January 15, 2008


"cool" was posted by dogpossum on January 15, 2008 1:23 PM in the category fillums


Read this article.
The bit that kind of blows my mind is this:

Transperth's cycling integration manager Jim Krynen said a car park survey found 60% of motorists drove less than two kilometres to their preferred station. And 40% had driven less than 800 metres to the station.*

That kind of blows my brain. I walk about a kilometer (maybe 1.20km?) to the station and it takes me 20 minutes. That's a nice, short walk to get the blood flowing. Certainly not taxing or warranting a change of clothes. To think of driving 800 metres... holy moley. There are, of course, extenuating circumstances - infirmity, kids, etc. But, really, if you're able bodied and the weather's fine, why would you drive? I enjoy that type of quick, purposeful walk, and couldn't think of anything nicer than sharing with someone, so why would you choose to drive?

You know how I feel about bikes on trains. I'm for it. I'm totally for it. The 'ban' is kind of shitful (though you don't get fined, so it's not a massive deterrent), and of course I feel there should simply be more trains running to accommodate the crush (yes, yes, I know that's it's more complicated than that, but please. We're talking ideal world, here). I still don't really understand why more people don't ride bikes or walk, and why there aren't better bike lanes. I mean, it's just plain fun! And I'm a currently scarily unfit, ordinary person who doesn't ride a supermachine bike, isn't a super bike rider and doesn't ride terribly quickly...

I know people who drive down from the 'wick to Melbourne Uni. That kind of makes my brain explode. It's a 15-20 minute bike ride from my place. You could walk it in an hour. It's all bike paths, all the way, and it's a nice walk - down a lovely tree-lined avenue for the most part. Or you could cut through the parks and go down the lovely bike path through the park. It'd be a frustrating drive and it would take you at least as long (if not longer) to drive - the traffic is poo down Sydney Road in peak hour. I mean, I'd ride every day, and catch the odd tram when the weather was bad, and I'm not a hardcore rider. I'd do it just because it's such a nice thing to do...

Look, I'm still trying to get my brain round that not walking 800 metres thing. It's just such a short distance. Maybe 2 minutes drive. Only about 15 to 20 minutes walk (20 slow minutes at that). Easy, even in work clothes. And if you have someone to walk with and talk to... Or if you live in a suburb like the 'wick, where there are plenty of people to say hello to, lots of interesting things to stare at as you walk long...
I mean, I'm constantly looking for new ways to squeeze a bit more incidental exercise into my life - I choose not to ride to the station because I need the extra 15 minutes walk (it's about 5 minutes, max to ride).

Golly. It's mind boggling.

Oh, remind me to post the number of steps I took at MLX. Crinks and I wore pedometers one night of the exchange. I wore mine from 9.30 til 6am on the night I was running an event (not dancing) and racked up a phenomenal number of steps. The stupid pedometers got all confused by dancing, especially with nice, fat lindy hopping bounce, so we had to discard that data. Next year we'll get it together and wear our pedders every night.

*I wonder how they got these results? Let's just assume they're 'accurate'.

"egads!" was posted by dogpossum on January 15, 2008 1:01 PM in the category bikes

January 14, 2008

feeling a little traumatised

by difficult French films?

There is only one solution:

Also having difficulty imagining the dissertation as a book, so rereading markers' comments, just to remind me that I don't completely suck. Academia = way great fun.

...and I'm finding editing the Transformers pages on wikipedia very satisfying. I know nothing about the Transformers universe, I can't figure out what the articles are actually about because they're so badly written, but I am feeling immense satisfaction in rewriting them. Soon, though, I will know everything about the Transformers. Just ask me.

"feeling a little traumatised" was posted by dogpossum on January 14, 2008 4:55 PM in the category academia and fillums

January 12, 2008

Bunk Johnson's Bunk and the New Orleans Revival 1942-1947

Bunk and the New Orleans Revival 1942-1947. Not something you'd like if Sidney Bechet gives you the shits. I'm not really the hugest fan of revivalist stuff any more. I did go through a massive phase, but I'm kind of coming out the other side... I mean, I like it, but I have limited tolerance for it. It can go badly when DJing, and I know I've had moments when I've really not liked dancing to it. I think you have to pick your songs and artists carefully, otherwise it can just be a bit too annoying.
But this was an interesting CD (another from the Tasmanian jazz shop guy - gotta keep supporting him as they've just opened a JB in Hobart. Argh!), and I'm kind of interested in the parallels between the revivalists in Australia and the US. In fact, jazz in Australia is kind of interesting, when you consider the fact that there weren't any African American artists in Australia to keep things fresh.... I'm sure you could make all sorts of provocative arguments about white Australian jazz... but I won't.

"Bunk Johnson's Bunk and the New Orleans Revival 1942-1947" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 7:14 PM in the category digging

The Jimmie Noone Collection

I'm especially liking The Jimmy Noone Collection from Collectors' Classics.

Favourite tracks? Very scratchy versions of familiar songs like:
After You've Gone by Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra (1929)
Love Me or Leave Me by Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra (1929)
My Melancholy Baby by Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra (1929)
Ain't Misbehaving' by Jimmie Noone's Apex Club Orchestra (1929)

And a few others, including
Wake Up! Chill'un, Wake Up! (as above)
My Daddy Rocks me (as above, with female vocals)

The vocals aren't all ok for dancing - they can be a bit cheesy, but there are some goodies. Love Me or Leave Me is really fab. As is My Daddy Rocks Me. I'm not sure any of it's really of a high enough quality for DJing, though it's better than a lot of the really old recordings I have. Once you get into the 1920s, unless it's a super Mosaic set, you really can't be sure the quality will rock.

But I'm quite keen on Jimmie Noone atm. And Wingy Manone. It's all pretty olden days, and not necessarily something I'd DJ for lindy hoppers, but it's definitely stuff I like to listen to.

"The Jimmie Noone Collection" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 7:02 PM in the category digging | Comments (0)

mahalia jackson live at new port

Talk about quick service - desires satisfied. I'm enjoying Mahalia Jackson Live at Newport.

"mahalia jackson live at new port" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 6:59 PM in the category digging | Comments (0)

exciting exciting!

"exciting exciting!" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 5:13 PM in the category fillums | Comments (0)

intertube moofies

Because we are queen of media, and because our local video shop sucks arse, I am considering an online DVD ordering arrangement. It's terribly old school - DVDs coming in the mail. Just like ordering seeds from a catalogue (my favourite thing ever), and I guess as soon as the internet becomes a superhighway rather than a single lane (covered) central Queensland highway it'll be superseded by downloads. But for now, it's about the most exciting thing I can imagine.
So does anyone use any of these things? We've looked atquicklix and bigpond, but quickflix is winning at the moment. Once you get to the $36 per month plan, you get unlimited DVDs per month, 3, 4 or 5 at a time. It's a bit cheaper on Bigpond (especially as we have a Telstra phone account for our internet), but Bigpond don't do the unlimited DVDs and they have some slightly dodgy small print. Both offer free trials.

I'm not sure which account we should get. I'm a massive DVD renter, so I think there's definitely the potential for unlimited DVDs. When we had a halfway decent DVD shop, I'd get DVDs out every other day - 2 and 3 at a time. So we're looking at a family who'd hire about 10 DVDs a week, possibly 5, and that's about 20 a month. That's $46 on Bigpond or $36 on quickflix. The issue would be how many you can have at a time - only 3? Would 4 be better? It'd depend on your turn around time and how good you were at putting them in the mail. We're weak on returning DVDs round here.

And you have to keep 20 DVDs in your list to be hired on quickflix. There are no overdue fees, but you are paying for the service, monthly, so you're losing money if you don't return DVDs.

... I guess we'd take advantage of the films (especially the older, harder to get arty ones and others that I think of as 'weeklies' - musicals, classics, foreign, etc), and would really benefit from the telly. It's easier to get through multiple discs of a telly show than multiple movies, because you watch them in 30 minute, 45 minute and 1 hour blocks, rather than committing to one and a half hours at a time. That's good for me because I like to watch an episode of something over lunch, to take a break from work.

So, does anyone use any of these services? Which? What's good about them?

"intertube moofies" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 4:35 PM in the category fillums and television | Comments (5)

go indy go

A new Indiana Jones film is on the way. Check out this picture of one of the baddies. Go Cate, go.

"go indy go" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 11:13 AM in the category clicky | Comments (0)


Following some neat teaching ideas, I came across the Dymaxion map of the earth. Supercool.

...and I recommend following all the links from the world simulation entries - there are films on YouTube and everything. That looks like FUN teaching!

"supercool" was posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 10:36 AM in the category clicky and teaching | Comments (0)

January 11, 2008

ever wanted to see angel and spike kissing?

Go here to see the next best thing.

"ever wanted to see angel and spike kissing?" was posted by dogpossum on January 11, 2008 1:02 PM in the category torchwood

January 10, 2008

let's say no to perforations

Three interstate trips in one month. No more, thanks. Conference, christmas and a funeral. Brisvegas was interesting and I quite liked seeing it - it's changed, I've changed, so it's kind of nice that we could get together again after seven years and find that we had lots to talk about and quite liked each other.
Acclimating to mega-humidity? Tick.
Family visited, without incident? Tick.
Old mates visited. Tick.*

It is hot today, and I have cleverly booked in an appointment with the doctor for another ear inspection. It's becoming an annual thing. Well, something I do a few times a year, actually. I have had enough of not being able to hear properly - it makes me irrationally furious, inciting Shouting, Stamping and Offensive Language. So I will have them irrigated today at 3. When the ambient temperature is about 40 degrees C. I'm hoping it will soften the wax and aid its removal.

I have plans for films to see, and I have started thinking about redoing the thesis. I have decided that it will now be known as The Book rather than The Thesis. I will start thinking about fonts immediately, as that is obviously the most important part of the process. Pav articulates my current feelings about the project quite nicely. As an ob-con type person, proof reading and editing is really the best place to site my natural abilities and interests. Serious Tidying will commence in a few hours, once this post is written, a cup of tea made, and a little clothes mending completed.

What fillums have I seen lately? Well, one of the most pleasing was Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers. I hated this when it came out, but now, after a few years of Howard government, it makes a lot more sense. It's also part of a recent spate of early 90s sci-fi fillum delightfulness, after we watched Total Recall the other night. In discussion with a fellow nerd yesterday afternoon, I realised that they're both actually Verhoeven fillums, and that's probably why they're both so wonderfully specrappular. Having read this type of SF as a Young Person, first discovering the Adult part of the family bookshelves (at about the age of 11, when carefully scanning the Adult stuff for the least hint of sauciness), these two fillums really capture the mood of terrible authors like Peirs Anthony. It's lovely, teenage stuff, and absolutely low-brain. So that's a tick tick and a V.G. from us.

Last night on SBS I also stumbled over In the Mood for Love, a Kar Wai Wong film that I absolutely love. I keep hoping their relationship will end well, but it never does, no matter how many times I watch the film. I love the obvious stuff - the colours, the framing of shots, the slo-mo, the soundtrack, the almost-love-affair ness of it.
Let's have a look at a couple of PR shots:
And just in case that's not enough, here's the trailer:

I think I might have a Thing for Tony Leung. My Thing for Maggie Cheung continues.
This new Thing is only fuelled by the immanent arrival of Ang Lee's latest film, Lust, Caution, which I've heard has heaps of hot sex, which I know will be an absolute visual feast, and which I'm terribly excited about. I'm thinking about special preview sessions on Friday day. It also stars Leung, which is very nice, and Joan Chen, who I also love (you might remember me crapping on about this stuff a little while ago in this post). I have rewatched Lee's Sense and Sensibility in preparation. Because no one does suppressed lust and caution like Austen.

The nicest part about catching this film last night was discovering it's part of an SBS series screenings of films by the cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The worst part was realising I'd missed Hero. Dumplings is on Wednesday 23rd January. I'm not sure if the others have already been on or not, but the SBS search function on their site sucks a bit, and I can't be bothered figuring it out. Guess I'll have to go to the video shop. Oh wait, our video shop SUCKS, so that won't work. Guess I'll be the last kid on the block to get into it, and use Netflix/Quickflicks.

Additionally, I also missed the first episode of Skins, a new series by the doods who made Shameless. And that's a big poo.

Well, think of me as I make it by PT (it's probably too hot to ride) to the doctor this afternoon, and pray for my ear drum. Let's say no to perforations.

*twice in a year! Dang, we'll have nothing left to talk about next time!

"let's say no to perforations" was posted by dogpossum on January 10, 2008 11:25 AM in the category academia and brisbane and fillums and television

January 9, 2008



And, because it's not all want, I'm quite enjoying the Loose Marbles CD the lovely D sent me. Check out their version of 'When I get low I get high' (yes, a drug reference, yes one of the bestest songs evah). You can hear and watch them here, playing one of my favourite songs, 'Four or Five Times', heading towards the version I most prefer (a la the McKinney's Cotton Pickers). The lyrics?

Four or Five times - McKinney's Cotton Pickers, 1928
I'm never about,
Just keep a-strolling,
Keep the ball a-rolling,

This isn't a boast
But what i like most
Is to have someone true
Who will love me too,
four or five times.

Four or five times
Four or five times
there is delight in doing things right
four or five times
[four or five times]

Maybe I'll sigh,
Maybe I'll cry,
And if I die,
I'm gonna try...
four or five times.

We like to play
We like to sing
We like to go scedadilah do
Four or five times.

Bibop one
Bibop two
bibop three
Four or five times

Yes, sure, ok!
Yes. ! !

Four or five times,
Four or five times,
There is delight,
In doing things right,
Four or five times.

There's a bunch of scatting in there I couldn't transcribe, but you get the point.
Oh, and yes, it's all about double entendre, yet again.

I love this song a whole lot, especially this version, though I never get to play it (too old, too fast, to obscure for mainstream lindy hoppers). I do play a pretty fabulous 1930s version by Woody Herman and his Orchestra which always really rocks the dancers. It's a lot straighter and safer and very lindy hoppable, but still lots of fun.

There's a version by Jimmie Lunceford (c 1935) which gets a fair bit of play in Melbourne, and I do prefer it, musically, though it's lower energy than the Herman version. I play the Herman far more often than the Lunceford version. I also have a fully sick version by Lionel Hampton, which I never seem to play. I have no idea why not - it's freakin' awesome.

"want" was posted by dogpossum on January 9, 2008 6:09 PM in the category cat blogging and djing and objects of desire

January 3, 2008

i have nothing to do

and no energy even for made up jobs. It's 11.13 and I've been up for hours already. The less I have to do, the earlier I get up so the more time I can spend sitting (or wandering) about, staring aimlessly into space or blindly tapping my way through the internet. I keep thinking 'it's cooler - go out and take advantage of it' but I have no motivation.
I really don't have anything to do. Well, I have a book review to do - but it's not due til March. I haven't read the book, but I've begun it and pretty much know how it'll turn out. I have thought about making a conference paper into a journal article, but I lack inspiration. Or motivation. The thesis needs to become a book, quite soon, but you know what? I just can't be arsed. Sewing? Hm, whatever. Fiddling with my music? Nah. The garden is weeded and mulched and happy on its own. The house isn't too dirty.

Smells like post-holiday dumps.

We had a very nice time in Hobart. Nice weather (mostly), nice visit, nice festivus. We have to go up to Brisvegas for a funeral this week, which won't be nice, but hopefully it'll be ok. I haven't been back in seven years. I'm not really looking forward to it. As The Squeeze says, We Don't Go Back.
I have no plans for this year. I do have some sessional teaching lined up, possibly some lecturing, but I lack enthusiasm.
I have been doing some serious long stitching lately. Is that what it's called? Where you do looong stitches across the canvas. Feels like cheating to me. I'm a tapestry person (when I can be arsed with canvas work), and all those long stitches feel like cheating. There are a couple of fancier knots and things, but still. We've been watching Hornblower DVDs compulsively since christmas. Dad, The Squeeze and I would take over the lounge room and giant telly and watch them in Hobart. We brought them home with us and lay on the couch watching a welshy annunciate his way through the Napoleonic wars through that latest hot spell. We have a bunch of Sharpes to get us through this weekend's heat.
I've also been watching some other DVDs. Got Shameless season 1 from The Squeeze, and it's great. All watched, though. Good thing there are four seasons (I think). Have also made my way through three Spike Lee films lately - Clockers, Do The Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Clockers was the only one I hadn't seen, and it was ok. Bit preachy, really. I know that's Lee's thing, but I prefer the sermon cloaked with a little story telling. There were some nice wanky narrative tipups in there, but not all that amazing, really. But I do like Lee's fillums. Crooklyn is my favourite, though. Of course. Though I quite liked Summer of Sam.
We saw Darjeeling Limited at the Kino this week. It was neat. I love that man's fillums. I love them very much. We also saw The Golden Compass in Hobart. It was neat. We have plans to see I Am Legend, but I am suspecting some serious crap. That actor sucks bums and I bet there are some failures to explain basic historical and practical points. Electricity? Rotting bodies? A man who has to explore and hunt through a city using a treadmill to keep fit? Excuse me, mate, but subsistence living will strip the pounds from you to the point where you'll be too busy for moping about on a treadmill. Is anyone else thinking Z For Zacharia here?
Speaking of which, what was it with all those fucking horrible post-apocalyptic, WWII, holocaust books we read at school? As a keen reader I was either thoroughly bored or thoroughly traumatised by the crap we read at school. Why not a nice, encouraging book about happy things? Maybe they figured all we northern suburb, working class public school types needed a bit of buck-up-man-ship.

Ok, so back to me and my malaise. Is malaise the right word? I feel slothful. Lazy. Unproductive. Apathetic. Guilty for having nothing to do. No serious work on the horizon. And any way, what should I research now? What should I write about? I really can't think of anything. It's like I've used up all my creativity with that PhD. I guess I'm looking forward to teaching - I always learn a lot and get all inspired and creative with my teaching. Pity it doesn't leave me enough time to write anything. Guess I'd better get over that quick smart, though.
I am a miserable old poo. Guess I should get out and get some exercise. Give myself a bit of a happy endorphine injection. Bah humbug.

"i have nothing to do " was posted by dogpossum on January 3, 2008 11:13 AM in the category dogpossum