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January 29, 2010

danny polo

Posted by dogpossum on January 29, 2010 7:37 PM | Comments (0)

This Danny Polo album The Complete Sets - London 1937-1938 & Paris 1939 plus The Embassy Rhythm Eight 1933 was brought to my attention by the twitter jazznicks, and it's pretty neat. Polo was a British musician. As per usual, the emusic track details are less than awesome, so I spent some time in the library getting details from the discographies. But only for the songs I've bought. Here they are:

Doing The Gorgonzola Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (Philippe Brun, Alix Combelle, Garland Wilson, Una Mae Carlsile, Oscar Aleman, Lojis Vola, Jerry Mengo) 30 Jan 1939 Paris

Don't Try Your Jive On Me Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (George Chisholm, Norman Brown, Tommy McQuater, Eddi Macauley, Dick Ball, Dudley Barber) 11 Jan 1938 London

He's A Ragpicker The Embassy (Rhythm) Eight (Max Goldberg, Lew Davi, Danny Polo, Billy Amstell, Bert Barnes, Joe Brannelly, Dick Ball, Max Bacon) 1 February 1935 London

Money For Jam Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (Tommy McQuater, Sid Raymond, Eddie Macauley, Eddie Freeman, Dick Ball, Dudley Barber) 1 October 1937 London

Move Than Somewhat Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (Tommy McQuater, Sid Raymond, Eddie Macauley, Eddie Freeman, Dick Ball, Dudley Barber) 1 October 1937 London

Stratton Street Strut Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (Tommy McQuater, Sid Raymond, Eddie Macauley, Eddie Freeman, Dick Ball, Dudley Barber) 1 October 1937 London

That's A - Plenty Danny Polo and his Swing Stars (Tommy McQuater, Sid Raymond, Eddie Macauley, Eddie Freeman, Dick Ball, Dudley Barber) 1 October 1937 London

Once again, Paris is important.
And 1937.
Note Una Mae Carlisle in the Paris session - she played piano there.

"danny polo" was posted in the category digging and music

October 21, 2009

rhythm rascals

Posted by dogpossum on October 21, 2009 6:49 PM | Comments (0)


I've just discovered the Rhythm Rascals (c/o the very excellently helpful Peter Loggins) and they're GREAT.

The site is not.

But I thoroughly recommend picking up a copy of Futuristic Jungelism if you like seriously hot 1930s washboard jazz. It'll blow your pants off.

"rhythm rascals" was posted in the category cat blogging and digging and lindy hop and other dances and music

October 19, 2009

adventures with badass sistahs in outer space: olivia dunham

Posted by dogpossum on October 19, 2009 9:43 PM | Comments (1)

I love SF telly. I love it. I watch every SF program, just in case. I also like supernatural, fantasy and general make believe stuff.
But I tend to have less patience with programs that do not have good female characters. I make exceptions for programs like Supernatural which explore male characters and masculinity in new ways.
I love all trashy vampire telly. I can't help it. It's a sickness.

I did my honours thesis on female violence in action film, and I'm still interested in the way women and violence and, more importantly, women's violence are depicted in mainstream film and television. While I was doing this honours project I came across an article which basically argued that straight-to-video releases (ie B films) were often more transgressive in terms of representations of gender than mainstream or A films. I am really interested in this idea. This is partly how I justify my passion for B telly. Partly. But I also think it's true. Telly that doesn't gain broadcast telly release, doesn't make it to prime time, or even make it to Australian television tends to be where I find the most interesting gender stuff. It's as though being B gives you a little freedom to explore different types of characters.

I gain access to these programs through the internet, and through video shops. Video shops are actually very important. DVD releases of even the most B programs has given me access to some of the most wonderfully un-top-shelf television. Accessing these programs this way (rather than via broadcast telly) means that I tend to watch them in a block, rather than one episode-per-week. I binge view. This changes the way that I read these programs. It makes me more likely to read the meta-arc, the larger story. I tend to regard individual episode stories as pieces of a whole, rather than as discrete texts. Even when the program is very 'monster of the week' (as most SF is, particularly in its first season).

I find out about these programs via websites like io9. I use wikipedia extensively to clear up plot points I haven't understood or to follow up characters and add-on texts like comics. I also use imdb for details about directors, actors and so on. I like to talk about these programs with other people, but I don't particularly want to sit down and dissect them for hours. This was something I used to do with Buffy when I was at school. These days I quite like to share programs and to mention them, or to share add-on texts, but I'm really only interested in watching them. I do talk about them with my partner when we're watching. But only the programs he's also interested in.

My PhD dissertation involved a lot of research into fan studies and methodologies and theories involved in researching fan cultures. I am self-reflexive about most of my talk about these SF telly shows. I am interested in issues of gender and class and sexuality and race and ethnicity.... and all that good identity stuff. But I am also interested in questions about technology and machinery, wider questions about humanity. But, really, gender is where it's at; all that other shit is inflected by this. And, as somebody clever said once, I'll be a post-feminist when we live in a post-patriarchy. Gender issues are so central to SF culture and texts, it's ridiculously self-deceiving to try to ignore them.

This is just one post about one character (mostly) that I like. I'll try to write other posts about other characters. And perhaps about this program in more detail. But don't count on it; I'm slack.
Because I tend to watch a number of programs at one time, and am also reading SF all the time, I tend to read intertextually. Well, of course I do. We all do. But this is one of my particular pleasures; I like to imagine characters from different programs meeting. I like exploring the industrial connections between programs - how could the director of Veronica Mars move to Moonlight and what happens when Mark Mothersbaugh does the music for Big Love. Oh - I also read and watch across genres. I'm reading lots of dodgy supernatural romances most of the time, and always reading Tanya Huff; I'm watching programs like Vampire Diaries and, of course, Blood Ties.
So when I'm watching these programs I'm not only reading the text in front of me, I'm also thinking intertextually, I'm thinking about modes and industries of production, and I'm paying attention to audiences and modes of reception. And the communities which tie them all together.

And I re-watch and re-read on a massive scale.

I also do some sessional teaching at various universities. I exploit this role by pushing the television I love on young, vulnerable middle class kiddies. I do, unapologetically and with great verve, present these programs in a feminist light. I have no - as in zero - tolerance for anti-feminist arguments from my classes. I will listen to them and then dismiss them as they deserve. I aim to indoctrinate a generation of students. They will be feminist and they will value SF.

They can just suck it up or fail.

So here's some stuff about Olivia Dunham. Main character of Fringe. All-round badass sistah. Mos def.

First, watch this:

That's a Fringe promo. The blonde is Olivia Dunham.

I'm really liking the character Olivia Dunham in Fringe. I especially liked her in the first season of the program. Why?

She's a crack shot. She is really, really good with a gun.
She's a good fighter. She wins most fights, and when she doesn't win, it's only because her opponent is, I dunno - a car or something.
She's super clever and figures things out. There are lots of things to figure out in Fringe.
She's a good explainer. Because she's a good figure-er-outer, she often has to explain things to other characters. Usually her male partner Charlie, but also quite often her boss.
She listens and thinks and listens again. She's not always flapping her lips, yapping. She's listening.
She's a good runner and jumper.
She's very gentle and patient with Walter, who's not only a habitual drug user (and abuser) but a mentally unwell older man who's been quite seriously damaged by his time in an institution. She listens to him and pays attention to him; she doesn't patronise him. She protects him when he needs it (and when he asks), but she is also willing to let him take care of himself.
She used to be a prosecutor in the military. She investigated and then prosecuted a middle aged white man who later became her boss. He was charged with sexually assaulting a number of women. When he became her boss, he sought revenge on her through systematic harassment. She didn't take that crap; she kept on being a badass agent. She didn't martyr herself; she called him on his bullshit. Her usual boss was this bad boss's friend. At first he didn't want to like Olivia because of this. Eventually he figured out Olivia was a gun, and that his friend was crap. Then he became a better boss. Olivia kept on being a gun, regardless.
She's willing to tell bosses off if they need it. She's also prepared to listen and to admit she was wrong.
She really likes her sister and her little niece.
She had good, solid, platonic relationships with her male coworkers. There is never even the intimation of sexual tension between her and (the awesome) Charlie. They are partners in the truest sense. He has a wife he loves and Olivia is busy being... Olivia.
She operates in an all-male world - the FBI (or is it CIA? Whatevs - some institution) - but she is aware of gender issues and articulates them. Most especially in her dealings with the bad boss. But she also makes comments about men in positions of power who can't handle assertive women. She has one great line in the first season about how the men around her (especially her male boss) aren't listening to her because she's 'getting emotional, just like a woman'. And then she says something, very sternly, about how she is getting emotional, because this is emotional stuff, and that this emotion is making her a better agent. Olivia is not only calling the men around her on their mysogynist bullshit, she's also reworking the role of 'great agent' to incorporate a range of characteristics not traditionally located in the male arse.
And she is a fully sick agent.

Throughout season one she is the main character. She is the centre of stories, and as the agent in charge, she is also boss of the cases they work. She's the one to call the lab and tell them to get their gear and come investigate something gross. This changes a little in season two, and she is set up as something of a victim (recovering from a 'car accident'), but this is changing. We are at about episode four, and she's already back on her feet and kicking arse. Peter has taken on a more managerial role in the group, and the 'Fringe division' has officially been disbanded. Charlie has [SPOILER] died [/SPOILER], which sucks arse, but I'm dealing. So Olivia's status has shifted. But this is ok, as Peter's character has only slowly been working away from 'carer' for Walter and 'general slacker' towards some sort of three dimensional personhood. He's also finally realising his abilities as an investigator type person. In other words, his character is gradually being fleshed out. I worry that he'll become Olivia's partner (in the sense of FBI ness and in the romantic sense), but I don't see this happening any time soon.

I really like Olivia because I don't worry about her. She's kind of superhuman, but only in the way we expect our SF protagonists to be. She gets scraped and banged and shot occasionally, but it doesn't stop her winning. Sure, she's kind of a paragon of all things awesome, but this is as it should be in SF. She is, however, flawed. And [SPOILER] probably partly psychic and awesome because she was experimented on as a kid. But she has begun dealing with this history and is assimilating and coming to terms with its effects in a phenomenally healthy way. Which in itself is a bit worrying.

Olivia is an impossible woman. An impossible character. But this is as it should be in SF. This is how SF protagonists are: they are strong and brave and clever. Cleverness is important. She is conventionally attractive, but she doesn't wear booby shirts or stupid shoes. She can run like a badass mofo and she likes suits. Just like the male agents around her. She wears her hair tied back in a piggy tail, or she wears a sensible black beanie. She doesn't wear much make up. She is conventionally attractive. But so are most protagonists.

I <3 Olivia.


Olivia isn't the only woman character in Fringe worth loving. I also love Astrid, who's the agent assigned to working with Walter in his lab.

Astrid is also awesome.
She has a degree in cryptography, another in computer stuff (or is that a double major) and she's got some sort of medical training (well, she does now). She loves cryptography. As in, she's a nerd for it. And she loves computers.
She's also an agent.
She calls Walter on his bullshit, including his inability to remember her name (which we suspect is a ploy on Walter's part). She won't let him (or anyone else) forget that she is actually a badass agent as well.
She deals with Walter's gross dissections and experiments very matter of factly.
She runs errands and also has some badass ninja agent skills.
She veers into 'servant territory' every now and then, which is particularly worrying as she's African American. But these little deviations are usually addressed: Astrid will call bullshit on Walter's behaviour and regularly refuses tasks she feels cross the boundary from professional assistance to nurse maiding.
She is super smart.
She and Olivia talk regularly about things other than men. They often figure out puzzles together.
She is fond of Walter and also deals with his mental illness and fragile personality gently, yet without patronising him. She does not take on a carer role; she is, if nothing else, Walter's lab assistant.

Nina Sharp is another important female character in Fringe. She's the CEO of Massive Dynamic, a sort of super-corporation specialising in technology. A bit like Skynet Cyberdyne Systems, but awesomer. She admires Olivia greatly and has tried to recruit her to Massive Dynamic a number of times. She and Olivia have a refreshingly realistic relationship; they deal with each other as professionals. They do not have the sort of antagonistic rivalry alpha women are usually given in SF... in telly.They talk to each other about plenty of things besides men. They often talk about technology together. And science.
Nina Sharp is middle aged.
Nina Sharp has a bionic arm and a clear glass ipod thingy. She is way cool with technology generally. This is one middle aged woman who is not relegated to earth mother status; she is technology, economic and industrial power and smarts.

I love Olivia the most, though. I love the way she stops and thinks about things. I love the way she can fighty fight. I love it that though she might, one day be interested in Peter romantically, that day is waaaaaay off in the future, and for now she's busy being a badass. He thinks she's neat. He might think she's neat in a romantic way, but for now he just thinks she's a badass and he wants to be her partner, I think.

So I love Olivia Dunham. And this is why I can watch Fringe.

PS: I'll try to add some more pics to this later, when I can figure out how to do it in this new version of MT without opening a new stupid window every time.

EDIT: I had to add this link to a drawing Jasika Nicole (the actor who plays Astrid) drew of herself.

"adventures with badass sistahs in outer space: olivia dunham" was posted in the category academia and buffy and angel and digging and fringe and teaching and television and veronica mars

October 11, 2009

recent emusicing

Posted by dogpossum on October 11, 2009 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

Jim Cullum Jazz Band Chasin' the Blues. Just a few songs from this album, mostly because I'm a bit over this New Orleans revival sound. This album is really pretty freakin good, though. These are all live performances, and they rock. Their version of 'Bugle Call Rag' is lots of fun.

Each month I pick up a couple of songs from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This time from Shake That Thing. I like the shouty, live-ish feel of their stuff.

Bill Coleman in Paris 1936-1938. This isn't something new. The recordings feature some top gun musicians: Stéphane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, etc etc. I picked up this entire album.

Some Joe Liggins from the 1946-1948 Classics collection and the 1944-46 collection. This is solid jump/rhythm n blues stuff which I tend to put in the same category as Louis Jordan. Not exactly awesome lindy hopping action, but great fun nevertheless.

A couple of things from Celebrating Bix!. This has some pretty shit-hot musicians on it. I was following Vince Giordano around emusic and found this. More revival stuff.

The problem with this revival stuff is that it often lacks the fire of the originals - it's technically pretty amazing, it's clean, it's crisp, but it can often feel a little sanitised. Too perfect.

"recent emusicing" was posted in the category digging and music

August 24, 2009

midnight serenaders and janet klein

Posted by dogpossum on August 24, 2009 4:50 PM | Comments (0)

mssn.jpg I am currently extremely nuts for the Portland band Midnight Serenaders' album Sweet Nothin's (even though I'm unsure about that inverted comma in the title).
I bought the album from emusic this month and have been listening to it over and over. I played three songs from it at the after party I DJed on Saturday (though the first was to an empty room as I tested the sound gear): Swing Brother, Swing, Sweet Nothin's and Who Walks in When I Walk Out?. They all went down a treat.

msm.jpg I really like this band: some of the musicians have bluegrass/jugband/ole timey roots, some jazz, and the steel guitarist used to be in Helmet. The female singer plays the ukelele, an instrument I have mixed feelings about. I'm not keen on the Aussie folky/community ukelele sound, but I do like it in an Hawaiian, jazznick context. I'm also fond of the way this band combines the 'street jazz' sound that's very popular with some American dancers atm (a la the Loose Marbles, Cangalossi Cards, etc) with a more sophisticated studio mix. They also remind me of the Hot Club of Cowtown, which can only be an awesomely good thing.

I haven't bought their other album Magnolia, yet, but it's only a matter of time.

I've also just bought some songs from Janet Klein's second album Ready For You which has a similar style, but leans a little more heavily on the cutsey recreation of 20s girl singers. Klein has other albums, but I'm not so struck on the Paradise Wobble album on emusic, which is mostly vocals and ukele. I prefer Klein with the band balancing out the cutesy with some badass instrumental action.
I played That's What You Think from Ready For You at that same after party, and it also went down a treat.

Though I have a feeling both these albums will work with dancers, I'm pretty sure the after party was kind of a loaded option: this was a crowd of post-ball dancers with a couple of drinks under their belts and a serious interest in part-aying. The presence of a few Melbourne dancers also reminded me of the seriously slow average tempos in Sydney - come on, gang, let's get lindy hopping!

EDIT: I just bought Magnolia from the Midnight Serenaders, via CDBaby's downloads. It was supercheap ($9.99 US/$11.92 AU) and supereasy... which isn't a good thing for our bank account... The little I've heard of the album is fuuuully sick.

"midnight serenaders and janet klein" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

June 20, 2009

i love una mae carlisle

Posted by dogpossum on June 20, 2009 8:04 PM

umc.jpg and I always have. One of my very first 'jazz' albums was a crappy compilation of 'blues singers' and it featured a version of Blitzkrieg Baby by Una Mae Carlisle. I like her attitude. I like her voice. I like it that in her duet with Fats on 'I can't Give You Anything But Love' she gives as good as she gets from him. Checking out my emusic Chron Classics purchases in the discographies, I realised that she was playing with some seriously badass musicians, and that's no doubt why her recording seriously rock.

For those of you who've also bought stuff from emusic and don't have details (liner notes! want!), I've added what I have below. Musicians to look out for: Fats (of course), Zutty Singleton, John Kirby, Lester Young, Buster Bailey, Charlie Shavers, Ray Nance... and more! No wonder these recordings rock the kasbah!

Don't Try Your Jive On Me (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:52 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
I Would Do Anything For You (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:57 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Hangover Blues (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:52 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Love Walked In (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:38 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Mean To Me (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:40 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby (05-20-38) Una Mae Carlisle with Dave Wilkins, Bertie King, Alan Ferguson, Len Harrison, Hymie Schneider 1938 2:41 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby (11-03-39) Fats Waller and his Rhythm with Una Mae Carlisle 1939 2:57 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Now I Lay Me Down To Dream (08-02-40) Una Mae Carlisle with John Hamilton, Albert Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones 1940 3:05 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Papa's In Bed With His Britches On (08-02-40) Una Mae Carlisle with John Hamilton, Albert Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones 1940 2:42 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
If I Had You (08-02-40) Una Mae Carlisle with John Hamilton, Albert Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones 1940 3:27 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
You Made Me Love You (08-02-40) Una Mae Carlisle with John Hamilton, Albert Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones 1940 2:55 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Walkin' By The River (11-03-40) Una Mae Carlisle with Benny Carter, Everett Barksdale, Slam Stewart, Zutty Singleton 1940 3:05 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
I Met You Then, I Know You Now (11-03-40) Una Mae Carlisle with Benny Carter, Everett Barksdale, Slam Stewart, Zutty Singleton 1940 2:53 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Blitzkrieg Baby (03-10-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Shad Collins, Lester Young, Clyde Hart, John Collins, Nick Fenton, Hal West 1941 3:22 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Beautiful Eyes (03-10-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Shad Collins, Lester Young, Clyde Hart, John Collins, Nick Fenton, Hal West 1941 3:04 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
They'll Be Some Changes Made (03-10-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Shad Collins, Lester Young, Clyde Hart, John Collins, Nick Fenton, Hal West 1941 2:45 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
It's Sad But True (03-10-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Shad Collins, Lester Young, Clyde Hart, John Collins, Nick Fenton, Hal West 1941 3:31 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
I See A Million People (05-01-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1941 3:04 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Oh I'm Evil (05-01-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1941 2:25 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
You Mean So Much To Me (05-01-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1941 2:51 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
The Booglie Wooglie Piggy (05-01-41) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1941 2:42 Complete Jazz Series 1938 - 1941
Don't Tetch It! (02-13-42) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1942 2:21 Complete Jazz Series 1941 - 1944
So Long, Shorty (02-13-42) Una Mae Carlisle with Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey, Russell Procope, Billy Kyle, John Kirby, O'Neil Spencer 1942 2:30 Complete Jazz Series 1941 - 1944
Tain't Yours (05-23-44) Una Mae Carlisle with Ray Nance, Budd Johnson, Snags Allen, Bass Robinson, Shadow Wilson 1944 2:53 Complete Jazz Series 1941 - 1944
I'm A Good, Good, Woman (05-23-44) Una Mae Carlisle with Ray Nance, Budd Johnson, Snags Allen, Bass Robinson, Shadow Wilson 1944 2:50 Complete Jazz Series 1941 - 1944
I Like It, 'Cause I Love You (05-23-44) Una Mae Carlisle with Ray Nance, Budd Johnson, Snags Allen, Bass Robinson, Shadow Wilson 1944 3:06 Complete Jazz Series 1941 - 1944

"i love una mae carlisle" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

even more recent emusic adventures

Posted by dogpossum on June 20, 2009 6:35 PM | Comments (1)

Here, Trev - this is what I've been downloading from emusic lately.
Btw everyone else, if you're at all interested, then you can find me on emusic as dogpossum and check out exactly what I've been downloading.

Someone recommended Duke Heitger's Krazy Kapers on HeyMrJesse recently, and while I'll definitely pick that up at some point (you really should try JBM if you haven't - fabulous (really fabulous) range of music, delivered old-school, by snailmail), I went straight to emusic to see if I could get some instant satisfaction.

I found Rhythm Is Our Business by Duke Heitger And His Swing Band . Isn't that a scary here-comes-some-second-rate-neo! cover? But the album is actually quite good. I downloaded just one song - 'Murder he says' - because it's a strangely addictive version. I plan on DJing that tonight.

Here's the Betty Hutton version:

There is a Tori Amos version (from that crappy film 'Mona Lisa Smiles') but I wouldn't recommend it. In fact, it's the sort of shit you hear the odd DJ play at swing events. For which they will go to DJing hell.

At any rate, I'm into Duke Heitger, and will chase up more of his stuff. Basically, he's a badass trumpeter who's doing recreationist swing. That album is really quite good. As good (if not better) than people like the Campus Five.

He also has another album on emusic, The Rosehill Concerts. I prefer this one - the energy's a little hotter, and it's a live recording, which always lends itself to funner, higher energy... well, nearly always. I've downloaded a few good songs for blues dancing and a really nice version of 'Christopher Columbus', but I'm going to see how the 12-song deal on emusic goes. This album does rock, but many of the songs are quite long, which can be a bit of a challenge for DJing, especially when the tempos are higher.

So, Duke Heitger = good find. Thanks that guy on HeyMrJesse (I think it was Marcello, but I'm not sure).

I've also downloaded about a million versions of 'On Revival Day', because it's a truly fabulous song. Searching for these, I came across a bloke called Bob Howard. I picked a few songs from his 1937-1947 Chronological Classic. He sounds a bit like Fats Waller, but a little straighter and not quite as good.

The best version is the Bessie Smith one. She is the freakin' shizzle.

But I have a Jimmie Noone version I quite like from The Complete Recordings vol2 disc 3. This isn't the most amazing music in the world, but I really like Noone - I love his playing style. This one is 279bpm and a little too rough for DJing too often. The Bob Howard is a bit slower and a bit better.

Another version I picked up is by Carrie Smith from When You're Down and Out (a Definitive Black and Blue). This is a little closer to the overplayed Lavern Baker version (from the Bessie Smith tribute album), but it's a bit faster. I like Carrie Smith - she has a big, shouting voice. This version has the irresistible handclaps that make you want to dance like a fool. I also downloaded 'Nobody wants you when you're down and out' from that album for blues dancing. It's nice. Smith has a lovely voice and a really nice style. Reminds me a bit of Alberta Hunter, but her voice isn't as damaged and she doesn't mug quite as much (which is a bit of a relief - Hunter can get a bit much sometimes).

What was with my interest in 'Revival Day'? Well, I've taken to playing it after 'Lavender Coffin' sometimes when I'm DJing. It's not the best stylistic transition, but I like the whole 'jeeeeezus!' vibe. I usually play the Lavern Baker one, but it's a bit annoying and overplayed. I will move to the Carrie Smith one. Or the Bessie Smith, depending on the crowd and the vibe. Bessie Smith's is really the very best - she has the biggest, baddest badass voice.

And, finally, I got a bunch of stuffs from The Sidney Bechet Society Jam Session Concert album. Mostly things for blues dancing, though. This was another one I found via HeyMrJesse.

The wonderful thing about the latest HeyMrJesse show (June 2009) was that it featured bands from the recent Frankie95 weekend. Are we drooling, much? YES! Jesse is (as per usual) a bit heavy on the groovier, shufflier sound, but then, that's his cup of tea. There is some really lovely action in there, though, so have a peek. A trumpet solo on the version of 'Basin Street Blues' on the Bechet Society album just moved The Squeeze to a sort of frenzied loungeroom thrash-dance, so it has to be good.

EDIT: I have to add this one other album I discovered. I'd heard early Louis Prima was quite hot and good, but this was the first I'd actually sampled:

Louis Prima volume 1. I only grabbed a couple of songs, but I did get a sweet, uptempo vocal version of 'Chasing Shadows'. I also grabbed 'Swing Me With a Rhythm', but I might go back for more, because it's nice. Not the best music in the world, but fun.

"even more recent emusic adventures" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

May 5, 2009

wingy manone

Posted by dogpossum on May 5, 2009 3:59 PM | Comments (1)


I've been downloading a bunch of Wingy Manone from emusic's Chron Classics/Complete Jazz collection. I thought I could keep away from him, but I can't. He played the trumpet in bands with all sorts of people in New Orleans, Chicago and New York.

This entry states:

Wingy Manone was a New Orleans trumpet player and vocalist who lost his right arm in a streetcar accident when he was ten years old. He wore a prosthetic arm while on stage performing and used it so well that many never noticed his disability.

Makes me wonder if they realise that it's not a disability if it's not impairing his abilities...

"wingy manone" was posted in the category digging and music

May 4, 2009

Marty Grosz and his Honoris Causa Jazz Band, Hooray for Bix!

Posted by dogpossum on May 4, 2009 1:09 PM | Comments (2)

Marty Grosz and his Honoris Causa Jazz Band, Hooray for Bix! Despite the scary album cover (this was released in 1957), there's some nice stuff on this album. I'm getting a bit tired of New Orleans revival bands (especially the ones from the 50s and later), but Marty Grosz is a guitarist, and this is reflected in the music - there's a little less emphasis on the brass. Well, comparatively speaking. I'm still not liking the shuffle rhythm from the drummer on some tracks (it's just NOT RIGHT for NO stuff), but there are a couple of songs I really quite like and will play for dancers. In an ideal world I'd stick to the originals, but some of those originals are really scratchy.

In an interesting turn of events, emusic is now releasing the Chronological Classics albums as well as the 'Complete Jazz Series' albums, though they seem to be the same albums. I'm not sure whether there's a sound quality difference, but even CC wasn't perfect sound quality - it's more for people who're looking to collect everything from an artist during a particular year. Which you can do with these series.

"Marty Grosz and his Honoris Causa Jazz Band, Hooray for Bix!" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

May 3, 2009

recent emusic adventures

Posted by dogpossum on May 3, 2009 8:41 PM | Comments (2)

My emusic account ticks over on the 19th, and I've managed to hang onto some of my downloads til today... and there are still some left! It's too easy to use them up, though, especially when you're an ob-con tempted with the option of 'going complete' with an achievable artist... such as Jimmie Noone or the McKinney's Cotton Pickers. But I find I really can't absorb much more than my download limit per month. Well, not if I also want to keep listening to my existing collection and knowing it well enough to DJ with any sort of competence.

But this is what I've downloaded recently:

Lavern Baker Sings Bessie Smith. Just a few songs. I had a couple of tracks from this already from compilations, but I noticed it'd been added to emusic lately (that 'music you might like' thingy is very convincing) and figured I'd download a few things. Namely 'Gimme a Pigfoot'. I've just come across a really slinky Billie Holiday version and thought I'd like the Baker one. And I do. She's no Bessie Smith, but she don't suck. There are moments, though, when I wish Baker'd follow through on her big, arse-kicking intros; she tends to back off a bit a few bars in. Bessie wouldn't.

Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 1941: The Complete Standard Transcriptions. Just a couple from here, but versions I didn't have. I've really enjoyed a few tracks from the Bob Crosby album in this series, and thought I'd give these a punt. Nice. No surprises, but slightly better quality than some versions of these I already have, and 'John Hardy' is a bit quicker (and snappier) than the one I had. Transcripts are interesting because they were recorded for the radio, some of them live. Digging through the discographies has made me realise just how important broadcast radio was to jazz and to music in the early days. Live broadcasts were de rigeur, and important to musicians' careers.

Jimmie Noone, Wingy Manone, Doc Cook and His 14 Doctors Of Syncopation, Andy Kirk and other scratchies. Mostly obsessing over these doods.

But I can never go past a little hifi or good quality saucy blues.

Big Mama Thornton's 'Ball n Chain'. Just the song 'Gimme a Penny'. Because that's all you need, really. Well, that and 'Hound Dog', because some skinny-arse white boy ain't got nothin' on this sister.

The Bluesville Years Volume 11: Blues Is A Heart's Sorrow (you don't need a photo for this one). I've downloaded various bits and pieces in this series. The quality is fab. The artists are amazing. The songs are super, excellently saucy. Not at all G-rated.

There are lots more, but this is the sort of thing I'm enjoying at the moment. Gotta go eat pizza now. :D

"recent emusic adventures" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

April 24, 2009

billie holiday and louis armstrong

Posted by dogpossum on April 24, 2009 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

This is a nice clip of Louis Armstrong (and amazing band) playing 'Dixie Music Man' from the 1947 film New Orleans.
The woman with the flowers in her hair is Billie Holiday. The band features Kid Ory, Bunny Berigan and Zutty Singleton (with others) - musicians I've been following through a range of bands lately.

Louis Armstrong - Dixie Music Man
Uploaded by zappata008

This clip was posted by Rayned on faceplant, and it's timely because I'm obsessed by Armstrong and Holiday at the moment. Yesterday I photocopied all the bits of the Discography referring to Holiday. I'm not going to even try that with Armstrong - there's an entire, huge book devoted to his recordings alone.

bh.jpeg It's fascinating to follow these guys through different bands. Both were really amazing musicians with a sense of swing that's really incomparable. You can pick Armstrong's trumpet in any recording, no matter how crappy and crackly. and Billie... her later stuff is really tricky to dance to because she's so clever with phrasing and timing. Sometimes she's so way, way back there behind the beat you're sure she's just about to be out of time completely. I like listening to the way she shapes a band when she's singing with them - with live recordings. She can work around a straight, uptight band and make them sound like they're actually hot. Same goes for Louis - these guys have a sense of timing that's impeccable. Like really good comedians.

('Fireworks', Louis Armstrong & His Hot 5 with Earl Hines, Zutty Singleton 1928)

For my money, Armstrong was really rocking with this small groups in the late 20s. This was a collection of great New Orleans jazz musicians, many of whom began with King Oliver, and most of whom moved on to Chicago and then New York (and further afield). I'm a massive fan of Kid Ory, but I'm also digging Zutty Singleton. I'm a bit of a nut for rhythm sections generally (I think it's because I listen to this stuff as a dancer), and Singleton just keeps popping up in the bands I like.

(That pic of the Armstrong Hot Five is from the Louisiana State Museum site, which is just fascinating.)

I was a little sceptical of the claims made about Armstrong's Hot fives and sevens until I actually sat down and listened to them in chronological order - after the stuff he did supporting singers like Bessie Smith (! powerhouse combo, much? An example: St Louis Blues 1925)), after his work with King Oliver. But before his Orchestra stuff of the 1930s (some of which is a bit dodgy, I've found). I'm not really interested in his stuff after the 50s (though I bet I'll change my mind on that too), and I really don't like 'Hello Dolly' and all that vocal rot. I quite like him doing nice, silky groovy duets with Ella Fitzgerald (many of which included Oscar Peterson), but my real interest in his music is in his late 20s and early 30s stuff when you really hear his approach to timing and nuance signaling musical change: the swing era's coming. But nobody else is really there yet.

(That pic of the Hot five to the right is from this interesting blog)
These Hot Five and Seven bands were really one of the the first real opportunities for Armstrong to experiment with music and musicians on his own terms in his own bands. I think the smaller group allows the sort of group or ensemble improvisation that you just can't keep under control with a big band. The best example of this sort of improvisation usually comes in the final chorus when it sounds as though everyone's doing their own thing (because they are), but are still working together, playing within a particular framework. That's the sort of thing I LOVE as a dancer and DJ because it reminds me of lindy hop - improvisation within structure. I love playing this sort of stuff for dancers because the energy suddenly leaps in that final chorus, and you can end a song (or a set) on a high energy point. I especially love Fats Waller for this. He might begin with a quieter song whose clever lyrics make you listen up carefully, but he ends with a loud, raucous shouting chorus that makes you bust out like a fool on the dance floor.

In a smaller group, Armstrong lets the musicians play in their own ways, but still works as the lynchpin in a fairly complicated musical machine. The ensemble improvisation allows each musician to shine with improvisation, but still maintains a sense of group or collaborative wholeness; it's not just random noise. The musicians were all amazing, including Louis Armstrong on trumpet, Lil Hardin (who became Lil Hardin Armstrong) on piano, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Kid Ory on trombone and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo. The band's membership changed a little, and the group also recorded as the Hot Seven (there are a range of other names for similar groupings, including a special Savoy small band). Additional musicians included Kid Ory (cornet), Lonnie johnson (guitar), Earl Hines (piano), Zutty Singleton (drums) and a few different vocalists (May Alix is one who catches my eye because she also did work with Jimmie Noone, who I love). The Hot Fives and Sevens recorded between 1925 and 1928 (you can read more about the Hot 5 here on

Just in case you're wondering where the Billie Holiday talk is...

I really like this recording of 'Fine and Mellow'. The musicians are, of course, amazing. It's from 1957, when Billie was already more than a little trashed by drugs and alcohol. But she really was a phenomenal singer. Even as her voice became more and more ragged, her technique and sense of music were indefatigable. The Decca collection liner notes mention that she was the sort of musician (or artist is the term I think they use) who used one or two takes to record songs. She could simply get it right the first time. As the liner notes say, she had an idea of how she was going to do the song, and then she did it. Holiday didn't have the length of career that Armstrong did (he was recording from 1923 (at least) til 1971), she had only a couple of decades), but her music spread from that hot, swinging jazz moment in the 30s and the pop/ballad/jazz feel of the 50s and 60s.

And of course, I've just written a post which presents the history of 'jazz' in terms of two 'artists'. But I think it's important to note that Armstrong's Hot Five were just that - five (or seven, or six) musicians working together. The collective improvisation is really important, this isn't the showcasing of solos of the swing era. This is a group of people working and listening together to make something together. Holiday's work as a vocalist was primarily as a response to the bands and musicians she was working with. Her close friendship with Lester Young is perhaps the best example. There's plenty of anecdotal (and evidence based) discussion of their musical collaboration as a process of listening to and learning from each other. Young is often quoted as being most inspired by vocalist's technique. Holiday is often referred to as emulating Young's saxophone technique. Their musical relationship was indubitably one of collaboration and mutual inspiration. After all, it's very difficult to be a jazz musician all on your own.

"billie holiday and louis armstrong" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music and research

March 26, 2009

i like pie

Posted by dogpossum on March 26, 2009 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

Here's a little round up:

Western Swing is ME.
I am currently in love with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. This is in preparation for the Hot Club of Cowtown tour next month. I saw them in the UK (at the Marlborough Jazz Fest) in 2004, and they were freakin' GREAT. The next week I saw Casey McGill's band at a dance camp and they told me that their bass player had absconded for the HCCT. I'm not sure whether that's a tragedy or an awesomey.

Bad foot is still ME.
My foot is still bung. I have been to see a podiatrist to strapped me up. That helped the first time, but not the second time. I am also doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in my calves/shin to help out my plantar fascia (ie so it's not overloaded). I am down to get orthotics next week, but they mightn't work. Basically, these fibroids in my foot are never going to go away and they can't be cut out. So I'm looking at pain management and impact reduction. I danced two half dances on the last weekend and it HURT. The problem is not so much the impact (which hurts and hurts normally), but the fact that there's pivoting and my foot actually twists when we do lots of turns and things. That's where the pain is at. It sucked to find out how much it still hurt, but at least I know where I'm at. Though I think I'd have preferred to continue in blissful (and hopeful) ignorance. If I can't dance again, I'm really not sure what I'm going to do. If it's not lindy hop, it could have been something else - I come from a long line of dancing, lumbering folk, and I can't fight my DNA. Perhaps I'll learn an instrument. Any suggestions? Maybe the drums? Bass? I did a lot of singing at school, but that was a long time ago.

Allergies are GO.
I am having trouble breathing and my ear is all glued up. Again. Still, I've had much less trouble with my health since I moved to Sydney, so I'm certainly not complaining. It is melaluca flowering season, and there goddamn paper barks all over every street in every inner city suburb in Australia, so I need to deal. Won't be long now, though, and I can come off the antihistamines.

Library is MINE.
I have been back to the Con's library this week. It is a joyful place. Though it is full of students, now, and that sucks. They're almost uniformly middle or upper class, supernerds and 70% male. Guess that's what a career in hardcore arty music requires. The jazz section was all dusty when I first got in there. Now it has at least some use. The refec near the library is SHITHOUSE. The actual room is quite nice - it has a lovely little stage (with nice piano), and would be perfect for a dance gig. The acoustics are magical. But the food is inedible. I was reduced to pre-made sandwiches. Most of the students in this (actually quite nice) mini-refec were eating packed lunches. There you go.

emusic is not all mine. Yet.
I am blowing through my emusic downloads ridiculously quickly. Even when I ration them. There're simply not enough.

Quickflix is suspended.
Since we moved to Sydney the DVDs have been slower to arrive, have almost always been terribly scratched, and we never get anything in the top 50 of our list. I have suspended our account until we've decided what to do. We're still on one of their unlimited DVD accounts, but I'm not sure it's worth it, as we only get about 3 a week, which isn't much better than getting 12 a month max, is it? The video shop here is pretty good, so we might just go old school. Though using a video shop means I have no natural limit on my DVD viewing.

Dr Who and Farscape rule my world.

Screw BSG with its upsetting gender politics and ridiculously FAILED science. I am all about rebooted Dr Who and Farscape. I didn't dig either the first time I saw them, and never really got past the first couple of episodes. Now I love them. Farscape passes the Bechdel Test. Dr Who does not. Rose + her mum. Talking about the Doctor. Though every now and then Rose gets to discuss a drama with another female character, there's not much woman-to-woman action. I think it's partly to do with the newer format - story arcs only last an episode, rather than a week's worth of episodes. There's not as much character development. And a bit too much kissing. I like Eccleston, but I'm not struck on Tennant. His bottom jaw sticks out too far. I liked Eccleston's big nose and ears a whole lot. And was the Doctor always this manic? I'll have to rewatch some old ones (I liked brown, curly haired, long-scarf, jelly baby Doctor best).

I am a crocheting demon.
I should post some pictures to prove it. But I love complicated afghan patterns, and have been compulsively crocheting as I watch my way through the Commonwealth's greatest contributions to popular culture. We went to Spotlight in Bondi Junction the other weekend so I could stock up on yarn. That joint was totally trashed on Saturday afternoon. I need another supplier; perhaps I could order online in bulk? The poor Squeeze is buried in gorgeously three dimensional flowers, in various combinations, so perhaps it's time to stop.

I am bike YAY!
Yesterday we rode down the Cook's River after work for a quick ride. It was overcast, humid and coming up a storm. It was great. The sun set over the river, we saw wildlife, we dodged nonnas out walking and talking and planned a longer down-stream walk for a future date. This river goes to Botany Bay, you know.

I am still dealing with the fact that we live in Sydney.
I'm surprised by the historical weight I'm carrying in Sydney. It's like all these suburbs and places are full of all the post-Invasion history of this country. Every bit of history I remember has something to do with Sydney. And most of it is narrated by songs from the Peter Coomb's song book which delighted so many good little Australians in the 1980s.

Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-attidy,
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-ay,
Singing too-ra-li-oo-ra-li-attidy,
And we're bound for Botany Bay.

I'm sure that that song has celtic roots as well. One of the strangest moments of my post-MA European travel was being shut in at a Cornish pub where a heap of drunken ... Corns? Cornishpeople? sang one of those sorts of 'traditional Australian songs'. But with celtic names. My Irish grandfather used to sing The Wild Colonial Boy. So even though I'm caught up in all this Australian music, it's just as Irish as the American folk music I dig.

I did arrive in Australia in 1982, straight into rural Wagga Wagga, so moving to New South Wales is far more familiar than moving to Melbourne did in 2001. The humidity is lovely. It's not as heinous as Brisbane's, but it's nicer and wetter than Melbourne. And my skin loves it. The Squeeze declared last night, as we rode up the hill towards the lightning and iron-grey sky: "Moving here was the best thing we've done!" He's delighted by the tropical storms. So am I - I've missed them. There's something wonderful about a good, heavy-like-a-hot-shower rainstorm, complete with lighting and crashing thunder. Far, far better than drizzly, wingey bastard Melbourne weather. Even if it didn't rain, it'd be cloudy and overcast forever. I don't miss that shit. Though I'm thinking the Victorians are.

Dollhouse sucks arse, Pushing Daisies is delightful.
That's it in a nutshell, really. I'm not impressed by DH.
1. The FBI/BSG guy is a crap actor. He's so crap I can hardly watch him on screen. That scene in the last episode where he and the 'dead wife' DH client chatted in the kitchen? It was so, so, so bad. I groaned. I gnashed my teeth.

2. The opening credits are incredibly, crappily bullshit.

3. I'm still not entirely sure about the gender stuff. There's an awful lot of talk about the women 'dolls' as sexualised bodies. And though there're references to their missions which don't involve sex, we spend a lot of time looking at them having sex or wearing very high heels or tight, booby shirts, or generally packing a whole lot of very conventional, bullshit femininity. It's a bit too Alias for me, but with less self-determination on their part. I had hoped there'd be a clever twist to undo some of this, but I'm beginning to lose hope. Joss Whedon is hyped, but, really, Buffy was his pinacle. I didn't mind Serenity (look, I'm losing the italics, ok?), but it wasn't great. The film wasn't great cinema. The series wasn't that good - a little too heavy on the patriarchal family structure for my liking. Yes, I get the whole male captain/father parallel, and that Mal might perhaps have been overcompensating for his wartime mistakes with other people's lives, but still... Actually, it takes Buffy an awful long time to lose her patriarch. I've rewatched a bit of season 5 lately, and she's STILL got Giles there, Watchering. So perhaps Buffy isn't so great either... God, if this is the best we can do, this string of compromises.
Anyways, I'm not impressed by DH

4. Did I mention the terrible acting by FBI guy?

Pushing Daisies, though, is wonderful.
It's charming. It's clever. It's lovely to look at. Its visual style has a lot in common with Tim Burton's brighter, more colourful stuff. It's a bit surreal and hyper-colour, but not dark like Burton. Well, except for the premise of the series: the pie maker protagonist can bring dead things back to life. For a minute. If he touches them within that minute, they go back to being dead. If he doesn't, they stay alive and something has to replace them in the deadness. The point of the series: Emerson Cod (finally, a show with a not-white central character!), a private detective, works with the Pie Maker to solve murders. For profit. Pie Maker brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, back to life in one of the earliest eps, so they can't touch. They love each other. The other main character is Olive, who, by the end of season two, is the very best character.

Why do I like this program?
1. The hyper-colour, phantastical mise en scene.

2. Passes Bechdel Test.
3. Olive. With her pet pig Pigby.

4. The male protagonist is a pie maker. There's a lot of talk about food and baking pies and comfort food. It's very lush. Here, have a look.
5. The singing scenes. Olive sings a couple of songs. One of which is 'Eternal Flame'. Yes, a Bangles singing scene. The other is 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. It's wonderful.
Also, there's singing.
6. Chuck's spinster aunts (who raised her) are cheese fans and also used to be synchronised swimming super stars: Darling Mermaid Darlings. One has an eye patch.
7. Most of all, I love the dialogue. It's very, very wordy. Lots of fast talking. But it's all puns and onomatapeia (sp?) and all those other lovely wordnerd things. It looks good, it sounds good, and it's funny. It makes me giggle.
8. It's not horrid. There are some pretty gross deaths, but it's not upsetting. Most of the programs I like these days are horribly dark. But Pushing Daisies is not. It's lovely. The Pie Maker and Chuck love each other. Olive is tiny and super tough and awesome. She can bake pies or solve crimes. She's great.
9. I watch it before bed, when I'm tired, and it helps me get to sleep. It's nice.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it was cancelled before the end of its second season. Apparently they're screening the finale in the US in their summer, so at least we'll get that degree of closure. But still. It's really great telly. Here's the first bit to prove it:

"i like pie" was posted in the category bikes and crafty bastard and digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music and sydney and television

February 25, 2009

i have a thing for early 20th century australiana

Posted by dogpossum on February 25, 2009 4:56 PM | Comments (0)


We went to see the modernism exhibition at the Powerhouse a little while ago. Well, we actually went to have a look at The Museum, and this exhibition was on. It was, overall, dull. And not terribly well curated, I don't think. But it had some fully sick stuffs in it. I was, of course, captured by the 20s stuff. But also by the late 19th century bits.
I have the beginnings of a full blown Thing for olden days Australiana. I like the stylised kangaroos. Flipping through a design/architecture magazine at the sports specialist a little while ago, I was struck by the set and prop design for the ill-fate Lurhman 'Australia'. Gorgeous. There's something about the super-kitchness of Australian animals (with their utterly bizarre physiology) done up by art deco or modernism (don't really know the difference between the two, I'm afraid). I like the way the bizarre is made streamlined and beautiful. The way a kangaroo is styled up like a greyhound.

"i have a thing for early 20th century australiana" was posted in the category digging

January 19, 2009

mercy dee walton's Pity And A Shame and mildred anderson's No More In Life

Posted by dogpossum on January 19, 2009 6:05 PM | Comments (0)


Finally, my emusic month rolled over, and there was goodness to be had. Unfortunately 50 songs doesn't go that far when you have a wish list as long as mine. At the moment that list is divided equally between spankin' olden days jazz from the 20s and 30s and saucy hi-fi blues from the 50s and 60s. Well, actually, the list is weighted towards the olden days stuff. Because I just can't get enough of the Chronological Classics - it's a little bit exciting to have them available.

Mercy Dee Walton's Pity and a Shame is making me very happy. Hi-fi 60s blues, piano + harmonica + vocals. Kind of sparse instrumentally, but with a big, fat hi-fi sound. Perfect for blues dancing. Also, fixing my need for saucy blues.


Mildred Anderson's No More In Life

This woman has an amazing voice. I'm also enjoying the superior quality of these recordings: stereo! It's been a long time since I bought something in stereo. It's a bit exciting. And caught be my surprise, the first time something different came out of the second speaker. Both are from the Fantasy/Prestige label on emusic. This is some special stuff.

I'm also thinking of both these with blues dancing in mind. Not mine (as I am still MIA with fuckingshit injury), but other people's.

You know, it's actually a lot easier finding music for blues dancers. The time period is looser - I'm working between the 20s and the current day, though I'm heavier in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. There was just such a wealth of nice, fat blues action recorded. The swinging stuff I need for lindy hop (mostly late 20s, 30s and 40s, with some time in the 50s) is a lot harder to find, and it's also a lot trickier to judge the quality. Quality as in recording quality, but also (and more importantly) quality for actual dancing. Perhaps my standards are just lower for blues dancing. Or perhaps Australian blues dancers just have lower expectations of their DJs. At any rate, with all this lovely blues music available (and relatively easy to find - both online and in music shops), why is it that we have to listen to bullshitty 'blues fusion', trance, etc at blues dances? I know other people are into it, but it just shits me. If I wanted that action, I'd go listen to some decent DJing by hardcore trance/fusion DJs who really knew their shit. And I wouldn't be dancing the naff blues partner dancing to that shiz. No way.

... I guess I'm a little cranky about this stuff at the moment - I can't dance to anything, so it's horrible watching people waste their lucky dancingness on bullshit music.


I am cranky.

"mercy dee walton's Pity And A Shame and mildred anderson's No More In Life" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

January 12, 2009

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

Posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2009 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

This is how I danced at sharon Jones and the Dap Kings last night:

...well, I would have if we weren't mashed in like sardines. Even though I'm still injured, that's how I would have danced. If I'd had room.

It was great. The Ray Mann 3 were pretty ordinary, but SJ&DK were freakin' AWESOME.

"Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings" was posted in the category digging and music

December 27, 2008

CW Stoneking

Posted by dogpossum on December 27, 2008 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

CW Stoneking reminds me more of Beck (when he was doing all the ol' timey blues stuff characterised best by his album One Foot In The Grave) than of anyone else.
Nor do I think Stoneking sounds 'black' - he sounds like one of those good ole boys from somewhere in the south. It's something in his timing or his phrasing... something in the way he treats timing. I keep thinking of that line I read somewhere, that music reflects the vocal or linguistic structures of the people who create it. Singing 'black' is more than adding in an accent. It's about intonation and a subtler sense of pitch - more than just going 'up' and the end a sentence to make something sound Australian.
Anyways, I scored both his CDs for christmas from The Squeeze and I like them both a lot.

"CW Stoneking" was posted in the category digging and music

December 22, 2008

be good tanyas

Posted by dogpossum on December 22, 2008 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

Emusic is doing more than just bringing me good jazz, blues and soul. It's also reminding me of my passion for bluegrass and 'American traditionals'. I bought the Be Good Tanyas' first album when I first moved to Melbourne. I think I lasered the grooves out of it.
I'm afraid to look at Amanda's list. I know I'll only add a zillion albums to my Want list.

That 250gb of birthday computer space isn't going to last too long at this rate.

"be good tanyas" was posted in the category digging and music

December 12, 2008

swingstyrke 7 Right On!

Posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2008 5:30 PM | Comments (0)

Sw7%202.jpg Danish Goodness continued. This Swingstyrke 7 album was recorded live in 2007 and it's great. Still lots of late Basie, but some other action as well, including a version of 'Doodlin'', a song I'm quite partial to. I've put this in the 'groovy swinging lindy hop' category in my collection, which means that it's not for people who only like old scratchy. But if you like a little hi-fi and a little super groove, then it is for you. I like this stuff for the quality, I like the super laid-back swingingness of it, and I like it that it's super groove, which I think of as high powered groove. It doesn't make you sit down and listen, it makes you get up and dance. As with the other Swingstyrke 7 CD, the songs can be a bit long. This is ok when the tempos are lower, but I'll have to watch it when I'm DJing them for dancers.

This CD is good, but the 70s band gave good moustache. European, tight-jeaned flare-legged moustache. And that's sweet.

"swingstyrke 7 Right On!" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

leo mathisen 1941-42 To Be or Not to Be

Posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2008 5:12 PM | Comments (0)

Leo%204.jpg More crapped on about before, which Scotti and I have a shared love for, and which I heard a couple of different versions of over the MLX8 weekend. I love the Hamp version, but this Leo Mathisen version is pretty spankin' good.

In fact, this whole CD is pretty awesome. He's kind of like a Danish version of Fats Waller. Which is weird, but to which I couldn't possibly object. I also liked the version of 'My Baby Just Cares for Me' which was written in the 20s, but which I had assumed was a modern one. It was made super-famous by Nina Simone.
Those of us who grew up with Rage remember this clip with fondness:


Leo Mathisen doesn't look anything like Nina Simone, and neither of them are anthropomorphised cats. I imagine they also had quite different politics. But this Mathisen CD is a neat contrast to the Swingstyrke 7 one. It's olden days music, it has a chunky base and rhythm, which is just right for dancing phat lindy hop, and it's got that nicely saucy, self-reflexive humour which I adore in my jass.

"leo mathisen 1941-42 To Be or Not to Be" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

swingstyrke 7 1978-82 Count's Place

Posted by dogpossum on December 12, 2008 4:33 PM | Comments (0)

ss7.jpgLast week I emailed the people at Little Beat Records (meaning, Peder at LBR) and bought a heap of CDs (you can see the catalogue here). Then The Squeeze paid a bunch of money into their paypal account. Then Peder sent me the CDs (6 of them). He very kindly gave me free postage (well, I did buy a bunch of CDs) and sent them without the jewel cases, which meant that the whole lot fit into one package. They arrived today. It's been raining for ages, but they were ok (phew).

Little Beat is pretty special. They're a small operation (as in one or two blokes) and they basically get olden days Danish music and make it sound nice. Then they put it on CDs and sell it to nerds like me.

So far I've listened to some Harlem Kiddies and some Swingstyrke 7. It's all really fabulous. The quality is magical. And the musicianship is amazing.

Swingstyrke 7 really rock my boat (I'm in the mood for some of this). Crudely, I'd typify them as a 1950s Basie tribute band recording in the 1970s and 80s. So they were a small band making Basie music. And it's freakin' great. I will _definitely_ be playing this next time I DJ. I thought the Paul Tillotson stuff was pretty good (and they're doing similar things with a smaller band), but these Danish guys are the fushiz.

It has that laid back, hi-fi, in-the-pocket feel of late testament Basie, but also smells like Europe. It's a little chunkier in the rhythm section (which is nice for dancing) and makes me want to get up on my (still, stupidly sore and injured) foot and dance about like a fool. DJing it will just KILL me.

Anyways, I'm only just onto the second CD, so I'll be a while yet. I'll write about the Harlem Kiddies next.

"swingstyrke 7 1978-82 Count's Place" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

September 23, 2008

Fats Waller's A Good Man Is Hard to Find: The Middle Years, Part 2

Posted by dogpossum on September 23, 2008 6:03 PM

I love Fats. It's no secret. This love is becoming an obsession. But A Good Man Is Hard to Find: The Middle Years, Part 2 is another in an excellent series of collections from Bluebird/RCA. I've been happy with every Bluebird purchase I've made - they seem to have recorded my favourite artists and to have produced some lovely albums.
I also have 'the Last Years' and 'the Middle Years part 1'. There're three 'Early Years' sets in this series.
I don't recommend them to new Fats fans - it's pretty samey, and if you don't like one Fats song, there's a good chance you won't like the others. But if you do... well. These are the best collections I've seen around (which are also easily accessible/purchased), the quality is pretty decent and the liner notes are interesting.

"Fats Waller's A Good Man Is Hard to Find: The Middle Years, Part 2" was posted in the category digging and music

September 9, 2008

good things

Posted by dogpossum on September 9, 2008 9:58 PM

Prawns, and their cheapness here.

The sunshine. All of it. One, maybe two days of rain, then it's over and it's back to sun. Yes.

The remnant warehouse. Oh Goddess, yes.

Rosetta Howard, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.

The beach. Here, this town, it has the beach. It has real sand, real surf, real water. It is amazing on a clear day.

Sprouted seeds: go, seedies, go!

"good things" was posted in the category digging

September 3, 2008

oh goodness me: the new orleans jazz vipers

Posted by dogpossum on September 3, 2008 12:25 AM

But I do like the New Orleans Jazz Vipers.

They play olden days music with a nasty olden days energy that gets me all excited. I can't wait to DJ this stuff.
I couldn't help but buy all their CDs from And I love shopping at CDbaby - they got these kids to me in about 10 days from the States, they send nice thank you emails, and they pimp indy music. There're quite a few artists I like DJing who sell their gear through CDbaby - Gordon Webster, who's a really great pianist and also a nice guy and a lindy hopper. I've had my eye on that CD for a while - that's some sweet action for blues dancing. His other half (oh, how they'd hate me describing them that way), Solomon Douglas is also sold through CDbaby... I can't think of any others just now, but I've bought a few CDs through them.

And I love love love these Vipers CDs. I also have my eye on a Tshirt.

"oh goodness me: the new orleans jazz vipers" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

July 31, 2008

sinner, you better get ready: more liveblogging unpacking

Posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2008 11:09 PM

My mum got me a few great CDs when she was in Washington (DC, that is). She went to about a million Smithsonian museums, and gotted me some great CDS. Just in case you didn't know, the Smithsonian collection includes some freaking amazing recordings of American folk music (including jazz, blues, gospels, spirituals, etc etc etc). I am a big old nerd for late 19th and early 20th century American music. I prefer jazz and blues, but I'm also a nut for some of the sort of music you might have heard on the Cohen Brothers' film O brother, where art thou?. Anyhow, one of the CDs mum got me is called VA/Classic Southern Gospel From Smithsonian Folkways. I know my grammar is broken, but I am suddenly very tired.

Any how, I have moved on from Leadbelly (which was another mum gotted CD, btw) to this stuff. Beginning with The Lilly Brothers singing 'Sinner, you'd better get ready'. Sweet. I like this sort of southern gospel/bluegrass type stuff for the obvious development of British/European folk forms. I'm a nerd for being able to hear the history of a music/see the history of a dance in its current form. Especially when we're talking about diaspora. I likes folk music and dance because they change - they're not institutionalised and static. They're constantly changing to suit people's needs and interests. Just like language. Fully sick.

(If you're interested, mum also got me a couple of Harlem Hamfats CDs: a document self titled job (vol 3) and Let's Get Drunk and Truck. I love that shit).

"sinner, you better get ready: more liveblogging unpacking" was posted in the category digging and domesticity and music

June 6, 2008

Mora's Modern Rhythmists

Posted by dogpossum on June 6, 2008 4:04 PM

cd-bundle.jpg In a fit of frivolity the other week I picked up this bundle of four Mora's Modern Rhythmists/Swingtet CDs:

These guys are from the US and specialise in creating 'authentic' recreations of 20s, 30s and 40s dance music (mostly 20s and 30s, really). I'm a big fan. I already had Call of the Freaks and 20th Century Closet, but this 4-pack was too good to pass up (and I've already found someone who wants the doubled up copy of 20th Century Closet, which is (in my opinion), the best). As I said, I really like this group - they're recreating music I really like, which means I have nice quality versions of good songs for playing to crowds who aren't really comfortable with serious scratch. These better quality versions are also a nice way of changing the vibe or lifting the energy in a set without moving away from this nice musical period.

Their latest CD Devil's Serenade reminds me of the Melbourne band The Red Hot Rhythmakers (which we've featured at MLX a few years in a row now) - earlier dance band stuff. Hot and seriously fun.

The Rhythmakers are a good example of the music that's quite cool with some of the younger American dancers atm, especially in places like Seattle. It tends to the super fast and is really quite freakin' good fun. The Rhythmakers have just realised their new CD, actually (the launch was this past Monday). Though I couldn't make the launch, friends have managed to secure copies of the CD for me, which is also very neat. I really like their first one and am looking forward to this one.

Any how, I'm very happy with these Mora CDs - it was a bargain and this stuff is very useful for DJing, even if though I tend to prefer the 'originals' for home listening. These guys are also useful for performances - good quality but also 'authentic' and not bullshit neo rubbish.

"Mora's Modern Rhythmists" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

March 17, 2008

happy day

Posted by dogpossum on March 17, 2008 2:58 PM

LH.jpg This lovely thing just arrived! Sure, it was a little embarrassing opening the door to the post dood wearing only a (very) short, light cotton dress, but I like to think I made his afternoon a little more interesting. But it was just GREAT to see a giant Mosaic cardboard box under his arm.

I love Lionel Hampton very much. He's one of those guys I got into when I was first interested in DJing. In fact, I think his album Tempo and Swing was one of the first I bought thinking 'this is DJing music'. I'm still a massive fan. He made great dancing music - stuff that's really stompy and makes you want to get up and stomp around. Probably has something to do with his being a percussionist.

Anyhoo, it was interesting to see Ziggy Elman's name on the first page of the first CD's liner notes. Elman's interesting, not just because he's responsible for the freakin' awesome solo at the beginning of Tommy Dorsey's song 'Well git it!'. He caught my interest initially because he was a Jewish musician 'performing' whiteness - he changed his name.
This is something that Dean Collins also did (Saul Cohen originally). And all of this rings a bell with me because I keep coming across articles about Jewish musicians and actors who performed 'blackness' in the early days of radio and vaudeville - putting on 'black' accents and black face paint. It's something I'd like to follow up in greater depth at some point, not only because of the interesting Jewish history of American show business, but also because of the ideological ramifications of 'performing' ethnicity in swing culture generally.

Because, of course, when we lindy hop, we are dancing what was an African American dance. Dancers who are into historical recreationism are particularly keen on emulating 'black' ways of moving and movement aesthetics. Which is problematic, when you remember that these are predominantly white, middle class kids (especially in America). But all this gets even more interesting when you take into account the fact that lindy hop is getting very popular in places like Korea. A recent exchange guest was telling me that there are thousands of swing dancers in Seoul, and that he social dances every single night of the week - far more often than we can here in Melbourne. And then, remember that not all Australian dancers are white - we see an increasingly multicultural local swing community here in Melbourne (though still not entirely multicultural or diverse).

But back to Ziggy Elman. His solo in 'Well Git it!' has particular cultural resonances for contemporary lindy hoppers, as mediated by the internet. The Mad Dog people performed a routine in Danvers to this song in 2002 which proved very popular with Australian dancers, particularly in the then-very-introverted Melbourne scene. Here was a group of young people dancing crazy, wild lindy hop without rules or costumes! Suddenly, there was an alternative to the carefully 'safe' teaching of the larger school, dancers who weren't the 'old' recreationists ('old' being over 30, mind you). Suddenly, lindy hop got cool. Coolness which seemed to manifest in dancers wearing jeans in performances. And, most refreshingly for olden days music nerds like me, an increased general interest in music from the 1930s rather than 50s and 60s.

The Mad Dog troupe featured a bunch of young dancers who're now rock stars, some of whom learnt to dance in Ithaca with Bill Borghida (and other teachers), and some of whom were in the Minnie's Moochers dance troupe (circa 1999, 2000), which I remember being very influential. In fact, I remember watching this 2000 comp performance in my first year in Melbourne. This is as white a lindy hop performance as you're going to see, but holy smokes, it's tight. And these guys were young teenagers. If you're familiar with Borghida's teaching, you can see his sound technical foundations in there, and you can't help but envy those kiddies their early start on lindy hop.
This performance is an interesting contrast with the Mad Dog routine in part because it is so tight and carefully choreographed - each dancer is attempting to dance and move in exactly the same way (here's an interesting clip of the girls doing solo charleston). In the Mad Dog routine we see choreographed steps, but each couple (and dancer) is quite unique. And of course, if you watch this composite clip of old school lindy hoppers, you can see that though the routines are really tight, each dancer has a unique style. The Big Apple contest is probably the best example of this. So this representation or performance of 'individuality' through improvisation and 'styling' signalled a shift away from very white, studio ballroom/concert dance aesthetics and towards a more 'vernacular' dance ethos. Vernacular in that people were actually dancing how they felt, in clothes they wore every day, with their own particular 'accents'. And of course, lindy is just made for young people - it's fast music, it's crazy dancing, it's irreverent, it's badass*.

It's probably worth pointing out that the American lindy hop competition culture in 2000 was very strictly regimented. The scoring was complicated, there was a whole range of weird rules about what you could and couldn't do or wear in the competitions, and the type of dancing produced by these competitions was kind of... well, boring.
Competitions were kind of the same in Australia at the time, though there were no competitions run by lindy hoppers with specific 'lindy hop' categories. The biggest Australian competition at the time was 'Best of the Best', run by the VRRDA (Victorian Rock and Roll Dance Association), similarly constrained and rules-bound. It was also very much a 'rock and roll' competition - it was unusual to see 'real' lindy hop performances until about 2002.

In 2002 the MLX hosted the first Hellzapoppin' competition, a model borrowed from the American Hellza competition - no rules, an impetus towards historical 'authenticity', run as part of an African American cultural history festival in Harlem. Though the American Hellza comp has been largely superseded by the ULHS (Ultimate Lindy Hop Show Down) competition for wild, crazy, 'authentic' lindy hop - not to mention popularity - Hellza is the only competition in Australia which actually carries on this particular ethos. All other large competitions in Australia are run by one school, and this school's teachers tend to dominate the field, with the general tone being a little... straight.

So the 2002 Mad Dog performance is important as it signaled a diversion from the rules-bound competitions of previous years. The Mad Dog routine is probably more significant in American lindy as it was a very public diversion from the supergroove style that was popular at the time. I recently heard one of those dancers make a general comment about how 'we' used to dance 'groovier, smoother' and are not into 'rawer' dancing. It struck me as an example of how American dancers often generalise their experiences to the international community. But this is important stuff because these dancers were very young (and still are - under 30) and have been very influential in Australia.

So Ziggy Elman's name probably carries a little more interpretive weight for me than for most people, and one day I'm going to read up on all that stuff on Jewish showbiz history. I promise.
For now I'm busy filling up the last tiny bits of space left on my hard drive with Lionel Hampton goodness. Yeah!

* old people like it too. Frankie is 93 and he still likes it.

"happy day" was posted in the category cat blogging and digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

February 18, 2008

fats waller v duke ellington

Posted by dogpossum on February 18, 2008 11:18 AM


It's been tricky fitting in all my listening this past weekend.

Will it be Fats, or will it be Ellington? Witherspoon and Sam Price don't even get a foot in the door, I'm afraid.
I have 8 Ellington CDs to get through, and 3 Fats CDs to get through, and I'm not rushing, mind you. I like to listen to new CDs really slowly, lots of repeat listens to individual songs, lots of skipping back to check out a particular section.
So I'm not exactly running through my new goodies. And when I'm reading, I simply don't hear the music at all, so I never know when a song's finished. Or a CD's finished. I think this is partly why I hate having music on when I'm working - it's a waste. Music also tends to stop being music and just turn into the odd sound or bump or squeak which I catch every other minute as my attention shifts back to the aural world. I also really hate having that annoying background buzz distracting me from ideas when I'm thinking. So I like Total and Complete Silence when I'm working.

But I was all about Fats at first:
Fats Waller and His Rhythm the Last Years ( 1940-1943 ) to be precise. This is the other goody that came for me last week. It's really, really wonderful. I adore Fats, and this is perhaps the best collection I have (so far - there's no end in sight). So, seeing as it was the first collection that arrived, this was where my listening was at. But then the Ellington Mosaic arrived, and now I'm all about Ellington.
It's not a real competition, not really. But I'm finding it tricky getting through all these. And it feels like every single song on this Mosaic set is wonderful - I have to keep stopping to put songs into my 'should play' list for DJing. Luckily there's quite a bit of stuff I don't already have (I love, love, love the smaller group stuff, and have the Columbia 2-CD 'Duke's Men' vol 1 and vol 2.

I really should get my finger out and properly research all these guys, get a proper idea of who recorded with which companies when. Get some sort of clue as to who was in whose band at what time. But I really can't be arsed devoting valuable research time to something that's meant to be fun. There's so much other stuff I should be researching (let's not talk about reality TV, ok?), I just don't want to ruin music for me. I have read bits and pieces, but I just don't have a sensible, comprehensive set of facts and figures and names at my disposal.
I mean, I am totally crap with that sort of thing normally (my memory is so crap it's a joke), and I find it really difficult to remember the names of songs. I can pick the musicians or the bands (mostly because they tend to have quite distinct musical 'styles' or 'accents', so you can guess who's playing what), but names of songs? Nope. I can generally guess the era (30s, 40s, etc), but not reliably. This means that it's always a nice surprise to discover I actually own that song that such and such just DJed. But it also means my learning curve re jazz history is more of a plateau.
I've also noticed that a song seems to sound completely different when you're dancing to it than when you're DJing it or sitting at home listening to it. I think it's because when you're DJing or listening, you pay really close attention, in a conscious-brain sort of way. But when I'm dancing, I'm responding unconsciously, not actually consciously thinking 'oh, muted trumpet' or 'huh, chunky bass'. Plus there's a bunch of other things going on when you're dancing that distract you.

Anyways, the bottom line is, Ellington is winning, but Fats is kind of niggling in my hindbrain. It's high-brow versus visceral, bodily goodness - Ellington is clever, Fats is fun (Ellington is fun too, and Fats is clever, but Ellington is telling you he's smart and Fats is telling you he'd like you to sit a little closer and pass him a drink).

"fats waller v duke ellington" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

February 15, 2008

Sam Price and His Texas Blusicians 1929-1941

Posted by dogpossum on February 15, 2008 1:02 PM

images.jpegSam Price and His Texas Blusicians 1929-1941 is the other CD that came this week, part of the Big Binge. It's a Chronological Classic, which is important because this series of albums feature artists in chronological order - so you get a series of Duke Ellington CDs featuring songs in the order they were originally recorded.
It's the most comprehensive series of albums, and they're quite sought after. You can pay zillions of dollars for the rarer ones. But I've picked up ones that are cheaper and really great. My favourite is the Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 one, which I picked up quite cheaply. It featured a song called B Sharp Boston which I really like and play quite often at late nights (it's a bit slower). It also features Joog Joog, which has some nice female vocals (again, the CD's in the other room, so I can't check the name for you, sorry, but I think it's a combination of Ivie Anderson and someone else [EDIT: I just checked and I think the notes are screwy, or I don't understand, as it has a bloke's name for the vocals, when I'm certain it's Ivie Anderson and someone else...]). It's quite an interesting album because it's later Ellington (round about the time of some of the late testament Basie stuff that I really like), but Ellington is quite a different band leader. Most of these songs aren't that wacky arty stuff he got into in the later period, but are much more popular songs. So it makes for interesting listening. And some great dancing.

Any how, this Sam Price action was drawn to my attention by Trev, king of fun scratchy music. And I'm quite in love. He apparently played with Lester Young's band (or at least Lester - this is another CD I have to check the liner notes on. It's only new, so I'm totally clueless on specifics). Sam Price, not Trev, that is.

One of my favourite bits of this album is in the song 'Do you Dig My Jive?' where he sings:

Ain't nothin' new about jive,
Believe it or not,
I know when jive first started,
The time and the spot,
Way back yonder,
In the year one-ty-one,
You can bet your sweet life,
That's when jive begun.

I like 'onety-one' - the first year. It makes me giggle.

So, of course, I'm swimming in lovely music today. And trying to pretend I don't have a dentist appointment this afternoon. I think I'll follow that up with a nice film. Probably Jumpers rather than the more serious things I want to see (There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, American Gangster), as I'm always a bit traumatised after the dentist. Thing kind thoughts for me, will you?

"Sam Price and His Texas Blusicians 1929-1941" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

mosaic Duke Ellington: 1936-40 Small Group Sessions and Witherspoon-McShann Goin' to Kansas City Blues

Posted by dogpossum on February 15, 2008 12:23 PM

...and the last of my Big Binge CDs arrived today, along with a lovely needlepoint pack. It was just like christmas.
Let's start with the needlepoint. I bought it from this slightly dodgy looking site. I've recently gotten returned to needlepoint, c/o a christmas present Margarate Preseton job, and have gotten a bit obsessive about it. Had to have another to do, though I've managed to sate some of that obsession with a nice blue patchworked crocheted blanket for The Squeeze - I can't bear large crochet projects in summer, but the smaller squares are easier - remind me to post pics of my fabulous red flowered job. Note the price - $55 for printed canvas + all wool. That's not bad at all. And it's an Australian company, so there's less postage to pay.

1011.jpg Jimmy Witherspoon with Jay McShann Goin' to Kansas City Blues from Mosaic. I'm a big fan of Jay McShann, and while I don't like Witherspoon's politics, he can sing like a mofo. I'm still keen on that big, fat 50s sound. This one has lovely quality recording, and the band is so freakin' good (Emmett Berry, J. C. Higginbotham, Hilton Jefferson, Seldon Powell, Al Sears, Kenny Burrell, Gene Ramey and Mousey Alexander). Some of it veers off into post-swing (this is a 1957 recording after all).
Most of my Jay McShann is earlier - nice, dirty Kansas City stuff. Though I do have this album Hootie!, a live job by his trio in... damnit, I haven't entered the date! [EDIT: just checked it - it's 1997] And the CD is far away... Anyhow, that's a great album, but it's supergroove. Lots of long, tinkly songs with tinkly piano, often at supersonic speeds. Not really the best dancing (except for the odd blues track), but really good listening music. I really like McShann's piano style - it's so different to people like Basie and Ellington and Junior Mance and Oscar Peterson.
So, anyhow, this new CD is really fun. Lots of great, upenergy songs. As I said, though, it's a bit post-swing, in that it stops swinging quite so much. The slower ones are better, but the uptempo ones are kind of staccato or abrupt. Don't swing so much. What this means for dancers is that it feels like you're rushing from beat to beat, and that songs feel faster generally. This can be good for lifting the energy in the room every now and then (especially if it's a more recent recording), but ultimately, it does bad things to your lindy hop. We need that gushy, delayed timing to really make us swing, to keep us hanging back and soaking every last moment out of each beat.

235.jpg My other lovely present is Duke Ellington: 1936-40 Small Group Sessions, another Mosaic set I've had my eye on for ages. Cost a freakin' bomb, but oh-baby, I have a serious thing for Ellington that's just not going away. I have quite a few Ellington CDs and collections, but I couldn't resist some lovely Mosaic remastering goodness (that's what makes these expensive things worth it - good remastering, not to mention fab liner notes and packaging and great service).
This is completely different stuff to the Witherspoon CD - 20-odd years earlier, different approach to the rhythm section, very different approach to composition/arrangement. Really, this is a nice comparison between classic 30s swinging jazz and the 'next generation'. While I adore the Witherspoon/McShann CD, this is where my heart truly lies. I love Ellington for the complexity and sophistication of the arrangements and plain old management of the band. Each musician has a very particular job, and they do it just wonderfully. I also prefer this bouncy old school sound - makes me want to lindy hop. None of that shuffle-rhythm going on in the drum kit area. Nice shouty choruses at the end of songs. Yes, please.

I also like these big 'complete, collected works' sets because they include multiple takes of the one song. This means you get to hear the band make minute variations in the way they play, and you really begin to understand how the band work together as a team, and how a slightly shorter solo can change the whole song. I also like hearing the people in the studio talking - it's like we're just that little bit closer to a world that feels imaginary, most of the time. They way they talk, the things they talk about - are all so far away from us. But when you hear them swearing about fucked up takes or laughing at jokes, it becomes a bit more real.

So, sitting up in bed looking through all these goodies this morning (it was an early delivery), it felt like my birthday. And it was lovely.
Now I just have to score a few more DJing gigs to cover these extravagances.

"mosaic Duke Ellington: 1936-40 Small Group Sessions and Witherspoon-McShann Goin' to Kansas City Blues" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

February 12, 2008

slim gaillard's Laughing in Rhythm and Fats Waller and his Rhythm, the Last Years 1940-1943

Posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2008 10:22 AM

Two new arrivals:
Slim Gaillard's Laughing in Rhythm. Can't believe I've only just bought this. I am so the slowest, uncoolest DJ on the block. I mean, I've bought bits and pieces from places like itunes, but still. It's a bit late. I'd still like the giant Gaillard Proper set, but I just can't bring myself to buy all that nonsense singing...

Fats Waller and his Rhythm, the Last Years 1940-1943. I now own about 60 million Waller CDs. And I'm not quite sure that's enough.

"slim gaillard's Laughing in Rhythm and Fats Waller and his Rhythm, the Last Years 1940-1943" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

January 12, 2008

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

Posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 7:14 PM

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 in the category digging

The Jimmie Noone Collection

Posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 7:02 PM | Comments (0)

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 in the category digging

mahalia jackson live at new port

Posted by dogpossum on January 12, 2008 6:59 PM | Comments (0)

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

"mahalia jackson live at new port" was posted in the category digging

October 25, 2007

Charlie Christian's Genius of the Guitar

Posted by dogpossum on October 25, 2007 8:57 PM

This is a truly fab box set. The packaging is a bit dumb, but it's a great set of music. 4 CDs worth of goodness. Christian died young of TB, but he did some truly fabulous work with people like Benny Goodman. A lot of this stuff covers the Goodman RCA collection, and if you pick up the shorter version of this set and the Goodman, you should be right. But for ob-con collectors like me, this set gives you lots of silly 30 second out-takes which are fascinating.
The set is a bit expensive, but I finally decided to take a risk with the second hand ones. One CD is a bit dodgy (it can't talk to Gracenote, so the song info doesn't import automatically into itunes), but that's not a big deal. The liner notes are a good read, and for sheer tactile loveliness, this set is worth it. It's almost all great dancing, though a lot of it tends towards 'bal' music - especially the Goodman Sextet stuff. Great, technical musicianship, but a little precise and fiddly for lindy hoppers. Perfect for jazz nerds and balboa dancers who like tiny, precise music for their tiny, precise dancing.

"Charlie Christian's Genius of the Guitar" was posted in the category digging

Count Basie's Chairman of the Board

Posted by dogpossum on October 25, 2007 8:52 PM

I wanted the album that featured the perennial favourite "Blues in Hoss's Flat". I'd had a version from a greatest hits, and seeing as how hi-fi, new testament Basie is always in fashion, I thought I'd pick up this recommended favourite. It doesn't hurt that I'm on an anti-preswing kick at the moment.

So this album is pretty good. Highlights - "Moten Swing" and "Blues in Hoss's Flat". Again, not all the best dancing, but still an example of a really good later big band.

Another Basie gem I keep coming back to is The Count Basie Story. Two CDs of hi-fi new testament Basie big band action. They play some of the old school favourites, and while there's no going past the older sound, this is a pretty freakin' good album.

"Count Basie's Chairman of the Board" was posted in the category digging

April 11, 2007

artie shaw's Self Portrait and Kid Ory's completed Decca recordings

Posted by dogpossum on April 11, 2007 1:09 PM

Ok, so we never found out what happened the other night. We suspect the cops just gave up and went home. Nice one.

I am currently the most boring person in the world. It's The Squeeze's birthday today, so I'm organising dinner for him tonight with whoever could make it at the last minute. I'm also sending him off on a CAE cooking course, probably the one with Cam from Eat It on RRR. The Squeeze loves to cook, but he's mostly a wok man and doesn't like masses of meat. So we'll just have to see how he goes.

On other fronts, something lovely came in the mail for me today:

Artie Shaw's Self Portrait. It's lovely. Its packaging is lovely - nice box with nice 'recycled' paper sleeves, book and box. Five discs of loveliness. This is a really special thing as I've been saving and saving for it and needed some good Shaw action. Plus it's interesting because Shaw selected the songs himself - in 2001. It's not all that common for big olden dayes jazz doods to select the songs for their box sets, mostly because they're dead. So this is not only a nice set of music (I'm enjoying it very much), but an interesting text. It's also all remastered and nice.

I'm also on a major Kid Ory kick atm (continuing...), and this cheapy arrived the other day. The quality is kind of mixed, which isn't all that surprising for the price, and the fact that a chunk of the music was recorded in 1922! I'm sure I'll get over the whole New Orleans revivalist thing soon - Sidney Bechet gets up my bum a bit now, and I can see Ory heading that way too. But until then...

"artie shaw's Self Portrait and Kid Ory's completed Decca recordings" was posted in the category digging and music

February 27, 2007

Mora's Modern Swingtet's 20th Century Closet

Posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:58 PM

Mora's Modern Swinget's 20th Century Closet.

A contemporary band who specialise in the sort of music I like most (earlier swinging jazz and 20s hot jazz), the Swingtet are a smaller version of the Rhythmists (they could be a completely different band that Mora runs, I haven't checked - I have Dumb Brain right now). I was happy with the Rhythmists' Call of the Freaks and have my eye on their latest album
This is fun stuff because the quality's good, the songs are really neat (some of my favourites) and this sort of action is a great introduction to old school music for the more conservative/groover dancing crowd.

It's nice to have a few songs by my favourite artists - I'll list them below - my favourite small group artists:

The album contains 20 tracks of great swing of the 1930s and 1940s, originally performed by such bands as the John Kirby Orchestra, Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five, Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven, and the Duke Ellington small groups
And you know how I feel about Ellington. But I'm also a keen fan of John Kirby. I like that smaller, 'chamber jazz' sound. Maybe I need to explore Tommy Dorsey's smaller groups?

Song highlights:
Hop, Skip and Jump - 191bpm - 2004 - 2:44
It's interesting to compare this with the Campus Five version (which I talked about here). I might prefer the Campus 5 version, but I haven't listened to them back to back yet, so I can't be sure.

Krum Elbow Blues - 162bpm - 2004 - 2:45
I love the Ellington version of this song that I have ('Krum Elbow Blues' - Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra - 153bpm - 1938 - The Duke's Men: The Small Groups, vol. 2 - 2:35), and I don't have Mora's liner notes in front of me, but he could have used that arrangement (that's actually a big fat guess). It's still a great song, and this is a decent version.

Effervescent Blues - 122bpm - 2004 - 3:07
Another 'cover' of one of my favourite songs ('Effervescent Blues' - John Kirby Sextet - 119bpm - 1939 - John Kirby Sextet: Complete Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings (disc 01) - 2:50), I do prefer Kirby's version, but the quality of that version that I have is a bit dodgy. Not really up to places like CBD at all.

Jump Steady - 172bpm - 2004 - 2:39
I don't have the liner notes in front of me, nor do I have another version of this in my itunes, so I'm not sure who the original's by. But this is fun.

There are many other great tracks, but these are the ones at the front of my brain right now.

I do have some complaints about this album, though. I'm not struck on the vocalist, Kayre Morrison. She's a bit... hoity toity. This band, all over, is a bit... uptight. Unhep.
I prefer the Willie Bryant versions of Rigamarole and A Viper's Moan, for example, because they sound rawer, wilder and more emotionally authentic. The problem with some of these recreationist guys, is that they spend so much energy and effort on doing really careful reproductions of other artists' work, they forget to put themselves into the music. I've written about this before here, so I needn't say more than to repeat the last line of that post: "I like a little grunt, a little grit in my".

"Mora's Modern Swingtet's 20th Century Closet" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone

Posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:52 PM

Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone.

I'm feeling a bit tired and bashed about my the anithistamines I've had to take to save my sanity (I could, quite possibly, scratch my nose off my face otherwise), so I can't write much.

Song highlights:
All the Cats Join In - Buster Harding with Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 176bpm - 1946 - 2:45

Jump Through The Window - Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 154bpm - 1943 - 2:42

Hi Ho Trailus Boot Whip - Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 224bpm - 1946 - 2:45

Sometimes a bit too much squawky brass, but also some greatly fun dancing action.

"Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

February 20, 2007

Tommy Dorsey's Yes Indeed!

Posted by dogpossum on February 20, 2007 12:39 PM

I probably spent more on this baby than I should have (I have a $30 dollar limit for single CDs, including postage), but this is some sweet action.
Trev mentioned it eight days ago, I checked it out, did some late night impulse CD purchasing, and it arrived from somewhere foreign yesterday. How's that for amazingly speedy gratification?

Ok so here's what I think of it:
Some bits are a bit squawky. But that's ok... well, I don't like that squawk much because it sounds fucked at CBD, but it's ok for this album. Some bits are a bit sweet, but, well, we can ignore that. Overall, there are at least six songs that I'd happily DJ, a couple that I'm very keen to DJ and some that probably need to be tested. There are also a good number of clappy/shouty songs, which is pleasing.

We're looking at a spread of stuff from 1939 to 1945, reasonable sound quality (well, at home anyway) and some nice liner notes. Not amazing liner notes, but useful liner notes. It seems Sy Oliver is my man.
What tracks? Have a look down there below. But let's look at some highlights.

What a coincidence - The Minor Goes Muggin', as crapped on about here (and which I now realise I do like, have liked and have had a copy of for ages). Duke Ellington with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra in 1945.

Well, Git It!, made fairly famous with local dancers by the Mad Dog people in 2003 (check out that performance on youtube here). Mad Dog of course included a bunch of now-rockstar dancers. I had a couple of versions of this song, but this is the slower one and it's decent quality. It's less sweet than the version that's on that Swingin' in Hollywood, but not quite as good as the chunky fun version Mad Dog used.

I really like At the Fat Man's (more clapping and talking about food) - nice, unscary tempo. Bit squawky, but fun. Fun lyrics, too.

There's also a great version of Easy Does It (made famous by Basie and his versions are the ones I've heard mostly - kind of dull though goodish). This version chunks along and really makes me feel like dancing.

The version of Stomp It Off (a song originally written for Jimmie Lunceford by Sy Oliver and recorded in 1935) isn't anywhere as good as the Lunceford versions I have. In fact, the Lunceford versions are ones I really adore - they make me dancing-crazy, clock in at about 190bpm and have a fun, upenergy, perky feel. This Dorsey one is a bit too sweet and kind of annoying. The tempo is a bit low as well, so it kind of drags. It doesn't feel as 'crisp' either. But it's a curiousity.

Swingin' on Nothing is an old favourite, and I'm fond of it. It's a trifle slow and draggy for me, but it's a goody for newer/tireder dancers. Bit squawky, but you know, I can deal.

Well, All Right is fun, but I can't decide if it's the same song as the Lunceford Well Alright Then, which I'm fond of. There are vocals in this Dorsey one and they're different tempos. I don't think they're the same. The Lunceford one is better, of course. But this is kind of fun. Reminds me of Calloway. But Calloway sung by a straighty-one-eighty chick.

There are songs like Opus #1 which everyone has a copy of and I don't particularly like. It's ok.

So What, Quiet Please and Swing High are fasty fun tracks (I prefer the last one, but there's good shouting in Quiet Please). The rest are either a bit sweet, a bit slow or a bit dumb. Or I've just forgotten to talk about them.

But this is actually a good album if you want some good Dorsey action.

Lonesome Road, Part 1 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 1939 Yes, Indeed! 2:36
Lonesome Road, Part 2 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 129 1939 Yes, Indeed! 2:19
Well, All Right Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 150 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:13
Night In Sudan Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 139 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
Stomp It Off Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 160 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:46
Easy Does It Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 155 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:15
Quiet Please Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 292 1940 Yes, Indeed! 2:47
So What Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 301 1940 Yes, Indeed! 2:43
Swing High Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 251 1941 Yes, Indeed! 2:49
Swanee River Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 111 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
Deep River Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 277 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:59
Yes, Indeed! Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 134 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:30
Loose Lid Special Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 114 1941 Yes, Indeed! 2:47
Swingin' On Nothin' Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 126 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:17
Hallelujah Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 277 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:04
Moonlight On The Ganges Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 136 1942 Yes, Indeed! 2:55
Well, Git It! Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 189 1942 Yes, Indeed! 3:03
Mandy, Make Up Your Mind Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 152 1942 Yes, Indeed! 2:59
Opus #1 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 170 1944 Yes, Indeed! 2:55
Chloe Edythe Wright with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
At The Fat Man's Charlie Shavers with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 151 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:11
The Minor Goes Muggin' Duke Ellington with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 177 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:01

"Tommy Dorsey's Yes Indeed!" was posted in the category digging and music

December 28, 2006

i'm comin' virginia

Posted by dogpossum on December 28, 2006 10:33 AM

I'm currently really loving the song I'm Coming Virginia, penned by Donald Heywood and Marion Cook, recorded by a whole range of people, from Django Reinhardt to Fletcher Henderson.

I'm still loving the Maxine Sullivan version from this album (you can listen to bits of the song here). I think it's a minor key thing. But Sullivan's version is really just the beginning.

I'm also quite taken by a 1927 Fletcher Henderson version (Sullivan's is 1956), though there's a really big tempo shift (Henderson's is about 200bpm, Sullivan's 110bpm), and quite a serious difference in mood - Sullivan's is mellow and laid back, Henderson's (though mellow for much of his stuff in this period) is pretty well pre-swing and very up-and-down feeling (ie makes you want to charleston rather than swing out like a groover).

I also have a version by Sidney Bechet which I quite like, and I'm pretty well partial to another 1927 version, this time by Frank Trumbauer and his Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke. This one, while the same year as Henderson's, is really far more serious. You can hear the New Orleans funereal march echoes in this version (which is actually called I'm Coming Home Virginia and comes from this album). This one sits on about 132bpm.

I'm Coming Virginia is really the best song.
I think my favourite thing about it is the way it's spelt on both my Henderson albums - I'm Coming Virgina.

"i'm comin' virginia" was posted in the category digging and music

December 27, 2006

solomon douglas' swingtet's swingmatism and the basie mosaic set!

Posted by dogpossum on December 27, 2006 3:34 PM

I scored with two bits of music for christmas.

First, a friend's band's album: the Solomon Douglas Swingtet's album Swingmatism from The Squeeze's mother, and second, The Basie Mosaic set from The Squeeze.

Both are, of course, really fricking great. It's unfortunate, though, that Sol's album arrived with the Basie one - they're working (in a very general way) in the same sort of style* as the new testament Basie on the Mosaic set, and really, it's cruel to set the two head to head. Basie wins, of course.

CDcover_small.jpg But Sol's album really is very good - if this band was playing regularly in my city I'd be a very happy lindy hopper indeed. They're certainly better than the B# Big Band who are the closest thing Melbourne has in comparison, and I prefer them to the JW Swing Orchestra, who are our other major swinging big band (there are others, but these are the only dancer-oriented/dancer-trained bands).
For lindy hoppers, this album is definitely worth the cash**.

...I'm try to write an even partially coherent discussion of this album, but I'm feeling a bit scatty.

Actually, my feelings about this album are mixed. Firstly, I really appreciate it as a present - it was a very thoughtful gift, and definitely something I really like. Well chosen, mother of The Squeeze (and Squeeze).
Secondly, as a general into-music type person, I like it very much. I like to support current day swinging bands, especially ones like Sol's, where the band is led by a dancer, and tailors its sets specifically for dancers. I can also really appreciate this album as a dancer - this is some fun shit.
Thirdly, as a DJ, this is some good stuff. The version of the Big Apple Contest is a bit of a score, and there are some really nice songs on the album.
But, fourthly, as a picky, DJ nerd wench, I'm not sure this is my cup of tea. It's a little hi-fi/new testament for my liking (though I MUST admit that it wanders through a fair old range of musical territory - there's a nice version of Black and Tan Fantasy, for example), and I'm not sure how often I'd play this for my own pleasure at home. I do, however, really really like songs like Funky Blues - it feels like this is where it's at.
As a picky DJ, I'm wondering when I'd play many of these songs. I'm not sure I'd choose this version of Shiny Stockings, for example, when there are so many wonderful versions by people like Basie, which really are fabulous. I'd definitely spin that version of the Big Apple song, though, and I might play a few of the other tracks to win over a few of the groover/US-favouring dancers in our scene. But I'm not sure if I'd play things from it if I was compiling my ideal set. Having said that, when do we ever get to play our 'ideal' sets?
So, thinking sensibly, this is one of those albums (like Mora's Modern Rhythmists') which is great for getting the pickier hi-fi dancers interested in proper swing-era bands: this is some shit-hot recreationist work. I'd put this CD on my sneak list. Which, of course, makes this a very useful album indeed.This is a band we should support by buying the album, as these guys are the bread and butter of swing dancing - without wonderful live bands who put such effort into their live sets and recordings, many local scenes would founder in their early days, and we'd really miss this sort of superior big band action at our big balls and major events.

I do regret the fact that I've been listening to this with the Basie set at the same time. There simply is no comparison. Which is a shame, as I do think Sol has done fabulous work, and I don't doubt the band live are frickin awesome.

229.jpg The other CD I scored was the fabulous 8-CD Mosaic set. The Squeeze is the sneakiest beast on earth. In town doing our christmas shopping the other week, he suggested popping in to Basement Discs (where I'd seen this set) for a bit of browsing. I poo-pooed the idea in favour of goal-oriented shopping. He later (or had already - I'm not sure which) popped in to pick this up himself. And I scored big time.
This is one fabulous collection of new testament Basie action. There are some fricking awesome versions of lindy hopping favourites (including another version of Jive at Five for my collection), all in fantastic quality. I'm not the hugest late testament Basie fan, but this is such a great, solid collection of the dood's work in the 1950s, I'm really very happy to have it. This was a period where Basie had some pretty shit-hot musicians on hand, working a band who were really cooking together. I can't get over the quality. Though most of this later Basie stuff is pretty good quality, this is a really, really nice collection.

As I've already said, it's a shame I first heard Sol's band in such close proximity to this set.
But I do think that the two are complementary and definitely very nice additions to any lindy hopper (let alone DJ)'s collection. The Basie set is, however, a massive luxury, and Sol's CD is far more accessible and practical for small-time collectors.

At the end of the day, I'm very very happy with these two presents - I couldn't have asked for anything better.... though this Basie set has me hankering for the Peggy Lee set, which I do not need! 184.jpg

*As in they're hi-fi, have a kind of late testament sound, etc.
**Incidentally, when I asked The Squeeze if I could use his paypal account to buy this album the other day, he declared "no way - I'm not wasting paypal dollars on that guy's band", and then immediately sneaked off to coordinate its purchase with his mother. This album is, of course, very Squeeze like, and he does actually think it was worth spending paypal dollars on this album. Even if they were his mother's paypal dollars.

"solomon douglas' swingtet's swingmatism and the basie mosaic set!" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

November 20, 2006

Campus Five

Posted by dogpossum on November 20, 2006 12:00 PM

I have been playing the two Campus Five songs I have (Squatty Roo and Hop Skip and Jump) over and over.
I want the CDs to arrive NOW.

"Campus Five" was posted in the category digging

November 6, 2006

The Charleston Chasers

Posted by dogpossum on November 6, 2006 11:20 AM

The Charleston Chasers (self-titled).
Not the modern-day recreationist Charleston Chasers, but the early days doods from the 20s/30s.

Only existing as a studio-group (ie recording together but not performing live for audiences), the Charleston Chasers feature a pretty white cast of musicians (and sound it too), including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Pee Wee Russell, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden. Goodman was the focus of my interest in this album.

I haven't really had a chance to listen to the album properly, but I can say, the quality is surprisingly good for such old recordings, the 'sound' is pretty dang white (check out that above link for a discussion of this stuff in one of my earlier posts), but the music is still good stuff. Think 'charleston', a few slow drags/blues numbers, all with a bit of a 'society' edge (no guts, no buckets here).

Considering the cast on this one, I think my appreciation for this album will only grow over listens.

"The Charleston Chasers" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

Maxine Sullivan's My Memories of You

Posted by dogpossum on November 6, 2006 11:03 AM

Maxine Sullivan's 1955 album My Memories of You (remastered, etc) is very like Ella's These are the Blues in its groovy, later-era swinging jazz vibe. I'd pop this one in the same family as Ella and Louis Again (Ella and Louis Armstrong), Billy Holiday's later stuff from Verve (including Songs for Distingue Lovers) and some of the Oscar Peterson/late Louis Armstong All-Stars stuff.
Small combo, sweet production, older artist with a less-excellent voice, but nice phrasing and sophisticated musicianship. You have to love the way these ladies hang on the beat - they just wait out there til the very last minute.
My Memories of You is a really nice album - almost all very danceable/DJable (for a groover crowd, mind you), as I discovered at the Spiegeltent this weekend. I played far too many songs from the album, but it was just so appropriate for the dancers who were there - a version of Massachusetts which went down really well as a birthday song (and I like it because it reminds me of her much earlier version which I really prefer), as did Christopher Columbus which doesn't really hold up to too many replayings, but has a sweet sparcity and velvety sauciness which plays on the memory of Fats Waller's (decidedly dirty) version in a nice way.
Max manages to avoid the dirty lyrics, but their absense (if you know the Fats version) is emphasised rather than coyly ignored (as in the horrible Andrews Sisters versions of things like Hold Tight), so ends up feeling saucy - the delay in her phrasing, while not a patch on Billy Holiday, seems to let you know that she knows this is saucy stuff, but won't go so far as to piss of her record company with dirty lyrics.

This is a nice album. I've listened to it a bunch of times, and I know it'll be a sure-fire winner when DJing for groovers. But after about a half-dozen, or maybe 10 times through, I feel like I've pretty much heard all there is to hear. Unlike Billy Holiday's later stuff, where you feel you can keep going back and finding more interesting things. Max isn't the consumate muisican Billy is. Nor has her voice weathered as well as Ella's in that period. But there's something really appealing about this mature voice with a mature approach to swing.

[NB: I heard Jesse spruiking this one on his radio show and made an immediate impulse purchase. It's a damn good thing I really don't like Earnestine Anderson or I'd have spent my (non-existant) savings on groover crowd-pleasers by now)]

"Maxine Sullivan's My Memories of You" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

Ella Fitzgerald's These are the Blues

Posted by dogpossum on November 6, 2006 10:55 AM

Just a quick entry to blog the lately arrived members of my CD collection.

These Are the Blues by Ella Fitzgerald.

Ella really rocks, and this is a really great album. One of the late-Ella recordings (1963), there's some sweet organ action, some lovely solos, etc etc from the combo supporting her (I don't have the linter notes handy, sorry - story of my laptop-life). It's all blues, and it's all very blues-danceable.
Yet I am not entirely convinced that Ella really knows how to sing anything other than happy. She has an amazing voice, amazing musicianship, but it feels like she has a limited emotional range. Listening to a version of Christopher Columbus on another album last night, I speculated to The Squeeze that Ella could sing the naughty version of that song have it come off sounding entirely innocent.
But this is still a great album - truly great. If you like groovy, smooth blues. And Ella, of course.

"Ella Fitzgerald's These are the Blues" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

October 18, 2006

Hamp & slow-mid range swing

Posted by dogpossum on October 18, 2006 10:42 AM

hamp.gifMy love for Lionel Hampton continues in an unnatural way*. Unnatural in that I have not only abandoned my qualms about DJing jump blues for lindy hoppers for Hamp's sake, but in that I have also decided that boogie woogie is Fun. I have also (quite unashamedly) overplayed my favourite Hamp songs (eventually, I guess, I will tire of songs like Drinkin' Wine spo-de-oh-doh, Hey ba-ba-re-bop! and Lavender Coffin (yes, despite all evidence to the contrary, they are actually different songs)) and will continue to do so.

I think my love for Benny Goodman's small groups is in part (perhaps a large part) owing to my love of the Hamp.

Right now, I am declaring a love for Don't be that way (you can hear it here). I have already played it far too many times, and will continue to do so. I just love the way it chuggs along. And you get the feeling that there's some joking going on in the band there. I love the saucy brass with the brruurp brruurp trombone underneath. I love the twinkly vibes. I love the chunky beat (bass, guitar esp). I even love the sax (and really, who could love sax?). I love the restrained, but kind of bursting-at-the-seams feeling of momentum building. It's only 137bpm, but it feels like it's going somewhere.** It feels like... like... like bounce feels - like energy stored in your body, that might bust out any old how.

This brings me to a comment another dancer made the other day. After I'd just played a set of old scratchies that were all between 120 and 167 at a sedate after-class gig.
The comment involved these points:
- I wish that guitar would move away from the microphone. It's so dull - clunk, clunk, clunk
- that older clunky music sucks when it's under 180 - it's really boring.

I didn't really lay much value on these observations.But it made me think a lot about the issue (of course). And here are the things I came up with:
- that slower stuff sounds dull if you're looking for tinkly, complex melodies and delayed timing, a la Oscar Peterson. But if you're into combining moves, and working with phrases as the markers for your complexity (ie, working on a larger scale), or perhaps looking at the layers of sound only a big band can offer, and which are clear markers of that earlier, late 30s sound, then this stuff is quite interesting. It begs a combination of moves and a use of lateral or horizontal space, rather than micro-movements on the spot. It says 'think of each note or each beat or each chunk of rhythm as part of a bigger pattern' not 'think of each note or beat or chunk of rhythm as something you have to echo in your body exactly'.
The free-er, riff-based and improvisation-heavy nature of Kansas City jazz (in particular) encourages musicians to think of how they can combine improvisations and solos within a looser musical framework. For dancers, that approach encourages contributions to the rhythms going on, rather than a strict representation of what they can hear. So, for example, a Swede would add a bit of syncopated footwork at the end of an 8 to add rhythm to the song, rather than simply making flesh exactly what they can hear. They would also make greater use of a dynamic, lateral energy rather than just a restrained, micro-movement and energy-contained.

So, really, this stuff is actually very interesting and challenging for dancing. Even at slower tempos. I actually feel that slower tempos can offer greater scope for improvisation and interest - you have time to add stuff in. When you're moving to 200bpm, you don't have time to add in extras - you pare down the movement to basic moves simply because you don't have time. It's about combinations of moves rather than individual movements.
When you're working at a slower tempo, you can add in all the interesting visual 'commentaries' and social interaction that faster tempos prevent. And if you're working with the more open, improvised connection of a Swedish or old skool swingout, for example, both partners can happily add in variations and jazz steps, breaking out into open to do 'solo' stuff as well. And all that in addition to the combinations of moves and use of lateral space that says 'hey, I can hear more of this song than just the three or four notes in my immediate vicinity'.
I also find that phrasing becomes more important with this sort of music - you work in combinations of 8s rather than within an 8 for variation and interpretation and improvisation.

So my love of the mid/slower tempo chunk-chunk songs by people like Lionel Hampton run in the face of arguments challenging their aural interest. But I must admit - 120 is the lowest I'll go in that style, and really, it's better if it hits 140.

*a love that will never be realised as this fan's was here
**a lot like the slower version of Flying Home that's about - it builds to a frenzy of almost-fastness. It's at least 20bpm slower than the version most dancers know.

"Hamp & slow-mid range swing" was posted in the category digging and lindy hop and other dances and music

October 6, 2006

Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy

Posted by dogpossum on October 6, 2006 7:17 PM

Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy!

I'm not sure how I feel about this album. I have been a bit keen on Hot Lips Page playing with Billie Holiday in the Olden Days of Scratch, but this album is an overview of his career ranging from 1937 to 1950 and the later stuff really isn't that amazing. I quite like a couple of the tracks for novelty's sake - The Hucklebuck is a cutey, I like the melody/vocal line of I've got an uncle in Harlem, but the rest of the band is kind of annoying...
There is a nice, higher tempo version of St James Infirmary which clocks in at 122bpm, as opposed to the <100bpms of most versions other than the Cab Calloway 1930 version which is 125bpm and my current favourite). Nothing like a little necrophiliac blues to kick start your evening, huh?

But the Count Basie Story CD is still winning - it's a great band doing great music.

"Hot Lips Page's Jump for Joy" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

September 29, 2006

the hamranos

Posted by dogpossum on September 29, 2006 3:42 PM


Prompted by marking quite a few essays about The Sopranos of late, I brought home the first few discs of season 1 from the video shop.
The Squeeze was instantly enthralled, and I was more than happy when he brought home our very own copy the other night. We are enchanted.

It seems we are bound to adore all gangstah action, after our brush with the Godfather, Raging Bull and assorted others.

So it seems strangely fitting that Laura posted this Sesame Streets clippy today:

"the hamranos" was posted in the category digging and television and the sopranos

September 27, 2006

The Count Basie Story - Count Basie

Posted by dogpossum on September 27, 2006 4:03 PM

This lovely thing came in the mail today. Recorded in 1957, 58 and 1960, this is a collection of Basie's big hits re-recorded by his 'new testament' band. It's interesting stuff.
I'm not usually such a big fan of new testament Basie, but I do find him useful for DJing, as it's a nice cross-over point for old school scratchy fans and hi-fi kids. This CD is great because it's such good quality, is an interesting idea (especially in reference to Basie, whose earlier band(s) had such different sounds to his later big band(s)). If you don't think about the 'originals', this is one sweet album. I know a few DJs/dancers who'd love it.

I'll go through and listen to each song in comparison to the 'original' or earlier recordings and let you know what I think.
I don't doubt that this will give me some useful fodder for my sets at SLX... now, if only I could figure out how to reinstall my bpm counter after the Great Reinstallation of 2006, prompted by the incredible CRAPtitude of itunes 7.0. BPM counter tips for mac would be very welcome.

"The Count Basie Story - Count Basie" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

September 8, 2006

Gastropodry: bunny and Jay

Posted by dogpossum on September 8, 2006 8:12 PM

Right now I have a bunny (on) the oven... oh, look, I'm sorry. That was far too desperate.

To restart: I've finally succumbed to the temptation and am cooking my first rabbit. It's the perfect opportunity: The Squeeze (who loathes meat on the bone, and finds the thought of eating bunnies distressing) is out, it's Friday night so I can stop worrying about all the things I have to do - until tomorrow, and my new Jay McShann album arrived today. Gotta love that Kansas City action.

I'll report back later on the bunny.

"Gastropodry: bunny and Jay" was posted in the category digging and domesticity and fewd and gastropod and music

September 7, 2006

Duke Ellington's House of Lords

Posted by dogpossum on September 7, 2006 1:55 PM

Ok, so a little while ago I crapped on about Bluesology.

Today I'd like to crap on about House of Lords, which I have on acomplete centennial something or other collection (well worth the (massive) cost - it truly is a 'complete' collection... well, for that one label. whatever that may be). It's live, recorded in 1966 and it's five minutes and thirtyfive seconds long. It's also 136bpm and I classify it as 'groovy swinging', which means that it has the tsi-tsi-tsii high hat sound and rhythm section, but trucks along - not that sort of formlessly swingingly groove that irritates old scratchy fans. Because it's Ellington, it really cooks. And it really feels like it's trucking along - grooving, but rocking. Chunky but still palatable for the smoothy types.

So, anyways, the thing I like about it is a) it's live, and b) you can hear Duke laughing - no, chortling - away in the solos. The band are really enjoying this stuff, and it's really rolling along - you feel like it's going somewhere. Kind of makes me feel like this is the type of stuff Oscar Peterson would do if he had more guts. Guts as in, if his music was a little more visceral.

I'd certainly like to dance de lindy hop to this song. Which sounds as if it's really just drums/percussion, piano and bass. And groaning adn chortling.
Matter of fact, I wonder if there aren't two pianos in there - could it actually be Peterson? Or maybe it's Basie? I'd hazzard the former, though I don't think they really worked together (actually, what would I know).
Dang! I just NEED to rush home and look at the liner notes!

At this point I really wish I could insert a sound clip so that you could all listen along with me, but of course, there are copyright problems there. Maybe I need to get into that streaming radio action?

"Duke Ellington's House of Lords" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

Duke Ellington: The Duke: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 [BOX SET]

Posted by dogpossum on September 7, 2006 1:27 PM

Duke Ellington: The Duke: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 [BOX SET] [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]

It finally arrived, and I'm now one happy ducky. As you can probably tell, I've been bingeing on Ellington a bit lately. I now have quite a few excellent albums, and of course, there are plenty more to get. Ellington is one of those artists who continually surprise you with excellent music. His career was so long, and he did such diverse work, there's always something for everyone.

This collection is neat because it offers some excellently remastered old faves (I'm especially happy to have a decent quality version of It don't mean a thing (1932)), but also some more recent stuff - especially some nice 50s stuff which I didn't have. I'm still not sure I feel entirely comfortable with the heavy duty high hat action in this stuff, but you can't deny the standard of musicianship in some of these amazing recordings. The quality isn't always better (I have some heinous Blanton-Webster Ellington stuff), but you get some great music.

Personally, I'd much rather dance old school, to that late 20s, 30s and some 40s stuff (depends on who and what it is, though - I adore Hampton, and he tends to sit in that later moment - 40s and 50s), but I do like to DJ across the board. And when you're not dancing - you're DJing - it's easier to handle the 50s stuff at a dance. Pity the dancers, though...
Well, actually, most dancers don't really mind - beginners are certainly the least picky in regards to specific eras, and most of the more tolerant experienced dancers would simply rather we played goodmusic than stuck religiously to one era... unless we can DJ well within that era.
As a DJ, I do actually like to play a wider range of stuff, if only to save my brain having to deal with balancing the levels of all-scratch, all the time.

"Duke Ellington: The Duke: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 [BOX SET] " was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

Duke Ellington and his orchestra 1949-1950

Posted by dogpossum on September 7, 2006 1:14 PM

Duke Ellington and his orchestra 1949-1950.

A chronological classic, so we're listening to a comprehensive overview of a particular period, but not truly excellent quality. I picked this sweety up a few weeks ago (again from, via amazon - fabulously quick delivery and cheap) so as to secure myself a whole album's worth of stuff like B-Sharp Boston, a song Doz got me onto.

It's neat stuff. I wasn't really all that aware of Ellinton's more mainstream stuff from the late 40s/early 50s - I have a bit of it, but it's stuff on compilations or overviews of his career, so I've not listened to it in isolation. I also have to say that I'm always distracted by the earlier stuff - I am passionate about very late 20s and early 30s (1928-1931 mostly) Ellington - and find it difficult to move past songs like Flaming Youth and Rockin' in Rhythm. Which is probably why I find it difficult to DJ a lot of later Ellington - I simply don't know it as well.
...that's actually an exaggeration - I do play quite a bit of early 40s Ellington. And love it.

So anyway, back to the early 50s Ellington.
I like this stuff. When it's not veering off into artyfarty stuff, there's good dancing action on there. I think I like Joog Joog because it manages to use that big vocal sound Ellington liked for his stage shows with accessible 'swing vocals' - so you get the singer from Creole Love Call (sorry, I've forgotten her name, and I don't have it in the laptop yet) teamed up with someone poppier, and you get a rockingly good pop song.

So, as far as DJable music goes, this is a goody - a few I'd happily play for dancers (and have - and had them go down well), plus some arty stuff purely for your own listening pleasure.

Two thumbs.

"Duke Ellington and his orchestra 1949-1950" was posted in the category digging and djing and lindy hop and other dances

July 31, 2006

Joe Turner's Boss of the Blues

Posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2006 8:35 PM

There's a reason they call these doods shouters.

The second of my amazingly quick-to-arrive CDs from Caiman (less than 2 weeks from Europe), I'm sucking up Big Joe Turner's Boss of the Blues.

The super-jazz-nerds amongst you are no doubt thrilling to the thought of Freddie Greene playing on this 1956 recording. The rest of you should just settle in and enjoy... take care to get a firm grip on the sofa, lest Turner blows you away.

I've not had that much experience with Joe Turner. I have bunches of his stuff with people like Basie, and I'm pretty fond of most of it, but this is the first proper Big Joe Turner album I've bought. I like it. It's uncompromising. I like those shouters - I love Dinah Washington especially. I like the thought that most of them started singing in church, and all that shouting is about Jesus. But Jesus dancing with his skirt up round his hips, on a table, dancing the crazy-I'm-dancing!-I'm-dancing!-like-a-fool type of dancing.

There's lots on this album for DJing, from saucy blues to jumpy lindy, but our favourites in this house are the boogie woogie bits - that version of Roll 'em Pete makes you want to run around like a fool*. Sometimes the quality is kind of fagged** by Turner's volume. But that's kind of cool. Like feedback on a Nirvana album in 1992.

*funnily enough, I was just listening to my 'lindy music' on shuffle and came across another version of that song that I really, really like and wish I had more opportunities to play for dancers (from Basie's Breakfast Dance and BBQ). It clocks in at 230bpm, so it's kind of not all that playable most of the time. It starts: "Well I got a gal, she lives up on the hill" and continues...

**using this term the way my dad would - meaning 'tired' or totally buggered from overwork.

"Joe Turner's Boss of the Blues" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

Alberta Hunter's Downhearted Blues

Posted by dogpossum on July 31, 2006 8:27 PM

While I fear I'll die of old age before my order from raisedonrecords (via Amazon) comes, I've received both my recent acquisitions form via amazon (they rock - Caiman are always really quick to deliver and no hassle to deal with). The first was Alberta Hunter's Downhearted Blues, a live recording by one of my favourite artists. You can read about her over on allmusic, but I think the phrase 'dirty lesbian nanna' pretty much sums it up. This album is fun - you can hear that nanna working the crowd. Not so much for DJing, but it's certainly worth listening to, and heaps of fun.

"Alberta Hunter's Downhearted Blues" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

July 5, 2006

strange kitty

Posted by dogpossum on July 5, 2006 11:56 AM

the nieces were collecting variations on this strange cat animal. a magnet-battery arrangement made the kitty's tongue 'lick' at the magnetic bottle when you held it close.


"strange kitty" was posted in the category digging

July 4, 2006

more academic blogging...

Posted by dogpossum on July 4, 2006 6:33 PM

In a strange turn of events, my hero now has a blog called Confesions of an Aca/fan.

"more academic blogging..." was posted in the category digging

Cars and Over The Hedge

Posted by dogpossum on July 4, 2006 1:59 PM

I've recently seen Over the Hedge and Cars (did I mention my nieces are 11 and 7?). So I have things to report. But not right now. I'm a bit tired.

But you might want to go have a look here to read the Over the Hedge comic (from which the film was developed).

Super Size Me convinced me never to eat McDeath or other scary junk food ever again. OTH did a similar job. While it was a refreshingly child-centred film, the Message was decidedly anti-junk food and anti-television/sloth... not to mention anti-suburban development. It's not a pixar-type multimodal/polyvocal text. OTH is a children's film. But it was ideologically heavy in a very hippy-friendly way (well, perhaps without the 'violence').

Cars, on the other hand, was uncomfortable viewing for me. Very 'go-cars!', 'drive one - now!', 'use fossil fuels - today!'. It didn't sit well with me, and is my least favourite pixar effort to date. It looked great (but they all do, right?), but I just had this odd discomfort with the whole car/petrol/nostalgia thing. I'm not sure I want to revisit the 50s, where people drove just for the pleasure of driving (rather than getting places). Though I do dig neon.
It might have been my cold talking, but I also found it really really loud.

"Cars and Over The Hedge" was posted in the category digging and fillums

Raunchy Business: Hot Nuts & Lollypops (various)

Posted by dogpossum on July 4, 2006 1:57 PM

Raunchy Business: Hot Nuts & Lollypops

I could perhaps be over the saucy comedic lyric. But not just yet.

"Raunchy Business: Hot Nuts & Lollypops (various)" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

Don't You Feel My Leg: Apollo's Lady Blues Singers (various)

Posted by dogpossum on July 4, 2006 1:54 PM

Don't You Feel My Leg: Apollo's Lady Blues Singers.

"Don't You Feel My Leg: Apollo's Lady Blues Singers (various)" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

June 16, 2006

go look, here:

Posted by dogpossum on June 16, 2006 3:22 PM


MAN, this chick sounds like FUN. I totally have to steal all her ideas for MLX6. No one loves silly physical games more than a lindy hopper. And a couple hundred lindy hoppers hyped on adrenaline and sugar at 2am... Well. Let's just say... can you spell FUN?

"go look, here:" was posted in the category digging

June 1, 2006

heartattack and vine

Posted by dogpossum on June 1, 2006 7:12 PM

talk about spitting into the microphone... but I like it. Of course. Reminds me of Morphine, who I'm sure no one but me remembers.

"heartattack and vine" was posted in the category digging and music

Buffy and Angel

Posted by dogpossum on June 1, 2006 7:07 PM

Season 4 Buffy, Season 1 Angel. You cannot watch them as independant series.

look at this interesting thing:

Manga 'Angel Buffy'. The site is defunct, though... :(

"Buffy and Angel" was posted in the category digging and television

simple pleasures

Posted by dogpossum on June 1, 2006 6:55 PM

The best part of looking at site stats today was finding my site was a hit for a search for "how nanna would make pumpkin soup".
That pleases me.

I wish I had more to offer in the gastropod way of things. But I don't. Buggered if I can remember what I've eaten this week. I've been so busy with the thesis, and I DJed three nights straight over the weekend (Thu, Fri, Sat), including my first after party. Which I was happy with, though I guess it's hard to stuff up a 45 minute set, isn't it?
My DJing issues are continuing with a search for a media player to which I can drag songs from itunes (using itunes as my library), but which also produces useful play lists. I mostly want to be able to preview songs on headphones before I play them, and for this you need two media players as macs can't understand why you'd want to have two versions of one application open at any one time. Sometimes this rocks, but sometimes it sucks. This is one of those times. I think I'll settle for a combination of DJ1800 (about $AU70) for previewing (no sensible playlist option), the usb headphones (plugged into the imic I need to buy from Brian, or into the usb directly) for listening to the DJ1800 songs, and itunes for actually playing to the sound system, searching, creating playlists, etc.

But if you're looking for gastropod action, I have a little tub of nice bocconcini in our fridge atm, and some nice hydro tomatos on the window sill (I was in bed when the potato man came this week - 8am is TOO early!) and some sweet rocket in the garden. Make of that what you will. I choose to make nice salad.

I am also going nuts with mandarins and apples at the moment. It's that time of year. We have a bowl full on the coffee table, and I push segments down The Squeeze's neck every evening while we watch Buffy and Angel. Soon he will have strange Buffy-citrus dreams.
Meanwhile, I had a dream where I was stabbed by a platypus with its poison spur. It was also a dream about the house I lived in in Brisbane, and also about houses generally. I know that if I'm having house dreams, it's anxiety season. And of course, the source of this anxiety would be the thesis. And the fact that my supervisor goes away 2 weeks from now, for 3 weeks. Arriving back one week before I'd planned to submit. Yes. Isn't that nice?

"simple pleasures" was posted in the category digging and djing and gastropod and thesis

May 31, 2006

go 20s charleston, go!

Posted by dogpossum on May 31, 2006 5:11 PM

"go 20s charleston, go!" was posted in the category clicky and digging and lindy hop and other dances

what a tool

Posted by dogpossum on May 31, 2006 2:26 PM

I should open my eyes and understand that the iPod is a chain-smoking long-hair that craves exactly three (3) things: chicks, cigarettes and METAL, in reverse order. The iPod hangs out in the smoking section and takes your girlfriend to the Maiden concert. You big fucking pussy.
(the patriarch)

"what a tool" was posted in the category clicky and digging

May 25, 2006

call of the freaks - mora's modern rhythmists

Posted by dogpossum on May 25, 2006 4:03 PM

call of the freaks is an album by a contempoary band. I doubt I'll listen to it as much as my cab stuff, but it's worth it just for the versions of rigamarole and . These two songs have prompted my willie bryant passion... unrequited passion.

"call of the freaks - mora's modern rhythmists" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

cab calloway (vol2) - 1935-1940 - on JSP

Posted by dogpossum on May 25, 2006 3:52 PM

Cab Calloway (vol2) 1935-1940 on JSP
That's some hot shit. 4 discs of Cab goodness. Almost every single song I've listened to so far (starting in 1940 and working backwards, for a change) is danceable, and every song rocks. I love this man. I love his kick-arse band during this period. Oh, this is SWEET.

...this is the second set from Cab on the JSP label, which is cheap, but better quality than the Proper stuff. I also adored the first one, Cab Calloway the early years, 1930-1934.

"cab calloway (vol2) - 1935-1940 - on JSP" was posted in the category digging and djing and music

May 22, 2006

i'm going to get you scott tennerman

Posted by dogpossum on May 22, 2006 9:46 PM

Every now and then I catch and episode of SouthPark and it makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.
Pony jokes, Radio Head and Cartman's first pubes. 10 out of 10.

"i'm going to get you scott tennerman" was posted in the category digging and television

May 21, 2006

gastropod Saturday

Posted by dogpossum on May 21, 2006 7:36 PM

In the spirit of practicality, I think I'm going to declare Saturday or Sunday gastropod day, seeing as how we only eat crappy food on Friday nights. This time it was an awful 'middle eastern' chicken and cous cous dish which I once knew how to cook but now, obviously, can no longer manage.
Thank god I followed it up on Saturday with an easy 'Moroccan chicken'* dish which was delish.
Basically, you grate up some ginger, crush some garlic (however much you dig), chop up an onion, fry it all til the onion is transparent, then add an overflowing tsp of ground cumin**, 2 massive tsps of ground coriander, 1 tsp paprika, fry for a minute or til it smells good, then add some water, stirring or whisking to get the stuff combined well. Add some chicken legs and cook for 20 mins. Then pop the chook legs in the oven for 20-30mins (til they're done), simmering the wet stuff on the stove top til it thickens and reduces. Plop the cous cous on the plate, pop the chook on top, stir some fresh parsley and coriander (I add quite a lot as I really like this bit) into the wet stuff and serve immediately (rather than dropping the herbs on top - this way they flavour the wet stuff nicely) with lemon wedges and fat olives. And a salad of greens, mint, tomato and cucumber with an olive oil/lemon juice/garlic dressing.

ROCK the kasbah!

*I'm not quite sure what 'Moroccan' means in this instance, but heck.
**That's pronounced 'kew-min' in our house, thanks. None of this 'kumm-in' rubbish.

how much chicken? as many drumsticks per person as you can manage. That's eleventy for me and 0.5 for The Squeeze, who is revolted by meat on the bone.
how much water? ti it covers the chicken.
what's reduced? when the wet stuff is thicker, and there's enough to wet the cous cous on the plate properly, but not drown it.
how do i make cous cous? now you're scaring me. put some in a bowl. take it out and rinse it in a sieve til the water runs clear. put it back in the bowl. cover with hot water, stir. let it sit til it's absorbed. stir with fork. if the grains are soft, rock on. if not, add a bit more water. or follow the instructions on the box. or google.
how do i make the salad? get a recipe book, or get a CLUE.

"gastropod Saturday" was posted in the category digging and fewd

Buffy season 3

Posted by dogpossum on May 21, 2006 5:53 PM

Season 3 of Buffy has us in hand. It's my sixty millionth time through the Buffy series, but The Squeeze hasn't seen them all. We're enjoying them very much, though our viewing has synchronised with someone else who's borrowing them from the video shop*. We watch them faster than they do, but they keep them out for the whole week and won't let us get ahead - whenever we make a preemptive strike and borrow the couple of discs ahead of them, they retaliate and take the next two. Which sucks, as we're done with ours in less than a week, while they keep them for the whole week.

We're nearly at the end (just one or two discs to go), and then we'll start getting Angel out as well. I have convinced The Squeeze that we have to watch the two in conjunction. Personally, Angel was the only thing that kept me with Buffy at the end there. Buffy herself craps me to tears - she's such a whingey little ho...

*I want to make a dumb joke about female fans, woman-friendly telly and synchronised menstrual cycles, but I can't quite manage it...

"Buffy season 3" was posted in the category digging and television

May 19, 2006

benny goodman the vampire slayer

Posted by dogpossum on May 19, 2006 2:18 AM

Today I picked up the complete RCA Victor Benny Goodman small group recordings (3 cds, $45, see ya later DJing money) and it ROCKS. I love early Benny Goodman so much. And this trio and quartet stuff makes me want to weep with joy. I also really really like the Sextet stuff, but, well, they're not on this awesome collection. It really rocks: Lionel Hampton on vibraphone (!! I LOVE Hamp a crazylot), Gene Krupa on drums, Teddy Wilson on piano and Goodman on clarinet (of course). This stuff was so radical and amazing at the time - musically it was unique and exciting, socially the group was way radical, with 2 black doods and 2 white in the one band, on stage together, at a time when segregation was legally enforced in much of the USA. We're talking about the 30s here, and the group were edited out of the films they starred in for films screened in the south of the US.
Musically, it's fascinating stuff. The way those doods work together is awesome.

Yeah, so I'm loving this set. I was describing its wonderfulness to The Squeeze here, while he lay under the chenille bedspread reading a book about computers and I counted bpms: it's a nicely packaged set, with nice black and white photos of the band. Krupa and Hamp are grinning like crazy people and Goodman and Wilson are more reserved. There are even photos of the band on the cds. Which prompted The Squeeze's statement "like Buffy. Benny Goodman the vampire slayer."

Well, I guess so. Into each generation a chosen one is born.

"benny goodman the vampire slayer" was posted in the category digging and djing and music


About dogpossum

i live in melbourne sydney, australia, like jazz music and dance, swear too much, sew, drink a lot of tea and adore puns. ask me about my phd.