FACT: I'm not going to read 50 books this year.
FACT: I am going to read some books this year.
RESOLVED: I will abandon the 50 books project, but will continue to review books here.
RESOLVED: Since I've been reading a lot of 33 1/3 books, I will talk about their pros and cons on the Shoot Out The Lights blog, where 33 1/3 books are of interest.
UNDER CONSIDERATION: Moving the music library posts to their own blog. Not quite sure whether it will be worth it, although the project has been fun so far (and needs updating).
I think that's it. More Twigg, more Alma, a bit less St. Gus. A more-nuanced motive for Templeton, Whiting, and Klebanow. Rival media sources providing shallower news coverage with less verification. The Sun's mistakes shouldn't merely be backing the fabulist, but cutting competent reporters with institutional knowledge, having little idea of how to do online content, and not appreciating that verifying news stories is more important than getting there first. Also, Jimmy should have gotten the serial killer idea from the media.
Music library post!
Alex Chilton's collection 19 Years was the last album I listened to, so I'm up to:
Alex Chilton - 1970. Tracks from an aborted album between Chilton's period as the singer of the Box Tops and his time in Big Star. Very influenced by Gram Parsons and the Stones. Some good tracks and a little b.s.
Alex de Grassi - A Windham Hill Retrospective. This was a gift. De Grassi's a decent guitarist, but a little dull and technical for my tastes. A lot of these songs sound like more precise versions of dicking around on an acoustic guitar. I don't think there's a hummable melody throughout.
Alexander "Skip" Spence - Oar. Great damaged-hippie album. If this had come out in the last couple of years, they'd call it "freak folk." I bought this years ago on the recommendation of my old friend Andy, and I've never regretted it for a second. Hmm. A couple of tracks are damaged themselves through what sounds like a poor rip. Reminder to self: fix that.
Alison Krauss - Now That I've Found You: A Collection. This is my beloved wife's album, which both excuses me from listening to it or posting my thoughts on it. I will say that I generally like bluegrass, and some of these songs would qualify as bluegrass.
Alison Krauss - "Jesus Help Me To Stand" from Every Time You Say Goodbye. This is bluegrass gospel, but it's a little too finely sanded for my tastes.
Allman Brothers Band - Eat A Peach. I love the ABB from this period. I don't know what happened to my discs of the first album and Idlewild South, but I'm going to have to pick those up again soon. Eat A Peach is more perfect for its messiness. Duane Allman died with only a few tracks recorded, and this album is meant to capture the emotional highs and lows and pay tribute to him, too. His death haunts the whole affair, but it's not an especially sad collection of songs, but an affirmation of life in the face of death. Plus, between Dickey Betts's contributions and Duane's final recordings, there's a shitload of great guitarwork.
Next time: ABB - Complete Live At Fillmore East. Actually, as long as those songs are, that album may be covered in both the next time and the time after.
Maybe you heard there was a primary vote here in Texas the other night? I voted early, but went down to the precinct house (in my case, a Lutheran church) to vote in the caucus for my Presidential candidate of choice, Barack Obama. 400 of my neighbors also turned out, and we had a nearly two-hour wait to get into the room to sign our names. We could have stayed around to do more - vote for delegates, offer platform positions - but it was late, and I had to get home to help put the kids to bed. I'd say well over half - maybe up to 75% - of the people who turned out were Obama supporters. You may have heard that Hillary Clinton took Texas by about 100K votes, but it certainly appears that Obama will end up with more delegates from the state, thanks to our arcane delegate apportionment rules. There's two possible reasons for this I can see, and they aren't mutually exclusive. 1) Although there's more Clinton supporters, they don't feel strongly enough to go back to the precinct house and vote again. 2) Many of Clinton's supporters lived along the border and out in West Texas, meaning that a lot of them work heavy industrial or agricultural jobs, the type of jobs where your leisure time is at a far greater premium than it is for the middle-class Obama supporters I saw in my district.
For me, although I agree with many of Clinton's policy positions, I think Clinton's going to have a harder time beating McCain than Obama would. It's stupid and high-schoolish, but I think a lot of voters are swayed by stupid and high-schoolish ideas. Clinton's not very likeable, even though she's smart. She's more than a little brittle, and she's shown a tendency to belittle Obama and her other D opponents as if they were the worst people she's ever encountered, and then later she will act like it is nothing to talk this way. To her, perhaps, it is nothing. She's been saying lately that Obama is all talk, saying that his speeches are "just words." Words, she seems to say, are nothing but tools to carry a person forward, a part of the game, if you will. Perhaps that is true in her mind, but clearly, I disagree. A President is a captain of a ship. Knowing how to steer and knowing the direction are important, but it's even more important to know how to lead a crew. You do that with words, Ms. Clinton.
More endless minutiae from my iTunes!
Alejandro Escovedo - More Miles Than Money. I like his songs live, sometimes better than the studio versions, but the version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" on here is sad.
Alejandro Escovedo - Bourbonitis Blues. "I Was Drunk" is great. Everything else isn't. Many of these covers should have left well enough alone. One of these songs doesn't even feature Escovedo on lead vocals. I think it's Jonboy Langford.
Alejandro Escovedo - Gravity. S'okay.
Alex Chilton - Bach's Bottom. What a glorious mess! Trying to pull it together after the insanity of Big Star's Third, Chilton documents his utter failure and collapse. There's some sublime moments, but overall, this is the sound of everything falling apart.
Alex Chilton - 19 Years: A Collection. A best-of covering the man's best solo work (read: mid-80s and before) plus a bunch of Big Star.