Aug 172012
 

The ever-expanding popularity of the tango.

I’ve been way behind on a number of fronts this past week. Blame it on that thing called WORK. With a free minute available, here’s an interesting thread sent in by a Townsperson who shall remain anonymous, unless he or she would like to step forth and claim all the credit that is due. To others whose needs I am behind in serving, please hold tight. I do plan on getting up to date with you. Thanks. Take it away, Townsperson Who Shall Remain Nameless Unless Desired Otherwise!

I’ve developed a fascination lately with a trio of songs that draw on the tango. I’m thinking there must be any number of examples of this, but I wouldn’t know how to begin to look for them. Any ideas?

Here are 3 examples:

1. Firewater, “Bourbon and Division”

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May 212012
 

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died yesterday, 5 weeks following reports of his impending death. I’ve got a horrible knack for occasionally posting inappropriate-if-deeply-personal obituaries, but Robin Gibb’s death saddens me to an appropriate level. The Bee Gees, in my book, were among the Good Guys of Music. I know nothing about who they really were, how they treated the Little People, etc, but their love for music seemed to guide all their weird turns as artists. It’s all about the music, man, and the Bee Gees exemplified that. I mean, what other group of white artists—Australians cum the British Invasion, no less—got through the disco era without charges of “Sell Out?” It was preposterous that this whitest of white, toothy trio would be the Kings of Disco. And they meant it, man.

It’s sad that 3 out of 4 Brothers Gibb died young. Momma Gibb, who I’ve seen in Bee Gees documentaries, is still alive. No mom should have to live through the death of 3 of her sons. That’s really sad, even if I didn’t like the music of the Bee Gees. But like their music I do!

My Mom was so into the Bee Gees’ disco records—and then their astounding contributions to Saturday Night Fever! The Disco Era marked the period in her early 30s when she “found herself,” as we used to say. She grew into her own skin during those really tough years following my parents’ divorce. The girl who used to dance on American Bandstand, as she reminded me she did following Dick Clark’s recent death, was spending her precious free time on the weekends out on the disco floor, looking for Mr. Right, or Mr. Goodbar, as it might have turned out. Getting out for a night of dancing was pure joy for her, something that never made sense to me, but it was cool to hear her talk about her exploits, the guy she met who had “so much rhythm.” As I always feel, it was cool to hear her express her love for dancing to the Bee Gees. At first I’d cringe when she’d put on one of their disco-era records and begin dancing, but eventually her love for the music—and the brothers’ love for making that music—won me over. Thanks for reminding us how to care during the Me Generation, Robin, Maurice, Barry, and now and then even Andy.

A few oddities follow

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Mar 062012
 

Walkout anthem. I just learned that term for a baseball closer’s theme music when he enters a game from the bullpen. Phillies new closer Jonathan Papelbon needs a new walkout anthem because the Dropkick Murphys won’t let him take “Shipping Up to Boston” out of Fenway. Red Sox fans can have that song! They can have the entire Dropkick Murphy’s catalog, if you ask me.

I’m hoping I can warm up to Papelbon, whose keee-raaay-zeee eyes routine and that stupid jig in a kilt to the Dropkick Murphys’ song after the Sox won the 2007 World Series put me off. Clearly the guy is a top-notch closer. In 1979, when my Phillies acquired Pete Rose, I suddenly loved the guy for all the things I hated about him the day before. In the early ’90s I even warmed up a bit to former Mets hero Lenny Dykstra, but I still thought he was a juiced-up jerk.

A cool walkout anthem might go a long way to helping me like this guy—no yahoo rock for jocks or Riverdance music, please. I think my wife is right in her belief that that style of Irish folk dancing is the lamest dance style ever. Let’s pull together our sports-rock expertise and help Jonathan Papelbon select a new walkout anthem. This venture may help Papelbon, but most importantly it will help me. Thank you.

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Feb 122012
 

Following the current Rock Town Hall questions and poll about my alleged knowledge of “illegal choreography,” I had a surprise visit from an interesting duo. A man and a woman appeared at my door. At first, I thought they may be solicitors, but upon closer look, I noticed some unusual things. They were dressed in black, although the woman also wore a touch of light pink. The man wore a tailored short jacket, but instead of pants had on very tight, lightweight leggings and soft leather boots. The woman wore a wrap sweater, a long chiffon skirt and slippers. It was when I noticed that she had her hair in a tight bun, and that both had darkly drawn eyebrows, false eyelashes and rouged cheeks that I realized that something was very, very wrong… These people were not visiting members of Roxy Music but instead had come to tell me that I had inadvertently broken one of the Ten Commandments of Dance.

Following is a copy of document that they shared with me. I am permitted to share it with you so that you don’t make the same mistake as I.

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Sep 202011
 

I love Monty Python‘s old cheese shop bit. A small detail during the opening of the sketch sticks with me more than all the cheese-related stuff: the sign outside the cheese shop that reads Licensed for Public Dancing. Two men are then seen folk dancing behind John Cleese’s character, as he gears up for his futile bid to order some cheese. The following performance of Jethro Tull made me think of the incongruous dancing in the Python skit. Keep an eye on the dancers in the background.

Can you cite other instances of rock’s most incongruous dancers?

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Apr 042011
 

Lotus, the song by REM. The Lotus Eaters, a song by Dead Can Dance. Lotus, the American jam band. Flying Lotus, the dj. The Lotus Eaters, British band from the ’80s. Lotus Eaters, another ’80s band. Plenty of lotus to go around.

But Radiohead’s latest single, Lotus Flower, was the song that became the target of a whole lotta dissing. I’ve been thinking about the comments that were generated and still puzzling them over.

  1. The self-indulgence of Thom Yorke. So a song sung in the first person about a problematic relationship should depict the whole band? I think I’ll take that over some of the ’80s band videos that have the lead singer play acting the relationship with a model.
  2. The Bowler Hat. If he wore yoga wear, wouldn’t we liken him to, say, the character of Ian, in High Fidelity? Stipe wears modified exercise wear in REM’s “Lotus,” so does that make that a better video?
  3. The dancing. If the song is about drug use, as posited by the sages of the Suds on Bleeker blog, then isn’t the movement pretty representational? Note hypothesis of viagra abuse.
  4. The symbol of the lotus. Out of the muck comes purity. Femininity (those are pretty tight pants). The progress of the soul from materialism to enlightenment. Those themes were popular in the ’60s, too.

The video seems to flaunt a lack of the rock and roll ethos. There is a flagrant disregard for lip synching. There are no other band members depicted. There is dancing in a non-white man’s-overbite kind of way.

Maybe that’s the point.

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Mar 052011
 

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

In this week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator goes on location at Urges, Atlantic City, New Jersey’s newest hotspot for our first-ever dance party. Tune in and join the good times—or better yet, if you’re in the area, drop in and bust a move with your fellow Townspeople!

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[Note: The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player. In fact, you can even set your iTunes to search for an automatic download of each week’s podcast.]

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