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Beauty All Around Me – City From A Hill



Morning Song – Bad Liar

Not only does Selena Gomez have a lot of nerve, sampling the bass line from Talking Heads’ signature hit “Psycho Killer”, she has the chops to pull it off with her own edgy, insatiable earworm, “Bad Liar”.

Ooh, you’re taking up a fraction of my mind;
Ooooh, every time I watch you serpentine


Beauty All Around Me – Tree Grove & Parkway


Morning Song – You Can’t Sit Down

Hitting the sweet spot between sockhop dance craze, New Orleans soul, and lyrical small combo jazz, Phil Upchurch and His Combo had a 1961 top 30 hit with “You Can’t Sit Down”. Over a half-century later, it can still get you moving on a Monday morning.

Morning Song – Something Got A Hold On Me

If you don’t feel the power of the Holy Ghost in the Clara Ward Singers’ version of “Something Got A Hold On Me”, maybe you’re not listening right?

Morning Song – The Deacon

Changes in the economics of the music industry are nothing new. After World War II, the big band era came to a screeching halt, in large part because it was virtually impossible to make ends meet touring with an ensemble that large.

It’s a measure of Count Basie’s brilliance as a band leader that, after several years of leading small combos, he not only rebuilt his orchestra, but did so with such power and flash.

Here’s the “new testament” version of the Basie Orchestra in 1958 on Thad Jones’ swinging blues song, “The Deacon”.


The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, The Muslim League & The Lahore Resolution

(One in a series of posts on Ayesha Jalal’s book, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, The Muslim League & The Demand For Pakistan.)

The dominant narrative of Pakistani history interprets the All-India Muslim League’s March 23, 1940 Lahore Resolution as calling for an independent Muslim state. Ayesha Jalal disagrees, arguing that the Resolution did not add up to “a coherent demand“, and that it was another example of Mohammad Ali Jinnah making the best of a bad situation, and emerging from the intra-Muslim debate with “the right to negotiate for Muslims on a completely new basis…without being hindered by too specific a programme.” (p. 60)

The Lahore Resolution was Jinnah’s (and the League’s) response to Viceroy Linlithgow’s demand for a “constructive policy” from the League, in exchange for the Raj stepping closer to recognition of Jinnah as the “sole spokesman” for India’s Muslims.

Jalal argues the following:

  • constitutionally, Jinnah wanted a unitary India with a relatively strong centre, powerful enough to protect the rights and interests of minority Muslims in Hindu-dominated provinces;
  • politically, minority Muslims needed a Congress High Command that saw its interests (and the interests of its constituents, particularly those in Muslim-majority provinces) aligned with using the powers of the centre to protect the rights and interests of minority communities, and;
  • Congress would only act in that fashion if there was at the centre of Indian politics and governance a powerful and unified Muslim party speaking for majority and minority provinces alike.

However, Muslim League leaders from Bengal, Punjab and other Muslim-majority provinces favored strong provincial and regional autonomy and a weak federal centre (whether British or Indian); and Jinnah needed their support for whatever “constructive policy” the All-India Muslim League would adopt in Lahore.

“Jinnah now decided to make a virtue out of his weakness. He took the logic of the provincial demand to its extreme, decided to espouse some features of the ‘separation scheme’ and made no mention at all of the centre, its future shape, and how it was to be arrived at…. By apparently repudiating the need for any centre, and keeping quiet about its shape, Jinnah calculated that when eventually the time came to discuss an all-India federation, British and Congress alike would be forced to negotiate with organised Muslim opinion, and would be ready to make substantial concessions to create and retain that centre.” (p. 57)


“In the resolution, Jinnah had been forced to make large concessions to get the backing of the majority provinces. Yet he had prevented their more specific proposals for the centre from being adopted. A critically important resolution which said nothing about the centre might seem the greatest setback for a politician whose whole career had been committeed to promoting a nationalist demand at an all-India centre; but the inwardness of the resolution was that Jinnah, with his characteristic political skill, took account of all the factors in the game, not only the present demands of strong Muslim-majority provinces, but also the future constraints which he believed the British and the Congress and indeed he himself would be able to put upon them. in this way he managed to make some real gains, while living to fight another day.” (pp. 58-59)

More than most historians, Jalal is keenly attuned to the importance of power, and its influence on the politicians she studies. She doesn’t mistake documents and speeches for the political realities of which they are only a part.

“No amount of detective work on what led to the (Lahore) resolution or how it came to be interpreted afterwards can hope to tease out its inwardness. It can only be discovered by looking at Jinnah’s shifting tactics in attempting to control followers more powerful than himself, and to negotiate with rivals who were not only more formidable but better organised than his own party. Contemporaries and historians have often described Jinnah as a player who kept his cards close to his chest; and a good player with a poor hand has to pretend to have different cards than those he is actually holding. So there is nothing surprising about Jinnah’s inscrutability, or that the final result was so different from the one which he had so skilfully planned and fought so hard to achieve.” (p. 60)