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Morning Song – Si

Guitarist Beethova Obas and pianist Reginald Policard are two giants of contemporary Haitian jazz. Here they turn Obas’ achingly beautiful “Si” inside out, exploring and revealing worlds within worlds of music, of love, of solidarity and of beauty.


(Since they’re both appearing next week at the internationally renowned Port-au-Prince International Jazz Festival (PapJazz), there’s even a chance you could hear them together again.)


Morning Song – Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)

Forty years later, it’s hard to explain to a new generation how a signature catch phrase by 1920s jazz violinist/vaudevillian Ben Bernie ended up at the heart of one of the biggest dance hits of 1978 (a year when virtually all hit songs were dance hits).

What’s easier to explain is that “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” was the first hit single by Chic, one of the great bands of the 1970s (or any decade).

Morning Song – Beethoven Symphony #2, 1st Movement

Listening to the first movement of Beethoven’s 2nd symphony, does anyone else wonder if, as deafness descended upon the maestro, the themes and ideas of his music kept running through his brain, reworking themselves, until they reemerged—transformed—in his 9th symphony 22 years later?


Morning Song – Sweet Child O’ Mine

In Captain Fantastic, Viggo Mortensen plays a grieving widower trying to keep his family together and honor his wife’s last wishes: that she be cremated and her remains flushed down a toilet.

All this is complicated by the fact that for the past decade the family has lived “off the grid” in a kind of leftist-hippie-survivalist-utopian retreat from…well…pretty much everything and everyone else.

Their acoustic rendition of Guns N’ Roses’ heavy metal classic,”Sweet Child O’ Mine”, not only fulfills this little blog’s First Rule Of Cover Songs; it transforms—shyly, sweetly, deliriously, then giddily—the film’s climactic funeral scene.

h/t: CML


Morning Song – Second Coming

The late bluesman and civil rights leader Willie King grew up in Prairie Point, Mississippi and lived most of his adult life just across the state line in Old Memphis, Alabama. It’s a rural area where American racism is stripped bare—naked for the eye to see. King’s music fits the place: stripped down to the essentials necessary for survival in such a harsh land.

Texas blueswoman Ruthie Foster (aided by bassist/producer, Meshell Ndegeocello) does King homage, and carries his legacy forward with her shimmering, spine-tingling, soul-rousing cover “Second Coming”.

You can kill this body, but you can’t kill my mind;

I’m going away, but I’ll be back a second time….


Beauty All Around Me – A Winter Study In Black & White


Morning Song – The Dribble

I don’t know anything about “The Dribble”, an aptly named ‘B’ side instrumental released by The Mar-Keys 55 years ago this month.

That lack of knowledge frees me up to imagine it was written and recorded after watching ballhandling wizards Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Hal Greer and Oscar Robertson power the teams in the 1962 NBA All-Star Game to a combined 280 points…and that’s enough to get my day—and, hopefully, yours—off to a good start.

(If you’ve got a better suggestion, leave it in the comments.)