Rocky Top

Saturday, November 13, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  I have never been particularly fond of Country and Western music, a musical genre that my late parents perhaps overdosed me on as I was growing up.  However, I have always been fond of the rollicking Rocky Top.  The video at the beginning of this post melds the song with pictures from the Volunteer State. Read the rest of this entry »


Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

Saturday, November 6, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  For some unfathomable reason, this weekend seemed the time for the song Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.

The video of the beginning of the post is of course a version of Ella Fitzgerald’s, a songstress of endless talent.

Here we have the original recording:

Read the rest of this entry »


Chester

Saturday, October 30, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Chester by William Billings.  During the American Revolution, this was the unofficial national anthem for the new United States.  As we participate in elections it is good to recall the struggles throughout our history that bequeathed to us the freedoms we enjoy today.  We stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us, and we should never forget that. Read the rest of this entry »


Army of the Free

Saturday, October 23, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Army of the Free, one of the more rousing of the Civil War songs.  Sung by Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring the music of the Civil War to modern audiences.

And here is another rendition:

Read the rest of this entry »


Conquest

Saturday, October 16, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Conquest theme from the 1947 film Captain From Castile.  As all University of Southern California alums know, the work was composed by Alfred Newman who bequeathed all rights in the work to the University to play at football games.

The movie Captain From Castile, based on the novel of the same name by Samuel Shellenbarger, is quite worth watching.  Tyrone Power plays Pedro de Vargas, a nobleman on the run from the inquisition who becomes one of Hernan Cortez’ captains.  Cortez is portrayed by Caesar Romero who steals every scene he is in.  He captures Cortez perfectly:  larger than life, endlessly innovative, always optimistic no matter the challenge, and overflowing with raw charisma.  The film ends before the campaign to conquer Tenochtitlan which is a disappointment. Read the rest of this entry »


Politics, the Art of the Possible

Saturday, October 9, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Art of the Possible from Evita.

The same song from the original Broadway production.

Read the rest of this entry »


Yes, It Is a Weird Al Weekend

Sunday, September 5, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

I’m coming out of the closet, I’m a “Weird Al” Yankovic fan.  I don’t listen to him much these days, but I do keep up with some of his latest hits like my post from yesterday.

So here are some of his more enjoyable hits that some may not be aware of…

[Warning: The following videos are without profane lyrics or any form of nudity.  You may finally realize that you can enjoy “contemporary” or “pop” music without all the vileness that emanates from the black hole that is MTV.]

In 2006 AD the music video “White & Nerdy” re-introduced “Weird Al” back into the mainstream of American culture.  This video was his first Top 40 single since 1992’s “Smells Like Nirvana”.  It also eclipsed the greatest single he ever had, “Eat It”.

In between those to seminal hits he has been very active releasing albums every other year or so, but this new hit of his re-established himself as an icon of parody videos and clean fun.

“White & Nerdy” is the second single from “Weird Al’s” album Straight Outta Lynwood.  It parodies the song “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone. (OK, I’ll admit it, I have no idea who Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone are, but that’s what it said in Wikipedia)

This song makes fun of nerds everywhere from Houston, Texas to Springfield, Illinois.   It includes constant references to stereotypically “nerdy” things, such as collecting comic books, playing Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), and editing Wikipedia, as well as stereotypically “white” things, like watching Happy Days and playing ping pong.

Chamillionaire himself put “White & Nerdy” on his official MySpace page, and commented that he enjoys the parody. In an interview, he also stated he was pleasantly surprised by “Weird Al”‘s rapping ability, saying: “He’s actually rapping pretty good on it, it’s crazy … I didn’t know he could rap like that.”

Enjoy the cameo’s, especially from Donny Osmond!

Yes, there are more funny and highly entertaining video’s from Weird Al.  I compiled a short list of his most creative hits.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Merchant Marine

Saturday, September 4, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  It seems appropriate for this Labor Day Weekend to recall some of the unsung heroes of World War II, the Merchant Marine.  Along with their British colleagues in the Merchant Service, and the merchant fleets of the other allied nations, the Merchant Marine manned the merchant vessels that delivered supplies and troops through the war torn waters of the Atlantic and Pacific.  Technically civilians, one out of 26 merchant mariners died in action during the war, giving them a higher fatality rate than any of the armed services.   Read the rest of this entry »


Weird Al Yankovic Parodies Bob Dylan

Saturday, September 4, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

(Hat Tip:  Mark Shea)


The Wabash Cannonball

Saturday, August 28, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Johnny Cash puts his own unforgettable stamp on the Wabash Cannonball.  The song originates from 1882 and is attributed to AJ Roff.  Many lyrics have been added to it over the years.  Here is the version sung by the Carter family in 1929. Read the rest of this entry »


Rule Britannia

Saturday, August 21, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Rule Britannia.  I grew up with a bit of a love-hate relationship with Great Britain and her now vanished Empire. On my father’s side the family had been in America since before the Revolution, except for the Cherokees who had been here I assume for 30,000 years, and the family could have cared less about Great Britain one way or the other.  On my mother’s side however things were different and more complex.  My mother, an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen, was proud Newfoundlander Irish.  Her Great-Grandfather, who regarded pews and kneelers as perfidious Protestant innovations and would kneel on bare stone floors into his eighties in the back of  the church he attended during Mass, had come to Newfoundland from Ireland and kept alive in my Mom a memory of Ireland.  She played in our home as I was growing up all the old Irish rebel songs, and part of the heritage I imbibed did not stint on remembering the grievances of the Irish against the English.  On the other hand, my Mom loved Queen Elizabeth II and from my Mom I developed a life long interest in British history and politics.  My Great-Uncle Bill on my mother’s side served in the infantry in the Royal Army from 1939-1945 joining up, he said, “Because someone has to teach the Limies how to fight!’

Therefore on this blog I happily play both the Irish rebel songs and an occasional salute to the land of the Queen my sainted mother loved.  In regard to the vanished Empire, I am fully cognizant of the wrongs that were committed by it, but I believe perhaps this section from The Life of Brian might be applied to the British, as well as the Roman, Empire, in some ways. Read the rest of this entry »


This is my Song

Saturday, August 14, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  This is my Song lyrics for the unforgettable Finlandia Hymn. Read the rest of this entry »


The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Saturday, July 31, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.  Not period music of course, but few songs better evoke the despair of Confederates in the aftermath of defeat.  The above version is the original one sung by The Band.  Here is the version that became the signature song of Joan Baez.


Same As It Ever Was by the Talking Feds, A Music Video of Obama’s Handling of the Gulf Oil Spill

Sunday, July 25, 2010 \PM\.\Sun\.

(Biretta tip: PolitiZoid)


And The Money Kept Rolling In

Saturday, July 24, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  And the Money Kept Rolling In from the musical Evita.  I have always loved Evita, a rousing extravaganza that warns of the dangers of electing charismatic clueless demagogues who then bankrupt a nation with hare-brained policies.  The 1996 film version managed the major miracle of being the only film featuring Madonna Louise Ciccone that I can watch without brain cells dying en masse. Read the rest of this entry »


Stonewall Jackson’s Way

Saturday, July 17, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Stonewall Jackson’s Way, sung by the endlessly talented Bobby Horton who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences.

Of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, nicknamed Stonewall by General Barnard Bee at the battle of Bull Run, it was said he lived by the New Testament and fought by the Old.  Certainly throughout his life he was a convinced Christian.  As a young man he would attend services of various Christian denominations.  In Mexico, during his service in the Mexican War, he attended mass, although sadly he did not convert to Catholicism.  Instead he eventually became a Presbyterian.  His Bible was his constant companion, and he would often speak of God and theological matters in private conversation.

Jackson in his professional life was a soldier.  Just before the Civil War he was a professor of natural and experimental philosophy (science) and artillery instruction at the Virginia Military Institute.  As a teacher he made a good soldier.  His lectures were rather dry.  If his students seemed to fail to grasp a lecture, he would repeat it the next day, word for word. 

His home life was a mixture of sorrow and joy.  His first wife died in childbirth along with their still-born son, a tragedy that would have crushed many a man less iron-willed than  Jackson.  His second marriage, like his first, was happy, but heartache also haunted it.  A daughter died shortly after birth in 1858.  A second daughter was born in 1862, shortly before Jackson’s own death in 1863.

He and his second wife established and taught a Sunday school for black slaves.  At the time it was against the law in Virginia to teach slaves to read, but apparently that is precisely what Jackson and his wife did.   One of the last letters he ever posted was his regular contribution he mailed off throughout the war for the financial support of the Sunday school for slaves he and his wife had founded. Read the rest of this entry »


Moonlight Sonata

Saturday, July 10, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.


The Eagle Inside Belongs to US!

Saturday, July 3, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  The Egg song from the musical 1776. Read the rest of this entry »


Cool, Considerate Man

Saturday, June 26, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  Cool Considerate Men from the musical 1776.  I have always loved the musical 1776, although I recognize that the actual history and what is depicted in the musical often part company.  Perhaps the greatest divergence is in the case of John Dickinson, a member of Congress from Pennsylvania, who is represented in the play as an arch reactionary and  Tory. Dickinson, as the play rightly indicates at the end, enlisted to fight in the Revolution, and had the odd military career of serving  first as a militia Brigadier General and then as a militia Private.  During the War he also served as President (Governor) of Delaware and as President (Governor) of Pennsylvania.  After the War he served as a delegate from Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention, and supported the ratification with a series of articles written under the pen name Fabius.

Dickinson mainly opposed an immediate declaration of independence in 1776 because he wished the Articles of Confederation, which he had largely drafted, to be first sent to the 13 colonies and ratified by them, and for the colonies to obtain a powerful foreign ally before such a declaration was made to the World.  Dickinson was a firm patriot willing to risk his own skin in the War, so his opposition to the Declaration of Independence did no long term damage to his reputation during his life.

On July 1, he made a speech against immediate independence.  The debate was apparently fierce while he spoke, and thus the speech has a fragmentary quality: Read the rest of this entry »


Illinois State Song

Saturday, June 19, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.   The State Song of Illinois with scenes from my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  My wife and I took our son down for his freshman orientation this week, some 35 years after I went through it. 

Another rendition sung on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield.

Illinois is a wonderful state that has been long cursed with one of the most corrupt state governments in the nation.  Past time for the voters of the Land of Lincoln to correct this disgrace. Read the rest of this entry »


Land of Hope and Glory

Saturday, June 5, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  I cannot leave our loyal readers with only the caterwauling of Nero/Ustinov as their musical treat for the weekend.  My oldest son recently graduated from high school and Pomp and Circumstance, as usual, was played.  In England they have the patriotic song Land of Hope and Glory set to the same tune.  Here it is sung by the legendary Vera Lynn, whose unforgettable voice  did so much to keep up the spirit of the British forces during WWII that she was acclaimed as the Sweetheart of the British Forces, a title which has recently passed to the Welsh songstress Katherine Jenkins for her tireless efforts to entertain the British troops serving in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »


Kelly’s Irish Brigade

Sunday, May 30, 2010 \AM\.\Sun\.

I have had a few posts, here, here  and here, on the famous Irish Brigade that fought for the Union in the Army of the Potomac.  There were however other Irish units, North and South.  This song celebrates Kelly’s Irish Brigade that fought for the Confederacy in the West.  The Brigade was actually a regiment, the Washington Blues, organized by Joseph Kelly, a grocer in Saint Louis, prior to the Civil War.  Kelly was an Irish immigrant as were most of the men in his regiment.  They provided good service for the Confederacy, and you may read about them here. Read the rest of this entry »


The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Saturday, May 29, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  As we enjoy the fun and festivities of the Memorial Day Weekend unofficial start of summer, it is fitting and proper that we recall why Monday is a National Holiday.  Tomorrow I will have something for our readers who favor the gray over the blue. Read the rest of this entry »


When You Believe

Saturday, May 22, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  When You Believe  from the Prince of Egypt.  Whenever I see this video I always recall my favorite poem by William Blake:

Mock On, Mock On, Voltaire, Rousseau 

 
 
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; ’tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel’s paths they shine.

The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton’s Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.