Tag: List

Black History Month – 10 Books by African Americans

Just some books I liked and think you will too. Selections mine, blurbs via Amazon. 

Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul
James McBride
Kill ’Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown embodied the contradictions of American life: He was an unsettling symbol of the tensions between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. After receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth, James McBride goes in search of the “real” James Brown. McBride’s travels take him to forgotten corners of Brown’s never-before-revealed history, illuminating not only our understanding of the immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated Godfather of Soul, but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown’s enduring legacy.

How I Learned What I Learned
August Wilson
From Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson comes a one-man show that chronicles his life as a Black artist in the Hill District in Pittsburgh. From stories about his first jobs to his first loves and his experiences with racism, Wilson recounts his life from his roots to the completion of The American Century Cycle. How I Learned What I Learned gives an inside look into one of the most celebrated playwriting voices of the twentieth century.

The Big Sea: An Autobiography
Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, born in 1902, came of age early in the 1920s. In The Big Sea he recounts those memorable years in the two great playgrounds of the decade–Harlem and Paris. In Paris he was a cook and waiter in nightclubs. He knew the musicians and dancers, the drunks and dope fiends. In Harlem he was a rising young poet–at the center of the “Harlem Renaissance.”

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Rock This!
Chris Rock
From today’s hottest stand-up comic–heir to Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy and known for his Emmy Award-winning HBO Specials and The Chris Rock Show–comes this edgy, no-holds-barred humor book about race, relationships, and politics.

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
Z.Z. Packer
Her impressive range and talent are abundantly evident: Packer dazzles with her command of language, surprising and delighting us with unexpected turns and indelible images, as she takes us into the lives of characters on the periphery, unsure of where they belong. We meet a Brownie troop of black girls who are confronted with a troop of white girls; a young man who goes with his father to the Million Man March and must decide where his allegiance lies; an international group of drifters in Japan, who are starving, unable to find work; a girl in a Baltimore ghetto who has dreams of the larger world she has seen only on the screens in the television store nearby, where the Lithuanian shopkeeper holds out hope for attaining his own American Dream.

Waiting to Exhale
Terry McMillan
When the men in their lives prove less than reliable, Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, and Robin find new strength through a rare and enlightening friendship as they struggle to regain stability and an identity they don’t have to share with anyone. Because for the first time in a long time, their dreams are finally OFF hold….

I, Tina: My Life Story
Tina Turner
A reissue of the one of the most fascinating and dramatic true stories in show business history—the massive bestseller I, Tina, in which the legendary Tina Turner tells all about her life and career: from her humble beginnings in Nut Bush, TN; to her turbulent and volatile marriage to Ike Turner; and, finally, to her triumphant return and massive success.

Colored People: A Memoir
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
In a coming-of-age story as enchantingly vivid and ribald as anything Mark Twain or Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., recounts his childhood in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia, in the 1950s and 1960s and ushers readers into a gossip, of lye-and-mashed-potato “processes,” and of slyly stubborn resistance to the indignities of segregation.

Pym: A Novel
Mat Johnson
Recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes has just made a startling discovery: the manuscript of a crude slave narrative that confirms the reality of Edgar Allan Poe’s strange and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Determined to seek out Tsalal, the remote island of pure and utter blackness that Poe describes, Jaynes convenes an all-black crew of six to follow Pym’s trail to the South Pole, armed with little but the firsthand account from which Poe derived his seafaring tale, a bag of bones, and a stash of Little Debbie snack cakes. Thus begins an epic journey by an unlikely band of adventurers under the permafrost of Antarctica, beneath the surface of American history, and behind one of literature’s great mysteries.

 

9 Books I Read in 2020 That Weren’t Published in 2020

The following are recommended, in no particular order. Selections mine, blurbs via Amazon.

Hamlet
William Shakespeare (audio book)
Shakespeare’s most famous play is one of the greatest stories in the literature of the world.

Distressed by his father’s death and his mother’s over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is faced by a specter from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet’s beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy.

Hamlet is played by Simon Russell Beale. Imogen Stubbs plays Ophelia, Jane Lapotaire is Gertrude, and Bob Peck is Claudius. Polonius is played by Norman Rodway.

It’s the cast that makes this an exceptional Hamlet.

A Cab at the Door
V.S. Pritchett
A Cab at the Door, originally published in 1968, recalls his childhood in turn-of-the-century and World War I London with the urbane subtlety and wry humor that have marked his other works. For the wild and eccentric Pritchett family, life is a series of cabs waiting at the door to transport them to a succession of ten-bob-a-week lodgings, in their flight from creditors and the financial disasters of their father. A Cab at the Door also captures the texture and color of the working-class side of Edwardian England.

10% Happier – How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works
Dan Harris
Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. Now revised with new material.

After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Elizabeth Vargas
From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, “I am an alcoholic,” to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Now, in Between Breaths, Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety–which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam–and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, eventually turning to alcohol for a release from her painful reality. The now-A&E Network reporter reveals how she found herself living in denial about the extent of her addiction, and how she kept her dependency a secret for so long. She addresses her time in rehab, her first year of sobriety, and the guilt she felt as a working mother who could never find the right balance between a career and parenting. Honest and hopeful, Between Breaths is an inspiring read. Winner of the Books for a Better Life Award in the First Book category Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin’s forced work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn’s stature as “a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy” — Harrison Salisbury

Ravelstein
Saul Bellow
Abe Ravelstein is a brilliant professor at a prominent midwestern university and a man who glories in training the movers and shakers of the political world. He has lived grandly and ferociously-and much beyond his means. His close friend Chick has suggested that he put forth a book of his convictions about the ideas which sustain humankind, or kill it, and much to Ravelstein’s own surprise, he does and becomes a millionaire. Ravelstein suggests in turn that Chick write a memoir or a life of him, and during the course of a celebratory trip to Paris the two share thoughts on mortality, philosophy and history, loves and friends, old and new, and vaudeville routines from the remote past. The mood turns more somber once they have returned to the Midwest and Ravelstein succumbs to AIDS and Chick himself nearly dies

Water by the Spoonful
Quiara Alegría Hudes
“How many plays make us long for grace? Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Hudes is such a rare play; it is a yearning, funny, deeply sad and deeply lyrical piece, a worthy companion to Hudes’s Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue. The play infects us with the urge to find connection within our families and communities and remains with us long after we’ve left the theater.” – Paula Vogel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of How I Learned to Drive

Writing to Learn: How to Write – and Think – Clearly About Any Subject at All
William Zinsser
Using numerous examples of clear, stylish writing from a broad range of disciplines, and adding the warmth of his personal experiences, Zinsser makes a strong case for his claim that writing about a field of knowledge is the best way to immerse oneself in it and to make it one’s own. Three guiding principles emerge accuracy, brevity, and clarity and, Zinsser argues, writers who keep them in mind will avoid much of the misunderstanding that results from bad writing. Zinnser has particularly harsh words for what he calls “corporation-speak,” the incomprehensible nonsense that invades many professional publications. His reference, whose title so accurately sums up its philosophy, should become a standard for those who care about good writing.

Our Country’s Good
Timberlake Wertenbaker
Australia 1789. A young married lieutenant is directing rehearsals of the first play ever to be staged in that country. With only two copies of the text, a cast of convicts, and one leading lady who may be about to be hanged, conditions are hardly ideal…Winner of the Laurence Olivier Play of the Year Award in 1988, and many other major awards, Our Country’s Good premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1988 and opened on Broadway in 1991. ‘Rarely has the redemptive, transcendental power of theatre been argued with such eloquence and passion.’

Best Books of 2020

Selections mine, blurbs via Amazon.

Interior Chinatown
Charles Yu, January 28, 2020

Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but always he is relegated to a prop. Yet every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. Or is it?

The Second Chance Club: Hardship and Hope After Prison
Jason Hardy, February 18, 2020

Prompted by a dead-end retail job and a vague desire to increase the amount of justice in his hometown, Jason Hardy became a parole officer in New Orleans at the worst possible moment. Louisiana’s incarceration rates were the highest in the US and his department’s caseload had just been increased to 220 “offenders” per parole officer, whereas the national average is around 100. Almost immediately, he discovered that the biggest problem with our prison system is what we do—and don’t do—when people get out of prison.

Sing Backwards and Weep: A Memoir
Mark Lanegan, April 28, 2020

In Sing Backwards and Weep, Lanegan takes readers back to the sinister, needle-ridden streets of Seattle, to an alternative music scene that was simultaneously bursting with creativity and dripping with drugs. He tracks the tumultuous rise and fall of the Screaming Trees, from a brawling, acid-rock bar band to world-famous festival favorites that scored a hit number five single on Billboard’s alternative charts and landed a notorious performance on Late Night with David Letterman, where Lanegan appeared sporting a fresh black eye from a brawl the night before. This book also dives into Lanegan’s personal struggles with addiction, culminating in homelessness, petty crime, and the tragic deaths of his closest friends. From the back of the van to the front of the bar, from the hotel room to the emergency room, onstage, backstage, and everywhere in between, Sing Backwards and Weep reveals the abrasive underlining beneath one of the most romanticized decades in rock history-from a survivor who lived to tell the tale.

How to Make a Slave and Other Essays
Jerald Walker, October 30, 2020

For the black community, Jerald Walker asserts in How to Make a Slave, “anger is often a prelude to a joke, as there is broad understanding that the triumph over this destructive emotion lay in finding its punchline.” It is on the knife’s edge between fury and farce that the essays in this exquisite collection balance. Whether confronting the medical profession’s racial biases, considering the complicated legacy of Michael Jackson, paying homage to his writing mentor James Alan McPherson, or attempting to break free of personal and societal stereotypes, Walker elegantly blends personal revelation and cultural critique. The result is a bracing and often humorous examination by one of America’s most acclaimed essayists of what it is to grow, parent, write, and exist as a black American male. Walker refuses to lull his readers; instead his missives urge them to do better as they consider, through his eyes, how to be a good citizen, how to be a good father, how to live, and how to love

Garner’s Quotations: A Modern Miscellany
Dwight Garner, November 10, 2020

A selection of favorite quotes that the celebrated literary critic has collected over the decades. From Dwight Garner, the New York Times book critic, comes a rollicking, irreverent, scabrous, amazingly alive selection of unforgettable moments from forty years of wide and deep reading. Garner’s Quotations is like no commonplace book you’ll ever read. If you’ve ever wondered what’s really going on in the world of letters today, this book will make you sit up and take notice. Unputdownable!

10 Most Legendary Rock and Roll Clubs – VH1 List

10. Cafe Wha?
Location: 115 MacDougal St., New York, New York
Who Played There: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Paul & Mary, The Velvet Underground

9. The Cavern
Location: 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool, England
Who Played There: The Beatles, The Who, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Johnny Lee Hooker, The Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, The Wanted, Adele, The Beatles…

8. CBGB
Location: 315 Bowery, New York, New York (now closed)
Who Played There: The Ramones, Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, Misfits, Blondie

7. Crocodile Cafe (now The Crocodile)
Location: 2200 2nd Ave., Seattle, Washington
Who Played There: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, the Posies

6. The Fillmore (West and East)
Locations: (West) 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, California and (East) 525 E 11th St., New York, New York (now closed)
Who Played Here: Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Allman Brother’s Band, Neil Young, Derek & The Dominoes, and Miles Davis

5. The Hacienda
Location: 11-13 Whitworth St. West, Manchester, England (closed)
Who Played There: New Order, the Happy Mondays, Madonna, the Stone Roses, the Smiths

4. The Troubadour
Location: 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, California
Who Played There: Elton John, James Taylor, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Love, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Jackson Browne, Neil Diamond, Guns N’ Roses

3. Whisky a Go Go
Location: 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, California
Who Played There: The Doors, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Johnny Rivers, Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa, Arthur Lee and Love, Motley Crue, Red Hot Chili Peppers…for a start

2. The 40 Watt Club
Location: 285 West Washington St., Athens, Georgia
Who Played There: R.E.M., The B-52s, Indigo Girls, Modern Skirts, Pylon

1. The 100 Club
Location: 100 Oxford Street, London, England
Who Played There: Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Clash, Siouxie & The Banshees, The Damned

http://www.vh1.com/news/51851/the-10-most-legendary-rock-clubs-of-all-time/

Top 10 Singles of 1991 – Village Voice Pazz and Jop

Top 10 Singles of 1991
1. Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
2. R.E.M.: “Losing My Religion”
3. Naughty by Nature: “O.P.P.”
4. Geto Boys: “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”
5. Metallica: “Enter Sandman”
6. (Tie) P.M. Dawn: “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”
Crystal Waters: “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)”
8. (Tie) Public Enemy: “Can’t Truss It”
Seal: “Crazy”
10. EMF: “Unbelievable”

Village Voice

10 Great Theater Books

Selections mine, blubs via Amazon.

Theatre Writings, Kenneth Tynan
The best of Kenneth Tynan’s theatre criticism, selected and edited by his biographer Dominic Shellard – with a foreword by Tom Stoppard.

This volume is an edited selection of theatre criticism by one of the most significant and influential writers on British theatre. Spanning the years 1944 to 1965, it includes all of Tynan’s major theatre reviews and articles written for the Evening Standard, the Daily Sketch and the Observer.

It also includes the text of his substantial 1964 speech to the Royal Society of Arts, setting out his vision for the National Theatre.

Tynan’s writings on theatre, according to eminent theatre historian Dominic Shellard, influenced the evolution of the whole of post-war theatre in Britain. And, with their characteristic mix of hyperbole, irreverence and prescience, they remain brilliantly entertaining today.

‘You can open this book on almost any page and come across a phrase or a vignette which is the next best thing to having been there’ – Tom Stoppard, from his Foreword

The Life of the Drama, Eric Bentley
“Eric Bentley’s radical new look at the grammar of theatre…is a work of exceptional virtue… The book justifies its title by being precisely about the ways in which life manifests itself in the theatre…This is a book to be read again and again.” – Frank Kermode, The New York Review of Books

How Plays Work, David Edgar
Distinguished playwright David Edgar examines the mechanisms and techniques which dramatists throughout the ages have employed to structure their plays and to express their meaning.

Written for playwrights and playgoers alike, Edgar’s analysis starts with the building blocks of whole plays – plot, character creation, genre and structure – and moves on to scenes and devices. He shows how plays share a common architecture without which the uniqueness of their authors’ vision would be invisible.

What does King Lear have in common with Cinderella? What does Jaws owe to Ibsen? From Aeschylus to Alan Ayckbourn, from Chekhov to Caryl Churchill, are there common principles by which all plays work?

Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, Keith Johnstone
Impro isn’t just about the theater, it’s about life, about the ability to live improvisationally. Read it. Try the exercises out for yourself.

Great Moments in the Theatre, Benedict Nightingale
Renowned critic Benedict Nightingale, who served as chief theatre critic for the London Times from 1990–2010, collects what he considers the greatest moments from the past 2,500 years of theater. His informative and entertaining essays cover and celebrate a vast array of diverse, historical and important openings and events

On Acting, Laurence Olivier
If you want to read Olivier has to say about acting, read this. It’s fascinating. Amazon, having asked me to give a review, refuses to publish it unless I write five more words beyo the prior sentence, but I have nothing to add.

Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s most famous play is one of the greatest stories in the literature of the world.

Distressed by his father’s death and his mother’s over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is faced by a specter from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet’s beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy.

The Best of Off-Broadway: Eight Contemporary Obie-Winning Plays
David Mamet –  Edmond
Wallace Shawn –  Aunt Dan and Lemon
Maria Irene Fornes – The Danube
Susan-Lori Parks – The Imperceptible Mutablilities of the Third Kingdom
Samuel Beckett – Ohio Impromptu
Christopher Durang –  The Marriage of Bette and Boo
Eric Bogosian – Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll
Craig Lucas –  Prelude to a Kiss

27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays, Tennessee Williams
The thirteen one-act plays collected in this volume include some of Tennessee Williams’s finest and most powerful work.

They are full of the perception of life as it is, and the passion for life as it ought to be, which have made The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire classics of the American theater.

Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead, Eric Bogosian
In his fifth, brashest solo show, Eric Bogosian again aims scorching social commentary at the contemporary urban and suburban scene. From subway panhandlers to barbecue-crazed millionaires, Bogosian reveals the hidden humor, fear, hypocrisy and rage of Americans – including, for the first time, “Eric Bogosian,” a hyperaggressive standup comic. With this seductive element of self-revelation, he heightens the disturbing connections between his characters and, by extension, between us and the people we try not to see – and not to be – every day.

10 Great Modern Classic Novels

Modern = written since 1980
Classic = will still be read 100 years from date of writing
(Selections mine, blubs via Amazon. I stuck with novels written in English because I don’t know enough lit in translation to judge.)

Flaubert’s Parrot – Julian Barnes, 1984
A kind of detective story, relating a cranky amateur scholar’s search for the truth about Gustave Flaubert, and the obsession of this detective whose life seems to oddly mirror those of Flaubert’s characters.

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks, 1984
Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least:
Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe, 1987
After Tom Wolfe defined the ’60s in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and the cultural U-turn at the turn of the ’80s in The Right Stuff, nobody thought he could ever top himself again. In 1987, when The Bonfire of the Vanities arrived, the literati called Wolfe an “aging enfant terrible.”

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris, 1988
A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname–Buffalo Bill–is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter–Hannibal the Cannibal–who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
Here is Kazuo Ishiguro’s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England.

L.A. Confidential – James Ellroy, 1990
L.A. Confidential is epic “noir”, a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants no survivors.

Regeneration – Pat Barker, 1991
In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified “mentally unsound” and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon’s “sanity” and sending him back to the trenches.

Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin, 1996
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.

The Wishbones – Tom Perrotta, 1997
Everything is going pretty well for Dave Raymond. He’s 31, but he still feels young. He’s playing guitar with the Wishbones, a New Jersey wedding band, and while it isn’t exactly the Big Time, it is music. He has a roof over his head…well, it’s his parents’ roof, but they don’t hassle him much. Life isn’t perfect. But it isn’t bad. Not bad at all. But then he has to blow it all by proposing to his girlfriend.

Pym – Mat Johnson, 2011
Recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes has just made a startling discovery: the manuscript of a crude slave narrative that confirms the reality of Edgar Allan Poe’s strange and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

Keith Richards’ 10 Classic Roots and Reggae List

1. Stagolee – Jesse Fuller, 1958
This says something about the way I feel. There is a mixture of music in him: ragtime, blues, folk and country. And he’s a one-man band.

2. When Did You Leave Heaven – Big Bill Broonzy, 1951
He was the best-known American blues player in England in the Fifties. There’s footage of him singing that song, in a barroom in Belgium or something. Check it out.

3. It Hurts Me too – Elmore James, 1957
Brian Jones introduced me to Elmore. His voice is so compelling, and that seemingly effortless slide playing was unusual. What struck me was how Elmore James looked a bit like a school teacher, very respectable.

4. Blues Hangover – Slim Harpo, 1960
The sheer swampiness of this – it had the be here, especially because he puts the whole band through a hangover at the same time.

5. Key to the Highway – Little Walter, 1958
It’s the sheer sound, the way the band is right behind Walter. It’s the best version of the song ever.

6. Piece of My Heart – Erma Franklin, 1967
Janis Joplin did a good job covering this. But Erma’s got the stuff. She was Aretha’s sister. Erma is rougher. Aretha’s voice was more pure.

7. In a Dis Ya Time – The Itals, 1998
The Itals are in reggae’s harmony tradition. It is the pinnacle of how reggae can sound.

8. Innocent People Cry – Gregory Isaacs, 1974
Isaacs has written some incredible songs. It took me months to find this in Jamaica. I was asking around for “Chookie No Lookie” [the chorus]. Everybody’s giving me a blank stare. Then it was, “Oh, you mean ‘Innocent People Cry’. How did he come up with that title?

9. Memphis, Tennessee – Chuck Berry, 1958
I think he’s playing everything except the drums and a little piano. There is something about the way the guitars mesh together. I have to doff the old hat. The greatest.

10. 32-20 – Robert Johnson, 1936
Hey, it’s about guns.

“When you’re asked to do these sorts of lists, you don’t want to come up with the obvious stuff. We know the classics. We’ve seen thousands of those lists. I was trying to think of stuff that’s slipped between the cracks. This list is a mixture, some of the essences that appeal to me. I look at this and think, ‘That’s a pretty good list. I can live with it.'”

Keith Richards
The Playlist Issue
Rolling Stone, December 9, 2010

See also, Mick Jagger’s 10 Classic Blues Playlist – Now With Notes

The 50 Quintessential New York Albums – Village Voice List

Quintessential – representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.

https://www.villagevoice.com/2014/02/18/the-50-most-nyc-albums-ever/
VILLAGE VOICE STAFF
FEBRUARY 18, 2014

For the past week we’ve been locked in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, subsisting on nothing but Russ & Daughters’ lox, listening to the best records about, by, and for New York City through headphones endorsed by Lou Reed. Our mission: to come up with a list of the 50 Most NYC Albums Ever; albums born of the five boroughs that best capture what it’s like to live, love, struggle, and exist in the sprawling, unforgiving, culturally dense metropolis we pay too much to call home. The albums we finally agreed upon capture everything from the unaffected cool of the Lower East Side to the horn-spiked salsa of Spanish Harlem and much more. So let’s get to it. Here, now, the 50 most quintessential New York records. Apologies in advance for The Muppets Take Manhattan not making the cut.

50. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003) The Yeah Yeah Yeahs might not be the hipster band du jour anymore, but Fever to Tell is still a perfect downtown New York record, gritty and artsy and stylish.

49. Jay Z – The Blueprint (2001) Jay-Z famously mocked Nas for having a “one hot album every 10-year average.” And yet Jay himself has only reached the height of his potential three times in a nearly 30-year career.

48. Jim Carroll – Catholic Boy (1980) With his New York drug-drawl and angel-headed hipster-hustler lyrics, poet-turned-musician Jim Carroll spoke-sang with an urgency that belied his drug of choice.

Continue reading “The 50 Quintessential New York Albums – Village Voice List”