Sacred Music Friday: Agnus Dei

Samuel Barber, Agnus Dei, Vlaams Radio Koor, Marcus Creed, conductor


Sacred Music Friday: Adoramus Te, Christe

VOCES8 performs ‘Adoramus Te, Christe’ by Claudio Monteverdi at the Gresham Centre in London.


Sacred Music Friday: Kol Nidre

For my Jewish friends (and for the Jewish part of me).

“May your fast be full of all that you need it to be. May your fast be powerful and purposeful and meaningful.” —Rabbi Phyllis Sommer


Secular Music Friday: September Morn

In honor of the first day of autumn and in appreciation of the marvelous change in the weather in comparison to a couple of weeks ago.


Good Booty

Good Booty coverGood Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music
Ann Powers
Dey Street Books (sold by HarperCollins Publishers)
August 15, 2017, 453 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon hardcover $16.49

One of my guilty pleasures is reading histories of popular culture. Good Booty is such a book. While both “black and white” and “body and soul” of the subtitle form part of the narrative, the book is largely about sex in American music. While you may see reviews of this book stating that it is a rock and roll history, it is far more than that. Powers goes back to the slave population of New Orleans and talks about the suggestive music they supposedly sang in their off hours. She discusses a performer in the early twentieth century whose performance included the words “it’s tight like that.”

For me, the most important part of the book admittedly was the coverage of modern rock, from Elvis on. To get there, however, you have to go through gospel. Powers writes:

quoteGospel gave rock and soul many musical innovations, but its deepest contribution was the conviction that the soul’s erotic fulfillment is a matter of life and death. The same could be said of the blues; but in gospel, there’s more movement and more hope.

In fact she tells us that Elvis was once turned down for membership in a gospel group.

The book is very well researched with copious footnotes. I do love the new Kindle footnote feature that pops the footnote up on the current page rather than taking you to the footnotes at the end of the book or chapter. Very cool.

I thought I saw a couple of glaring errors. In referring to the Carole King hit first made famous by The Shirelles she refers to the song as “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”  A little research, however, shows that was in fact the title of the song, even though the lyrics include the word “still.”

However, I think she made one error with respect to Carly Simon. She says the song “Anticipation” was about foreplay. According to Sheila Weller in Girls Like Us, Simon wrote the song when Cat Stevens was three hours late for a planned date.

That small point aside, Good Booty is a fascinating, well-written, thoroughly researched work on popular culture.


Sacred Music Friday: Lord of the Dance

A compelling and somewhat different performance of an old favorite.


another familiar voice

I wrote a while back about how we enjoy listening to Michael Burman playing jazz on KCSM-FM on Saturday evenings.

Classical 24 logoI need to give equal time to Sunday evenings. That’s when we listen to the NPR classical service. We love hearing Valerie Kahler who hosts the six to ten time slot, Pacific Time. She is actually in the Twin Cities, so her shift takes her up to midnight central time. But her voice is a soothing presence as we get ready to start the new week, and we very much miss her when she’s away.