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Posts Tagged ‘music

“Opposites attract”*…


Indian food is categorically delicious: its flavors are complex, oscillating between sweet, savory, and spicy; its textures meld creamy sauces with doughy breads and tender meat and vegetables to make the slop of dreams. It’s a divine synthesis that is aromatic and sophisticated without being bougie. Hell, you can get a better-than-decent plate of it for nary more than the cost of a deli sandwich.

But what is it that makes Indian food so endlessly rich and tasty? Scientists were wondering, too, and recently performed an analysis of 2,500 recipes to find out…

Find illumination (and a timely life lesson) at “There’s a Scientific Reason Why Indian Food Is So Delicious.”

* Proverb


As we dive into the dal, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that Arlo Guthrie’s anthemic “Alice’s Restaurant was released.  In 1965 (then 18-year-old) Arlo Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins were arrested by Stockbridge, MA police officer William “Obie” Obanhein for illegally dumping a bag a garbage after eating Thanksgiving dinner at Alice’s Restaurant.  Guthrie and Robbins pled guilty, were fined $50 dollars each, and sentenced to pick up their garbage.  Guthrie memorialized the incident in “The Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” which he first performed live on WBAI radio (a listener-supported station in New York); the song was so popular that the station would play it only after a listener made a substantial donation.  Since then, as some readers will know, it’s become traditional for many classic rock radio stations to play the song each Thanksgiving.


Written by LW

November 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

“We got the beat”*…


The drum machine is one of the most effective musical inventions of our time. It’s affordable, easy to use, and ruthless in its precision, able to do exactly what it’s been told for as long as required (so long as you’ve got an AC adaptor). Of course, not everybody warms to the drum machine’s big plastic buttons and bright LED screen…

Starting from the Italian Futurists, “A Brief History of the Drum Machine in Rock Music.”

* The Go-Gos


As we lay in the loop, we might recall that it was on this date in 1990 that NARAS stripped Milli Vanilli of the Grammy that they had won earlier that year.  One of the most popular pop acts in the late 1980s, their album debut album Girl You Know It’s True achieved international success and earned them the Grammy for Best New Artist.  But when it was revealed that neither of the duo (Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus) had actually sung lead vocals on the albums songs, the award was withdrawn.  The group recorded a comeback album, Back and in Attack, in 1998, but Rob Pilatus died before the album was released.

Milli Vanilli at the 1990 Grammys



Written by LW

November 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Who I am on stage is very, very different to who I am in real life”*…


Beyoncé’s father (pictured above with his daughter at the 2004 Grammy Awards) can make you a star…

It is 10am, and the lights in Houston’s Hobby Center theater dim to black.

“Mathew Knowles was born on January 9, 1951,” a voice booms over the sound system. “Excelling at education and sports,” it continues, he went on to become the “No 1 salesman in the world at Xerox”.

The 75 people in the audience, who have spent up to $320 for a day-long “bootcamp” with Knowles – titled “The entertainment industry: how do I get in?”– might well be wondering what they have paid for.

A video begins to play. We see a series of images of Beyoncé and hear some of her most famous songs. Now we know why we are here. This is a seminar with Beyoncé’s dad. Her former manager.

This is the man who created Destiny’s Child. The man who, according to the voiceover, “took a risk that changed history”. The man who also managed his other daughter Solange. The man whose new book, The DNA of Achievers, is available for purchase in the lobby for $19.95 plus shipping and handling, a price which includes the opportunity to have your photo taken with him at the end of the day…

Partake of the secrets of success at “Can Beyoncé’s dad make me a star? Inside a one-day fame ‘bootcamp’.”

* Beyoncé Knowles


As we reach inside ourselves to make contact with the passion that will propel us, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that the Country Music Festival in Nashville kicked off its annual celebration of the form, at which Patsy Cline was named “Queen of Country Music.”  Cline, a stalwart of the early 1960s Nashville sound known for such now-standards as “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces,” was one of the first Country artists to cross-over, and was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed vocalists of the 20th century.  The following year (at the age of 30) she died in the crash of of manager’s private plane.



Written by LW

November 4, 2015 at 1:01 am

“There’s an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it, but it’s good.”*…


Matan Stauber‘s “Histography” is, if not the most complete timeline ever, certainly close…

“Histography” is interactive timeline that spans across 14 billion years of history, from the Big Bang to 2015.
The site draws historical events from Wikipedia and self-updates daily with new recorded events.
The interface allows for users to view between decades to millions of years.
The viewer can choose to watch a variety of events which have happened in a particular period or to target a specific event in time. For example you can look at the past century within the categories of war and inventions.

* Stephen Colbert


As we remember, with Churchill that, “The farther backward [we] can look, the farther forward [we] are likely to see,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1609 that “Three Blind Mice” was first published.  Appearing in Deuteromelia or The Seconde part of Musicks melodie, a book edited by Thomas Ravenscroft (who may also have authored the rhyme, though there’a case to be made that it dates back to the days of Queen Mary, and refers to her punishment of “The Oxford Martyrs“).

The original lyrics were:

Three Blinde Mice,

Three Blinde Mice,

Dame Iulian,

Dame Iulian,

the Miller and his merry olde Wife,

she scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.

The lyrics as we’ve come to know them appeared in the mid-19th century in a children’s anthology collected by James Orchard Halliwell.



Written by LW

October 12, 2015 at 1:01 am

“The empty vessel makes the greatest sound”*…


Hours of fun!

* Shakespeare, Henry V (quoting a proverbial saying often attributed to Plato)


As we become one with the Cosmos, we might recall that it was on this date in 1966 that Capitol Records released the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.”  Reputedly the most expensive single ever produced to that date, it’s in any case true that composer and producer Brian Wilson is credited with a huge step forward in the use of the recording studio as an “instrument” in its creation  The record was the Beach Boys’ third #1 song in the U.S. (their first in the U.K.) and has been included in both the Grammy and the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.



Written by LW

October 10, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Cocaine is God’s way of telling you are making too much money”*…


Not just any white powdery substance will do, of course. Says [prop master Ken Finn]: “You don’t want to use powdered sugar because it gets sticky. You really don’t want to use flour either because if it gets damp at all it just becomes clumpy.” Instead, it’s almost always inositol, a B-vitamin compound.  “In fact,” says Ken, “if you ever snort it, you might get this familiar feeling.  A certain memory, like, ‘Hey, I’ve tasted this in the back of my throat before.’ What I’ve learned since then is that actual cocaine is oftentimes cut with this stuff. If you ever do shitty [cocaine], You might actually be ingesting this stuff without even knowing it.”

Natalie Kearns, a veteran stage prop master, seconds the use of inositol: “It absorbs easily into the sinuses and doesn’t affect vocal chords, so it’s a good choice for musicals and has been reliably used by some big names on Broadway for extended runs.”…

More at “Prop Masters Explain the Movie Magic of Fake Cocaine.”

* Robin Williams


As we lay it on the line, we might send melodic birthday greetings to Paul Williams; he was born on this date in 1940.  A composer, singer, songwriter, and actor, Williams is probably best known for popular songs performed by a number of acts in the 1970s including Three Dog Night’s “An Old Fashioned Love Song,” Helen Reddy’s “You and Me Against the World,” David Bowie’s “Fill Your Heart,” and the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Rainy Days and Mondays”– as well as his contributions to films, including the lyrics to the chart-topping “Evergreen”, the love theme from A Star Is Born (Barbra Streisand) for which he won a Grammy for Song of the Year and an Academy Award for Best Original Song; and “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie.  He also wrote the lyrics to the opening theme for The Love Boat.

Williams struggled with substance abuse issues the 1970s-80s.  Sober since 1990, he became a Certified Drug Rehabilitation Counselor.



Written by LW

September 19, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I play a musical instrument a little, but only for my own amazement”*…


Mr. and Mrs. Karsy, an inventive and original “team” on the variety stage, have created a new and extrodinary musical instrument which is known as the Giant Myriophone (Myriphon). It is the work of a genius and when under full swing produces music similar to that of a full string band. Only two persons are required to produce this immense volume of sound. “The Myriophone has the appearance of a large screen, with a number of wheels fitted on the front. These wheels have strings fitted on them and look much like bicycle wheels. They are set in motion by four lusty stage hands concealed in the rear, and the performers who have a small stick of wood in each hand touch the strings, thus making a note, which can be prolonged to any length. The Myriophone consists of twenty-five discs, each with eighty strings, making 2,000 in all. The sounding boards are made of the same wood as is used in pianos. Regular piano strings are used…

Karsy’s Giant Myriphon

* Fred Allen


As we tinkle the ivories, we might spare a thought for François Couperin; he died on this date in 1733 (though some sources place his passing on the 11th).  An organist, harpsichordist, and composer, he was an important influence on Corelli– thus influencing J. S. Bach.



Written by LW

September 12, 2015 at 1:01 am


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