(Roughly) Daily



Your correspondent is off to Grits-A-Palooza, the annual festival of deep frying held amidst the dunes of the Barrier Islands.  Consequently, regular service will be interrupted until August 12 or so.  But lest readers fret, here is something to occupy the interim:

In February of 1966, Nancy Sinatra released her recording of Lee Hazlewood’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”: an instant success, the single hit #! on the Billboard charts in both the U.S. and the U.K. that same month, and did equally well around the world.

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Since then, the song has taken on a life of its own: it’s been covered and released in styles ranging from country and swing, through metal, pop, rock, and punk, to dance and industrial.  “Dying For Bad Music” has helpfully collected 172 of these versions– all available to hear here.

It’s tough to choose a favorite:  Siouxsie’s version has sentimental appeal; KMFDM sets the industrial standard… but how to understand David Hasselhoff’s version, or Megadeath’s?  In the end, your correspondent has to go with the always-astounding Residents’ version

But, of course, the more important question is:  what do you choose?


As we tap our (steel) toes, we might send elegant birthday greetings to James Arthur Baldwin; he was born on this date in 1924.  A novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic of extraordinary insight and grace, Baldwin is best known for his novels Go Tell It On The Mountain and Giovanni’s Room, and for essays like those collected in The Fire Next Time.

Baldwin was a friend and collaborator of folks as various as Richard Avedon (his high school classmate), Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Billy Dee Williams, Huey Newton, Nikki Giovanni, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Genet, Lee Strasberg, Elia Kazan, Rip Torn, Alex Haley, Miles Davis, Amiri Baraka, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Mead, Josephine Baker, Allen Ginsberg, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.  Indeed, Nobel Laureate Morrison credits Baldwin with being “her literary inspiration, the person who showed her the true potential of writing”; in her eulogy for Baldwin she said:

You knew, didn’t you, how I needed your language and the mind that formed it? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn’t you, how I loved your love? You knew. This then is no calamity. No. This is jubilee. Our crown, you said, has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do, you said, is wear it.

Carl Van Vechten’s portrait of Baldwin


Written by (Roughly) Daily

August 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

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