Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This blog has moved

The course for which this blog was created has ended. For more interesting posts, please visit me at

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shatner sings Elton John: True Era of Excess

If you haven't seen William Shatner perform Elton John's 'Rocket Man,' you haven't experienced true song butchery. First, listen to, and appreciate John's version. Listen a couple times if you haven't heard it before. Then, when you're ready, steel yourself, then douse yourself in the lighter fluid and flames that is Shatner singing.

Yes, this is the same version covered by Stewie Griffin on Family Guy.

For something truly amazing, check out this version by Todd Taylor. He also does a version of 'Stairway to Heaven.'

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Music for Maniacs

I just stumbled across a great music blog. Music for Maniacs reviews all sorts of off-the-wall stuff and usually includes links to mp3s, so you actually get to listen as well.

There is a fascinating entry on LemurBots, which actually create and play music instead of just playing pre-programmed music.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

100 Years of Payola

Interesting article at

The gist is that payola was not just an isolated problem in the 50s & 60s.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Additional listening resources

You may have some luck finding some older recordings (public domain) at You can usually download an MP3 or stream the selections. I found Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues there. Just an example; I know it's on the CD.

Another way to expand your learning experience is to create a custom radio station on Pandora. It's free. I just 'seeded' a custom radio station with Matchbox Blues by Blind Lemon Jefferson and although it won't play the song you want immediately, it will play similar stuff. The station I just created is now playing Terraplane Blues by Robert Johnson.

[Edit: Here's a tune that should be mandatory listening for students of early American music: Stealin' by the Memphis Jug Band.]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

David Byrne and the evolution of music

David Byrne has a fascinating article in Wired about the changing face of the music industry. He really illuminates new distribution channels and illustrates how the legacy record companies are too big and will be crushed under their own weight.

There's a bonus interview with Brian Eno that is well worth a listen.

One of the most interesting things is that record companies treat downloads just like CD sales. They get a massive income boost, because there's no physical product, and the artists get screwed. There are some pretty charts showing who gets what when you buy a CD and a description of where your iTunes money goes.