Sunday, September 12, 2010

Things We Like

1) Largo. Geoff Ginsberg pulled my coat to this concept album about the U.S. immigrant experience, written by the guys that were in the Hooters and wrote hits for Cindy Lauper and Joan Osborne. A song ("Medallion") about a Pakistani cab driver that segues (with the same percussion track) into obscure 19th century poet Francis Scott Key's words which are more familiar with a different musical setting should be horrible and corny, but it isn't.

2) Brit folksingers. Hers: Billy Bragg, the jangly sound of socialism, great early ("Levi Stubbs' Tears") and late ("I Keep Faith"), marginal in the middle ("Socialism of the Heart"). Mine: Roy Harper, the patron saint of Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and every early '70s Brit rock band that had a folkie element. His great album is probably Stormcock, followed by GQ and Bullinamingvase. He owns the rights to his whole catalog and has reished them on his own Science Friction imprint. Dig him. My fave song: "Highway Blues," a hitchhiking song that makes me nostalgic for that time, even though today, if I was driving, I probably wouldn't pick him up.

3) Rob Bosquez as Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Rose Marine Theater. Trying to Latinize Williams' classic, not to mention competing with the memory of Liz Taylor and Paul Newman in the film versh, is a gutsy move, and while on preview night, at least, it wasn't entirely successful, Bosquez is like a force of nature as an actor (and dramatist -- his own body of work made me secretly hope for a magical realist reimagining of T.W.), and his Big Daddy reminded me of my own pops. Performances tonight, next Friday and Saturday. Check it out.

4) Mark Growden. His third time at the Kessler in Oak Cliff was maybe the best show we've ever seen him do, and we've seen a few. He's been touring the material from Saint Judas for awhile now, and he's added some instrumental flourishes and changed up the arrangements in ways that make for a beautifully paced set. He has a live version of the Saint Judas songs (plus a Townes Van Zandt cover) out in November and an album of new material (some of which he's been airing live for a year or so now) with his Tucson "banjo band" out in February. Then he's coming back to the Kessler for its first anniversary in March. Hooray! (Nice having Saint Judas on spiffy double vinyl now, too. An exquisite pressing. Kudos to Porto Franco.)

5) Pie. Dinner at Norma's Cafe in Oak Cliff last night included a dead solid perfect apple pie, the crust firm and flavorful, the fruit and spices blended immaculately. Joint's been there since I lived up the street 32 years ago (longer than that, actually -- opened the year before I was born), and it's still just good. Then before we decamped for the Fort, had a taste of real key lime pie baked by Melissa Hennings from the Kess, which was also dee-lish. She says it's easy and is sending us the recipe. If this works, I could weigh 400 pounds soon.


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