midweek music: Tina Turner, RIP

Tina Turner has died at the age of 83. She was one of the greatest singers of all time, from her time as part of Ike and Tina Turner — a partnership she escaped due to Ike’s abuse — in the 1960s and 1970s to her scorching solo career in the 1980s and 1990s.

Here’s three of my favorite performances of hers, one solo of “Better Be Good To Me,” one from the 1986 Prince’s Trust concert, and her hot-as-fuck duet with Mick Jagger from LiveAid in 1985. Plus the Mark Knopfler-penned title track from her breakout solo album Private Dancer.

About the Prince’s Trust version of “Get Back,” it’s a testament to Turner’s stellar stage presence, that she completely dominates the stage, even though a) it’s Paul McCartney’s song, b) it was McCartney’s first live performance in years, and c) she’s sharing the stage with, not just McCartney, but Eric Clapton, Elton John, Knopfler, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Paul Young, Ray Cooper, and more, and it’s still her fucking performance.

talkin’ Bruce Springsteen’s best-written songs on Set Lusting Bruce

The podcast Set Lusting Bruce, hosted by the mighty Jesse Jackson, is a nifty podcast that discusses all things Springsteen. I’ve been on the podcast before, and I was invited back — along with several other past guests who are also writers — to try to figure out what is Bruce’s best-written song.

Here’s Part 1 of our very lengthy discussion on the subject, followed by, obviously, Part 2.

Joining me and Jesse for this wide-ranging discussion (which includes a lot on various songs from Born to Run, as you might expect, and a very lengthy discussion of “Outlaw Pete,” as you might not expect….) are Gabriel Bergmoser (The Caretaker), Craig Colby (All Caps: Stories that Justify an Outrageous Hat Collection), Michael Elliott (Have a Little Faith: The John Hiatt Story), and Jaclyn Johnston (Don’t Feel Stuck!).

the latest “Battle of the Fictional Bands” does solo acts!

The latest in a seemingly never-ending series of “Battle of the Fictional Bands” panels on Dragon Con’s American Sci-Fi Classics Track has come and gone, but don’t worry if you missed it live last night, because it’s archived on the Tube of You!

This time, we specifically did solo acts: Rex Manning, Dazzler, Rowlf, Duke Silver, Lurleen Lumpkin, Mermeia Holographic Wow, Robin Sparkles, Parappa the Rapper, and ten more as they fight it out to see who is the best fictional solo act!

Check out me, Classics Track gurus Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel, Gleaming the Tube‘s Kevin Cafferty, Popcycled Baubles’ Shaun Rosado, and the mighty mighty Sherman Burris, as we determine the winner and champion!

midweek music: “Smokestack Lightning”

In 2008, a wonderful movie called Cadillac Records was released, about the rise of Chess Records, who recorded a lot of the greatest Black musicians of the 1950s and 1960s, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, etc. There were no bad performances in the film — Jeffrey Wright played Waters, Adrien Brody played Leonard Chess, BeyoncĂ© played James, Mos Def played Berry, Cedric the Entertainer played Dixon, Columbus Short played Walter, Eric Bogosian played Alan Freed, etc. — but the standout for me was Eamonn Walker as Howlin’ Wolf. Walker is a New York-based actor who has shown up in many things over the years and always been brilliant. (He was the charismatic Karim Said on Oz, he was the killer in the Homicide movie that served as a coda to the TV show, and for the last decade, he’s played Chief Walter Boden on Chicago Fire and the other Chicago shows.)

One of Howlin’ Wolf’s most popular songs is “Smokestack Lightning,” and Walker just tears through it in the version he recorded for the movie. Just amazing.

see the Boogie Knights show at Farpoint!

Thanks to the good graces of my lovely wife (thanks Wrenn!), the entire Boogie Knights concert that was held Saturday morning at Farpoint 2023 has been archived on the Tube of You. Click on this link for the entire playlist, which includes the following:

  • “Appearing Knightly” (parody of “You Might Think” by the Cars)
  • “Bastille” (“Downtown” by Petula Clark)
  • “Anarchy/Monarchy” (“The Authority Song” by John Mellencamp)
  • “The Spanish Armada” (“Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel)
  • “House on Pooh Corner” (“House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals)
  • “That Don’t Excite Me Much” (“That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain)
  • “Madagascar” (“Leave Her, Johnny”)
  • “Polymorph Your Mother (40th Anniversary Edition)” (original song)
  • “Catapult Rock” (“Crocodile Rock” by Elton John)
  • “Oh, What a Knight!” (“December 1963 (Oh, What a Night!)” by Franki Valli & the Four Seasons)
  • “Happy to Get Her” (“Happy Together” by the Turtles)
  • “The King’s Crusade Took My Hubby Away” (“The KKK Took My Baby Away” by the Ramones)
  • “I Wanna Be Your Wife’s Guard” (“I Wanna Be Your Lifeguard” by Blotto)
  • “Hobbit Hole” (“Rattlin’ Bog”)

Here’s a preview, the video of “House on Pooh Corner,” my favorite of our songs:

midweek music: “Cup of Wonder”

Jethro Tull is one of my favorite bands, and one of my favorite albums of theirs is 1977’s Songs from the Wood, which plays like a medieval fantasy novel. Seriously, it’s like the soundtrack to every SCA event and Renaissance Faire you’ve ever been to.

Lots of great songs on it, most notably the title track, “Hunting Girl,” “Velvet Green,” and “Jack in the Green,” to name but a few, but the one I always come back to — at least in part because it never had the same legs as the others, never really becoming part of Tull’s live sets, either, and also because I really love the vocals — is “Cup of Wonder.”