Fighting to Save Obamacare


Rally to save the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), at San Francisco City Hall, Sunday January 15 2017, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Listen to Joan Baez’s acapella performance:



"and I love to be free"

This was a truly remarkable and even radical song for its time, and this is a truly remarkable live performance.

Fantastic Negrito Strikes!

Playing Now: Various Artists


Companion CD to the Winter 2016 music issue of The Oxford American.

Playing Now: Fantastic Negrito


Leonard Cohen, 1934 - 2016


Blue and Lonesome


Producer Don Was in Le Figaro (of all places): “The album consists of covers of blues songs of Chicago. It was recorded live in the studio in just three days, with the musicians in a circle around the microphones. There was no retouching on the pieces... The record sounds very crude, very authentic. It captures the essence of what [the Stones] are.”

It's been painful watching and listening to the Stones over the past few years but maybe this will be small and OK, maybe just the right project to sing them off the stage and into retirement.

Release date: December 2 2016.

[UPDATE DEC 2 2016: Oh well……….]

Guy Clark, 1941 - 2016


Real Life Rock Again


I am so very happy today.

Greil Marcus's Real LIfe Rock Top 10 Now Hosted On Pitchfork

Monday May 16: Again, Never Again


Top that, May 16 2016. Boom.

Prince, 1958 - 2016


Roberta 'Big Brown Eyes' Hernandez introduced me to Prince in 1980 or 1981. Those first few albums impressed but after Purple Rain my engagement wandered and dissipated and was lost in the flash and the MTVery of Prince and the 80s. I'm sure Roberta never stopped listening.

But I will say and I have long believed and sworn to this: the last great radio single by anybody was "Little Red Corvette."

Photograph: Backstage at The Bottom Line, Greenwich Village 1980 | Deborah Feingold/Corbis


George Martin, 1926 - 2016


Ginger's Heart


Who the hell knows if this is true or not. Could easily be a fact, could just as easily be a ruse to get out of a tour he decided he didn't really feel like doing. He's had that kind of a career, that kind of a life.

Great drummer, though. Cream. Blind Faith. Ginger Baker's Air Force. Baker Gurvitz Army. With Fela Kuti, with Hawkwind. The Ginger Baker Trio with Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell. And then there's a ton of solo stuff I've never heard at all, and gigs with John Lydon's PIL.

Just FYI: the Zildjian 22" cymbal and the 14" hi-hats Baker has been using on recent tours are the same ones he used during the final Cream shows in 1968.

New Year's Eve

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? | Morgan James with Roy Dunlap on piano


So when exactly was it that Zooey Deschanel and thousands of amateur ukulele players hijacked Ella Fitsgerald’s definitive rendition of What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Someone should have warned me about this before I started scouring the Internet this morning for video of Ms Fitzgerald but ended up being gang-tackled by hordes of teenaged girls sitting cross-legged in their bedrooms, strumming their ukuleles, and singing this fine American classic.

Ah well, at least they know the song and seem to have some non-ironic fondness for it.

Just to show I’m not a totally gangrenous stick-in-the-mud shooing neighborhood kids off my lawn, here’s a youngish newcomer trying to do it right and true.

David Bowie, 1947 - 2016

David Bowie Dead At 69
| Rolling Stone |

This morning I'll be drinking a warm whisky to toast the Thin White Duke.