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A quick post: Dreaming of Springsteen

Credit: Jo Lopez

Credit: Jo Lopez

This passage is from Erin Morgenstern’s wonderful novel The Night Circus, which is about love and magic and dreams and a very special circus. Morgenstern is referring to followers of the titular circus, but, in my mind, it’s the perfect description of the way Bruce Springsteen fans feel about a Bruce Springsteen concert. I offer it here as the E Street Band and its fans — in the book, reveurs — begin another U.S. tour together:

“Some, though, follow the circus wherever it may lead, through money or luck or extensive favors from other reveurs. But they are all reveurs, each in their own way, even those who only have the means to visit the circus when it comes to them, rather than the other way around. They smile when they spot each other. They meet up at local pubs to have drinks and chat while they wait impatiently for the sun to set.

It is these aficionados, these reveurs, who see the details in the bigger picture of the circus. They see the nuance of the costumes, the intricacy of the signs. They buy sugar flowers and do not eat them, wrapping them in paper instead and carefully bringing them home. They are enthusiasts, devotees. Addicts. Something about the circus stirs their souls, and they ache for it when it is absent.

They seek each other out, these people of such specific like mind. They tell of how they found the circus, how those first few steps were like magic. Like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars. They pontificate upon the fluffiness of the popcorn, the sweetness of the chocolate. They spend hours discussing the quality of the light, the heat of the bonfire. They sit over their drinks smiling like children and they relish being surrounded by kindred spirits, if only for an evening. When they depart, they shake hands and embrace like old friends, even if they have only just met, and as they go their separate ways they feel less alone than they had before.”

Amen, and safe travels, fellow dreamers.

 

Record Store Day, the updated list of releases (as of April 1, 2014)

 

The Boss has two exclusive new releases for Record Store Day!

The Boss is represented by TWO exclusive new releases for Record Store Day!

In no particular order:

CHRIS MARTIN, GOOP ON THE TRACKS. The Coldplay frontman’s heart-wrenching first solo release, inspired by his uncoupling from Gwyneth Paltrow. Includes the epic “Tangled Up in Goop.” Pressed on compostable vinyl.

KANYE WEST AND KIM KARDASHIAN, WEDDING ALBUMA Record Store Day exclusive! Kim and Kanye prove that they’re more than just “Kimye” with an album of stunningly avant-garde experimental music. Side one consists of the couple calling each other’s name for 22 minutes. Side two is a 30-minute extended remix of Kim’s dance classic “Jam (Turn It Up).” Comes packaged as a souvenir wedding album containing a photocopy of the couple’s gift registry, a temporary tattoo of the Vogue cover and a coupon good for 20% off the Kardashian Collection at Sears. The deluxe picture disc version (first 500 pressings) illustrates the scene from the “Bound 2″ video where they have sex on a motorcycle.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, WORKING ON A DREAM:  SOME OTHER SONGS OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. A star-studded lineup interprets the songs that were left off of all the previous Bruce Springsteen tribute albums. Artists include Arcade Fire (“Queen of the Supermarket”), Mumford and Sons (“Outlaw Pete”), Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I. (“Reno”) and the Kidz Bop Kids (“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day”).

ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE KLEZMATICS, ALMOST JEW. He’s made a country record, written a classical ballet score and, most recently, recorded a hip-hop album with the Roots. Now, just in time for Passover, Elvis Costello breaks another musical boundary in a bold collaboration with Grammy-winning Yiddish music masters, the Klezmatics. You don’t have to be Jewish to dig these Klezmerized reworkings of some of Costello’s greatest songs — but it helps if you like clarinets!  The Seder table will be rocking to tracks like “Hebrew National Ransom,” “This Year’s Mohel” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Unleavened Bread.” Produced by T Bone Burnett’s cousin, Shank Bone.

VARIOUS ARTISTS, YOUR MOTHER AND I ARE SEPARATING. If you want to hear the hottest bands around, as curated by New York club legend Stefon, I know just the record for you. This album has everything:  Diarrhea Planet, Bear Hands, Bosnian Rainbows, Quilt, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Leprechauns with Hep C, Furtlenecks, Hoomba, Yeti-Cab, A Shaved Lion that Looks like Mario Batali, Human Fanny Pack, DJ Baby Bok Choy, Teddy Graham People, Donald Duck Having a Vietnam Nightmare. Pressed on Ecstasy-flavored vinyl.

DESITIN’S CHILD, BOOBYLICIOUS. The long-awaited debut 12″ from second-generation superstars Blue Ivy Carter and North West! The baby-ladies bring it with their sassy dance hit about needing mommy’s breast milk — RIGHT NOW! Backed with the DJ Baby Bok Choy remix featuring British rapper Li’l Prince George.

THE LUMINEERS, YOU ARE GETTING VERY SLEEPY. Seventy minutes of “Ho Hey” on one limited edition CD. Rolling Stone calls it “hypnotic white noise.” Pitchfork hails it as “sonic Propofol.” The Better Sleep Council says, “Guaranteed to cure even the toughest case of insomnia.” Comes with exclusive Record Store Day eye mask.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, STUFF I FOUND ON A FLASH DRIVE IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT. The Boss continues to delve into his vast cache of unreleased material for this Record Store Day exclusive. According to the Springsteen-penned liner notes, the four-song EP came about when “I was eating a Doritos Locos Taco Supreme in the car (don’t tell Patti!) and I needed a napkin, so I opened up the glove box and – whoa! There it was! Half of a Subway foot-long Meatball Marinara! And this flash drive.” The four tracks are: “Love at the 7-Eleven,” “Outlaw Pete Comes Back,” the “Laverne and Shirley” theme song (recorded live at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI in 2003) and a cover of “Shaddap You Face,” the 1980 chart-topper by Australia’s Joe Dolce, recorded in Springsteen’s dressing room at the Melbourne arena on the E Street Band’s recent Australian tour. “I would have opened the show with it,” writes Springsteen, “if the band hadn’t locked me in my dressing room.”

DAFT PUNK, IT’S THE MOTHERSHIP, CHARLIE BROWN. The long-awaited reissue of the robotic duo’s soundtrack album for a Peanuts special that never aired. The storyline for the special was no great departure from the successful formula of previous hits like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown – the Peanuts gang doesn’t believe Charlie when he says that the end of the world is nigh and they must all prepare for the arrival of the aliens. So why was it never shown? Well, as any schoolchild could tell you, CBS was forced to cancel the show just two days before the scheduled broadcast, when the human race was attacked by extraterrestrial destroyer ships hovering over the White House and every major city on Earth. Network bosses deemed the timing of the special “too soon.” The soundtrack album, however, went on to achieve modest success in France, while Daft Punk continues to enjoy a long reign as Our Supreme Robotic Overlords, long may they prosper, die humans die.

(Record Store Day is Saturday, April 19 — for real. Head to your local indie record store and check out this year’s  special vinyl releases and celebrate the joy of buying music in a form that you can hold in your hands.)

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

On women writing about music

As a woman who has written about pop music since the days when people who wrote about pop music were called “rock critics,” let me add my two cents to the discussion that began with Sarah O’Holla’s adorkable blog, “My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection.”

In case you’re smart enough to enforce Internet downtime in your life and have no idea what I’m talking about, O’Holla, who works as a librarian and is not a professional music critic, is reviewing all 1500 albums in her husband’s record collection, in alphabetical order. (Her husband, Alex Goldman, is a producer for NPR and a major music geek.)  The blog blew up this week across the Internet and while a lot of people like it, some women music writers have lamented that the premise of the blog is inherently sexist, in that it reinforces gender stereotypes about music geekdom being the domain of men, and that the acclaim for O’Holla, who is a self-proclaimed know-nothing when it comes to deep knowledge of music, is a form of gender bias in itself. Meaning, male music geeks would happily read the musings of a non-threatening novice who knows less than them, whereas women who write about music professionally are perceived as a threat to their manhood that must be crushed.

As the original debate was cooling, Jezebel posted a piece called “Oh, the Unbelievable Shit You Get Writing About Music as a Woman,” in which music writer Tracy Moore approaches the O’Holla blog uproar as a jumping off point to detail the creepy and deeply sexist comments, behavior and threats she has been subjected to in her career. There is currently a robust sub-discussion online stemming from that piece, in which women music writers have been sharing their own similar stories of sexism and gender bias.

I’ve got my own battle scars from my career as a music and TV critic. Before I air them, here’s the thing, though:  I don’t think that the existence of “My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection” devalues women who write about music professionally. It’s one blog from the viewpoint of one woman and maybe it got some attention for the wrong reasons, but it is not going to negate every serious piece of music writing ever written by women. We need to stop the self-victimization and stop looking for gender bias in this blog. It’s simply not there. Look, some — definitely not all — male music writers and fans are going to try to mansplain to us. It’s what they do. It doesn’t invalidate our opinions as women music writers. It just means that they’re jerks. Ignore them and keep at it. Writing well is the best revenge.

Allow me to set a spell in my rocking chair and reminisce about the days when I was coming up in the music writing world. This was the late 1970s, early 1980s. At the time, music writing was truly a boys’ club, with few women I could look to as rock critic role models. Ellen Willis, Ariel Swartley, Janet Maslin. Lisa Robinson and Sylvie Simmons. That’s about it. My mentors and editors in the music writing field were all male. And somehow, even in those prehistoric days, I was never made to feel lesser, stupid, objectified or that my opinions were undervalued. If it were not for Kit Rachlis, Milo Miles, Dave Marsh and Mark Moses, I would not have had a career. They were my champions and they treated me as an equal. Was I just extraordinarily lucky?  Maybe so. It’s depressing that some young women writing about music today feel so unwelcome in the job and the scene that they love, are subjected to more open sexism and flat-out workplace harassment now than I was then. We’ve gone backwards and I don’t know the answer to this problem, except to keep fighting for equality.

Look, I encountered my share of asshole guys in the music writing community. But I contented myself with the knowledge that I could write circles around them with one hand tied behind my back. And while I interviewed a lot of male artists, I can only think of one who directed a sexist remark at me.  The readers, on the other hand, were another story. The majority of the letters I received were from from male readers, and they were sexist, gross and hurtful. Oddly enough, I was never called a whore or a groupie, but “dried up feminist bitch” used to come up a lot. (The fact that I was married seemed to piss readers off too; what that has to do with credibility as a music writer, I don’t know.) I was not well liked, let’s put it that way. Maybe I was ridiculously naive, but I looked around at my male colleagues who were also getting hate mail, and I just figured, “Eh, it comes with the territory.” In most cases, it was clear that the vitriol I received from fans and bands always stemmed from and was, at bottom, directed at the “harshness” of a review, not simply at me for being a girl. And, it needs to be said that not all of my hate mail came from men. Some of the loudest complainers were women that I had written unfavorable reviews about. Fun fact:  The performer who got me dropped from the roster of freelancers at Rolling Stone was not a guy,  it was a right-on, sisters are doing it for themselves woman. Imagine that.

Here’s the other thing:  Women writing music criticism today need to know that piggy comments from male readers are not reserved solely for women music critics. When I was a TV critic, I was subjected to comments that were a million times more explicitly sexual, sexist, gross and hurtful than any that I received as a music writer. ( I even got a death threat once as a TV critic — a TV critic! — that was serious enough to be turned over to the FBI.)  The Internet was, in this respect, the worst thing that ever happened to critics of any field and gender, music, film, TV, male, female, LGBQT, whatever. Commenting, and trolling, is oh so easy now. Which is why you should NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

I’ve had a lot of awful shit thrown at me by readers in my career as a critic, but, at the same time, I know male critics who have been torn apart by readers in similarly non-productive and hurtful ways. So this is the lesson I’ve taken away from all of this:  It’s not that I’m a woman, it’s that I’m a critic. Nobody loves critics. If you expect blanket approbation of your critical writing, you are in the wrong field. Certain people are so insecure that they are threatened by strong opinions that differ from their own, whether they are expressed by female or male writers. But you must remember that the stronger, more confidently your opinions are expressed, the bigger a target you will be. Wear that target proudly.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

Breaking up with my celebrity crush

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Jeff:  I need you to go into my house, okay, go up to my bedroom. To the left of the TV, there’s a cabinet by the bookcase there. Open it up, move the linens in there, move ‘em to the side, push on the back door, and it’ll open up. Inside there, I have, like, seven, eight porn tapes. A couple of magazines, all right?  I need you to get ‘em out of there. You gotta get it out of there, because if something happens to me …

Larry: Oh, you’re thinking, like, the anesthesia, something goes wrong …

Jeff:  Anything goes wrong…

Larry: So in case you die, you don’t want your wife to discover your porno stuff.

Jeff:  She doesn’t understand that.

– Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Porno Gil” 

In the beginning, when there is only blind infatuation, you never think of the detritus. You never think that someday, all of this will end and you will be overcome with revulsion over your folly.  And then you will sit on the floor with your head in your hands and wonder what the hell you were thinking. And how the hell are you going to dispose of the evidence of your 10+ year-long celebrity crush, an obsession catalogued by a pile of crap for which you once paid top dollar on eBay, but is now so worthless on the open market, you can’t even give it away.

If I were to walk outside right now and get hit by a bus, this is what my loved ones would discover when they sift through my belongings:

A four-drawer filing cabinet, one-and-a-half drawers of which is devoted to the aforementioned celebrity crush, crammed full of newspaper clippings, magazines, foreign newspapers and magazines, stacks of 8X10 glossy press photos and I don’t even know what else.

A bookshelf filled with choice finds pertaining to the career of celebrity crush, including script books, unauthorized bio, weird random memoirs by other celebrities in which crush is mentioned and movie tie-in novelizations.

Two shelves of movies on DVD and (woe is me) VHS, and another of bootleg tapes and DVDs from European sources and homemade stuff taped off the TV.

A book-on-tape, read by celebrity crush. I don’t even have a machine to play it on anymore.

An autographed photo that someone obtained for me, that isn’t even autographed to my correct name.

Three movie posters, rolled up in the closet.

Four action figure likenesses of celebrity crush, one of which remains sealed in its original package (the only items in this absurd collection that I actually wouldn’t mind keeping).

I deleted all the fan fiction in a pre-surgery panic, like Jeff on Curb Your Enthusiasm, a few years ago. So, that’s something.

I know you’re probably wondering why I let this happen. The truth is, I don’t know. I wasn’t unhappily married, sex-starved or a hoarder. Maybe it was menopausal hormone wackiness. Maybe I needed a hobby. Look, the “why” of it is not important. Neither is the “who,” so don’t ask.  My problem right now is “how”. How do I get rid of this stuff?

Most of it can’t just be dumped in the trash. Have you tried to get rid of a video tape lately?  They are among the least recyclable objects on the planet. Even my local library has a stern “ABSOLUTELY NO TAPES” sign next to its donation bin. I’d burn them, but it would probably destroy what’s left of the ozone layer. I suppose I could make it all Goodwill’s problem, but that seems like the coward’s way out. Yard sale? I would rather die than identify myself as the owner of nine cassette tapes of obscure BBC radio plays of the 1980s and a borderline gay-porn indie film that the former object of my admiration not surprisingly leaves off his resume. Why does a spring cleaning of the soul have to be so embarrassing?

When you’re in the throes of celebrity crushdom, you feel giddy every time you gaze upon your temple of spoils. It’s your obsession made tangible. But when you finally snap out of it, you see that it’s just a big, stupid pile of shame. And it’s not even cool shame! I once owned every issue of 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat from back when I was a kid in love with Davy Jones. Could I not have had the foresight to save those?  At least that bundle of vintage pop artifacts would have been an adorable reminder of my youthful innocence, unlike this albatross of midlife insanity I’m now saddled with.

And it kills me that the dregs of an inexplicable passing fancy live on, while my collection of Springsteen tee shirts … oh, now here’s a sad story. I safely carted my precious E Street Band tour tees (going back to 1978!) on a cross country move, but 16 years later, when we moved three streets over, I somehow left them in a big green garbage bag in the garage and moved a big green garbage bag full of car-washing rags instead. I didn’t discover the mistake for months, and by then it was too late.

I still mourn the loss of my Born in the USA tour sweatshirt. Come to think of it, there was a sweet Grateful Dead-themed tie-dyed Lithuanian Olympic basketball team tee in that bag, too. And a Clash “Sandinista” shirt. And a My So-Called Life tee shirt distributed to TV critics, with the show logo on the front and handwritten messages from the cast and crew on the back. Claire Danes! Jared Leto! Gone, all gone. And yet, my pile of shame remains, mocking me, eternal as nuclear waste.

Breaking up with a celebrity crush is not like breaking up in real life; when the spell is broken and crush leaves you feeling nothing but queasiness, you can’t just tell him to pack up all of his lousy possessions and go. So, to anyone having a dreamy little thing with a celebrity, I advise this: Keep it dreamy, like, entirely in your head, because once you start accumulating actual, physical memorabilia, you are so screwed.

Oh, and if you can guess the celebrity who inspired my pile of shame, you’re welcome to (almost) anything  from it. But I’m keeping the action figures, and you’re paying the postage.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

Meet the Beatles

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UPI (1964)/Courtesy of the Library of Congress

On Sunday night, February 9, 1964, I was 6-years-old, sitting with my parents on their bed in my pajamas, watching The Ed Sullivan Show on their portable TV. Not much of a story, I know. But it’s my story about seeing the Beatles for the first time, so I’m going to tell it.

Ed Sullivan was a Sunday ritual in our house — yes, there was a time when everybody in America sat down to watch exactly the same TV show at exactly the same time. (It wasn’t as if we had a lot of options.) And this Sunday night was even more special: The Beatles had landed in New York the Friday before, and would be making their American TV debut tonight. I knew something was up, the way kids do. The TV news and the radio were filled with Beatle-talk, and I was curious about what it would feel like to come down with “Beatlemania”. Would I scream like the older girls at the airport?  Would I faint?  Would it hurt?

With a theater full of jumpy teens and an unprecedented home audience of 73 million viewers, Ed Sullivan wasted no time; the Beatles came on first and sang “All My Loving,”  “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You”. On the second song, the camera panned to each Beatle in turn and a subtitle with their first name flashed under their faces. I decided right then and there that I was in love with Paul, because John’s subtitle read, “Sorry girls, he’s married.” OK, cross him off.

I watched the whole show, impatiently waiting through the cast of Oliver! (if only I had known that I was watching my someday-soon second love, Davy Jones, in the role of the Artful Dodger) and (research tells me) Frank “The Riddler” Gorshin and music hall star Tessie O’Shea for the Beatles to come back and sing some more. I don’t clearly remember anything else about that night. But when I woke up the next morning, I was buzzing inside with the memory of the Beatles, the way they held their guitars, the jump and beat of “She Loves You” and “I Saw Her Standing There”, the dreamy way Paul and George put their heads together at the microphone to sing. The Beatles were in my life now, and everything felt weirdly different. Imagine a world before electric lights, and now imagine that moment when the lights flick on. That was my world after the Beatles.

At school Monday morning, the girls were asking each other, “Which one do you love?”; the boys were singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and strumming air guitars. (I can’t prove it, but I believe the air guitar was born in imitation of the Beatles.) One boy told me that I looked like Paul McCartney — it must have been my dark brown pixie haircut and bangs. I think he meant it as a put-down, but I took it as a sign that Paul and I were destined to be together.

I was, simply put, obsessed with the Beatles. My fantasy play changed. Instead of putting the soundtrack to My Fair Lady or Cinderella on the hi-fi and pretending to be Julie Andrews, I would sing “She Loves You” while banging away at the broken strings of my plastic cowboy guitar, opening my eyes wide and raising my eyebrows, the way Paul did. I couldn’t get enough of their pictures in the newspaper and my parents’ Life Magazine. I wanted them to be on TV every night (and they nearly were — Ed Sullivan had them on twice more that February). I wanted their records the way I’d never wanted anything in my life, even more than I’d wanted my Thumbelina doll, even more than I’d wanted to be Dorothy and wake up in the Land of Oz.

Looking back, I realize that I experienced the Beatles — and rock and roll for the first time — not as music (though the music excited me), but as a kind of transporting play experience, as intimate and intense as any fantasy and as comforting to all my senses as cuddling with my favorite stuffed bear. Well, I was 6-years-old. Maybe that’s why I never thought it was strange when the Beatles ended up as stars of an animated Saturday morning cartoon series. Maybe that’s why, in retrospect, Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour don’t seem to me to be as much about mind expansion through drugs as they are about mind expansion through play.

Would the Beatles have been as universally embraced, as culturally transformative, if they hadn’t been the Beatles? Probably not. Unlike Elvis before them and the Stones after, the Beatles seemed friendlier, less threatening (at least, until John made that crack about Jesus), with smiles instead of sneers and a message that never wavered: Love, love love. Even when they were singing about sex, it sounded like love, and even when they were singing about breaking up their friendship, it still sounded like love. If I had been 16 instead of 6 when the Beatles hit, would my response to them have been different?  Well, I might have understood what was going on between the lines of “Please Please Me” and “Norwegian Wood” better, and I would have been able to formulate an opinion about their ever-surprising, complex, incredibly rich music in its time, and not years later.

But I first saw the Beatles through a 6-year-old’s eyes, and nothing can ever change that. John, Paul, George and Ringo have been part of my consciousness for almost the whole of my life. I remember just enough of Before to know the enormity of the changes that came After. In the last week of November, 1963, I had sat with my parents on their bed watching some terrible things on TV;  I was scared, confused, sad for Caroline Kennedy, who was my age. For the next three months, it was hard being 6 years-old and wondering if this was “the end of the world,” and if the adults would ever be happy again. But then the Beatles came onto our TV screens and brought happiness back to the world, like a light switching on.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

The Year of the Horse

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Gung hay fat choy!  Here is your playlist to celebrate the Lunar New Year in fine equine fashion.

1. Cliff Nobles & Co., “The Horse” (1968). A huge instrumental hit on the AM radio of my youth. In this rare video of Nobles and his band performing the song, you can see that Nobles’ horseback-riding and lasso-twirling dance moves clearly inspired PSY’s “Gangnam Style”.

2. Patti Smith Group, “Horses” (1975). “The boy looked at Johnny …” and we’re off to the races. Patti Smith’s epic song-poem from her debut album is captured below in an incredible 1976 video from “The Old Grey Whistle Test”.

3. Lee Dorsey, “Ride Your Pony” (1965). I had the pleasure of seeing the great New Orleans R&B singer of “Workin’ in a Coal Mine” fame sing “Ride Your Pony” live (complete with cap pistols firing) when he opened for the Clash on their 16 Tons Tour in 1980. Here’s the electrifying Dorsey performing “Ride Your Pony” before a German audience in 1967 (from the “Sam and Dave Show” DVD). I have to say, his jockey moves have it over Cliff Nobles’ by a mile.

4. U2, “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” (1991).  Achtung Baby still sounds big and sexy and Bowie-esque after all these years. Plus, this video contains nostalgic footage of Bono with hair and without shades.

5. Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Brothers, “Wild Horses” (1970). Everybody’s heard the Stones’ original, but Parsons’ delicate, yearning version from Burrito Deluxe is the one that cuts deep.

6. America, “A Horse with No Name” (1972). Sorry. I had to include it. How could I not? Let’s pretend we’re back in high school. You guys, it’s about an acid trip!  And it’s really Neil Young!

7. Echo and the Bunnymen, “Bring on the Dancing Horses” (1985). Your Pretty in Pink moment.

8. Tower of Power, “Don’t Change Horses (in the Middle of a Stream)” (1974).  Oakland funk, from their most fertile era. Giddy-up!

9. The Little Willies, “Tennessee Stud” (2006). This classic song, written by Jimmie Driftwood, was recorded by Johnny Cash, Eddy Arnold, Doc Watson and many more. But I (unapologetically) love the bounce of this version by Norah Jones and the Little Willies.

10. Theme song from Mr. Ed. Of course, of course.

©Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape, 2014

Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

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Farewell to a true hero, a tireless teacher and activist, a veritable encyclopedia of folk music and one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. He was a patriot in the best sense of the word and he outlived most of the fascists, cowards and fools who tried to shut him up. Honor him today by learning more about him: read the obituaries and the transcript of Seeger’s appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, in which he basically tells the committee it can go screw itself. Track down the fine PBS American Masters episode “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” (2011), spend some time on You Tube. And, above all, sing out.

The Troubadour

The Peace Activist

The Antiwar Song that CBS Tried to Cut from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1968)

The Folk Historian

The Passing of the Torch

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