Bill Callahan – Live At Evening Pocket, Paris – Nights At The Roundtable: Mini-Concert Edition

•April 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Bill Callahan - in a word, mesmerizing.

Bill Callahan – in a word, mesmerizing.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Bill Callahan – live at Evening Pocket, Paris – April 10, 2014 – Arte France

It’s easy to draw comparisons where Music is concerned, in fact it’s easy to draw comparisons in every art form. Someone says or plays something and it’s evocative of someone else.

I could say that listening to Bill Callahan I am instantly drawn into comparisons of people like Fred Neil or, to a more subtle extent, Nick Drake. Truths to tell, that’s great company to be compared with. But Bill Callahan comes with a fresh point of view. His words and his music draw the listener in to a gorgeous tapestry of images, and his songs linger in the mind for a very long time after hearing them. Proof of a successful performance is when it sticks in your mind and refuses to go anywhere else. That’s good stuff.

Tonight it’s a “house concert” from Bill Callahan. Dubbed Evening Pocket (Soirèe de Poche in French) by Arte France, it’s part of a series of intimate concerts coming from Paris which feature an incredible array of talent from all over the world, in a one-on-one setting. It’s incredibly successful, and I know the House Concert concept is not new and is done all over, but Arte France have been faithfully recording them and it’s a wonderful treasure of unique and compelling performances you really have to see and experience.

In the meantime, here is Bill Callahan, playing to a full house, recorded just a few days ago (on April 10th), and offering a spellbinding and truly engaging set. He’s currently on tour in Europe for the Summer and his website is loaded with goodies and records. Pay them a visit.


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Igor Markevitch And The Belgian National Radio Orchestra At The Aix-en-Provence Festival 1958 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concert

•April 16, 2014 • 2 Comments
The Legendary Igor Markevitch in concert this week. I'm not kidding.

The Legendary Igor Markevitch in concert this week. I’m not kidding.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Aix-en-Provence Festival 1958 – The Belgian National Radio Orchestra, Igor Markevitch, Cond. – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Another historic concert this week. From the 1958 Aix-en-Provence Festival, The Belgian National Radio Orchestra led by the legendary Igor Markevitch in music by Bizet, Messaien and Berlioz.

Running a little over an hour, with commentary by Markevitch himself (in French), the concert features the following:

1. Bizet: L’Arlesienne Suite No.2

2. Messaien: Hymne

3. Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

A very nice concert which may take a little getting used to, especially if you aren’t accustomed to hearing your orchestra really tightly miked. But Markevitch was an incredible conductor and puts this little band through its paces, so it more than makes up for the fact that you’d wish they moved the microphones back a couple feet at least.

But for history you gotta take what you can get.

Enjoy – it’s Hump Day anyway.

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With Sickening Familiarity – The Virginia Tech. Shootings – April 16, 2007

•April 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Another in a long line of senseless acts.

Another in a long line of senseless acts.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Virginia Tech. Shooting -press conference – April 16, 2007 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Only seven years ago on this day – April 16, 2007 started off with news of a fresh set of horrors on a school campus. This time it was Virginia Tech. As too many times before, the shootings were random, senseless and staged by heavily armed people, venting some level of inexplicable disturbance into the lives of innocents.

By the end of this day, some 33 students, including the shooter, were dead.

And again, the country was shocked. And again the grief flowed. And again the pledges of tighter gun controls echoed everywhere.

And as always, the loss and little else. The loss and no resolution. The loss and no resolution until the next time, and the outrage will echo again.

Here is a portion of that press conference conducted by Law Enforcement in Blacksburg, Virginia on that April 16th in 2007.

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Scandals And Peace Talks – April 16, 1997

•April 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Congressman Dan Burton - "Pay no attention to what the right hand is doing".

Congressman Dan Burton – “Pay no attention to what the right hand is doing”.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – NPR News – All Things Considered – April 16, 1997 – National Public Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

An alternately scandalous and hopeful day, this April 16th in 1997. Starting with news that Republican Congressman Dan Burton, Chairman of the House Investigation into Democratic Fundraising practices, wound up himself coming under investigation for his own campaign finance practices.

Seems Burton had received money raised from a tax-exempt religious organization, the Sikh Independence Movement, who had funneled money raised by Sikhs living in the U.S. to 8 members of Congress from both parties. Such organizations are banned from funding political campaigns in the U.S. The revelation caused a ripple of embarrassment through Capitol Hill, and Burton’s lawyers said they would get to the bottom of it.

Another scandal was coming to trial, this one from the Army. A sex scandal at the Aberdeen Proving grounds involving a 23 year-old enlisted woman, repeatedly raped 8 times and beaten by a drill Sergeant over a three month period was sending shock waves throughout the Military. The accused, Staff Sergeant Delmar Simpson could face life in prison for ordering the woman to his office, which was equipped with a bed, forcibly undressing and raping her. The enlisted woman remained silent until she learned she had contracted a case of Chlamydia as a result of the assaults.

On the other side of the world, a scandal was brewing involving Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and the wonder-world of influence peddling. Israeli Police recommended an arrest and resignation, but spokespeople for Netanyahu said the Prime Minister had no intention of resigning or being arrested. Reports surfaced that Netanyahu had appointed an unqualified political crony as Attorney General in the hopes of getting special treatment for a political ally, facing charges of corruption. The crooked webs . . .

Meanwhile, Big Tobacco was engaged in talks with the Attorney General over settlement of legal claims piling up. Attornies for Philip Morris and RJR Nabisco were looking for one settlement, which would surely require Congressional approval before going forward. The implications were many and far-reaching, not only for the public, but for the Tobacco industry as well. Meanwhile, dissident shareholders at the annual meeting for RJR-Nabisco called for a spin-off of the tobacco entity and a retiring of Joe Camel. The Board looked askance and offered “no comment” regarding the talks.

On the plus side – South African President Nelson Mandela was hosting peace talks over the question of Zaire. Zairean Rebel leader Laurent Kabila was meeting with the South African President over the question of establishing peace and ending the six month war in Zaire. Despite the secrecy of the talks, all appeared upbeat and optimistic at their conclusion.

Also upbeat were talks going on in New York between North and South Korea. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright issued a positive statement regarding the ongoing talks, and pleasure that China was getting involved in the process as well.

And that’s just a small portion of what went on, this rather hectic April 16th in 1997, by way of NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Trümmer – Live At Introducing – Berlin 2014 -Nights At The Roundtable: Mini-Concert/Rock Without Borders

•April 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Trümmer - Something new by way of Hamburg.

Trümmer – Something new by way of Hamburg.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Trümmer – Live At Introducing . . . – Berlin – March 9, 2014 – RBB Berlin

New Music, not entirely for export just yet. Trümmer (translated: Debris) are a three-piece Indie/Alt band from Hamburg Germany, and have only been together since 2012, but so far they’ve been doing really well and getting a positive word-of-mouth going around Europe.

I’m not sure if they do any songs in English, this set is all in German – but that shouldn’t put you off. They kick ass.

Tonight’s post comes via the highly popular “Introducing . . .” series, showcasing new bands on the scene broadcast by RBB in Berlin. They power through a pretty high-voltage set of some 29 minutes, and leave you wanting to hear more. That’s a good sign.

I’m not sure what the Big Plan is for Trümmer, but this set ought to give you a good idea of what you’ll be running into, should they decided to fall by the U.S. for a few visits anytime soon.

In the meantime, here they are as they give Berlin a taste of what to expect.

Crank it up and enjoy.

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A History Of Income Tax – 1938 – Past Daily Reference Room

•April 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Had it not been for this little event (World War 1), there may be no Income Tax.

Had it not been for this little event (World War 1), there may be no Income Tax.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC – The Story Behind The Headlines – Income Tax – March 18, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Since it is “that day”, I’m sure a lot of people are wondering what the deal is with Federal Income Tax anyway.

Truths to tell, it’s about 100 years old. So it hasn’t been with us forever. In fact, it’s only been around since World War 1, since it was originally devised as a way to pay for that little trip into the abyss. Prior to that, we used State Taxes, land taxes and goods taxes and taxes on imports to fund our other military excursions. By the time the Federal Income Tax was proposed, we had just finished paying off the Civil War. And this one was going to be a lot more expensive, so . . .

To give you some background on just what the whole Federal Income Tax is, from a historic perspective, I unearthed this program, originally broadcast in 1938. Part of the series The Story Behind The Headlines, hosted by historian Cesar Searchinger, he explains the various tax programs used over the years, in lieu of the Federal Income Tax and explains how The Federal Income Tax got started.

Eye opening, daunting and one suspects, given our recent excursions, a system of taxation guaranteed to continue for at least the next few lifetimes.

Here is that episode of The Story Behind The Headlines, originally broadcast on March 18, 1938 (oh yeah, Income Tax was originally on March 1st).

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A Kid Named Ryan – April 15,1990

•April 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Just one of the kids.

Just one of the kids.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – ABC Radio – World News This Week – Week ending April 15, 1990 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

For the news of the week that ended on this April 15th in 1990, a lot of it had to do with what was becoming an increasing awareness and realization that HIV/AIDS had become a part of our culture – that anyone could get it, but that no one could get it by just being in the same room with someone who had it. The story of Ryan White and his battle with, not only HIV/AIDS but with fear, prejudice and small-minded thinking came to an end at the beginning of this week in 1990, finally succumbing to complications from the disease on April 8. He was buried on April 15, 1990.

Ryan White, who contracted AIDS through a routine blood transfusion for Hemophilia as a youngster in 1984, sparked a wave of fear, ignorance and paranoia which eventually turned his community against him, and forcing his family to move to another town.

All White wanted was to be treated like a normal kid – which, under the circumstances and the times, was virtually impossible. Nobody was certain how pervasive the disease was. So it was up to Ryan White to set the example. And despite whatever fears there were to the contrary, Ryan White put the face of Everykid on HIV/AIDS, and helped forge an understanding and acceptance of the deadly disease and focused attention on the pressing and desperate need for a cure.

But for Ryan White, the fight was over, but the battle continues.

And so went the news for this week in 1990, along with a vast collection of other stuff that put 1990 on the map, as reported by ABC Radio and their weekly, ABC World This Week for April 15, 1990.

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The Preatures – Live At SXSW 2014 – Nights At The Roundtable: Mini-Concert Edition

•April 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment
The Preatures - Off to a good start.

The Preatures – Off to a good start.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Preatures – Live at SXSW March 27, 2014 – VPRO/3VOOR12 – Netherlands

Seems like every few days there’s word of a new band coming out of Australia, and from the looks of it, it appears Oz has become the new hotbed of musical activity the past few years.

This time it’s The Preatures, fronted by the luxuriant Isabella Manfredi. Hot on the trail of a cross-country U.S. tour (before heading over to Europe for Festival season starting in June), The Preatures have already gone down very well at SXSW this past March, including an appearance and a boost from the Jimmy Kimmel Show. This past weekend and this coming weekend they are playing at Coachella, and word has been good from their latest gig there.

Only together since 2011, The Preatures have scored well with audiences and critics alike. They are something of a departure from the current Aussie onslaught by way of Psych-meisters Jagwar Ma and Tame Impala. Opting instead for a more Indie/Rock sound, with Manfredi doing a good job in the belting department, they’re another promising entry in good things coming from Down Under.

And I’m already prone to liking them, since they cited two of my all-time favorite bands; The Saints and Split Enz as musical influences. Good one.

There are a lot of opportunities to catch them on this swing through the U.S., so try and grab tickets while you can. They also have a new ep out now (Is This How You Feel?), so fall by their site and grab a copy.

In the meantime, here’s a little something to tide you over.

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Greetings Comrade! – Radio Moscow During Cold War -April 13, 1947 – Past Daily Reference Room

•April 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Wasn't the Cold War fab?

Wasn’t the Cold War fab?

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Radio Moscow News In English – April 13, 1947 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

One of the upticks during the Cold War was the near constant barrage of propaganda, newscasts, jamming of signals and plain old Publicity that took place between the U.S. and The Soviet Union.

Before the days of streaming and podcasts, listening to the goings-on in any country other than your own required doing some intense listening via Short Wave radio. Listening for those faint signals and familiar sign-on tunes, there was a certain romantic air about the whole thing, even if you were listening to propaganda. And because their time wasn’t necessarily your time, figuring out when these distant places would start broadcasting usually meant staying up all hours of the night – especially since there’s roughly a 10 hour difference between Los Angeles and Moscow time-wise.

Still, getting an idea what was going on in other parts of the world held enormous fascination for a lot of people. And one of the most listened-to Short Wave stations throughout the Cold War period was Radio Moscow.

During this particular broadcast, a fascinating Editorial on the state of affairs between Eastern European countries and The Soviet Union, in particular Yugoslavia, Albania, Rumania and Bulgaria. The Editorial goes to great lengths to talk about the Soviet Union’s aid in helping those countries recover from the War, their sovereignty, while going to great lengths to blame the West for meddling and threats. Interesting, particularly when you listen to the other side of the story regarding the same subject.

And that’s what listening to world radio during the Cold War era was all about.

Here is Radio Moscow from April 13, 1947.

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The Trouble With Henry – April 14, 1947

•April 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment
First he broke with Truman, then he broke with the Party, and now he's scaring people.

First he broke with Truman, then he broke with the Party, and now he’s scaring people.

Click on the link here for Audio Player - NBC News Of The World – April 14, 1947 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

News for this April 14th in 1947 had much to do with the comings-and-goings of former vice-President/former Agriculture Secretary/now third-party Presidential candidate Henry Wallace.

Seems Henry Wallace, in search of some thaw to the intensifying Cold War, was running afoul of the conservative establishment in Washington. Wallace, on a fact-finding tour of Europe, was perceived as saying things not complimentary to the Truman Doctrine regarding Post-war Europe. His meetings with British Prime Minister Clement Atlee and his public denunciation of aspects of the Doctrine caused many on Capitol Hill to toss brickbats at the former VP, including one Republican Senator who urged charges of Treason be leveled at Wallace.

Fortunately for all concerned, President Truman declined to get involved and issued a terse “no comment” to the reports. For all the brickbats, Wallace was getting a considerable amount of praise for his honest attempts at seeking peace.

Meanwhile, the question of what became of the missing $11 billion worth of Lend-Lease aid to Russia was finally being answered after a long silence from Moscow.

And strike talks were continuing with telephone workers. First Day of Baseball was shelved due to the rain in Washington. SCOTUS ruled a returning veteran was entitled to his old job, but not for more than a year. On Capitol hill, the Republicans unveiled two new versions of Labor Law, squaring off with Union officials over their proposed Anti-Strike Laws, which included strikes against public health and public safety and ruled against the Closed Shop. Union head Phillip Murray of the CIO called the measure a “first step towards Fascism”, likewise the AFofL. Seems the tide of anti-Union sentiment was running high all around Capitol Hill, with the Senate introducing a similar bill which also included a Federal court injunction in the case of strikes and a curb on industry-wide bargaining.

Detroit and the Auto Industry averted a second round of strikes by agreeing to a .15 cent an hour wage-increase for Electrical Workers. The Auto Workers were looking for .33 cents an hour – the Auto makers countered with an interim .10 cents an hour wage boost until negotiations took place later on in the Summer. It was all seen as part of a trend by the unions to scale back demands.

And the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers was continuing with a generally upbeat feeling over the outcome of this round of talks with issues on Germany still pending. Still, things were looking a bit Spring-like around Moscow on this day.

And that’s just a slice of what happened on this April 14th in 1947, as presented by NBC Radio’s News Of The World.


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