Friday, August 18, 2006

Decidedly Non-Random Friday 10

Fight Like a Brave - Red Hot Chili Peppers
4th of July - X
Still in Hollywood - Concrete Blonde
Litany (Life Goes On) - Guadalcanal Diary

What's My Scene? - Hoodoo Gurus
Seattle - Public Image Ltd
I Heard a Rumor - Bananarama
Understanding Jane - Icicle Works
Under the Milky Way - The Church
Crash - The Primitives

...and because sometimes you just need that little bit extra, my list goes to 11...

Waiting for the Great Leap Forward - Billy Bragg

Not random - this was the second half of Rhino's Modern Rock 1987: Hang the DJ and the first couple of cuts of the next one. Hell of a playlist for the drive home, which after two weeks I'm still very much trying to get used to.

There were a number of Southeastern bands in the second half of the 80's that I thought were really going to make it big. I thought the Pressure Boys and Flat Duo Jets deserved it but never really thought they'd hit. Fetchin' Bones, Drivin' n Cryin' and the Connells all came within sniffing distance and were better than an awful lot of other music out there but never really had the sales to put them over the top. But the band that I think really should have not only survived but become stars was Atlanta's Guadalcanal Diary. I sometimes forget how damn brilliant they were but a listen to Litany or I Wish I'd Killed John Wayne serve to set me straight. And watching itty-bitty Rhett Crowe stand up to Billy "The Horse" Johnson at the Cradle about 20 years ago when he wanted them onstage (it was at least midnight) and they weren't ready remains one of my favorite rock moments (The Horse is an ex-UNC fullback and wasn't all that ex at the time - big guy).

Most of their catalog is out of print but Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man and Jamboree was recently rereleased as a single CD and is well worth the money if you don't have the vinyl.

Hella View

One of my coworkers walked into my office this afternoon and suggested that I ought to turn my desk around so that I could see the lake outside the office a little easier. I pointed out that there was a serious danger that I'd do no work for hours at a time if I took her advice. Sure enough, about half an hour later I turned to pick up the phone and caught some motion out of the corner of my eye and was then transfixed for the next five minutes by four deer slowly making their way through the woods between the lake and the building.

This doesn't suck.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

3 Chicks Saturday

Picked us up a couple of tickets for the Tres Chicas show at the Cat's Cradle Saturday night - I love Caitlin Cary's voice and I've really enjoyed what I've heard from them so far. What was even better was checking out the opening band - Ollabelle. I'd never heard of them before but I really enjoyed the bits available on their website - Tony says check 'em out. Tickets are still available - come on and join us (and make sure you get there in time for the opener for a change!).

Southern Boy

I mentioned grabbing the Music Row book in a previous post - the other book I picked up that I'm working through now is Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865. Now, that's the Army of the Tennessee, as in the Tennessee River, as in the Union Army led by US Grant and formed primarily of volunteers from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and other (then) far western states. It's a pretty good book with a good description of the western part of the Civil War, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg and then on to Atlanta and Columbia. There's a lot of interesting stuff about the politics involved in the leadership of the Army with individuals campaigning against each other all the way to continually writing the President looking for command positions in the Union Army.

This is a weird thing for me. I was raised in a liberal household, went to a predominantly black school for the first five years and was taught mostly by teachers that thought John F Kennedy was a god. But I'm a southerner and was (and am) proud of that. So while I grew up believing that the South was in the wrong, that Abe Lincoln was one of our best presidents and becoming aware enough by the age of 10 that I no longer bought the "states rights" vs. "continuation of slavery" argument that Southern apologists used to excuse the war, I also grew up believing that 1 Reb could whip any 10 Yanks and that the only reason the North won was that they had the hardware and were willing to continue to pump 11 Yankees for every 1 of our boys into the South.

I was not alone in feeling that Robert E. Lee was a tragically heroic figure and the best general in the country (either of them) and Stonewall Jackson, JEB Stuart and Nathan Bedford Forrest could each have defeated an entire Northern regiment single-handedly (the role Forrest played in the formation of the KKK being conveniently ignored). Grant was a drunkard who only ever won because he kept throwing Midwestern plowboys onto the Southern bayonets and Sherman was, well, the Anti-Christ (I lived outside of Atlanta for a couple of years). So it is pretty bizarre reading a book that idolizes Grant as a great strategic leader (which he probably was) and Sherman as a highly intelligent, moral man who actually prevented a lot of looting of the Tennessee countryside before the overall Union policies changed.

What's interesting about it is while growing up in Nashville I learned a lot about the battles protrayed in this book but most folks are much more familiar with the eastern campaigns in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania - Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Richmond, etc. - than they are the western and more southern parts of the fighting. Many historians believe the war was won (or lost, depending on your viewpoint) in Tennessee and Mississippi so it's a good read.

I'm just having trouble with Grant as the hero.