Archive for the ‘Tom Jones’ Category


As on October 1, NPR has started the Tiny Desk Playlist page.

As of today there are 9 Playlists on the page.  I’m not going to comment on them, as I’ve already posted about all of these shows (except CHAI as of now).  I might disagree with some of these lists, but whatever the case they are a good introduction to Tiny Desks if you haven’t already seen one.

5 Tiny Desk Concerts That Will Literally Make You Cry
• Julien Baker (read more)
• Yusuf/Cat Stevens (read more)
• Bernie and The Believers (read more)
• Rev. Sekou and The Seal Breakers (read more)
• Barbara Hannigan (read more)

The 5 Most Uplifting Tiny Desk Concerts
• Lizzo (read more)
• Superorganism (read more)
• Fragile Rock (read more)
• Dan Deacon (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)

The 5 Wildest Tiny Desk Concerts
• Gogol Bordello (read more)
• Red Baraat (read more)
• The Cristina Pato Trio (read more)
• George Li (read more)
• Dirty Three (read more)

The Best-Sounding Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1 [selected by “the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen” Josh Rogosin].
• Monsieur Periné (read more)
• Andrew Bird (read more)
• Nick Hakim (read more)
• Tedeschi Trucks Band (read more)
• PJ Morton (read more)

The Best Of The Very Beginning Of Tiny Desk Concerts
• Laura Gibson (read more)
• Vic Chesnutt (read more)
• Tom Jones (read more)
• Thao Nguyen (read more)
• Dr. Dog (read more)

The 5 Best ‘Before They Were Stars’ Tiny Desk Concerts
• Brandi Carlile (read more)
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals (read more)
• Adele (read more)
• H.E.R. (read more)
• Mitski (read more)

Tiny Desk Trick Or Treat: Our 5 Favorite Concerts In Costume
• Neko Case’s Halloween Special (read more)
• Blue Man Group (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)
• CHAI (read more)
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band (read more)

#ElTiny: The Best Latinx Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1
• Natalia Lafourcade (read more)
• Jorge Drexler (read more)
• Juanes & Mon Laferte (read more)
• iLe (read more)
• Café Tacvba (read more)

Lianne La Havas’ 5 Favorite Tiny Desk Concerts
• Tank And The Bangas
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
• Noname
• Tamino
• Mac Miller

[READ: October 28, 2019] “God’s Caravan”

This story opens with boys crouching in the dirt shooting marbles.  I assumed it was set in the 1950s, so I was surprised to see that the boy knew of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.  But it is set in Memphis, Tennessee–“Soulsville the black part.”

Earl was kicking butt and winning marbles left and right when the boys heard an ice cream truck trundle up.  But this was no ice cream truck.  Rather it was a van and it was playing “I’ve come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.”  On the side of the van, painted in “blood of Jesus” red were the words “God’s Caravan.”  The speakers then broadcast “When I say, ‘Ride or die’…you say ‘Amen.'”

The voice said “Ride or Die” and Earl and the other boys all shouted back “Amen.”

The door opened and there was the pastor, dressed in black judge’s robes.  He said he had sweets for their hearts. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 21, 2016] An Evening with Todd Rundgren

2016-05-21 22.05.52I was astonished to learn that I’ve gone most of my life not knowing that Todd Rundgren wrote “Hello, It’s Me” and “Bang the Drum All Day.”

How did I not know this?

Indeed it turns out I didn’t know much about Rundgren.  I knew he was in the band Utopia and that they played weird prog rock.  And I also thought he was kind of a control freak.  But I didn’t realize he had those huge hits (which might explain how he makes so many weird albums–and he has a lot of weird albums).

I don’t even know what made me get a ticket of this show.  I had recently been hearing a bit about him. I had looked him up on line or some reason (that’s how I knew he wrote those songs) and I recognized the photo to the right, an iconic photo from Something/Anything (which was used as the backdrop for the show).  When I saw that he was playing at McCarter, I decided it was time to check him out.  Now, I was going to see a show the night before and normally I don’t like to do two nights in a row, but since this show was so close by (and I knew I’d be home by eleven) I decided to go.  And I had a great time.

The blurb for this show started: “The classic rocker Todd Rundgren may be 67, but he shows no signs of slowing down.”  And that’s very true.

I managed to score a seat in Row J, which was so close to the man I could see him sweat (ew).  The only problem was the very tall man sitting in front of me (I should have asked him to switch seats with his tiny wife).

While I was waiting for the show to start, a woman sat down next to me with her husband and some friends.  She was super friendly (and a bit drunk) and we started talking.  She asked how big a fan I was of Todd.  And I had to admit that this was my first show.  She told me that she first saw Todd when she was 16 (or 19 who can remember) and has seen him every tour since then (she’s in her 50s).  She said he tours constantly and she will see him twice a year sometimes.

Normally I’m not much of a talker during a show, but I enjoyed having her next to me to occasionally guide me through what I was hearing.  Unlike the louts at the end of the row who were talking really loudly and making jokes throughout the show (and getting up to go to the bar every couple of songs).  They were big fans I could tell (they knew every song), but such disrespect I’ve never seen.

The lady (whose name I never got) told me that Todd makes a new playlist for each show and decides what he’s going to play an hour before he goes on.  That was pretty cool.  She told me a few other things that were interesting about him (he has a house that he built in Hawaii but he never goes there because he is always touring).  And that, amazingly, she’d never actually met him after all these years.

And then the lights dimmed and the band came out.  Followed by Todd.  And the crowd went berserk!  It was especially amusing because it was practically like a  Tom Jones show, with women throwing themselves at him (my seatmate remained remarkably composed).  These women (mostly) stood and applauded after each song, waved their arms and were so utterly into it, I was amazed. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_10_14_13McCall.inddSOUNDTRACK: TOM JONES-Tiny Desk Concert #13 (March 2, 2009).

tomjI never gave a thought about Tom Jones until I worked a warehouse job in Cambridge, MA. My boss used to play Tom Jones all the time and all of us young’uns (I was 22) would get into it.  And soon I was singing Tom Jones songs to myself.  I have his Greatest Hits and it certainly scratches an unexpected itch.

It’s also funny to think of Tom Jones at at Tiny Desk Concert since his voice is so big.  And also because I think of shows as being spectacles.  But here he is, with just a guy on guitar and no microphone to hold on to or anything else.  He stands there sweating and just belting out these songs.

His voice sounds incredible—he can hold those notes like nobody else I know. Although I have to wonder if he has a bit of a cold (he still sounds amazing, but he’s coughing a bit).  The first and third songs, “If He Should Ever Leave You,” and “We Got Love” are from his then new album 24 Hours, so I didn’t know them.  But with the simple electric guitar accompaniment the songs sound clean and energetic (I imagine that with a  full band they’re much bigger, and there must be a horn section, right?).

“Green Green Grass of Home” is wonderful older song that I know from his Greatest Hits.  It sounds wonderful here–it’s all about his voice.  And the final song is a Jerry Lee Lewis song called “The End of the Road.”  I didn’t imagine him fitting this style but he jumps in perfectly and totally manhandles the song.  It’s great.

It never occurred to me to want to see him live (women throwing their underpants and all) but I’ll bet he puts on a great show.  It’s also amazing to see how crowded the offices are for him (they even turned down the lights for extra ambiance).

[READ: January 7, 2014] “Piano Man”

This New Yorker has several small essays about work.  They are primarily from people who I wasn’t familiar with–only Amy Poehler saved the five from being unread.  When after reading all of them I enjoyed them enough to include them all here.

The pieces are labelled under “Work for Hire” and each talks about a humiliating job.

Jeremy Denk is a well-regarded pianist (he won a McArthur Genius Grant).  He talks about his initial success very casually.  He says he had about $4,500 of debt when he won a piano contest in London.  I admit I didn’t know who he was when I read this and I wondered how it was that some guy randomly won a piano contest–are there many piano contests in London?  That cleared away his debt (and apparently must have covered the cost to fly to London, since he is from the Midwest). (more…)

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Like the Dubliners, The Chieftains are a bunch of old men who play traditional Irish music.  Unlike the Dubliners, they have gained a fan base beyond the trad scene.  This album in particular features a great deal of crossover material.

Guest singers include: Sting (singing in Irish!), The Rolling Stones, Sinéad O’ Connor, Marianne Faithfull,Van Morrison and Tom Jones (!)

The Sinéad tracks are really great, as she uses her voice wonderfully on the spare musical tracks. “The Foggy Dew” is particularly powerful, and “He Moved Through the Fair” isn’t too shabby either).

Sting’s track is very Sting (with trad accompaniment); Mick Jagger sings the title track, but it doesn’t do a lot for me.  Van Morrison is Van Morrison, regardless of who he’s playing with.  And Tom Jones is so over the top on “Tennessee Waltz” that it’s hard not to laugh with him.

The song with no guests, “Changing Your Demeanor” is a cute Oirishy song with deedly-ee-ayes.

It’s the final song, “The Rocky Road to Dublin” (which I’ve already said is a favorite by other artists) that fares the worst here.  About midway through the song, The Stones seem to burst in (think Run DMC & Aerosmith but a lot older) and play a really sloppy version of “Satisfaction” while The Chieftains are playing their trad song.  Nobody fares well in this version and it’s a shame to have included it on an otherwise good disc.

This is not really a good place to hear the Chieftains as a trad outfit.  It’s certainly more of a showcase album.  But it might work as a crossover introduction to some of these songs.  And yes, the album is very adult contemporary…there’s not a lot of rocking going on here.

[READ: Week of August 16, 2010] Ulysses: Episode 15 [Circe]

This is the Episode I remember most from my previous reads.  I didn’t remember the details, mind you, just the absolute insanity of it.  This is also the place where you can look if you’ve ever wondered why this book was brought up on obscenity charges.  Those first few chapters, with the outhouse and the impure thoughts are mild; even Bloom’s masturbation, while controversial doesn’t hold a candle to all of the insanity that is contained within this Episode.

It was also the only week where we read just one Episode.  And that’s because it is loooooong.  True, it is written in play form (ie, lots of white space), but it is still about 4 times longer than any other Episode.  And man is it a doozy.

I’ve already read that Daryl was just going to write WTF about this Episode.  Of course, that’s sort of what I felt about the previous one, so I guess it’s no surprise that I did enjoy the nonsense of this one.  I’ve always had a great appreciation for the absurd, so this is right up my alley.  This is not in any way to suggest that I understood it, even a little.  But there were parts that I laughed at and parts that I smiled at and parts that I practically blushed at.  Good fun!

Of course, the big question in this chapter is (aside from what the hell is going on and why is it so long) what’s real and what’s Bloom’s fever dream.  This is preceded by the big question of why Bloom is having these fever dreams (or whatever they are).  I’ve been under the impression that he is drunk (but my tenuous following of the previous chapter makes me a little unsure just how drunk he was or if he drank at all.)

In a nutshell what happens is that Stephen (and Lynch) go to the red light district.  Bloom follows behind.  Bloom had a massive memory flashback/acid trip/freak out, and then he “rescues” Stephen (and his money) from the brothel.  He can’t save Stephen from getting punched in the face by a soldier, but he is able to keep him from getting arrested (with Corny Kelleher’s invaluable help).  Bloom, despite his inaction, then offers to take Stephen home.   (more…)

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