Archive for the ‘William Bell’ Category

[LISTENED TO: March 2017] The Organist

organistAfter really enjoying The Organist in 2015, the season ended and I hadn’t heard that there were going to be anymore.  So I stopped looking for them.  And then the other day I got an email reminding me about recent episodes.  Well, sure enough there had been an entire season last year and they were already part way through this year’s season.

So I’m playing some catch up here.  But they are timeless, so it’s okay.

Each cast has a section in brackets–this text comes from the Organist’s own site.  The rest is my own commentary.

The Organist is a free podcast from KCRW & McSweeney’s.  As of this writing, they are up to episode 82. (more…)

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sept1 SOUNDTRACK: WILLIAM BELL-Tiny Desk Concert #563 (September 7, 2016).

william-bellI’d never heard of William Bell before this show, although I see that he is apparently a classic soul singer with hits from Stax records back in 1960s.

Bell has a new album out this year and the title song “This is Where I Live” is a kind of autobiographical story of his life.  He sings of growing up and hearing Sam Cooke and then writing songs of his own that have taken him around the world.

I love the idea of “The Three of Me”: “Last night I had a dream and there were three of me.  There was the man I was, the man I am, and the man I want to be.”

The first two songs sound great–classic soul with horns and lots of bass and backing vocalists.

Bell’s voice sounds great as well.  He sounds like a veteran soulmaker.  And although he sounds timeless, I’d never guess he was 77 years old. And yet, he co-wrote “Born Under a Bad Sign,” which I thought was older than 70 years.

Either way, he plays it here.  I think his is the version I know least well (he mentions that even Homer Simpson has done a cover of it).  Bell’s version is, of course, great.

And here I have to mention his backing band  There are about 12 people all wearing bright yellow shirts.   And just about every person with an instrument gets to do a solo during “Bad Sign” which is why the song clocks in at about 10 minutes.

It starts with a great bluesy guitar solo, and then in turn we get to hear bars from saxophone, bass, organ, piano, bass sax, soprano sax and trombone.  The backing band is called The Total Package Band.  And they sound perfect for Bell’s music.

[READ: March 1, 2016] “Gorse is Not People”

Here’s another case of the same author being published just a few months after their previous story (June).

This story had a date at the end of the story–1954.  I had to look up some details about Janet Frame.  Turns out that she is an author from New Zealand and she began writing in the 1950s.

I don’t know if that’s what makes her stories seem so alien to me or what.  I found her previous story to be pretty inaccessible.  And this one is also pretty out there.  It also seemed very un-PC–which makes sense if it was written 60 years ago.  But the previous story was all about someone in a psychiatric home.  And this one is also about someone who is in a special place “in the yard where they put people who were strange in shape and ways” (more…)

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