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View Diary: Cheers and Jeers: Rum and Coke...SATURDAY? (181 comments)

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  •  Friday ...err, Saturday Pinot Noir Odds & Ends (17+ / 0-)

    CHEERS to Bill and Michael in PWM, our Wyoming-based friend Irish Patti and ...... each of you at Cheers and Jeers. Have a fabulous weekend, everyone.

    BRAIN TEASER - try the latest Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC - though this week it is (fair warning) more UK-centered than normal.

    I FEEL EMBARRASSED with the words coming from Bush-era FEMA head Michael Brown this week. That's because I defended 'Brownie' after a video was released - I can't find it on YouTube, but here is an article referencing it - where Brownie told W. (in advance) that Katrina could be a disaster, and also that:

    Brown, then the Federal Emergency Management Agency chief, told the president and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

    "I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.

    He was still unqualified for the job, but that video made me say openly that he was not the poltroon I and others had thought he was. Well, Brownie - I was wrong; you are (and probably were, then) a poltroon, after all.

    FRIDAY's CHILD #1 is Simba the Cat - who went missing during last year's tornado in Joplin, Missouri ... but now - incredibly, during the time Hurricane Sandy struck on the East Coast - was reunited with his family.

    CHEERS to the best essay ever penned by Charlie Pierce - about how he'll pass on voting for the Green Party because "it is vitally important that the Republican party be kept away from as much power as possible until the party regains its senses again".

    THIS COMING SUNDAY I will feature Odds & Ends - a weekly wrap-up diary of all of my postings this week, circa noon Eastern (9 AM Pacific). I hope you'll vote in the "Who Lost the Week?!?" poll (a mirror image of the one Bill posted tonight).

    There are loads of misfits lined-up for your consideration (such as Tommy Thompson, UBS and Barclays banks, Brownie, GOP consultant Shashank Tripathi and the Ukrainian government) .... and the week's not over yet.

    FRIDAY's CHILD #2 is  Lil Bub the Cat - an Indiana dwarf kitteh who has become an Internet sensation - and is one of six (including another with deformities) who live with a recording studio owner ... but who insists he isn't a "crazy cat person".

    .......and finally (repeated for the West Coasters) for a song of the week ........................... she had some large shoes to fill when her musician father died, but Shemekia Copeland has been up to the task. The blues circuit may not be what it once was, but this energetic singer has already been a headliner at festivals around the world, and even at the White House earlier this year.

         Her father was the renowned Houston, Texas blues guitarist Johnny Copeland who moved around 1975 to New York (with his daughter in center photo, below) when his career was at a lull. Shemekia was born in Harlem in 1979, and her father must have seen something in her: since he brought her on-stage at Harlem's famed Cotton Club at only age 8.

         Then at age 15, her father's battles with heart disease were taking their toll, and he began taking Shemekia on tour as his opening act. She sensed that this would become her calling saying "It was like a switch went off in my head, and I wanted to sing. It became a want and a need. I had to do it."

         She graduated from Teaneck (NJ) High School, and was offered a contract by Alligator Records, the noted Chicago blues label. Her first album Turn the Heat Up! came out in 1998 when she was only 19 years old - alas, her father did not live to see this, as Johnny Copeland died a year earlier.

         Her style of singing is definitely influenced by veteran female blues singers (such as Koko Taylor, Etta James and especially Ruth Brown). But one also hears rock influences in her sound, as she notes Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and John Hiatt as influences. In an blog post no longer available, she mentioned her delight in meeting Bonnie Raitt (noting the two of them had famous musical fathers; John Raitt being a Broadway musical theater star) and said she had a wonderful one-hour conversation. About what? "Chick singer stuff", of course.

         Meanwhile, she had opened for the Rolling Stones and began to build a recording career. Her second album Wicked - released in 2000 - featured several tunes written by her longtome songwriter John Hahn, then 2002's Talking to Strangers featured songs and accompaniment by Dr. John (who also produced it) and then in 2005 she recorded The Soul Truth - now veering into Memphis Soul - with production work by Steve Cropper and guest performances by Felix Cavaliere (of the Young Rascals) and the late singer Dobie Gray. Finally, 2009 saw the release of Never Going Back - produced by Oliver Wood (the brother of Chris Wood, the bassist of Medeski, Martin & Wood).

         The result is a sound that fits any blues festival yet always has new twists. She points out that her father was the first blues guitarist to travel to Africa and work with African musicians in making a record.

         This year saw her latest album 33 1/3 - an ode to the old vinyl LP as well as her age - and features songs by Bob Dylan and Sam Cooke as well as her own material. She joined an all-star cast at the Apollo Theater in New York to pay homage to the late blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin and she was part of the band (along with BB King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck, among others) who performed at the White House - when President Obama was nudged into singing the chorus of "Sweet Home Chicago".

         She has won several W.C. Handy Blues Awards (for best album and female artist of the year) and last year at the Chicago Blues Festival the daughter of the Chicago blues singer Koko Taylor (who died two years earlier) presented Shemekia with her mother's tiara as the new "Queen of the Blues".

         Before it reaches Europe later this month, Shemekia Copeland has three concerts on her performance schedule here in the US to promote her latest album: tonight in Carrboro, North Carolina then in Arden, Delaware on Friday and then Carlisle, Pennsylvania on Saturday. She returns to performing Stateside in December - and at age 33, we should have Shemekia Copeland around for a long time to come.

        Her new album has some more pointed social commentary: one song, "Somebody Else's Jesus," challenges religious hypocrisy, urging the faithful to re-examine whether their actions match their deeply held beliefs. Another such song is Lemon Pie  - which you can hear below.

    The train left the station
    I didn’t climb aboard
    The price of the ticket
    Was too much to afford
    I saw that politician
    I know you know his name
    Waving from the window
    of that gravy train

    Life is just a coal mine
    You’re shafted every day
    The boss man must have never heard
    That Lincoln freed the slaves
    So you keep on working
    Your face against the stone
    While others get the steak
    You get the bone

    Lemon pie for the poor
    That’s what we’re working for
    I hope you weren’t expecting more
    Than lemon pie for the poor

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 06:23:20 PM PDT

    •  Uff da! Only 2/7 (6+ / 0-)

      But, thanks to the article I linked to in my comment that I found ('cuz stories like that interest me and I knew about Bletchley Park and Alan Turing and saw the PBS show about him & breaking the Enigma Code), I got that question correct.

      Small triumphs involving odd trivia info please me.  ;-)  It justifies my love of necessary trivia info when all sorts of other odd factoids also get stuck in my gray matter along with the really necessary and useful stuff.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Nov 03, 2012 at 06:50:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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