Sunday, August 26, 2018

Senator McCain

John McCain was a courageous and extraordinary man.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin

Her singing was beautiful, stirring, singular.

Here is a video of Ms. Franklin performing "I Say a Little Prayer," her exquisite 1968 cover version of Dionne Warwick's wonderful hit song from 1967, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  The video, according to the YouTube description, is from a 1970 broadcast of a Cliff Richard TV show.

And, here is the recording of the song from the album Aretha Now, which was released in June of 1968:

One of the (many) things I enjoy about Ms. Franklin's version of "I Say a Little Prayer" is that, for more than the first half of the song, she doesn't sing the word "prayer." 

She sings, repeatedly: "I say a little..."

And then, her background singers finish the lyric:  "...prayer for you."

The vocals by the background singers are also, notably, quite beautiful. And--in the above live performance--the choreography performed by them (the minimal, elegant movements) is terrific.  I note, with particular pleasure/enjoyment, the recurring moments in the performance, during which the three singers tilt their heads--briefly, minimally--up and down. I don't know who came up with that, but I think it's fantastic.

Lastly, here is a live version of another of my favorite songs by Ms. Franklin (a song which was co-written by her): 1968's "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone."  According to YouTube, the performance took place in Amsterdam.

And, here is the original recording of the song:

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Like so many others, I have, during the past year, thought about Charlottesville, Virginia a great deal.  The events of August, 2017--a year ago today--were, are, heartrending. (I lived in Charlottesville--a vibrant and beautiful city--from the spring of 1995 until the start of 2001.)

Last week, PBS's Frontline program featured a very good documentary about Charlottesville--and about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who descended upon the city.

The PBS report, a joint effort by Frontline and the journalistic organization ProPublica, was titled Documenting Hate: Charlottesville.  Unlike other Frontline programs I have seen, over time--programs presided over by an unseen narrator--the Charlottesville documentary featured an on-camera correspondent, ProPublica's A.C. Thompson.  Mr. Thompson also served as one of the program's producers.

The program can be seen at this link: