Saturday, November 15, 2008
Some Random Thoughts and A Little Music Too
My job search is not going very well at all. In the 6 weeks that I've been unemployed I 've probably sent out close to 200 resumes, the end result of which so far is a total of 1 interview and a few phone calls. I'm not telling you all of this just to complain. After all I've got it a lot better than many other people in my situation. For one thing, I have no family to support. It's just me and Mickey my cat. No kids to think about putting through college. Nobody is really being affected except myself and if I have to tighten my belt even more for the next year or so, it's nothing I won't survive.
But am I really the only one being affected? Forget the fact that I (and others in my situation) are simply not spending and supporting local businesses the way we were. Let's just talk about taxes. In 2008 I'll say for argument sake that I paid $20,000 in Federal, State and Local taxes. In 2009, if I don't find other work, not only will I not be paying those taxes but I will also be a drain on the economy. For one thing I will be collecting unemployment insurance. So let's say I am collecting $400 a week for 26 weeks. That's $10,400 I am taking away from the system. Do the math. From +$20,000 to -$10,400 is a difference of $30,400. Multiply that by the 300 - 500 employees who were laid off by the bank I worked for due to outsourcing. We are now talking about a tax loss of over $15 million, because of the actions of a large corporation who are already getting huge tax incentives just for being who they are.
To me the solution is simple. Why not make my former employer pay the difference? It may not directly help me or any of the other people who have already lost their jobs but it might make sending more jobs overseas less attractive.
Apples In Stereo - The Rainbow
Sometimes these guys come off as a little too clever for cleverness' sake but here they do what they do best - creating perfect 2 1/2 minute catchy pop vignettes ideal for singing along to.Bob Dylan - Queen Jane Approximately
Nobody writes love songs like Dylan. While he's not offering romance, hearts and flowers, he is promising to be there when things turn sour, no explanations or excuses required. Sounds good to me.
Duke Ellington - Ad Lib On Nippon
If he isn't already, there will soon come a time when Duke Ellington will be regarded as one of the top American composers of the 20th century. Listening to any one of his hundreds of recordings, there is always something special to discover, not just in the melodies and solos themselves but in the arrangements, coloring and texture of the music. This piece, from the "Far East Suite" album is one of many he wrote with his long-time friend and collaborator Billy Strayhorn.
Harold Burrage - Messed Up
Unlike the music of Duke Ellington, there's nothing sophisticated or complicated about "Messed Up". But I'm sure the Duke himself would be the first to say that that takes nothing away from the vibrancy of this particular track. Or as an old buddy of mine would say "This is some seriously good shit".
The Litter - Legal Matter
From their "Distortions" album, reisssued a few years ago by Arf Arf and highly recommended, these guys turn in a spirited version of one of my favorite songs from "The Who Sings My Generation" album.
The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
From the Phillipines via Los Angeles, this young foursome is creating some of the sweetest pop music I've heard in a really long time. You can hear more by clicking on their Myspace site.
Robert Parker - You See Me
I'm not sure if this song was ever actually released as a single but with it's bouncy New Orleans rhythm and those wonderful "Woo Woo's" in the background, this has 'hit' written all over it.
Ronnie Dawson - Action Packed
Sadly, Ronnie passed away about 5 years ago but I was lucky enough to see him about 6 or 7 times in concert. And he was never anything less than amazing! His enthusiasm and love for playing came across in everything he did, and he was a helluva nice guy besides. Although he recorded "Action Packed" when he was in his teens, it remained a highlight of his live shows throughout his career.
The Shags - Don't Press Your Luck
From the wilds of Connecticut comes this moody garage gem by The Shags in pristine sound. From the Sundazed compilation of the same name, this is just one of many great tracks on that album.
Z.Z.Hill - You Just Cheat And Lie
While not a household name by any means, Z.Z. had been recording for many years up until his premature death at the age of 48 in 1984. This is one of many recordings he made for the Kent label back in the 60s and 70s.
Mouse & The Traps - Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice
This needs no introduction to fans of garage punk music. With it's searing guitars, superfast tempo and snarling vocals, "Maid of Sugar..." is as close to perfection as it gets.
Homer Banks - A Lot Of Love
One has to wonder if The Spencer Davis Group heard this soul stomper before recording "Gimme Some Lovin'". This is another record that really got folks onto the dancefloor in a hurry back when I used to DJ.
Jimmie Patton - Okie's In The Pokie
Although I have this song on a few different Rockabilly comps, I have to admit I know nothing about the recording or the artist. But even if this was his only record, it's enough to guarantee him a place in the hearts of Rock and Rollers forever.
The Flippers - Sargento Flippers
Speaking of records I know absolutely nothing about, this 6T's Columbian combo turns in a dynamite version of the Sgt. Pepper theme. If any of you Spanish speakers out there can provide a translation please post it in the comments section.
The Zombies - What More Can I Do
I'm sure a more technically trained musician than myself could explain exactly why, but The Zombies had a sound that was so different from that of their contemporaries. For a long time they were rather underrated and overlooked by many fans of 60s British bands. While "Odyssey and Oracle" was acknowledged as the classic that it is, their earlier beat-styled material was largely ignored. Luckily, all that changed with the release of the Zombies box by Big Beat back in the late 1990's.