Saturday, January 30, 2010

State Of The (Dis)Union

As readers of this blog already know, I have been a supporter of President Obama from the beginning. So when 9:00 came on Wednesday night I was all primed and ready to listen to his State of the Union address. He said all of the things I wanted him to say and then some. He addressed the issue of outsourcing which is how I lost my job back in 2008. He chided the Republicans for saying no to everything and even went to far as to take a poke at the Supreme Court justices for their disastrous decision (see my previous post for details if you need to) last week. He explained the hows and whys of what he wanted to do and what he hoped his plans would accomplish. He took the blame for mistakes he had made. In short it was as near perfect a speech as could be. Yet throughout the whole hour and 10 minutes of it I found myself feeling an odd sense of disappointment. As good as it was, there was something missing. I wanted more.

At one point the camera panned to the Republican side of the House chamber and seeing all of them sitting there either stone-faced or with looks of contempt on their faces made me realize what the problem was for me. He was basically preaching to the choir and not reaching any of the people he needed to. While many people in this country are losing their jobs, their savings and their homes there is a large political faction in this country that seems wholly intent on nothing more than covering their own asses. And they attempt to do this by issuing a steady stream of negative rhetoric, offering few if any constructive suggestions of their own.

I'm not saying that President Obama is infallible. He's not. In order to get where he is he had to play the politics game as much as anyone. But we are living in very desperate times and the man does have some well thought out ideas, radical though they may seem to some, to get us out of the mess we find ourselves in. What we need now is a Congress that will work with him to solve these problems. That doesn't mean automatically saying 'yes' to everything he proposes but it does mean honestly listening to and impartially considering his plans and making intelligent suggestions. It means that Republicans and Democrats alike need to work together to try and fix things. The American people deserve nothing less.

Barbara Stephens - I Don't Worry
Although Ms. Stephens recorded this for the Stax label in Memphis, it sounds as if the session might have actually taken place in New Orleans as the drumming has that distinctive second-line feel to it. This must have been a B-side as it is not on the Stax box.
Even - End to End
I'm not sure where I first learned of these guys (probably on another blog) and there isn't a whole lot of info out there in cyberland other than their myspace page. They remind me of fellow Aussie psych-rockers The Lime Spiders who are also featured in this post.
Neil Young - Revolution Blues
Although personally I generally prefer his older music, I've got to hand it to him. NY has never rested on his laurels or been overly driven by commercial considerations. While some are more hit-or-miss than others, every new album is an adventure and one never knows what direction he will go in next.
The Trolls - Walking Shoes
According to the Soybomb Garage Compilation Database there were at least 5 bands calling themselves The Trolls back in the mid-60's. These particular Trolls came from San Jose and this was their big 2:07 claim to fame.
Wayne Worley - Red Headed Woman
"Red Headed Woman" has been on a number of Rockabilly compilations over the years and for good reason. It's a frantic balls-out rocker with a nifty guitar break halfway through.
The Plimsouls - Now
If I were to make a list, The Plimsouls would probably be way up there on my "Bands I Wish I'd Seen Live" tally. From the sound of things on this track from their "One Night In America" album, they must have really been something to see.
Pagliaro - What The Hell I Got
I first discovered Michel Pagliaro about 30 years ago when I spent Christmas vacation with a friend in Canada. I bought a K-Tel album of Canadian artists and he was the one that made the biggest impression on me. I'd love to hear some garage band revive this song, removing some of the slick production and giving it a more vintage Byrdsy sound. I apologize for the little glitch near the end of the song but unfortunately this is the only rip of it I have.
James Brown - Signed, Sealed, And Delivered
This isn't the Stevie Wonder hit of the same name. Back in 1963 this got up to number 77 on the Billboard charts and according to the Joel Witburn book, "SS&D" was a number 2 country hit for Cowboy Copas way back in 1948. I would have sworn this was a JB original.
The Revells - Midnight Stroll
Each Halloween it seems that every blog puts together a comp of scary music and inevitably "Midnight Stroll" is always on a bunch of them. But it's a terrific record and sounds just as chilling on a cold winters night.
The Outsiders - Touch
The (Dutch) Outsiders need no introduction to fans of mid-60's Garage and Freakbeat. This is one of their best singles and is available on a number of compilations and even as a reissue 45.
The Traveling Wilburys - Don't Treat Me Like A Stranger
All too often supergroups are little more than commercial ploys designed to revive sagging careers. The Wilburys were one of the exceptions as each artist involved brought his A-list material to the table and the result was a unique symbiosis where the whole was even more than the sum of its worthy parts.
Prince Conley - I'm Going Home
Here's another early outing on the Stax label, recorded before the label found their signature sound. With that exotic rhumba beat and Conley's understated vocals, this is an atmospheric masterpiece that surely deserved more attention than it received at the time.
The Lime Spiders - Beyond The Fringe
For a few years, back in the late 80's and early 90's these guys could do no wrong. I remember seeing them when they came to the US around that time and played Maxwells. They were unbelievable and as I remember they went over big with the whole crowd. They have a really nice website where you can learn and hear lots more.
King Alex & The Untouchables - Hutchia Cuthia Lovin' Man
Just like with garage bands (and almost every other genre of popular music) back in the 1950's there were many many talented young black Rock & Rollers trying for their shot at the big time. This particular track comes from a comp of the same name containing lots more crazy R&B sounds of the same ilk. A quick online search found it available here.
The Sonics - He's Waitin'
Here are The Sonics. Crank it up as loud as you can and just enjoy!
Scruffy The Cat - Never, Never

STC were one of the many hundreds of bands lumped in under the 'college radio/alternative' banner and so, never got the recognition and attention they deserved. They somehow always reminded me of a more punkified Lovin' Spoonful. They had more than their share of hooky, clever songs and they were all delivered with an easygoing confidence and warmth that was out of fashion at that time. Unfortunately their albums are all out of print but copies can still be found on Gemm Music.


Dixie Dude said...

While scanning my daily list of blogs I ran across your headline "State Of The (Dis)Union" and thought "here we go again". Another Obama slammer from someone probably not even of this country. Instead what I found was a well thought, well written observation. I too watched the address. Amazed at the smirks and glares from the "right" side of the aisle. All I could think was if Rupert Murdock's mission when he came to this country was to disrupt and ruin the process that runs this nation, "Mission Accomplished". Beck, Hannity, O’Riley, their radio counterparts Limbaugh, Savage, Borts, Leary, etc. have really done their job. All for the sake of lining their own pockets with a complete disregard for the country they allegedly “love”. It was never in their hearts to give Obama a chance for one second, only to further their own agenda and fatten their bank accounts. By the way, there’s no love lost between myself and Olbermann and his crew. While I might tend to side more with their ideals, their methods are the same as the bullies on the other side of the aisle.

The President may be “preaching to the choir” but as long as there is a such a negative counterpart hammering their selfish agenda on a daily, hourly basis, this country is in for a world of hurt and will do nothing but spin it’s wheels in the mire of rhetoric while tearing down everything that once was good and just. God help us all.

Thanks for the clear vision Yankee.

It's a **** thing said...

Great post.
You might be interested in this.

YankeeBoy said...

Thank you both for your kind words. That BBC article was quite interesting and it goes along with some thoughts I've had since I published this post.

President Obama has another ace up his sleeve that he appears to be playing. In his meeting with the Republican leadership and, indeed, in his speech the other night, he is telling his political naysayers to put up or shut up. By playing it like they are either on the side of Wall Street or Main Street, he is forcing them to take a stand. And at this point, with the country in the state it's in, I doubt that any politician in his or her right mind wants to be thought of as being on the side of Wall Street.

And yes, we are in the middle of a Republican Depression and I think that President Obama could do worse than to point this out wherever and as often as he can.

Curty Ray said...

If the shoe was on the other foot, I think the Dems would hold the same contempt for a Republican president. It is just human nature, wee need to pick sides.
What we need however, is to some how stop this negative partisan-ism and political back biting and join in the common goal of saving this great country. Every single politician needs to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that they are in Washington for the people, not for their own agendas. The people of Massachusetts have shown they are tired of business as usual, right or wrong, and are trying a new path. Hopefully this will open up everyone's eyes and hopefully get something positive done in our capital.

YankeeBoy said...

Curty, I suspect you're right - although it does seem to me that the GOP has the edge when it comes to spin doctoring and dirty politics. But the essential fact that you point out is that politics seems to have become 'us vs. them' rather than 'we the people'.

Just to use healthcare as an example, there is a middle ground between having 40+ percent of the population uninsured and "Socialized Medicine". We need politicians who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves, put their egos and self interests in their back pockets and work together to find that solution.