Category Archives: Listening

The String Band Mid-Stream

On one of the furtive escapes into Manhattan I made with my friends Tommy and Jimmy during high school, we were hanging out in Greenwich Village when a Bob-Dylan-wannabe-look-alike on the corner of Bleecker and Macdougall offered us tickets to … Continue reading

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Psychedelic Fever

Start with a base of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor; add a dash of Ravel’s Bolero early on.  Blend in Vanilla Fudge liberally, and do it with Love.  Layer in some heavy soul, and sprinkle liberally with Seeds. … Continue reading

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Mix Tape #1

The musical landscape in my head has changed a lot lately.  I guess this all goes back to seeing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Paris last year.  And then last November at Lincoln Center, the Bach Mass in B Minor.  In … Continue reading

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Rethinking the Beach Boys

Although the classic question of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-Sixties was “Beatles or Stones?” in the neighborhood where I grew up there was more of a nationalistic cast to the debate: it was “Beatles or Beach Boys?”  Sociologically, in … Continue reading

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A B-Minor Marathon

In an earlier post, on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, I said in passing that I am not the kind of classical music aficionado who owns multiple interpretations or performances of a work and gets wonky about the relative merits of … Continue reading

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Wee Tam and the Big Huge

As I’ve noted previously, the Incredible String Band demonstrated significant creative growth between each of their first three albums.  That pattern continues on a grand scale with their fourth, Wee Tam and the Big Huge.  In many ways, this is the classic String Band … Continue reading

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Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah Rosie Lea!

I’ve been in a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll drought lately; I scroll through my iTunes catalog and nothing sings to me, so I wind up with Bach or Vivaldi or Handel again.  Not complaining, but after four months I … Continue reading

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The Mysteries of the Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

The third album released by the Incredible String Band, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (1968) is, by general consensus, their masterpiece.  It isn’t my personal favorite; indeed it is hard for me to decide which of their albums I like best, … Continue reading

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5000 Spirits In My Head

In the jumble room of my memory, two short fragments of poetry are always associated, although I can’t remember which I learned first.  Both describe the emergence of a delicate paleness from a generalized darkness.  The older of the two—in … Continue reading

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Rites of Spring

Spring is in the air, and a man’s thoughts turn to Stravinsky. Stravinsky’s work was the first classical music I sought out on my own, mostly because Frank Zappa told me to.  His recommendation, in a published interview I read … Continue reading

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