If you thought this would be a recap of my most recent Weekend du Kos, well, no. Friday night at Kos headquarters was VERY much worth it, as I met some great Kossacks for the first time and I got to know a couple of people to whom I had been introduced before significantly better. Yes, I'll make it up for the Christmas party this year, and I don't think I'll be the only LA Kossack who attends. Saturday? Well, I don't have much to add to what's already been said about that here and in New Day, and I hope I didn't embarrass myself too much.
So an end-of-month music diary, and one about an album by an artist who you know but who you might not know in depth. Released on September 28, 1976, this was the third album by anyone to debut at #1.
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There's lots of material about Steveland Morris, who performs as Stevie Wonder, on the internet. Extraordinarily talented, blind since infancy, child prodigy who we watched grow as an artist, and we're still watching. Here's how Rolling Stone begins its biography of him:
Groomed from an early age for Motown stardom, Stevie Wonder mastered that label's distinctive fusion of pop and soul, then went on to compose far more idiosyncratic music; an ambitious hybrid of Tin Pan Alley chords and R&B energy, inflected with jazz, reggae, and African rhythms. A synthesizer and studio pioneer, Stevie Wonder is one of the few musicians to make records on which he plays virtually all the instruments, and does so with both convincing technique and abandon. A lifelong advocate of nonviolent political change patterned after Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, Wonder epitomized Sixties utopianism while, during his most active years at least, remaining resolutely contemporary in his musical experiments.Indeed. Berry Gordy, the founder and chairman of Motown, introduced him as a child prodigy version of Ray Charles. He grew up well, though, and at 21 he was the first Motown artist to be given complete control of his own work. Because of songs like this:
But this isn't about that. This is about the album he released in 1976. A double album. A couple of songs you know, two of which I'll play, and a couple you might not. Oddly, this album isn't mentioned in the biography, but it's #57 on Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time list. Between Beggar's Banquet and Elvis's first album for RCA. Voila!
Next, possibly the single most "covered" and sampled song of all time. I think this is what I'm not really fond of in some hip hop -- the blatant re-appropriation of a song with a couple of words changed. But yes, folks. This is where Coolio got it from.
Third, if that wasn't political enough for you, this utterly wonderful indictment of the neglect of certain urban neighborhoods, masked (at least musically) in late-eighteenth century classical idioms. This one, I play for my US since 1865 and Twentieth Century classes. It always works.
Finally, this. Just ravishing. It's called "As." You've heard it before, I'm sure, but, like me, maybe you didn't connect it with this artist or this album. As the person who posted this at youtube said, "simply the best song in the world." Maybe it is! Just enjoy.
Range! I think we take him for granted, too. And so you don't think I take people for granted, big thanks to Steveningen for filling the diary tonight. I actually walked in the door at 6:03!
And now for the stuff that makes this Top Comments:
TOP COMMENTS, October 30, 2013: Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU when you find that proficient comment.
In my post about the growing Rand Paul scandal, Trix finds a possible third instance of the Senator's plagiarism.From fb:
And from the same diary: It started with a comment by Trix, which was already sent to Top Comments, and NM Ray's reply to it kept the humor-ball rolling. Awesomeness.From ontheleftcoast:
The snark cannons were fully loaded in this horrible diary attempting to defend Rand Paul’s plagiarism. My personal favorites are this one from Its the Supreme Court Stupid, and this one from citizenx.from your harried and overworked diarist:
Puddytat gets off a wonderful zinger in Steveningen's diary about the return of theTOP MOJO, October 29, 2013 (excluding Tip Jars and first comments):
1) ACA will SAVE him money by Political Joe — 127For an explanation of How Top Mojo Works, see mik's FAQing Top Mojo
2) When you spend 4 months "shooting the... by bobswern — 102
3) Holy fuck that sucks. by TheUnknown285 — 91
4) Nice sleuthing. by raptavio — 91
5) They can say they're making policy changes by DeadHead — 89
6) Whats in NJ drinking water?!?!? by theKgirls — 88
7) This was Priceless! by manneckdesign — 86
8) Pointing out the truth would have been by DisNoir36 — 86
9) Of course he would highlight the Democratic D.A. by WisVoter — 84
10) When you said 2 minutes by Vega — 77
11) Agreed by dmegivern — 76
12) Good job. I admire your skepticism and inquiring by judyms9 — 75
13) Normally I have very little use for either by flycaster — 72
14) Glenzilla has been all over this.... by dweb8231 — 71
15) Okay, as a Canuck, I'm calling BULLSH*T on.... by LiberalCanuck — 68
16) Of course, it's her new exercise plan by ontheleftcoast — 67
17) Snark, are you kidding? by Roadbed Guy — 65
18) Thank you for this. by Riyaz Guerra — 65
19) Suzanne Somers IS an expert on health care! by Bob Johnson — 64
20) Man, ain't that the truth. by DeadHead — 64
21) Good!! I have always liked Pascrell. by blue jersey mom — 63
22) About DAMN time that someone stood UP by msdrown — 62
23) This bastid gets plenty of free speech by glitterscale — 62
24) If you want to fire the people responsible by stivo — 62
25) Heh, Rep. Grayson has been standing up to them by ontheleftcoast — 61
26) Thanks! by AlanM — 60
27) I have a working theory. by shaf — 58
28) Thanks for sharing your powerful story. by BenderRodriguez — 58
29) How about a walk in the park? by Eddie C — 58
30) Not to be too much a contrarian by Bobs Telecaster — 56
31) Want to help defeat the ALEC agenda? by Kitsap River — 56
TOP PHOTOS,October 29, 2013: Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!