August 27, 2010

The best of The Pink Panther soundtrack

My parents had this album, the soundtrack to the original, 1963 The Pink Panther film (with all due respect to Steve Martin, the Peter Sellers/Blake Edwards/Henry Mancini Pink Panther was a film, Martin's, simply a movie). I have very clear memories of listening to it up in my room on a small, children's phonograph when I was eight or nine years old. On some of the songs, when I listen to them today, I can still hear the crackling of the needle on the record. I just love this stuff now. It immediately transports me to another time - Camelot, if you will. My favorites are "It Had Better Be Tonight" (particularly the instrumental version), "Champagne and Quail" (so lounge - I love it!), and "Royal Blue." Man, that's a beautiful song (so melancholy and sad). Definitely a "desert island" song for me. Thank you, thank you, Henry Mancini.

August 25, 2010

Music of The Civil War

Just a cheery little post for your humpday! Enjoy, oh mighty Googlebot. :)

From The Civil War, Episode Four: "Simply Murder," as narrated by historian David McCullough:

Troops sang in camp and on the way to battle. Confederates favored "Dixie" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag." Union soldiers still preferred an old Methodist tune. Mostly they liked sentimental songs - "Just Before the Battle, Mother," "The Vacant Chair," "All Quiet Along the Potomac," and "Home Sweet Home." In many camps, the men were forbidden to play a song called "Weeping, Sad and Lonely," officers considering it destructive of morale. Both sides loved "Lorena."

"Just Before the Battle, Mother"

"The Vacant Chair"

"All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight"

"Home, Sweet Home"

"Weeping, Sad and Lonely" (a.k.a.. "When This Cruel War Is Over")


During the opening moments of The Civil War, Ken Burns shows this image of the soldier, followed immediately thereafter by the shot of a dead solider, who I assume are one in the same (or perhaps the point is, they could be).

...And then, there is "Ashokan Farewell," the only music used in the series which isn't an authentic, 19th century composition. This one moves me to tears every single, damn time I hear it (like Pavlov's dog):

August 21, 2010

Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions)

Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions) was recorded in the "legendary" RCA Studio B in Nashville, where Marty Stuart participated in his first-ever recording session at the age of 13 playing mandolin in Lester Flatt's band. So Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions) represents a return to his musical roots, the "original template" he calls it in this video:

Stuart performing "Bluebirds Singing for Me" with Lester Flatt on a 1973 episode of The Porter Wagoner Show.

August 19, 2010

Austin: Then and Now

With apologies to the authors of the excellent photography book Austin Then and Now (Then & Now), from whom I borrow this post title. Incidentally, not a single structure shown in the book is featured below. Also, the "then" photographs are from the Texas Historical Commission. And now, echoes from Austin's past:

Frias Grocery (c. 1920s) in 1980

frias grocery

Harkins Grocery (c. 1920s) in 1980

harkins grocery

El Rio Tortilla Factory (c. 1910) in 1980

el rio tortilla factory

Green & White Grocery (c. 1920s) in 1980

green and white grocery

La Brisa Rooms (c. 1900-20) in 1980

la brisa rooms

Architect's Office (c. 1890, Victorian) in 1980

architect's office

Guajardo Grocery in 1980

guajardo grocery

Kunty Theatre (c. 1900-20) in 1980

kunty theater

Flanzetti Store and House in 1980. Built in 1877 as a grocery and dry goods store, with a home upstairs. During the 1890's the neighborhood was predominantly African American, and the store served as a church on Sundays.

flanzetti store and house

August 14, 2010


Being not perhaps as ironic (or creepy) as this, I have to do a post about my latest guilty pleasure. If you're like I am, you might have had some vague notion of the English performer M.I.A. as being perennially in sunglasses and performing while heavily pregnant at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Either that, or you may have heard of her recent public tussle with a reporter from the New York Times Magazine.

It doesn't matter. Check out this video. It has a tacky, Lisa Frank/"trick out my page" aesthetic going on. According to this source, the "video is made to look like the online gifs and animations that are popular on Arabic language Internet forums, blogs, and social websites." I find the Arabic twist strangely appealing. It makes me want to put a mosque where the World Trade Center once stood even. Kidding. The song is also pretty cool, with a hypnotic counter-melody going on during the "You want me be somebody who I'm really not" chorus.

You want me be somebody who I'm really not
You want me be somebody who I'm really not
You want me be somebody who I'm really not....

August 13, 2010

In search of Route 66 (journey's end)

From whence I came:

Carrizozo, New Mexico
Vaughn, New Mexico
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Tucumcari, New Mexico
San Jon, New Mexico/Adrian, Texas/Vega, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
McLean, Texas

Shamrock, Texas


tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
Besides the fact Old Route 66 goes right through the middle of Shamrock, Texas, the draw for me was the Tower Conoco Station/U Drop-Inn. There's a lot more information about it here, but it is a restored Art Deco service station built in 1936. It was later used as the inspiration for Ramone's body shop in Cars. I timed my arrival in town so I could get pictures of it in the sunlight and at night once the neon came on.

tower conoco station tulip tower
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café


A recorded Texas Historic Landmark, Shamrock's water tower is supposed to be the tallest one in the state.

tindall's drugs rexall sign

restored magnolia station

building in shamrock

building in shamrock

Good things come to those who wait:
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop inn at night
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café
tower conoco station/u drop-inn café

tower conoco station/u drop-inn café