Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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4Play

Ross Boissoneau - November 29th, 2007
John Fogerty – Revival – Fantasy
Since John Fogerty disbanded Creedence Clearwater Revival, he’s abdicated his role as spinner of Americana to the likes of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen (see below). But while it took multiple lawsuits and acrimony between him and his former bandmates, Fogerty has seemingly recaptured the magic of those long–ago days. True, he’s had high points since then, principally “Centerfield” from 1985. But he’s never sounded so much like a new and improved version of CCR. He sharpens his pencil and zaps the administration for the war in Iraq, the abandonment of New Orleans, and his view of its corruption and ineffectiveness on “Long Dark Night,” while on “Summer of Love” he lets the guitars do the talking. And his singing really is better than ever, with clearer enunciation and less quaver and twang. Who would have thought you really could go home again?
 

Bruce Springsteen – Magic – Columbia
Critics are calling this Springsteen’s best album in years. The only question is, the best album since when? One could compare this to Born in the USA in terms of its quality and not be embarrassed, or to Darkness on the Edge of Town for its cinematic feel, and not be far off there either. “Radio Nowhere” opens the disc with an anthemic singalong that brings to mind the America Springsteen misses. There’s a maturity here, both lyrically and musically, that the Boss couldn’t claim back then. While his spooky harmonica brings back memories of dustbowl days, the string section argues for an orchestral oeuvre previously unheard, though perhaps hinted at on “Meeting Across the River” on “Born to Run.” It all adds up to an instant classic, one whose moods and majesty measure up to the soaring guitars and wordplay. Magic indeed.
 

Maynard Ferguson – The One and Only Maynard Ferguson – Maynard Ferguson Trust
While critics sometimes panned the late trumpeter’s bravura style, fans – and fellow trumpeters – stood in awe of Ferguson’s audacious chops. The One and Only... is as good a going–away present as he could have left us, with both the power and the too–often–overlooked taste, musical generosity and command of a master musician in full view. Ferguson often capitalized on jazz versions of popular tunes, from “Hey Jude” to his hit version of “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky movies. Here, he tips his hat to Bill Withers with “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Ferguson also was a master of the ballad, and his flugelhorn playing, especially in his later years, was a thing of beauty. On “Vita Bella,” he amply demonstrates his vitality and the sheer beauty of his tone. The other standards and originals on this disc convey a feeling of beauty, of bravado, warmth and joy. If he had to go, Maynard certainly went out on one of his highest notes.

 
Will Downing – After Tonight – Peak
Downing is one of those middle–of–the–road R&B singers whose music is appealing enough but lacks the personality or the hits to make him stand out from the crowd. The album has its share of highlights, such as the opening “Will’s Groove” and the delightful “Lover’s Melody,” a much more sprightly track than the name might suggest. The wah–wah guitars and swaying vocals are accompanied by Roy Ayers on vibes, giving the tune a slightly exotic twist. But the energy continues to flag on the overlong title track which follows, finding Downing endlessly repeating the title phrase with no change in the backing, presumably to create emphasis or tension. But instead the repetition tends to have a stultifying effect. There are enough of the high points to make you wish Downing had edited the overlong tracks and deleted the less interesting ones altogether in favor of more exciting tunes.
 
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