Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

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4Play: John Mellencamp, Hank Williams III, She & Him, Jeff Beck

Jack Pine - December 27th, 2010
John Mellencamp - No Better than This (Rounder Records)
“No Better Than This” is the second down-to-the-basics, Mellencamp and an instrument or two, mono recording produced by T-Bone Burnett. This time they take an old tape recorder and one microphone to the Sun Studios in Memphis, a Baptist church in Savannah and a hotel room in San Antonio where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded. The mood is slightly more chipper than on the last one “Life, Death, Love and Freedom” and starts out with a real good, moving song “Save Some Time to Dream,” but Mellencamp is still no Bob Dylan. There is more pretense than substance on this one.



Hank Williams III - Rebel Within (Sidewalk Records)
Hank the Third made some good honky tonk/punk records about 10 years ago, like “Lovesick, Broke and Driftin’.” He was able to connect with the spirit of his granddad without being tainted by the hocum of his dad Hank Jr. “Rebel Within” is more of the same Hellbilly sound, but without as much emotion. These are all songs about getting falling down drunk. Well, except the one about heroin, “#5” which has the line “Four of my friends have gone on and died, it looks like I am going to be #5.”





She and Him - Volume Two (Merge Records)
She and Him is musician M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel. As a singer Deschanel is best known for the duet “It’s Cold Outside” with Will Farrell in the movie “Elf.” Her singing has an appealing something extra, cry-in-her-voice quality about it. Volume Two doesn’t have a song as good as “Change is Hard” from Volume One, but on the whole it is a stronger collection. Volume Two goes for a fuller retro-pop, girl group ‘60s sound. Zooey is also a good songwriter. She wrote all the songs except the two covers, NRBQ’s “Drivin’ In My Car” and the classic heartbreaker “Gonna Get Along Without You Now.”




Jeff Beck - Emotion and Commotion (Duece Music)
Guitarist Jeff Beck has had an extraordinary career, including his time with the Yardbirds, “Truth” with Rod Stewart, and his fusion records “Blow by Blow” and “Wired.” He has never gone for the same old thing and has repeatedly shown a capacity to surprise. Still, “Emotion and Commotion” is surprisingly dull. Several of the tunes here feature his impeccable electric guitar tone with a symphony in the background. It mostly sounds like soundtrack music. And do we really need another version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”?
 
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