Friday, April 4, 2014

The Beatles held the top 5 spots on the charts, 50 years ago today

50 YEARS AGO TODAY day in 1964, The Beatles made music history by holding the top five places in the singles charts. No one else has done it before and likely no one ever will. Also, the same week, they had a dozen songs spread across the chart, setting a record they broke a week later with 14. That record also still holds.
The Top Five Songs, held by the Beatles on April, 4th, 1964 were:

1)      Can't Buy Me Love

2)      Twist and Shout

3)      She Loves You

4)      I Want to Hold Your Hand

5)      Please Please Me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Stanley Clarke Live at the Cedar Cultural Center February 27, 2014 Minneapolis Minnesota- School Days Tour

Here is some pictures and video I took last night of Stanley Clarke at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis Minnesota (February 27, 2014). I had the extraordinary pleasure of a front row seat to see Stanley Clarke at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis MN. Stanley is an enormous talent, and he blew the audience away with his virtuosity on upright and electric bass. I have been a huge Stanley Clarke fan since I was a teenager, and I play bass in part because of his influence, so this was a treat for me.  – Lance
Stanley’s current tour is called the School Days tour, because the show consists mostly of songs from his 1976 album, School Days. It was his first album to cross over into the pop charts and enter the top 40.

Here was the play list from last night (not sure about exact order between School Days and No Mystery):

1.      School Days (School Days album 1976)

2.      Quiet Afternoon (School Days album 1976)

3.      Lopsy Lu (Stanley Clarke album 1974)

4.      The Dancer (School Days album 1976)

5.      Song to John Parts 1 & 2  (Journey to Love album 1975)

6.      Desert (School Days album 1976)

7.      No Mystery (from the Return to Forever album No Mystery 1975) 


Hot Fun (School Days album 1976)


Stanley Clarke Bass solo on Song to John Part II


Stanley Clarke slaps and pops the upright


Monday, January 27, 2014

Beatles at the Grammy Awards: Paul McCartney takes home four Grammy Awards; Paul and Ringo Perform together; Sean and Yoko, and Olivia Harrison also in attendance.

I very much enjoyed watching Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr perform last night on the 2014 Grammy Awards. Paul won a Grammy for best Rock Song last night, along with

Last night, Paul McCartney took home four Grammy Awards:
  • Best Rock song: "Cut Me Some Slack," with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear.
  • Best Long-form music video: "Live Kisses."
  • Best Surround Sound Album Live Kisses (Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Tommy LiPuma, surround producer).
  • Best boxed or special limited edition package "Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition)", with Wings — (Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors).
Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon were also there. Sean looks hauntingly like his father, circa Hey Jude Album. Olivia and Yoko co-presented an award last night, along with Alicia Keys.





Sunday, January 26, 2014

Honoring Angela Davis on her 70th Birthday

Today, Angela Davis turns 70. I want to honor her legacy. Angela Davis was one of the prophetic voices to come out of the sixties and seventies for social change. She was, and still is, a mighty voice for black liberation, feminism, and social equality. In 1969, Davis began publicly speaking, voicing her opposition to the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and the prison industrial complex, and her support of gay rights and other social justice movements. Davis was a member of the Communist Party and the Black Panthers.
Davis was fired in 1969 from her teaching post at UCLA and was barred from teaching anywhere in California at the behest of Governor Ronald Reagan, because of her involvement in the Communist Party and radicalism. Although Davis was fired from her position, she actually showed up to teach her class anyway. Fifteen hundred people showed up for her class, in an expression of support for her. Only 150 people had signed up for the class, which was on themes in black literature.

Davis was once on the FBI's most wanted list. A young African American man named Jonathan Jackson took control of a Federal courtroom, kidnapped a judge and three other hostages. He got into a gun fight with police, and in the resulting melee, Jackson, the judge, and hostages all died. Davis had purchased the guns used by Jackson (which she had for her personal protection at a time she had received many death threats). Davis was charged with kidnapping and murder, and she fled California, but was arrested by the FBI in New York.
She was seen by her supporters as a political prisoner, and she was eventually acquitted of all charges and released. John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote a tribute song for her called, Angela, which was on their 1972 album, Sometime in New York City. The Rolling Stones did the same with their song, Sweet Black Angel on their 1972 album, Exile on Main Street.

After her release, Davis visited Cuba, where she was so well received that she could barely speak amid the applause. After visiting Cuba, she said “only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.”

Davis continued to work for social change after her release from prison throughout the 1970's and in the decades that followed. She gave lectures in schools, universities, and parks. She authored several books, some of the most well-known ones are: Angela Davis: An AutobiographyWomen, Race, & Class; Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Torture, and Prisons; Blues Legacies and Black Feminism; Are Prisons Obsolete?, and others.

She ran for Vice President of the United States on the Communist Party ticket, in 1980 and 1984, along with Communist Presidential candidate Gus Hall. However, she also urged people on the left to vote for Democrats, as a practical matter. “Revolutionaries must be realists,” said Davis. Although she is no longer a member of the Communist Party, she is on the advisory board of the Committees for Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

In recent years, she has spoken out against the U.S. Prison system, which she calls the “prison-industrial complex,” and a modern “form of slavery.” She helped form with others the African American Agenda 2000, an alliance of Black feminists.

Davis is prominently featured in the new movie, the Black Power Mix Tape. 

Although retired from teaching, she continues to be a force today for social change, being a strong advocate for the abolition of the U.S. Prison system, which she calls a “form of slavery,” and for the Occupy Wall Street Movements.

Angela Y. Davis has been a person of consistent courage and conviction, who has spoken powerfully for social justice and change.

I still find Angela Davis very compelling. I am deeply moved by her speech at Occupy Oakland. I applaud her call for free health care and education, and to resist the global capitalist system. I have the Youtube video of her appearance at Occupy Oakland below.

Angela Davis has been willing to champion ideas that may not be popular with many Americans. She has exercised her democratic rights fully in advocating for her views and causes, and example of a person realizing the full potential of the American ideal. 

Some links:

Democracy Now! Program with Angela Davis. (this interview with Angela is terrific!)

Interview of Angela Davis from prison in 1970 on Black People defending themselves. 

Angela Davis speech in the 1970's

Angela Davis at Occupy Oakland, using the People's Mic to support the world wide Occupy movements, and to speak against police violence and hierarchies of class, race, gender, and sexuality. 

John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Angela:

The Rolling Stone's Sweet Black Angel (about Angel Davis):

Finally, this excellent tribute to Angela Davis:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) - Statesman, Revolutionary, Political Prisoner, Prophet, Reconciler: Rest in Peace, Madiba!

Madiba, Nelson Mandela
Madiba, Nelson Mandela, passed away yesterday at the age of 95. He is a great hero of social justice. As a lawyer and the leader of the African National Congress, he fought against the racist Apartheid system in South Africa from 1948 -1994. He spent 27 years as a political prisoner, much of it in solitary. When he became the president of South Africa, he offered reconciliation with the white minority, rather than retribution. As Muhammed Ali stated yesterday, "he taught forgiveness on a grand scale."

No doubt many will try to domesticate his memory, as they have with Martin Luther King Jr. But though Madiba left hate and bitterness behind, he was a firm supported of social justice. He did not shrink back from speaking the truth to power.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, representatives of the world's dominant powers, condemned his as a terrorist. They had stake in maintaining the unjust status quo. It was only in 2008 that George W. Bush signed a bill removing his name from the terrorist list.
Nelson Mandela with Fidel Castro
But for many people of the world- for people of African descent, for workers, for the poor, for the oppressed, and for proponents of social justice, he is a liberator. For me he is a hero and a prophet of social justice. This is one of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela:

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

Madiba did not let the oppressor of the hook, or any of us, for that matter. We are called to reconciliation, but a reconciliation based on making things right. In this sense, Nelson Mandela is a true prophet, in the Biblical sense; he shines a light on injustice, and calls us to repentance, to change the way we do things and treat each other.

Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest people we have been honored to have on this planet. He is a Statesman, Revolutionary, Political Prisoner, Prophet, Reconciler. Charlie Rose stated on his program last night "It seems to me that if there was not a word for 'dignity,' Nelson Mandela would define it."

We love you, Madiba, may you rest in peace in the arms of God, and continue your work for peace and justice in heaven for us who remain on pilgrimage. May we all be inspired by your example, and shrink not back from the work of peace and justice and reconciliation here in Earth.

Nelson Mandela with Bishop Desmond Tutu
I read some wonderful prayers for Nelson Mandela yesterday; here are just a few of them...

“Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you/Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people/We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper."

- Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
May Christ, Who called you, take you to Himself;
may angels lead you to Abraham's side.
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
and may Your light shine upon him forever.
Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
Let us pray: We commend our brother Madiba to you, Lord.
Now that he has passed from this life,
may he live on in Your presence.
In Your mercy and love, forgive whatever sins he
may have committed through human weakness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Let All in agreement say,

- Fr. Bruce Christian

Thank you, Nelson Mandela, for all the gifts you gave, the light you shone into the world, and the magnificence of your example.
Dear God,
Please hold Mandela
in Your eternal arms
and give him eternal peace.
Surround him with love
and deliver him to bliss.
And so it is.

- Marianne Williamson
Nelson Mandela with Whitney Houston

Monday, November 18, 2013

Esperanza's New Protest Video on Gitmo

TERRIFIC MUSIC BY ESPERANZA, PROTESTING GITMO. This is in the great tradition of protest music, which we have not had enough of, in this observer’s estimation. Esperanza’s blog in the L.A. Times and the video link below.

Music to shine a light on Guantanamo Bay
By Esperanza Spalding, guest blogger via LA TIMES
I finally read all of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail" this spring while I was on tour for my album "Radio Music Society." At about the same time, the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay detention center hit the headlines. Soon, scores of men were being force-fed. The more I learned about what was going on at Guantanamo, the more I realized that the truths King expressed in his famous letter were back in our faces: "Justice too long delayed is justice denied."

I vowed to do something. When I got home, I called my representative and senators and expressed my support for a just closure of Guantanamo. Then I called my friends and asked them to do the same. But that wasn't enough: 84 men cleared for release by our national security agencies years ago were still sitting at Guantanamo. I left to go back on tour, but the burning question remained: What else can I do?

At a "Radio Music Society" band dinner, we talked about Guantanamo and realized we shared a deep concern about the issues it raises. Those talks inspired a song, and then a music video -- "We Are America," which we're releasing Monday -- that we hope will mobilize support for closing the facility. As the project crystallized, I reached out to more friends -- some who happen to be quite well known -- and they agreed to support our effort by making cameo appearances in the video.

Throughout the process, and after consulting with human rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch, our resolve kept growing. We believe that the blatant injustice of detention without charge at Guantanamo violates not just U.S. human rights obligations but also our basic values and principles.

Of the 779 men who have been held at the facility since it was opened in 2002, only seven have ever been convicted of any charges in military tribunals. Two of those convictions have been overturned on appeal. Another six men are on trial now, and the government says it will only prosecute seven more. That means that of the 164 men being held (many of whom have been there for almost 12 years), 151 are being held without charges, and they will never be charged.

King's Birmingham letter emphasizes that concern for justice and equality is not enough to remedy the systematic violation of human rights: "[I am] compelled to carry the gospel of freedom far beyond my own home town…," he wrote. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

With the release of "We Are America," we hope to shine a light for our fellow Americans on these nitty-gritty facts:

The Obama administration has the ability to transfer the 84 detainees who have already been cleared for release out of Guantanamo, and other detainees could soon be cleared by newly established review boards. However, current law needlessly places obstacles in the way of accomplishing that.

Now, the Senate has begun to change that. Provisions in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act passed out of the Senate Arms Services Committee will break down some of these obstacles and give the president more flexibility to make transfers out of the detention facility. The full Senate will begin debate on the act, and those provisions, in the coming days.

Specifically, Sections 1031 to 1034 of the Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act would permit the transfer of "detainees who have been ordered released by a competent U.S. court" and "would permit transfers for the purpose of detention and trial." Since 9/11, federal courts have prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases, and those convicted are currently serving long sentences in high-security federal prisons.

If the Senate and the House of Representatives agree to the Guantanamo provisions in the defense act, the few prisoners in the detention center who face charges could be prosecuted where it makes the most sense, in federal courts.

Radio Music Society (and friends) made "We Are America" because we believe that, while not all of us are called to the front lines like Martin Luther King Jr., we can all support our elected officials in doing the right thing.



Monday, October 14, 2013

For Columbus Day- Bruce Cockburn's Stolen Land

"This song is done live and is just accompanied with drums. Many of the photos I have used are of the survivors of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge taken within months of the massacres. I could not use many of the research photos I found. They are too disturbing."  - MyMoppet52

Stolen Land Lyrics:

From Tierra del Fuego to Ungava Bay
The history of betrayal continues to today
The spirit of Almighty Voice, the ghost of Anna Mae
Call like thunder from the mountains -- you can hear them say It's a stolen land

Apartheid in Arizona, slaughter in Brazil
If bullets don't get good PR there's other ways to kill
Kidnap all the children, put 'em in a foreign system
Bring them up in no-man's land where no one really wants them
It's a stolen land

Stolen land -- but it's all we've got
Stolen land -- and there's no going back
Stolen land -- and we'll never forget
Stolen land -- and we're not through yet

In my mind I catch a picture -- big black raven in the sky
Looking at the ocean -- sail reflected in black eye --
Sail as white as heroin, white like weathered bones --
Rum and guns and smallpox gonna change the face of home
In this stolen land...

If you're like me you'd like to think we've learned from our mistakes
Enough to know we can't play god with others' lives at stake
So now we've all discovered the world wasn't only made for whites
What step are you gonna take to try and set things right
In this stolen land

Stolen land -- but it's all we've got
Stolen land -- and there's no going back
Stolen land -- and we'll never forget
Stolen land -- and we're not through yet

by Bruce Cockburn 1987