Better sense of history: Billy Zoom’s list of required listening

“The Ramones, Elvis Presley’s Sun sessions, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Time Out by Dave Brubeck, something done in Owen Bradley’s studio like Patsy Cline or Brenda Lee, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry … how long is this supposed to be? This could go on for a long time. I have a long list of required listening. I think people should have a better sense of history so they would have a better understanding of how things got to be the way they are. Just in general, because I think if people understood how things got to be the way they are, things would be different..”

-Billy Zoom, guitarist from X (According to Billy, this is only a partial list)

King Oliver, King Oliver Stomp

Bix Beiderbecke—anything with Frankie Trumbauer

Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France (Django)—all 1930’s sessions

Benny Goodman Orchestra, Sing, Sing, Sing

Glen Miller, Greatest Hits

Andrews Sisters, Greatest Hits, but make sure it’s the original recordings.

Johnnie Ray—anything about crying

Hank Williams—everything

Elvis Presley—Sun Sessions, and first RCA album with the cover the Clash copied

Jerry Lee Lewis—EVERYTHING!!!!

Roy Orbison, The Monument Hits…, Love Hurts, Pretty Woman, etc.

Brenda Lee—original hits, the Owen Bradley stuff

Patsy Cline—original hits, the Owen Bradley stuff

Buddy Holly Story, the album, not the movie!

Little Richard, 17 Grooviest Original Hits, or anything on Specialty

Chuck Berry, Greatest Hits, or everything before London Sessions

Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out

Duke Ellington, Three Suites, Ellington at Newport

The Coasters,Greatest Hits

Muddy Waters—all the Chess hits

Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Count Basie, Hall of Fame

The Shadows, first two albums

The Ventures, first two albums

The Shirelles, Baby It’s You

Claudine Clark, Party Lights

Fontella Bass, Rescue Me

The Temptations, My Girl

Bobby Bland, Stormy Monday

Lonnie Mack, Wham reissued as Memphis Wham

Jimmy Reed, Honest I Do

The Miracles, Shop Around

The Four Tops, Bernadette, Reach Out

Betty Everett, Shoop Shoop Song

Helen Shapiro, Greatest Hits

Tommy Roe, Everybody

The Drifters, Under the Boardwalk

Gene Pitney, Greatest Hits!!!!

Buddy Morrow, Night Train

Etta James, Tell Mama

Dusty Springfield, Son of a Preacher Man

Aretha Franklin, Respect, Chain of Fools

Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild—listen only in mono

Isaac Hayes, Walk On By

Booker T. and the M.G.’s, Greatest Hits

The Youngbloods, Get Together

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Cloudburst, Twisted, etc.

Jimmy Smith, The Incredible Jimmy Smith

Sergey Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf, Lieutenant Kijé Suite

Marvin Gaye, What’s Goin’ On?

Ray Charles—just about anything

Lloyd Price, Stagger Lee, Just Because

Brook Benton, Kiddio, Rainy Night in Georgia, It’s Just a Matter of Time

The Who, My Generation—first album ONLY!

Laurindo Almeida, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Earl Bostic, Harlem Nocturne

Tyrone Davis, Turn Back the Hands of Time

James Brown and the Flames, Greatest Hits, before Bootsy Collins

Wilson Pickett—everything except Hey Jude

Sam and Dave, Greatest Hits, but play it in MONO!

Arthur Alexander, Greatest Hits

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Greatest Hits

The Pirates, Castin’ My Spell

Dave Berry, The Cryin’ Game

The Beatles—first album ONLY! (okay, maybe the first two, but that’s it)

The Searchers—first two albums

Desmond Dekker and the Aces, The Israelites

Heinz, Movin’ In, I’m Not a Bad Guy,Just Like Eddie

Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed… either vinyl or the Superbitmapped CD

Bay City Rollers, Saturday Night

The Ramones—at least the first two albums

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Continue reading

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How a skull on your desk will change your life

By Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble

The practice of remembering that you will die helps you to keep in mind that your life will end, and that it has a goal: heaven.

Visual reminders — often called memento mori, the Latin phrase for “Remember that you will die” — are one way we can keep our impending death in mind. Saints Jerome, Aloysius, and Mary Magdalene, among others, are often depicted in classic paintings with skulls. Saint Francis of Assisi once signed a blessing to Brother Leo with the tau cross and a small drawing of a skull. Pope Alexander VII commissioned Italian artist Bernini to make a coffin that he kept in his bedroom along with a marble skull for his desk to remind him of the brevity of life. Blessed James Alberione, the founder of the Daughters of Saint Paul, also kept a skull on his desk.

Inspired by this Christian tradition of memento mori, I recently acquired a ceramic skull for my desk. I have been chronicling my spiritual journey for over a month on Twitter. And it has changed my life.

To read Sister Theresa’s entire article, click HERE.

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Bono’s brush with death: ‘I was clinging to my own life’

U2 singer Bono had a “brush with mortality” last year that has shaped the band’s new album. Photograph: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

By Brian Boyd, Irish Times

Bono has written about a “brush with mortality” last Christmas that inspired at least three songs on the new U2 album Songs of Experience. On the liner notes of the record, which is out today, the singer writes: “Last winter I was on the receiving end of a shock to the system, a shock that left me clinging on to my own life.

“Lots of us have a brush with mortality, it was an arresting experience. I won’t dwell in it or on it. I don’t want to name it. But these songs have that impetus behind them and it would feel dishonest not to admit the turbulence I was feeling at the time of writing.”

The “near-death” experience happened sometime between Christmas and New Year. The singer won’t go into the precise details of what happened but speaking to The Irish Times in London last month before their Trafalgar Square concert, The Edge confirmed the incident. Asked about Irish poet Brendan Kennelly’s advice to Bono, to write his songs as though he were dead, the Edge referenced Bono’s incident.

“It was a very serious scare he had and it did affect the way he was viewing his writing for this record,” he said.

“Where he ended up was taking Kennelly’s advice . . . a lot of these songs ended up being letters to people he cares about. Some were his and our children, some were the U2 fans, Ali [Hewson, Bono’s wife] featured obviously, and there was a lot directed to America and the current political situation.”

The Edge added that while Bono was writing he was thinking “If this is the last song I write, what do I want to say?”

To read entire article, click HERE.

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What Latino Film Critics Are Saying About Pixar’s ‘Coco’


By Manuel Betancourt

For many of us, “Remember Me” (which is played for laughs and establishes the dashing musical icon Ernesto De La Cruz as the kind of cartoonish Pedro Infante of Coco’s world) is precisely what we worried would happen when the Emeryville studio greenlit a “Día de Los Muertos” film – and even tried to copyright that title! Wouldn’t the studio that made toys come alive no doubt fail at capturing what it is that makes this Mexican holiday so special? Wouldn’t it just dress it up in culturally tone-deaf representations that signal “Mexicanness” all the while betraying the fact that it was made by and for Anglos? Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth.

And not just because we can point to the large number of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that poured their hearts into the film. Coco knows very well that the story it’s telling – of a young boy who finds himself stranded in the Land of Dead and needs to get a blessing from his ancestors in order to return to the land of the living where he’ll have to give up his dreams of following in De La Cruz’s footsteps – is rooted in the spirit of the celebration, on family and destiny, on one’s originality and devotion. Shaded with an attention to detail that remains astounding (the deep-cut Frida Kahlo jokes are A+ as is the playful use of alebrijes), Coco is not (just) the flashy mariachi version of “Remember Me” but also its pared-down, family-sung rendition – a lullaby that will bring you to tears by the sheer power of its emotions and the beauty of its message.

To read entire article, click HERE

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Sermon on the screen: Priest plays himself in ‘Lady Bird’

By Carol Zimmerman

For the movie, Father Paul Keller gave four homilies and a small portion of one was used in the film, but he also led the “congregation” of actors in prayer and distributed ashes for an Ash Wednesday service that made the cut.

He explained to the cast how they should do certain things at a Mass, such as hold their hands for Communion and make the sign of the cross. His day on the set started with his homilies, all culled from previous ones he had given, especially from his six years working at a Catholic high school.

In the movie credits, Father Paul Keller (Claretian Missionary Fathers) is listed as playing Father Paul Keller, a priest who is never actually named in the movie because his role is celebrating four Masses, shown in quick cuts during the movie’s school year.

He addressed the actors and extras, who were wearing Catholic school uniforms, as if they were truly getting this homily since this wasn’t a script. For the first homily, for the movie’s Mass at the start of the school year, he spoke for 12 minutes instead of his usual 10 for homilies. When he was done, the congregation stood up as if to say the Nicene Creed and someone on set yelled: “Cut!”

“It was deadly silent for two beats and then there was applause,” the priest said. The movie’s writer and director, Greta Gerwig, came running up to him with tears in her eyes and told him, “That was so perfect.”

It turns out, he said, his sermon’s message about fear and love and how most people are motivated by one or the other in the choices they make was essentially a summary of the movie.

Father Keller said “Lady Bird’s” characters are not always moral, but they are human, not caricatures.

To read entire Catholic News Service article, click HERE.

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Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ is a rallying cry for Catholic schoolgirls everywhere

Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf play a daughter and mother who clash and connect in Lady Bird.
Merie Wallace/ Courtesy of A24

By Eloise Blondiau, America Magazine

In “Lady Bird,” I saw for the first time in film a Catholic girls’ school as I remember it—brimming with kindness, weirdness, friendship and rebellion….

Although this is a film saturated in Catholic imagery and language, Ms. Gerwig is not Catholic and never has been. She did, however, attend Catholic school and wanted to make a film that reflected her joyful experience there.

“There’s plenty of stuff to make a joke out of [in Catholic schools], but what if you didn’t? What if you took it seriously and showed all the things that were beautiful about it?” she asked.

To read Blondiau’s complete story, click HERE

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The real Roy Orbison story

Roy Orbison once said, “people often ask me how would I like to be remembered and I answer that I would simply like to remembered.” If Orbison could look back these almost-30 years now after his death (on Dec. 6, 1988), he’d discover that he’s been more than simply “remembered.” As Roy Orbison Jr., once wrote: “There is only one Roy Orbison. And there are many. Blue-haired Rockabillys, Japanese leather rockers, All-American college girls whose favorite movie is ‘Pretty Woman,’ Elvis-lovers, country music fans … Ramones punk rockers … and good old-fashioned Roy Orbison diehards who have stood by him from the beginning. They all see a different Roy Orbison. They all see their own Roy Orbison.”

To read entire No Depression interview, click HERE.

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X talk 40 years of punk and being ‘just a little too weird’

X display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)

Nice profile of the legendary Los Angeles punk band X “We know exactly who we are; we know exactly what we’ve done and why we did it,” Exene Cervenka asserts. “We know what all the mistakes were, we know what we did that was good or bad, and I think we’re just glad to all be alive and being playing music together. … I can’t believe we survived all that and that we’re still together. It’s surreal. It’s a very surreal feeling to get this award from the city of Los Angeles and the Grammy Museum. And I think, in some ways, we’re more popular now than we’ve ever been.”

As for why X were never as commercially successful as some of their ’80s punk and new wave peers, John Doe shrugs, “Maybe we were just a little too weird. Maybe our lyrics were a little too weird. And I’m proud, at this point, of that identity. And I’m proud of the fact that even now, even though we’re getting a certificate from the city or we’re at the Grammy Museum, we’re still a little too weird. We’re still not quite ready for prime time. And you know what? That’s beautiful.”

To read entire story from Lyndsey Parker, click HERE.

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The rise of the televangelist who advises the White House

Whatever you think of President Donald Trump or his spiritual advisor, the Rev. Paula White, this Washington Post profile by Julia Duin is great reporting.

It was an early afternoon in late July, and Paula White was holding court before an audience of about 25 Southern Baptist ministers in an ornate diplomatic reception room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The televangelist was recounting one of her favorite stories — about when Donald Trump reached out to her in 2011 for guidance on a possible White House run. “Would you bring some people around me to pray?” she said he asked her. “I really want to hear from God.” White recalled that she and another pastor gathered about 30 ministers from different evangelical Christian traditions at Trump Tower in Manhattan. After the prayer session, when Trump asked her what she thought, she responded: “I don’t feel it’s the right timing.”

He listened, she continued, and the two talked and prayed about the matter over the next four years. When White again gathered religious leaders at Trump Tower in September 2015, she backed the decision he’d already made to run. Videos on YouTube of that event show her standing on his right, head down, laying hands on him as she prayed.

To read the entire essay, click HERE.

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Happy Birthday Billy Graham — 99 years and rockin

Billy Graham preaches June 25, 2005 in the Queens borough of New York. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

“When I was growing up, Billy Graham was very popular,” recalled music superstar Bob Dylan two years ago in AARP Magazine. “He was the greatest preacher and evangelist of my time — that guy could save souls and did. I went to two or three of his rallies in the ’50s or ’60s. This guy was like rock ’n’ roll personified — volatile, explosive. He had the hair, the tone, the elocution — when he spoke, he brought the storm down. Clouds parted. Souls got saved, sometimes 30- or 40,000 of them. If you ever went to a Billy Graham rally back then, you were changed forever. There’s never been a preacher like him. He could fill football stadiums before anybody. He could fill Giants Stadium more than even the Giants football team. Seems like a long time ago. Long before Mick Jagger sang his first note or Bruce strapped on his first guitar — that’s some of the part of rock ’n’ roll that I retained. I had to. I saw Billy Graham in the flesh and heard him loud and clear.”

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