Hugh Masekela dies

[Taking a break from the CES 2018 show report. ]

Hugh Masekela dies. This is a GREAT rendition of Stimela from 2015 [this is a classic song played at many high-end audio shows and also found on one of the Burmester test CDs]. Wish we could say that we are closer to ending the struggle…

There is a train that comes from Namibia and Malawi
There is a train that comes from Zambia and Zimbabwe
There is a train that comes from Angola and Mozambique
From Lesotho, from Botswana, from Swaziland
From all the hinterlands of Southern and Central Africa.
This train carries young and old men who are conscripted to come and work on contract
In the Gold and Mineral mines of Johannesburg and the surrounding provinces and Metropolis
16 hours or more a day, for almost no pay.
Deeeeeeep, deeeeeep deeeeep, deeeeeep, deeeeeep, deeeep
Deeeep,deeep, deep, down in the belly of the earth
When they’re digging and drilling for that shiny mighty evasive stone.
Or when they dish their mish-mash-mush food
Into their iron plates
With their iron shovel.
Or when they sit in their stinky, filthy, funky, flee-ridden barracks and hostels
And they think about their loved ones they may never see again,
Because they might have been forcibly removed from where they last left them
Or winterly murdered in the herd of night
By raving and marauding gangs of no particular origin – so we are told!
They think about their land and their herds that were taken away from them,
With the gun and the canon,
With the collaborator and the dog
And the teargas and the poison.
With the Bomb and the gasoline,
And when they hear that chu-chu train –
Smoking and-a-pushing and-a-climbing
And-a-hustling and-a-crying and-a-moaning
And-a-toting and and-a-steaming and-a-crying
And-a-moaning and-a-pushing and-a-grumbling
And-a-moaning and-a-climbing and-a-crying
And-a-screaming and-a-squishing
They always cuss, and they curse the coal train,
The coal train that brought them to Johannesburg.

Neil Young – Live in Omemee, Ontario

Neil Young – Live in Omemee, Ontario.

Neil streamed live from his home town in Ontario [before he moved to Winnipeg] last night for an hour and a half

Very intimate. Played by himself in a small hall built by the same architect who built Massey Hall [where a somewhat recent live album was recorded]. He played mostly old standards with a few new songs, often politically relevant, thrown into the mix.

He played on a several acoustic guitars, two pianos, at least two harmonicas and an organ.

This is my favorite style of Neil Young concert. By far. Even though I love his electronic stuff and his, uh, more experimental stuff [and love that he does, in fact, experiment with different music genres]. But the intimate venue, with his ability to put so much emotion into his voice [and last night his instruments as well], with the emotional responses from the audience so readily audible, it is just such an honest and forthright and compassionate and human an experience. Hard to find these these days where the vibe is more, as he put it, “bringing out some old ideas – like marching criminals through the streets”.

We watched it streaming on Facebook. It was also shown live on a Canadian TV network.

He mentioned the live stream a few times. Neil seems to have a love hate relationship with technology. I remember him working many years ago with Sun Microsystems [now Oracle] to develop a fuel-less car [out of an old Chevy or something. Sorry, too lazy to look it up myself]. And of course more recently PONO [the technology of which is now branded as MQA… without, it appears to me, Neil’s okeedokee].

Anyway, at the end of the concert, he said something to the effect: “.. and these days, a lot of you were probably watching 12 other things at the same time. Keep on doing that. We still love you.”

Sonically, the sound was good. As good as these things ever get, I think, from listening to lots of YouTube music concerts over the years. The Facebook player kind of stopped working after about an hour, and we had to reload the page finally, missing the first half of Helpless. The bass on the at least one guitar didn’t decay as rapidly as one might expect, but this might have been the way that it really sounded.

And they sounded awesome. I was thinking that if I ever got another acoustic guitar, I wanted it sound like these. These, old, beat-up, obviously well-loved guitars. I do not think any of the soundboards [the area around the sound hole] had any color left on them, the finish and maybe even the veneer [if any] worn clear through. He spent sometime showing how a guitar from Steven Stills, who purportedly got it from a musician who got shot while playing a Neil Young song [kind of a wink at fake news], and showed how the front soundboard had a significant area of the wood replaced, where the bullet went in, and how he had finessed the place where it came out [if this was truly a bullet’s trajectory, my guess is that it would have missed the musician at the time]. Guitar sounded great by the way.

Similarly, he brought his very old pianos with him as well up here into the wilderness of Canada [and we complain about shipping speakers up there]. And an old tree stump that was given to him by the “First Nations” down in Nebraska many years ago when trying to bring attention to the problems caused when we try to run leaky oil pipelines long distances.

The concert was both a homecoming of sorts and an attempt to raise money for the school where his father went. It also helped publicize that the Neil Young Archives are now open [recommend logging in with Facebook or Google and NOT TYPING YOUR PASSWORD there – it is an unsecure page].

The songs of the new albums sounded great, can’t wait to add it to our collection [one of our largest].

Neil Young – always from the heart and still relevant after all these years.





Google’s Music Genre Timeline

Google’s Music Genre Timeline is very interesting.

Note how the popularity of Jazz has grown lately.

Note how there is not a single mention (that I could find) of classical music.

I wonder if the problem we have with music today [i.e. little innovation] is reflected in that there is no massive new genre – everything is kind of balanced in popularity these days.

The iconic albums they feature for each genre could use work, IMO [but, alright Dean Martin! :-)].

Anyway, something to while away a few minutes during this rainy day…